July 22, 2021

Encounter Roles

Types of encounters found on an encounter table, assuming the standard encounter check” procedure.
n.b. a single encounter will fulfil many of these. Boundaries are fuzzy.

  • Dangerous Encounters - provide cost’ or risk’ to taking your time in the dungeon. Drives riskier decision making.
  • Information Delivery - inform the characters about something. The lower levels are flooded b/c these skeletons are wet.” The orcs are running away from something.” Megasnakes hunt in pairs.”
  • Consequences - the encounter table shows the results of character actions somehow. This can be achieved through absence - e.g. there are no more goblins left.
  • Immersion - increasing the thickness” of the atmosphere of a place, area. Reiterating the vibe, adding texture.
  • Resource Drain - contentious, and not one I like - but those who use encounter checks to manage light and food might consider this a type.
    • This can also include encounters which are trivial if you have the right item, like planks to cross a pit. In the case that you don’t, they do something else:
  • Blockers - force players to re-evaluate choices. The way is blocked, the street is closed, the unkillable monster is lurking over there. Sometimes can be mitigated, becoming more of a Resource Drain.

Something I’ve been doing with encounters is combining them into a single roll, rather then check-and-then-roll. The advantage of this is one less roll, although you then have less ability to modify the encounter chance which might be pertinent to you (e.g. stinky food doubles encounters) - although this can be achieved by halving the check interim.

Dungeons usually have a 1-in-6 or a 2-in-6 chance - so just have a d100 table with 17+ as No Encounter (or add a bunch of pure Immersion” encounters without reducing your chances of a more interactive encounter).

In cities, you’re more likely to want a big table of stuff that mostly avoids the Dangerous Encounters since time pressure is (usually) less of a thing.

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