Farmers in the area are being raided by a mysterious turkey who lurks in the shadows and stalks their poultry. Players learn that this shadowy turkey is actually a wild-shaped druid who seeks to free the captive animals before they are used in an upcoming gluttonous feast. Two options become available for the players: defend the farms or free the turkeys.
The encounter can begin while the players are traveling. As they walk, roll for perception to potentially hear a mysterious “gobbling” noise coming from alongside them beyond the tree line. Eventually, they come across a farmstead where the proprietor and his wife are canvassing the surroundings, fearful of what might befall their prized captive fowl.
- Bruce Goosey – A concerned farmer
- Lucy Goosey – His equally-concerned wife
- “Foxy” Leonard Locksy – Neighboring farmer with an incredibly well-fortified poultry farm. He is the typical stereotype of corporate greed and has climbed his way to the top of the turkey market due to his shrewd business practices.
- “Turkey Lurkey” – A druid who wild shapes as a shadowy turkey to free barnyard animals (especially turkeys before the big feast). He presents the players with an ethical dilemma.
Feast or Famine
Once the party arrives at the farm, they see Bruce Goosey and his wife, Lucy, patrolling the perimeter of a fenced off area where turkeys roam, clucking noisily amongst themselves.
The couple looks suspicious of the party as they approach, brandishing their pitchforks or whatever other farm equipment they’ve chosen to improvise as defensive weapons.
Players can pretty easily convince them that they don’t mean any trouble, especially since the farmers are on the lookout for a shadowy turkey monster and not a band of adventurers.
“You have to forgive my husband for being so on edge,” Lucy Goosey says, laying a hand on her husband’s arm to gently lower his pitchfork. “We’ve been hearing word from other farms of some bird-like creature that’s sneaking into pens and scaring turkeys out through open gates. They call it the Turkey Lurkey. Strangely, it never hurts any of them…a bit odd for what we assumed was a predatory animal, don’t you think?”
The Gooseys clearly look exhausted, likely from a night spent fitfully waking up to every strange noise out their window. If the players agree, they can investigate the area and take up guard while the couple gets a little rest.
“Thank you so much,” Lucy says, “these turkeys are our livelihood and, with the feasting season coming up, we can’t afford to lose them.”
A Fowl Most Foul
As the players stand guard, they can roll for investigation to spot what look like bird tracks. Comparing them to the turkeys’ tracks inside the pen, they can see that these look like slightly larger turkey feet.
Suddenly, they hear a whispery, haunting “gobble gobble” from beyond the trees. If they choose to pursue the source of this sound, they won’t find anything: just an unsettlingly silent forest. However, back at the farm, they will hear a great gobbling commotion as something has frightened the turkeys.
After returning to the farm, or if someone stayed behind and did so stealthily, players will observe a large shadowy turkey leap from the cover of the forest and land inside the pen. It unlatches the gate with a dexterous claw before sprinting toward the flock and, essentially, attempting to shepherd the birds out through the fenced area.
Players can obviously try to stop the creature, engaging with it in combat. If players try to reason with it, the bird will pause briefly, clearly showing that it understands what the players are saying, before resuming its tasks.
DM Note: If the CR 4 statblock below is too strong for your players, consider using some of Turkey Lurkey’s actions to not directly attack but, rather, focus on knocking down the opponents or shepherding the captive turkeys out through the open gate.
After reducing the HP above to zero, Turkey Lurkey will immediately loose his wild shape and transform back into his original form: a half-elf druid.
The druid is furious with himself and explains how he simply wanted to free his feathered friends before they met a cruel fate.
“Do you realize how gluttonous these feast days are?” he exclaims, wiping the blood from his face and dusting off his clothes. “It’s not like these birds are going to starving children. The people in these towns gorge themselves on them. It’s monstrous. My mission will not be stopped until I can free them all!”
Once Turkey Lurkey has been defeated/captured like this, the players are left with a choice:
- Turn in Turkey Lurkey – The druid will call the players “monsters like the rest of them”, but the farmers will be pleased that they can maintain their livelihoods. They can offer the party a little gold as a reward and, perhaps, their pick from the collection of turkeys. The party can then choose whether they’d like to stay with the Goosey family for supper (and eat their well-prepared reward) or take their turkey with them on their journey like a new pet/traveling companion.
- Side with Turkey Lurkey – Alternatively, you can side with the druid’s cause and offer to help him. If players can succeed on a DC 12 persuasion check, they could also convince him to leave this farm (and other small ma-and-pa operations) alone. If they do so, then Turkey Lurkey will turn his sights on his biggest target yet: “Foxy” Leonard Locksy’s farm. This character presents less of an ethical dilemma because, as the druid tells it, the complex is massive, and the man is greedy and corrupt; not only does he slaughter and export vast amounts of farm animals for food, but he raises them in crowded and depressing pens.
If the players agree to help Turkey Lurkey free the birds from Foxy’s farm, then they will leave the Goosey residence and begin venturing through the trees.
Outfoxing the Fox
This challenge is largely meant to be one of stealth. The druid will wild shape into his monstrous shadowy turkey form unless the party advises him not to.
The turkey pen, the one that most desperately needs to be liberated before the feast days, is located farther into the complex. As DM, have players roll for acrobatics checks and stealth checks as they scale fences/walls, hide in hay bales, etc. while moving past Foxy’s guards without being spotted.
If the players are spotted, guards will engage in combat with one of them rushing off to ring a bell, sounding an alarm. If this happens, it is likely that the players will abandon their mission and escape before too many guards converge on their location and join the fray. Alternatively, they can choose to battle all of the men but, seeing as this mission mostly involves stealth, it is ill-advised.
Use the 5e guard statblock as a starting point, but feel free to equip certain guards with weapons other than “spear”, such as crossbows/ranged options.
If the players can help Turkey Lurkey free the massive pen of turkeys at the heart of Foxy Locky’s farm, then the druid will dub them “honorary druids” for showing such compassion for their animal brethren.
He will give the players one of his items. “I do most of my activism work while wild shaped,” he says, “so I think this will find better use with you lot.”
The Gobsmacker is a heavy wooden branch adorned with turkey feathers. It operates as a typical club weapon, but the wielder can activate the Shillelagh cantrip as a bonus action. Also, if this weapon hits an opponent during the first round of combat (and before the target has had their first turn), being struck by this club will “surprise” them, throwing them off and forcing them to lose their next turn as they attempt to steady themselves.