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The Random GM: Create an instant roadside inn for your players

The Random GM: Create an instant roadside inn for your players

Sooner or later, your players will ignore your narrative breadcrumbs in favor of aiding a random NPC. This is good and right. But it helps to be prepared when it happens!

One Roll Wonders are a way to throw together RPG locations and points of interest in the time it takes for a bathroom break!

Grab one of each of the polyhedral dice: d4, d6, d8, d1, d12, and d20. Roll them all at once and consult the tables.

The results provide a ready-made bit of adventure. You might need to massage the outcome to create something coherent, or you might find a result that appeals to you more than what you rolled. Whatever gets the game moving is the right call!

Want more help keeping things running? The Prepared! Expanded Collection is an group of pre-generated one-shot adventures that helps you look like an improv master.

The Roadside Inn

d4What is the inn made of?
4Built in the branches of mighty trees, above the ground.
d6Who is the owner? (This might be a different person that the innkeeper.)
1The owner is also the innkeeper
2A wealthy farmer who supplies produce to the inn
3A retired adventurer who purchased their favorite establishment
4Local bandits or thieves who use the inn to carouse and find marks
5Local landed gentry who rely on the money it makes
6The monarch of the realm who stops by in disguise occasionally
d8What immediate threat does the inn face?
1Rodents (or other pesky monsters) keep eating the inn’s food supply
2Locals are spooked because the innkeeper placed a taxidermied head behind the bar
3Ravens perch outside the inn’s window, staring inside intently
4Pockets are picked whenever a bard plays at the inn
5The wait staff keeps dying under suspicious circumstances
6Travelers’ pack animals keep dying overnight
7Poltergeists haunt their former bar stools
8If the rent isn’t paid tomorrow, the landlord will have the innkeeper imprisoned until it has been paid
d10What local landmark is near the roadside inn?
1Roiling, roaring rapids
2A venerable cemetery
3A grove of rare eastern hemlock trees
4The ruins of walled fort
5A razed temple to a fell god
6A ring of druidic standing stones
7A dank cave mouth leading in the Underworld
8A cascading waterfall crashes close enough for visitors to hear
9Engraved pictographs hint at ancient life
10An engagement in a recent war was fought near here
d12What specialty food and drink is this inn known for?
1Baked beans and watery ale
2Cabbage stew and flat pilsner
3Thick porridge and stout beer
4Salted fish and clear grain liquor
5Hard boiled eggs sliced over a bed of wild greens, toasted nuts and fresh fruit, with a glass of clean water
6Chopped liver and mashed vegetables with brown ale
7Braised spiced fish and lemon-ginger mead
8Wild boar sauerbrauten with sweet wine
9Toasted bread and sliced brie with dry wine
10Pickled beef with crusty bread and plumb brandy
11Smoked pork flank and doublebock beer
12Fresh venison steak and blackberry mead
d20Who can PCs meet while staying here?
1A waiter who can predict what diners want to order
2A musician who gets regularly chased off the stage
3A cook who spends most of their shift turning indiscernible cuts of meat on a rotisserie
4A priest whose teachings cause mild discomfort among the inn’s patrons
5A caravan guard experiencing persistent migraines since being clubbed over the head
6A druid headed to a nearby settlement with a list of demands
7A lonely merchant peddling wares from a handcart
8A hardscrabble mercenary returning home to protect his people
9A merchant in fine gems who travels with an entourage of armored guards and hangers-on
10A monk travelling the land righting wrongs (and is looking for a new pupil to teach)
11Twin brewers, traveling in a guarded caravan to advertise their drink to roadside inns
12A knight in shining armor who seems uncomfortable around common folk
13A burly local who performs the inn’s menial labor (and knows more than you’d expect)
14A local hunter taking a week to relax (and sell trophies)
15A scoundrel from a nearby city who uses the inn to lay low until the heat dies down
16A wanted rustler hiding in plain sight with a hat of disguise
17A mountebank who sells curative remedies from the back of their wagon
18A hedge wizard who complains about the quality of food and drink
19A chef who once worked for the monarch but now enjoys the relative quiet at the inn
20An archmage whose chronomancy spell went awry, trapping anyone who enters the roadside in to repeat the last day until they break the spell

About Benjamin Eastman

Benjamin L. Eastman was introduced to D&D by his four closest friends—who immediately betrayed his trust by sacrificing his first character to a demonic artifact. Undeterred, he’s played all manner of RPGs in the intervening years. In addition to writing Warlock Lairs and monsters for Kobold Press, he’s contributed to the Stargate RPG and Americana, and co-authored DMs Guild adventures including Baby Tarrasque. He is perhaps proudest of the bar brawl—his first published monster in the Creature Codex

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