The Forest, CR 9 – Random Encounters for Dungeons & Dragons: Fifth Edition
“Well you don’t see that everyday,” the Ranger said, pointing to a young man wandering amid the trees while holding a bouquet of flowers.
“Ooh! Ooh! I’ve got this one!” Kevric the bard sang as he rushed forward. “Expecting to meet a special someone in these woods? Wouldn’t this occasion be all the nicer with some light lute playing? I don’t charge much…”
“Alas!” The young man responded. “I am to meet my beloved for to get married here in the forest, because our society will never accept our love. But now that I am here, I foresee the impossibility of our future. Ours is but a winter bloom, beautiful to behold, yet doomed to die.”
“Come now, it can’t be that bad. Besides, there isn’t much money in playing lute for forlorn people trudging their way back home. Who is this person you love?”
“No, you do not understand. Our very union would tear the foundation of our civilization apart! For I am human, and she is… an elf!”
Kevric waited, but nothing further came from the young lover who buried his face in his hands. Kevric looked back at his companions, but the expressions crossing their faces told him they were as much help as a pair of seeing eye cats. “Ooookay… you do realize that marriages between humans and elves are quite common nowadays? I mean, I don’t know what village you come from…”
“It’s actually a fairly large metropolis.”
“…what large metropolis you come from. But it wouldn’t occur to most people to harass you over something like that. I mean, take our ranger here. He’s one quarter elf, and most people pretend like he doesn’t even exist.”
“That’s right. Hold it…”
And Azlam’s a tiefling. She’s, like, half a devil spawn or something…”
“…and in all our travels, we haven’t met a single person who so much as waved a pitchfork in her general direction. I mean, perhaps if this was fifty years ago you might have had a hard time buying a house in a predominately human neighborhood. Oh, and if the two of you are recklessly riding horses together, you’d be statistically more likely to be harassed by the guards. But these are minor points, considering that your heart is telling you…”
“No!” the young lover cried, “How could I allow our love to be the ruin of a kingdom! Oh, the hubris I have shown! To think that our love was more important than the mandate of gods and fate itself! Here. She will be this way soon. Give her these flowers and tell her that as long as the sky has stars that I will love her, but that this forbidden love can never be. It’s a far, far better thing I do! A far far better thing…”
The young lover ran away, pushing back branches with one arm, while weeping into the crook of his elbow. Kevric turned to his companions with a puzzled expression, the flowers drooping in his clasped hands.
“Don’t look at us,” Azlam responded. “You said you got this one.”
Appropriate random encounters for
- Eight sixth level characters
- Seven seventh level characters
- Five eighth level characters and a fifth level character
- Five ninth level characters
- Four tenth level characters
- Two eleventh level characters with one twelth level character
- Two fourteenth level characters
- Or a lone nineteenth 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||An archmage and his pet intellect devourer are furious that someone discovered their secret laboratory in the woods.|
|3||Rare||Hard Encounter||A yuan-ti abomination leads a scouting party consisting of a malison and two purebloods.|
|4||Rather Unlikely||Hard Encounter||Three gricks scurry to keep pace with a grick alpha.|
|5||Unlikely||Hard Encounter||Three trolls complain around a campfire, unsatisfied with the measly deer they caught.|
|6||Uncommon||Medium Encounter||Three orc veterans ride three worgs into battle.|
|7||Plausible||Medium Encounter||Three ettercaps are intensely protective of a nursery for six giant spiders.|
|8||Common||Medium Encounter||A blunder of five ogres crash through the trees.|
|9||Most Common||Friend or Foe Medium Encounter||The characters stumble into a sacred grove. The treant that protects that grove is very aware that the last two times he tried diplomacy with bipedals, they took advantage of his gullibility.|
|10||Most Common||Easy Encounter||Four giant boar are none too keen with the concept of sharing.|
|11||Most Common||Easy Encounter||A battalion of fifteen pixies launch an assault against the adventurers based on poor information.|
|12||Most Common||Common Roleplaying Encounter||The characters cross paths with a noble and her three veterans. Their goal is to capture the biggest, gaudiest monster they can find to add it to the effusive noble’s zoo. It’s painfully obvious that the hunters are uninterested in the welfare of the animals they capture.|
|13||Most Common||Common Beneficial Find||The characters find a bush full of berries. Any character which passes a DC 8 Nature or Arcana check recognizes this as a Goodberry bush. The bush yields forty berries identical to the berries in the Goodberry spell, except they remain fresh for a week, assuming they’re kept in a dry container. (PHB, p. 246)|
|14||Common||Piece of Flavor||The forest darkens, but nary a cloud is in the sky.|
|15||Plausible||A Trap!||While walking, one of the players hears a ‘click’. Presuming the characters don’t shrug their shoulders and continue walking, a DC 14 Investigate will inform a character that they stepped on a mine buried under ground. Disarming the trap requires an hour of digging and a DC 17 Sleight of Hand check. A safer plan would be to replace the character’s foot with an equally heavy object, like a small log. (DC 14 Sleight of Hand check. Though this plan might not be safer for others who encounter the trap later.) If the character fails to disarm, or takes their foot off the trap, a fireball explodes as per the third level evocation. (PHB, p. 241) The characters are in a field full of mines left over after an ancient battle. If they shrug off the trap without looking for more mines, it’s only a matter of time before another player hears a ‘click’. If they are looking for mines, each player who has not stepped on a mine rolls a DC 5 Investigate check or steps on another mine (not all at the same time, of course.) When all players pass or fail a check, they’ve exited the mine field. Smart players may seek to climb trees to get away from the mines… though if their climb skill isn’t good enough they’re bound to take falling damage (and potentially land on a mine.) Hovering around the trees is still smart, though, since it’s difficult to plant a mine in thick roots.|
|16||Uncommon||Uncommon Roleplaying Encounter||In a small grove, the characters encounter a youth in the woods. The youth ventured into the forest to meet with their beloved and commit to each other in marriage, because the society they come from would not accept their love. Now they are here though, the young lover is experiencing doubt. They tell the party that they can not go through with the marriage, and begs the party to tell their fiancee, who should arrive in twenty or so minutes, that their love can never be.|
|17||Unlikely||Environmental Hazard||A centipede falls onto a random character’s shirt and bites them. Unless the character makes a save, they succumb to the Pale Tincture. (DMG, p. 258)|
|18||Rather Unlikely||A Barrier||As the characters turn a corner around a tree, they accidentally enter the Shadowfell. Gloom coats the world, and once majestic trees are pale mockeries of themselves. Turning around to re-find the portal is fruitless, since the portal only opens in one direction. The characters’ only chance of escaping the Shadowfell is to continue their journey in the same direction and hope that a portal back opens up. It does eventually. But not before the characters are subjected to Shadowfell Despair (DMG, p. 52)|
|19||Rare||A Lucky Find||At a crossroads between two deer paths is a small shrine to the God of Travel (or Luck, or Nature, if your world doesn’t have a God of Travel. Both Fharlangn or Tymora are appropriate.) Screwed into the shrine is a small tin cup with various pieces of coin in it, totaling 20 gold in all. If a character puts a coin in the cup, a couple of hours later they will realize that they are blessed, and gain +1 to saves against any attacks that deal cold or fire damage (see the DMG p. 222 for more on Blessings.) If, however, the character took coins from the cup, they are cursed with -1 to saves against any attacks that deal cold or fire damage. Going back to the shrine afterwards and putting coins in/taking coins out yields no result.|
|20||Very Rare||Incredibly Fortuitous Find||One of the characters kicks something and sprawls to the ground. After feeling around for a bit, they discover a Goblin who died from multiple stab wounds while wearing a Cloak of Invisibility. (DMG, p. 158) Unfortunately, this cloak is (arguably) intelligent and has a horrible tendency to start very loud conversations with occasional poor timing.|
For more random encounter charts, go to the Random Encounters for Dungeons and Dragons: 5th Edition page.