Can someone give me Ideas for PC'S finding a warning note.

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I am looking for a sentence or paragraph etc basically telling the pc's

The big bad evil guy came to this town and destroyed it, you suck I'm awesome, this is your fate. I feel my creative jucies are running low. This should be easy but I can't think of anything, and right now I can't even think of any movies where they find such a note (except for mulan where they find the childs doll) Any help would be awesome!


A few details
- It's  3.5 setting
- They are only level 3
- Magic weapons are allowed
- These details prob don't matter since i'm just looking for wording on the sentence but ehhh 
how about another party of adventurers sword pinned to houses. The cleric is of the same faith as the one in the gaming party. The wizard could have used a cantrip to leave a message to the new party. Mayhaps an arrow burned in the wood beside him, pointing towards the the bad guys way of travel or a name written in the dirt.
Does the big bad evil guy have any particular symbol or notable feature ?

Sometimes it is best to leave hints instead of outright saying things.

If they do have a symbol it could be found perhaps left on a desecrated altar, or if they have a banner perhaps it is left standing in the shell of
the town where the towns own flags have been tossed down to the ground around it.

There is also the possibility of NPC survivors left behind to be inadvertant messengers.

"Yeah, all this, all this horror twas but one man. Big fellah all in dark armor and a skull head helm." (Or however your big bad dresses.)
"That monster said this was just a start, a warning to fools who get in his way."

Yeah, make the "note" an NPC villager.  Nailed to a door — big farrier nails, too, for shoeing horses.  His dying words are to pass the message on to those following after.  "Black Bart said....."  but he dies first, before anything else can be delivered.  Maybe even a kid, really pull on the heart-strings.

Either that, or a bag with the head of some NPC ally in it.
"Don't read this note or you will immediately..."   POOF!!!  "Arrrrrrggh!"


Just kidding.


Seriously, I like the NPC nailed to a door thing.  And the idea that it's a kid.....definitely gruesome.....but effective.
Ask the players: "There's a gruesome calling card here, something that seems designed to anger and taunt your characters. What does it look like?"

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

The BBEG:

1. leaves one survivor who will tell you all that heshe knows
2. has one of his minion provide a challenge notice (he will suicide after giving the message)
3. has a hired mob (cannot interrogate for info since hired ones have no knowledge of the BBEG) ambush the players, one will carry a map to the BBEG's location

  
Thanks for the great ideas, really got some ideas going in my head. As twisted as it sounds I really liked the idea of the NPC being nailed to a building, even more so that it's a child... just eveil enough to get my group really into it. I have yet to get them to have a purpose so this will add a little bit of fuel to the fire! You guys are al great. I'm going to use the sentence too about the armor, just change it up to what he wears.