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Monday, March 9, 2015

Random Encounters IV: Underground High Fantasy

Random encounters have their place in tabletop RPGs, as long as you can keep them fresh. Two easy ways to do that are to 1) make the environment interesting, and 2) add a surprise during the encounter.

Now, the issue with adding an environment feature is that it significantly restricts the versatility of your random encounter table. For example, a collapsing wall wouldn't generally make sense in a forest or along a river. So, I'm going to be posting a number of these random encounter tables, for various environments and genres. Today's will stick to the basics: underground high fantasy.*


1. A floating brain with psychic whips
2. A band of vampiric goblins
3. An injured troll outcast
4. A zealot of the god of chaos
5. An dwarf who has been magically muted
6. An imp disguised as a stalagmite

Environment feature

1. Loud noises cause stalactites to fall
2. Spore pods burst into noxious clouds if stepped on
3. A deep, fast river cuts through the area
4. A stone bridge that crosses a chasm into the fiery abyss
5. A pool of black water does not return that which falls in
6. A blasphemous, many-eyed statue emanates dread


1. A swarm of shadow-bats are disturbed and descend from the ceiling to attack everyone
2. An overzealous tomb raider arrives to steal the kill and loot the area
3. A pair of orc bruisers with a grudge against the creature arrive
4. The area is flooded with green light from an unknown source
5. The bones scattered in the area animate and attack
6. A more dangerous creature arrives and the original creature flees

* Otherwise known as Dungeons & Dragons.


  1. The environment features here do a wonderful job adding another layer of complexity. I like that idea, good for GMs in a hurry!

    1. Thanks, Aaron! Encounters are usually better when they're designed with a specific campaign and player group in mind, but for GMs in a hurry (or looking for inspiration) I wanted these random encounters to provide more than just a monster or two.