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The best free dnd one shots

7 Best FREE D&D One Shot Adventures Money Can’t Buy

Not every Dungeons & Dragons campaign needs to span months or years. Sometimes, the best adventures are the ones that can be completed in a single session. DnD one shots are perfect for holiday parties, game store events, conventions, or just a casual game night with friends.

If you want a fun story without the long-term commitment, the list below has what I think are the best free DnD one shots available for 5e. I've run these adventures personally, and I can confidently say that every choice below is guaranteed to deliver an exciting and memorable experience for your party.

If you want a quick overview, you can use this handy-dandy table, and for more details on each of the one-shots, continue reading through the

RankingOne-ShotReason for Choice
1Grammy's Country Apple PieHilarious, flexible adventure with multiple playthrough options and pre-generated characters.
2Claus for ConcernFun, silly Christmas-themed adventure with overwhelmingly positive reviews.
3The Secrets of Skyhorn LighthousePolished content and easy-to-run structure make for a smooth and engaging experience.
4Wild Sheep ChaseA lighthearted, funny adventure that's easy to pick up and play with minimal prep.
5A Most Potent BrewThe perfect introduction to D&D 5e, designed specifically for players using the free Basic Rules.
6Ice Road TrackersIntroduces the Icewind Dale setting and offers flexible play options for different time constraints.
7Frozen SickEngaging story written by Matt Mercer of Critical Role, on D&D Beyond and Roll20 with pre-made assets.
BONUSThe Liching HourQuick, fun adventure, great for Halloween, features a Vecna cameo

1. Grammy's Country Apple Pie

Grammy's Country Apple Pie Cover

Grammy's Country Apple Pie is, without a doubt, my favorite DnD 5e one-shot adventure. It's a hilarious and surprisingly flexible adventure where a powerful wizard just wants… apple pie.

I've run this module multiple times, and each playthrough has been completely different. From goblin massacres to peace summits to building a global apple pie empire, the adventure has changed each and every time I've run it.

The one-shot is a free download from Wizards of the Coast, but you can also snag it on DMs Guild for only $1 to support the creator and get a hand-drawn map and pre-generated characters. I even made my own map in Dungeon Alchemist. Just click the image to open the full-size map.

Grammy's Country Apple Pie Good VTT Map

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

2. Claus for Concern

Claus for concern d&d one shot for 5e

In late 2020, things were awful in my life (and the rest of the world, admittedly). Part of what I did to cope with that was to get really into D&D. Then I wrote up a fun, silly, DnD one-shot for Christmas. I put it up for free on DMs Guild, and it turns out that people really enjoyed it. The reviews and ratings seem to indicate that it really is a good, fun, 5e 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 nearly 20,000 downloads and a Mithral best-seller rank (less than 1% 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 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 didn'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:

The-secrets-of-skyhorn-lighthouse-page

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 DnD 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 hook you 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 DnD 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

While Ice Road Trackers, is available as a free 5e one shot directly from Wizards of the Coast, you can choose to purchase this one on DMs Guild to support the site and creators. (Which is worth doing if you like their work.)

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 some really cool things (heh, heh, puns) about Ice Road Trackers, too.

The first is that it introduces players to the Icewind Dale setting, which can directly tie the party into the full Rime of the Frostmaiden campaign. You can also run this as a one-shot for your local Adventurers League. Or it's written so that you can do it in a single 4-hour session one shot, or you can spread it across four 1-hour sessions.

Like I said, pretty cool.

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 takes place in Exandria, the world designed by celebrity DM Matt Mercer of the hugely popular Critical Role, which means that you may either love this or hate this because of that alone.

Even if you're not a fan of the show, I think you should absolutely give Frozen Sick a shot. You will find a fully fleshed-out setting, intriguing hooks, well-paced encounters, and a strong narrative.

The lab you will find later on in the adventure is no joke, either. My character died really hard in there, and I had to reroll mid-adventure. It was a lot of fun.

As I said, you should also be able to access Frozen Sick for free on Roll20 just by making an account. You get full access to tokens, maps, and everything you need to run without having to prep it and set up the VTT for your party. That's worth its weight in gold.

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

What Is The Best Free DnD One Shot?

Overall, I still think Grammy's Country Apple Pie is the best one-shot adventure for 5e. Also, if you're running holiday adventures, Claus for Concern and The Liching Hour are really solid choices.

The easiest to run, however, is The Secrets of Skyhorn Lighthouse. Of all of the D&D one shots that I've personally DM'd, the content structure in Skyhorn is just the best.

Now, these are just my favorites of the one-shots out there for DnD 5e. If you've played others, what are some of your favorite DnD one shots? Have you run something special that you want to share? Let me know in the comments so I can add it to the list!

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.

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  1. 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!

    1. 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. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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. 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!

  4. 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,

  5. 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!

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

  6. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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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