What makes a good Halloween one shot?


The Exchange

So me and a group of 4 friends want to make a special Halloween session, as a break from the current campaign, and it's probably gonna be a Pathfinder game because it's the only system all of us are proficient with.

So as the elected GM I wanted to ask, what makes a fun Halloween theme adventure? There are a couple of horror themed PF modules (Carrion Hill, From Shore to Sea, maybe Feat of Ravenmoor?), and I'm thinking of maybe just running one of them. So,

1) Is any of the mentioned modules good? is there perhaps another module which will work well (I'm fine with 3pp)?

2) Is it fun to kill PCs in Halloween one-shots (you know, 'cause in horror the main heroes die)?

3) Any suggestions and insights will be helpful (from a player perspective, too - let me know what worked for you if you had experience with something like that, or what you'll expect if you were to try something like that)


Zombie Apocalypse, throw a bunch of different kinds of undead at them, with some graveknights as generals trying to take over the world for their Lich King Overlord, who happens to be the king who in a big twist was revealed to be evil the whole time and he only let his kingdom grow so he could have more and more minions when he finally decided to make his play.

Have the game start with the group of adventurers coming back from a big haul, most likely from killing a dragon, returning to their fair city only to see it in ruin.

One shots should be alright to kill off main characters, zombies after all, would be even better to raise one as a Necropolitan and use him against the PCs.

Could do the hangman's noose. It seems pretty strongly suited for halloween one shot.

Have a bunch of magical costumes that actually turn people into monstrous humanoids, fey, or outsiders. NPCs are suddenly becoming menaces to society- wights, zombies, lurkers in light, shining children of Thassilon, and the like.

The PCs have to track down the source of the costumes, a mad wizard with the Shapechange subschool and multiple True Name arcane discoveries. I suggest evil outsiders, preferably chaotic, of different types and/or proteans all trying to influence him towards their own means. Succubi are always skilled CE manipulators, ancestor ei'risai are cool CN outsiders, imentesh are 13-HD proteans, I like the idea of an augnagar qlippoth evolving into a thulgant mid-fight after devouring one last corpse, and denizens of Leng make for good bizarre-incomprehensible enemies.

Fantastic Halloween One-shots:



All Flesh Must Be Eaten

Anything related to the Shadowlands in Legend of the Five Rings, particularly Way of Shadow

I did a great zombie-apocalypse style game using Wild Talents wherein the PCs gained minor superpowers during the same event that caused the zombies to rise.

Personally, I hate Call of Cthulhu both because I have no interest whatsoever in Lovecraft and because I really hate d% based games (except maybe Unknown Armies, which is actually also a good Halloween choice), but yeah, CoC is the standard for most groups.

If you're talking about D&D, while I don't think any game with Hit Points and literally reality-bending, consequence-free magic in it can realistically portray horror, you can have cheesey, old-school monster movie beat-'em-up fun if you do something in Ravenloft or Ustalav. Carrion Crown is obviously the "horror AP." I played a little bit of Carrion Hill--the GM actually put it into our Carrion Crown game, and well, I wasn't really interested, but again, no interest in Cthulhu, so the game really petered out and we actually bailed on the AP, too. I don't know, I'm sure it'd be fine with proper player buy-in.

Feast of ravenmoore

Midnight mauler.

I find scythe-wielding scarecrows coming to life and terrorizing villagers usually does the trick.

Animated pumpkin patches.

Buried secrets.

That sort of thing.

Or take a page from the Wicker Man and lure the PCs to a village that "needs their help," when in fact the whole town is plotting to sacrifice them to their dark pagan god.

Or combine all of them.

I'm actually going to run a Halloween one shot where my current pcs are going to have a shared dream experience where they all wake up in different parts of a haunted mansion type of thing. Most pcs, in my experience, are very much on edge when alone. Modified spectral undead, some haunts, "traps" and maybe a few things that go bump in the night should keep the tension high.
I think in a game that is so statistic based, description is the most important way to really strike fear into a player. That, or breaking their stuff, I suppose.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The Midnight Mirror has some wonderful overtones of Halloween to it. I'll also echo that Carrion Hill is a solid choice as I got the chance to incorporate parts of it into Carrion Crown. On that note, The Haunting of Harrowstone could be an excellent one-shot too.

Ravenloft! Have their regular PC's be taken by the mists to the Demiplane of Dread!

Shadow Lodge

Thats what I was going to say. Ravenloft is the original Halloween game. System does matter too much.

Other alternatives, the PFS Scenario Voice in the Void would be awesome.

DrivethruRPG tends to do a free trick or treat give away on Halloween stuff, so check that out.

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Run them through The Misgivings (the haunted house) in The Skinsaw Murders (Rise of the Runelords).

The Tale of the Seabear:


Very spooky, very challenging, level one module in a self-contained, well-defined location.

I'll second Ravenloft. Really any adventure from there, but the 2007 redesigned Expedition to Castle Ravenloft is a really really good adventure. Probably take much more than one night without some serious tweaking, but it's pretty awesome.

The Headless Horseman has always felt like a good monster and horror theme for me. Maybe a Mounted Headless Deathknight? No sure what you could do for a reason behind having to kill it but graveyards and zombies/undead come to mind. And it screeeams halloween in my opinion. xD

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