There exists a prestigious academy with a history going back hundreds of years. Graduates are highly skilled and very much sought after for employment. For purely traditional reasons, the academy requires its students to become proficient in a skill or area of knowledge that has no use in the modern world. This could be Ancient Egyptian, an antiquated form of writing such as shorthand, knowledge of building or repairing antique steam engines, programming COBOL, etc. PCs who graduated from this academy must be sure to have this skill in their repertoire.
As they travel they notice a horrible rotten smell. As they travel it gets stronger and stronger forcing them to cover their noses and mouth less they choke on the horrible smell.A small goblin tribe preparing a wedding feast. The wedding is between two tribes as a gesture for peace, if the PC's intefere, feirce fighting could break out.