You type the command into the console. "Insufficient Guineapigs" the computer responds. Baffled, you retype the command. "Insufficient Guineapigs" the computer replies again. You decide you should start smaller, with a simpler command. "Insufficient Guineapigs"
What does cycling the spaceship's airlock have to do with a now-extinct Peruvian rodent?
In some virtual forums going AFK is the equivalent of passing out drunk on the couch at a fraternity party. Everyone from hackers to everyday participants will take shots at you, and you can expect your avatar to look very different when you get back. Hopefully you will notice quickly.
Draw the party together as debtors to the local lord, king, head of the thieves guild, or mercenary clan, who is forcing them to work together to pay off their debts.
In your world the pantheon is a rotating system of formerly human individuals. You have been selected for god-duty for the next 2,000 years. How are you going to get out of this?
It has been said that within the mountains (or was it the darklands?) there dwells a fluffy creature of immense cuteness. This creature is so adorable that all who encounter it are filled with joy so great their mortal forms cannot contain it. And they explode. Several magic institutions are desperate to study the creature or better yet capture one to prove the theory of an elemental plane of "D'Awwww".
How Jayel became the proprietor of the Wanton Wench is more or less a hand-waved affair by the local officials. The facts known by 'upstanding' folk are that a fresh-faced young girl by the name of Jayel came into Gatewatch, disappeared, and reappeared the aged and stern woman she is today. The facts known by the night watch are a marked decrease in drug trafficking and battered women appearing on the streets. The fact known by Jayel is that she killed a man with her bare hands, and has never looked back.
A small band of squirrels seems to be fighting high up in a tree over a shiny nut-sized object. Can you retrieve the prize without scaring the squirrels into running off with it? If they do, can you manage to chase them down?
It seemed like a great place to camp. The clearing was good sized and sheltered from the wind. The brook just a few feet away. There is a natural hallow to keep the horses.
Then the night came.
It was like it became a different place. The temperature dropped. The wind, which does not seem to disturb cloth, almost cuts through you like an arctic wind. No one can sleep, as the soft ground has turned hard. The horses are uneasy. The Bats are flying over and stopping in the trees.
And then there is the eyes. There are glowing eyes just inside the tree line watching your group. The mages and clerics can detect nothing, but there is still something there.
(yet there is nothing at all... The Darkness will do nothing unless the players do something to it. And even then it will all seem to be a conincidence.)
Of course, in the morning, it all becomes sweet and light.