A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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  1. - Top - End - #31
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    HalflingPirate

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    44. The Shrine Maiden

    A very old wall of stacked fieldstone separates a large pasture from the road. Where the road bends away from the wall there is a nich built into it about 100 feet farther along the wall. The wall bends with the road at this point, and it is taller with an arched roof that covers a 5 foot deep, 10 foot wide area that is 10 feet high. The nich beneath the arch contains a weathered statuette about three feet tall, the base of which is firmly planted in the wall, and what may be an altar stone is placed against the wall at its feet. The statue, which is robed and hooded, may be a woman or an effeminate man, or both or neither.

    The turn of the road creates a wider space between the wall and road that has a half-dozen very old trees with canopies so dense that they inhibit undergrowth. The more or less clear space has obviously been used as a campsite in the past.

    At the altar the wall bends to rejoin and follow the road, creating a roughly triangular space about 100 feet along each wall section and about 150 feet along the curved road.

    If the party camps at the site overnight, and a guard is watchful, (especially if the party placed offering on the altar,) a young woman not quite old enough to marry may be seen tending the altar. She appears to be sad. Her robes are grey, her hair mousy-brown, and her eyes black. Her face and hands are white.

    She will not be afraid if approached. She doesn't know her name, and is certain this is where she has always been. She does not know the name of any locals, but will tell of travelers who passed this way and the stories they told of far-away places.

    She wants to travel to those places, but is cursed, she claims, to remain in this place forever.

    DM INFO:
    She is a celestial, summoned and bound so long ago to this holy site that nobody knows anything about her or why she is here.

    She may suggest that the altar is what keeps her here, and give the impression that she wants the PCs to destroy it so she can be free. Damage to the shrine will force her to reveal herself as a (level appropriate) celestial shrine guardian. If the altar is broken her binding will break as well and she will resume her existence as a free-willed celestial. She will be angry if the altar was defiled, but if the altar was physically destroyed she will be relieved that her watch over the altar of a forgotten fertility goddess is finally over.

    If the party has treated the shrine and the shrinemaiden with dignity and respect, the celestial will give them each a blessing in the form of a natural 20 on any single d20 roll if the player announces it instead of rolling. The DM decides if a time limit applies to this gift.
    Last edited by brian 333; 2021-12-19 at 01:43 PM.

  2. - Top - End - #32
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    45. The Unicorn

    In the path of the adventurers is a very large equine with a long spiral horn growing from its forehead. The horn, hooves, mane, and tail are gold while the creature's coat is white. Unlike most equines, the hooves are cloven.

    The creature will ask a member of the party to ride it so that it can take the adventurer to a place where an heroic deed can be performed. The deed will not be specified, and cryptic hints will be offered that make it seem that it can't talk about it.

    If an adventurer does take a ride the creature will become etheral, and will take the rider on a tour of The Hells. It will also reveal itself to be a nightmare.

    The nightmare will ce amused by threats and will point out that harming or killing it will leave the adventurer stranded in the nether regions. When the ride is over the adventurer will be dumped at the spot they first met.

    Thereafter, every time the character goes to sleep the nightmare is there and takes the character on another ride. The character gains no benefit from rest until the beast is defeated.

  3. - Top - End - #33
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    46: The New Castle

    As the adventurers pass through a small village the villagers run up to them begging their help.

    "It is fortuitous that you have arrived today. You see, in the night that castle appeared," the village elder points to a shiny steel drum tower surrounded by a turreted curtain wall,"and we do not know if we should flee or welcome our new neighbors. All our wealth is in our lands, and if we flee we will have nothing but our lives. If we stay and are eaten by whatever lives in the castle we will not even have that much. We beg you to go to the castle and see what lives there, and to find out what accomodations they will require of us."

    The castle appears to be constructed of rivited sheet steel. The curtain wall is about 40 feet tall with six crossleted turrets around the circumference. Each turret is twenty feet tall with a conical base and roof. They are set halfway into the wall and rise half their height above it. The wall is circular and about 120 feet in diameter. There is a single iron portcullis which accesses a 40 foot deep lich yard walled on both sides with crossleted steel walls 20 feet tall which lead to the drum tower. The tower is 80 feet tall, crossleted in a ring around the 60 foot height, and flat-roofed.

    The residents will not respond unless some attempt is made to breach their defenses. Their response will be a ballista bolt from the nearest crosslet and a warning shouted in a deep bass voice.

    The occupants are frost giants, and they will promise to leave the villagers alone in exchange for 10 sheep per month in tribute.

    Any deal they make will be short-lived because they have an artifact, The Orb of Winter, which will slowly reduce the temperature of the region until a 10 mile radius region is permanently frozen. The first hints of this are snow flurries above the castle, and the radius will expand to include a quarter of a square mile per day thereafter.

  4. - Top - End - #34
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    47.) Stalked By A Maniac

    The PCs are hunted bu a lunatic similar to the hunter from the original Jumanji movie

    48.) Starved Opponent Cube

    The PCs are accosted by some rogue modrons who were caputred during the last Modron March by a mad scientist who unsuccessfully tried to reprogram their brains. They later broke put after being held for years. They are now quite insane and run around randomly trying to stab people.
    Last edited by Bohandas; 2022-01-11 at 02:20 PM.

  5. - Top - End - #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    47.) Stalked By A Maniac

    The PCs are hunted bu a lunatic similar to the hunter from the original Jumanji movie

    48.) Starved Opponent Cube

    The PCs are accosted by some rogue modrons who were caputred during the last Modron March by a mad scientist who unsuccessfully tried to reprogram their brains. They later broke put after being held for years. They are now quite insane and run around randomly trying to stab people.
    Aside from occasional shouted threats and calling the character Sonny-Jim, what is the reason the PCs don't simply slaughter the hunter?

    Suggestions:
    Hunter has a magical blunderbus that inflicts a horrific amount of damage.
    Hunter has an item that creates a dragon fear aura.
    Hunter is specifically designed as the character's nemesis, so he has immunities to the character's best attacks and his attack bypasses the character's best defenses.

  6. - Top - End - #36
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    44.) Loose adaptation of a dream I had last night

    A man and a woman are walking a dog by a lake, when suddenly the lake turns into a bunch of water elementals who start attacking the dog. If the PCs investigate it turns out that the "dog" is secretly a werewolf who's been having an affair with the woman without her husband's knowledge and that he owes a lot of money to the Marid mafia, who have sent these water elementals to collect from him

    EDIT:

    45.) A Very Silly Mercenary/Assassin

    A yugoloth sellsword driving around in an ice cream truck with "ice cream" crossed out and "murder for hire" written in in its place
    Last edited by Bohandas; 2022-01-23 at 12:13 AM.

  7. - Top - End - #37
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    51. The Bookseller

    A man leading a donkey cart wears peasant clothes and a wide-brimmed straw hat. In warm weather he goes barefoot and in the cold he wears farmers' clod-hopper boots. He never rides the cart.

    The donkey wears a hat similar to the man's, but with ear-holes cut into it for the donkey's huge ears. The donkey's harness is made of rope and thick wool pads, with almost no metal fittings. In the cold the donkey wears a thick wool blanket and in the heat the man carries a short tasseled whip that he uses to swat flies on the donkey.
    The box of the cart is 4 feet wide, 6 feet long and 4 feet high. Its 4 foot wheels lifts the box 3 feet off the ground. Two poles attach the cart to the harness. Drop-down shelves and small doors open to compartments, most of which contain books. The rest contain gear and provisions for the man and the beast.

    A clever arrangement of a tarp allows the cart's traces to be used to create a stall walled and roofed in canvas for the donkey while the man generally sleeps beneath the wagon.

    He keeps a cane knife, (a broad hacking blade bound to a 4 foot pole,) hidden beneath the wagon both as a tool to gather firewood or clear an overgrown path and to serve as a weapon at need. (Treat as a simple weapon that damages as a broadsword.)

    He has the following merchandise in his cart:

    Health, sanitation, and folk medicine = 6 books

    Cooking and preserving foods = 11 books

    Children's elementary education = 24 books

    How-to build, fabricate, or forge tools = 3 books

    How to plant, grow, and harvest edible and commercial plants = 5 books

    Animal husbandry and training = 2 books

    Identification and use of medicinal plants = 1 book (illuminated)

    Children's stories = 8 books

    Adult romances = 3 books

    In a secret compartment, (DC 22 to spot or search,) is a primer on the basics of arcane spellcasting. One can learn enough to cast cantrips.

    In another, (DC 25,) there are eight cantrip scrolls.

    In the last, (DC 27 and Wizard Locked,) is the spellbook of a level 3 wizard and a recipe book for a level 2 alchemist.

    The bookseller will sell a mundane book to an adventurer for 10 gp or a magic book for 100 gp. The scrolls he will sell for 10% over cost. He will not sell the spellbooks, but will allow spells or recipes to be copied from them at purchase price, or in exchange for a scroll of the copied spell.

    Otherwise he will buy books at 1 gp each up to a total of 25 gp, which when he counts out his copper and silver is all he has. Normally he loans books to peasants for a few coppers or silvers and picks them up or trades for them when he passes the farm or hamlet again.

    In winter he often takes a job as an elementary school teacher in a remote farm or settlement. If possible he will apprentice a former student as teacher to continue teaching after he moves on.

  8. - Top - End - #38
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    52: The Dead Guide

    When the sun sets and the dark of the evening cloaks the roadside camp of the adventuring party, a loud, clumsy tromping can be heard in the undergrowth. Following the sound, the adventurers come upon the zombie of a former adventurer whose untended equipment has nearly rusted and rotted away. It appears to have been a male fighter-type in life, and it's cause of death is obviously the horrific wound in it's back.

    The zombie appears to not notice the adventurers as it meanders down a well-trodden path to a small clearing just short of the trail or road they are camped beside. When it reaches the cleared area the zombie appears to search for something on the ground until it finds a twig or pine cone or something. It picks the item up and shuffles back down the trail.

    If the adventurers kill the zombie, it's trail is still apparent and easy to follow. Otherwise, the zombie will never notice the party, nor defend itself if attacked.

    The trail leads to a small building that has become overgrown. A ranger or druid might estimate a decade of growth. The zombie will enter the building and deposit it's load onto a huge pile of debris in the center of the flagstone floor, then march back the way it came to repeat it's task.

    If the debris pile is disturbed, a wraith will appear and attack the party. If the wraith looks like it might win the fight, a shadow will appear out of nowhere and backstab it. (This might happen at the end of the fight even if the adventurers are winning.)

    Under the years of accumulated debris the adventurers discover a pair of skeletons and their gear. One was likely a mid-level rogue and the other a mid-level wizard. The knife of the rogue is still in the ribs of the wizard, and the damage to the armor and gear of the rogue indicates that lightning was the likely cause of his/her death. Beneath this, among rotted and useless goods that might once have been of value, is a modest treasure, though the silver and copper is badly corroded. The magical gear of the dead adventurers may still be in good condition, and a few of the spells in the middle of the wizard's spell book may be salvageable if handled with care by one who knows books.
    Last edited by brian 333; 2022-02-04 at 09:48 AM.

  9. - Top - End - #39
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    53. Generic Religious Precession

    Non combat encounter where the PCs are passed on the road by a religious precession of some sort

    EDIT:

    54.) Baron Munchausen needs the party;s help to attach a pulley to a tree branch above the mire or quicksand or whatever he's stuck in so that he can run his pigtails through the pulley and hoist himself up by his own hair. He shoos off any attempt to pull him out directly
    Last edited by Bohandas; 2022-04-06 at 01:07 AM.

  10. - Top - End - #40
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    55: A Princess And An Ogre

    A young teenaged female human runs out of a wood, followed closely by an 8' tall ogre. The ogre is followed by a pack of armored men at arms which appear intent on killing the ogre.

    "Help me!" the girl screams.

    DM info:
    The girl is a princess.
    The ogre is her childhood companion and guardian.
    The men at arms are bandits who want to hold her ransom after killing the ogre.

    The princess was on a journey to the manor of her grandparents when their guard was attacked. The ogre saved her life by escaping into the woods. The men at arms were dispatched to find her, along with a dozen other such groups.

  11. - Top - End - #41
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    56: The God of the Watering Hole

    On the vast Sea of Grass there are few open bodies of water, and fewer which persist through the dry season. Small animals which can survive on dew and the liquids stored in their prey thrive out on the open prairie, but larger beasts which require drink are more rare unless they are very mobile.

    Where watering holes exist, the grasslands are mowed to the ground by masses of herbivores which venture out seeking fresh grazing, but which are bound to return to their water source. Naturally, predators take advantage of this. Competition between them for hunting grounds limits their numbers more than the availability of food, but such predators grow lazy, an in the wetter seasons can starve waiting for their prey to return to their territory.

    But there is one watering hole out in the Sea of Grass that almost never runs dry, yet attracts few herds of grazers to its mineral-rich waters.

    The local tribes folk tell a tale they claim as truth; the watering hole is the home of a god. Any who drink from the enticing pond become food for a god with insatiable hunger. In times when their hidden wells begin to dry up they make sacrifices from their flocks and herds to the god, which sometimes answers their prayers for rain.

    And criminals, or tribes folk of other tribes which come raiding in their territory, are staked to a chain long enough to allow them to reach the water, and left, either to die of thirst, or to be devoured by the god when they drink.

    DM info:
    The god is a giant snapping turtle which has been in the pond for several hundred years. It is about twenty feet across it's shell, and it's six-feet-wide mouth can grab even the largest herbivores and drag them to their deaths. It can strike up to fifteen feet from the water's edge in a surprise attack and, if it wishes, it can leave the pond, moving clumsily but at the speed of a running man. Generally, it prefers the patient approach, and will sit and wait for prey, adjusting it's position underwater until it can snatch prey and drag it underwater.

    A number of large fish live in the pond, and are also food for the turtle. As long as it is alive, fishing for them is a questionable enterprise, at best. Removing the turtle will also eliminate their food supply. The ecosystem of the pond is almost entirely dependent on the turtle and it's waste products.

  12. - Top - End - #42
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    57. Goth/Metal Disney Princess

    In a clearing in the forest (or wherever) the party happen to glimpse a beautiful young woman, dressed in black, singing a song about the futility of existence. As she sings she is approached by a throng of friendly crows, vultures, worms, beetles, foxes, coyotes, blow flies, and other carrion feeders. If class becomes relevant, the woman is probably some mix of bard, druid, and/or aristocrat (and/or the variants, kits, and class-specific PrCs thereof; noble, spirit shaman, blighter, harbinger, etc. and things of that nature)
    Last edited by Bohandas; 2022-05-10 at 01:25 AM.

  13. - Top - End - #43
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    58: A Giant Headache

    As the adventurers travel they hear an anguished howl echoing across the land. It repeats every minute or two, but there are no words in any language the PCs know.

    Following the sound to its source, they discover a mountain giant sitting on a boulder clutching its head. It looks to the sky periodically and howls.

    If attacked the giant will defend itself, poorly. (-5 to hit, -5 to damage.) If spoken to the giant will saw,

    "Baw, me 'ead aches! Done thought me up a 'orrible idea, an now its fightin' t' get out!"

    Any question that more or less asks what the idea is will be answered, "Baw, I thought up a complete idiot idea: somethin' that 'as no purpose but t' 'urt folks for fun. An' now it be in me 'ead lookin' fer a way out!"

    The PCs' questions should lead to a solution offered by the giant: to crack open the giant's skull and let the idea out. Once vocalized, the giant will latch on to the idea and insist that it be done. If the PCs refuse, the giant will insist, to the point of attacking the PCs, (at -5 to hit and to damage.)

    If the PCs agree to open the giant's skull, it will show them where it hurts most and have them strike there. The PCs should engineer the act, and it should be difficult enough that the giant has to offer 'advice' to do it right.

    When the giant's head opens a tiny spikey toad-creature armed with a tiny spear, (d6 dam, + fort save vs 1-3 rounds of immobilizing pain,) crawls out and begins to attack. The creature should have a CR suitable for a random encounter by the party, and it will attempt to spread it's damage around so that everyone gets to feel it's pain.

    When defeated the creature and it's spear turns to vapor and blows away. The giant, however, sits up and looks around with it's wound halfway healed.

    As a reward, the giant gives the PCs it's magic ring, a defective Monstrous Regeneration ring which only heals half of the most recently inflicted wound. (If a character takes 3 HP damage the ring will heal 1 HP in the following round. A second hit for 3 more points will give another hp. A third hit for 10hp will let the ring, over the next five rounds, heal the last blow halfway, ignoring previous damage.)

    Further, the giant will give a toot on a ram's horn then give it to the PCs, promising to help if he hears the horn blow. (10 mile radius when outdoors.)
    Last edited by brian 333; 2022-05-11 at 07:36 PM.

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