The Forest, CR 8 – Random Encounters for Dungeons & Dragons: Fifth Edition
“We shouldn’t have left the party behind!”
“We had no choice, Gavin! The horses are gone. Thelon can barely move, Answar is insane with a fever, and Morgan is comatose. They need a healer. We can defend our friends and watch them die, or we can trek back for help.”
“It only takes one of us to fetch help. The other should have stayed behind. These woods are dangerous…”
“Exactly my point! If our friends remain hidden, they should be fine. What would happen if something happened to one of us, though? What if… Gah!”
Gavin looked back to see an arrowhead coated in red and purple plunging through his companion’s shoulder. His confused friend twitched, then spasmed; foam spouted from his mouth as he collapsed. Gavin fell with him and, cradling his friend in his arms, dragged him to the base of a massive tree for cover. “Who’s out there!” Gavin yelled. No one responded. Instead, a lone drow priestess stepped from between the branches as she readied her bow.
“Please,” Gavin said, “I don’t know why you shot my friend, but we need help. The rest of my party are all injured and need the ministration of a cleric. I can pay you. My friends can pay you as well, and we have even more resources and connections in the nearby towns. I’m sure I have something you want.”
The drow priestess made no signal she understood. Instead, she looked past him and nodded her head in that direction. Gavin turned to see where she was looking and realized that, in his panic, he did not see the ancient temple the roots of the massive tree engulfed. “This is your charge?” asked Gavin. “This temple is why you remain so far from your kingdom, yes? I can help rebuild it. The stonework is old, but the foundation looks strong. Imagine what could be done with a little work and a lot of money? And I’m sure once the temple is improved, it will attract new worshipers. Wouldn’t your goddess be pleased to see her temple improved?”
The priestess raised her bow and pulled back on the string, but did not fire. She advanced slowly, step by step. Gavin, still holding his friend under his arms, backed away, climbing the steps of the temple. Gavin turned to look past the dark entrance and into the hidden narthax, but could only guess at the outline of the gray shapes inside. Somewhere within the temple, something large skittered; the clacking of numerous feet echoed within the great hollow of the temple-tree.
Appropriate random encounters for
- Eight fifth level characters
- Seven sixth level characters
- Five seventh level characters
- Two ninth level characters with two eighth level characters
- An eleventh level character with two tenth level characters
- Two thirteenth level characters
- Or a lone seventeenth level character travelling through the forest.
For more information on random encounters, when they are appropriate, and how often they should occur, see the Dungeon Master’s Guide (DMG), page 85. For more random encounter charts, go to the Random Encounters for Dungeons and Dragons: 5th Edition page.
When determining a random encounter, roll 1d12+1d8 and consult the chart.
|d12+d8||Description||Relationship to Players||Result|
|2||Very Rare||Deadly Encounter||The characters encounter an arcanoloth in the guise of a well-equipped halfling ranger. Her knowledge of the surrounding area is immense, and she’s happy to be use, in exchange for information about the world outside the forest. In truth, the arcanoloth is attempting to separate the party. Her tactic is to eliminate the morally rigid adventurers, in hopes of tricking the more supple ones into bartering with their soul, thus becoming an eternal servant.|
|3||Rare||Hard Encounter||A pair of shambling mounds seek and destroy all thinking creatures.|
|4||Rather Unlikely||Hard Encounter||A yochlol is overeager in its duty to protect a hidden shrine to Lolth, buried deep in the woods.|
|5||Unlikely||Hard Encounter||Two trolls are ready for some fun.|
|6||Uncommon||Medium Encounter||A dragonborn veteran patrols the forest with her battalion of fourteen kobold.|
|7||Plausible||Medium Encounter||A young green dragon’s horde was recently looted by thieves, and he is desperate to reassemble a new stash.|
|8||Common||Medium Encounter||Two werewolves act as alphas to a hungry pack of four other wolves.|
|9||Most Common||Friend or Foe Medium Encounter||An assassin was hired to track the characters and kill them in the woods, far from civilization. But after years of killing undeserving marks, this particular assassin has developed a very dangerous flaw: a conscience.|
|10||Most Common||Easy Encounter||A revenant wants to kill, kill, kill!|
|11||Most Common||Easy Encounter||An earth elemental, recently separated from the elemental plane of earth, is confused and out of control.|
|12||Most Common||Common Roleplaying Encounter||The characters discover an old man wandering through the woods. He suffers from dementia, and thinks he is a teenager out to gather wood for his poppa. If the characters spend enough time with him, he eventually regains his senses, and asks to be escorted home to an old cabin in the woods. Even if the characters return him to his house, though, it should be obvious that this old man is a danger to himself, and is in desperate need of someone to keep an eye on him.|
|13||Most Common||Common Beneficial Find||The players stumble upon what appears to be a natural spring. Anyone who interacts with the spring can make a DC 10 Investigate check to discover the small pond is created by an open Dekanter of Endless Water (DMG, p. 161)|
|14||Common||Piece of Flavor||The characters encounter a stone golem, frozen in mid-stride. A DC 10 Investigate check allows a character to notice the cleft where a power stone was pried out of its back. Any player that investigates the brambles that cling to the golem will conclude, with a DC 10 Nature check, that the overgrowth indicates the golem has been stationary for at least five years.|
|15||Plausible||A Trap!||The bulb of a giant carnivorous plant descends and bites at a random party member. For the purpose of this combat, use the statistics for a tyrannosaurus rex, except it can’t move; also, replace the tail attack with a vine attack. This encounter is a CR 6 (2300 XP).|
|16||Uncommon||Uncommon Roleplaying Encounter||A theater troupe encounters the party and offers to perform their world renowned play for the much needed practice and of course a small fee. The play is suspiciously similar to the experiences of the party up to this point. But how is that even possible?|
|17||Unlikely||Environmental Hazard||While traveling, the characters encounter a veritable wall of razorvine. (DMG, p. 110) After searching for some time, they hit upon the thinnest section of razorvine they can find: a patch that extends forty feet before clearing up. When a character makes its way to the far end of the razorvine, however, they can see a warren of rabbits which was otherwise shrouded by the foliage, all twitching. Upon seeing the players, the rabbits let out a horrible shrieking noise. The rabbits contracted cackle fever (which a player who makes a DC 15 Nature or Healing check may discover) (DMG, p. 257). In 1d4 hours, the players may realize they too contracted cackle fever, assuming they took any damage from the razorvine, or interacted with the rabbits in any way.|
|18||Rather Unlikely||A Barrier||The Sun is incredibly hot today, and the forest overbearingly humid. The characters must make a DC 15 Constitution check, or suffer a level of exhaustion.|
|19||Rare||A Lucky Find||The party finds a cache of arrows in an old dried out stump. Beyond the 50 normal arrows are ten +2 arrows, ten fire arrows that turn on when a command word is spoken (written on the side of the arrow in Elven), ten arrows that explode into 10 gallons of water when hitting their mark, Five arrows with ram heads on them that trigger (and never recharge) three Ring of the Ram charges when they hit (DMG, p. 193), and five arrows of wonder, that trigger (and do not recharge) a random event from the Wand of Wonder when they hit. (DMG, p. 212)|
|20||Very Rare||Incredibly Fortuitous Find||Assuming there is at least one good character, a unicorn approaches the party, chooses a good character, and offers to add its services for the foreseeable future. The unicorn sees something in this particular character that could be great, and believes its role is to help the character on their spiritual journey. The unicorn refuses to enter urban centers, though, preferring to wait for the party to finish its business from a reasonable distance. (Alternatively, if the party consists of at least one evil character and no good characters, the unicorn attacks.)|
For more random encounter charts, go to the Random Encounters for Dungeons and Dragons: 5th Edition page.