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Dungeon Tables: Random Encounters at Sea

Dungeon Tables: Random Encounters at Sea

Whether your party is exploring a rocky coastline, a tropical island, or sailing across the seas, threats can come from any direction. This week’s Dungeon Tables features all sorts of encounters found along the coast or on (or under!) the ocean. The table below provides foes in a wide spread of difficulties, so some results may be easy while others deadly. Feel free to use as inspiration or tweak, modify, and supplement to your hearts content. Grab your swim trunks, and happy voyaging!


22d4 sahuagin (75%) or 2d4 sahuagin in the company of a yavalnoi (25%, see Tome of Beasts 2).
3Tide pools filled with a riot of marine life, including hermit crabs, sea stars, tiny fish, and a purple slime (see Creature Codex).
42 kelp drakes (see Tome of Beasts 2), circling a fresh shipwreck.
5A ningyo (see Creature Codex), pulled up by a fishing net or circling in the waters.
63d4 + 3 merrow, with no aim but to kill and destroy.
7A sunken ship lies beneath the waves on the ocean floor. Within the ship sleeps a devil shark (see Creature Codex).
81d4 giant water scorpions (see Tome of Beasts 2) hidden beneath the surface.
9A tidehunter (see Tome of Beasts 2), hiding in the shallow surf. As soon as a creature comes within 5 feet of it, the tidehunter attacks.
10This portion of the coastline is strewn with bleached, cracked bones and 3d4 skulls of all types—humanoid, beast, and monster—half-buried in the sand. In reality, every skull is a bone crab (see Tome of Beasts). When a creature gets within 5 feet of a crab, they all attack.
11A carnivorous ship (see Tome of Beasts 2) on the hunt.
12A slumbering zaratan drifts by in the distance. It is impossible to awaken.
13A sea hag (75%) or a coven of sea hags (25%), lairing within a polluted grotto.
14A cipactli demon (see Creature Codex), creeping from the deeps to feast on the party while they sleep.
15A school of 1d4 plesiosauruses, willing to eat anything that crosses their path.
16A raiding party of 2d4 + 1 deep ones (75%) or 2d4 + 1 deep ones and a deep one hybrid priest (25%) (see Tome of Beasts), prowling the coast.
17The party’s ship passes above the lair of a nihileth (see Creature Codex), deep beneath the surface. A horde of 2d6 + 3 nihilethic zombies (see Creature Codex)are drawn by the sound of the keel as it breaks the waves, and they attack.
182d6 reef sharks, hunting schools of fish.
19Geothermal vents bubble below the surface. 1d4 fire-infused water elementals (see Tome of Beasts 2) call this portion of the sea their home and will defend it if they feel it is threatened.
20A flock of 4d6 alkonost (see Creature Codex), wheeling and looping through the dark storm clouds above. Their song echoes across the waves, and they herald a coming storm but otherwise do not attack unless provoked.
21A pod of 4d4 killer whales breaching the surface.
225 bandits (50%) or 5 bandits and a bandit captain, guarding their coastal sea cave hideout.
23A playful (though no less deadly) sea dragon wyrmling (75%) or a young sea dragon (25%) (see Tome of Beasts), out hunting for prey.
242d4 merfolk,driving away a killer whale.
251d4 + 1 haleshi (see Tome of Beasts 2) approach the party as they are settled down for a meal, interested in sharing their food. They will be particularly interested in purchasing any pastries or sweets the party may have on them, offering handfuls of pearls in exchange for the desserts.
26Lights dance in the dark depths, far beneath the surface. If the party investigates, they are lured into the lair of a gulper behemoth (see Tome of Beasts 2).
27Three fast-moving canoes: two hold 2 cueyatl and one carries a cueyatl sea priest (50%) or 2 cueyatl warriors and a cueyatl moon priest(50%) (see Creature Codex).
281d4 hungry weresharks (see Tome of Beasts 2) in shark form if within the water or humanoid form if on the shore.
29A massive coral reef spreads out along the floor of the ocean, teeming with life. Nestled amongst the urchins and swaying anemones is a coral drake (see Tome of Beasts).
30A giant eagle, swooping down to pluck a fish from the water.
31An alpha fish (see Tome of Beasts 2), defending its territory.
32A river empties into the ocean. In its marshy delta live 3d4 + 3 garroter crabs (50%, see Tome of Beasts) or the same number of bearmit crabs (50%, see Creature Codex).
333 water elementals, rising from the waves to watch the party out of curiosity. They do not attack unless provoked.
34An ikuchi (see Tome of Beasts 2) seen just off the bow of the ship. There is a 50% chance it is aggressive and will attack and a 50% chance that it will pass by if left unharassed.
35A drowned maiden (see Tome of Beasts). She was once a young woman from a nearby village who fled to the shore out of grief upon discovering her fiancé was unfaithful. She slipped on the ledge above the sea and fell into the waters, her heavy skirts quickly dragging her under.
36A giant octopus. When the party fights it, 3 rounds later a hunter shark (50%)or a giant shark (50%) are drawn by the sound of thrashing and the scent of blood.
373d4 crabs accompanied by 2d6 giant crabs, scuttling and pinching.
381d4 shoreline scrappers (see Creature Codex), searching for metal objects to add to their shells.
39A drakon (see Tome of Beasts), soaring above—and beneath—the waves.
40A pair of fisherfolk stand beside the remains of a broken rowboat, obviously in distress. When the party arrives to help, they’re thankful and accept any aid given to them. A pair of water horses (see Creature Codex) in disguise, the couple will search for an opportunity to lure one member away to drown and consume them.


3 thoughts on “Dungeon Tables: Random Encounters at Sea”

  1. Kobold Press is quality material, always. Your monster books are top shelf! I love seeing these encounter tables because they’re put together by people who know exactly what a game master needs. Thank you. I once subscribed to Kobold Quarterly. Is there such a thing anymore?

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