Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Case for Random Encounters

The reasons why I like random encounters are laid out over at Kobold Quarterly today. In a nutshell—they make the world seem like a bigger place.

Once upon a time, random encounters were standard fare in roleplaying games. Somewhere along the way, they fell out of fashion. Players, DMs, and game designers decided that random encounters embodied the worst of lazy DMing. They were indiscriminate party killers. Most of all, they were dumped because they were irrelevant to the ongoing story.

From my perspective, random encounters should be kept around because they’re irrelevant to the ongoing story. (more ...)


  1. I really like this article. The case for Random Encounters is a potent one, and I think its greatest potency is that they discourage "story based" thinking (wherein you are acting out a story) and encourage "setting based" thinking; in GNS terms, they are definitely a finger on the S side of the scale.

  2. I tried, during my campaign to include wandering monsters, but found it to actually be quite challenging. This was using Pathfinder rules, but the 3.0 DMG. I'm not sure, but it would probably be more effective if I just wrote my own.

    1. I found the easiest way to use random encounters is to make most of the enemies that appear on the table simple. I will occasionally throw in a complex creature or leader of a group of simpler monsters but for the most if a roll of "1d6+1 orcs" come up its always going to be 1st level orc warriors (or whatever level you need). Hope that helps you the way it helped me.

  3. Thank you for sharing that, as I would've missed it entirely. Food for thought for my own GMing.