RPG Hook #13
Numerous travelers using the high road have spotted a man standing under a tall oak. Pale, scruffy and undernourished, the man beseeches cart-drivers for rides, or asks to join walking parties as they hike toward their destination, telling them he only needs to reach the chapel in Highgate, explaining (if asked) that he's due to enter the priesthood after having a falling-out with his family. Friendly and talkative at first, the man, who introduces himself as Ash Newford, becomes more withdrawn and quiet as the journey goes on. When the vehicle or walking party reaches Highgate, they discover that their passenger has disappeared, leaving no tracks or evidence of his presence behind. Inquiring around Highgates reveals that many travellers have picked up Ash, only to have him vanish upon reaching the town. Who is Ash, why is he always found under the tall oak, and why does he vanish upon reaching Highgate?
Once again, I've left the details to this scenario deliberately vague so you can fill in the gaps in a way that works for you. It could be that Ash is a faerie or mischievous spirit who travels with humans in order to play cruel tricks on them, steal valuable items or lead them into danger (perhaps Highgate itself is an illusion) that the party will have to escape. Alternatively, investigating the mystery perhaps reveals that Ash was a prospective priest who disappeared on the road many years ago. Searching around the tall oak eventually reveals a shallow grave filled with Ash's - mostly decomposed - remains, and perhaps a clue as to his murderer, setting off a short mystery campaign or adventure as the party try to apprehend the killer and bring them to justice.
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