A few stories:
One of my Brechewold groups has discovered a hoard of golden items in the dungeons: furniture, dish wares, decor, etc. They are the results of Ina the Alchemist’s experiments with the Fool’s Stone. However, they revert back to their original material when touched - a “reverse Midas” situation. They’ve already made good use of it.
The Empty Knights (enchanted suits of armor) that guard the dungeons can be befriended if one places a literal heart of gold in their opened chest cavity. Upon hearing this, my players asked if there were any taxidermied animals in the gold collection. Of course there were (how could I say no?), so with a combination of an Unseen Servant, a little dissection, and some broom slap shots, they made some new friends.
This group also wants to use the magic forge in the dungeons to make magic weapons out of a troll’s iron heart, and it turns out that the troll most powerful in the forest in Autumn is Miser, who eats gold and silver. Well, they’ve swept some gold nicknacks into a bag, and are off to bait a troll trap.
Another group is more interested in forest economics than dungeon delving. They have secured a Series A round of funding from the lord of the nearby town Ygraine to start a guided tour company with noted local travelogue writer Steve Ricks. They have also convinced the bees of the Llewyn Family Meadery to unionize. They’re simultaneously bringing capitalism and socialism to Brechewold forest. The Merrye Bande of Merrye Outlawes, a group of anarcho-syndicalists, is therefore keen to make their acquaintance.
My third group has recently found out that Merlyn imprisoned a white dwarf star on Mars as a heat source to forge a replacement for Excalibur. The star is (understandably) disgruntled, and the group has convinced themselves that it poses them an existential threat. They are therefore considering their options to deal with it. Currently in the running are finding the gate to Hell in the dungeons and engaging in some demon negotiation, or recovering the elven relic the Jade Warning Bell, currently trapped in a dream dimension. It is said to be able to match the natural frequency of any matter, granting power over it.
Two thoughts: first, my friends and family rule at playing D&D. I’m consistently dumbfounded by the energy and creativity they bring to my simple play tests. Second, I’m really starting to think this book is shaping up nicely. You’ve been warned.