"...somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds."
--William Butler Yeats, "The Second Coming"
- The strong desert winds have uncovered a monument once buried beneath the hot sands, a massive stone gynosphinx, and the local human tribespeople have taken to speaking of a god trapped in the stones. This isn't a great concern to civilized folk until fanatic tribespeople begin showing up in town and spreading their heretic faith. Naturally, the local clergy wants the PCs to investigate this 'god' as soon as possible and reveal it for the fraud it is. But what will they find sleeping in the desert sands?
- A strange, winged creature has been harassing a swath of farmland, and all the mercenaries hired to handle the problem have gone missing, one group at a time. The farm attacks have lessened, but bagging the mystery creature has become a race among local adventurers. If the PCs start trailing the monster, they quickly come across their predecessors, the bodies stripped of all equipment. Moreover, there's evidence that humanoids did the scavenging, and as the PCs continue on their hunt, they find more and more evidence that the monster and these humanoids are working together. What manner of villainy is taking place in these parched hills?
- In the harsh canyons of Baron Gulch, a small mining colony has been usurped by Liontooth the Ogre and his bandit gang. The colony's foreign masters are willing to give the PCs a sizable payment of precious ores and gems should they fight off the bandits, but they warn of a strange swarm of crows spotted by the few colonists who managed to flee successfully; by the light of day they seemed ominous but normal, but at night their eyes glowed an eldritch green...