There are ruins, scattered about the world, and all are sealed with unbreakable locks.
When all of these locks suddenly open, what emerges?
A cave with weapons sunken into the walls, blades sticking out of the floor and ceiling, and so on. Possibly, any weapon used in it could be torn out of the hand and sink into the stone.
The PCs are walking along the road, when suddenly a bunch of bandits attacks. The player's dismiss it has just a random encounter, when they find an ornate ring on the leader, obviously out of place with the seemingly poor bandits, who could only afford cheap leather and weapons. This ring has a symbol on it, which, if researched, sets the PCs on a quest. And from then on, the players don't look at random encounters the same way...