Cold bellows up from the yawning abyss that this mine was built on. Beyond the lush forest a broken bridge crosses the deep pit, wooden frameworks have fallen away and the small shacks that surround this pit are in complete disarray.
Makeshift wooden walkways crisscross the gap and connect the old collapsed tunnels to the central platform where an old crane sits silent and unused. Wooden crates and barrels still containing implements or mining materials gathered here still remain and may yet be of use.
An invasive species of animated shoe has shown up in this region and begun causing trouble. They harass villagers and travelers alike, nipping at their heels for subjugating others of their—non-animated—kind. It has grown so bad that the villagers have begun to stop wearing shoes, for fear of the little menaces.
Fed up with walking everywhere barefoot, the villagers have employed you to seek out the breeding grounds, and vanquish them. Everyone knows the shoes are shy, and will only multiply in dark, secluded places.
You track the shoes to an abandoned mine, where an old wizard lives in a shack built into its wall. There is a beautiful shoe—clearly the master of all shoes—on his head. He is dressed in filthy rags, with a long white beard and unkempt hair. Clearly, he’s been out here a while…
He runs at you with glassy eyes, yelling at you in gibberish and throwing cantrips as a warning.
What’s happening? The wizard who created the sentient shoes as an experiment found events spiraling out of hand quickly as the shoes began to multiply. Then came the master shoe, who jumped onto his head and has been mind-controlling him since.
If your players make a successful role for insight, they will realize he isn’t gibbering mindlessly, but rather, speaking the language of the shoes.
If you can separate him from the master shoe, perhaps he will regain his wits?