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The Random GM. One roll of the dice conjures a merchant caravan

The Random GM. One roll of the dice conjures a merchant caravan

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!

To make something on the fly, 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 Merchant Caravan

d4How trained are the (other) caravan guards?
4Highly competent
d6How does the caravan move its goods?
1Pack animals
6Clockwork vehicle
d8What is the caravan’s destination?
1A walled settlement at the edge of the frontier
2A strategic military outpost in unfriendly lands
3A nomadic trading village on the plains
4A mining village in the high mountains
5A gaping maw into the underworld
6A remote temple
7A port city along an azure sea
8A shining metropolis at the center of the world
d10Who does the caravan encounter along the way?
1A wild-eyed prophet
2a newly established village led by a charismatic figure
3Caravanners coming form the opposite direction
4a Humanoid tribe with a monstrous problem
5Bandits collecting “protection” money
6Herd of wild animals
7Humanoids suffering from a plague or curse
8Survivors of a failed caravan
9Ghosts haunting the region
10A hungry, but discreet drake
d12Who else is traveling with the caravan?
1Paupers in search of a fresh start
2Troupe of musicians
3Mysterious figure from a faraway land
6Bounty hunter
7Pilgrims ill equipped for the journey
8Artisan following guild assignment
9Local legend fleeing a consequence
10A salesperson hawking miracle cures
11A criminal who will stand trial at the destination
12The heir apparent
d20What trade goods are the caravan carrying?
1Root vegetables
2Dried fruit and beans
3Grains and rice
5Animal hides, furs, leather, raw wool
6Cookware (Earthenware, dishes, cups, cooking pots, cauldrons)
7Cooking oil or tallow
8Alcohol (beer, wine, mead, liquor)
9Unrefined metals (gold, copper, iron)
10Quarried stone
11Clockwork parts and tools
12Aromatic herbs and incense
13Rugs or tapestries
14Traditional medicines and healing potions
15Small livestock (chickens, ducks, geese, swans)
17Spell components
18Salt and common spices (pepper, dried garlic)
19Exotic spices and fruits (citron, pomegranate, dragonfruit)
20Art objects (paintings, sculpture, art tools)

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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