Need an adventure idea for a small town your players are in or heading towards?
I’ve put together a list of 25 small town plot hooks for you to use in your D&D or other TTRPG campaign. Each one covers either an exploration of the area, a potential threat, or a mystery to unravel in any small town, village, or hamlet.
If you use one of these plot hooks, leave a comment below or tag me on Twitter @RolePlayRespite to let me know how it went! And, be sure to follow the blog to get notified of future plot hook posts.
Be sure to check out my other plot hooks for D&D and other TTRPGs for more inspiration!
Without further delay; here are 25 small town plot hooks to use in your game.
25 Small Town Plot Hooks for a Fantasy Setting
- A local farmer claims strange noises have plagued him the last several nights. Each night, he goes out to investigate and finds strange prints not from any animals he’s seen. Eventually, he finds one of his chickens slaughtered out in front of his home.
- Rumors surround a nearby small town. Most of the time, it’s a friendly place filled with friendly people. But, once a month, the people from that town stop visiting, and they treat outsiders with an unusual amount of animosity.
- Local authorities of a small town enforce a strict curfew. They won’t explain why, but they do explain that it’s for the safety of the townsfolk.
- A once friendly, elderly woman becomes irritable and belligerent almost overnight. The locals all claimed she was once a warm, loving woman. And, they have no explanation for her sudden shift in demeanor.
- The children start acting peculiar. Several weeks ago and one-by-one, the children of the town started acting cold and distant towards the adults. They now gather in groups during the day without talking and stare at the people of the town with cold stares and unblinking eyes.
- A new family recently moved to the village. They seemed like any other family at first, but strange happenings started plaguing the town shortly after their arrival; strange, glowing orbs hover around town, unusual whispers flow through the streets like a soft breeze, and even reports of local fauna walking on their hind legs begin popping up.
- After a town hall meeting, many locals report hearing faint and unusual noises coming from below the building. To anyone’s knowledge, the town hall doesn’t have a cellar.
- Reports of unusual creatures start popping up. They all share similar features; bipedal, tall, wings, and glowing red eyes. No one has been attacked yet, but the townsfolk are afraid something is bound to happen.
- A job flyer shows up in the town’s tavern. It claims a hefty reward for anyone who can debunk the local Wonders, a series of mysterious and paranormal areas and events dotted around town and it’s outskirts.
- The locals of the village tell a legend of a nearby town that only appears once a year for only three nights. Many are too afraid to approach the mist-blanketed town and they say any who enter never return.
- One-by-one, townsfolk begin disappearing. Each night, a seemingly random person vanishes in the middle of the night. Neighbors of those disappearing claim to hear strange noises and see unusual lights the night of the disappearance.
- Two small towns perpetuate a minor feud with each other. Each one claims the other disrespects and vandalize their homes and businesses and confrontations ending in violence are not uncommon.
- The locals complain of a strange man covered entirely in a dark cloak wandering through the town during the mornings. Coincidentally, the sheriff has to deal with more and more fights breaking out in the town that all started around the same time of reports of a suspicious, cloaked man.
- The townsfolk begin falling ill. A strange disease begins afflicting the people of a small town shortly after an unusual rain storm. No one seems to know how to treat the illness and healing magic only suppresses the worsening of the symptoms.
- A small town seems normal enough on the surface. But, most of the townsfolk operate a secret smuggling operation bringing in thousands of illegal or restricted items each month. Rumors begin spreading about the town as outsiders observe more and more travelers coming through that particular town.
- Locals in an around a small town begin noticing an increasing number of cats. For the most part, the cats appear normal with maybe an unusually heightened level of attention paid towards the townsfolk. But sometimes, a cat appears with strange, unusual features; two tails, a third eye, or even with porcupine-like spines.
- Several shadow figures begin appearing around the outskirts of town in the middle of the night. They started appearing one-by-one, but once a dozen or so entities accumulated, the locals took notice. The shadows disappear as soon as anyone gets too close and they give off an ominous aura of fear.
- A small town at the base of a volcano has used primal fire elementals for generations as part of an ancient pact their ancestors made with an efreeti (or other equally powerful fire elemental). Lately, some of the fire elementals have started acting up; leaping from hearths, overcooking food, and even starting small brush fires. No one knows why they’ve started acting up or what happened to cause this change.
- Every small town has a haunted house that everyone is too afraid to approach. This town’s haunted locale bears many of the same hallmarks; spectral figures in the windows, strange whispers creeping from under the door, and an eerie feeling in anyone who approaches. But, the rumors prove true when a ghostly figure steps out of the house one evening, pleading for help in stopping what’s in the basement.
- The local fair is starting up soon. Townsfolk and locals from the surrounding area all prepare for the event. Once the fair gets underway, the locals notice strange behaviors in their animals. They all become eerily serene and watch the people with great interest.
- Each night, the entire populace of a small town turn into monsters. For the most part, the change seems to only affect their appearance. But, some of the locals go on a rampage. This change only affects people native to the town.
- A large group of bandits terrorize the countryside. Several towns pool their available coin and hire the party to help put a stop to the repeated attacks and raids.
- Recently, a small town started appearing in strange places; in the middle of lakes, atop mountains, on the outskirts of cities, and elsewhere. People who manage to enter the town and leave before it disappears say the teleporting started up a couple weeks back but no one in the town know why or how. They also claim they can’t leave the town anymore.
- A small town’s only claim of relevancy is it serves as the grave site for a once famous witch hunter. Recently, the locals started complaining of horrific nightmares, creatures in the night, and strange illnesses. It all comes to a head when one evening, a group of hags proclaim to the town they want a piece of the witch hunter’s body. But, no one knows where their grave is.
- A small town always enjoyed calm winters and bountiful harvests. They claim it’s all due to good land and hard work. But, rumors surround the town that travelers go missing every so often. The disappearances usually happen right around harvest season and no one knows what happens to the people who go missing.