random encounter charts

Someone posted some to the Yahoo Conan club, if I recall correctly. However, I have never been in favour of random encounter charts in general. A well constructed story doesn't need them. If the gamesmaster wants an encounter, then one should be provided by the gamesmaster. Encounters should, like any other element of a story, enhance the story in some manner. If randomness is desired, a random table should be custom made for any particular encounter area. A random encounter table for, say, all of Aquilonia, would be ludicrous, as Aquilonia includes many terrain types and possibilities.

If you want the players to think it is just a random encounter, then choose an encounter, roll some dice, look at some notes, nod your head and go!
 

cornelius

Mongoose
I agree . Part of the joy of Conan is that it discourages the random wandering / dungeon bash type of play . Plus , most of the in -game encounters will be humans of various races , most of the nasties have fairly well - defined areas where they occur or are summoned by sorcerers . The gazeteer (and I presume RoK ) gives enough general info on what sort of people you'll find in a given area and this combined with the pre - generated NPCs from the Free Stuff download pretty much give you all you need for encounters . As you said , if the story is tight enough , you won't need random encounters .
 

urdinaran

Mongoose
I agree, you should not rely heavily on such charts, but they are nice to keep the party on their toes. Since the Hyborian world is much less populated with monsters as traditional settings, most random encounters will be of the Human variety. These encounters can happen anywhere, and will keep the party guessing... did that band of thugs that tried to rob us have anything to do with the mission we are on? etc. etc. What I am getting at is that sometimes without these random happenings the campaign can become boring, as the party knows that anything that happens out of the ordinaray has something to do with the adventure. Ya might as well hold up a big sign that says "Plot Hook". Just my $.02.
 

Yuan-Ti

Mongoose
I do use random encounter tables when long-distance overland travel is called for in a scenario. However, I tailor the table to the adventure rather than simply plug in some table with 50 encounters on it.

For example, my party is travelling to a cult's temple hidden in the hills. It is a fair 12 hour shot from the starting point. Much of it is overland (i.e., there is no trail that the PCs know about, but they can see a terrain feature which they were told to head for). So, my random encounter table (which I only roll on twice) includes: nothing, the site of a battle between some slavers and bandits, some Acheronian ruins (includes a VERY SMALL dungeon -- 3 rooms), a pack of wolves, and hitting a trail which heads in the general direction they are heading but which results in their running into a patrol from the temple. That's it, and each has a bit more flavor (except the wolves) than, "You round a corner and find yourself face to face with a bugbear." "You round a corner and find yourself face to face with 10 orcs." ad nauseam.

Likewise, because I put some work into them and make no effort to have all of them happen, I can save some of these for a later session (such as the Acheronian ruins).

Here's my philosophy on this: random encounters like I have describe do two good things for a campaign. They distract from the adventure in a way that fills up the world more. That is, not everything that happens in a session and not everyone the PCs meet has to do with the story at hand. They can lead to further stories down the road, however. In a similar way, they fill up the world more in the sense that the world is more alive if there are things going on besides the central plot.

Howard filled in the gaps between plot elements with "random encounters" too. Think of "Hour of the Dragon" where Conan runs into a mercenary while escaping from prison, ghouls while chasing a thief, vampires while seeking a priest, etc. Of course, you could do the same thing and simply plan for these events to happen instead of rolling a die. More power to you, but I like a touch of randomness when it comes to non-plot events.
 
Yuan-Ti said:
Here's my philosophy on this: random encounters like I have describe do two good things for a campaign. They distract from the adventure in a way that fills up the world more. That is, not everything that happens in a session and not everyone the PCs meet has to do with the story at hand. They can lead to further stories down the road, however. In a similar way, they fill up the world more in the sense that the world is more alive if there are things going on besides the central plot.

The GM can do both of those good things without it being randomly rolled. Sometimes just randomly thought of at that moment (extemperaneous role-play/games mastering) will be more than suitable.
 

dndhound

Mongoose
I use the tables for inspiration. I roll out four or five encounters and then see how they can interact. I then build the encounters into the story, i already have established.
 

slaughterj

Mongoose
I prefer to go with monstrously powerful / dangerous encounters rather than "random" - some examples from a previous D&D campaign - 2nd level characters encountered a manticore (engaged it in coversation) and a beholder (ran like crazy fools - LOL!). Not everything exists to be fought and killed (at least not the first time enountering ;) ).
 

bampf

Mongoose
I can honestly say in my countless years of DMing (nearly 20... wow I m gettin friggin old), I ve never used random encounter tables. They seem so superfulous to me. I d much rather throw in a meaningless (ie non plot hook) encounter that is suitable to the terrain/scenario/campaign/my whim. That has always worked for me. I ll usually have a couple planned to use as filler or as a fail-safe for those parties who like to stop and rest/recover for ridiculous time periods.
 

Qjedi

Mongoose
We tend to throw in a "luck check" of opposed d12 rolls to determine things like the weather and fellow wanderers, even animal encounters and how good the hunting is or if the characters have to dig out the jerky or tighten their belt a notch or two.
Our rule dynamic works like this:
Dm rolls a SECRET d12. Players each roll d12.
If a players roll is exactly the same, the DM grants that character a small boon.
If it is 1-3 points off, something nice happens ie. a tasty small creature, lucky find of herbs, friendly NPC, random object (or even corpse) is found, etc.
If it is 4-6 poinst off, nothing bad happens, but nothing picks that character to try to eat.
If it is over 6 points difference from the DM's roll, something unpleasant happens ie. anything from rations spoiling to a shambling boar thing sneak attacks the character (spot check is allowed, just difficult) depending on how bad the "luck check" is. Over 10 points difference is where I send something truly horrid that the group has no chance of defeating.

The most important part of this is keeping the DM's roll secret. Don't let them know what you have decided, that way if inspiration strikes you can fudge. It's just a tool to use for random inspiration, it isn't a substitute for planning or preparation.

Taking the luck checks as a group I determine weather, friendliness and availability of locals, etc. All bad checks can be devastating to a group and has resulted in a great deal of fun for everyone running from truly overpowering odds. All good checks can result in a friendly safe haven or finding a "shortcut/adventure hook/randome treasure/useful NPC/favorable winds or currents/et al."
A mixed blend of good and bad is something we figure as we go with bad weather but a rundown inn with a warm fire or maybe a dead, looted caravan and an easy trail to follow.

Wow, looking back over this it's a pretty big mechanic, but it is really a simple rule and probably could be rewritten more succinctly, but it is just a nice way to do things if you have nothing better planned.

Well, that does it for now, just try to have fun.
 

bampf

Mongoose
Qjedi-

Sounds like a cool addition, but a ton of overhead! So, you d need to record a luck +/- for every character and then decide on the opportune time to introduce a luck event for each? Seems like a lot. A single group luck roll sounds much more managable.
 

Qjedi

Mongoose
Heck no, we just use them at the time, it is adding and subtracting in your head. We use luck rolls between 5 and 15 times in a game, they really introduce that element of random bad luck that Conan seems to always have.
We also are testing out lasso rules for the Pict's and their habit of dropping a loop over your head, etc. Pretty fun so far, and the DM is having a blast with our "dragon-wranglin'" tecniques. *shudders*
Anyhoo, just keep the roles for a spot of "randomness" to determine weather or decide between "Raiders or Traders?"
Or if Conan knocks the vase over while sneaking in through the window of the nobles bedroom...
It isn't something you save up for a session, hour, next encounter, etc...
 

Iron_Chef

Mongoose
Here's the random encounter tables I created.

HYBORIAN AGE WILDERNESS ENCOUNTER TABLES

Initial Status of Any Encounter
Refer to the NPC Reaction Table in Conan The RPG
(p.92), modified by PC actions, to determine the
initial attitude of NPCs encountered. Subsequent
motives may then be deduced from the NPCs'
general attitude toward the player characters.

Wilderness Encounters
Roll 1d12, add +2 if the encounter occurs at night.

DESERT
1 Waterhole (20% chance of an Oasis)
2 Sandstorm
3 Caravan
4 Nomads
5 Skeleton
6 Snake, Giant
7 Hyena Pack
8 Survivor
9 Camel
10 Sorcerer
11 Ruins
12+ Monster or Special

FORESTS
1 Poachers
2 Borderers
3 Fire
4 Bear
5 Deserters
6 Ruins
7 Bandits
8 Wild Game
9 Edible Plants
10 Wolves
11 Boar
12+ Monster or Special

HILLS
1 Hillmen
2 Waterhole
3 Heavy Rains & Wind
4 Deserters
5 Bandits
6 Ruins
7 Hillmen
8 Bear
9 Noble Army
10 Wolves
11 Hillmen
12+ Wolves

JUNGLE
1 Barbarians
2 Waterhole
3 Snake, Viper
4 Skeleton
5 Great Cat
6 Heavy Rains & Wind
7 Wild Game
8 Edible Plants
9 Barbarian War Band
10 Ruins
11 Sorcerer
12+ Monster or Special (Lotus)

MOUNTAINS
1 Barbarians
2 Waterhole
3 Snowstorm
4 Rock Slide
5 Heavy Rains & Wind
6 Bandits
7 Rock Slide
8 Bandits
9 Barbarian War Band
10 Barbarian War Band
11 Eagle, Giant
12+ Monster or Special

PLAINS
1 Noble Army
2 Mule Train
3 Free Company
4 Village
5 Festival
6 Noble Army
7 Bandits
8 Travelers
9 Fire
10 Angry Mob
11 Bandits
12+ Slavers

ROADS
1 Angry Mob
2 Caravan
3 Caravan
4 Mule Train
5 Travelers
6 Refugees or Pilgrims
7 Free Company
8 Noble Army
9 Slavers
10 Bandits
11 Assassins
12+ Special

STEPPES
1 Waterhole
2 Nomads
3 Caravan
4 Dust Storm
5 Wild Game
6 Nomad War Band
7 Nomad War Band
8 Edible Plants
9 Wild Horses
10 Ruins
11 Sorcerer
12+ Special

SWAMPS
1 Waterhole
2 Snake, Giant (Large Viper)
3 Snake, Giant (Large Viper)
4 Edible Plants
5 Spies
6 Wild Game
7 Bandits
8 Bandits
9 Hermit
10 Ruins
11 Sorcerer
12+ Monster or Special (Lotus)

TUNDRA
1 Barbarians
2 Heavy Rains & Wind
3 Snowstorm
4 Wild Game
5 Elk
6 Deer
7 Edible Plants
8 Barbarian War Band
9 Bandits
10 Wolves
11 Wolves
12+ Monster or Special

UNDERGROUND
1 Waterhole
2 Skeleton
3 Bear
4 Badger
5 Edible Plants
6 Snake. Giant
7 Spider, Giant
8 Cave-In
9 Cave-In
10 Spider, Giant
11 Sorcerer
12+ Monster or Special

Definitions of Encounters
Angry Mob: 1d10x10 armed peasants who 1) blame
foreigners for their troubles; 2) are revolting against
new higher taxes; 3) are searching for one or more
criminals to lynch (possibly mistaking the PCs for the
criminals); or 4) searching for a missing child. Roll for
crowd reaction.
Assassins: 1d10 innocuously disguised thieves
attempt to befriend the PCs and accompany them on
their journey. At an opportune moment, which could
be several days later, the assassins attempt to sneak
attack the PCs, murder them, steal their possessions,
and then vanish into the night. There is a 10% chance
the assassin leader is level 1d3+3 and wanted by a
nearby ruler with a bounty on his head (1d4x100 sp).
Badger: There is a 20% chance of finding 1d4+1
badgers.
Bandits: 1d3x10 thieves attempt to ambush and sneak
attack the characters or extract payment for passage
through their area. The bandits are armed with hunting
bows or light crossbows; all have Point Blank Shot,
Rapid Shot, and Precise Shot. There is a 10% chance
the bandit leader is level 1d3+3 and wanted by a
nearby ruler with a bounty on his head (1d4x100 sp).
Barbarian War Band: 1d10x100 barbarians are out
1) carrying out a blood feud on a neighboring clan or
tribe, 2) ambushing all trespassers, 3) extorting bribes
from those wishing to cross their territory. If not
immediately hostile, roll for NPC reaction.
Barbarians: 1d10 barbarians are out 1) carrying out a
blood feud on a neighboring clan or tribe, 2) hunting
wild game, 3) are non-combatant women and children
gathering roots, nuts or berries. Roll for NPC reaction.
Bear: There is a 20% chance there are two bears.
Boar: A wild boar charges the PCs.
Borderers: 1d10 borderers are 1) tracking wild game,
2) tracking fleeing bandits, 3) tracking rampaging
barbarians, 4) returning home from a successful day
hunting. Roll for NPC reaction.
Camel: A herd of 5d6 wild riding camels is seen.
Caravan: A party of 1d10 merchants or nobles
carrying 1d10x1000 gl in rare goods, guarded by
1d10x10 troops (roll only once for all three values).
Cave-In: Listen check DC 15 to get an advance
warning 1d4 rounds before the ceiling caves in.
Balance check DC 10 to be able to move when the
cave-in starts, Reflex save DC 15 to avoid cave-in.
Cave-in renders victims prone, helpless and
suffocating in addition to 4d10 damage.
Deer: A herd of 4d6 deer are encountered.
Deserters: 2d10 hungry, half-crazed soldiers who
have deserted from the army. Roll for NPC reactions.
Dust Storm: Vision and movement reduced to 50%.
Missile weapons are -4 to hit and all range increments
are reduced to 50%. Tracking becomes impossible.
Eagles, Giant: 1d3 of these beasts swoop to attack.
Edible Plants: One or more indigenous edible plants,
roots, fruit trees or berry bushes are nearby; Spot (DC
15) to locate.
Elk: A herd of 4d6 Elk are encountered.
Festival: A religious festival beseeching a god for 1)
peace, 2) prosperity, 3) health, 4) happiness with a
10% chance that it involves human sacrifice.
Fire: 75% chance the PCs only see a fire, 25% they
are actually caught in it.
Free Company: 1d6x10 mercenary soldiers who are
1) Journeying to next job (hiring), 2) In service to a
nearby ruler (hiring), 3) In between jobs (not hiring),
4) Fleeing a job gone bad (not hiring). Roll for NPC
reaction.
Great Cat: 1d2 great cats are discovered. These are
panthers or sabretooth tigers in the Pictish Wilderness,
leopards or lions in Kush, or tigers in Vendhya and
Khitai. For lions and tigers, use stats for a sabretooth
tiger, but remove puncture, tooth breaking, and reduce
bite damage to 2d6+3, AP 8.
Heavy Rains & Wind: Movement and vision cut in
half. All rivers unfordable. Missile weapons are -4 to
hit and all range increments are cut in half. Tracking
becomes impossible.
Hermit: A lone eccentric suspicious of strangers.
There is a 50% chance the hermit is a retired borderer
(level 1d6+1). There is a 20% chance the hermit is
actually a witch (Scholar level 1d4+1).
Hillmen: 1d4+1x10 hillmen are out 1) carrying out a
blood feud on a neighboring clan or tribe, 2)
ambushing all trespassers, 3) extorting bribes from
those wishing to use their pass. Roll for NPC reaction
if not immediately hostile.
Hyena Pack: 1d4x10 hyenas shadow the party and
attack if they outnumber them 3 to 1.
Monster or Special: GM’s choice (lotus plants, traps,
etc.), or one or more monsters appropriate to the area
are encountered, such as a Bodiless Slimer, a Black
Fiend, a Child of the Dark, an Elemental, 5d4 Ghouls,
a Ghost Snake (Pictish Wilderness only), a Ghost, a
Grey Ape, a Man-Ape, 2d10 Risen Dead, 1d2
Sabretooth Tigers, a Smoke Serpent, a Son of Set or
Greater Son of Set, a Spawn of Dagoth hill, an
Uncanny Steed, a Vampire, or 1d4+1 Were-Beasts.
Mule Train: From 3d10 mules carrying from
1d10x1,000 GL worth of goods (gems, precious
metals, raw ore, swords) guarded by 5d10 soldiers.
Noble Army: From 3d100 troops who may or may not
work for the lord whose land they are on, and who
want to know the PCs' affiliation. If the PCs are
working for an enemy lord, the NPC reaction is
unfriendly at best, but probably hostile.
Nomads: 1d4+1x10 nomads are 1) carrying out a
blood feud on a neighboring clan or tribe, 2)
ambushing all trespassers, 3) extorting bribes from
those wishing to cross their land. Roll for NPC
reaction if not immediately hostile.
Nomad War Band: 1d10x100 nomads on the warpath
for either civilized folk or a rival tribe. If not
immediately hostile, roll for NPC reaction.
Poachers: 1d10 desperate men who assume the PCs
are looking for them. Roll for NPC reactions. All
diplomacy checks suffer a -4 penalty.
Refugees or Pilgrims: 1d10x10 refugees or religious
pilgrims pass by. Roll for NPC reactions.
Rock Slide: Listen check (DC 10) to notice 1 round
before it hits. Those still in the area must make a
Reflex save (DC 15) and are pushed off the cliff to
whatever doom waits below if they fail. If there is no
cliff, they are instead buried, as by a Cave-In.
Ruins: One or more ruins are discovered: 1) tower, 2)
house, 3) village, 4) city, 5) burial ground, 6) fortress.
The ruins may be home to subhuman savages, bandits,
cultists, a hermit, sorcerer or monsters. Wizard tower
or city ruins often draw sorcerers seeking magical lore
and artifacts from ages past.
Sandstorm: Vision and movement reduced to 25%.
Missile weapons are -4 to hit and all range increments
are reduced to 25%. Tracking becomes impossible.
Skeleton: A long-dead body is stumbled upon. There
is a 20% chance that it has 1) some useful equipment,
2) a treasure map and/or journal, 3) a weapon, 4) a
warning about a nearby danger.
Slavers: A slaver and 1d2x10 soldiers. There are
1d4x10 slaves held in wagons or walking in a coffle.
The slaver may wish to sell slaves to the PCs or
acquire the PCs as slaves. Roll for NPC reactions.
Snake, Giant: A single snake is encountered, either 1)
a tiny viper, 2) a small viper, 3) a medium viper, or 4)
a large viper. In swamps, the snake is always a large
viper. In Kush, Stygia, and Vendhya, the snake will be
a cobra (see p.311). There is a 10% chance in the
Pictish Wilderness that the snake will be a Ghost
Snake. In Stygia, there is a 10% chance that the snake
is a Son Of Set and a 5% chance that it is a Greater
Son of Set.
Snowstorm: Vision and movement reduced to 25%.
Missile weapons are -4 to hit and all range increments
are reduced to 25%. Tracking becomes impossible.
Everyone exposed to the weather takes 1d6 cold
damage per hour.
Sorcerer: A sorcerer (Scholar level 1d4+ 5) and
1d2x10 henchmen (level 2 soldiers) are here seeking
1) Rare plants (such as drugs, lotus, or poison), 2)
Forbidden lore or treasure, 3) Sacrificial victims for a
power ritual or demon-god, or 4) to seek out a rival or
take service with nearby ruler. Roll for NPC reaction.
Spider, Giant: A giant spider ambushes the PCs.
There is a 50% chance that 1d4+1 giant spiders are
present.
Spies: 1d6 thieves begin shadowing the PCs. They
may be assassins, bandits or bounty hunters hired by a
rival or enemy to keep tabs on the PCs or ambush
them as soon as they achieve some specific goal.
Survivor: A lone raving madman, the sole survivor of
a doomed expedition, accosts the PCs. If given food
and water, he may or may not come to his senses.
There is a cumulative 10% chance each day of
permanently regaining his lucidity.
Travelers: 1d4x10 Commoners on their way to a
nearby village, market or city. Roll for NPC reactions.
Waterhole: Clean, drinkable water. Wild animals and
natives flock to these places, making them dangerous.
Wild Game: A lone deer, lizard, rabbit or other
non-dangerous but edible creature is nearby (Spot DC
15 to notice).
Wild Horses: A herd of 5d6 wild riding horses.
Wolves: 2d8 hungry wolves shadow the party and
attack if they outnumber them 3 to 1.[/b]
 

Elfman

Mongoose
So sandstorms don't happen in the desert at night? I'd have thought they would happen regardless of time. I'm no meteorologist, so I can't say for sure, but it seems like this should be possible.

Otherwise it's a nice table, even though I'll probably only use it to get off-storyline ideas for encounters as opposed to true random encounters.
 

slaughterj

Mongoose
Elfman said:
So sandstorms don't happen in the desert at night? I'd have thought they would happen regardless of time. I'm no meteorologist, so I can't say for sure, but it seems like this should be possible.

Otherwise it's a nice table, even though I'll probably only use it to get off-storyline ideas for encounters as opposed to true random encounters.

I'm sure you could come across a water hole / oasis at night, but no big deal ;)
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
..Herd of 4d6 Elks. As far as I know, elks don´t travel in big herds. 1d5 elks is more like it , and that is only during late autumn. During early spring, bulls fight for territory, and get to mate with all cows in their territory.
During early summer, calf are born.

Other times it´s either a lone bull or a cow with 1-3 calf.
 

Arkobla Conn

Mongoose
Remember, this is ultimately a fantasy world, even if it is supposed to be a precursor to this one. Let's not nitpick to hard, there was a lot of great work done here...
 
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