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Free spooky D&D one-shot

Survive a haunted windmill in our free Spooky D&D one-shot: The Riven Windmill

I’ve been in a bit of a spooky mood recently, thanks to Resident Evil 8 and Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft coming out, not to mention the Ravenloft campaign Courtney is currently running us through. I’ve always been a big fan of creepy, atmospheric horror settings, so for this month’s Side Quest I’ve created a run-down windmill filled with all sorts of unpleasant goodies. Will your adventurers survive to see daylight, or will they join the straw-stuffed inhabitants in this free spooky D&D one-shot?

For those of you who are new to our blog, Welcome! We post a monthly Side Quest, which are short, free TTRPG encounters with corresponding maps that can be easily threaded into an ongoing or one shot campaign, allowing busy DMs to throw in a random encounter at the drop of a hat. Our Adventurer Level 2 tier allows our Patrons to pick the game system, theme, and name a character or two in an upcoming Side Quest. We create a free adventure around their idea, and now everyone gets to enjoy this free spooky D&D one-shot! Plus, Patrons receive a downloadable version of all our Side Quests.

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Reference Resources Needed

Free Spooky D&D One-shot: The riven windmill

For Adventurers level 4-5

Background

The old windmill has long stood over the town of Overton; a gaunt giant whose arms no longer spin. Few travel up the winding path, as rumors around town claim that something dark has taken residence within. These rumors are unfortunately true, as the green hag Wendy O’Wither found the dank dwelling to her liking and now occupies the windmill. She spends her time creating an army of undead scarecrows to protect and serve her. It’s only a matter of time before she mobilizes and overwhelms the citizens of Overton. 

Plot Hooks

  • The mayor of Overton seeks adventurers to investigate the windmill and clear it of any creatures that may have taken residence. They are unaware of the true threat that lives within.
  • A handful of Overton citizens have gone missing within the last few months, and sources claim to have seen gaunt sackcloth-wearing individuals entering the home at the base of the windmill.

Riven Windmill Overview

General Features

The windmill is separated into two structures: the main windmill and the abandoned homestead below the base of the hill. These buildings initially remained separate, but Wendy O’Wither captured a gnome mechanist some time ago. She forced them to create an expanding bridge contraption that reaches from the roof of the home to a makeshift door embedded in the windmill wall. This, alongside the scarecrows, allows Wendy to perform her dark deeds in security. The main entryway to the windmill is barricaded, and so the only way in is through the homestead.

Both structures are made of mortared stone and wood, with a mix of cobblestone and wood plank floors. Ceilings in the homestead are 12 feet tall, and 15 feet tall in the windmill. Doors are made of sturdy, metal-reinforced wood, and the rooms are unlit unless otherwise noted.

W1. Abandoned homestead

The western door grants access to a rundown family chamber long decayed. Piles of debris lie in heaps on top of the cobblestone floor, and the only light shines through the cracked window. Gnarled and rotting scarecrows lean against the walls and trash piles in a mockery of a normal household. 1-2 scarecrows sit in waiting and only attack if the northern door is unlocked or they are disturbed. 

Locked door.  The northern door is locked, but can be opened with a successful DC 12 Dexterity check using thieves’ tools. The matching key is hidden within the musty folds of the mundane scarecrow that leans against the northern wall. No skill check is required to find the key hidden on the scarecrow, but a crawling claw hidden within the fabric attacks when the key is taken. 

Treasure. A loose cobblestone near the southeast corner hides a small recess beneath the floor. Finding the stone requires a DC 16 Wisdom (Perception) or Intelligence (Investigation) check. Inside the cubby is a leather-wrapped bottle containing a potion of climbing and a pouch holding 46 gold and 114 silver pieces.

W2. Dilapidated chambers

More rubbish remains on the second floor of the homestead, though sure-footed characters can find a path towards the southern door. Multiple shelves in the room hold rotting books, dusty jars and ancient junk. 

Hidden mechanism. The small shelf in the northeast corner hides a secret switch that activates the drawbridge above on the roof. Characters that investigate the inside of the drawers find a small toggle switch on a successful DC 12 Intelligence (Investigation) check. Flipping the toggle activates the drawbridge, causing it to extend upwards towards the western door in W5. Flipping the toggle again retracts the drawbridge.

Treasure.  While most items in the room hold little value, searching the bookshelves reveals four useful farming books that can be sold to the right buyer for 5 gold a piece.

W3. Collapsed bedroom

The ceiling to this room is partially open to the skies above, and a disgusting black mold has taken root on the debris in this room. A rickety-looking wooden ladder rests against the break in the ceiling, though it is strong enough to support any who would climb it. A scarecrow and 2 crawling claws lurks beneath the debris in the southwest corner. A second scarecrow hides on the roof and jumps down to fight if it hears commotion.

Weak floor. Rot and the elements have caused sections of the floor in this room to weaken severely. Creatures that take any combat actions in this room must succeed on a DC 10 Dexterity saving throw or fall prone as their foot punches through a weak spot. Failing this save by 5 or more causes the creature to plummet through the floor to the ground floor below and takes 1d6 bludgeoning damage.

W4. Roof

Three foot high mortar walls line the edge of the building, blocking the roof’s contents from view. The windmill is visible above to the east, its arms broken and motionless. A strange wood and metal mechanism sits facing the direction of the windmill.

Drawbridge mechanism. The drawbridge mechanism is a solidly-constructed contraption, and is built directly into the roof of the building. Characters must make a successful DC 14 Intelligence (Investigation) check to learn more about the mechanism and its purpose. They also learn that the activation switch is not attached to the machine, but is hidden somewhere below (see W2. Dilapidated chambers). Once activated, the 3-foot-wide drawbridge extends 30 feet upwards towards the western door in W5 and fully extends in one minute.

W5. Central room

The interior of the windmill lies in disrepair, and is filled with odd debris. Stacks of hay bales reside among piles of garbage and rotting crates. A rickety wooden staircase along the eastern wall leads to the second floor above. The wooden rafters overhead creak occasionally, as if the windmill’s sails still operated. The eastern door is barricaded with boxes and locked, preventing any from using the passage. 

Secret door. Wendy utilized the captured gnome mechanist to install a hidden trapdoor in the stone floor near the southern wall. Spotting the trapdoor requires a successful DC 18 Intelligence (Investigation) check, though it is locked. Characters may either attempt to unlock it with a successful DC 20 Dexterity check using thieves’ tools or find the switch in the upper floor (W6).

W6. Upper floor

The upper section of the windmill is just as dilapidated as the rest of the windmill. Multiple inanimate scarecrows lie around the room, propped up against walls and debris. Cobweb-covered rafters cross overhead in the darkness, while the dismantled shaft of the windmill’s main wheel sits in the center of the room. Three scarecrows hide in the rafters above the floor. Spotting them requires a successful DC 14 Wisdom (Perception) check. The scarecrows attack if noticed or when any characters attempt to leave the upper floor. 

Switch. A simple lever switch sits in plain view on the main windmill shaft. Flipping the lever opens the trapdoor in the central room (W5), revealing a ladder that leads down to Wendy’s lair (W7).

Treasure. Searching the inanimate scarecrows reveals a small pouch containing an old leather charm tied with ivory beads worth 50 gold pieces.

W7. Wendy's lair

The rough cave underneath the windmill is Wendy’s base of operation for her dark deeds. Three lit braziers provide light, casting a sickly pall over Wendy’s workspace and the room beyond. Rocks litter the floor, while a mound of discarded humanoid remains lies heaped towards the back. Wendy O’Wither works at the tables in the center, and is alert to the party’s presence if the trapdoor is opened via switch. She hides among the body heap using invisible passage. 2-4 scarecrows sit in silence and leap to defend Wendy, while she waits for an opportune moment to strike. If the fight turns against her, she will flee using invisible passage again. 

Treasure. Wendy has collected a veritable treasure hoard in alchemical supplies, though sorting through the disturbing viscera on the tables requires a successful DC 12 Wisdom save to continue. The tables hold alchemist supplies and woodcarving tools, 200 gold pieces worth of rare chemicals, a potion of diminution, and two precious gems worth 150 gold pieces each. Wendy herself carries a ring of mind shielding, which takes her consciousness if she dies.

Epilogue

The townsfolk of Overton are overjoyed if the adventurers are successful in cleansing the windmill of Wendy’s presence. They are less happy if she manages to escape, though they will still offer a reward. For clearing the windmill of the hag and her scarecrows the town rewards the adventurers with 1000 gold pieces. If Wendy escapes, the adventurers receive 400 gold pieces. 

Wrap up

We hope you enjoyed this free spooky D&D one-shot. Will your adventurers keep Wendy’s ring for themselves and try to learn her secrets, or will they spurn her forbidden knowledge?

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