Monday, January 22, 2018

Encounters in Chult -- Non-Monster Encounters

In Tomb of Annihilation, "While characters are exploring or camping in the wilderness, roll a d20 three times per day of game time, checking for encounters each morning, afternoon, and evening or night. An encounter occurs on a roll of 16 or higher." (Tomb of Annihilation, pg. 193)

On the result of an encounter (16-20), one is then directed to roll percentile dice on the "Wilderness Encounters" table on the next pages (194-5), which includes columns for different terrain types, including Beach, several types of Jungle, Mountains, Rivers, Ruins, Swamp, and Wasteland. These different terrains have different values for the various creatures that haunt Chult and its environs--but almost every entry is a creature of some kind, implying combat (6 out of 90 entries are with non-creatures, while at least half a dozen more are with neutral or friendly NPCs).

There follows a description of each encounter in pages 196-203, of the number of creatures or the nature of the non-creature thing found. These are generally good entries, though I find it irritating how many of them coyly resolve into non-encounters if the players don't provoke the creatures, e.g. of the dinosaurs, the Ankylosaurus, Brontosaurus, Hadrosaurus, Pteranodon, Stegosaurus, and Triceratops all ignore the characters unless attacked, touched, or bothered. And these aren't the only entries like that. Which is to say, if I roll an 18 on my d20 and then a triceratops encounter, inform the players, and then they walk away, nothing happens ... over the course of hundreds of hexes of travel this will become dozens of dice rolls to nothing, sapping my time and my players' interest.

All of which is a longwinded way of saying, these wilderness encounters need sprucing up!

First, because it seems to me that travel should involve a variety of mishaps/encounters not necessarily all of which involve creatures, I'd like to rewrite a table of non-monster wilderness occurrences that I use for wilderness travel in my homebrew game. (other blog-entries may include creating more specific wilderness terrains and resulting encounter tables, and/or nesting the results on the ToA tables with greater random variety)

"I hope we don't run into any mouth dragons out here ..."

So, per the rules, per day that the characters spend in the wilderness, roll three d20s. A result of a 16-20 indicates an encounter; the first and last such rolls indicate an encounter on the "Wilderness Encounters" table from the book, but the second/middle roll indicates a further roll on this table:


Non-Monster Wilderness Encounters

1-3 -- Bad weather -- half movement for the next 1-6 days

4-5 -- Lamed mule/Sprained ankle -- cannot move forward until the injury is healed, either by magic or by 1-3 days of rest

6-7 -- Spoiled rations -- 1-2 weeks of rations are spoiled by mold, maggots, etc.

8 -- Lost supplies -- the party loses ... 1) 50' rope, 2) 100-600 gp, 3) 1 week of rations,
4) tinderbox, 5) lantern and 1-4 flasks of oil OR 2-12 torches, 6) 50' rope and roll again ((or one useful item at random))

9-10 -- Heatstroke -- a character at random is incapacitated and cannot act until they take a full day of rest

11-12 -- Wrong turn -- not lost per se, but no movement for the day as all "progress" must be retraced back in the proper direction

13 -- Venomous bite -- a character at random must save against poison or using CON, or die; neutralize poison or other such spells would naturally be handy in such a situation

14 -- Diseased bite -- a character at random must save against poison or using CON, or become infected with a debilitating disease; the character loses 1 STR per day of travel, and a week of full rest is required to overcome the disease; during the "crisis" another save v. poison or with CON is required, and failure indicates that 1 point of CON is permanently lost

15-16 -- Good foraging/hunting -- no rations are needed for the day due to plentiful game/forage

17-18 -- Bad water -- 1-3 characters must save against poison or using CON, or contract a debilitating disease per (14)

19-20 -- Physical Barrier -- the party has hiked into a box canyon, cul de sac, bog, mire, etc. etc., and must backtrack; no movement unless a thief with ropes climbs a way through, or a druid demonstrates a path, or some other rule or narrative is invoked by the player characters to pass through

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