I recently completed a micro-adventures, Old Warren Castle. I called it a found location. A concept that is not unfamiliar in the gaming world, especially in the vast MMO video games. The party is exploring an area or headed to somewhere when they find a ruin, cave, mine or natural landmark that they just find along the way. These are locations that have no known history. No known history yet. Or there is no real history, but there is folklore about the location.
I like to include several of these when I draw a hex crawl map. I'll place a symbol of some sort to signify that there is special/unique there something there. I've got a thing for large, stone swords sticking into the ground. Something that might get the party's attention. I may write a couple of lines of what they find. "The remains of some sort of temple. Seven pillars remain standing within a stone field." If the party decides to explore then I'll rift off my description. What I may have thought of as just an oddity to break up the landscape, the players might find some sort of significance to it. And as a GM oyu have to figure out when a rock is just or rock or is it a tablet with sacred script.
I use these sites for various reason, here is a short list of some of what I can think of. But the best way I can describe a found location is, it tells a small part of the story about the land.
- Historical information. Maybe some sort if hint of the culture that existed.
- Help with current quest. I'll plant helpful information or a minor item or two that could help the party with their current quest.
- Just something interesting. The location or thing has no real significance. It is an oddity whose reason for being there is lost.