150 Roaming bands


Scarab Sages

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Not everything the party comes across in the process of adventuring needs to be a hostile group of random monsters. They could encounter...

1) a band of gnome bards, and the little guys are willing to trade! If they're lucky they might get to hear a good traveling tune. If they're unlucky they won't stop hearing said good traveling tune.

2) a Roaming Pit. Which is a low level Create Pit spell gone wrong. It is now persistent and has the mental capacity (and sence of humor) of a 10 year old boy. It incessantly opens and closes under various party members. If one falls it starts laughing hysterically.

3) several petunia bushes. In the desert. That's odd...

4) a lonely raincloud. It immediately senses the saddest party member and hangs over them, following wherever they go until they meet something sadder than themselves.

Scarab Sages

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5) spaghetti and meatballs cooking over an open fire. The chef is an outcast ogre dressed in a lovely, but filthy, floral apron that fits none too well. He offers dinner in exchange for culinary tips. Unintentional cannibalism may or may not occur.

6. A group of travelers standing around a giant, boulder-sized gemstone. It is far heavier than a gemstone of that size should be. Pinned underneath it is a very alive and worried person. The only immediate danger they appear to be in is dying of thirst because they are trapped underneath this enormous gemstone.

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Choon wrote:
Unintentional cannibalism may or may not occur.


7) A group of destitute peasants trying to find a way to prove that some crone is a witch, so they can burn her.

8) The party gets stalked by a beggar with the worst smell imaginable, who will not leave them alone unless they pay him. Naturally, once they do, he returns after a day or two and demands even more.

9) The party comes across an old druidess who's beside herself with fear and frustration because her Lion animal companion got stuck in a tree and won't come down.

10) When they camp in the ruined remains of an old caravanserai (resting place for caravans), the party gets woken up at night by a group of ghostly figures. These ghosts ignore the party however and spend the entire night arguing about who was responsible for their accidental deaths (e.g. who let the food spoil?). The party won't get any sleep until they help the ghosts solve the foolish mystery so they can finally rest in peace. If the PCs solve it, the ghosts will indicate where they hid the valuable goods they were carrying.

Spot the two references :P

An encounter with a dryad is always fun as it may drag away some male party member and puts a lot of pressure on the party just trying to figure out what happened and then trying to 'rescue' him as I am sure he isn't that interested in being 'rescued'.

An encounter featuring a young ogre that is trying to hold up the party and depending on the reaction of the party:
a. the party does not take the young ogre seriously and tries to scare it off or ignore it completely. After which the young ogre decides to complain to it's parents
b. the party attacks the young ogre seriously and it cries for help attract it's concerned parents

an encounter with a normally evil creature, that just happens to be neutral or good instead. In neverwinter nights you could get an NPC kobold bard as a sidekick and although not very powerfull at the beginning as the bard got high level and you'd equip it with several harps of haunting it would seriously damage your foes from a distance as well as buff you and debuff the adversary.

en encounter with a traveling merchant can sometimes be funny. This will also allow the exchange of gossip and updates on events.

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(In honor of The Quite-big-but-not-BIG Bad )

11) An imposing, armor-clad knight blocking a narrow path, forbidding anyone to pass.

12) A man with a duck on his head. The man is utterly oblivious to the fact that there is a duck on his head, and appears otherwise completely normal, even friendly. He simply cannot be made to acknowledge the fact that there is a duck on his head.

13) A man with a gregarious grin, floppy hat, and rather long scarf is sitting by the stream, fishing. He is accompanied by a scantily clad barbarian woman and a small golem, shaped like a dog.

Dr. Wholmes wrote:
(In honor of The Quite-big-but-not-BIG Bad )

You, I like you. Got all three.

14) An extremely confused-looking lost man, who keeps rifling through a magic tome that seems to have too many pages for it's size, pointing a thumb up at the sky and trying to talk to wagons, even though he almost gets hit by them every time.

15) A man with a big "H" tattooed on his forehead is bickering to a sputtering golem-like fellow about something involving a lost red-skinned dwarf.

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16) A chuckwagon, painted with yellow and purple flowers, full of pacifists who implore the PCs to rid themselves of all weapons and join the group on a magical journey spreading the gospel of non-violence and singing songs peace and love. If made friendly, they might share their narcotics.

17) A man wearing a kilt rides by on a horse.

18) A huge Copper Dragon lands near the party and cautiously approaches it. If the party is not hostile, it will ask if they have seen a medium sized copper dragon in the area. (She is looking for her child.)

19) A group of knights skip by followed by pack bearers banging coconuts together.

20) A young human carrying a shriveled kobold on his back runs by asking the kobold 'Why?'

21) Off in the distance a column of dwarves with a single halfling are seen entering a forest.

dotting this for later

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22) A travelling merchant approaches the party and offers them a look at his wares. Besides an assortment of useful mundane items, the merchant also has 2 potions of cure light wounds, and a treasure map for sale.

23) As the party sit down for a rest and a midday snack, a runaway dog cautiously approach them, looking for food. It ran away from the next settlement on their route, during a recent thunderstorm and the owners kid would be very happy to have him back.

24) The party happens upon a fetish in the shape of a scarecrow, made from bars of soap and string. Its a ward, put there by the locals to scare off a particularly disgusting and smelly ooze that likes hide in ditches along the road, disguised as muck, and ambush travellers.

25) As the party travels down the road, they notice a man with his back turned, looking at the clouds. When he notices them, it becomes apparent that he is very shifty and suspicious, and demands to know who they are and what they want with him. He then proceeds to whisper to his sockpuppet in a conspiratorial fashion.

26) A devil wages a fiddle of gold against the bard's soul, that he's a better musician than him.

27) A group of friendly gypsies are travelling the same way as the party. They offer the party a ride, so they can rest their legs a bit of the way.

28) Just as the party finish setting up camp in a clearing, another group of adventurers approach and demand their spot, saying they've been staying at that same spot for the past 4 days, while searching the local forest for lost travellers.

29) A family, travelling in an open-top wagon, hails the party and asks for directions to a nearby settlement.

30) The party is shocked when at night, they're approached by a pack of dogs, who not only speak common, but challenge them to a game of poker.

31) As they travel a forest trail, the party sees 2 trees, tangled together, their crowns swaying steadily from side to side. This is actually two treants who are heading opposite directions. They don't like eachother and both refuse to get out of the way of the other.

32) A saddled horse with no rider is trotting down the road.

33) Travelling towards the party comes a barbershop quartet of a Goblin, a Gnoll, a Bugbear and an Ogre. They're a bit worn, and quite tired and hungry. If the party offers them food, or to share camp with them, the monsters are exceedingly grateful and can provide knowledge on the local area.

Scarab Sages

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34) a giant that stands by the road with a crudely painted sign that reads "Free Hugz"

35) thirty-five goblins who have set up a roadside restaurant. Food to be consumed at customer's own risk. Menu includes Old Leather Shoe and Cowpie stew, Baked Decapitatee, and Boiled Wood (salted, naturally).

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The more I think about this thread, the more I like it. Not just for the non-combatty adventure angles or the humor, but also to use random encounters like these to get a 'boy-who-cried-wolf' effect so that the party won't suspect every notable traveler or event to be an obvious adventure hook.
I'll definitely be using a lot of these in a future campaign!

36) A rather hurried-looking man approaches the party. He keeps nervously looking over his shoulder and offers to sell the party several valuable items at suspiciously low prices, including two wedding rings.

37) A wounded dog is lying whimpering beside the road. His fur is shaggy and dirty and his collar is torn. From the collar dangle a short piece of frayed rope and a copper piece as a tag.

38) Several wolves circle a tree in which a goblin is crying for help.

39) A tree has fallen on the road, preventing a wagon carrying commerce from passing it. The merchant, his wife and his brother-in-law, who's the guard of the caravan, are unable to get the tree trunk to move.

I actually got this one from a random encounter roll a while back.

40) A small herd of about a half dozen or so brachiosaurus' (or other huge plant eating critter) is crossing the road ahead. And you thought the sheep were bad.

41) A herd of sheep stretching as far as the eye can see in either direction is crossing the road ahead. And you thought the dinosaurs were bad.

42) A herd of buffalo crossing your path in 18th century North America. And you thought one million sheep were bad. Now try 1 million Buffalo.

43) a herd of 1 million brachios ..... hmmm I detect a pattern here. where is that Gnome illusionist hiding???????

44) A patrol from the nearest (mostly) civilized area. They may or may not be favorably disposed towards the PCs. They're probably mounted if the terrain favors such, and are probably level 1-2 with level 3-4 officers and a 5-6 commander. Size typically between a squad and a platoon.

45) A mercenary company, from platoon to battalion size, either on the move or on a job. They're likely neutral to the pcs unless some special condition applies.

I'd suggest using something along these lines to really mess with a party's collective head. Drop in the occasional pop-culture reference based 'random' encounter, and get them used to the idea of your intent being to provide an 'ah-hah!' moment when they figure out the reference. Eventually, it becomes a thing.. then you can pull one on them, but design it so that when they recognize the current encounter and think they know for sure what you are up to with it, dismissing it as just another cutesy gag, BAM! out comes the unexpected left turn at Albuquerque!

Dot ===> .

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@Dr. Wholmes: Brilliant idea!
I can't wait to throw in a shared camp with a human wizard, a halfling and a group of dwarves, only to have it turn out that the wizard is a hobgoblin illusionist who used Disguise Self and Disguise Other on a group of goblins

46) When making a campfire, the earth suddenly shakes and a loud shout of pain is heard. The party gets startled by a huge figure made of earth, roots and stone rising out of the ground, who's demanding to know who set a fire on his head.

47) A large muscled man, covered in scars, comes up to the party. He's dressed in rags and chains around his throat and hands. He claims to have escaped from a tribe of goblinoids who enslaved him but he seems rather well fed and capable.

48) A travelling alchemist, selling various potions. Unbeknownst to the party, he is no alchemist but a mage (or bard) that uses Magic Aura to dupe adventurers into buying colored water.

49) A pure white horse is seen approaching the party. It is saddled and tacked out in blue and silver, an appraise/ride or similar check will determine it to be a masterwork military saddle worth about 200 gp. It can't be captured, it has a permanent Freedom of Movement, and is immune to Paralysis, Sleep, and other mind effecting type spells. If the PCs fight it, use the Horse animal companion (level 10-11) from the NPC Codex with an Int and Cha of 12 and a speed of 75. If the PCs attack the horse, anyone attacking (whether they hit or not) has a -1 to hit and damage rolls for 24 hours, if they kill it these last until an Atonement spell is completed. Any attempt to sell the saddle and gear will result in the PCs being arrested for murder. If the PCs let the horse go, the next day they will see the same horse going in the opposite direction carrying a somewhat grubby looking 12 year old kid on its back.

50) The PCs see a group of commoners toiling in a field by the road, the commoners cower in fear as PCs pass by. A DC 15 Perception check reveals that they look malnourished and mostly beaten down.

51) The PCs come across a work party carting large building stones towards a swamp. If the ask, they are told that the work party is building a castle in the swamp.

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52) As the PCs travel, they come upon a natural landmark. Around said landmark, several tents have been pitched, several horses tied, and there is music coming from the general area. If the PCs investigate, they'll find a bunch of people celebrating a wedding.

53) The PCs are hailed by a roadwarden, who asks them if they've seen signs of trouble along the road. If they have, the roadwarden goes to investigate.

54) A travelling merchant is stuck, because his wagon has a broken wheel. If the players help, he is thankful, and give them 2 bottles of Fire-Whiskey, a potent local beverage.

55) A band of outriders surround the party, demanding to know their business. An evil group of adventurers have been stirring up trouble over the past weeks, and the outriders are combing the countryside, looking for these vile criminals.

56) As a PC notices an object in the sky, the party has about 4 seconds to respond, before a small meteorite strikes down a mere 400 ft from where they are, shaking the ground, tossing up dust and spooking horses. What could the ball of flame from the sky contain?

57) As dusk nears, the party sees an elderly man breaking off from the road. He spots the party and waves them over. The man is overly nice and very eager to invite them to his farm, so they can get some indoor sleep. The man's suspicious behavior is in fact just the behavior of an overly pleasant and hospitable farmer, who does not realize how suspicious he sounds to a group of paranoid adventurers.

58) On the outskirts of a city, the PCs see a bard, surrounded by a group of people, from all walks of life. The bard is attempting to popularize a new genre of music, he himself invented. Unfortunately the music didn't sit well with a local noble, who had the bard thrown out of the city for disturbing the peace. Now the bard is playing for anyone who will listen, and is drawing a rapidly growing crowd.

59) The party happen upon an elf, travelling in the opposite direction. She asks them if they've noticed something strange about the stars for the past month. If the PCs are forthcoming, then no matter if they have or have not seen something strange in the night sky, the elf is grateful and offers them a waterskin full of sweet, strangely refreshing water, before continueing his/her journey.

60) A harras of wild horses play in the nearby grasslands.

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61)While traveling through mountains or hilly regions the adventurers come across a cave near nightfall. If they set up camp near or in the cave the first watch hears noises from deep inside the cave. If anyone investigates they find the spirit of a dragon mourning his stolen horde.

62)The party come across a road crew repairing damage to the road done during a recent storm.(even if magic is common someone has to fix all the roads the adventurers are using)

63)The party comes across an unfinished inn. there are currently no workers there but there is a sign slung over the door that reads "Please come and stay in the future"

64) The PCs come across a comely woman alongside the road, bound to a tree. When asked what happened, she tells them she is a noblewoman who was attacked by bandits as she traveled to her estates. The bandits kidnapped her and intended to hold her for ransom. But last night after they camped, the bandits all packed up camp and left without a word, leaving her alone. She's rather flummoxed and put out about the whole affair. If returned home, she'll gladly reward them.

65) A troupe of clerics and/or paladins march by with a prisoner in tow, bound in cold iron chains. The prisoner is a succubus they intend to try to redeem. The clerics all belong to a faith with a strong streak of nonviolence and are taking her to a temple in order to begin the process. The succubus, for her part, looks bored. If asked, she tells them that they've been trying to redeem her for over a century and it's gotten rather boring. The chains are dimensional shackles. If freed, the succubus doesn't actually leave but instead stays with the priests and continues on her pilgrimage.

66) The PCs find a bunch of rough-looking men and women wandering about in a field. If approached, they seem to be rather confused and out of it. These are the bandits from #64, now under the influence of a fey creature that just had to have a little fun with the loud, noisy, filthy humans.

67) A dragon, of a chromatic or other evil breed, dozing beside the road. The beast is enormous, obviously of great age and power. Mundane efforts to wake it fail, but if awoken the creature is testy. It doesn't engage in combat unless truly threatened. It just found a nice spot to sleep off its last meal, which was a herd of sheep, sheepdogs, and shepherds from two hills over.

68) A party of adventurers walk by. They look strangely familiar. And they should: they're gender- or race-swapped versions of the PCs. How this came to be? Only the GM knows :)

69) A wild dog is chased by a feral cat across a field. Later, the cat is chased by a rabbit across the field. And then a mouse chases the rabbit across the field. Finally, a butterfly chases the mouse across the field.

70) In a large town or city, a boy races by with a basket under his arm. Delectable smells come from it. If stopped, he is hostile, as he has to get the food from a local restaurant to a buyer in half an hour or he loses his tip/job.

Oh,and as an addendum to 56:

56a) The object turns out to be a large warhammer. It bears an inscription. Attempts to move it require a suitable contender to try to move the object. It's a maul of the titans, and the inscription is the return address of the titan who just dropped it.

71) The PCs come across two orcs. One is a veritable giant of an orc, standing nearly eight feet tall, he is dressed in red and silver and carrying a huge sword on his back. He is walking and seemingly talking to himself. His companion is much smaller, only a bit over six feet tall. He is riding a horse while playing a balalaika and badly singing a song.

Scarab Sages

72) a great explosion rocks a nearby hill and ejects dirt, rocks, and shattered trees high into the air. A mining accident, perhaps?

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