How do you plan (or do you plan) your "random" encounters like wolves in a forest or bandits along a road?

How do you plan (or do you plan) your "random" encounters like wolves in a forest or bandits along a road?

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I make a table of creatures appropriate for the area and roll for it. Pretty much by how the PHB does it I think. Roll when travelling and above a 17 is an encounter. Or when they're hungry for battle i'll throw something in. For example when they were shopping and getting a little bit bored I had bandits come in to rob the place.

I love the highwayman.
I usually have two or three encounters for the area ready, roll for random encounter and sometimes randomize them, sometimes I pick what I think would be most fun for the session.

Pretty much this. Have a few setting-appropriate encounters prepared, and either roll or just give them the one I wanted to run the most. A favorite of mine is the old "tree across the road, bandits pop out, leader makes demands, roll initiative". Give the bandit chieftain some flair, and he can be a recurring character, provided he doesn't get a sword through the brain.

>It's a peaceful kingdom
>The group decided to split up to get back to the castle faster
>Scouts get to the castle without any problems
>the rest of the group is carrying gear and other items, slower than their scouts.
>roll encounter
>they kill the encounter fairly easily
>they set up camp and watches since they can't reach the castle today
>roll random encounter
>a large creature moves stealthily toward the party
>attacks the group and attacks one of the sleeping guys
>rolls high for initiative and attacks the wounded guy again, knocking him unconscious
>the rest of the party attacks the creature
>after a bit they kill it
>they are not happy about the encounters
I am not sure man... I don't think that Random encounters are very good.

>They split up like dumbasses
>They don't like getting attacked while split up
Well, no shit? Getting jumped isn't fun. Sounds like the DM's doing a good job, maybe they'll reconsider splitting up in the future.

>It's a peaceful kingdom
>A group of armed men can't walk for two days without being attacked by bandits and giant monsters

It's a big party

You set a camp with over 50 bandits. You make the players face them all at once in open field.


If it was in two days, I wouldn't have anything against it. It's just two enemies not remotely related literally a couple of hundred meters apart is a bit much.

I have pre-set lists of everything. literally hundreds of examples for every terrain and level my PC's are in. then for every 2 miles of travel, i roll for an encounter. 50% chance of nothing, the other 50 is appropriately broken down, usually with ten options, each having a 5% chance of happening.

>GM's that roll for encounters
>having generic encounters in the first place

Everything is story driven. Everything drives the story.

>gm is ignorant of everything outside of his story
>no monsters or animals in forests
>no other evil humanoid meandering around
>nothing exists outside of gm's story

>Having generic fights that don't matter in a hobby where narrative is the focus.
If you want to fight generic goblin #3982 over and over again, play Final Fantasy or something.

They split the group?

The deserve anything that happens to them.

Still, for such a "peaceful" kingdom there sure is a lot of dangerous elements running around.

>Random encounters means monsters jump out of the bushes and attack

Guys, c'mon, you're better than this. A random encounter can be something besides a combat. Throw in some side-quest hooks, or just a little event with some NPC interaction. Maybe something weird and out of the blue happens? Mix it up a little.

I tire of the "never split the party" meme, can we ditch it already? It was dead when it started

>A random encounter can be something besides a combat.
That's not what that means and you know it.

Make it up on the spot. Ive been doing this nearly 20 years. Planning is overrated.

Where does it say that a random encounter can only be a combat? Who decided that?

Not him but

>That's not what that means and you know it.

>a meeting with a person or thing, especially a casual, unexpected, or brief meeting:
>Our running into each other was merely a chance encounter.
>a meeting of persons or groups that are in conflict or opposition; combat; battle:
>Another such encounter and we may lose the war.
>Psychology. a meeting of two or more people, as the members of an encounter group or a number of married couples (marriage encounter) conducted to promote direct emotional confrontations among the participants, especially as a form of therapy (encounter therapy)

What are you on about?

>Ignoring realism to masturbate your narrative
Write a book, user.

You misunderstand. This is how I create subplots, like a growing bandit problem due to the local lords harshening of laws and therefore increase in outlaws. I don't just drop goblin 24601 on them.

>in fantasy

Almost every RPG ever made? There's a reason why whenever you think of the phrase "encounter table," it's usually full of random monsters to fight.
Since RPG's have been a thing "Random Encounter" has usually meant a random fight that you get into between important bits of the story. If you think of them as anything else, congrats, you're the exception but not the rule.
>Fantasy RPG
Pick one


>Since RPG's have been a thing "Random Encounter" has usually meant a random fight that you get into between important bits of the story. If you think of them as anything else, congrats, you're the exception but not the rule.
I know. Random encounters are memes and cancer, they should be used much more sparingly than every five fucking minutes Kevin! You son of a whore, stop throwing bandits and shit at us every four fucking steps we take, this is not fucking Pokemon!

Calm down sperg, we can't all be special snowflakes with a "unique" outlook on life.

realism maybe isn't the right term for it.

i guess maybe "reality?"
like you have to sell the reality of the fantasy. this is the real world for these characters, and in their world there would be wild animals and roving bandits and othersuch critters, fearsome and otherwise

You're thinking of internal consistency.

I suppose it's okay for you, murdering everything you come across because of random encounters because you're a murderhobo.

If you're going to use "realism" and "reality" so much, realize that most creatures IRL don't even approach humans unless they're starving or provoked. It's why most people who go camping don't end up getting mauled to death by a wolf of something.

>Everything is story driven. Everything drives the story.
>Not having material completely unrelated in order to make it feel like an actual world, not just a vehicle for the problem of the week
>not using red herrings so the PCs don't get lazy

>animals actively avoid the pcs
>humanoids that don't have a reason to stick their neck out should too, if the pcs are known
>monsters as well, but maybe the pcs will have to fight a few before. it still wouldn't be an encounter, the critters won't be strong enough to be a treath.

Most creatures IRL aren't classed as "magical beasts"
Internal consistency, user. In a setting where humans aren't necessarily at the top of the food chain, it makes sense that not all animals would be frightened, especially when there are some animals that could take on a whole town if adventurers dont show them what's for

Ah yes there needs to be no realism in fantasy.
All animals and people who aren't important avoid the party.
You can walk across an entire country with ease because the important thing is on the other side of the country.
Eating? Drinking? Sleeping? Not in fantasy! Too real!
Let me guess, you hopped on board your gm's plot train and rode the railroad all the way to the end of the campaign.

Going by that token, I guess you mention every five-ten seconds to your GM that your character is breathing in/exhaling, yes?

Murderhobo spotted.


Is this Veeky Forums now? All it takes is one contraryfag to derail an entire thread?

>especially when there are some animals that could take on a whole town if adventurers dont show them what's for
Yet you can still find a house cats in most villages, go figure.

Can we turn it into a random tables thread?

Don't mind him, "murderhobo" is basically synonymous with "person who treats it like a game" and "person who tries to actually be useful."

Although I guess it speaks to a roleplayer's mentality when, in a world where you could basically be anything, they still choose to be worthless sakes of shit who aren't team players.

Go figure.

Yeah, pretty much. If you want actually decent tabletop discussions, try going to /v/

I'm more confused than before

I'm down



The autistic screeching begins.

>not tailoring encounter tables to set an areas tone
What better way to differentiate banditheim from spoopwood than by the shit the players can encounter?

Not all random encounters have to be combat either. It could just be a merchant caravan, a travelling mendicant, or a bunch of refugees. Or a Troll demanding a toll, that sort of thing. It makes the world seem more alive yanno

And the benefit to having it be random is so it can surprise you, the GM. At best, it'll make you think up something you wouldn't have thought of before. At worst you can just ignore it.

I thought it was the GM's task to know everything.

Not really. You don't have to know every exact detail of the world.
In the case above, it's impossible for all but the fabled autismo-gods to keep track of every single bandit gang in the nearby area, and each group said gang sends out.
It also means you don't have to keep track of every single merchant caravan's location and so on.
It's an abstraction that gives the feel of a living world, without ridiculous busywork

Great, gonna have that song stuck in my head all day now

Thanks OP

I make ends meet

I make a table with different "biomes" or areas where the campaign takes place. Roll from that at the appropriate time.

Also the players can directly influence in the outcome of random encounters (like searching for the source of the wolves and killing everyone so the wolves stop coming), but I won't make it easy. I consider it a sidequest.

Two-section table:

Truly random encounters, meant to build atmosphere (Griffons want your horses! Bandits on the road! Angry dinosaurs! Non-angry dinosaurs! Friendly merchants! Asshole merchants! Solid mix of combat, non-combat, and fluff encounters here) and Plot-building encounters meant to set up stuff for later (A friendly merchant who's getting murdered later, bandits infested with plot-related fungus, herbivorous dinosaurs safely grazing on hazardous materials because they'll need the organs for a potion later, etc.). On the player's end, these look pretty similar but the plot-building encounters tend to have recurring characters or elements that will come up later in the plot.

Personally, I prefer the term "Authentic", Also, I agree. There is an entire world out there that does not give 2 shits about the PCs and their stories.

Today that is true. Because animals have learned to fear humans. But in medieval times animals wouldn't fear humans as much.

Also, take a loot at Africa, lions are constantly attacking villages because they do not fear the undeveloped apes. Animals fear machines and unnatural structures, not people by itself.

A gorilla will always beat you up over running away

Sadly yes, I think its better if you go to /v/, claim you are making a videogame and ask them what could the players find along the road that would make it interesting. Probably more helpful that new-Veeky Forums

>mixing the Random Weather Encounter Table with actual travelling Random Encounters Table.

Stop. At the start of each day you roll to determine the weather of the day, according to the season your characters currently are. This should affect all encounters for the day.

No, see:
A DM skill shines when he can make something up on the spot.

One thing I will say: glorifying random encounters like it was in this thread is wrong in my opinion. Because while it can be good, it should be used sparingly: fights should be something entertaining and tense, not something that can be easily expected by the players.

>GM rolls
>"Oh, he is rolling another combat encounter. Everyone brace yourselves for a fight..." sigh

That's no fun at all. In my opinion.

>le every encounter is a fight meme
>"Oh, the DM is rolling hopefully is a merchant!"
Also the DM rolling is suppose to be hidden from the players view.
>not constantly rolling anyway for no reason because you "love rolling" anyway
There is a thousand ways to fool the players, they are autistic.

Well ya the whole point of having a DM instead of just playing a video game is the fact that ANYTHING can happen and you can do ANYTHING about it. Just fighting straightforward battles with random monsters is a fucking waste imo.

I personally wont have a session unless i have had a chance to make a list of 100 encounters and roadside places of interest. I also prefer to have 20 or so dungeons made up, but i can deal with less of those, to an extent.

If i dont have my lists, i will burn through my neat ideas halfway through the session and encounters will end up being goblin band #437 attacks.

With my lists though, everything comes out better for all involved.

For instance, the party is travelling and rolls an encounter so i D100 and it lands on 82, i pull up encounter 82 and its Doppleganger disguised as a ravaged woman attempting to frame a group of armed men of raping her and slaying her husband.

In truth the men are taking a lockbox full of the counties taxes to the nearest duke and the doppleganger and its friends means to have to gold for themselves.

Will our heroes detect evil on the doppleganger or pass a sense motive check, resulting in a fight with a group of dopplegangers, or will they rush blindly into combat, slay the men only to have to deal with the dopplegangers after they are weakened from battle? Will the dopplegangers ride in disguised as reinforcements to the guards, only to use their disguise as means of getting some cheap shots in at the guards and sowing chaos in the battle.

My name is Goblin Valgoblin!

>A gorilla will always beat you up over running away
You are a retard.

More like this?


I stole a loaf of bread!


This is just wrong. Encounter tables often include non-combat stuff. They originally (and traditionally) have a lot of combat or otherwise "action required" type stuff because their original purpose was to drain party resources and serve as an incentive to not dilly-dally in dangerous places. That is, however, hardly the only thing they are capable of, and combat is hardly the only way to accomplish that.

For fun, I grabbed a random encounter table from the module I'm currently reading and color-coded it. You'll notice that there's a solid mix between combat and non-combat encounters.

Yes, fighting stuff can be an important part of an encounter table (just like it can be an important part of a tabletop RPG), but the idea that that's exclusively what they're for is just as erroneous as the idea that that's exclusively what tabletop RPGs are for.

>Today that is true. Because animals have learned to fear humans. But in medieval times animals wouldn't fear humans as much.
They would if humans could shoot fire out of their hands, summon undead, and could easily bench press a small bear without tiring.
>A gorilla will always beat you up over running away
Since when?

Yet and still, less than half the list that you provided has examples that are definitively non-combat encounters and most games follow the same kind of logic.

Notice in my post I never used "always" or "all the time" I said usually, meaning more often than not. You can have "encounters" where all you do is lose a torch or run into a merchant or hunt for food but those instances are the exception, not the rule.

Random encounters have always been associated with combat more often than not and you're not going to undo over 30-40 years of RPG conventions just because you feel as though random encounters should be more than just combat.

You literally responded to:

>"Where does it say that a random encounter can only be a combat? Who decided that?"


>"Almost every RPG ever made? There's a reason why whenever you think of the phrase "encounter table," it's usually full of random monsters to fight."

And, assuming you're still the same guy, you said that after claiming that "something besides a combat" is "not what a random encounter means".

Was I supposed to get something else from that? Either I'm talking to more than one person here, or you've radically changed your stance on what a random encounter is. If you're going to walk it back to say "random encounters are often combat", then sure, yeah, duh. But that's definitely not what it seems like you were trying to say.

Listen, it's not my fault that you misunderstood my point, it just means you have to pay closer attention next time.

Oh, you're just fucking around. I get it.

Oh, so now you're going to be a salty bitch because you proven wrong? Whatever kid.

Doesn't change the fact that for most people "random encounter" is synonymous with "combat."

Wait, what? Just one post ago you said I misunderstood your point, and then you went right back and said it again (although you walked it back a little bit from "that's not what a random encounter is" to "most people think that's not what a random encounter is").

No! You're wrong! That's not right! What the hell man? You've got to be fucking with me, there's no way you're practicing this level of cognitive dissonance on accident.

Easy there Chekhov.

>lions don't fear underdeveloped apes

Only weak, old, sick lions become man-eaters in general. Shit, there's tribes who "hunt" by slowly and assertively approach lions that have downed an animal, which makes the big cats run away, because they think the humans don't fear them and must thus be more dangerous.

>a gorilla will beat you up over running away

Ok you're a retard or baiting.

Just because you're confused by basic logic doesn't mean that I am.

I have like 4 planned encounters that could have combat, and 8 random encounters that don't have combat. Then I just roll. Simple. Having statblocks for monsters is useful whether they come up or not. You never know when you'll need them later.

>most people who go camping don't end up getting mauled to death by a wolf of something.

The reason for that is almost all wolves have been wiped out (and the few that exist fear humans because they're smart).

That would not be true in a fantasy setting with more appropriate human and wolf populations.

With the amount of wolves that the average adventuring party decimates during a casual stroll through the woods, do you really think that wolves won't eventually learn to fear all humans, lest they cleave through them in one stroke or set them on fire with a spell?

>With the amount of wolves that the average adventuring party decimates

I don't know what sort of games you play in, but I've played in over a dozen campaigns over 20 years, and I would say with only one exception, none of the games had more than a single fight against a group of wolves.

>fear all humans, lest they cleave through them in one stroke or set them on fire with a spell

Furthermore, I would add that most campaigns aren't japanese animes where there are hundreds of adventurers and they are more common than even the peasants.

exactly, when half the world is wilderness and full of animals predators and other monsters are plentiful

Well it's not like most people IRL go out of their way to hunt down wolves either, yet they'll still clear the fuck if they see a human nearby on the off chance that they're dangerous.

Why would it be any different in a setting where where magic exists?

You realize the difference between what the norm for north america which was once half a million wolves (compared to about 10 million native americans), and the modern era which is 300-3000 wolves for the entire continent (compared to 550 million people). Most people will simply never encounter a wolf unless they really go out of their way to look for one, but that obviously wasn't the case once upon a time.

The former is a better example of what wolf to human populations should look like in a fantasy setting, and obviously most of those wolves encounter 95%+ of the population which are simply random peasants, many of whom are children.

exactly, wolves are predators which target the weak and injured first
they'll kill livestock or children not groups of adults or the players unless they're super fucked up from a different fight

>DM claims it's a peaceful kingdom
>DM didn't do shit to the random encounter list to make it reflect his idea of a peaceful kingdom
Sounds like operational error to me.

Yeah, that's because it rushed ahead of all the other memes and fell into a trap.

Random encounters while traveling are good. Sometimes they should involve combat. Life-and-death struggles every time you're on the road is just stupid, though. What kind of world is this place? How would these societies even function?

I need to go update my Map of Clichea.

why are you such a shit GM that you can't turn a random encounter into a plot point? Are you capable of improvising at ALL?

>With the amount of wolves that the average adventuring party decimates

I've only played one game that had encounters with wolves and they nearly wiped the party.

Don't fuck with wolves

I don't roll for encounters, but I draft up some filler fights if I feel there's going to be a boring stretch of "and then you guys ride till sunset, make camp, sleep, get up, ride till sunset, make camp, sleep, get up, ride till sunset..." because they need to travel 500 miles and there's no teleport available.

pay closer attention to the post you are reading. Children and peasants are 90% of the medieval population, not 90% of the wolves' target.

Wolves DO NOT avoid adult people, even today if you wander into a wolves forest alone, you will die. Just google student gets mauled by wolves or something. A case about a dude that went to study on a cabin far away from civilization. He never returned, only a bloodbath remained. Or the "super pack" of wolves going around in Canada or some shit that was killing teachers. Such super pack today would not even be considered that big 500 years ago, before humans wrecked the animal kingdom's population.

Yes, they attack the injured first, but you fail to realize they are the ones causing the injury first. Wolves tactic revolve around weakening and testing the pray, if it gets injured its as good as dead.

The One Ring has actual mechanics for making travel interesting and meaningful.