need ideas for Halloween haunted forest adventure!

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I'm running a Halloween themed adventure coming up, and I'm needing some ideas...specifically taking place in a haunted forest.  Right now the party is in the catacombs of Gardmore Abbey as I've been running that module for a few sessions. They are enjoying it, but I think I may depart from it just a little for the Halloween one shot adventure. I've got a couple of ideas for a setting that I'm wanting to run with this year:

haunted forest - I don't really have an adventure idea yet for this setting, but I'm thinking about getting some fake plants or making cardboard cutout trees and putting lights behind them all over the basement where we the illusion of the forest itself. I also found something online where you can take an empty cardboard paper towel roll and cut eyes into it...and then put a glowstick in it to make it look like eyes coming out of a shrub or something. 

any thoughts or ideas for an adventure? Right now they are accompanied by a Sir Oakley who I've kind of turned into a cleric, and after they clear the catacombs they will probably go back to town to turn in their quests (they will finish the catacombs tomorrow night...this haunted forest thing won't happen for another month). So at that point I could present them with a hook. I like the whole concept of having maybe Sir Oakley end up being the bad guy, so I need to tie that into leading them into a haunted forest.  They are getting ready to kill Vadin Cartwright in the catacombs, and once they do I'm going throw a little something extra into the module.  I'm going to have Cartwrights' spirit posess one of the magic user players.  The player will have to make saving throws every so often to ward off the spirit, but all the while, the spirt will be trying to get the player to do evil natured things.  I know the player will actually enjoy this, but I'm going to make him lose healing surges or HP when he fails the saving throws so he won't be able to enjoy it forever!  

One other thing I'm wanting to introduce is that Sir Oakley (or another NPC they meet in the catacombs while hunting down Cartwright) is wanting to overthrow Lord Padraig in Winterhaven because they think he is corrupt.  Anyway...these are some things I may have LEADING into the Halloween adventure/haunted forest.  Any help would be appreciated!
Have them fight some of your standard haunted forest fare, and then when they think they know whats coming, have the trees attack them. Players never suspect the forest they're in will try to eat them. I've done this in 2 seperate campaigns which had 3 out of 5 players in common and they fell for it again. Best part, make it some of the trees but not all of them. Then you have your paranoid fighter whacking trees with his sword making all kinds of noise so the other monsters know where they are. You can also have some fun later by using an adjective like "sinister" to describe the way another forest looks, and voila! More PC paranoia fun.
On an off note this also works with halls full of pillars. I once got a little trap happy in a dungeon. When i presented the PCs with the halway full of pillars, they painstakingly skirted their way around the sides of the room just to stay "out of reach of the traps." The best part. There were no traps.
My monday night wouldn't be half as cool if DnD didn't exist.
ah, I like it!  I may get this guy and have him maybe as a mini-boss encounter or something.
this doesnt really have anything to do with gardmore, but the talk of haunted woods has inspired me to do a 'blair witch' halloween one-shot. they get hired to investigate this story of a witch in the woods. have them slowly gather info about the witch from creepy locals. once they are in the woods for a day or so, they find like little piles of stones and stuff. they get lost, etc, then find that little ruined old house.

im going to have to do that now, so thanks for giving me the idea!
ah, I like it!  I may get this guy and have him maybe as a mini-boss encounter or something.

Wow that's uncanny. Im pretty sure that is EXACTLY what i had been picturing in my head. Have fun with it. You'd be surprised how many adventurers don't know the first thing about fighting evil trees.
My monday night wouldn't be half as cool if DnD didn't exist.

 Interesting things to do in a forrest...

 -  Passive perception checks of varying difficulties at random points (assuming that there's something in the adventure that makes how long it takes to get somewhere important) - if they fail by less than 5 they lose travel time and it takes them longer to get where they're going, i.e., they move at half speed for a certain amount of time. If they fail by more than 5, they become completely lost and must complete some kind of skill challenge to find their way again.
Once they pass X number of perception checks, they notice that their travel difficulties are the result of the trees and foliage moving - rearranging itself when they're not looking and after they pass by...
 Failure on enough perception checks (or on specific checksat a predetermined place on the map) could mean that the forrest steers them into an encounter with something nasty.

 - In a combat encounter in the forrest, have the trees and shrubs in the combat area designated as difficult terrain, and every round, rearrange some portions of it into different squares to represent the damn things sneaking around.

 - "Guys, I think that tree is following us..." is one of the greatest lines ever spoken in a game, and you should do everything possible to get your party to say it... Tongue Out Like the black cat glitch in the Matrix movies, describe the party passing by a distinctive tree - twice. Be subtle about it and vary your descriptions a bit. But eventually they'll catch on. Sometimes it's on the right, sometimes the left, sometimes when they look back the way they came the tree is still the same distance from them as it was before, even though they've moved.
It could be just a wandering tree, a dryad or treant, a druid, an illusion, or even an illusionist.
Hell, if they somehow manage to befriend the tree, maybe it even leads them through the forrest by appearing near whichever fork in the path is the right way to go.


I am the Magic Man.

(Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.)


I am the Lawnmower Man.



I am the Skull God.

(Koo Koo Ka Choo)


There are reasons they call me Mad...

I really like the idea of investigating an evil witch in the woods...very Halloween-y! If you want to tie it together with the idea of Sir Oakley being a bad guy...okay, here's an idea based very loosely on Halloween 3, Seaon of the Witch.

Let's say the children of Winterhaven have been behaving strangely, and some have wandered off into the woods. A few have not returned, and those who did spoke of a witch calling to them from the trees. Some of those who returned have done something violent and horrible (killing a parent, burning down a house, etc) all while in a trance. Lord Padraig is rightly concerned, and sends the heroes (and Sir Oakley, who is an "expert witch hunter") into the woods to deal with this menace.

What he doesn't know is that Sir Oakley struck a deal with this witch (a hag of some sort) to secure his overthrow of Lord Padraig. She gets a certain numer of children from the village to keep, while many of the others eliminate people opposed to his possible leadership (local sheriff, knights, merchants, etc) who all support Lord Padraig. He leads the PCs (also possible thorns in his side) into the woods to fight the hag and her minions. He turns on them in the end, hoping to eliminate them (and possibly the hag) and return as the "savior of Winterhaven." He blames the whole mess on Lord Padraig ("He was in collusion with the witch!") after having evidence planted in the Lord's estate by none other than his own son/daughter! Lots of ways for this to go - do the PCs defeat Sir Oakley in the woods or have to race back to Winterhaven after dealing with the witch? 

Hope this sounds good!  

When I read "haunted forest" my first thought was Sleepy Hollow.  The headless rider could be a great climax.  2 words: flaming pumpkin.


Hope this sounds good!  

sounds a lot better than that movie was!

also regarding sleepy hollow, 4e has a "domain of dread" that has a headless horseman. its not a classic, but its pretty good. this would be good if anyone wanted something pre-made.

you'll have to up the monster damage

@Clansmansix - thanks for the cool ideas!  I hadn't thought of a witch for a boss...I may do that.  I started looking through my MM books and remembered the hag monsters, specifically the bog hag.  I think I may combine the spooky forest with a swamp and do a little Witchlight Fens action.  

On the ideas to tie it in with Gardmore Abbey...I kinda messed with it a little.  I made a two headed ettin a friendly NPC in the catacombs (each head is posessed by a different spirit:  pirate and english gentleman).  Anyway, the English gentleman head asked the players to help find his body so that he could be restored.  I made it so that they found the body in one of the sarcohpaghi after killing Vadin Cartwright.  The only catch was that it was the body of Lord Padraig from Winterhaven :-).  I haven't figured out totally what I want to do here, but essentially, Lord Padraig in Winterhaven is some kind of doppleganger.  Maybe the doppleganger is the witch!  So I'll need to hook them into following the witch into the swamp area and then I need to make it spooky.  

Good ideas though...I'll be thinking. 

An ettin possessed by two different ghosts? That's AWESOME! I really like that idea and may have to steal it for my game.  
May I recommend the "Implacable Man" trope used in many a horror game? (CAUTION: TV TROPES  For those unfamiliar with the term, just think of Pyramid Head and Nemesis (Lisa Trevor from REmake might count).  Sure, you could try to defeat them, but that will just waste your time and energy.  These guys work great especially if the players feel like they're being stalked relentlessly.  However, "nothing is scarier", so use them only so often and bluff the team the rest of the time.  It's one of the reasons why Nemmy scares the crap out of me whenever I play RE3!

An undead spectre occasionally returning to remind the fandom of its grim existence.



Some good pointers for the fellow hobbyist!:


An ettin possessed by two different ghosts? That's AWESOME! I really like that idea and may have to steal it for my game.  

hey thanks, I liked it as well.  There was an ettin encounter already in Gardmore Abbey, but the way they used the ettin I thought was a little lame and I wanted it to be a bigger deal.  It was fun roleplaying the spirit posessed heads too....talking like a pirate with one, and then like a stuck up arrogant English know-it-all with the other.  I named the pirate head "Blackrot", and the other head was "Geoffrey Winifred Carthos IV"...and I made the players call him by his full name, lest he be insulted.  It is an ettin after all, and I played up the strength of the ettin by continually picking up players with one arm and giving them one-armed hugs (Blackrot was the more friendly of the two heads).  It worked very well.

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