So it seems a lot of people here are both smarter than me and/or more creative...
So I figured what I'd do is become one of those deaf mutes...wait no, my name's not Caulfield. I figure I'd ask people what they think of my story outline. Currently I'm using it as the plot for a d20 game, as I can only write for so long before wanting to read someone else's stuff... (Quick background: The group in question is a bunch of mercenaries stranded on a foreign continent)
The group is approached to find a ship. They're offered whatever loot is on the ship, and a description of what was on the ship when 'The Old Man' last saw it.
A few weeks go by and the group finds a door that can only be opened by placing one of the member's possessions in it, as the carving is exactly the same size and shape of it. The room this is in is covered with centuries of dust. On the other side is a chest containing only a note from 'The Old Man' apologizing for the luck, but he had to make sure only they opened it.
After some searching they come across the ship. The original description led them to believe it was some sort of airship - the find it in what appears to be an excavation site deep within a mountain. Some worm-like things attack and battle ensues. The party wins but only finds some of the loot, that the greediest member takes.
After the battle some 'dwarves' show up (they're dwarf shaped anyway but daoist in religion and closer to a human's height), and essentially arrest the party for killing the worms. Turns out they use the worms to excavate.
The party is sentenced to "meditation" (prison), and meets a different (and crazy) old man, who gives them a message from the first. This message apologizes for the whereabouts and lack of loot on the ship. Although for the party only a few weeks had past since they first met 'The Old Man', this message is also centuries old but newer than the message on the other side of the door. The greedy party member plays with the loot he got on the ship and seems to grow more powerful. Not much, just a bit.
The 'Crazy Man' says they need to find an all seeing orb (works like a palantir, but in this setting called an Eye of Odin) in order to find out what happened to the ship and the man who used to own it. He thinks he knows where it was last hidden, but he's been in solitary for several hundred years.
On their way to find the Eye they encounter undead. Lots of them. Not brain eating undead, just 'shouldn't I have passed on by now?' undead. Turns out the diety who ruled over Death has gone missing. Time to find him (oh and promises of loot when they do). Greedy guy becoming more powerful.
They find him. Or his remains. Not good. Nothings judging people and sending them to the appropriate afterlife so the dead are just kinda waitin' around like people before a concert. They're gettin' kind of antsy.
So now the group has to find a way to either resurrect a god or make a new one. That needs lots of magic. Hmm...elves have lots of magic. Time to raid the Elvan lands! (Elves in this setting live in a combination of giant mangrove swamp and crystalline towers growing out of the swamp. They're pretty much pirates). Greedy guy really powerful.
Great we have the power. Who gets to be the new Death? That guy? Okay, mission accomplished. Not quite. The original 'Old Man' who started all this wants to die, unfortunately he couldn't before because there was no Death and he also happens to be trapped in all times (He exists at the same physical point in every point of time, past, present and future - hence the timing of the notes. He used to have power over Time but somebody used it to trap him).
Here's where things get complicated. 'Old Man' was not really a man but hivemind of single celled critters. The main body of these critters is what got trapped in time by his enemies. Turns out that loot that greedy guy had? Also the same critters. They've been siphoning off his nutrients like a tapeworm. So now the part of the critters that was trapped is dead and the new colony (I'm thinking it's a hive mind like the buggers from the Ender books - as in every individual has potentially has all the knowledge of the group) is now powerful enough to live on it's own (this kills the greedy guy) and more importantly abuse power in most delicious ways (killing the rest of them).
That's what I have so far anyway. Lemme know what you think!