View Full Version : none fighting random encounters

Guinea Anubis
2008-11-05, 01:55 PM
So what kind of none fighting random encounters do you use?

Tadanori Oyama
2008-11-05, 02:27 PM
Beggers, road side accidents, wandering puzzles (hobbo scratches), and physical obsticales (land slides, washed out roads, etc).

I don't use them often but they make a good way to add some spice to traveling between cities and locations.

I usually like to throw them in when the players are hurt and looking to rest to keep them stumbling along. It makes them nervous and aware without actually threatening their (character's) lives.

2008-11-05, 02:51 PM
any sort of Non-combat encounter is tricky in the DnD rules. As an Encounter it must involve a problem that the PC's must solve. Now, DnD is built around such things, problems that must be solved with some combination of Fire and Sharp Heavy Things. The entire system is practically built around it, with lip service paid to other things (Mostly in the form of some skills with simple systems).

One problem with Non-combat encounters is that they can often be easily solved with a single dice-roll.

Example, The PC's need to cross a bridge and they find some soldiers guarding it, the solider's say the bridge is closed because a tribe of Ogres have moved in on the other side. Now, you may be tempted to let this go with a single diplomacy check, somthing like this
PC: Hey, let us by [Roll, Succeed]
Solider: Sure.

Now, while a single diplomacy check could work, it shouldn't. In this situation you are asking the solider to do exactly what he has been explicitly do what he has been ordered not to do, let people cross the bridge. Therefore, give the diplomacy check a massive DC, but allow the PC's to gradually convince the Soldiers of that. And force the Pc's to come up with their own arguments, the Diplomacy check represents their ability to convey their message, not their ability to think of the message itself. Every point they convince the soldiers of gives them a bonus on the final diplomacy check. Here is how such an encounter should g

PC: Hey, can we cross this bridge?[Roll,fail]
Soldier: No, there is a tribe of ogres on the other side, orders are to keep this bridge closed.
PC: Ogres, my group can handle Ogres. [Roll, succeed]
Solider: Maybe, but these are pretty tough, and orders are orders.
PC: Listen mister, see this sword (Holds up a sword he bought in the last town), I pried this sword from the dead hands of a hobgoblin champion, If we can handle him, we can handle some ogres. [Bluff Check, Succeed]
Soldier: Okay, but even if you could handle those Ogres, I've still got my orders, and I'll get in trouble for breaking them.
PC: (Points to party wizard) That's easy, Xanadu here can cast Invisibility Sphere, Say you never saw us cross. [Diplo check, succeed] [Re-Roll first Diplo Check with circumstance bonuses from the arguments you made, Succeed]
Soldier: Okay, you can cross, just watch yourselves.

2008-11-05, 03:08 PM
I don't. But I also don't do random combat encounters either. Every event has to have a purpose.

That said, my non fighting encounters are usually physical obstacles or people with a problem that needs solving. I like real world problems rather than self contained puzzles (although if the puzzle makes sense, then it's cool). I also like situations with no predefined solution. Just let the players draw their own conclusions and improv around them from there.

2008-11-05, 03:30 PM
Random encounters are not much fun, combat or otherwise. At least, not as I have ever seen them done.

My preferred method is to map out some encounters, but give the players a choice of direction. They may stumble upon the non-combat encounters, or they may just avoid them entirely.

This is a great example (http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=871) I used in one of my games (Scroll down to "The Gibbet"). Moral dilemmas can help define who the characters are besides "LN fighter" or so forth.

2008-11-05, 05:14 PM
I enjoy throwing random encounters at the party every once in a while as a reminder that the world is a dangerous place and they shouldn't get too complacent. For non-combat encounters, I'll usually try to tie it into the world in some way to increase verisimilitude. A patrol of soldiers from the local kingdom is a good place to start, as are natural occurrences such as weather and physical obstacles caused by weather. If there's a ranger in the group or the party's especially hungry, the occasional animal that will be better eating than trail rations or whatever they can scrounge up can be a sort of hunting encounter.

2008-11-05, 07:17 PM
I use travelling halfling traders, performers, pickpockets (in urban areas) and lost children (followed shortly therafter by a combat encounter). When in exotic lands I have the P.C.s run into a village with strange customs. If the group doesn't puzzle out their manners, It quickly turns into a combat encounter.