Publisher: Ramen Sandwich Press
After a Kickstarter campaign that made it possible and drew rave early reviews, our deep dive into random encounters in D&D 5E is now available to everyone else! Here’s what the author says about it on the back cover:
I talk about this in the Introduction to Book of Chance Meetings, but random encounters in roleplaying games have always fascinated me. I started with Dungeons & Dragons shortly after AD&D became a thing, and the big appendix of random encounters in the AD&D DMG still blows my mind. The fact that encounters could come at you out of nowhere meant that almost anything was possible even if the DM hadn’t thought of it, and that appendix demonstrated in graphic form the richness and variety of all the living (and undead) things in the game. All those tables, so many tables….
And yet, I felt — and still feel — that more guidance on how to make random encounters work would be helpful. Again, from the Introduction:
“Okay, so I roll my percentile dice and check the result for the environment through which the party is traveling. It turns up, ‘Orc’…. But how many orcs are there? What are they doing here — which, in turn helps answer the related and all-important question, how do they react to meeting the party? It would help to have some cues to jump-start the encounter. But there is no further guidance. Instead, I imagine Gary Gygax glaring at me, visibly annoyed: ‘Whaddyou mean? It’s orcs. Deal with it.'”
So it has always been. The 5th Edition core rules offers a solid discussion of the how’s and why’s of random encounters, but I think the subject still deserves more. So I wrote Book of Chance Meetings to expand on the subject and give DMs a more thorough idea of what might happen when your party bumps into that group of orcs as they plunge into the forest.
You get 10 main chapters, each devoted to a particular type of wilderness terrain: Caverns, Desert, Forest, Grasslands, Hills, Littoral, Mountains, Ocean, Tundra and Wetlands. After a brief discussion of that terrain type, each chapter launches into a series of tables and sub-tables outlining possible plausible encounters. They cover most of the creatures included in the 5th Edition Standard Reference Document, from familiar wild animals to exotic monsters like kraken and purple worms, plus humanoids, various vocations/professions, and physical hazards that you can use for petty harassment (just to remind your players that adventuring isn’t all fun and glory). In turn, each table entry discusses how that creature reacts — topics range from how to acquire a pet rat to what that ancient red dragon is thinking as it looks down at your party — how many of them are present (scaled to your party’s average level), and what treasure might be gained from defeating it. Book of Chance Meetings gives DMs a deep dive into an under-explored aspect of RPGs. Even experienced DMs will find food for thought and fresh ideas about how to make a party food for monsters.