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.
The party is walking through the forest at night when they come upon a clearing. Half a dozen black-robed corpses lie scattered across the ground, and a pentagram of blood is shoddily drawn in the dirt.
It seems these people summoned something they could not control. Whether or not the demon returns is up to the GM, but it would be just as rich if the demon never returned, and for the rest of the night, every stray sound or odd shadow will be jumped at!