A small, primitive village has yet to discover fire, which is a good thing because there are highly flammable (but not otherwise dangerous) gasses in the air. The heroes, blissful in their ignorance, don't know that and think it a wonderful idea to show the locals open flame.
Unbeknownest to the character, he is in the royal bllodline. Suddenly the majority of royals fall ill and die, and the hero is left with the crown, but no experience or idea of what to do.
A Deity of some sort has unleashed a plague of bookworms or something like that in the area. Almost all spellbooks are destroyed, along with bardic and historical books.
A group that wished to be 'ever-living' instead was cursed with 'never-dying'. Thier flesh rotted and fell fromthier bones but still they lived on. Now as skeletons they continue thier quest to remove thier curse. As skeletons they differ in that they do not need controlled or summoned. They are fully fledged NPCs with drives or ideas of thier own. Stabbing and slashing weapons would not affect them.