7 Amazing FREE D&D One Shots Money Can’t Buy

by | Jan 19, 2022 | Tabletop Gaming

Are you looking for a D&D one shot that can be run in a single session instead of over weeks or years?

Not every Dungeons & Dragons game has to be part of an epic saga. In fact, many these days are not. Whether it's a special event at a game shop, a convention, or even a holiday gathering, a standalone D&D one shot adventure might be the perfect fit. Basically, they're Dungeons & Dragons short stories you can run on their own in a session or two.

With that in mind, let's get to some of the best D&D one shots that money can't buy. Each one is totally and entirely free.

1. Grammy's Country Apple Pie

Grammy's Country apple pie is an amazing one shot

It might sound crazy, but Grammy's Country Apple Pie is my favorite one shot available for D&D 5e. Read that introduction and you'll see why! It's a wizard who wants you to recover an apple pie recipe! Why? Because he wants some pie! It's great.

I've run this module a few times, and each time with a different result. In one, it was wanton slaughter of goblins, in another a player hosted a race-relations summit between goblins and humans in a village nearby, and in yet another, the party took over the bakery, hired the goblins, and began working on an international apple pie empire. It's great.

The one-shot itself is free and put out by Wizards of the Coast, but if you want to support the creator, you can also buy it on DMs Guild for a buck and get a hand-drawn map to run the encounter with on a VTT as well as some pretty cool pre-generated characters. I also made my own map for the adventure using Dungeon Alchemist which you can see below. Just click the image to open the full-size map.

A vtt map for granny's Country Apple Pie, the free D&D one shot
Get this map full-size by clicking here.

If you end up running this free D&D one shot, let me know. I need to know how your party handles things.

2. Claus for Concern

Claus for concern mithral best seller at dms guild

Okay, so this is me being shameless. But bear with me. In late 2020, things were awful in my life (and the rest of the world, admittedly) and part of what I did to cope with that was to write up a fun, silly, D&D one-shot for Christmas. I put it up for free on DMs Guild, and it turns out that people really enjoyed it, and the reviews and ratings seem to indicate that it really is a good, fun, one-shot.

So, yes, I am being both shameless and biased on this one, but I'm very proud to have a one-shot with over 17,000 downloads and a Mithral best-seller rank (less than 2% of content on the site has that!). The ratings and reviews that hold up to anything else on this list. So yeah, I'm proud of it.

I bet you'll really enjoy Claus for Concern, Have a great time trying to save Santa from Eldara the Christmas Witch!

And if you're really into holiday-themed adventures, I wrote a fantastic Halloween one shot called The Liching Hour that will definitely make your spooky season a little more fun. Enjoy! It's also great to slot in anytime you want some creepiness for your Phandalin/Phandelver adventures!

3. The Secrets of Skyhorn Lighthouse

Secrets of Skyhorn Lighthouse

I would definitely be remiss if I don't mention The Secrets of Skyhorn Lighthouse. This is one of the best free D&D adventures you're going to find. Period. Everything about it is refined, from the player experience to the dungeon master running the game and getting the info they need on the fly.

Nearly everything in the adventure is presented in the easiest-to-digest way possible: bulleted lists. You don't get a ton of extraneous information, but you do get an incredibly fun and engaging one shot for 5th-level characters. Just look at this:

Secrets of Skyhorn Lighthouse

And just to wet your whistle even more, here's what the description says it includes:

  • Three new monsters that prowl the ocean depths
  • A goblin submarine, a darkmantle sea captain, and a marid with a pet starfish grove 
  • The Arcane Library's signature format to make running the adventure effortless
  • Printable handouts/references for monsters, PCs, and special treasure
  • Gorgeous maps designed for easy use with Roll20

And this one isn't even PWYW. It's just straight-up free. Don't miss The Secrets of Skyhorn Lighthouse and its follow-up for level 8 characters, The Corruption of Skyhorn Lighthouse, which is still only $4.99.

4. Wild Sheep Chase

Wild sheep chase on dms guild, free d&d one shot

Another silly D&D one shot that you can nab for free is Wild Sheep Chase. If you're not a fan of silly D&D, you may want to skip this one, but if you are…there's no way this description won't have you hooked immediately.

Adventure, danger and a decent dose of downright weirdness erupt when the party’s attempt to grab a rare afternoon of downtime is interrupted by a frantic sheep equipped with a Scroll of Speak to Animals. Soon they are dragged into a magical grudge match that will test their strength, courage and willingness to endure extremely baa’d puns.

Will our heroes be able to overcome a band of transmuted assassins on the hunt for a mutton dinner and fend off an extremely bitter ex-apprentice packing a dangerously unstable magic item? There’s only one way to find out…

Wild Sheep Chase should be possible to run in a single session of 3-6 hours. The designers at Winghorn Press put this one together really well. Plus, the download includes all the maps you need to do it in person or on a VTT. Plus, it's one of the few adventures I've seen that is pretty much written to be used out of the box. You shouldn't have to spend a long time prepping to run Wild Sheep Chase. It's totally worth the price.

5. A Most Potent Brew

A Most Potent Brew

If you're new to D&D and TTRPGs in general, you might not have copies of the rulebooks lying around willy-nilly. Lucky for you, the Basic Rules for D&D 5e are free online, and A Most Potent Brew is built to be run on those alone. You don't need even the core rulebooks. Just the free PDF for the rules and the free PDF for this high-rated, bestselling adventure.

This adventure has everything you could want in a D&D one shot: a quest to kill giant rats, exploring a wizard's tower, disarming traps, and solving puzzles. All at level 1! It's really awesome, like pretty much everything else Winghorn Press does.

It's PWYW, so you can pay $0 if you want, and even the recommended price is only $1. Either way, A Most Potent Brew is a steal.

6. Ice Road Trackers

Ice road trackers on dms guild, free one-shot for d&d

This one is a free 5e one shot, for sure. But you can choose to purchase this one on DMs Guild to support the site. (Which is very worth it, IMO, as it's a fantastic resource.) That said, you can nab the PDF for free directly from Wizards of the Coast.

A trek toward Icewind Dale turns deadly when an avalanche blocks the heroes’ passage through the Spine of the World. Rescued by a menagerie of strange creatures, the heroes are asked to return the favor in exchange for answers about what’s happening in the cold and frozen North.

There are three really cool things (heh, heh, puns) about Ice Road Trackers. The first is that it introduces players to Icewind Dale and can directly tie the party into the Rime of the Frostmaiden hardcover. You can run this one in the Adventurers League organized play if that's how your local game shop does things. And finally, you can do it in a single 4-hour session or across 4 one-hour sessions. That's pretty unique among any modules.

7. Frozen Sick (D&D Beyond, Roll20)

Frozen sick free one shot promo image of characters on a boat

Frozen Sick is a little different because it's available for free on D&D Beyond and on Roll20. It's based in Exandria, the world of the hugely popular Critical Role, which means that you may either love this or hate this because of that alone.

But, even if you're not a fan of the show, I think you should absolutely give Frozen Sick a shot (a…one shot? hah!). You will find a fully fleshed-out setting, intriguing hooks, well-paced encounters, and strong narrative.

As I said, you should also be able to access Frozen Sick for free on Roll20 just by making an account, which means you get full access to tokens, maps, and everything you need to run without having to prep it and set it up manually. Obviously, you need to read it and prep a bit. But you won't have to set up the VTT for your party, and that's worth its weight in gold—or maybe even platinum.

I've used the Frozen Sick module in Roll20 a few times as a base for sessions without even touching the story. The tokens, maps, and different monster stats are great to pull into games as miscellaneous, pre-prepped content.

What Is Your Favorite Free D&D One Shot?

These are just a handful of the amazing free D&D one shots you will find out there. So let me ask you…what are some of your favorite D&D one shots? Have you run something special that you want to share? Let me know in the comments or give me a shout on Twitter!

Are you looking for the best D&D for beginners that isn't a one-shot? We review “The Lost Mine of Phandelver” which might be just what you're looking for. And don't miss what we think are the most amazing D&D titles on DMs Guild overall.

B.J. Keeton

B.J. Keeton

B.J. is a geek, gamer, podcaster, and livestreamer. He has been the co-host of the Geek to Geek podcast since 2016, and he helped start the Geek to Geek Media Network. His biggest pet peeve is when someone spells Wookiee with only one E. One time, he told his friends he liked vegetables maybe more than he did Star Wars, and they made him put a dollar in the jar. That should tell you everything you need to know about him. Find him on Twitter as @professorbeej or on Discord as @professorbeej#1337.


  1. DMRO

    Based on this post, I ran Grammy’s Country Apple Pie with six kids and three adults. (We changed pies to Banana Cream for my 9yo’s birthday and the orchard to a banana plantation, but everything else was the same.) My party started at the loading dock and lured the patrolling goblins out to the woods where they ambushed them and killed all of them except the three in the office. Once they got in, they were free to explore everything and had no problems dispatching the office goblins, too. They didn’t negotiate because they had made friends with the dryads and promised them they would rid the bakery of goblins. Super fun, ran 2.5 hours, thanks for the recc!

    • B.J. Keeton

      I am so glad it went well! I don’t think I’ve ever had a party who actually made friends with the dryads, so I’m glad to hear it can happen, lol

  2. Merewyn

    We had our regular DM get called in to work and I had to come up with something to fill in on less than 24 hours notice. I’ve already run all my regular go-to one shots with this group so had to frantically scrounge something together. Queue Grammy’s Country Apple Pie! They negotiated with the Goblins just long enough to find the recipe then reneged and bailed, leaving the poor Gobos with nothing. 2.5 hours to complete and they completely forgot that they had left the shop strong box sitting on the counter when they left….. Will definitely add to my library of fun, casual one shots.

    • B.J. Keeton

      Hey, at least they didn’t wantonly slaughter the goblins!

      • Wils

        Hey, just wondering if the stuff on Roll20 is printable etc? I haven’t used it before and I am due to DM for the first time, but we will be playing face to face.

        I am looking to run Frozen Sick.

        Thanks in advance for the help.

        • B.J. Keeton

          On Roll20, I don’t think so, unfortunately. I would expect the best you could get for that physically would be screenshot printing or copy/pasting the text from modules. 🙁 They don’t let you download it all as a single document, either–I’ve tried. Same for Fantasy Grounds, if you ever go that route.

  3. Redhaiku

    Did Grammy’s as a one-shot for when a player was missing for a key sea voyage.

    My 3 players (lvl 4) ended up training the goblins in basic hygiene and how to make pie. They also recruited the wizard’s great grandniece to run the place after and she would get a cut of the gold from the goblins.

    It ended up being really cute and a lot of fun — a nice break between exploring a jungle and heading out for an intense sea voyage!

    • B.J. Keeton

      I adore the idea of teaching goblins basic hygiene. That just made my day.

  4. Colin Harvey

    my wife just ran this one for Family D&D night, we negotiated with the gobbos in good faith once we got there, we searched and found , shared the recipe with the gobbos, and taught them how to work with the equipment gave the wizard just the recipe and hunted down Grammy’s surviving family that had fled and gave them back the original book (mended) to help them get back on their feet,

    • B.J. Keeton

      That sounds fantastic! I love that y’all helped the family business. Warms my heart. 😀

  5. Adrian

    Me and my friends ran wild sheep chase and my friend was obsessed with punching sheepo and I accidentally turned him into a gibbering mother. Whoops!

    • B.J. Keeton

      Hahaha! I wholeheartedly approve of that as the consequence for punching sweet lil sheep. In fact, I might steal it. 😉

      • Adrian

        Oh and our barbarian died from pinching himself

  6. Ashley

    In granny’s apple pie story, I added an apple tree dragon (like the bed dragon) that turned out to be granny because of a botched deal with a warlock to make her pies better. My player was super interested as to why there was an apple tree wyrmling that scared all the monsters away after he got the recipe. It was fun to add splinters as foreshadowing as well!

  7. Jimmy

    I ran Grammy’s twice over the past month to introduce two separate groups to their first taste of D&D. Just the most fun ever. Every person loved it, and I had so much fun running it two separate times with two totally different adventures.

    Highlights include someone impulsively climbing Mac and getting the chaos that followed, and the party trying to trap a Magmin in an oven.

  8. Jason

    I am looking for a one-shot to DM publicly (for non-family). THANK YOU for Claus for Concern. I did that for my wife’s family and it was my first time running a game. Everyone had fun.

  9. Sirene

    Hey BJ, so thrilled to find this post as my gaming group just finished Claus for Concern a couple of days back and had such a blast! (Although our characters all decided to retire from adventuring and are living in Santa’s study now.) You should totally be proud of that module, it is so well balanced in terms of story, combat and problem-solving. Congratulations and thank you so much for creating that adventure, you rock 🙂

  10. Jess

    I’m looking forward to running the sheep one in the next few weeks with a mix of experienced and brand new players. I’m a brand new DM and I was just wondering what level should the PCs be to make this balanced?

  11. Kilah

    I’ve noticed that the Ice Road Trackers link only provides one of the four parts of the adventure. The PDF offers a link to buy it, but is there a way to get the whole thing for free? If not I can always buy it, just wondering if there’s a way to get the whole thing free.


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