Dungeon Tables: Random Encounters in Deserts and Wastes

Dungeon Tables: Random Encounters in Deserts and Wastes

Deserts and wastelands present a particular kind of challenge for adventurers. Though the landscape may look arid and vacant, there is yet life to be found beneath the sands. This week’s Dungeon Tables entry provides you, the GM, with a plethora of encounters for your adventures in the deserts or wastelands of your world. Wildlife, undead, and twisted, strange creatures can all be found in these harsh locations… 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. Happy exploring!

Desert or Wasteland

2d20Encounter
2An ammut (see Creature Codex) pursuing an accursed defiler (see Tome of Beasts).
35 + 2d4 subek (see Tome of Beasts) alongside a riverbed. They are either friendly, if the waters are low (75%), or in the aggressive throes of flood fever if it is the rainy season (25%).
4A wandering apaxrusl (75%) or zalikum (25%) (see Tome of Beasts 2), no longer bound by its master’s will.
5The curve of the dune ahead resembles every other dune the party has passed so far, but this one happens to be a dune mimic (see Tome of Beasts).
63d4 giant vultures in the company of a neophron demon (see Creature Codex) in giant vulture form.
7A sandwyrm (75%) or a sathaq worm (25%) (see Tome of Beasts) hidden in its lair beneath the sands.
8Broken bits of stone and masonry rise from the sand, a jagged silhouette on the horizon. Within the ruins waits a wind eater (see Creature Codex).
95 + 1d4 serpopards (see Tome of Beasts), hunting in a pack.
10A pack of 4 + 2d4 hungry brimstone locusthounds (see Tome of Beasts 2) swarms over the ridge toward the party.
11A chronalmental (see Tome of Beasts), flickering and wavering like a heat mirage.
121d4 jackals,fleeing from a giant scorpion.
13A wasteland dragon wyrmling or young wasteland dragon (see Creature Codex), drawn from its lair by the scent of intruders.
14An oculo swarm (see Tome of Beasts), wandering amidst the buried ruins of a long-lost magocracy.
153 desert giants (see Tome of Beasts), following their herd of 5d10 camels from one oasis to another. The giants are not aggressive but are fiercely protective of their herd.
16A minotaur skeleton, raised by some fell magics to destroy whatever living creatures it finds.
174d4 dust goblins (75%, see Tome of Beasts) or 4d4 dust goblins and a dust goblin chieftain (25%, see Creature Codex)
18A dark shadow stretches along the ground toward the party, potentially unnoticed among the rest of the shadows. The sand silhouette (see Tome of Beasts) begins its attack with its Haunted Haboob ability.
19A sand spider (see Tome of Beasts), lying in wait.
 A low hollow filled with 2d4 cactids (see Tome of Beasts).
21A swarm of 3d4 kezai (see Tome of Beasts 2) fill the air, their giant wings thrumming.
22An angatra (see Tome of Beasts), creeping along the dunes.
232d4 swarms of manabane scarabs (see Tome of Beasts).
24A sanddrift drake (see Tome of Beasts 2) bursts from within a sand dune.
25A mass of sand shifts and moves, following the party at a distance. Once spotted, the fragrite (see Creature Codex) shifts into glass form and approaches the party, gibbering in Terran about being alone. If it reaches the party, it gets too excited and uses its Spontaneous Explosionability, and once in sand form, darts 15 feet away and repeats the process.
26A pristine, refreshing oasis waits in the distance. In reality, it is an oozasis (see Tome of Beasts). It may attack the party once they have made camp or settled in for a rest, or it remains placid and uses its Waters of Unfathomable Compulsionability to coerce the party into carrying out a task.
27An amphora, half-buried in the sand, that contains a trapped djinni. If the amphora is broken, the djinni is freed, and though they cannot grant wishes, they will agree to do a favor for those who freed it as long as the favor is within its power.
28A covered and concealed pit (15 feet in diameter, 8 feet deep) stands in the party’s path. It takes a successful DC 16 Wisdom (Perception) check to spot it. If it goes unnoticed, the two party members at the front of the marching order must succeed on a DC 15 Dexterity (Acrobatics) check or fall into the pit as the ground collapses from beneath them. At the bottom of the pit waits 8 + 2d4 exploding toads (see Creature Codex).
29A roving herd of 5 + 2d4 rift swine (see Tome of Beasts) appears on the horizon.
30Dozens and dozens of skeletons lie half-buried in the sand, wearing corroded and crumbling remnants of armor. If the party decides to investigate, 3 + 2d4 tveirherjar (see Creature Codex) rise from the sand and attack.
31A dry oasis bakes in the hot sun, the dead palm fronds rustling in the scorching wind. Beside the dry well lies a gray thirster (see Tome of Beasts).
323 + 1d4 basilisks, rising up from their tunnels beneath the sand.
33The wind swirls and rises, picking up sand and dust. From this scorching wind emerges an edimmu (see Tome of Beasts).
34A three-headed cobra (see Creature Codex) lies curled atop a dune—above a long-destroyed and buried temple. Nothing but crumbling stone and sand remains.
35A broken and abandoned cart lies half-buried in the sand. Amid the spoiled and desiccated foodstuffs, tattered clothes, and crumbling books, the party finds an idolic deity (see Tome of Beasts). The creature does not immediately attack but instead allows itself to be picked up and taken, sowing a sense of discord in the minds of the party’s divine casters. If at any point the party attempts to discard, destroy, or otherwise rid themselves of the idolic deity, it attacks.
363d4 unshackled anubians (see Tome of Beasts) whose charge has long since collapsed into dust.
37An eonic drifter (75%, see Tome of Beasts) or an eonic savant (25%, see Tome of Beasts 2) lost in time.
38A desert troll (see Creature Codex) lurks beneath the sand. When the party passes near, it uses its Eruptability and attacks.
39The heat shimmers on the sand, resolving itself into the humanoid form of a mirager (see Tome of Beasts).
40An awakened pillar of the lost magocracy (see Creature Codex), looming in the distance.

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