ENCOUNTERS # 1

I have been playing role-playing games since 1986 and most of that time has been as a Dungeons Master. Throughout my life, role-playing games have consistently been one of my favorite hobbies. I like to run a sandbox style campaign, developing my campaigns as a loose idea that forms to meet the player characters. Often this means gaming sessions do not go as I plan. I found it useful to develop small encounters that I could use as random encounters and as side tracks to guide the party or accommodate players who truly want to explore their characters motives. This first set of encounters are designed for characters that are traveling by road. When used as a random encounter table I roll one die eight (1d8), on a 1-6 consult the table on a 7-8 no encounter takes place.

Road Encounters

1. Ankle Holes [CR 0 ~ 10XP]

Read to Player’s: The road ahead is covered with leaves and branches as if a great storm had passed through.

The road for the next 1/4 mile is filled with leaves and branches. A dozen ankle holes have been dug throughout the trail. A Wisdom (Perception) Check DC 15 is required to spot the ankle holes. Anyone walking on this stretch of road must make a Dexterity (Acrobatics) check (10) to avoid twisting an ankle. A twisted ankle reduces movement by 1/4. A horse or other beast of burden will automatically fail and be lame for d4+3 days moving at 1/4 movement. A cure wounds spell or 1d3 days of rest will eliminate the penalty. This encounter play’s well as precursor to any ambush style encounters. Award 10xp for successfully avoiding the trap.

2. The road side stand [CR 3 ~ 700XP]

Read to Player’s: Up ahead a small wagon has been set up like a roadside stand. There are five stools set up in front of the wagon. An elderly man sits inside the wagon watching you approach. When you’re close enough the man says “fresh elderberry juice for sale 1 cp a cup.” He follows up with “winter berry wine still good from last year’s harvest 1 sp for a fresh cup.” He has several medium cask propped on a small stand next to.

Of course nothing is as it seems. The old man is a doppelganger looking for easy prey. Players may make a passive Wisdom (Perception) Check against Charisma (Deception +6) [DC 20] to sense something seems out of place. The wine is poisoned with sleeping poison, Constitution save DC 10. The save is made 5 minutes after drinking a cup of wine, each cup drank adds +5 to the difficulty check. Failing a save give the player a disadvantage for 5 rounds before causing her to become unconscious for 30 rounds minus her constitution score. (Fighter has constitution of 15 and fails a save, she would be unconscious for 15 rounds.) His goal is to waylay a few unsuspecting passersby for new identities and gold.

He will make conversation [languages: Common] with anyone who sits at his stand, Wisdom (Insight +3) [15] against players Wisdom (Insight). If the doppelganger fails three times the player knows something is wrong with this conversation. The conversation generally follows a flow similar to this: a warm inviting greeting, a sales pitch for wine or juice pushing the wine, inquires to where the person is from “Do you live around here?”, family question: “Are you married, have children, pets?”, why they are traveling “Where are you headed?”, what work (profession) do they do and “Does anyone know you where you are going?” You get the point, think socializing at a party full of strangers.

As the person he is talking to reply’s he reads the surface thoughts to direct the conversation (as if concentrating on a spell). While reading the target’s mind, the doppelganger has advantage on Wisdom (Insight) and Charisma (Deception, Intimidation, and Persuasion) checks against the target.

If the players discover that there is something odd and attack the doppelgangers main goal is to escape. He will attempt to run if he can do so without invoking an attack, Speed 30 feet. The doppelganger makes two melee attacks, he has a short sword [1d6 piercing, finesse] and dagger [1d4 piercing, finesse thrown (range 20/60)] within reach that he will use if needed. His first strike will use Slam adding a +6 to hit the first target.

He will attempt to hide from the players and use his shapechanger abilities to change in to a woman. He has several trees, shrubs and fallen logs positioned for just this purpose with spots to hide his gear. Players may make a passive Wisdom (Perception) check DC 18 to notice the doppelgangers hidden item. Active checks have a DC 10. She will be naked and hiding from the players.

Her story will be that she is lost wondering and after drinking some wine she and her companion bought from an old man, Charisma (Deception +6) [DC 20]. She will read the surface thoughts of the player that talks to her first, giving the player a disadvantage to being deceived. She does not know what happened to her companion. The doppelganger can use its action to polymorph into a Small or Medium humanoid it has seen, or back into its true form. Its statistics, other than its size, are the same in each form. Any equipment it is wearing or carrying isn’t transformed. It reverts to its true form if it dies.

If the doppelganger posions all but one appoint he will Surprise Attack. If the doppelganger surprises a creature and hits it with an attack during the first round of combat, the target takes an extra 10 (3d6) damage from the attack. Ambusher. The doppelganger has advantage on attack rolls against any creature it has surprised.

  • Doppelganger, Neutral
  • AC 14 HP 47 (8d8 + 16)
  • STR 11 (+0) DEX 18 (+4) CON 14 (+2) INT 11 (+0) WIS 12 (+1) CHA 14 (+2)
  • Condition Immunities charmed
  • Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 11
  • Hit: 7 (1d6 + 4) bludgeoning damage

3. Barrel Trap [CR 1 ½ ~ 300XP]

Read to Player’s: A lone crate rest up righted in the middle of the road.

Three Hobgoblin, Mathit, Ektak and Duvla, scouts hide near the side of the road, players can make a Passive Perception DC 12. They were sent to scout raiding routes for the warlord and became lost. They have been lost for several days and are trying to find out where they are so they can get back to their legion. Their intent is to capture a passerby to interrogate them for the information they need.

Their strategy, all be it a simple one, has not worked yet. When anyone stops to investigate the crate Mathit and Ektak open fire with long bows, Ranged Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, range 150/600 ft., and one target. Hit: 5 (1d8 + 1) piercing damage.

Duvla attempts to sneak, Dexterity (Stealth) [12] against passive Wisdom (Perception), around the side of the road to run out, Speed 30 ft., and snatch the smallest person, using a grapple attack and run back to his companions. So far they have lost on of their team to a group priest on a pilgrimage and killed two merchants. Convinced their plan will work they are trying one more time.

If Duvla cannot grab and go he will draw his longsword and attack trying to knock out one of the players. He gets +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., against one target. With the longsword he deals 5 (1d8 + 1) slashing damage, or 6 (1d10 + 1) slashing damage if used with two hands. If this happens Mathit and Ektak will join the fray the next round. Once per turn, all three can deal an extra 7 (2d6) damage to one creature they hit with a weapon attack if that creature is within 5 feet of an ally that isn’t incapacitated.

If the opportunity presents itself the three will grab the weakest looking players and attempt to flee into the woods.

  • Hobgoblin, lawful evil
  • AC 18 (chain mail, shield) HP 14 (2d8 + 2)
  • STR 13 (+1) DEX 12 (+1) CON 12 (+1) INT 10 (+0) WIS 10 (+0) CHA 9 (−1)
  • Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 10
  • Languages Common, Goblin

If the players have never seen Hobgoblins before offer the following description: You see a dark orange skinned man sized gobliniod wearing battle worn chainmail armor. Long dark red-brown unkempt hair pokes out of its helmet. Beneath its beetling brow, yellowish dark brown predator like eyes fixate on you. It has a large blue noise under which its wide mouth grins sporting sharp and yellowed teeth. This creature obviously is relishing the thought of battle.

If you would like the rest of the encounters please download the free pdf here.

The Harness of the Seeker

The Harness of the Seeker is a powerful gift from the god Seeker, granted in times of great need. It is shaped like a glove with holes for fingers and a harness that extends down the wrist and forearm. The Harness is of Neutral Good alignment and its usable by good-aligned clerics only to destroy undead; anyone not of good alignment will take d4 points damage per round that it is worn.

The Harness vibrates whenever undead creatures are near. If the cleric wearing it extends his arm, the Harness will detect all undead within 30 feet of him in the direction his arm is pointed. The Harness is capable of discharging a 30-foot-long bolt that will do 40 points of damage to any undead creature; all the cleric wearing it must do to discharge the bolt is to point her arm at the undead creature within sight and range and say the word Seeker.

The harness is a charged magical item with respect to bolts. Each bolt uses one charge of the 5 maximum the harness can hold. The device gained its charges through the sacrifice of a magical item on the altar consecrated to the Seeker. If a magical weapon is sacrificed, the device will have a number of charges equal to the highest “plus” of the weapon; thus if it were a sword +1, +2 vs. dragons the Harness would have 2 charges. If a rod, wand or staff is sacrificed, the Harness will have a number of charges equal to the charges of the sacrifice, to a maximum of 5.

When the finial charge is expended, the magic weapon or item sacrificed will reappear in the hand of the person who sacrificed the item. The item will be in the same condition as when it was offered. When the sacrifice is returned the Harness disappears. No one can receive the Harness of the Seeker more than once.

The only known consecrated alter is in the Crypt of Badra Al-Mosak near the Oasis of the White Palm.

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NPC LOG

In the free PDF, are a list of a few NPC personality’s that any DM can use on the fly. I fully flesh out my NPC’s as need arises during the game. With a little work these could also be used by players for a new character idea. I have included a few blank pages at the end of this that can be used to flesh out your own NPC’s. Use the format if you like it. Email me with any comments or questions, DM Todd.

The format I use is below, while I label each heading you will notice that when I develop my NPC I type over the heading. I think most of the categories are self-explanatory but in case you are a new DM or have not fleshed out NPC’s before I will explain how I use them. The Name is what the NPC is called. Sex, Race Class Alignment and Abilities are all defined by the system that you use these characters for. I interchange these NPC’s between D&D and Pathfinder with ease. I’m sure it could be used for other systems two, I just do not play anything else.

I give a few sentence description on how the NPC looks and what they maybe are wearing. I jot down a few words that may describe his general disposition. I develop a moto, kind of an outlook on life, likes and dislikes and any quirks that will help the NPC seem like a real person. There is a lot of information online about character development for writers. I suggest a quick search if you are felling stuck.

The introduction and interview are used to help guide the initial encounter with the NPC. Adventuring and fighting experience is a way you can convey what level the NPC is to the characters without actually giving them a level. You will notice that while I write out a few notes here I do not actually assign a level leaving this open for what I need in game play. Time in location lets the PC’s know what type of information this NPC may have. Again I do not detail what the NPC knows or does not know at this time. I make that up as needed during game play. I find this a good way to mislead players or guide them as needed. Finally I describe how detect evil spell would read and what type of pay the NPC would expect if employed as a hireling.

I hope you find this to be a useful resource. You can get a free copy of the NPC-Tracking Log here. If you like this please sign up for the mailing list, join and share this site on social media. Have fun and Game ON!

Name:

  • Sex: Race: Class: Alignment: Abilities: Str, Dex, Con, Int, Wis, Cha.
  • Brief Description:
    • Disposition:
    • Motto:
    • Likes:
    • Dislikes:
    • Quirk:
  • The Introduction
  • The Interview
  • Adventuring and fighting experience:
  • Time in Area:
  • Detect Evil Spell Results:
  • Pay:

Corrga

  • Male Elf Thief, LN. Str 11, Dex 14, Con 13, Int 16, Wis 8, Cha 9.
  • Corga is from the local forest. He has copper hair and dark green eyes, and a beaked nose. He wears leather armor and wields a club and javelins. He is slow to respond, either contemplating his answers or he just doesn’t pay attention.
    • Disposition: Friendly, Kind-hearted, Ponderous
    • Motto: Never throw pearls before swine
    • Likes: Costumes
    • Dislikes: Heat
    • Quirk: Frequently misunderstands or makes incorrect presumptions
    • Interpersonal Interactions: Tells bad jokes- How do you get holy water? Boil the hell out of it
  • The Introduction
    • A copper haired lanky wood elf dressed in leather armor with a club hanging from his belt and carrying a javelin is the first to answer your call. His dark green eyes keenly survey you. He stand in front of you and just as you are about to speak he introduces himself. “Hail friends, I am known as Corrga of the forest.” After a long contemplative pause, “You seek fellows to join your crusade…” (Again he pauses almost blankly looking at you.) Before you speak he starts again, “I think you could use my skills. After all you know how priests get holy water don’t you?” He what’s for you to reply. “They boil the 9 hell out of it… you get it…” Not that I’m a priest or anything…
  • The Interview
    • Adventuring and fighting experience: After he composes him-self and a long pause… “I have applied my skills throughout the local forest… (Pauses to collect his thoughts) even delving in a few long forgotten ruins. I made my way here across the grassland… (He stops and looks off into the distance)….” He studies your face seeming to pounder your expressions.
    • Time in Town: Newly Arrived
    • Detect Evil Spell Results: untainted
    • Pay: 300gp for 1 month plus ½ of equal share of treasure

Atel Staby

  • Female Human Fighter, LN. Str 17, Dex 13, Con 9, Int 12, Wis 7, Cha 13.
  • Atel is fair in appearance, with thin gray hair and hazel eyes. She hails from Damara and is not used to being in civilized lands. She wears banded mail and wields a scythe. Atel speaks with a loud voice.
    • Argumentative: Hot-tempered. Dresses in furs.
    • Motto: Never be led by peer pressure.
    • Likes: Summer
    • Dislikes: Fall
    • Quirk: Superstitious
    • Interpersonal Interactions: Has a bad reputation
  • The Introduction
    • You hear a woman loudly exclaim “Well Met!” as she approaches you. Her banded mail can is barely visible through the furs she wares. Your nose burns from her body odor, her un-kept straight grey her betrays her age as her hazel eyes scan your table. She wields a scythe she that firmly plants and leans on. “Well Met! (She broadcasts loudly) people call me Staby! Though my name is Atel (she pauses to scratch her crotch), I am here to join your party!” She is not quite screaming at you but she is talking in a very LOUD voice.
  • The Interview
    • Adventuring and fighting experience: “My experience!” humph, “I was laying waste to Bulette, Cockatrice and Ogre Mage before you were out of diapers!” Her face is flush and eyes wide with irritation. “Why what did these fools whisper about me…”
    • Time in Area: For many seasons.
    • Detect Evil Spell Results: untainted
    • Pay: 800gp and a fair share of the loot.

Undin

  • Female Dwarf Fighter, N. Str 13, Dex 8, Con 8, Int 8, Wis 11, Cha 13.
  • Her clan calls the Star Mountain home. Undin is short and thin, with thick silver hair and large gray eyes. She wears field plate mail and wields a battle axe and hand axe. Undin is searching for the lost Dwarven mines, which she believes the undead dwarves no occupied.
    • Curious: Intellectual. Known by as the Bum.
    • Motto: Never be too proud to ask for help.
    • Likes: Lizards
    • Dislikes: Other Women
    • Quirk: Always chewing on something
    • Interpersonal Interactions: Often gives others bad or incorrect first impressions
  • The Introduction
    • A dwarven warrior decked head to toe in field plate mail saunters up and slams an ax down on the table. “Heard ya fellows be looking for help. You’ll be needing some from the looks of ya.” You’re not sure but you think it’s a female dwarf, her beard isn’t as long as Bowsers.
  • The Interview
  • Adventuring and fighting experience: “I swung my axe against many a foe.”
    • Time in Town: Arrived just after the undead Dwarves vanished.
    • Detect Evil Spell Results: untainted
    • Pay: a full share of all treasure found

Rarder

  • Male Human Paladin, LG. Str 11, Dex 10, Con 9, Int 15, Wis 13, Cha 14.
  • Rarder rides from the Baulder’s Gate and serves Ilmater. He has silver hair and narrow green eyes, and a broad nose. He wears splint mail, a shield and wields a flail.

    • Pessimistic: Depressing. No common sense.
    • Motto: Remember the ones who love you.
    • Likes: Drama
    • Dislikes: Military
    • Quirk: Chews his nails
    • Interpersonal Interactions: Gullible
  • The Introduction
    • A man dressed in splint mail wielding a shield with a flail strapped to his back strides up holding his head high. His silver hair is cut in the classic monk style, his narrow green eyes gaze down his broad nose at you. His shield bares the holy symbol of Ilmater. “Well met, brothers in arms. Judging by your station I believe you are whom I seek. I am Rarder, holy warrior in service of Ilmater.”
  • The Interview
    • Adventuring and fighting experience: “I hail from Baulder’s Gate in service to Ilmater as a holy warrior. I have alleviated the suffering of many in my days.”
    • Time in Town: Last few days.
    • Detect Evil Spell Results: untainted
    • Pay: Aid on his quest to retake the temple in exchange for 1 month’s service. Must retake the temple first.

Freyny

  • Male Human Fighter (Barbarian), N. Str 14, Dex 7, Con 12, Int 11, Wis 11, Cha 11.
  • Freyny is Rahemen from the Mulsantir. He is common in appearance, with white hair and hazel eyes. He wears hide armor and wields a battle axe and throwing axe. Freyny seeks revenge against the sister (Asta) who betrayed him. Capricious: Impulsive. Hick.
    • Motto: Be more diplomatic with adventure.
    • Likes: Horses
    • Dislikes: Lizards
    • Quirk: Frequently misunderstands or makes incorrect presumptions
    • Interpersonal Interactions: Openly Racist Against nonhumans
  • The Introduction
    • Is it a best or a man wrapped in hide and furs, either way the stench wafts at your nose. It’s a man, he pounds his chest with one hand and lifting his battle ax high with the other, “I am Freyny of Rahmen, Slayer of Orc.” His hazel eyes dart back and forth from you and your companion. “My ax is at your service if it can end orc scum.”
  • The Interview
    • Adventuring and fighting experience: I fought in the Theyvian incursion and against the Horde. I am battle tested.”
    • Time in Town:
    • Detect Evil Spell Results: untainted
    • Pay: 1 full share of all treasure and council payments, plus a guarantee that he will kill something every day, no sitting around on our arse.

Safrica

  • Male Half-orc Thief, LN. Str 9, Dex 12, Con 10, Int 9, Wis 6, Cha 7.
  • Safrica of Vassa is heavyset, with straight copper hair and amber eyes. He wears leather armor and wields a morning-star and sap. Safrica abandoned his guild. Courage: Shy. Bald.
    • Motto: Don’t underestimate the time it takes to do something.
    • Likes: Intricate things
    • Dislikes: Rocks
    • Quirk: Blinks excessively
    • Interpersonal Interactions: Does good deeds often
  • The Introduction
    • Cloaked in heavy wool, a heavy set man approaches. Tuffs of copper hair protrude from his hood, which occasionally opens to reveal amber eyes. He rest her gloved hands on the table and leans in. In whispered tones “I am Safrica of Vassa and I can assist you in your quest. I pilfer what others cannot.”
  • The Interview
    • Adventuring and fighting experience: I have explored many places and encountered many foul beasts.
    • Time in Town: A few months.
    • Detect Evil Spell Results: tainted
    • Pay: What will you offer?

Ceithla

  • Female Elf Bard, NG. Str 12, Dex 8, Con 13, Int 17, Wis 8, Cha 12.
  • Ceithla has golden hair and blue eyes. She travels from Simberholm in Cormanthor. She wears studded leather and wields a short sword and short bow. She plays an eight string Elven Lyre. She says should would like to chronical the tales of your band.

    • Courage: Fearless. Miserly.
    • Motto: Live and learn.
    • Likes: Fall
    • Dislikes: Vegetables
    • Quirk: Frequently misunderstands or makes incorrect presumptions
    • Interpersonal Interactions: Unconcerned with politeness
  • The Introduction
    • Melody fills the tavern as an elven minstrel strums an elven lyre and begins to sing an elven tale. She mesmerizes most of the patrons with her voice and strumming. A hush falls over the tavern as she meanders to where she sits and with a somewhat dramatic flair ends her ballad. (Insert Elven Character Name)I presume, I am Ceithle, and I hail from southern wood in our home land. I have heard you’re tale and come to chronical it for the generations to follow.”
  • The Interview
    • Adventuring and fighting experience:
    • Time in Town:
    • Detect Evil Spell Results: untainted
    • Pay: Whatever you feel is fair.