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.
When a miracle is worked, when a God turns His attention to the mortal realm, the mortal realm is irrevocably changed by the Divine Presence. When this takes place through a living being, they become the Godmarked. Ever with one foot in life, and one foot in the realm beyond, they are emotionally and physically altered - always in a fashion that reflects the nature of the God that they have channeled - One who channels a God of the Winds may forever have a breeze lifting their hair, while a Goddess of Anger may blacken the skin and strengthen the body.