I try to gather up ideas that seem a little too thin to warrant a separate post into these miscellaneous posts. Usually they are small house rule mechanics or campaign setting ideas. Anyway, here are a few more:
They look like obese children with mouths slightly open and drooling. They amble out of stark wastelands to follow parties and listen. They appear mute. If they hear a word of particular interest to them, such as a name or a word shouted with emotion, they will "eat" it. The word then disappears from the mind of the speaker. They cannot say it, read it, or understand it as language if it is spoken to them. Some say the only way to get the word back is to slice open the belly of the Word Eater and extract it. But such a butchering might release a flood of strange and ancient words.
Some wise women have the ability to draw a malady from a person by "writing them out." This involves several strange ingredients as well as bird guano and willow bark. A set of scratchings will appear on the bark that resemble both quail tracks and cuneiform writing. If a spell is cast to allow reading this willow scroll, the reader will catch the malady there recorded.
Extended Stat Check
To see how long the burly fighter can hold the collapsing ceiling up, the swimmer can hold their breath, or the rogue can balance on the swaying tightrope, try this: Roll a d6 each round and when the total of the results surpasses the character's appropriate stat they finally reach their limit. I think this could be much more dramatic than a single stat check or saving roll and since a player with their character in such a situation will probably be static while the rest of the party frantically does something else, it will give them something to do each round.
When you first use a wand or staff roll a d6. A result of 1 means it just fails to work. You can try to use it once a round until it does work. Once it works, however, the failure range moves from just 1 up to 1-2. This continues with each successful use. Once the failure number is 6 the item will never work and must be recharged if that is possible.
To recharge a single level, cast a spell of equal level on the object, then roll the number you would need to succeed if it had that level charge left. For example, a completely dead wand would need a sixth level spell cast into it and then the caster would need to roll a 6 on the d6. If successful, then a fifth level spell would need to be cast on it and then a 5 or 6 rolled for it to "take." And so on until it is fully charged.