Just why is there an "abandoned" tower near the village?
1. An insane mage used to live there. His creations still guard the tower.
2. A noble family was murdered there, and it's line wiped out. The tower is haunted by their ghosts.
3. Tax collectors kicked the last owners out when they could not pay their taxes. No one else can pay the taxes, either.
4. Bandits live there, and no one has bothered to remove them.
5. A lich moved in. Everyone is scared to death to go anywhere near the tower, now.
6. It's a giant trap, created to kill adventurers.
7. Goblins live there, and scare away the locals with fake ghost sitings.
8. The tower is holy to the local church. But it's in disrepair, so the local priest just holds a service there on certain days, but otherwise leaves the place alone.
9. The tower is an illusion. It was placed by some wandering mage, and the local villagers love to send unwary adventures there as a practical joke.
10. The tower only appears at night if there is a fog. And strange screams and howls are heard from it when it is there.
11. It's just abandoned. No one cares enough to live there.