Wednesday, November 1, 2017

On the Road Again ... Encounters

In my regular (non-Greyhame Dungeon game), I've had the party move areas a couple times, first relocating them down south for the winter to deal with the return of Sakatha the Lizard-King (module I2), and then of course moving them back north to the original town of Calpurnia where they started. I've now also got half the party continuing even farther north to go help the halflings of Hopshire.

For these travels, I came up with a d20 table of Encounters on the Road from which I roll one item for every week of travel, rather than rolling on the wilderness encounter table day by day by day. This speeds long distance travel up significantly, without necessarily just "jump-cutting", so that the travel itself retains some interest and impact; and it is to my mind justified, because the particular journeys being made by my group are not wilderness exploration, but rather along major thoroughfares within civilization, so rolling constantly on the wilderness encounter tables just doesn't make much sense.

There's no great need for me to keep this secret from my players--I'll roll what I roll, and they can deal with it!--I thought I'd present it here:

Encounters on the Road -- roll 1d20 per week, roll a random day if you want

1 - Dragon, on a d6 (1-2) basking, (3-4) hunting, (5-6) patrolling. Will accept mere flattery sometimes, demand food if hunting, or demand tribute if patrolling. I either roll up a new dragon and place it in the world near where it was encountered, or have a dragon already placed nearby who can stand in for the enounter

"Why yes, I am quite magnificent. Do go on, mortal,
and I might let you pass without eating your mule."

2 - Zauldron the Sage and Clara Clairvoyant -- for 2000 gp, they can do in 2-5 days what takes a normal sage 1 month (because of the synergy from his encyclopedic memory and her clairvoyance!); OR, Clara can commune with a higher power for the characters (also costs 2000 gp)

3 - Caravan/Free Market -- opportunity to buy/sell/resupply, plus the possibility to get in on some arbitrage/speculative trading of goods

4 - Magic Item Peddler -- buys magic items (500 gp/+ bonus, OR per offer); has 2-7 potions from the list for sale, as well as 1 item from my magic item for sale table; and don't try to rob him, he's got a competent guard of many well-armored fellows, plus a leveled fighting-man, magic-user, or whatever

5 - Storms and/or Bad Weather -- add 2-9 days of to travel time to the party's destination

6 - Castle -- per the rules in the Expert Book, OR just assess some kind of toll on the party, demanded by a party of armored knights on their lord's behalf

7 - Fey Encounter -- the party comes upon a Faerie-knight, a nymph-grotto, a dryad-grove, a nixie/naiad-pool, an oread's mountain, dwarvish underkingdom, etc. etc. Make it weirder than just a combat encounter with a dryad

8 - Wild Animal Peddler -- sells animals per my table of Animals For Sale; like the peddler of magic items, he is well guarded by a party of armed men

9 - Haunted Keep/Shrine -- either some kind of combat encounter with undead, esp if the party comes nigh around dusk; OR come up with a unique way to use turn undead or bless ... I haven't rolled this yet, so I haven't fleshed it out like I wanted to

10 - a Hermit -- on a d6 (1-2) Good saint, (3) Lawful anchorite, (4) Chaotic outlaw, (5-6) Arcane hedge wizard/witch. The saint offers succor and healing; the anchorite can offer sage advice; the outlaw might have a band with him, likely has a bounty on his/her head (200-1200 gp?), but can offer pathfinding, etc., to those who won't snitch; the hedge wizard has 2-5 potions and 1-2 scrolls possibly for sale

You see this fellow hunched under an oak by the tree; being
St. Anthony, he can help you resist the temptations of demons

11 - Fellow Travelers -- 1) arrogant aristocrat and entourage, 2) party of pilgrims, 3) dust-weary villeins, 4) adventurers-errant, 5) muddy-booted men-at-arms, or 6) roll on the MEN wandering monster table

12-13 Wandering Monster per that table

14 - Peasants seeking aid -- when I rolled this, I had peasants seeking aid after some natural disaster, and the group decided to give them I think several hundred gold pieces--naturally, the peasants used some of that wealth to raise a shrine dedicated to the party cleric's goddess/saint in gratitude

15 - roll on the FLYERS wandering monster table

16 - Elf-Pilgrims -- you may carouse with them for the night, according to the carousing rules, but if you fail your save you might just join them and return to the mortal realm some time much later

17 - Ankhegs (I just like ankhegs; obviously, replace this with whatever particular monster you want)

18 - Greater Werewolf and his pack, obviously in the guise of fellow pilgrims/travelers; it's probable that they'll try to eat the party at some inopportune time (these fellows are currently rising in power as Chaos is on the rise in my world; given other circumstances, I would alter the particular creature)

19 - Diseased Inn or Plague Victims -- save v. poison or random members of the party are infected

20 - Doomsaying Prophet or Itinerant Preacher -- maybe he's just a madman mumbling nonsense, maybe he's a man inspired by God or the gods to bring a warning the world, a local city, or even the king; he could even just be a wandering holy man, offering healing to the injured and sick, blessings, and words of advice to those in need

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