World building and random generation combine in an encounter table for temperate mountains using Dungeons and Dragons 5E.
We build on my first look at Encounter Tables with a simple table which we will expand in follow up articles with extra tables, customisation and extra details.
In the Redcloud Peaks
My current campaign is set in the temperate Redcloud Peaks in the world of Jegev. Let's look at the locals, travellers, beasts and hazards that will be included in our table.
Few live in the Redpeaks, but there are orc tribes in the south and minotaurs in a sprawling complex called the Twisting Labyrinth of Lament. Goliath families roam higher up and there are scattered cloud and storm giants families. Enclaves exist of other races including the Aarakocra (bird-men).
Beyond a wary ranger or druid travellers are rare but do include some mercenaries from goliath and orc tribes seeking work. Undead from the Mirasa Dominion also serve as mercenaries, but also as patrols or scouts. Sometimes they look for humans fleeing the Dominion through the high passes, seeking a better life. The Black Network has strongholds hidden in the peaks and they can be found as guards, patrols or spies.
The Redclouds are wilderness, with legends around the many types of wolves preying on the many types of goats. Others watch the skies for giant eagles and the occasional dragon.
Lastly there are shrines to many powers scattered through the peaks. To wilderness and mountain gods, those of the orcs and others lost and forgotten. Avalanches and freak weather occurrences are also reported by travellers.
Keeping it Simple
For the simple version I decided to:
- use the 1d8+1d12 format I cover below
- keep it to one roll on one table. No extra tables, re-rolls or big decisions.
- not worry about CR. With encounters too hard
- Varying levels of CR. Encounters that are too high a CR. A common complaint of encounter tables is probably hostile encounters that would just kill the PCs. Depending on the type of game you have several options here. (Let them face it (Let the Dice fall as they may, increase chance of them detecting it before it sees them, let them encounter it in an abstract way, such as just its tracks.
- Keep it to just creatures and beasts, leaving hazards and locations for another time.
- Include the numbers. Other times just the monster type specified and let GM match the numbers.
Championed by both the 2nd and 5th Editions of the D&D Dungon Master's Guide, the d12+d8 is a simple table that gives a result between 2 and 20.
Unlike a simple 1d20 roll, each number in the table have different odds of coming up. The numbers toward the outside come up less often and are perfect for rarer creatures. Numbers 9-13 are the most likely to occur and each have an equal chance of coming up.
This was illustrated by the copy of the 2E table included below.
The generator version of the table can be found at at EN World OGRE
- 2: 1 Silver Dragon
- 3: Orc Warband (1 Orc Warchief, 1 Eye of Gruumsh, 10d6 Orcs, 2d6 Worgs and an Ettin)
- 4: 1d3 Minotaurs leading 3d6 Orcs
- 5: 1d3 Giant Eagles
- 6: 1 Druid
- 7: Human Refugees from the Dominion of Mirasa (2d6 Commoners lead by 1d3 Scouts)
- 8: Black Network Patrol or Mercenaries (2d6 Human Bandits and 1d3 Thugs lead by a Bandit Captain) [Placeholder for Organisation]
- 9: 2d6 Orcs and 1 Eye of Gruumsh
- 10: 2d6 Wolves or Giant Wolves
- 11: 2d6 Goliaths (use bugbear stats but can speak Giant instead of Goblin and replace Stealth with Athletics)
- 12: Dominion of Mirasa Mercenaries / Patrol (2d6 Wights lead by a Wraith) [Placeholder for Neighbouring Encounter Table]
- 13: 1 Minotaur, 1d4 miles from cave entrance to lair
- 14: 3d6 Goats or Giant Goats
- 15: 1 Scout (ranger) or 1 Druid
- 16: 3d6 Wolves or Giant Wolves lead by 1d2 Winter Wolves
- 17: 1d6 Aarakocra
- 18: 1d6 Cloud Giants
- 19: 1d3 Storm Giants
- 20: 1 Red Dragon
In the future we'll look at adding the following
- Neighbouring places,
- Filters for different Challenge Rating levels
- Sub tables with more possible encounters
- More detailed results
- Hazards common for mountains
- Other mountain ranges
- All the D&D 5E Encounter tables!