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General Favorite Halloween One-Shots

jayoungr

Legend
Supporter
With Halloween just around the corner, I imagine many of us are planning one-shot adventures. I figured I'd start this thread so people can post their recommendations for their favorites, and maybe it can become a resource for future use!

I'm not putting an edition tag on this thread because converting between editions isn't too difficult, and if a story is good, it's worth the effort. But please do specify which edition the adventure you're recommending is for. In fact, here's a suggested format to use for recommendations:

Title:
Edition:
Starting Level:
Link(s):
(a link to where the full adventure can be found, and/or to any pages with further information)
Summary/Why it's Great:
(And any other information you want to add, of course!)

Looking forward to seeing what people recommend!
 
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jayoungr

Legend
Supporter
I'll start with the adventure I'm planning on running next weekend:

Title: The House of the Midnight Violet
Edition: 5th
Starting Level: 4-6, but includes scaling suggestions going up to 12
Links: DM's Guild, AdventureLookup page, fan-created maps: plain, with light effects
Summary/Why it's Great: The PCs are sent to retrieve a rare flower from a deserted house on an isolated island. Great atmosphere, and a mystery to unravel about what happened to the house's former inhabitants.

ETA: Someone even made a YouTube playlist for a soundtrack!
 
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oreofox

Explorer
What I had planned to be a one-shot ended up starting mid August and ending the week of Halloween, weekly sessions of about 3-ish hours each. It's a homebrew adventure based off one I read on the internet a few years ago. I ran this last year.

Title: Doesn't really have a title. Just "Halloween Adventure"
Edition: 5th
Starting Level: I went with 1st level, characters got to 4th by the end.
Links: No link, it's all in a notebook, at least the beginning of it.
Summary/Why it's Great: PCs respond to a request for help from a little village named "Pelts Farm" from an elven woman named Lohnzei Pelt (my elves have more German names in my setting). Her older brother Leineverr Pelt has been acting strange, and her younger brother Ertrah Pelt was found dead and his funeral is about to happen. Also, her friends have gone missing. The PCs attend the funeral, which is interrupted by attacking pumpkin monsters. Things happen, they confront Leineverr, and they are confronted by undead zombies with pumpkins embedded in their chests. One is a bald dwarf, a white-furred wolf, a rather large yellow falcon, and a few other zombies. As the PCs are occupied with these, Leineverr summons his Great Old One patron, the Great Pumpkin King. PCs dispatched the Pumpkin King, and as it was about to implode, Leineverr jumps at his patron, and vanishes. A female dwarf with long blonde hair cries as her lover (Leineverr) is no more.

The PCs fought Linus at the behest of his sister, Lucy. The dwarf was Charlie Brown, with Snoopy and Woodstock. The female dwarf was Sally Brown. The other zombies were Schroeder, Pigpen, Peppermint Patty, and Marcie. Linus was a Great Old One warlock with the Great Pumpkin for a patron. It was the Charlie Brown Halloween special. It's a modified adventure based on one I read years ago, that was for level 12 or so back in 3rd edition. Players had fun, and got a good laugh when they found out they just fought zombified Peanuts characters.
 

Ulfgeir

Adventurer
Edit: should have posted this elsewhere... and I don't seem to be able to remove my post.. :(

We had/have on a Swedish rpg-site a competition on writing a complete rpg in 1 000 words or less, with the theme Autumn. I choose to make a game based on a town surrounded by impenetrable fog, and it is constantly dark with a full moon, and eternal Halloween... But some of the vampires/witches etc might be real, and not just persons in costumes. The characters would be kids/teens doing Halloween-stuff.

Link to the game,

No it isn't actual D&D, but if you want a more casual one-shot instead of using your normal campaign, have a look. =^_^=
 
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aco175

Legend
The only Halloween themed one-shot I made was called Hydra Hallow-een. It involved a secret library located deep in Hydra Hallow where dead sages were kept so that people could speak with dead when needed. The outside is guarded by scarecrows and the PCs needed to help with the runaway zombie hydra before they could get the knowledge they came for.
 

Burnside

Space Jam Confirmed
Title: Secrets of the Blind Palace
Edition: 5
Starting Level:
1-4 (has AL-style scaling)
Link(s):

Full adventure: Secrets of the Blind Palace - Dungeon Masters Guild | Dungeon Masters Guild
Video review: Summary/Why it's Great:
The wealthy Von Crofts hire a party of adventurers to find the body of their dead son in a haunted pleasure palace – and to bring him back to life. To aid in their quest, the resurrectionists are provided with a guide: the only survivor of the previous expedition, a bard who has been unable to speak a word or sing a note since she escaped from the Blind Palace.

Mystery, discovery, choices that matter, engaging role-playing, and exciting combat. Inspired in part by the poem The Haunted Palace by Edgar Allen Poe, and by the novels Great Expectations by Charles Dickens and The Shining by Stephen King, and by the Evil Dead movies.
 


jayoungr

Legend
Supporter
Here is another that I want to run for my group sometime:

Title: Betrayal at Monadhan (part of the Scales of War adventure path)
Edition: 4th, but there is also a fan conversion to 5th
Starting Level: 21 (14 for 5E)
Link(s): Dungeon Magazine #170 (5E conversion here)
Summary/Why it's Great: The PCs find themselves trapped in a Demiplane of Dread (TM) themed around betrayal, ruled by an undead dragon and his death giant minions. To get out, they must retrieve the sword of Kas the Betrayer. I like this adventure because it's more psychological than outright spooky--PCs get bonuses for damaging their allies (even accidentally), and the dragon is tormented by guilty secrets that the PCs can exploit in order to defeat him. Along the way, they may also fight vampires, devils, and a sentient desecrated graveyard. (Yes, you read that right--the graveyard itself is the monster.)
 
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WolfhillRPG

Explorer
If I am allowed to do some self promotion.

Title: The Sunken Temple of Chloren-Var
Edition:
System agnostic
Starting Level:
1-4
Link(s):
The Sunken Temple of Chloren-Var - Wolfhill Entertainment | DriveThruRPG.com
Summary/Why it's Great: Plunged deep beneath forsaken swamplands centuries ago, the Sunken Temple of Chloren-Var now waits to be rediscovered. Untold fortune, magic, and ancient secrets await those brave enough to enter the Sunken Temple, but only if they can thwart the unrelenting evil which lurks within its dismal halls.

“The Sunken Temple of Chloren-Var” attempts to meet somewhere in the grey zone of a fully pre-written structured horror story, with the ability to explore and interact with 60 unique areas within the temple. In an attempt to make the adventure module more re-playable, secret room locations and specific treasures have been randomized, and a challenge based fear system determines how the main antagonist evolves throughout the game. Additionally, limited time and light resources pressure the players into making decisive decisions that affect the outcome of how they interact with the Temple. Finally, timekeeping and light resource worksheets, a detailed dungeon map, and themed artwork, create a shared adventure for players and the Game Master.

A low res sample of one of the encounters
000 - Vines.jpg
 

jayoungr

Legend
Supporter
Continuing with some highlights of the Ravenloft Adventurer's League season...

Title: The Marionette (DDAL04-04)
Edition: 5th
Starting Level: 3rd (but includes suggestions for anything from 1-4)
Link(s): DDAL04-04 The Marionette (5e) - Wizards of the Coast | Ravenloft | Adventurers League | Dungeon Masters Guild
Summary/Why it's Great:
This has been compared to "Death House, part 2." Like many good horror adventures, it's built on a tale of loss and family tragedy. I love the creepy dream-vision ritual at the beginning and the chance to revisit the house as it is now. A haunted house, animated dolls, and a mad necromancer! (Shameless plug: if you choose to run this, I recommend checking my notes on running the adventure: here, here, and here.)

Title: The Tempter (DDAL04-09)
Edition: 5th
Starting Level: 5th (but includes suggestions for scaling up to level 10)
Link(s):
Summary/Why it's Great:
The PCs are invited to a lavish party at a prosperous estate, hosted by a beautiful but vain noblewoman. At midnight, all the guests drop dead/turn undead, and the lady of the house becomes a banshee obsessively protecting the family treasure. It turns out they've been reliving this same scenario every day for years. You can really play up the gore for groups that revel in that sort of thing or tone it down for groups that don't.
 

MatthewJHanson

Registered Ninja
Publisher
If I may also engage in some self-promotion:

Title: Good Little Children Never Grow Up
Edition: 4e or Pathfinder 1e
Starting Level:
3-5
Link(s):
Good Little Children Never Grow Up (4e) - Sneak Attack Press | DriveThruRPG.com
Summary/Why it's Great:
Probably one of my favorite adventures I've ever written. Characters go into an abandoned and haunted orphanage to find some missing children. While they are there the heroes also work to uncover layers of mysteries about the orphanage's past. Player handouts represent different hauntings that only some of the characters can see. This gives them each different clues, and none of them get the full picture.

Title: Bonedigger
Edition: 5e or Pathfinder 2e
Starting Level:
1
Link(s):
Seasons of the Runewild: Bonedigger - Sneak Attack Press | DriveThruRPG.com
Summary/Why it's Great:
The adventure starts with a harvest celebration that goes wrong. A witch's ghost is returning to seek revenge on the town that executed her. She works through mortals pawns and a ghostly hound that served her in life.
 

jayoungr

Legend
Supporter
Bumping this thread because it looks like I'll be running a one-shot for a Halloween party this year, and I could use as many suggestions as I can get!
 

Voadam

Hero
Title: RQ1 Night of the Walking Dead
Edition: AD&D 2e
Starting Level: 1-3
Link(s):
RQ1 on Drivethru
Summary/Why it's Great: Ravenloft means it can take PCs out of a normal game for a one shot if desired or used as is for a one shot. a 32 page adventure can be done in one long night (I did). Building D&D gothic horror weirdness, babbling madman whose gibberish makes sense at the end, zombie problem, slasher madman, a mystery to uncover, zombie apocalypse climax. A great Lousiana bayou-ish swamp backdrop.

I had a lot of fun running this as a Halloween one shot 26 or so years ago. It lead to a year long campaign.
 

Good call. It's a tightly woven tale that doesn't have too many locations to, ahem, bog down the adventure. And the artwork is great. That cover is one of my favorites from the Ravenloft line.

RQ1 Night of the Walking Dead

One of the things I'm looking at is using one of the encounters from the last two years' Adventurer's League Liar's Night encounters. My one group only plays for two hours at a time, so they seem a perfect fit for a Halloween-themed side-adventure as we do Dragon of Icespire Peak.

Another option I'd recommend is one of the adventures from Uncaged Volume 3. I've been working through reading it and both The Necromancer's Brother and The Haunting of Coldwood Manor spring to mind. Though really a bunch of the adventures are suitably spooky.
 

WolfhillRPG

Explorer
Just released yesterday and only on-sale for one month to raise donations for the William Fox Fundraiser. This mini board game is designed to be added into any RPG campaign.
Title 600pix.jpg
 

I need to remember to write up ZEITGEIST's "Bonds of Forced Faith" when I get to a desktop. It's got witches and blood magic and curses. Maybe not horror, but definitely spooky.
 


Title: Bonds of Forced Faith (one-shot bundled with the adventure path ZEITGEIST: The Gears of Revolution)
Edition: 5th (also 4e and Pathfinder 1e if you buy Act Two of the adventure path's compilation)
Starting Level: 10th (pregen characters)
Link(s): https://www.patreon.com/posts/9012627 or Roll20
Summary/Why it's Great: The PCs - a king, his advisors, and two foreign allies - have a mission to stop a witch known as the Red Contessa, who intends to use the power of a lunar eclipse to link her life force to the lives of everyone in a city, effectively making her invincible. The party ascends to her mountaintop lair, facing members of her coven along the way. The witches all know a suite of curses, and all have used a lesser version of the Contessa's ritual to link them to a group of innocents, so any injuries that would befall them instead kill bystanders and hostages.

Every fight is a bit of a puzzle, and all the enemies do gruesome things to evoke a horror vibe. For instance, the party starts with a stack of 'remove curse' scrolls, but the witches throw out curses like candy, so eventually they'll have to just deal with being cursed. Also, the mayor of the city is a deva (a race from 4e that resurrects a few days after you kill them with most of their memories gone), and over the years of the Contessa rising to power, she has come to really enjoy killing the mayor over and over. So during early fights, the enemy minions all refuse to attack him, because their boss called dibs.

And all this happens with the backdrop that the king's popularity is waning after a recent war went badly. He's not trying to look like the hero, though. He wants his preferred successor to be seen as a hero, because in this country the monarchy is not inherited, and the ruler must have the people's support.

Meanwhile, the various pre-gen PCs all have their own agenda during the mission -- they all want to beat the witch, but there might be small betrayals, especially in the climax when the Contessa reveals the real reason for her ritual.

1601707020342.png


---

An early mission in the ZEITGEIST adventure path involves a haunted mountain called Cauldron Hill, the site from which a coven of witches had ruled the city a century earlier. Halfway through the adventure path I had a need to run a one-shot at a couple conventions, so I devised Bonds of Forced Faith, which takes place a hundred years before the campaign starts. I've run it four different times, and each time a different person ended up king.
 
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Jediking

Explorer
I do an annual Halloween one shot. This will be the 6th year

Last year was heavily inspired by Coco, Dias de muertos (mexican culture+day of the dead), and School of Rock

The party ended up winning the (literal) battle of the bands and defeated the dark Baron Samedi, finally allowing the spirit of Jaime Hendrico to rest.

this year: my inspiration will a bit more serious. The Purge, Get Out, Us, and Strangers. Should be tense
 

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