Random Things – Fellow Prisoners

We’ve all been in the situation where our character has been caught bang-to-rights for some sort of indiscretion or perhaps has been falsely accused and has found themselves in prison. Perhaps you were taken captive whilst raiding a dungeon and now languish in a cell yourself?

One thing that can add flesh to these encounters are interactions with NPCs who have also been taken prisoner, but trying to figure out why these people are in prison can sometime be a bit tricky on short notice. Below are two tables for quickly generating these reasons, one for ‘civilised’ prisons and the other for dungeons or savage jails.

Civilised Prison
1D8 Roll Reason Prisoner is in Jail
1 This prisoner is a debtor who owes a large amount of money to a landlord, noble or guild (equal chance of each) and is currently being held until their debts are repaid. The captive swears that this is all a misunderstanding and her has the money. Roll a D6, on a 1 the person is lying and is a conman, 2-4 their possessions have been confiscated and they have no chance to repay the money, 5-6 their debts are being repaid and they will be released in 1D3 days.
2 They were caught stealing valuables from people at a local marketplace and are being held whilst the local authorities decide their fate. Roll a D6, on a 1 they will be executed, 2-3 they will have an appendage chopped of as punishment before being released, 4-5 they will be branded as a thief and released, 6 they will have to serve community service to repay their debt.
3 The person is a foreign agent caught spying and attempting to steal valuable state secrets, they will be held, tortured to find out what they know and then executed. If the PCs strike up a friendship with the prisoner, they may try to bribe the PCs to take a coded messenger to their handler, promising them rich rewards for doing so (even chance if they do so they get a reward or the handler attempts to have them silenced).
4 The prisoner accidentally killed someone in a tavern brawl and is scheduled for execution once the headsman has finished sharpening his axe.
5 The unfortunate prisoner claims to have no idea why they are in here, they were dragged by guards from their bed in the middle of the night and thrown in jail. Roll a D6 on a 1-3 the person is lying, roll again on this table or decide what their actual crime is, on a 4-5 it is a case of mistaken identity and on a 6 they are deliberately being framed by a third party.
6 The prisoner is a commoner who either refused to behave appropriately towards a noble or was found to have been carrying a weapon in public. Roll a D6, on a 1 they will be executed, 2-3 they will have an appendage chopped of as punishment before being released, 4-5 they will be flogged through the streets before being released, 6 they become the property of the offended noble.
7 The person has been arrested for outrageous drunken behaviour. Once they sober up they will be stripped and made to wear the drunkard cloak, a barrel with shoulder straps before being paraded through the town and mocked.
8 They have been arrested for a minor offence such as stealing a load of bread, they will be placed in the stocks for 1D3 days, pelted with rotten fruit and vegetables before being released.
Savage/Dungeon Jail
1D8 Roll Reason Prisoner is in Jail
1 Captured by raiding parties and bought back to the jail to serve as a either cheap labour or a source of food (even chance of each).
2 This person is the lone survivor of a previous adventuring party who attempted to raid the dungeon and has been left here to rot. Roll a D6 to see what happened to his companions, on a 1-2 they were killed exploring the dungeon, 2-3 they were taken captive but have since been removed by the jailors, 5 they died in prison, 6 they were eaten by the last survivor as the only source of food.
3 The prisoner is a member of the race who inhabit the dungeon, they once had status but failed in some manner of tribal testing and have been judged weak/unfit to remain amongst the tribe.
4 The prisoner is a spy for those who inhabit the dungeon, who has been placed here to wheedle their way into the confidence of the PCs and find out what they know before the dungeon owners decide what to do with them.
6 The current owners of the dungeon are not the original inhabitants, they seized it by force from the true owners, throwing the survivors into their own jail cells as a mark of their scorn.
7 The captive is a victim of magical experimentation by the dungeon owners, their skin is covered in strange glowing runes and brands. Roll 1D6, on a 1 the captive has gained a magical ability from the experimentation that made aid an escape plan, on 2-5 they have no useful abilities but some knowledge of the dungeon layout and on a 6 the torturous experiments have reduced them to the level of a mindless beast. Either way the experimentation will eventually prove fatal to the captive if they do not get medical help in 1D6 days.
8 The captive is being held for food, if they do not escape then in 1D3 days they are dragged screaming from their cell and never seen again.

Random Things: Nautical Tattoos

The home-base of my Rose of Westhaven campaign is a small(ish) port-town called Porthcrawl, recently we had a game where most of the people in the town had turned up to a funeral, in thinking about what the various inhabitants would look like I was scrolling through various pictures on Google Image search and noticed that a lot of the pirate/sailor types sported tattoos. I know from other reading and an interest in things piratical that lead to me creating the Fate game Storm & Sail with Lloyd Gyan (available from Drivethru RPG) that such tattoos were very common amongst sailors and that they had different meanings.

After a bit of reading I concocted the table below to randomly roll tattoos for whatever scurvy sea-dogs might be wandering the port, roll 1D20 on the chart to see what tattoo that scurvy buccaneer who’s eyeing your rum is sporting:

No.Description Meaning
1A Woman Serving as a reminder of loves left behind for a life at sea.
2Anchor The anchor tattoo represents stability and was given to represent that the sailor had traversed a particularly dangerous sea or ocean. Particularly sentimental sailors might have the name of a loved one added to the tattoo, giving them a reason to return home safely.
3Bottle Sailors were known for their love of drink so it was not uncommon to see this tattoo.
4Compass Rose Getting lost was one of the many potential dangers at sea, this tattoo was thought to ward against it.
5Cross Anchors Having such a tattoo marked you out as being a Boatswain Mate.
6Crossed Guns or Cannons Crossed guns indicate a member of the infantry army whilst cannons refer to the navy.
7Cutlass Some sailors would get this tattoo after dispatching a noteworthy foe in single combat.
8Dagger Through a Swallow Symbollising a lost comrade.
9Dice A tattoo often sported by risk-takers and gamblers.
10Dragon The seaman has survived an attack where their ship was set on fire and/or the powder exploded.
11Fully Rigged Ship Often awarded to mark sailing around a particularly dangerous cape.
12Harpoon Identifies you as part of a fishing fleet.
13Hold Fast The words hold fast mean holding onto the lines in bad weather to prevent being washed overboard, it is believed these words in a tattoo served as both reminder and a lucky charm in these circumstances.
14Neptune Given to a sailor who has successfully sailed both hemispheres of the world.
15Pig and Rooster Most often tattooed on the feet, these animals symbollised surviving a ship-wreck, since such animals would often wash ashore in cages following a shipwreck.
16Rope A rope around the wrist is a mark of being a deckhand.
17Shark This tattoo signifies having survived attack by some great beast of the ocean.
18Ship with Wind Filling the Sails This tattoo was believed to help a sailor's ship avoid getting becalmed on a windless sea.
19Skull & Bones A sailor with this tattoo marks themselves as having taken up a life of piracy, it is thought to have originated from brands once used to mark captured pirates.
20Swallow Each swallow tattoo represents 5000 nautical miles travelled (about 5754 land miles).

Random Roadside Encounters

I was reading a blog post the other day (unfortunately I can’t remember the blog that I saw it on) where the author was discussing how he writes down ideas for roadside/travelling encounters on index cards so that he can pull one out at random when his PCs are travelling. As a sucker for index cards I love this idea, and it got me thinking about how often the actual act of travelling is glossed over in RPGs, sometimes it’s necessary due to time restraints or for purposes of the story, but there’s a lot of interesting set dressing that could be highlighted during these parts of the game.

In my opinion not all roadside encounters should be combat based, in-fact most of them probably shouldn’t be because there’ll no doubt be enough planned combat encounters in a game, but rather they should be an opportunity to add some extra depth to your campaign setting or to socialise with NPCs.

Below are a series roadside encounter tables that you can use to determine what your PCs may stumble across during their travels. I suggest that during a game (if you were running an OSR style game) roll 2D6 (preferrably different colours) and 1D12 whenever you roll to check for a random roadside encounter. The first D6 can be used to see if an encounter occurs (as per the rules of your favourite system), the second can be your roll on Table 1 whilst the 1D12 covers your roll on table 2,3 or 4 (as applicable):

Table 1: Encounter Table
Roll Description
1 Hostile encounter (roll on the table below).
2-5 Fellow travellers on the road (roll on the table below).
6 An unusual natural feature or unexpected adventure site (roll on the table below).

Table 2: Hostile Encounters
Roll Description
1 A group of 1D6 bandits, lying concealed in wait to waylay travellers on the road.
2 A wagon train of 2D6 Dwarves who are hostile to non-Dwarves (seeming merely irritable to their own kind), they have little interest in talking because they are carrying the body of a slain hero home. Attempts to delay or question them will be met with hostility and possibly an attack.
3 A group of 1D6 thieves who poses as traders or travelling bards to ingratiate themselves with the PCs but–given a chance–they will incapacitate and rob them, leaving them lying by the roadside bereft of possessions.
4 A group of 2D6 goblins who are starving, they are looking to scavenge from a local settlement, but are not above attacking an enemy they believe that they can defeat.
5 A great beast that has been rampaging through the local area, menacing villages and causing a hazard to travel. The beast is a huge/dire version of a normal animal as appropriate for the terrain type, how the animal got so big and why it is taking out it's agression on the locals is up to the GM.
6 A hostile group of 2D6 Elves who claim guardianship of a nearby natural feature, they take a dim view of outsiders, viewing them as despoilers and corruptors of nature.
7 A group of 2D6 evil humanoids who are on a mission for their dark master, if the PCs defeat them then they will gain XP and random loot as normal. This is good opportunity for GMs to drop in items that hint at the identity of the humanoid's master and can serve as a way to introduce a new villainous mastermind to a campaign.
8 A small pack of 1D6+2 dogs that escaped from their homes and have gone feral.
9 A huge troll that makes it's lair under a local bridge, it charges all those who pass 1D6 gold pieces as a toll, attacking those who refuse.
10 A mob of torch-wielding people from a local settlement, they are chasing a mutant, a suspected witch or just someone they don't like very much with the intent of burning them alive for some crime real or imagined (as determined by the GM).
11 A brutish, inbred Ogre who is part of a tribe inhabitting the hills or mountains nearby, previously they have herded goats and caused little trouble, but a strange blight has killed their herds and now they take to raiding the nearby lowland settlements for food and other items.
12 A group of 2D6 orcs lurking in nearby hills or forest, they are preparing to attack a nearby settlement once the sun goes down.

Table 3: Fellow Travellers
Roll Description
1 A troupe of wandering troubadours and bards who are travelling the land performing plays and looking for stories and legends to add to their repertoire. If the PCs make friendly contact with them there is a 50% chance that the troupe will have heard a legend about any noteworthy beast or location (as determined by the GM).
2 A woodsman returning from a nearby forest to his home in a local village, there is a 2-in-6 chance that he can point the player party in the direction of healing herbs or some such.
3 A small group of dodgy, scruffy looking geezers pushing a barely working wheelbarrow piled high with various ramshackle goods and items. There is a 50% chance that the PCs will find any basic equipment they want if they search the cart and they will get it half-price. However there is a 50% chance the first time that the item is used that it breaks due to poor construction or lack of care, there is also a 1-in-6 chance any item purchased is stolen.
4 A small group of children fishing in a creek, they have caught 1D4 rations worth of fish that they maybe willing to share with the PCs if they ingratiate themselves (as determined by the GM).
5 A group of merchants that have been beset by hostile forces (if you wish you can roll on Table 2 to determine the nature of the hostile forces) whilst moving along a local trade route, when they meet the PCs they are fleeing with their enemies close behind them. If the PCs help the merchants then they will receive a 25% discount on any wares that they purchase from them (what the traders have is determined by the GM).
6 A young couple from a nearby village engaged in a secret tryst, if approached by the PCs they are embarrassed and worried about what their parents will say. In return for the PCs silence they will be able to give them the low-down on important NPCs in their home village.
7 A wealthy trade caravan of merchants and exotic spice dealers with an entourage of guards and mercenaries to protect them. There is a 4-in-6 chance that the caravan will have any basic equipment that the PC requests, and a 2-in-6 chance that the caravan has an exotic items they request (final say on this rests with the GM), however any exotic items will cost 25% more than the listed price due to their fine quality of workmanship.
8 A farmer returning from his fields with a barrow full of fresh produce (1D6 rations worth), if the PCs are friendly then he may be willing to barter items for his produce (although he has little use for coin).
9 A local farmer is taking their sheep, goats or cows (equal chance of either) to a nearby market, they are accompanied by 1D6 young girls and boys who help them manage the herd. The farmer will not be interested in selling his animals–since he knows he'll get a better price at market–but can supply the PCs with all the rumours from nearby villages (as determined by the GM).
10 A group of local children mock-fighting each other with sticks, wearing old pans and bits of bark as make-shift armour. If the PCs are friendly to them then they'll be able to point them in the direction of the nearest village.
11 A group of 1D6 woodsmen and rangers who are on the trail of some sort of dangerous beast that has been menacing the nearby settlements. Some of their number were killed in a recent encounter with the beast, they will happily share any rewards and glory with PCs who help them bring the monster down.
12 A noble caravan, it has become stuck in the mud and one of it's wheels has broken. If the PCs are able to repair the wagon or escort the nobles to their destination they will receive a reward of 2D6x10 gold pieces.

Table 4: Natural Feature/Adventure Site
Roll Description
1 A huge cairn of stones carved with strange symbols rises from the nearby landscape, it is either a marker or the burial place of some forgotten hero (equal chance of each).
2 A farmer's hut and a field groaning with produce, however the cabin seems to have been abandoned and all possessions–save the produce in the field–taken. PCs may freely take a total of 2D6 days worth of rations from the field, however there is a 50% chance that the produce is infected with a blight, consumption of blighted rations causes the PC to vomit for 1D4 damage.
3 A single mighty tree rises from the ground here, it is many hundreds of years old and has millenia of carvings covering it's trunk. Some of these carvings may hint at local history or lore.
4 Large worn slabs of stone bearing faint markings attest to this area having once been used as a graveyard, however it is long abandoned and extremely overgrown, but their may be underground tombs and grave goods in the area (as determined by the GM).
5 The remnants of what must have once been a village cover this area, it seems as though it burnt down some time ago, although there may still be the odd item (or danger) lurking amidst the charred ruins.
6 A mighty Oak whose trunk appears to have the pattern of a face visible in the lines and cracks of it's bark. Local legend says that when the whole land was once covered by a huge forest, great creatures, caretakers of the natural world moved across the land caring for the trees. With the coming of man they slept, but are best avoided lest they wake and be roused to furious anger.
7 A crooked stone tower rises at a jaunty angle into the sky, the barely-visible roof is missing a number of slates, their smashed remnants litter the ground around it. The tower belongs to an eccentric sage, reclusive hermit or tormented prophet (equal chance of each).
8 Pillars of rock rising from the ground, years ago primitive people carved homes in these huge pillars before some event caused them to abandon their rocky homes.
9 The remnants of what must have been an expensive cart lie just off the road here, there are 1D6 skeletons and the long-dead bodies of the horses scattered nearby. Examination of the cart results in finding 1D6 gold pieces and a miscellaneous lesser piece of equipment, along with clues that the cart was waylaid–and the occupants murdered–by bandits.
10 A tree with nooses hanging from the branches, local settlements use this tree to execute criminals who have committed capital crimes, when not in use the place has an evil reputation and is avoided.
11 A great stone circle has been erected here, whether as some sort of solar calendar or as a means of communing with the gods it is not clear, but locals either revered the place and worship there or whisper of it as haunted and avoid it entirely (equal chance of each).
12 A rocky outcropping that vaguely resembles a huge, sleeping humanoid. Local villagers say that it is a giant who once menaced these parts before he was forced into an eternal slumber by a great and powerful sorceror.

20 Abandoned Dwarf-hold Encounters

Ancient–and often abandoned–Dwarven strongholds have been a staple of the fantasy genre ever since the mines of Moria captured the imagination of readers, and perhaps for even longer. There’s something about the great stone halls of the Dwarves, delving deep below the surface of the earth, bedecked in the faded grandeur of a one mighty race that speaks to the typical role-player and is–of course–pretty much tailor made for dungeon delving.

Below is a D20 table of people, creatures and events that your PCs might encounter whilst exploring the dark passageways and cobweb strewn chambers of an ancient Dwarf stronghold.

Please note: Each of these would benefit from a bit of elaboration by the GM, nor do they apply specific game mechanics.

1A crumbling statue of an ancient Dwarf hero stands as a reminder of the proud heroes that once occupied this place, in one hand he holds an axe whilst the other points towards the entrance of the once grand structure.
2A group of D6 Dwarven adventurers are exploring the passageways, each of them is equipped for spending a prolonged period underground. The leader of the party has ancestors who once occupied the abandoned stronghold.
3The walls of this chamber are covered in crude chalk drawings and the remains of several crushes cots attest to the fact that this was once a nursery of some sort.
4The broken remnants of the statue of a Dwarven forge god are strewn over the uneven floor. Old, dried blood-stains and damage to the walls and statues attests to a fierce combat having been fought here long ago.
5The characters enter a series of seemingly random tunnels, branching off from the main thoroughfares of the Dwarven Hold. These tunnels seem more naturally and rounded, in contrast with the strange lines and angles of the previous corridors. This area is the lair of a purple worm, for each hour the PCs spend in it's domain there is a 1 in 6 chance they attract it's attention, this rises to a 3 in 6 chance if they're particularly noisy.
6A group of 1D6 goblins are scavenging in this area, they aren't much threat to a group of armed PCs and will most likely flee if challenged. However if attacked, the noise they make pretty much guarantees that something else will come to investigate.
7A hole in the wall of this chamber leads to one of the many thin shafts that bring air from the surface to the stronghold, the air current will extinguish any unshielded lantern bought into this area.
8The chamber is covered in thick webbing and will be difficult to cross unless the webbing can be removed or burnt away, there is a 50% chance that there is a spider swarm or a giant spider (50% chance of each) in the web when the heroes enter.
9This area is criss-crossed with rusted–but still functional–metal tracks that would have once carried Dwarves to and from a mine-face.
10A tiny door (fair too small for even a Halfling) in the wall of this chamber leads to a small alcove where a shrine to the ancestors was housed, there is a 50% chance that the shrine is undisturbed and may contains offerings made long ago.
11A flock of bats, harmless but startled by the PCs progress briefly fill the chamber as they seek to find a quieter resting place.
12A shining golden helmet hangs in mid-air in the centre of this chamber. In-fact the helmet is a lure used by the 1D12 giant spiders that have made their home here, hanging it from almost invisible threads of webbing to entice explorers and scavengers into their grasp.
13The walls of this chamber and the bones lying here are scorched black by some sort of magical conflagration, anyone capable of sensing magic can still feel echoes of the heat and pain that were summoned into existence by the Dwarves enemies. Anyone lingering in this room will occasionally hear screams or feel sharp (but non-damaging) stabbing pains. The spirits of the Dwarves killed here cannot rest, if given a decent burial the spirits will point the PCs towards a magical hammer, covered in blackened soot (but still usable and with magic intact) before departing for the afterlife.
14The sound of distant, primitive drumming echoes through the corridors.
15The forgotten remnants of an ancient Dwarven forge, although much of the finery has been looted or rotted away, a deligent PC can find some salvagable Blacksmith's tools and some serviceable weaponry here. If the forge could be restored then it would be capable of producing great wonders, its flue may also offer a way to the surface for those mad enough to climb it.
16A dust covered mine cart lies here, tipped over on its side. Most of the items in it have been looted or were taken as the mine was abandoned, however, a PC looking though the dust can find some miners tools and 1D3 gems in a small sack pushed down into the bottom of the cart.
17A half-mad survivor of the original attack on the Dwarven Hold has made this part of the ruins his home, driven mad by the bloodshed that he saw the Dwarf survives by eating cave moss and goblins, spending most of his time pointlessly trying to seal the dungeon and attacking anyone he perceives as being in league with the ancient enemy.
18The rotting remains of a huge, heavy bound book written in Ancient Dwarven lies half-burned amidst the remains of a shattered stone lectern. The book details the final last desperate defence of the stronghold, it may also offer some hint as to the nature of the ancient enemy.
19The heroes encounter a group of 1D12 Troglodytes who seem to be stringing up dead animal and bones around the walls of this tunnel. They are part of a small tribe that worships/fears the Purple Worm, they leave these offerings in the hope that they will be spared it's wrath.
20A pile of rotting wooden and stone items in the centre of this room were once formed into a barricade by the Dwarven defenders against enemy forces, their bones litter the floor around the crumbling barricades, attesting to their failure.

20 Random Fumbles and Misses

We’ve all been in this situation at one point or another, you’re fighting your way through hordes of goblins or you’re defending an ally, when the dice desert you and the dreaded fumble is rolled. These can be challenging for GMs to come up with on the fly, especially if they occur unexpectedly.

Below is a D20 table of descriptions that can be used when an unexpected fumble occurs.

Please note: Each of these would benefit from a bit of elaboration by the GM, nor do they apply specific game mechanics.

1Your opponent strikes you on the side of your head causing your vision to blur and your own attack to miss.
2The enemy blocks your attack with their own weapon sending your weapon flying from your hand.
3Your enemy hurls dust or mud into your face, throwing you off your game and causing the attack to miss.
4A glint of sunlight shining off your foe's weapons and armour momentarily blinds you, allowing them to dodge your attack.
5Sweat from your exertions drips into your eyes, causing your vision to blue for a few moments, your adversary takes advantage of this and sidesteps your attack.
6Recent events have caused you to neglect your weapon maintenance, a dull clang is your reward as your blunted weapon fails to penetrate your opponents armour.
7Your opponent lashes out with a foot, causing you to instinctively jerk bacwards, you avade their dirty trick but miss with your own attack.
8At the last moment your enemy sidesteps your attack and your weapon thuds into the ground.
9You slip on a damp patch of ground causing your attack to go wide.
10Your opponent throws themselves backwards at the last moment, your weapon slices a shallow cut in their clothing.
11Your adversary reveals a hidden small weapon, whipping it out and parrying your blow.
12Lighting conditions cause you underestimate how far away your opponent is and your strike falls short.
13Your weapon slips in your sweaty hand, throwing off your aim.
14A previously unseen opponent bursts out of the shadows, you raise your weapon to block this new attack but are unable to press your advantage on your previous
15You step forward to deliver a punishing strike to your opponent but your foot sinks into a pothole causing you to stagger and miss your target.
16The ground below you is slippery and you struggle to maintain your balance, forfeiting your attack.
17A stray blow from a nearby conflict causes you to duck and parry, busy defending yourself you're unable to lash out at your opponent.
18Your enemy lashes out with their foot, aiming for your midrif, you duck back dodging the treacherous blow but it causes your own attack to miss the mark.
19Your enemy slices your forearm, sendin your weapon flying from your grasp.
20Your opponent's armour seems to turn aside the force of your blow.

20 Port Town Encounters

Port towns are a hotbed of activity, most of which is centred around the sea since that’s where most people make their livelihood.

Below is a D20 table of random encounters that can be used to inject some life into the coastal towns and villages in your campaign.

Please note: Each of these would benefit from a bit of elaboration by the GM, nor do they apply specific game mechanics.

1There is a cursing and swearing as a man unloading a boat drops a crate of fish and it spills all over the docks.
2A group of children are sat at the waters edge throwing stones, they've seen everything that has occurred in the area during the day and might be persuaded to part with the information.
3A smuggler runs through the dock area, leaping over crates and upending barrels as he tries to flee from the pursuing town guard.
4A battered ship limps into harbour, it is barely afloat and shows signs of having been attacked. Anyone speaking to the crew find out that their vessel was set upon by a pirate vessel flying the banner of a red skeletal hand.
5A bumper crops of fish have recently been hauled in, forcing down prices.
6High winds have roused the sea into a crashing frenzy of waves that lash the harbour, most locals have retreated to the safety of their homes or a tavern to wait for it to blow over, giving the dock area an eerie deserted feel.
7A local peddler is attempted to sell a seal-skin that he claims was taken from a Selkie, a creature that looks like a large seal but can become human by removing it's seal-skin coat.
8A ship's captain has a cargo if wine barrels that he needs loading, he's looking for some cheap labour willing to do the job in a hurry.
9The sound of a cannon rings out as a local sea-fortress marks the hour.
10A group of local folk are busily throwing wreathes of flowers into the sea, mourning the deaths of a boat of their kin lost in a recent storm.
11Due to a recent rise in smuggling there is a higher concentration of guards than normal in the port, causing great annoyance to the merchants as every consignment is being stopped and searched.
12A ship's Captain chases a bedraggled man clutching a red stone off his ship, the man attempts to bargain with the Captain claiming that he desperately needs passage, but it is to no avail.
13A small fleet of ships is gathering in the harbour, planning to go and hunt the dread pirate Robert Rawbones.
14An agitator loudly protests the recent rise in import taxes, a crowd is gathering around him and it wouldn't take much for this scene to turn into a riot.
15An old, mutilated sailor sits by the dockside staring wistfully out at the sea, for a few pennies he'll tell a story from his extensive store of old naval tales.
16A group of young sailors enjoying some shore-leave stand clapping one of their fellows as he plays a medley of popular sea shanties on his harmonica.
17A crowd of people are working on the shore to carve up and cart away the body of a large whale that washed up recently, scars along it's side attest to a terrible sea battle.
18A merchant stands beside a small stall that claims contains the body of a mermaid. For a small fee, passers by are allowed into the stall to view the shrivelled, preserved body of a creature resembling a combination of small monkey and fish.
19A group of merchants have arrived from a foreign land bringing unusual foods and trinkets with them, they unroll their wares from carpets at the dockside, to the astonishment of the locals.
20A fist-fight erupts between two groups of inebriated sailors, if nothing occurs to prevent it, after a few minutes the town guard turn up and break up the fight, dragging the worst offenders away to the town drunk-tank.

Random Things: Embarrassing Adventurer Antics

10 Embarrassing Adventurer Antics

It’s a familiar scene, your adventurers have just rolled into town after mostly surviving a terrible dungeon. Songs will be sung, ale quaffed and fallen comrades lamented. Often these scenes are handled off-screen, but potentially this is missing out a source of fun/adventure–after all–think about how much trouble rowdy celebrants get into in the real-world and that’s without the powers of adventurers.

Below is a D10 table of potentially embarrassing antics that your hungover PC could wake up to find out they were involved in.

1Someone has defaced the statue of a local dignitary, inventively using mud and dung to give them a large beard and moustache.
2Several barrels of ale were stolen from a local tavern, they were found a couple of streets away drained of their contents.
3The son/daughter of a local noble claims to have been visited in their budoir by a dashing young adventurer.
4A pig was dressed in a stolen nobles wig and released into the main street, leading to much chaos and hilarity.
5The town/city guard are currently looking for an adventurer (matching one of the PC's description) who assaulted one of their officers after they tried to arrest then for urinating into a public fountain.
6Authorities are looking for a person responsible for menacing a nearby halfling settlement, the inebriating person rampaged through the settlement claiming to be a giant.
7The Thieves Guild have placed a bounty on the head of one of the PCs after they drunkenly interfered with the operations of one of their operatives, leading to the operatives arrest by the guard.
8The PC is wanted for questionning concerning damage to a local tavern when a bar brawl got out of control.
9The PC wakes up a in a farmer's barn wearing a jester's hat with a sat full of live frogs lying next to them.
10A person matching the description of one of the PCs was heard proclaiming the short-comings of a local person of influence, whilst drinking ale and playing a drum in the town square.

Random Things: Village Tavern Rumours

Tavern Rumours

What could be a more archetypal RPG scene than a group of adventurers re-grouping in an isolated village tavern, to plan their next move and soak up some local flavour? Below is a D10 table of random rumours that a PC might hear at a tavern, these rumours may lead to further adventures down the road or are perhaps just talk.

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Random Things: Local Beliefs & Festivals

villager.pngLocal Festivals

These random things articles are designed as quick idea generators for time-pressed GMs who want to inject some additional details into their game. Isolated villages and towns inevitably develop their own traditions and customs, these can add a lot of flavour to an RPG but are often sadly ignored.

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Random Things: Jungle Trinkets for D&D 5E

These random things articles are designed as quick idea generators for time-pressed GMs who want to inject some additional details into their game, in this article we’re looking at trinkets again. Trinkets were one of my favourite things about character generation in D&D 5th Edition; essentially each character starts with at least one, a small item or curiosity that has some odd property or something strange about it, it’s not a powerful magic item, just something interesting that could spur conversation and plot. Although this article was inspired by D&D 5E the same mechanic can be used in pretty much any game including OSR titles.

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