The party arrives at a town and immediately feels an unsettling chill in the air. The streets are strangely empty, giving off the impression of a true “ghost town.” Have a party member roll for perception or, else, find themselves being magically “pantsed.” Suddenly, the party’s nostrils fill with the smell of Axe Body Spray (or similar DnD-world pungent scents), and laughter and jeers erupt around them. Floating above the party a few feet in the air, a small group of teenaged phantoms materialize, pointing and laughing at their successful prank (or pointing fingers at one another if it failed).
“Good one, Blaze,” one of the athletic ghosts says to another. He attempts to “chest bump” his friend, but finds his ghostly body just pass uselessly through the air without making any contact.
“Ugh, I told you that we can’t do that anymore, Jaxon,” Blaze says, smoothing out the vapors of his ghostly letterman jacket. “We’ve been dead for a while now, bro. You should remember this.”
“Uh, you guys are so immature,” a female ghost comments as she, without success, tries to apply ghostly makeup to her face to cover her paranormal paleness.
At this point, the ghosts vanish yet again, just as soon as they had appeared. All that remains is the latent smell of Ax Body Spray and Bath & Body Works Cherry Blossom in the air.
Note: If a player tries to talk to any of these spirits or scold them before they fully dematerialize, have the teen ghosts just roll their eyes and ignore them.
Once the party is alone, they hear a “Pssssst!” from one of the nearby houses. A door is cracked, and a woman is standing in the doorframe, half-concealed by shadow. “It’s not safe out there. Come inside.”
If your party chooses to answer the invitation, they are escorted into the woman’s home.
Get Them to “Ghost”
Once inside the house, the party notices that the space is decorated in all manner of anti-spirit warding charms: small straw dolls dangle from the ceiling, runes are etched into the walls, rows of salt sit on the floor in front of all the doors and windows.
Inside the house, the woman is not alone but accompanied by a few other adults.
“It’s been terrible,” the woman says. “a few months ago, a bunch of teenaged ghosts just appeared in our town. Now, they won’t leave. At best, they loiter around, making snarky comments. At worst, well, you experienced firsthand the kinds of pranks that they pull out of boredom.” The woman gestures down to the pants of the one targeted party member.
“Do you think you can help us?” an elderly man pipes up from the back of the room. “We just want these kids to move on. They clearly aren’t happy here, and neither are we.”
“There were more of them a few weeks ago, but now there just seems to be two cliques left,” another woman comments. “The jocks and the mean girls. Each of these cliques has its own leader. If you can convince the leaders to cross over, maybe do something to ease their restless spirits, then we feel the rest of their crews will follow.”
If the party agrees to give it their best shot, then the villagers instruct them on where each of the ghostly groups gathers.
While your party moves through the town, consider having them fall victim to other semi-harmless pranks if they fail perception checks (maybe one prank per each party member). The prank should always be preceded by the smell of Ax Body Spray and followed up, if successful, by disembodied laughter. Here are a few ideas:
- A player suddenly realizes that one of their items is missing or that their weapon has been replaced with something ridiculous (e.g. they go to unsheathe their sword and find that it’s just a broom handle).
- A player walks through a door and has a bucket of water/milk drop on their head. If it’s something like milk, they could start to develop a rancid smell and feel uncomfortably sticky until they wash.
- A player trips over a thin rope and faceplants into the mud.
- A player hears whispers that follow them, teasing them, and giving them disadvantage on all ability checks until the disembodied voices cease.
Blaze, the Bulldozer
The jocks gather in one of the parks in the village, throwing a ball around and playing various sports. When the party approaches, the ghosts float behind Blaze, framing him as their beloved leader, and ask why the party is stepping on their turf. Despite being a ghostly apparition, Blaze looks intimidating and broad, with huge muscles.
If the players ask Blaze and the rest of his crew why they haven’t moved on yet, he will say it’s because this world needs a “top dog” like him to run smoothly. So long as he’s the only true “alpha”, he feels its his responsibility to be the perfect representation of human machismo here on Earth. He makes this remark not so much with a tone of pride, but more with a tone of weary responsibility.
To convince him to move on, the party must prove that they have a stronger “alpha” in their midst. Blaze could test them through various feats of strength or acrobatics.
For example, he could take the ball that he and his boys were playing with and set it on top of a tall tree. A party member must scale the tree while being mocked by some of the jocks. Branches could snap, trigging dexterity saves. Alternatively, some of the jocks might pour oil or ectoplasm (if that’s not too gross) down the trunk of the tree, making it slippery and forcing the player to find alternative means of climbing.
Succeeding in this or another physical challenge will earn Blaze’s respect. His boys cheer and chant your name, and Blaze himself gives you a ghostly fist bump, a nod of approval, and a grateful smile.
“Alright, boys,” he says, finally sounding relieved, “I think our work here is down. Let’s roll out.” With that, the jocks huddle together like they are in the midst of some sporting event and vanish as one brotherly unit.
Victoria, the Queen Bee
The mean girls reside in the very center of town, sitting on building awnings, carts, and rooftops, gossiping about one another as well as the various townsfolk. Victoria “sits” (hovers might be more accurate) on a pile of crates that have been stacked to resemble a throne. She is the girl ghost from earlier during the “pantsing” incident.
Unlike the jocks from earlier, these girls will act unimpressed as your party approaches and pay you all very little attention until you do something to demand it from them.
Victoria, despite being clear teenage “royalty”, will look very down and is not participating in any of the chatter. When asked about it, she confesses that she’s guilty about the gossip she spread about other girls while she was alive. She just wants to make amends. Unfortunately, she can never apologize to the girls directly because all of this happened well over 100 years ago.
When asking what they can do to help, Victoria comments that she had written a “Burn Book” (Mean Girls reference) during her teenage years where she wrote down all of the nasty things she thought about her peers in an attempt to tear them down. She would feel better if her “Burn Book” was destroyed and if she could play a part in its destruction as a symbolic display of personal growth.
Agreeing to help, the party is directed to Victoria’s old family home on the edge of town, now sitting abandoned. Victoria clearly came from a wealthy family, as the property, although neglected and overgrown, is sizeable. For this challenge, the party must explore the creepy manor and search for what remains of the “Burn Book.” This could be an opportunity for some light combat, like giants rats attacking the players or some other beasts/creatures that have taken residence in the derelict mansion. It could also have been transformed into a thieves’ den of sorts if you want even more challenging combat.
“The Burn Book” sits under a collapsed bed in Victoria’s old bedroom. Although the book’s leather cover is largely intact, the pages are no longer legible and have started to rot away to time and the elements.
Returning the book to Victoria and helping her destroy it (burning it would be best and deliciously ironic) allows her to leave her destructive, past self behind. The other ghostly girls will agree after watching the negative energy of the “Burn Book” turn to ash (have one of the girls give the cringey comment “that’s so lit” as they watch it burn and smolder). The spirits share one final sisterly embrace together in the center of town and disappear.
Once both cliques have successfully found peace and ascended to the next life, the latent smell of Axe and Bath & Body Works will finally dissipate completely, and the townsfolk will emerge from their homes to peace and quiet.
The woman from earlier will be grateful to the party for helping those kids as well as the living. She gives the party some of the warding items she had used in/around her home, now no longer feeling them to be necessary. These items are up to your discretion as DM, but they could be used to cast Detect Evil and Good or to put up a 30’ barrier to prevent spirits from getting too close to the party (unless the spirits succeed on a DC 12-15 charisma check, or something similar).
Bonus: If you like quirky quests involving teens (and light social commentary), consider checking out one of our earlier, shorter posts Bro, These Shoes are Fire.