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Encounters to challenge PCs of any level in the Wasted West (part 1 of 2)

Encounters to challenge PCs of any level in the Wasted West (part 1 of 2)

It’s Midgard Monday! Each week, we visit a corner of the wide world of Midgard. Look for standalone content you can drop into your campaign—whether it’s in Midgard or your own homebrew. Find new inspiration each Midgard Monday!

Midgard is full of dangers. But inarguably, the Wasted West remains one of the most horrid sources of danger in known Midgard. The remains of a wizarding war for power left no victors but death itself.

Still, life continues in the Wastes, and weird, corrupted ecologies emerge among the ruins. Those who find themselves wandering there won’t find any shortage of things still living. And hunting.

Wastes Encounter Tables

These encounter tables are customized by chaos-related terrain. Within each table, encounters are presented in ascending order of CR, from fractions all the way up to double digits in most cases. When PCs venture into the appropriate terrain, a GM can roll randomly or choose an encounter that creates an appropriate challenge for the PCs.

Badlands

Epitomized by steep, dry hills and rocky expanses with little brush, this hostile terrain favors prepared ambushes and cavern lairs.

d10Encounter
1Members of the Red Moon bandits (see Wastes of Chaos , use Chaos Reavers) force captives to use improvised tools to clear a site for fleshgate construction.
2Chaos goblins (see Wastes of Chaos) dismantle a trio of burnt wagons for lumber as a voidwracked mage (see Creature Codex) watches on a ridge in the near distance.
3Ignoring overturned wagons, a group of giant ants (see Tome of Beasts 1) strip the corpses of oxen and handlers before marching home.
4A band of dust goblins ride j’ba fofi spiders (see Tome of Beasts 1 for both) to a watering hole surrounded by sickly vegetation.
5Void cultists led by a void speaker (see Creature Codex for both) prepare a ritual beneath the flickering shadow of a reality-phasing kaiju.
6In a mining encampment’s ruins, an eldritch horror (see Wastes of Chaos) lingers in structures where both its constituent victims and the cultists who summoned it once lived.
7Carefully exploring box canyons and leaving claw marks, a spider drake (see Creature Codex) seeks a new lair while carrying web-bound captives.
8Howling through a slot canyon maze, a vangsluagh (see Tome of Beasts 2) attempts luring prey with wounded cries and a trail of scavenged gear.
9Picking over flayed remnants of pilgrims, a boneshard wraith (see Tome of Beasts 2) rummages the scattered luggage train, looking for something interesting.
10A wasteland dragon circles over crumbling ruins, waiting for werehyenas (see Creature Codex for both) to come out of hiding so it can attack.

Battlefields

Whether newly forged or long forgotten, these rolling hills, expansive plains, or vital passes remain littered with bones and detritus.

d10Encounter
1Gorelings (see Creature Codex) swarm over a red deer caught grazing amid an overgrown barricade of earthen hills and partially burnt wooden timbers.
2The de ogen (see Tome of Beasts 2) of a mercenary thief flickers and sputters, wandering between the ragged, collapsed tents of an old, ransacked army encampment.
3Loitering discordantly with the clamor of shields hanging from an old tree beside a dolmen, an ostinato (see Tome of Beasts 1) waits to slay investigators.
4In a still smoldering plain, three pillars of the lost magocracy (see Creature Codex) stand mutely, surrounding a small cut stone building.
5Floating in a narrow trench, a pale rotting wind (see Tome of Beasts 1) obscures the ground while extending foggy tendrils in search of victims.
6Adding to its form from a field of abandoned swords plunged into the scorched earth, an armory golem (see Creature Codex) tests swords.
7A bone swarm (see Tome of Beasts 1) stands unmoving beside an unoccupied campsite with a still burning campfire, rags caught its form, as if it were a makeshift monument.
8Stalking the foundation of a ruined watchtower, a troll necromancer (see Wastes of Chaos) summons skeletons into service as its vanguard.
9Strolling ahead of a crowd of rag-tag unsure warriors, a herald of slaughter (see Tome of Beasts 2) looks to make an example.
10A shoggoth (see Tome of Beasts 1) rests amid smashed and tumbled siege engines, making separate stacks of ammunition and skulls using its pseudopods.

Desert

Scalding angry wind howls across towering dunes and rocky flatlands, parching skin and sapping strength from travelers and raiders alike.

d10Encounter
1Nomadic goblins (see Wastes of Chaos) ride war ostriches (see Tome of Beasts 1) under the banner of a wasteland priest (see Wastes of Chaos) to attack an occupied oasis tent camp.
2Giant ants (see Tome of Beasts 1) forage for sustenance amid a rocky outcropping, as several of them begin tunneling for a new colony.
3Amid a boulder field of sharp-edged stones, wind-parched grey thirsters (see Tome of Beasts 1) rise and attack travelers hoping to escape the blowing sand.
4Near dawn or dusk, a sand spider (see Tome of Beasts 1) stalks the dunes, drawn by a campfire’s scent.
5A patch of cactids (see Tome of Beasts 1) lay a trail of salvaged loot to lure treasure hunters into a slot canyon trap near a hidden wadi.
6Laughing with cruel glee, gnoll slavers (see Creature Codex) force captives to pull salt slabs to an oasis, promising to eat the slowest.
7Accursed defilers (see Tome of Beasts 1) sit hunched and half-buried, waiting for travelers along either side of a road lined with ancient stone markers.
8In a ruined caravanserai, a bouda (see Tome of Beasts 1) masquerades as the host and tries to attack the unwary as they make camp.
9Partially inundating a ruined structure and surrounded by bones, a dune mimic (see Tome of Beasts 1) awaits creatures seeking shelter from wind or scavenging loot.
10Occupying a dried out wadi, an oozasis (see Tome of Beasts 1) uses its dream powers to allow visitors to depart, magically compelled to return with captives.

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about Ben McFarland

Ben lived on a desert island for two years while serving as an officer in the US Air Force. He likes sushi, worldbuilding, and magic systems, and spends way too much time at a pool. He’s been freelancing, playtesting, and editing RPGs since 2005. While D&D’s a first love, Ars Magica is his greatest love and Cthulhutech his secret mistress.

3 thoughts on “Encounters to challenge PCs of any level in the Wasted West (part 1 of 2)”

  1. Absolutely loving this Midgard Lore content, can’t wait for more. It is very helpful for my Midgard Campaigns I am running!

  2. I always look forward to Midgard Mondays! More lore and content based around the best 5e setting is always appreciated!

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