Elephants crossing the seas!
It is not an infectious disease, but it is a plague upon the world.
For it spawns villains. And not your garden variety villains, but epic villains, master villains of the most dangerous kind Evil Geniuses.
Pnathic sorcery has existed for ages, crudely used by magi who no idea the true forces they were fumbling with.
An article concerning the nature and role of druids in an RPG enviroment.
Plagues and other great diseases are important parts of history and some settings. They defy man and may even defy God in their swift and terrible punishment upon the body of society.
Pirates' many bejeweled rings and piercings actually had a practical purpose - when the pirate or sailor died, the rings could be taken off as payment for a proper burial, saving him from a watery grave. This could be tied into regional culture, or made into a quest (The Pirate's Lost Rings, etc.). Also gives treasure-seeking divers another thing to look for besides crusty old chests.