Some folks say that D&D combat is too sterile and orderly, and they aren’t often all that wrong off of the mark. I don’t think that we’ll ever get gritty, realistic combat-- in fact, I doubt that any of us really want that. It takes to long to play combat situations as it is, but if you and your players are getting sick of battles, perhaps it’s time to pepper a combat scenario with some random events.
Now this list is just a suggestion, and it is kept open and brief on purpose because it would just be impossible to create a list for every situation, and again, it would be too complex if it was. Determining a Random Event is done by the DM before INITIATIVE is rolled by checking a d20. If a 1 or a 2 is rolled, then a random event is triggered.
RANDOM EVENT GENERATOR d12
1- Change In Area
2- Heroes set off Trap
3- Villains Item Breaks/dropped
4- Hero slips
5- Random Armor Failure
6- Random Grapple
7- Initiative gets Lucky
8- Random weapon failure
9- Villain slips
10- Hero’s Item Breaks/dropped
11- Villains set off Trap
12. Random Encounter
Change in Area: This triggers a drastic change in the environment. A tree suddenly falls, a fire starts, a lightning storm, avalanche, it is case sensitive and it should effect all of the combatants at the same time. This event shouldn’t cause outright damage without giving all involved a chance to make a saving-throw or an ability check of some kind.
Heroes/Villains set off Trap: This can be a real trap in the area, or a natural trap or terrain hazard. For instance a barrel full of beer falls off of a ledge and lands on a characters head, a snake in the grass lashes out, floor gives way, etc.
Hero/Villain’s Item Breaks/dropped: An item that a character is carrying is smashed or dropped, if the randomly selected character is carrying a magical item, it could go off effecting as many people as possible.
Hero/Villain Slips: A character is suddenly on the ground, roll a saving throw to see if item is dropped. The character loses all attacks, and if INITIATIVE is failed, is AC 10.
Random Armor Failure: A random character’s armor malfunctions. A breastplate slips, a visor falls, a shield breaks. Saving Throws may apply, attack that round could be lost, or a chink in the AC presents itself to an enemy.
Random Grapple: Two combatants from opposing sides suddenly find themselves locked in a grapple, weapons were dropped and the two are engaged in unarmed combat.
Initiative gets Lucky: A random character gains +2 bonus to his favor in all rolls made that round.
Random Weapon Failure: A random character’s weapon malfunctions. This can indicate a break (saving throw applies), the weapon is dropped, magical qualities are triggered, the weapon gets stuck in a tree or a wall and character must spend the round trying to yank it out or abandon it.
Random Encounter: A sudden Random Encounter happens, a wild animal suddenly enters the combat neutrally and defends it’s territory. This encounter can be neutral, or work in a sides favor depending on what is rolled.
Suggestions for DM’s
Don’t be a slave to this list. If something is rolled and is either unpractical or doesn’t make sense, then you can either change the situation or ignore the roll entirely. The DM is also always free to just chose an event from the list, while keeping things impartial, perhaps a grapple is indicated and you roll up something weird like a Wizard who is well behind the line? This could mean that an enemy has slipped behind the line and earned himself a chance to attack the wizard. Other times creatures simply can’t slip because it is impossible for them to do such, you’ll need to either ignore the roll or pick something else to happen that may stun the creature for a round.
I really wouldn’t waste to much prep time on this list, it is specifically stuff that you can easily make up on the fly to fit damn near any situation. The key here is to enhance the fun and danger of a combat scenario, not overshadow it, side track the adventure, or punish players. FUN is the key word, as is RANDOM. Keep this in mind and even fist fights with flesh golems can be enhanced.
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