Road and Travel Non-Combat Encounters, NPCs and Hazards for 5e
Road Non-Combat Encounters

Road and Travel Non-Combat Encounters, NPCs and Hazards for 5e

Duncan Thomson
"An intellect devourer is inhabiting the body of a deep gnome and claims to be the ambassador of a nearby settlement."

Tables for Non-Combat Encounters, Quick NPCs and Hazards & Obstacles for Road and Trails. Result is from Road Non-Combat Encounters.

Non-combat by terrain - feywild | jungle | road | ruins | sea | shadowfell

[Photo by Pat Whelen on Unsplash]

Road and Trail Non-Combat, NPCs & Hazards

Many encounters on the road will be peaceful. Aarakocra might land to warn you of trouble ahead or a hag might try to sell you a mansion. Meet NPCs from a veteran tiefling interested in herbs to a cheerful centaur guardian of the road. Deal with bridges about to collapse, out of control wagons  and burning inns.

There is a 5e road random encounter generator at ChaosGen. And also a pdf of these and more tables at the DM's Guild as Road Encounters.

Road Encounters Random Tables on DM's Guild Unusual Encounters Bundle on DM's Guild

Road Encounter Tables - creatures | locations | non-combat | enhancements

Road Non-Combat Encounters

1d8+1d12Road and Trail Non-Combat Encounters
2 A noble and a commoner have eloped and are searching for a priest to marry them. They fear the wrath of the noble's family.
3 An ogre carries a board that advertises meals and ale at a nearby inn.
4 A lizardfolk beastmaster drives a cart pulled by owlbears. Asks if they have heard of a gathering of druids that associate with bears.
5 A few acolytes with leaflets are trying to raise funds for road repairs.
6 A grim wereboar is measuring the road and recording the results.
7 A few bandits help a commoner merchant whose wagon is stuck.
8 A pair of aarakocra land to warn of an ambush on the road ahead.
9 A group of novice adventurers are hunting down a lost wagon and ask for advice. An acolyte, tribal warrior, noble, guard and a goblin.
10 A pair of mages (or bards - VGtM) on a cart are very lost. They are arguing loudly about whose fault it is.
11 A tribal warrior asks for work as a guide, scout, or anything else to help feed family. They have been outcast from their tribe.
12 An owl is an animal messenger that gives a message to a character.
13 A few commoners and a branded cultist are begging. They have fallen afoul of a local ruler.
14 A few stone giants have borrowed wagons from local commoners and are attempting to race them along the path.
15 A green hag is trying to sell a local landmark for a few hundred gold.
16 A few guards on riding horses ask the group to get off the path as a local ruler is coming through.
17 A kenku (or tortle - MToF) is driving a reinforced wagon which declares "best cooked meals in all the realm" in several languages.
18 A patrol of veterans look angry as someone has stolen their horses.
19 Several satyrs, centaurs and pixies are starting a celebration. One of them has returned after years away on a long journey.
20 A scout on a camel is carrying a box of messages and asks for help. They think they are being pursued by fiends.

Road Quick NPCs

1d4+1d6Road and Trail Quick NPCs
2 Vondal is a handsome cult leader with lots of jewelry. They are promoting a gathering soon about a new way of life.
3 Quarion is a lively elf scout (Athletics +4, speed 40 ft.) with one ear. They are a renowned runner and tell of racing a ghostly chariot.
4 Dona is a worried commoner vagabond with a blue scarf. They woke up with glowing tattoos recently and have visions of a burning grove.
5 Merla is a beautiful priest with a criminal brand on their forehead. They are currently practicing with a flute. Others are often repulsed by Merla's radical opinions.
6 Geb is a well-dressed kobold merchant with many pockets. They travel with a spider familiar and trade in trinkets from many lands.
7 Gluttony is a mercenary tiefling veteran (Survival +2) who smells of pungent herbs. They stop to talk to most travelers and often pick herbs from the side of the path.
8 Drashk is a one-armed bandit with ragged eyebrows. They love to gamble and offer bets that they have no way of paying.
9 Gillydd is a cheerful centaur road warden with a gilded warhorn . They love feeding birds and dream of finding a set of magical horseshoes.
10 Ronwe is a sad dragonborn berserker with demon-themed tattoos. They believe in duty above all else. They ask about a wanted poster.

Road Hazards and Obstacles

1d8+1d12Road and Trail Hazards and Obstacles
2 The real path is concealed by a hallucinatory terrain
3 A flooded river crossing or there is a wildfire and lots of smoke
4 A pile of corpses is infected with disease or a nest of angry wasps
5 A bridge is in bad repair and ready to collapse
6 Thunder and lightning or a hail storm
7 The road is blocked by mounds of rubble (or razorvine - DMG)
8 An abandoned cart with recent tracks leading away or there is a poisoned well
9 A pit has been recently dug across the road. A goat (or cat) is trapped in it
10 Heavy rain (or snow) (Heavy Precipitation - DMG pg 110)
11 The path narrows along the top of a cliff (or chasm)
12 A wagon pulled by draft horses comes around a corner out of control
13 A heavy (or ghostly) mist descends around party
14 A stampede of herd animals (wild or domesticated)
15 A bush with poisonous berries or a fallen tree blocks the path
16 A burning roadside inn or the road is washed out
17 A talking metal statue which can cause a curse (or geas)
18 A large insect swarm is approaching (as insect swarm)
19 A grove of trees that act as a crossing to the Feywild
20 A rockslide near or by the party or a crossroads that sends you the wrong way

More Encounters

There is a 5e road random encounter generator at ChaosGen. And also a pdf of these and more tables at the DM's Guild as Road Encounters.

Road Encounters Random Tables on DM's Guild Unusual Encounters Bundle on DM's Guild

If you liked these there are D&D Generators at Chaos Gen, a monthly random tools Newsletter and an instagram of Random Tables.