View Full Version : DM Help Making an all purpose encounter table template

2018-12-19, 09:42 PM
So I'm looking for a good all-purpose random encounter table for when my players are traveling (road, wilderness, whatever). I'm not concerned about the specifics of the encounters, just the encounter types, as the specifics will be decided by the area and story that the players are involved with. Here are some types off the top of my head that I'd lean towards.

1. Plot advancing encounter:
Have small handful of small optional hooks that connect to the party's current main quest. These can be in the form of any of the other encounter types, but they need to be clearly connected to information the players need to direct them towards intended plot points.

2. Character advancing encounter:
Like the plot advancing encounter, but instead it ties directly into a player character's backstory or personal goals.

3. Hostile Swarm Encounter:
A large number of creatures with low HP. Usually in groups of 2-3 per party member.
Example: Stirges

4. Hostile Pack Encounter:
A medium sized group of creatures with a CR lower than the party level. In groups of roughly 1-2 per party member.
Example: Wolves

5. Hostile Gang Encounter:
A group of creatures with a marginally lower CR lower than the party level. Group size should be roughly the same as the party.
Example: Giant Spiders.

6. Hostile Alpha Encounter:
A creature large enough that it is capable of challenging the party on its own, ideally at or above the party's CR level.
Example: Owlbear

7. Side Quest:
The party encounters a group or individual who require aid from the adventurers. Roll again to determine the objective.
Example: Goblins are stealing cattle from a farmer's ranch.

8. Challenger:
The party encounters a group or individual who will attempt to best the party if there is a clear weakness they perceive in the group.
Example: Bandits

9. Monument:
The party encounters a structure (stature, obelisk, etc).
Example: A forgotten shrine, overgrown with vines.

10. Cache:
The party discovers a hidden stash (treasure, supplies, item drop-off).
Example: A mound of disturbed earth revealing a stash of coins from the local highwaymen.

11. Lair:
The party encounters a shelter (ruined structure, cave, etc). Roll again to determine what occupies it.
Example: An old cabin in the woods, or the mouth to a small cave.

12. Tracks:
The party encounters a trail leading towards something. Roll again to determine what type of tracks these are for.
Examples: Foot prints of an apex predator, or some out of place stone revealing an overgrown path to an old monument.

13. Ambush:
The party is caught unawares. Roll again to determine what has caught them by surprise.
Example: Goblins hiding in the bushes.

14. Conflict:
The group comes across two factions in opposition to one another. Re-roll twice to decide the groups.
Example: Wolves and an owlbear fighting over territory.

15. Stalker:
The party gets the suspicion that they are being followed. Roll again to determine what is on their trail.

What other basic encounter formats would you add?