Devil's Mill Battle Map Asset – Primary Preview

The Devil’s Mill Battle Map & Encounter

The harvest was complete, and the town of Prosper celebrated its brimming granaries heartily and with due excess. The autumn breeze carried the smell of meat and ale, jostled the colored lanterns and encouraged the perspiring townsfolk to greater feats of music and dance.

Yet, if one were to leave the warmth behind and venture into the sodden fields, they would hear the low lamentations. Atop the the hill, with ragged limbs turning wearily, stood the old mill, bemoaning the secrets that it hid inside, and the regrettable future it bore for Prosper.

Devil's Mill Battle Map Asset – Alt Banner Preview

I decided to go pedal-to-the-metal Halloween with this one and its upcoming buddy map, the Pumpkin Hill. Together, they depict a ramshackle windmill surrounded by pumpkins on an orange hill.

It seems obvious to me that something dark is festering in here, but what? A solitary lycanthrope or vampire? Is it the secret lab of a scientist obsessed with life and death? Perhaps you would use this as the centrepiece for our Harvest Horror pack from last year:

I want to hear what comes to your mind! Please share them in the comments, and let’s crowdsource a killer Halloween one-shot together. 🙂

Oh, and be sure to check out the alternate PDF, where I’ve put together a five page printout with immersive surroundings. I think it’s nice to have the option of that or the stacking layers, and I don’t know why it took me so long to start doing it.

Before you scroll to the downloads at the bottom, make sure you check out Troy’s specially crafted encounter below!

Daughter of the Mill

Tales speak of the daughter of the mill,
With dance of grace and smile so still.
Her beauty was spoken of miles around,
Suitors brought by harmony’s sound.
Tales speak of the daughter of the mill,
Hidden away on that prosperous hill.

Tales speak of the daughter of the mill,
A heart of warmth and joy until,
One day a man of burning envy,
Did loose his rage in crimson frenzy.
Tales speak of the daughter of the mill,
And the night her body did fall and spill.

Tales speak of the daughter of the mill,
Her eyes of blood and voice so shrill.
Of those that meet her at Harvest’s Fall,
Lost in screams, one and all.
Tales speak of the daughter of the mill,
With her hungry maw and restless will.

The Devil’s Mill sits atop a small incline, overlooking fields of withered grain. Its family left Prosper long ago, fleeing from the stories that fill its walls. But the Daughter remained. Long after her death and her family’s departure, her voice still sings. It drifts from the mill’s windows, growing stronger around the time of Harvest’s Fall. Those local to Prosper know of her story, warning visitors with exciting drama to stay away from Devil’s Mill. They speak of her suitor, who grew violent when she refused his advances, and her death at his hands. He was executed for the crime and buried in the Prosper graveyard, neighboring the fields.
Each year, amidst the town’s festivities, another is lost. Her woeful melody drifts into her target’s minds, luring them through the fields of grain that remain standing, yet dry and dead. She brings them to the building, its shadow still animated despite the sails having not turned for years. Victims have been witnessed to retrace the Daughter’s final steps. They climb the Mill, before throwing themselves from its highest windows. Their bones still decorate its proximity, the residents of Prosper held back by fear of the Daughter.

Songs on the Wind

The town of Prosper celebrates Harvest’s Fall with a yearly festival. The transition into Winter, accompanying the final harvests, represents a time of joy and success for the farming settlement. While the festivities begin in the early morning, most celebrations are kept for sundown. This is when the Daughter’s song can be heard.
A discordant melody drifts from the nearby hill, mixing with the festival’s songs and cheers. It grows stronger for the Daughter’s target, beckoning them to the Mill. If she targets a member of the party, they must succeed on a DC 13 Charisma saving throw or be charmed and compelled to find her. If another reveler is chosen, they might be seen slipping away into the shadowy fields.

Fields of Grey

Devil’s mill is surrounded by fields of wheat stalks. They are grey and wilted, yet remain upright. If a creature moves through the fields or along the small pathway, the stalks appear to react. The plants bend slightly towards the living, reaching out in chilling curiosity. If they are trampled, they will right themselves to cover any tracks. Stalks that are cut will decompose rapidly as the Daughter’s influence leaves them.
The Daughter watches any who enter her fields. She will remain within the Ethereal Plane, observing any who move near the Mill. Those that are separated or find themselves at the back of a moving group will become the target of her Mark of the Murdered. She must touch them from the Ethereal Plane, visible only with a DC 20 Wisdom (Perception) check. A marked victim feels a shock of cold envelope their spine.
A target that is marked or charmed by her song has disadvantage on the first saving throw they make against the Daughter’s Vengeful Possession.

Wailing Walls

The Mill itself is made up of four floors, connected by stairs and ladders.
The entryway is empty, save for wooden steps leading up. The perimeter of the building, however, is littered with bones of varying ages. Some are buried, while those closer to the surface seem more recent. The mill is dormant, yet its shadow moves as if it were still in use.
Entering the second floor reveals the grinding stones. They are still but the sound of shifting stone echoes in the distance as if recalled from memory. A single door leads out onto a wooden ring platform. Its structure is old, with a small eastern section that was clearly damaged and later repaired, directly below a top-floor window.
Above that is a room that belonged to the Daughter. It holds a small bed and vanity, thickly coated in dust. Inside the vanity’s draws is a journal. Inspecting its pages reveals that she had met a kind suitor, with whom she intended to run away. Her father grew suspicious and angry, and she feared what he might do. Her final written words, “I want only to be with him”, end the book. Seeing the Daughter in the vanity’s reflection shows her as she appeared in life.
The top floor holds the sails’ mechanism and gears. Three windows look out over the fields. The eastern window has scratch marks on its inner frame, resembling the effects of human nails.

Daughter of the Mill

Any beauty she held in life was lost in the violence of her death. Her skin and long, draping hair have been drained to white. Her form has deteriorated, gaunt and sickly, and the white of her dress is stained with dirt. Beneath the locks of her hair peek two crimson eyes, streaming with tears of the same red. Her mouth twists in sorrowful agony.
The Daughter will engage any who enter the Mill by attempting to possess any target that is marked, charmed, or otherwise isolated. She will lead a possessed victim to the top floor, forcing them to leap from the eastern window, crashing through the wooden platform and suffering falling damage. Targets then remain, laying in the bones as their life is drained. Her Horrifying Visage and lair action allow her to separate a target from any who might help them.
At initiative 20, the Daughter will use her lair action: Ghostly Ground. One of the floors of the Devil’s Mill will shift between planes, causing any creature standing on it to fall to the level below. The Daughter, and anyone she is possessing, is immune to the effect. Targets can make a DC 13 Dexterity (Acrobatics) check, taking 1d6 bludgeoning damage on a failure and reducing the damage by half on a success, from the fall.

Daughter of the Mill
(Click the image to enlarge)

Laid to Rest

Reducing the Daughter to 0 hit points will banish her for 1d4 weeks, after which she will return and resume her haunting as if never interrupted.
Destroying the Devil’s Mill, either by burning or collapsing the building, will set the spirit free. She will be visible within the flaming rubble, mourning her own life and end. Her final, baleful scream will erupt from the ruins, ending the Mill’s haunting but cursing the land with infertility within a mile’s radius. This area will affect a significant portion of the town, though many farms will remain.
Discovering the context of the Daughter’s death and her final wishes, through Prosper’s stories and her own journal, can lead to laying her to rest. She wishes to be buried with her love. Her bones can be found below the repaired section of walkway on the Mill’s eastern edge, under a foot of dirt. The remains can be identified from her dress. Reuniting her bones with her suitor’s, or vice versa, will have her appear before the group. She will smile, her tears becoming clear. The spirit will look to the grave, as if seeing her lover standing before her. As she fades, two rings drop to the ground.

Rings of Unbroken Bond

The Daughter of the Mill left behind a pair of rings, meant for her and her love. They are formed of shining steel, inlaid with golden weaves that interlace with each other, akin to Celtic knots. The rings’ patterns are mirrors of each other.

Once per day, a wearer of one of the rings may cast a spell through their ring’s partner, if the two are within 60 feet of each other. They must use their own senses, but the spell manifests from the other wearer’s space. A spell with a range of touch can likewise target the other wearer through the rings.

– by Troy McConnell
More content by Troy

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