Sunday 17 February 2013

40 Random Encounters

Whenever you’re lacking inspiration or need a last minute encounter in the middle of an adventure, cry. Otherwise, it’s always handy to have some random encounters lying around. I always create my own and usually in a 20-part master list entitled “Random Awesomeness Generator” or similar. In combination with just about any adventure, they can make for a memorable and often bizarre experience. Ah, the tales I could tell. However, this article was entitled 40 Random Encounters not 40 Vague Reminisces which have no Bearing on Anything.

That said, reminisces are what this game is all about, right? I recall long ago I had a 1st edition wizard who had 1 hit point, a dagger (actually, a staff which did 1d4), and a single magic missile spell per day. When my GM asked what character I wanted to play, I volunteered my wizard without much hope of survival or a fun gaming experience. Boy was I ever wrong. Not only was the wizard totally awesome, but he encouraged some great ingenuity. I had to push enemy guards off the castle walls to infiltrate the castle, out dis a rival 30th level wizard, and steal a broom made of solid gold. Not only did Thodar (the wizard) survive, but he thrived. The GM wasn’t terribly impressed, but it’s one of my favourite ‘Ha ha, I did this’ stories.

The below random encounters have been formatted so they can be dropped readily into a dangerous part of the adventure, and they shouldn’t become overly suspicious if rolled multiple times. As always, use your best discretion. It’s also worth noting that in the kind of games I run, credibility is very low on the hit list of things I want to accomplish.

1. A trio of wizards. They try to take out the party so they can steal their magical gear for bartering with rivals out for their necks.

2. Bounty hunting orcs. They’re talking about how weak and stupid humans are as the PCs approach them unawares.

3. An odd, impenetrable wall of fire circles the party.

4. A load of dead bodies lie on the ground here. Who knows why?

5. A small bag of gold lies here, apparently, unguarded.

6. There is a thousand foot tree nearby with a small astral diamond hidden in the canopy.

7. The wall here shoots 6d6 lightning bolts. The corridor is also probably trapped with fireballs and other deadly things.

8. A classic magical fountain lies here. Anyone who drinks of it gains super strength or something else random like that. If anyone gets smart and tries to make it portable, it loses its power and probably wipes your mind when you drink it, too.

9. Grunts and shuffles echo from beyond. Here there be a giant hamster.

10. A merchant stands in the dungeon here. He’s selling a wide range of goods most adventurers would be interested in even though his main clientele for the past 10 years have been undead ghouls and skeletons.

11. An alien spaceship comes by and abducts the party. After that they perform genetic experiments on them and drop them in Antarctica with weird, super-hero powers.

12. A portal appears and teleports the party to the age of dinosaurs or some other random part of the universe.

13. A locked, magical, and impenetrable door leads to nothing but a blank wall. It is inscribed with mystic runes which, when deciphered, read: “Ha ha, you’ll never find it.”

14. A lost farmer is looking for his pig here. This makes sense seeing as this is the castle of the Demon Vampire Colony.

15. The players discover a deck of many things and a deck of Munchkin. If they try to play Munchkin they get instantly disintegrated and the deck explodes in their faces.

16. A female vampire falls in love with one of the party members and is convinced his name is Edward. If the rest of the party doesn’t save their friend, he may be kidnapped by Bella.

17. The party discovers a laser rifle. Unfortunately it only has 5 shots left.

18. Pit trap! It has spikes at the bottom too. Also, the top closes up, is coated in contact poison, scorpions dump from the walls, and the room floods from the bars in the floor. Did I mention the electrical trap on the bars?

19. A vast treasure hoard behind a simple secret door. It is completely un-trapped, unguarded, and it’s not fake or an illusion. The party are now all billionaires.

20. A very stupid peasant is stuck in a bit of mud. He screams for aid. If any of the party saves him his name is John Nodwick Piggles and he’ll follow his new ‘master’ forever.

21. Snow drifts from the ceiling of the room and angelic Christmas music plays in the background. Then nothing happens.

22. A goblin challenges the party to a fight. He has 5,000 ants who all use ‘aid another’ on him and have the magical power to add +1 damage per round to one ally’s attacks. The goblin laughs maniacally and then returns to his home dimension as an immensely powerful genie. He ridicules the party for picking on those weaker than them, but gives them three wishes anyway. The three wishes all have twisted meanings.

23. The party runs into a group of elves bickering with a group of dwarves. It’s up to them whether to start a massive war or buy everyone drinks.

24. The party finds a bar and a brawl starts. It turns out all of the patrons are actually disguised arch wizards and the bar brawl quickly turns into a massive nuclear weapons fest.

25. A bird steals one of the party member’s magic rings and doesn’t want to give it back. If the party kills him it turns out he has a little baby bird which the party must now take care of or suffer the million experience point penalty for ‘cruelty to animals’.

26. A very powerful giant invites the party out to a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity.

27. A powerful, neutral wizard curses everyone in a town with different and bizarre curses which cannot be lifted by the normal means. He’s quite insane, and it just so happens the party is visiting his town today…

28. The party runs into the “killer rabbit” from Monty Python. No reason why, really.

29. A magical book will boost one character’s strength by three points. However, the book requires that everyone within 100 feet of the reader must be defeated in hand to hand combat and the victor of the scrum be named the ‘winner.’

30. Frost demons attempt to freeze the party into ice cubes and then sell them as wall ornaments to the princes of the fire kingdom who want a refund when they melt and come back to life.

31. The one person with knowledge to save the world is killed by the villain in front of the party. To restore him to life they must do something more difficult than a simple raise dead spell. They must travel to the underworld and confront a three-headed dog or something like that.

32. An evil wizard attempts to turn all the party into mice and then puts them in a huge maze which they must race each other through to win their freedom. A cat is also tossed in for good measure. The wizard turns everyone back to normal before anything serious happens and then laughs.

33. An NPC(s) offer the PCs a game of chance in which the odds are actually rigged in the party’s favor. When they win, the NPCs act angry, but are secretly overjoyed to get rid of the ‘hot’ money or items.

34. A psychotic (and dogged) law enforcer is after the party for the wrong reasons. He thinks they did something they didn’t or has completely mixed up their identities with known criminals. They must find out why he’s so tough and the secret serum convincing him of their guilt before he convinces the proper authorities and has them jailed.

35. A stampede of extraterrestrials and powerful monsters run past, clearly in a great hurry to get somewhere…or away.

36. A mad hermit predicts the doom of the universe unless paid one copper coin. Oddly enough, the only thing which can stop the giant meteor is going back in time and giving him the coin before he winks and disappears.

37. Powerful creatures have come to the dimension of earth to hunt. They take trophies and look like Aliens even though they act like Predators. Superman comes to stop them.

38. A woman mistakes one of the PCs for a powerful prince and tries to flirt with him to become heir to his kingdom. Bonus points if the PC actually is a powerful prince.

39. The party is shanghaied into being “Ghostbusters” because the local government has no one else to turn to (or blame).

40. A powerful (and good) vampire hires the party to keep his vacation uninterrupted by people trying to stake him through the heart. Unfortunately, all the vampire’s hateful rivals want him dead and see this as an opportunity to get him killed seeing as he’s going to a tropical island far away from all his minions and a dark castle to hide in away from the sunlight.

The usefulness of the above random encounters is debatable, at best. However, I’d also like to wish you a Happy 2013!

...More Random Encounters 

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