• Justin Handlin

5 Dungeons & Dragons Encounters to bring to your table TONIGHT! Volume 3


Adventurer leaving a dragon's hoard with treasure
Art: Compliments of Wizards of the Coast

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No Prep? No Problem! 5 Dungeons & Dragons Encounters to bring to your table Tonight!


Where can I find Dungeons & Dragons Adventures? As Dungeon Masters sometimes we just don’t have the time to prepare for our games. So this is a question we sometimes ask ourselves when we are short on time. There are many reasons for this, such as adulting that needs doing. The most common cause of lack of prep is due to the player characters using their agency to go in an unexpected direction. When this happens at the table it can leave us Dungeon Masters flustered or stressed because things aren’t going as planned.


But don’t worry, we've got you covered. We’ve put together 5 encounters that you can introduce to your Dungeons & Dragons stories and campaigns on the fly. They are detailed enough to guide you and open enough to allow you to easily expand and adjust as needed for your player character’s actions. Staple these encounters to your Dungeon Master’s Screen or add them to your notebook. That way, no matter what happens, you will always have D&D encounters ready to bring to your table, to the delight or potential misery of your players.


5 Dungeons & Dragons Encounters to bring to your table TONIGHT! Volume 3


A Heroes Ballad

An ally and friend of the heroes approach them during their downtime. They have someone they would like to introduce the heroes too. A wandering minstrel named Enilin “Sparrow” Quick (M, minstrel (CA)) has been wandering the local area in search of inspiration, namely tales of heroic feats and daring adventures. The party’s ally can think of no one better qualified to quench the minstrels' thirst for tales and urges the characters to regale Enilin with their greatest exploits. Upon meeting Enilin, he asks that the party share their experience in the town square at dusk, for the entire town to see. Here the characters are given the opportunity to put on a fantastic show. This can be done through poems, dance, magical effects, singing, or all of the above. The characters must succeed in four skill checks before gaining three failures.


On a success, Enilin and the crowd find their story riveting and hooting and cheering. Enilin will go on to perform the story during his travels and add it to his book to be available in libraries.


On a failure, Enilin and the crowd find the story lackluster and hardly exciting. Fruit and vegetables are tossed at them and they are booed out of the town square.


Eye Spy

Dakuadu Thron (F, elf, noble) has ordered House Arryn to take a more active role in the conquest of the region. Unfortunately, Lord Jarid Arryn's (M, human, spy) homelands are rife with House Varrin supporters. The characters have been asked to sneak into their place of business and plant a small orb imbued with the arcane eye spell. This will allow House Arryn to find Varrin sympathizers easily and bring their piece of the region under control.

Related Article: 5 Short Dungeons & Dragons Adventures You Can Bring to Your Table Tonight Volume 1!

Savage Sewers

The characters have been tasked with tracking down a crew of thieves known as the Triple Triads after they made a hasty escape from the local city guards near the sewers. The sewers are vast, so the characters have been hired to help out.


Water from a river above flows from the east into a steep spillway that empties into a deep pool in the middle of an octagonal chamber. A walkway rings the massive chamber. The pool flows into the channel that the adventurers have been following up to this point.


Two savage minotaurs (CA) are here, feeding on the remains of their previous victims. When the prisoners encountered the minotaurs they were able to fend them off and distract them long enough to allow the other two of them to escape. They managed to slay one of the monstrosities, but only wounded the others. While they managed to escape, they were both injured and dropped a satchel in the process.


Near the dead minotaur on the floor lay a mangled dark grey satchel; its contents spilled out onto the floor. Beside the satchel are a length of parchment and a set of nobleman’s clothes. A piece of paper with what appears to be a list of book titles. Most of them have been stricken through, but three have checkmarks next to them;(Insert names of Candlekeep mysteries books).


An unsigned note that reads:

A character that can read Thieves’ Cant can read the following. For anyone else, it just contains a recipe for homemade cinnamon sugar bread.


"Victor, Roland and Xanelli,


Swamp of Sorrows

A main trade way skirts around, in some spots, passes through, a black, stale, noxious swamp. A character who succeeds on a DC 15 Intelligence (nature) check spots signs of the corrosive critters. When the characters are traveling through they are attacked by two black pudding. A failure on the check means the characters are surprised. The black puddings often lay flat and still on a pathway or wrapped around a dead log. This allows it to blend in with its swampy surroundings. Appearing as nothing more than a swamp puddle or decaying tree trunk. This allows them to ensure the first warning a traveler receives of the ooze’s presence is the searing pain of its acidic touch.


A character with alchemist’s tools can attempt a DC 17 tool check. On a success, they are able to extract enough of the pudding’s living core essence. Mixing it with some of their supplies, they create a potion of diminution. If the character succeeds by more than 5 on the check, they are able to extract enough for two uses. On a failure, the character suffers the random effect of the enlarge/reduce spell for 1d4 days or until removed with dispel magic or similar magic.


Quarrels with Squirrels

The support beams in a local merchant’s shop are being gnawed on by squirrels, it happens almost every year. The proprietor and merchant Igan Rein (M, commoner) has put out a call for someone to deal with the furry pests before his entire shop collapses in on itself. Igan doesn’t offer a traditional reward, instead, he offers a permanent shop discount of 10% off his wares. If a character has the Guild Artisan background, it is doubled to 20%. A character who succeeds on a DC 13 Intelligence (Nature) check or is proficient in Woodcarver or Carpenter tools identifies the beams as being made up of cedar. A favorite of silver squirrels (use swarm of poisonous snakes statblock), a pack creature.


This encounter can be resolved by a few different methods. The characters can simply slay the beasts and be done with them. If they use the spell speak with animals or similar magic, they can learn that the squirrels are preparing for a female to give birth. The cedar is the best wood to build their shelter out of. With a successful DC 14 Intelligence (Nature) or Wisdom (Survival) check, the characters are able to locate a collection of cedar trees a few days travel away should they decide to help the little critters. They may also choose to help the squirrels relocate their nest to the location of the new cedar trees. Giving them all that they need.


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