The third son of a candle-maker, and secretly a spy, Tsiao Fong Wei betrayed his family, clan, and town to the merciless Qongg Dynasty, causing the deaths of his own family members. He survived to an old age hiding out in the country side and keeping a low profile. One day however, the “Paper Knife” finally found Tsiao Fong Wei , and exacted his revenge on behalf of the folk, dead and tortured.
After a furious struggle, the “Paper Knife” plunged twin burning candles into the eyes of the traitorous old man and laughed, as Tsiao Fong Wei howled in dismay and pain. Some say Tsiao Fong Wei died that day. Others say that the old man somehow escaped despite his sudden anguish and utter blindness.
The truth is lost to time.
But to this day the children of the Red-Ridge County towns and villages are told by their parents to always beware twin lights in the darkness and to never venture into the woods at night, and to keep an ear open for the Groaning Ghost, for somewhere out there Tsiao Fong Wei the Traitor, now a vengeful spirit, stumbles about the darkness moaning and wailing, candles still sticking forth from out of his otherwise empty eye sockets. And though the candles plunged into his eyes all those years ago were a’flame going in, now the wax protuberances are somehow lit from within and burn without, and two flickering lights in the darkness, always portend his coming.
It has been said that within the mountains (or was it the darklands?) there dwells a fluffy creature of immense cuteness. This creature is so adorable that all who encounter it are filled with joy so great their mortal forms cannot contain it. And they explode. Several magic institutions are desperate to study the creature or better yet capture one to prove the theory of an elemental plane of "D'Awwww".
Foot Coral. It attatches to a foot like moss, almost gluing itself to an organism. It gets its food supply from the ground, and does not leech off the host in any way. It is not a malignant organism, and is entirely harmless. But it only grows on human feet, and even then, never on the left foot. An organism that it grows on can feel touch through the coral, but not pain. Removal of the coral is painless, but why would you want to?
Texturally, if fells like a dry, non slimy amoeba.
Nine times out of ten, it’s the undead that do the running.
Not strictly animal or vegetable, the Corpse bud is a peculiar individual that shares characteristics from multiple kingdoms and species. In appearance, all corpse buds bear a shape of a large rounded top bud divided into four lateral segments, and a much longer, narrower bottom bud, also divided into four segments. Between the two halves are a set of four radial limbs, rounded on top and flat on the bottom, covered with tiny serrated hooks facing towards the body. In overall size, it’s limbs reach as wide as a spread hand, with the body being as thick as a fist. It is as long as a human hand from top to bottom.
Internally, the top bud of the corpse bud contains a bacteria filled membrane that produces the hydrogen that the corpse bud uses to stay aloft, and a series of fungal gills for the dispersal of spores for reproduction. The lower half of the bud contains a number of fine filaments, as well as a sharp barbed stinger containing a powerful local anaesthesia.
The Corpse Bud mobilizes by inflating its top bud, and steers by rotating its arms rapidly about its body. The corpse bud ordinarily drifts with the wind, orienting towards the scent of recent decay and death. It preys on the recently dead, burrowing the lower bud into the victim, using the anaesthesia in case the victim is dying, and not truly deceased. Once embedded, it releases its filaments into the body, replacing the current nervous system. This gives it full animation of the body, and allows the corpse bud to direct it.
Corpse buds are not a malevolent species, being primarily concerned with breaking down the host body for food, and infecting the reproductive cycle with spores in order to mate with other corpse-bud bodies. To preserve the corpse for this purpose, Corpse buds will seek out dry locations to prevent bacteria from destroying the corpses. This often causes a large number of corpse buds to gather in a single location.
In culture, Corpse buds are used to repair broken spines or degenerative diseases, as the sentient mind will easily overcome the mind of the non-sentient corpse bud. Once infected by a corpse bud, however, removal is usually fatal, and the infected individual cannot reproduce, or risk infecting another. Thus, it is a technique often reserved for the elderly, or a last resort.
Necromancers and other dark sorcerers will often preserve the corpses of their victims magically, and infect them with corpse buds, creating traditional undead as well, so as to seed their lairs with undead both offensive and non, in order to throw their enemies off balance. They will also enslave the rudimentary minds of the corpse buds, and transform the docile things into a plague. There have also been accounts of magically transformed corpse buds with stronger minds and a taste for living flesh, but thus far all accounts are unproven rumors.
The soul of a mage has been trapped in his own bust for centuries. The bust is a foot in height and made of a dark silvery metal. It is well crafted, perfect in every detail of the mage's features. The frozen expression is one of shock. It was sold off in auction after the mage's unexplained disappearance and has been passed around as a curio ever since. The cause of his entrapment? He practiced in secret; none knew of his hobby. Being self taught, he was unable to tell that the spell he thought was for protection was actually for entrapment...
A group of humans living in a mountainous area have spent generations mining, drinking home made liquor, and generally not spreading the gene pool around enough. The end result is a sub-race of humans who no longer have necks, rather their heads protrude from the upper portion of the torso between the shoulders. They have beards, and lacking the ability to turn their heads, can only see what they are directly facing. They are simple and to the point, and direct to the point of bluntness.
Inside a mad scientists laboratory the PCs find a short creature with smooth, oily and whale like skin. The head is faceless and smooth also. But hundreds of white eyes on the PCs from the fat belly of this creature. The PCs are about to kill it as it speaks to them in a feeble but intelligent voice, asking them to pour the contents of a green vial on it. Will they do so? And if so, what will happen?
Hate and vengeance are powerful forces. They dull the inhibitions, cloud the thoughts, and drive people to commit unspeakable acts. There are demons that reflect intense human emotion, taking shapes that best reflect the desire and experiences of their victims.
A golden skull contains the spirit of a person who has been magically entrapped in an ethereal undead status by an ancient ritual. The person was boiled alive in a golden mixture until nothing remained of him except the bones, now covered by a golden layer. Whoever has these golden bones, controls the spirit and can command it. It can assault the living with wind and storm. Manipulate objects and communicate with the living. (Inspired by Anne Rice, Servant of the Bones)
A furry animal with human eyes and a trunk that devour dreams and nightmares.
Consider the idea of spontaneous genesis of life, as used to be belived. What strange kinds of life might arise from modern substances? What kind of vermin would a landfill produce, or an oil spill on the ocean?
The apples of a certain tree, when allowed to dry on their own, all have the appearance of shriveled human skulls.
People argue about the true form of the beasts known as "Bloodtouches", since they seem to take dozens of forms. Unfortunately, their bite's effect isn't in doubt. Anyone bitten by the bright crimson beasts rapidly loses all hair; their skin color shifts to bloody red. Many people fear those under this curse; villages of blood-skinned outcasts huddle in the wilds.
A rumour of the knights of some powerful king that sleep until danger threatens the kingdom.
The truth is that they were rebels, trying to split the kingdom. Once captured they were put into an enchanted sleep, protected from age and harm, until their aims have been carried out by others in which case they will awaken.
There is a loophole in the spell in that trying to take one of their weapons will also awaken them.
A dragon who demands to be told stories, if the person cannot comply, he or she becomes a meal for the dragon.
The frozen wastes stretch for miles around. Something waddles through the snow. It's a penguin: An emperor penguin. It waddles slowly, meandering toward the sea. The ranger freezes. "Stay very still," he warns. "Don't move at all." "What is it?" I ask, breathlessly. "It's the most dangerous creature in the whole Yahoo Tundra, and that penguin's about to kick its butt..." (Sorry, Epi! I couldn't resist!)
If a ghost possesses someone that had a different personality to them in life, the possessed body will slowly rot.
A desolate region is almost entirely without normal vegetation. Local plants are able to unroot themselves and crawl along the ground in search of water and fertile soil. The inhabitants fence their crops in to keep them from wandering off and put heavy stone thresholds in the doorways of their huts to keep wayward plants out.
The plants sense by chemical cues, lacking sight or hearing, and tend to avoid herbivores or anything that smells of "dead plants". Characters with horses are likely to be unwelcome among the locals.
Giant mushrooms the size of trees. The stems and parts of the caps can be used in construction, and only the gills are soft enough to eat. An entire fungi-forest can grow in a matter of days, provided the correct conditions. Most fungus trees last about a month before collapsing, but not before a new generation sprouts to provide shade for the next spores.
In a small, genetically isolated region it is not uncommon for the locals to have three arms. The third arm is generally a second right arm that is a good bit weaker than a normal arm and is generally held against the chest. This hird arm is most often used to carry small things, though some of the more skilled craftsmen have learned little tricks with their third arm.
One day a a wind begins to blow out of the West. The next day it gets stronger. And stronger still the next few days. Eventually (and fortunately), the speed of the wind tops out at a steady fifty miles an hour, but continues to blow. Soon an entire kingdom is wondering why it's not abating. The weather mages deem it unnatural but can't seem to banish or control it. The priests of various faiths claim it's divine. The End-Of-Days crowd is having a field day with their predictions of doom. No one knows why the gale persists. When inquiring with neighboring kingdoms, it seems they too suffer from a persistent western mistral. Eventually the populace begins to adapt to living with a twenty four hour a day wind. Always from the West, and perpetual. What could be causing this? A raging Elemental king? a curse from the gods? an unearthed artifact? Or has Nature itself gone haywire?