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The Random GM: 20 Nature-Based Points of Interest

The Random GM: 20 Nature-Based Points of Interest

Egyptian dice (600-800 BC)From the genesis of the D&D game, random lists have been used to create, inspire, and complicate games everywhere. A GM is essentially keeping all the knowledge of a fabricated world inside his or her head, along with all the relevant laws of physics and mechanics, which are transformed into a living story around the table. With that in mind, sometimes it is difficult to come up with appropriate names, descriptions, NPCs, castles, or environmental features on the fly. Luckily, there are certain tools that simplify a GM’s life no matter what game he or she is running.

These random generation tables can be used for just about any topic. The trouble is that though they are great to have, they take time to generate yourself. The good news is I have taken the liberty and done the hard work up front, leaving you free to copy, paste, and print right into your notes.

Although classic fantasy brings to mind the exploration of deep dark dungeons and endless plundering of rooms, adventures take paths through the wilderness at some point. Nature can be just as cruel, wild, and unpredictable as any dungeon.

Exploration and discovery are exciting for players, granting the opportunity for their characters to interact with the world. In terms of the types of interactions, they can be as simple as thinking about a stimulus. If the adventurers encounter a broken sign or a strange statue, their minds tend to poke and prod these items instantly. Are they important? Do they have additional information? Are they dangerous? So even if they don’t physically touch the strangely marked grave stones, they have still been added to world, giving it a bit of flavor. Engage your players with the following twenty random points of interest found in nature—you will quickly see just what grabs their attention.

d20. Nature Points of Interest

  1. Three undead skeletons hang from a tree flailing about helplessly. A nearby sign warns, “Rough Road Ahead.”
  2. Hot spring heated by shallow lava tunnels. 40 percent chance that it is in use when discovered.
  3. Sentient quicksand coaxes in its victims with lies.
  4. Pile of fingers—all bones have been removed.
  5. Graves in an improvised graveyard, many without markings stating who—or what—has been buried there; one of these graves seems to have been dug up recently.
  6. Buckets hanging from trees collecting sap; sap causes immobilization.
  7. Watering hole looks to be seldom used by local wildlife; a giant aquatic eel waits beneath surface.
  8. Cabin carved into the trunk of a single tree. It is many stories tall and the tree is still alive.
  9. A thousand slugs swarming within one tree making awful repetitive music as they rub against each other.
  10. Petrified bear with a dead basilisk nearby; bear is a famous missing druid.
  11. An unusually well-tended mushroom garden. Picking mushrooms here raises the ire of nearby nymphs; respecting the garden may win over their approval.
  12. A river dammed with items of clothing and armor.
  13. d10 birds protecting and incubating an unusually large egg.
  14. Flowers that follow movement and understand Common.
  15. A beautiful wood elf who is cursed to turn into a sapling when the sun rises.
  16. A loud croaking giant toad is giving birth to hundreds of bullywug tadpoles
  17. A transient slaver camp of d6 slavers with several hounds; dwarf slaves are tied together away from the tents, looking quite distressed
  18. A large stone in a clearing appears to be a tribal meeting place. There are signs of generations of use in the area, and the ground and stone are worn but show no recent activity for at least a month. Tracks and paths lead away from the area in dozens of directions
  19. Carcass of a huge beast is being devoured by d8 scavenging wolves, crows, and other creatures. If 4 or more wolves, they may decide to attack rather than be chased off from their find. Carcass is unrecognizable, though one thing is readily apparent: It’s huge.
  20. A small clearing in the foliage with a smooth featureless stone at its center. The stone sits with an eerie stillness. Moving near or onto the edge of the stone reveals that there is no sound, no wind, and no perturbations of any kind on the rock. The center is a temporal and gravitational sink that draws all matter into it.

2 thoughts on “The Random GM: 20 Nature-Based Points of Interest”

  1. I’d make #10 “petrified bear on top of dead basilisk” (bear was petrified mid-leap, landed on basilisk and crushed it to death)

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