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 Forest of Throck:
Throck forest is divided into three parts: a region of twisted black magic, which is dark and hemmed in with the legions of sable pine. This is Spindel, and is occupied by the hideous Ettercaps and their spider-pets. The second area is the chaotic elfin-wood, where the druids work their wyrd magic amongst the oaks. The last part is Udnalor, the home of the gnomes. Finding themselves surrounded by these chaotic forces they dwell as quietly as possible beneath the surface. Their culture is a fascinating one to visit, and in the next few miscellaneous ideas, I shall examine the ways and customs of THE GNOMES OF UDNALOR, with a view to role-playing them.