A world where, instead of aging in years, the people age in knowledge. So, instead of dying once a general age was reached, they die once they achieve a certain amount of knowledge. A man could live forever if he never learned anything, or could die after reading a few choice books. Of course, the knowledge of the land would be regulated, like medical drugs.
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...