This page is a collection of all the DND 5e random encounter tables I have created. Feel free to use them in your Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder, or other tabletop role-playing game campaign. (I’ve got plenty of other DND plot hooks as well…)
NOTE: Be sure to bookmark this page about Random Encounter Table 5e, as I will be updating it with more random tables goodness.
Thanks for reading, and I hope you find these tables useful for all your RPG needs. Reach out on Twitter — @litrpgform — if you have any tips for this site or just want to say hello. I’m always interested in new random encounter tables.
- Random Encounter Table 5e Guide
- Random Encounter Tables FAQ
- More Random Encounter Tables?
More Great D100 RPG Lists?
Check out my softcover tabletop games resource series on Amazon!
This is a collection of the D&D Random Encounter Tables I have created. Some of them are related to one another. Feel free to use them in your own campaign. You might need to make some adjustments, but they should help with dungeons or many other locations.
Random Encounter Table 5e Guide
I’ve split my fantasy random encounter tables into several sections.
The swamp is a dangerous place. There are dangerous beasts, and there are also dangerous people. These tables will give your players some interesting and dangerous opposition in a swamp setting.
As always, they’re more of idea-seeds – things you can use as a DM to direct your players and to add some flavor to your encounters when PCs are traveling in a swampy area or another place that’s similar.
- 1d20 Swamp Encounters – This is a list of 20 random events in a swamp for your PCs to add some variety. They are fairly generic, but they can come together to tell a unified story with a bit of work on the DM’s part. Each description is about a hundred words or so. Some NPC data is included.
- Non-Combat Swamp Encounters – This is a huge list of 100 unique events in a swamp. There are a few details that could lead to a larger adventure or campaign, but the DM will need to flesh them out. Overall, it’s a comprehensive list. Your PCs can find a tribe of gnolls or something even more sinister.
When your players are entering the woods or a forest, these random encounter tables will throw some variety at them. I’ve spent a lot of time coming up with the encounters then editing them so they’re balanced. I’ve often had to give some monsters a boost to make them more interesting – or add them to a tribe of locals or an interesting town to spice things up.
The forest is a dangerous place, and what’s even more dangerous are the monsters and brigands who live there. These tables include a lot of those “dangerous” NPCs as well. As a DM, you can use these tables not only to start an encounter, but to decide what your players should be doing in the woods (or any other place they end up going). There’s lots of monsters and creatures to include.
- 600 Random Woods Encounters – A list of 600 related ideas for PCs in a forest. There’s a good mix of starters to get the creative juices flowing if your PCs are traveling through the woods and need something interesting to come across when having a random encounter in this place. That tribe of halflings might be more than it seems after you enter their town for the first time!
Need even more? I’ve got thousands of free random forest encounters on my other website. Go check it out.
Want some more variety when your PCs are in a city environment or a new town? Here you go! All sorts of variety…
- D100 City Encounters – This is a massive random encounter table with 100 unique and interesting encounters in a large, magical city. PCs will be kept on their toes with some of these encounters. There is a small cast of characters in this resource. Some encounters are related to others in the list. They can be adjusted for a smaller town too by a good DM.
Need even more? I’ve got thousands of free random city encounters on my other website. Level up and go check it out.
- Non-Combat Encounters – This D&D random encounter table includes 20 events and locations for players. They are generic, but a creative DM can easily flesh them out with related ideas. This is one of an ongoing series of D&D random encounter tables I’m creating for ideas to throw at your PCs. Enjoy! (They will love being able to level up…)
Here are some great d100 fantasy encounter tables. Feel free to modify these events as you need – ie change the order around as necessary. As an experienced DM, I’m sure you have the ability to add areas where you want to add creatures to in your campaign. (Goblins and kobolds can get boring – no matter the level of your PCs!)
Encounters in the wild come in all shapes and sizes. I concentrate on more general ideas that DMs can use to develop by adding specific NPC or monsters – or even a whole tribe of beasts. I don’t include stats on these, but they’re useful for idea generation. (Note: You can order print books with similar content…) Some of the creatures in this list are interesting…the locations too!
- 100 Wilderness Encounters – A list of twenty interesting and unique encounters to bring some variety to your fantasy tabletop campaign. The PCs in your campaign will love this list… maybe! (There’s always that one PC…)
- More Wilderness Encounters – Another list of random encounters free that you can check out online right now. One is for general encounters, and the other twenty is for plains encounters.
- 100 Jungle Encounters – Another great d100 table of encounters. This time, they’re in the jungle. While it’s not a super popular location for fantasy campaigns, it has a lot to offer. Check out these random jungle encounters and let us know what you think.
Your players planning a road trip? Here’s some events for that adventuring party to run into on the way.
- 200 Road Encounters – Get 200 riveting random road encounters and events, including roadside and travel encounters.
More Random Encounters?
Want even more DND random encounters? Here you go.
Random Encounter Tables FAQ
Here’s some frequently asked questions (and answers) about how to use random encounter tables in D&D 5e and other fantasy tabletop RPG campaigns. These are related to the information above. (These kind of work for fantasy RPG video games too.)
How do random encounters work in DND?
Basically, you or the DM will roll a die depending on the size of the random table. It can be as small as a d4 (or even a d2 if you flip a coin) or as complex as d100. You’ll basically roll then consult the random table to find out what happens to the players. A good DM will sometimes fudge the results if the events will be better for the players, but it can be a great way to stir the imagination.
Are random encounters good for DND?
Yes! If DMs and players aren’t taking them as absolute gospel and not swaying from them when necessary, random encounters can be a great way to spice up an otherwise boring overland journey. They’re also a way for the DM to add a little flavor to a dungeon with a special encounter. Good random tables will have just enough information to get the DM going. The games are better this way – usually.
How do I get a random encounter?
You can search google of course, but if you want nearly a hundred different options to check out for free, go to Random Tables RPG and browse around. I’ve split it up for fantasy, modern, and science-fiction tabletop settings. You’re sure to find something. The good news is that I also run that site, and I’ve decided to keep publishing free content to the web for gamers everywhere.
DMs, If you’d like to support my efforts in teaching RPG to AI, you can buy my random tables RPG book at Amazon. I’ve actually got quite a few RPG guide books for sale if you’re looking for cheap, creative content to spice up your campaign. If you’ve wondered, “How do I get a random encounter?” Now you know! Check out the website above or head to Amazon and one-click a book or two.
How do you make random encounters more fun in D&D?
I cast, “Video Answer!” (DMs will laugh at my joke?)
How often do you roll random encounters?
Once again, this is subjective and up to your DM, but in general, one to two encounters every 4 to 8 hours of game time is reasonable. You might want to increase or decrease this number depending on circumstances with your particular group of players. As a rule of thumb, you don’t want to become too reliant on random encounters to fill your time at the table! (I told you this guide was full of helpful tips!)
More Random Encounter Tables?
Check out these random encounter table 5e books I’ve put together. Available on Amazon in ebook and print, there’s three fantasy random tables books available now with more to come soon. I used GPT-3 AI to help me create them. You can purchase my books all for a low price – low enough to get one for each party member! Even better, they make a great gift for your Dungeon Master.