"A telepathic sentient octopus is a scholar of the surface, with strange ideas about how it works. They are curious but argumentative."
Simple encounter tables for underwater terrain in any fantasy setting. Tables for Underwater Encounter Prompts, Underwater Hazards & Distractions and Quick Underwater NPCs.
[Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash]
Fantasy Underwater Encounters
Underwater encounters might be sea giants playing a game, or scavengers feeding on a dead whale. There might be a periodic beacon or a cloud of inky darkness.
A world unto itself, from the warmer waters near the surface to the unknown dark depths below. A place alluring sea-folk, stubborn guardians and adventurous surface-dwellers.
10 Underwater Encounter Prompts
|10 Underwater Encounter Prompts
|A merfolk knight on a giant seahorse wears heavy coral armour. They are on patrol, and will listen to any intruders before moving them on.
|A plethora of octopi, barracuda, and other marine scavengers are feeding on a dead whale. Something metal is stuck in it's side.
|A surface missionary priest brings word of their deity. A magical pearl lets them breathe water but they have a problem with languages.
|A brine fiend is trying to spy on an underwater settlement. It is a demonic mix of lobster and octopus, serving a vengeful sea monster.
|A group of adventurers from the surface have been hired by a cult to deliver a message to a cave mouth. It's in a sealed waterproof box.
|A merfolk (or other sea humanoid) sculptor is building a mosaic of shells and objects from the surface. One item is a magical parasol.
|A pair of sea giants play a complex game using shells and sea urchins.
|A humanoid made of seaweed is a fey creature. They have a shell necklace and want something belonging to a character.
|A group of sea elves prepare for a surface expedition to rescue a friend. An oracle has enchanted a cowrie shell to aid them.
|A telepathic sentient octopus is a scholar of the surface, with strange ideas about how it works. They are curious but argumentative.
Underwater Hazards and Distractions
|a mass of shimmering seaweed or glyphs that warn and then harm
| something from the surface, a (an)...
d10 (1-2. anchor 3. chest of tarnished coins 4. cursed magic mace
5. odd barrel-shaped device with levers 6. chariot 7. pipe organ
8. bronze bell 9. ship's figurehead 10. petrified troll)
|a pulses (or sonic) beacon; or a dark vortex obliterating all life
|a swarm of curious crabs (or seahorses); or a murky, toxic cloud
| the illusion of ...
d10 (1-2. a green giant 3. a shipwreck 4. a sea monster 5. a statue
6. a clownfish 7. a face 8. a rock garden 9. sharks 10. a council room)
|a cloud of inky darkness or a maelstrom portal to another plane
|a periodic booming noises with brief flashes or a hydrothermal vent
|magical wards that alert a nearby tribe (or sea monster); or sand with a circular geometric patter
|an area of magical darkness or strands of grasping seaweed
|a strong current pulling to a deep shaft or a floating pocket of air
Quick Underwater NPCs
|triton or stubborn
|with a pipe that blows bubbles
|glistening or crabfolk
|blessed by a sea deity
|sea elf or superstitious
|curious about surface life
|alluring or half-fish
|in heavy shell armour
|lobsterfolk or cruel
|fleeing from a sea monster
|wary or dragon-kin
|can change into a turtle
|merfolk or confident
|searching for a settlement
|thoughtful or genie-kin
|with a seashell collection
|undine or aggressive
|scolding a pet squid (or fish)
|heartbroken or merrow
|who loves a surface-dweller