An explosion rocked the city walls as if a hundred mages unleashed their fury upon the peaceful people of Souls'e Province. An instant silence in the wake of the blast was nearly as loud as the noise that erupted right after as another series of explosions followed the first. Then the screaming began. Low at first, then became physical as if a wave of noise punched us all in the gut and sent us to our knees. Even the guards began running, screaming. "The people, they... they are murdering everyone. The city has gone mad. RUN!!!"
Thirty more nasty, notorious Necromancers to disturb the eternal rest of the Dead.
An ornate reliquary box, covered in fine metalwork that twists the eye and causes headaches.
You find a dusty violin on a stand in the next room. Through the grime of the years, you can tell that it is of excellent make. Perhaps someone can put it to good use? An instrument is meant to be played, after all...
The sound was most troublesome. Long have I been prisoner to Kormack and his evil designs, and the torturous sounds my heart has been cursed to endure has left me cold inside. I endure and ignore. Cold to the pain and the suffering of poor souls around me. Their Fate forsworn as soon as they enter His lair. But this, this atrocity has pierced my now icebound heart and cracked deep into my very soul. The children... The mewling babes that know nothing of their future, nothing of the joys of life. Innocent of horrors of the world and the dread future it holds. How short that future is. I can not get the sound of the mewling infants from my mind, it is seared into memory as a brand on an animals flank forever to remain. Some have even laughed right up till the end and nothing is more damaging to ones sanity than a broken childs laugh.
Master Blacksmith Heaf Astes
Once upon a time this sword may have been a sight to behold, but no more. Rust and decay now tarnish the metal of this forgotten relic, and those who stumble upon it are more likely to toss it than use it.
The rain poured down on the city of Grathen in a relentless beat that would marvel the best of drummers. It beat down on the public buildings, with pedestrians streaming in front of, with eyes cast upwards and lips mumbling prayers to Rain Gods. It beat down on the Slums, where thieves were mumbling thanks to their gods for all these people looking up and not at their purses. And it beat down on Ariel Lorette, a girl of 13, escaping from horrors beyond the common person's imagination. Ariel Lorette, with rain streaming down her face and hiding her tears of pain and sorrow and, above all, victory. For Ariel had escaped them. Ariel was free.
"I take it ye've ne'er fought a Semblance. Nasty undead fiends they be. 'course, they don't look undead. They don't have gleamin' bones, or rottin' flesh. No, sir! The Semblance looks just like you or me. Except for when its tryin' ta get you. I take it ye've ne'er fought a Semblance. If you had, you'd be dead."
-Old Gerald, man in the pub
The Noble Expertise of Creating the Remaining Organism is a gentlemen's club. People who don't belong call it the Noble Expertise, or perhaps the Expertise, but the people in the club call themselves necromancers, and the club itself N.E.C.R.O.
Ah, you are awake now I see. Wondrous news. I realized that you have no idea what is transpiring so I will be blunt so you may understand it. It is rumored that you are one of the best jewelers and metalsmiths in the region and for that you are lucky enough to have been chosen to create an item that will change the world. And afterwards, you shall be set free. My word on it.
An unassuming sewing needle, five to six inches long. Certainly nothing out of the ordinary.
Watcher comes now. It comes to set me free
Of its curse of dark and emptiness and endless misery.
Those who turn from the light and find themselves entranced by the lure of necromantic power would heed well the tale of Ilken Lillett; A testament to the sacrifices which must be made to attain such power.
"I will give man his threescore and ten, and then give him more. Death himself will fall before me."
She was known as "Moon Child" by her friends as she only came out at night, and whilst they loved to play with her, those who did so for too long would soon have cause to regret it. He was her father and the town undertaker, with a secret much less savoury role as the town necromancer.
...And 'lo, the days of Bennu drew to a close, and he built himself a pyre from which to be reborn in cleansing fire. But trickery snared his form, blackening radiant feathers to twilight...
I watched in horror as the final pieces were infused together with dark magics granted to the mighty Kormak by Shivenhusk Himself. The head from Lord King Vyrkril was placed on a base of blacked bone and thrust into the cold burning fire. I swear I hear it scream in agony. Decnus Kormak smiled at his late king and when he pulled the chalice from the blue flame bare handed, he clutched it covetously. That alone made me afraid.
Damn 'ol thing it tis. Itches like nuthin I e'er felt. Stupid bugs, your the Poosker ye fool. Help me get rid o' these damnable things.
I hate to tell you this but you have what we liked to call, "Puces Barbe Morts", or undead beard fleas. And the only way to be rid of them is to cut off your beard and then burn the hair.
No! Just kill me it's less painful that way.
Bag on a Stick
Very simple gag but a great one, since it can be used multiple times over, even in the same adventure. Great for tribal natives gone restless and humanoids, but anyone can have set this up. Just what the header says, a simple bag over a stick stuck in the ground or floor.
As GM you can place the bag on a stick anywhere, in a floor crack the heroes have passed before, outdoors in a clearing or path, or at the edge of the PCs' encampment the following morning, what have you. Place anything on the stick - a coiled yellow viper angered by the bag removal, mini crossbow w/poison, transdermal hallucinatory drug dusted on the bag, yellow mold colony, an NPC ally's head, a weapon, scroll tube or satchel, what have you.
The idea is to build tension and/or stall for time/distract the party. Provided it's used properly, you'll be amazed at how paranoid players will get from this simple gag.