It is the year 3582 on Earth and nothing is as it should be, my 1998 encyclopedia describes a beautiful, peaceful world. How do we get that world back? How do we close these gates and restore the Earth?
The lead New Earth Government of the Cosmic Era
The sky is drab and gray, almost completely covered in rainclouds. What gaps there are open up to show yet more gray. Much like mortal demesnes, the weather is unpredictable, but every so often the clouds unleash their burden of water on the residents of this boring land.
Welcome to the Hell of Half-Nothings. Your stay will be boring, we guarantee it.
The Road… traverses Time—Time past, Time to come, Time that could have been, and Time that might yet be. Some people have the ability to access the Road and travel it from Time to Time and world to world.
As long as any can remember, these certain paths allowed one to travel up to and over 20 extra miles a day by using them. One moment one was deep along a small trail, the next he would find himself 20 or more miles farther down the path without realizing it. All was fine until recently. Reports returned talking of the failure of these areas which revealed miles of ancient paths. The protection hiding them has finally failed. Will it release monsters of ages past or reveal magic of unknown worth?
In a crowded marketplace, a man is standing on a soapbox, orating. Some of the crowd are cheering, some hissing, some standing around saying "I can't hear a bl**dy word he's saying". It's a hustings for an election. The PCs can either leave, or stay and listen. If they do the latter, then they can vote too, and they might get quite involved in the cheering. Depending on who wins they might get quite involved in the post-election brawl too...
There are numerous possibilities with this encounter: the PCs might end up talking to one of the nervous candidates before their speech, and offer encouragement and support. Of course this candidate may well turn out to be someone with outspokenly unorthodox views, and the crowd don't take kindly to s/his supporters. Or maybe the seemingly innocuous candidate turns out to be a complete racist, and the PCs wander off embarrassedly, pretending they weren't talking to this person five minutes ago.