If you’ve read our first random wilderness encounters for D&D 5e free sample, get ready for even more interesting, dangerous, and entertaining encounters for your fantasy tabletop RPG campaign. We’ve got a list of another twenty encounters that will give you ideas that you can flesh out and use. If you want to generate your own fantasy content, head over to LitRPG Adventures which is powered by GPT-3 from OpenAI, one of the most powerful neural net language generators publicly available at this time.
D20 Random Wilderness Encounters for 5e D&D
Roll a d20 or pick something suitable for your campaign or adventure.
1) The sound of a large creature crashing through the woods will alert the players of a giant that is traveling in the direction of the players. The hill giant is drunk and is on a rampage. If players defend the nearby farm from the hill giant, the farmer will reward them with one acre of prime farming land.
2) Several wild buffalo are traveling through the forest, migrating to greener pastures. A single, male buffalo will challenge the players to a battle of strength. If the players defeat the buffalo, they can harvest his horns. These horns are worth 10gp each, and the meat is plentiful and edible.
3) A group of 1d6 hunters are tracking a deer. They are led by a Doresh, a half-orc ranger wearing a wolf pelt as a cloak. Upon seeing the players, he will order his men to attack the players, as they are heretics to the Green.
4) A group of 1d6 men are patrolling the forest, looking for poachers. If the players look suspicious, they will be arrested and brought to the nearest magistrate. The players can pass a Persuasion check to avoid this fate.
5) A group of 1d6 woodcutters are chopping down trees in order to sell the wood. They are accompanied by two gnolls who are supervising the men.
6) A group of 1d4 mercenaries are searching for a witch who preys on farmers in this region. They are led by a battle-hardened dwarf named Gorlin.
7) 1d6+2 bandits are searching for a merchant to plunder. They are led by a half-orc named Youk, a fighter one level higher than the highest level player.
8) A group of 1d6 adventurers are mapping out the area. If the players look suspicious, they will be questioned. The group belongs to a guild known as “Greenhalls”.
9) A young dragon is flying overhead, searching for a place to set up a lair. This dragon is a rare Green dragon, and is planning to plant a magical garden. If it sees the players, it will offer to hire them as gardeners.
10) A group of 1d4 boys are hunting for herbs to sell to the local apothecary. If they see the players, they will offer to sell them one of the herbs they have already harvested.
11) A group of 1d6 woodcutters are cutting down trees to clear space for their village. If the players look suspicious, the woodcutters will attack them.
12) A group of 1d6 merchants are transporting goods to the nearest town. If the players look suspicious, the merchants will attack them.
13) A group of 1d4 rangers are searching the woods for poachers. If the players look suspicious, the rangers will attack them.
14) A group of 1d10 hunters are tracking a deer. They are led by a Doresh, a half-orc ranger wearing a wolf pelt as a cloak. Upon seeing the players, he will order his men to attack the players, as they are heretics to the Green.
15) A group of 1d4 scouts are tracking a group of 1d20 goblins. The goblins will attack the players as soon as they notice them. There is a 50% chance the scouts will be nearby and help.
16) A group of 1d8 scouts are tracking a group of 1d8 bandits. The bandits will attack the players as soon as they notice them. There is a 50% chance the scouts will be nearby and help.
17) The brush nearby is burned as if a battle has taken place. If players investigate, they will find a wounded halfling named Harry Huffelhouser. He is a low-level ranger who got separated from the rest of his group. He keeps moaning, “Never split the party!” If players heal him, he will pay handsomely – something non-monetary that the players need or will need shortly.
18) The sound of screeching metal will alert the players of an attack. A group of 1d4 gnolls are trying to break down the gate of the nearby farm. The farm is protected by a small watch tower that has a mounted ballista. The farmers name is Griff Green. If players successfully defend his farm, the farmer will pay them 1d6 gp per person.
19) The party stumbles upon 1d4 men who are injured. They are members of the local militia. They are injured because they were tracking 1d8 orcs who are currently tracking the party. If the players leave the militia men, they will have no encounter. If they stay to help or get information, the orcs will catch up and attack. Several of the militia will die in the battle, and players will be hated in the local villages in a fifty mile radius.
20) Four giant spiders are hunting for food. If the players make too much noise or get too close, they will attack.
Random Plains Encounters for Wilderness Settings
Here are some more wilderness encounters with a plains setting. Again, roll a d20 or choose something appropriate.
1) A group of 1d4 men are searching the plains for a recently-escaped criminal. If they see the players, they will ask for help. If the players refuse, they will attack. If they agree, they will escort the players to the local magistrate.
2) A wagon of 1d10 traders are transporting goods to the nearest town. They are protected by a group of 1d4 guards. The traders are a family of deaf mutes with a translator. They will introduce themselves with a series of charades, and the players must correctly guess their name in order to have a conversation. The traders, if befriended, will offer players good prices on basic necessities.
3) The sound of drums is heard in the distance. As players approach, they will see that it is a group of 1d6 minstrels, playing for a crowd of 1d20 peasants. The minstrels will tell players of the local area, and ask for donations. If tipped well, the minstrels will tell the players a secret about the area.
4) A group of 1d4 soldiers are on patrol. They are looking for a group of 1d6 bandits that have been terrorizing the people of the area. Players can help the bandits (who are innocent) or they can help the soldiers. Either way, there will be a battle and some rewards.
5) In the distance, players see a lone figure on an animal. As they get closer, they can tell that it’s a nobleman, riding a war-horse. His armor is polished and gleaming. It is a knight errant looking for a brave group to join. If approached, he will ask for help in defending a nearby village.
6) A group of 1d6 wanderers are searching for water. They are lost and prone to panicking. As players approach, they will see that there are injured, and they are filthy. If players help them, they will be eternally grateful.
7) A merchant’s cart has a broken wheel. He looks as if he’s been stranded on the side of the road for quite some time. Henry Jackson is a traveling salesman who has a good stock of potions and trinkets he’s willing to sell cheap.
8) A lone horse-drawn carriage sits at the side of the road. It has an ornate design, and players can tell that it’s very expensive. The carriage is the property of a rich merchant who is visiting the area. He has been robbed by a group of 1d6 bandits. If players track down the bandits, they will be rewarded with the merchant’s goods.
9) A group of 1d4 old ladies sit together on a hilltop, laughing and gossiping. Each of them has a small garden and they are harvesting fruits and vegetables. If they see players, they may and/or may not be hostile. If they are hostile, they will attack. If they are friendly, they will give players 1d4 pieces of fruit each.
10) A group of 1d4 actors are rehearsing a show about knights and princesses. If players watch for a minute, they will get a sense of the play’s story. If they watch for a few minutes, they will be invited to watch the performance. If they stay for the performance, the players will be asked to help with a party after. This leads to more and more requests on the part of the party – never for reward or pay. If the party ever tries to stop the cycle, the actors will get upset and leave.
11) A group of 1d10 nomads are moving their herd of 1d10+10 cattle from one pasture to another. The players will need to help them by clearing a path through a thick patch of bramble. In exchange, the nomads will offer the players 1d6 pounds of the finest beef.
12) A group of 1d4 scouts are moving through the plains. They are searching for misplaced members of their caravan. If the players approach, the scouts will ask for help. If the players help, they will find the other members of the party in a nearby dungeon protected by a group of 1d6 skeletons.
13) A merchant’s wagons have broken a wheel. He looks as if he’s been stranded on the side of the road for quite some time. This is a trick! The merchant is a smuggler and is hiding a group of 1d6 bandits. If the players help him, the bandits will sneak attack, getting a free round on the players unless they notice the trap.
14) A wandering cleric is collecting donations for his temple. If the players talk to him, he will ask for help in clearing a nearby dungeon of 1d4+2 goblins. If the players are very generous, the cleric will ask the players to join his temple. If they accept, they will be able to purchase magic items at a discount, and they will gain a permanent +1 to hit and damage (but only against goblins).
15) A group of 1d4 mercenaries are watching over a caravan of 1d12 merchants. If the merchants are attacked, the mercenaries will respond and attempt to protect them. The players will be offered a job. If they accept, the mercenaries will stop working and begin to get drunk, causing trouble on the journey. The trick here is to get the mercenaries respect to get them to help before all hell breaks loose.
16) Two men are arguing over the price of a donkey. They are willing to sell it to players for 1d100 GP. One is the seller, the other is a thief.
17) A group of 1d4+2 horsemen are on patrol. They are looking for a group of 1d4 horse thieves. If players approach, the horsemen will ask for help. If the players help, they will find the horse thieves in a nearby dungeon protected by a group of 1d4 bandits.
18) A group of 1d6 pilgrims are on their way to a nearby temple. They are protected by a group of 1d4 guards. The pilgrims will ask for assistance in getting to the temple. If the players agree, they will lead the players through a dangerous path through thick brush and up to a dangerous cliff. Then a storm hits.
19) The sound of howling in the distance is heard. As players approach, they will see that it is a group of 1d4 wolves, hunting a herd of 1d8 deer. If the wolves spot the players, they will attack. If the players attack, the deer will run off.
20) A group of 1d8 merchants are transporting goods to the nearest town. They are protected by a group of 1d4 guards. They are transporting 4d20 barrels of ale, and if the players help them, they will be able to purchase it at a discount once they arrive at their destination. It’s really awful ale.
More Random Encounters?
Want even more random encounters? Check out my D&D Random Encounter Tables page for a list of some of the best free random tables around. Also, again, if you love tabletop RPG and you haven’t checked out LitRPG Adventures, do so today. You can thank me later.