Tavern Alternative−The Old Grist Mill

“I’m sorry, our town’s not really big enough to have a tavern or an Inn. Are you sure you don’t know anyone you could stay with? Well, there is an old hag just outside of town who lets travelers stay in her loft. But I’d sleep with one eye open if I were you”


There was a time when Granny Ogda was called Margarita Ivanovna. She was happily married to the local Miller. Unfortunately, her husband died tragically, and she was chased out of town by the local Lord, Vasya Petrovitch, eager to reclaim the property and whatever valuables were kept inside.  With no place to go and no way to support herself, she took up residence in the mill. Renting space to travelers who have no place to sleep and training herself in the art of dark magic.

Years have passed, and most townsfolk have forgotten the story of Margarita Ivanovna. They only know an old hag lives out in the abandoned grist mill. She delights in subverting local laws and traditions. Upstanding townsfolk are constantly harassed and frustrated by her schemes. Maidens escape arranged marriages. Beggars and pickpockets find protection. Young troublemakers go questing, only to turn as full-blown revolutionaries. Every time bad fortune besets a rich man in town, he curses the name of Granny Ogda.


From Outside

If you go looking for it, the Old Mill isn’t hard to find. Just outside of town an overgrown trail branch off the main road into the woods and through a clear glade. Next to a fast-moving stream stands a once-proud mill. It’s shaped like a cozy cottage, complete with front porch and smoking chimney. The function of the building is only given away by a large water wheel which takes up the entire side of the building it is attached to. The wheel has long since rusted to a halt, crows now nest in the buckets. Red and white paint has peeled from almost every part of the building except directly under the eaves. The exposed wood turns gray and rots.

Ground Floor

The entire ground floor is made up of a single room. It was once filled all the machinery required to mill flour, However, most of the machinery has been stripped out to make room to live in.  The walls are lined with simple farming tools and shelves filled with clay pots and strange Knick-knacks. Bundles of dry herbs hang everywhere from the ceiling. The millstone in the back has been turned into the base of a large pech style oven. The top of the oven is flat and designed to be a sleeping area for Granny Ogda, complete with a straw mattress. Next to the oven is a roughhewn table and chairs. There is always fresh multigrain bread, a samovar style teapot filled with hot tea and one or two shiftless bandits lazily sitting around the table. Granny Ogda is often by the Oven, making lewd jokes, or berating the bandits while she bakes bread or otherwise prepares meals.



To the side of the front door is a ladder that leads to a loft that overlooks the back of the room. It once held grain that could be gravity fed into the millstone, but it has since been turned into meager apartments for travelers. Curtains hang from the ceiling to separate the different “bedrooms” that consist of little more than a pile of hay and enough room on one side to crawl into and out of it. Five of these rooms are currently occupied by bandits. During the day, they take turns napping in the loft and lounging downstairs with Granny Ogda. They are fiercely protective of their privacy and let the players know directly that they will not tolerate any snooping around their things.



 Next to the ladder leading to the loft is a trapdoor that leads into a packed earth basement. On one side of the building, an iron drive shaft pokes through the wall—attached to the water wheel on the outside of the building. It’s rusted, and no longer attached to anything. This room now functions as a root cellar, filled with preserved vegetables, fermenting liquids, and small animals, hung out to dry. In one corner there is a pen that looks like it might have held chickens at one point, but it is empty now.


Granny Ogda

Stats as Night Hag

Granny Ogda survives mostly off what she can forage in the woods, augmented by the meager income she makes renting her loft to travelers, telling fortunes, and selling various potions. Although she has a bad reputation in town, Granny Ogda doesn’t pose a threat to the party unless they attack her directly. Food, lodging or services paid for with coin or bargain are always safe and doesn’t come with any hidden twist (although the players might not like the terms of the deal to begin with…). If the players are actively trying to disrupt local power structures, she might provide quest related information or useful items at little or no additional cost.

Granny Ogda cannot use her magical resistance if the caster calls her Margarita Ivanovna with conviction before targeting her with a spell.


Jagoda Three-Toes

Stats as Bandit Lord and bandits

Jaden Three-toes and his gang of four bandits have set up a temporary headquarters in the mill. They have paid for food and lodging until the end of the month and there are always at least a one of them hanging around during the day, keeping an eye on the growing pile of loot up in the loft. At night they go out and ambush sleeping travelers. The bandits are bored and restless, but Jagoda has strict orders against harassing Granny Ogda in any way. It’s likely they take out their frustration by trying to pick fights with the party members.

After a few days one of the bandits comes home drunk and threatens Granny Ogda for the location of her savings. He hasn’t been seen since, but there is a new goat that hangs around in the glade and sometimes stares meaningfully at the party members…


Nina Vasilyeva

Stats as an Apprentice Wizard

Nina is the granddaughter of the local lord Vasya Petrovitch. She is unaware of her grandfather’s history with Granny Ogda and came to her for a potion to make a boy fall in love with her. Nina took to casting spells and charms quickly, and since then Granna Ogda has guided her development into a powerful young witch. Her newfound power grants her unnatural confidence. Charming young men into giving her their most valuable possessions and stunning her elders with bold opinions on matters of politics and war. 

As a price for the continued training, Nina has given Granny Ogda a golden broach, and some memories of her grandfather that Granny Ogda keeps in a Jar near her bed.



Granny Ogda keeps whatever money she manages to save hidden in a wooden box buried under some loose earth in the basement. She keeps a few heavy barrels of fermented rye drink on top of the hiding spot to keep people from digging in that spot. If the box is uncovered, it contains the following:

·         180 copper pieces

·         12 silver pieces

·         A golden broach worth 10 gold pieces.

Strange Objects

The house is cluttered with old tools, strange trinkets, and unusual magic items. There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to the things that Granny Ogda hordes and it can be hard to decipher what is valuable and what isn’t. If the players go rummaging here is an example of some of the items they might find.

·         An oversized mortar and pestle that floats 5 feet off the ground when an intelligent creature is inside of it—fly speed of 30 feet.

·         An apparently empty jar filled with every nightmare of a child from the age of 6 to 16

·         A set of nesting dolls where the last doll is a painted egg. Inside the egg is a sewing needle. Anyone who touches the needle receives a vision of the death of a powerful lich.

·         Anything from the list of trinkets on page 160 of the Players Handbook

Source of Power

Granny Ogda has two items crafted from the body of her husband. She keeps them hidden on her person and all times and will not willing part with them for any reason. If they are stolen or go missing  will go to any length to retrieve them.

·         Soul Sack—A bag stitched together from human skin. It can hold the soul of one evil creature, preventing it from traveling to any other plane. While in the sack, the hag can draw power from the soul, preventing non magical aging. After about a month the energy of the soul is used up and it fades into nothing. The sack can be opened once per day to communicate with the trapped soul. Functions as “Speak with Dead” spell. On an action the hag who crafted the soul sack can capture the soul of a recently deceased evil creature. This action frees whatever soul was previously held in the sack.

·         Heartstone– A black rock carved in the shape of a human heart. As a bonus action, a hag holding the hearthstone can travel to or from the ethereal plane. As an action Heartstone can cure any non-magical disease, or break a curse cast at a level that is lower than the hags spell casting bonus.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *