Dungeon Tables: Travel Challenges and Complications, Part 1

Dungeon Tables: Travel Challenges and Complications, Part 1

A GM’s work is never done, so to make things easier on you, we’re providing a series of tables to help you flesh out your encounters, adventures—your world. This week, we focus on Travel Challenges and Complications. Travel is often glossed over in the rush to the next adventure, but if you prefer to add some spice to those days or weeks your PCs spend getting from Point A to Point B, these tables offer an easy way to throw complications in their tracks! Roll on the tables below (sorted by terrain type) and give an extra twist to your party’s adventures. (And don’t worry . . . there are more terrain types to come!)

Mountains

1d10Challenge/Encounter
12 hill giants hurling stones and yelling insults.
22d4 bereginyas (see Tome of Beasts) eager to inflict harm.
3Avalanche/Landslide. A rumbling sound is the only warning before a mass of snow and/or rock hurtles down the mountainside. All creatures must make a DC 14 Dexterity saving throw. On a fail, a creature takes 6d6 bludgeoning damage and becomes buried in debris. A buried creature takes 1 hour to dig itself out and takes one level of exhaustion, or they can be dug out in half that time by another creature.
4Rope Bridge. A bridge made of rope and rotting wood spans a chasm 50 feet wide and 150 feet deep. A creature weighing less than 150 pounds can cross without issue. If a creature weighs more than 150 pounds or if there are multiple creatures with a combined weight of more than 150 pounds on the bridge simultaneously, the ropes of the bridge begin to fray and break completely after 6 seconds (1 round). Any creatures on the rope bridge when it breaks must succeed on a DC 18 Dexterity saving throw to grab on, or they plunge into the chasm below.
5Blocked Path. A landslide has blocked the path completely. If the PCs cannot figure out a way over or through it, they must backtrack and find another route, losing half a day of travel in the process. 
6An adult silver dragon in humanoid form, out for a stroll on the mountain paths.
7Snowstorm/Rainstorm. A massive storm moves in, creating treacherous traveling conditions and limiting visibility. Travel speed is halved for a day.
8Dark clouds roll in, bringing with them 2d4 alkonosts (see Creature Codex).
93d4 aarakocra, patrolling the borders of their aerie.
10A pair of hippogriffs nesting in the crags above the path.

Plains/Grasslands

1d10Challenge/Encounter
1Overgrown Path. Grasses and other plant life have overtaken the path. The PCs must succeed in a DC 14 Wisdom (Survival) check in order to continue in the proper direction. On a fail, they waste half a day walking off course before they realize their mistake.
2Insect Swarm. A swarm of buzzing, biting gnats surround the PCs. Each creature must make a DC 12 Constitution saving throw; on a fail, they becomediseased, wracked with fever and chills, and take one level of exhaustion. This condition can only be removed by a lesser restoration or similar spell or with a successful DC 12 Wisdom (herbalism kit) check.
3A giant weasel stalks the party through the tall grass, more curious than aggressive.
4Swollen River. The river here has breached its banks and washed out the bridge. Crossing requires a successful DC 16 Strength (Athletics) check; on a fail, the creature is swept downriver for half a mile before finally reaching the shore and takes one level of exhaustion.
5A three-headed cobra (see Creature Codex), sunning on a boulder.
6Deluge. Heavy clouds and torrential rains roll in. Visibility is reduced (all creatures within the storm are heavily obscured), the ground becomes muddy and slippery, and travel speed is halved for a day.
7A nighttime mist that conceals a swarm of wolf spirits (see Tome of Beasts).
8A herd of 25 deer being stalked by 3 panthers.
94d4 alliumites (see Creature Codex), angry at being trod upon.
10Sinkhole. The ground beneath the PCs’ feet crumbles and gives way as a massive sinkhole opens beneath them. Every creature within a 30-foot radius must make a DC 12 Dexterity saving throw; on a fail, they fall 30 feet into the sinkhole, taking 3d6 bludgeoning damage and becoming buried. A buried creature takes 1 hour to dig itself out and takes one level of exhaustion or can be dug out in half the time by another creature.

Forest

1d10Challenge/Encounter
1Swollen River. The river here has breached its banks and washed out the bridge. Crossing requires a successful DC 16 Strength (Athletics) check; on a fail, the creature is swept downriver for half a mile before finally reaching the shore and takes one level of exhaustion.
2A weeping treant (see Tome of Beasts) guarding the burial place of an ancient elven druid.
31d4 woodwose (see Creature Codex) wary of outsiders.
4Wandering Hut. A dilapidated wooden hut sits among the trees. Inside, it has one 40-foot-square room with a fireplace, utensils and pots for cooking, a small rough table with two chairs, and a bed. It seems abandoned and offers protection from the wind and the rain. If the PCs take a short or long rest within the hut, they emerge in a completely different area of the forest than where they entered.
5A pair of owlbears guarding a nest.
6Blocked Path. A massive tree has fallen and blocks the path. If the PCs are traveling by cart and cannot devise a way through, they must double back and find another path, losing half a day of travel in the process.
7A mischievous blue faerie dragon, playing pranks from the treetops.
8Thunderstorm. A thunderstorm rumbles above the canopy, and a heavy rain begins to fall. Visibility is reduced, the ground becomes muddy and slippery, and travel speed is halved for a day.
9Overgrown Path. The vines and vegetation have overtaken the path. The PCs must succeed a DC 14 Wisdom (Survival) check in order to continue in the proper direction. On a failure, they waste half a day walking off course before they realize their mistake.
10A unicorn, injured and stuck in a rusty iron bear trap.

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