A Halloween 2021 one-shot
Let me give you a quick rundown, on how I planned our halloween D&D one-shot and how this influenced the map design.
We start at a festival ground, which can be a marketplace or any other open space in a village. For this one-shot I added some stands and tents and a stage, because we start at the „Fair of Wonders“. I also tried to recreate a bow-shooting range. Too bad these details are too small to see later.
The whole village is surrounded by a sturdy, wooden wall, with the wheat-fields just nearby. This is where we face our first encounter: skeletons, and a skeletal horse. You see, I like the cheesy horror trope of undead monsters coming for the living. Also, I think it is only logical to have your fields just outside the wall, for easy access and a fast retreat if necessary.
We hopefully leave behind the village and explore more of the map. It can go either way: the adventurers identify the symbol on the skeletons armor, or they are curious, how they can be this wet, when the whole day was sunny.
The dead end will be the wet condition, because if they decide to follow the path, they will end up at a lake where even more skeletons (this time really dead and broken) lie around. Maybe here is a good place to change the mood quite a bit and give the whole map a more greenish or purple look, maybe add lightning effects to show something is wrong.
Back to the story: the skeletons around the lake will give them the hint, that maybe the skeletons fell down the waterfall nearby. The other clue, the symbol, will be explained by the cleric of the village (or some other, old enough to remember villager). These skeletons were once noble knights with a stronghold somewhere around here, but an evil wizard destroyed them centuries ago.
So the party should end up in a forest that gets more and more dry with more and more dead trees. A clear sign of evil magic! Here I plan the second encounter, some specters waiting to be released from their misery. Keep in mind, we will use some level 3 characters (the first level where they get their class specific feats) and nobody will have magic weapons, so two should be more than enough.
Remember the lightning? Now we add the rain to raise the urgency and maybe increase our coloring from subtle greenish to this looks bad green.
Up to the final encounter. It is clear, the lightning and the risen undead came from these old ruins on top the hill. The thunderstorm increases in intensity, the clouds block the last bit of sunlight and here we have the final boss for this evening: a mage (or necromancer if you like), who wants to resurrect the noble knights as his servants.
And here we end this one-shot. If I balanced it correctly the party shouldn’t die and the village will be saved. I also plan to edit the map later on, maybe create a different version or two with the stronghold still intact, or instead of the festival, a marketplace in winter. For now, I hope you enjoyed this tour with extras and by next halloween, you can play your own halloween nightmare in Infinite Realms.