Dungeon Tables: Travel Challenges and Complications, Part 2

Dungeon Tables: Travel Challenges and Complications, Part 2

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’s instalment of Dungeon Tables focuses 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 (divided by terrain type) and give an extra twist to your party’s adventures. (And don’t worry… there are more terrain types to come!)

Desert/Waste

d10Challenge/Encounter
1A curious fennec fox (see Tome of Beasts 2) that, if fed or otherwise treated kindly, leads the party to a small, buried cache of treasure concealing 50 gp and a gold-and-emerald ring. If the fox is attacked, 2d6 additional fennec foxes arrive and attack the party.
2Quicksand: The ground within a 30-foot radius is surprisingly viscous, though it looks no different than the surrounding terrain. Any creature entering the affected area immediately sinks by 1 foot, and their speed is reduced to zero. Further movement causes the creature to sink 1d4 feet every round until they are submerged up to their chest, at which point the sinking stops and they are considered restrained. If the stuck creature stops struggling, they stop sinking. A creature can free themselves by spending 10 minutes slowly moving through the quicksand; another creature can free a stuck creature by succeeding on a DC 20 Strength check.
3A false oasis inhabited by a sand hag (see Tome of Beasts 2).
4A mirager (see Tome of Beasts) hoping for an easy meal.
51d4 death dogs roaming the wastes.
6Sandstorm/Dust Storm: A massive storm blows in, clogging your lungs, scouring your skin, and limiting visibility. The storm lasts for 1d4 hours, during which travel speed is halved. After each hour of traveling, each creature must succeed on a DC 16 Constitution saving throw or take one level of exhaustion.
7A pair of flying snakes defending a clutch of eggs hidden in the sand.
8Mirage: A shimmering shape moves on the horizon, promising companionship or shelter. Every creature who can see the mirage must make a DC 14 Wisdom saving throw. On a failed save, they are charmed by the mirage and must spend all of their movement moving toward it for the next 10 minutes, though it is always just out of reach. A charmed creature resists any attempts made to stop them, but they repeat the saving throw at the end of each round.
9Heat Wave: The sun beats down and creates unbearably harsh conditions. For the next 24 hours, all creatures must make a DC 14 Constitution saving throw every 6 hours. On a failed save, they gain one level of exhaustion.
10A coatl in humanoid form, resting in the shade of a ruined structure.

Arctic/Tundra

d10Challenge/Encounter
1Phantom Camp: A camp with a roaring bonfire and a thick, inviting tent sits empty and unattended. Any creature that gets within 15 feet of the fire must make a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw. On a failed save, they are charmed and sit by the fire for the next 8 hours, at which point they can repeat the saving throw. They do not gain the benefits of a long rest. If anyone attempts to physically remove the charmed creature from the area, they will resist; if the charmed creature is removed from the affected area for 10 minutes, the charm effect fades. Once a creature succeeds on the saving throw, they are immune to the effect for 24 hours.
21d6 mischievous ice bogies (see Tome of Beasts 2), playing pranks.
3Snowstorm: A massive storm moves in, creating treacherous traveling conditions and limiting visibility. Travel speed is halved for a day.
4A meetee-kolen-ol or a quiet soul (see Creature Codex) haunting the remains of a tent.
5Cold Snap: The temperature plunges unexpectedly. For the next 24 hours, all creatures must make a DC 14 Constitution saving throw every 6 hours and at the end of every short or long rest. On a failed save, they gain one level of exhaustion.
61d4 glacial corrupters (see Tome of Beasts 2) guarding an empty grave.
72d4 rimewing moths (see Creature Codex) drawn to the flame of the campfire.
8Thin Ice: A river cuts across the landscape, frosted over with a layer of ice. If a creature attempts to cross the river, they must make a DC 14 Dexterity saving throw when they reach the center as the ice cracks underneath them. On a failed save, the creature plunges into the icy water and takes 1d4 cold damage per round in the water. Any creature that comes within 5 feet of the broken ice must also succeed on the saving throw or also fall through the ice.
9A hoard of 2d4 ice mephits pouring from an unseen chasm.
10A snowy owl, watching the party from above.

Swamp/Marsh/Bog

d10Challenge/Encounter
1A green hag inhabiting a moss-covered hut.
2Fog: A dense fog rises around you, obscuring your vision and slowing travel for 1d6 hours. For the duration, everything within the fog is heavily obscured, and travel speed is halved.
33d6 bullywugs attempting to capture trespassers.
4Deep Water: The muck and mud give way to waist-deep water with a sludgy bottom. It can be traversed by foot, but all speed is halved, causing slow travel, and any creature under 3 feet tall finds the water level above their head.
5A bagiennik (see Tome of Beasts), bathing in a pool.
6A moss lurker (see Tome of Beasts), waiting for a good moment to strike.
7Swamp Gas: The passing of the characters disturbs the rotting vegetation, stirring up toxic gases. Every creature within a 30-foot radius must make a DC 16 Constitution saving throw. On a failed save, take 1d6 poison damage. If a creature enters the affected area or starts their turn in the affected area, they must repeat the saving throw. The gasses linger for 1 minute unless dispersed.
83d4 giant leeches (see Tome of Beasts 2), lurking below the water’s surface.
9Insect Swarm: A swarm of buzzing, biting gnats surrounds you. Each character must make a DC 12 Constitution saving throw. On a failed save, they become diseased, wracked with fever and chills, and gain one level of exhaustion. This condition can only be removed by lesser restoration or a similar spell or with a DC 12 Intelligence (herbalism kit) check.
10Foxfire: A shimmering, ethereal light appears in the distance, hovering just above the ground like wisps of luminescent fog. Any creature who can see the light must make a DC 14 Wisdom saving throw. On a failed save, they are charmed and must spend all of their movement moving toward the light for the next 10 minutes, though it seems always just out of reach. A charmed creature resists any attempt to stop them, but they repeat the saving throw at the end of each round.

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