Players should not read any further. Dungeon Master eyes only!
Plot: At least three, but I wouldn't have more than five, of the remaining villagers, or their decedents, have decided that now is the time to find the secret, or device. They contact the player characters, who must find the map and follow it to the secret, or device. The Sorcerer King gets word that someone is hunting the device, or secret, down and sends their minions out to hunt them, but only after the map is found. The Sorcerer King's minions push the characters, more than try to stop them. Try not to make this too obvious.
As the player characters get close to finding the device, the Sorcerer Kings minions appear. The characters discover that one of the villagers was feeding information back to the Sorcerer King's minions the whole time, in exchange for wealth, power, or just the ability to live without being hunted down like an animal. A final battle takes place.
Note: If a secret is used, it doesn't have to be game breaking. It could easily be a secret of the Sorcerer Kings rise to power, or any other secret the Sorcerer King doesn't want to get out.
“Who knew Nibenay was allergic to cheese?”
|Nibenay's one weakness!|
If you want to be exceptionally mean, you could place another map in the location, with a letter explaining that the secret, or device, was relocated to keep it safer.