First part of article here.
Once a Referee knows where a battle will occur and what the adventurers will be fighting, he still must determine other factors that can influence the outcome of the fight.
Before a battle, one adventurer (usually a ranger) must roll a saving throw. If successful, the encounter proceeds as normal. If the saving throw is failed, conditions are applied to the encounter based on how badly the saving throw failed (i.e. the difference between the character's saving throw number and the number the player rolled). If any condition does not make sense, apply the condition above it instead.
7-8. High Ground
15+ Roll 1d10 twice on table
The battlefield is wracked by an earthquake. All creatures must succeed at a saving throw or fall down. Those who remain standing suffer a -10 penalty to all actions and can only move at half their normal rate. Spell casters must roll saving throws to cast their spells.
There is a 5% chance each round of a fissure 10 feet deep opening up beneath each creature. These unfortunates must succeed at a dexterity saving throw or suffer 1d6 points of damage. There is a 5% chance each round that a fissure will slam closed, killing anyone inside it. An swampy areas, these fissures will drain away the water leaving a quicksand that sucks in creatures who fail a dexterity saving throw. On cliffs, fissures that occur near the edge of the cliff actually drop creatures of the cliff, where they suffer 8d6 points of damage.
If there is high ground on the battlefield, the monsters have it. High ground gives them two advantages. They receive a +1 bonus to hit against creatures on lower ground, and creatures trudging up to meet them do so at half normal movement.
Mist and Dust
The battlefield is shrouded in a thick mist or clouds of dust. Creatures 5 feet are -5 to hit with missile weapons. Creatures more than 5 feet away are -10 to be hit by missile weapons. The chance of surprise is increased by 1 for both forces.
A storm is soaking the battlefield. All combatants more than 10 feet away are -5 to be hit by missile weapons. Creatures move at half their normal movement rate safely, but must succeed at saving throws or fall prone if attempting to move any faster. Charging creatures will slide 3d6 feet when they fall prone.
The battle takes place during a lightning storm. Movement is cut in half due to the rain. Creatures more than 10 feet away are -10 to be hit by missile weapons. There is a 1 in 6 chance each round of lightning striking a random combatant, inflicting 5d6 points of damage and stunning them for 1d4 rounds. Creatures trying to fly in storms must make a saving throw each round to avoid falling.
The adventurers begin combat surrounded by their opponents. If only a single monster is encountered, ignore this result and give it the high ground instead.
High winds roar across the battlefield. Unprotected flames are extinguished and missile attacks are made at a -3 penalty to hit. Small flying creatures must make a saving throw to avoid being blown off of the battlefield and out of the battle. Larger fliers must make a saving throw each round to move through the air.
The monsters common to a wilderness region are detailed in that region’s description. Simply choose a monster or roll it randomly, roll for the number encountered, and proceed. If you want to challenge the party, assume an equal number of monster hit dice to the party’s hit dice.
If the Referee wishes, 1 percent of random monster encounters can be with an elemental or extra-planar creature. These are often quite dangerous and so should probably be reserved for experienced adventurers.
9. Hag, Night
15. Shadow Mastiff
16. Tavis Wyrm
Encounters with travelers are not intended to threaten the adventurers. Instead, they are meant to present role-playing opportunities or lead to side adventures.
Leaders of groups of travelers are level 3 to 12 level (1d10+2). The leader’s assistant is half the level of his boss. While the character class of a leader of a group of travelers is usually obvious, other details can be determined by rolling on the following tables:
Race (Human, with a 1 in 6 chance of being demi-human)
8 Mechanical Man
A caravan consists of several wagons or, if at sea, one or more merchant ships. Each caravan consists of 3d6 traders and guards based on the value of the cargo they are transporting (see below). There is one sergeant for every 6 men-at-arms and a 2 in 6 chance that of spell caster of some sort is with the caravan.
Caravans travel from one city-state to another, hauling whatever the Referee deems appropriate. Assume that each trader has a team that carries 1,000 pounds of goods. A team consists of one of the following:
• A wagon pulled by 2 draft horses, 2 oxen or 4 mules
• A single elephant
• A train of 4 camels or 5 giant lizards
• A sledge pulled by 2 porpoises
For the sake of player interest, it is best to use valuable or useful cargo. If you wish, you can roll randomly for each team’s cargo on the table below.
Roll - Cargo (Value) - Guards
01-12. Ale (50 gp) - 1 man-at-arms
13-22. Iron (100 gp) - 3 men-at-arms
23-32. Oil, lamp (100 gp) - 3 men-at-arms
33-38. Copper Ingots or Dust (500 gp) - 3 men-at-arms
39-44. Tools (1,000 gp) - 6 men-at-arms
45-50. Weapons (2,000 gp) - 6 men-at-arms
51-56. Wine (2,000 gp) - 6 men-at-arms
57-60. Salt (5,000 gp) - 10 men-at-arms
61-64. Silver Ingots or Dust (5,000 gp) - 10 men-at-arms
65-68. Wine, fine (10,000 gp) - 10 level 1 fighters
69-72. Wood, rare (10,000 gp) - 10 level 1 fighters
73-75. Linen (10,000 gp) - 10 level 1 fighters
76-78. Coffee (50,000 gp) - 10 level 2 fighters
79-81. Gold Ingots or Dust (50,000 gp) - 10 level 2 fighters
82-84. Tea (50,000 gp) - 10 level 2 fighters
85-87. Cocoa (100,000 gp) - 10 level 3 fighters
88-89. Silk (100,000 gp) - 10 level 3 fighters
90-91. Tobacco (100,000 gp) - 10 level 3 fighters
92-93. Cinnamon (200,000 gp) - 10 level 3 fighters
94-95. Ginger (400,000 gp) - 10 level 4 fighters
96. Pepper (400,000 gp) - 10 level 4 fighters
97. Cloves (500,000 gp) - 10 level 4 fighters
98. Mithril Ingots or Dust (500,000 gp) - 10 level 4 fighters
99. Platinum Ingots or Dust (500,000 gp) - 10 level 4 fighters
100. Saffron (500,000 gp) - 10 level 4 fighters
A patrol consists of 6d6 men-at-arms (with one sergeant per 5 troops) led by a fighting-man or 6d6 longbowmen (sergeants as above) led by a ranger. There is a 2 in 6 chance that a spell caster of some sort is with the patrol.
A group of pilgrims consists of 6d6 people led by a cleric or druid. There is a 1% chance per 10 pilgrims of there being a magic-user and/or thief with the group. All of the pilgrims share the alignment of their leader.
There is one man-at-arms mounted on a warhorse per five pilgrims. The troops are led by a fighting-man and sergeant, also mounted on warhorses. In a lawful group of pilgrims, the fighting-man can be replaced by a paladin.
Pilgrims travel on foot (60%), donkeys (30%), or horses/camels (10%). Classed NPC's are always mounted. The pilgrims are heading to a wilderness shrine or to a temple in a city-state and will be glad to travel with like-minded adventurers.
Pilgrims wear a badge symbolizing the shrine to which they are heading. This badge could be a feather of a particular color, a shell, a straw hat, a cloak of sack-cloth, or a bit of embroidery over their heart.
A stronghold is a structure established by a high-level adventurer and manned by his followers. You can randomly determine the type of stronghold encountered by a roll of the dice. About two strongholds out of six are ruins inhabited by monsters.
An abbey is a religious manor inhabited by clerics or druids. Abbeys are always dedicated to a saint or deity. An abbey is established by a patriarch (level 9 to 12 cleric) or archdruid (level 9 to 12 druid) called the abbot or abbess. It houses 3d6 low level clerics or druids and 5d6x10 lay brothers (normal humans). Additional clerics, druids or paladins can be visiting at the Referee’s discretion.
A traditional abbey consists of a square outer wall. Inside there is a courtyard surrounded by a two story structure consisting of dormitories, a chapel, storage and work rooms, a stable and a bell tower. The abbey is surrounded by fields that are worked by the inhabitants. Medicinal gardens are maintained either within the walls or just outside the walls. The abbey’s armory is stocked with mail hauberks, shields, maces, slings, throwing hammers and whatever weapon is favored by the patron deity (i.e. longbows for abbeys of Apollo Helios).
A castle is established by a warlord (level 9 to 12 fighting-man), paladin (level 9 to 12) or ranger (level 9 to 12). The castle is a feudal manor supported by 1d4 villages. The castle is defended by a number of men-at-arms commensurate with its size. The lord of the castle is assisted by one sergeant per 10 men-at-arms, and a cleric (or druid) and magic-user of half the level of the lord.
Motte-and-Bailey: 2d6 men-at-arms
Keep: 4d6 men-at-arms [or tower keep or shell keep]
Concentric Castle: 8d6 men-at-arms
A grove is established by an archdruid (level 9 to 12 druid) with the permission of his or her order. The grove consists of several trees around a clearing. An altar rests in the middle of the clearing. The founding archdruid and 2d6 level 1 to 3 druids dwell in a nearby lodge. The lodge is a gathering place for elves, rangers, the fair-folk and forest creatures.
A monastery is not much different from an abbey except that it is inhabited by monks rather than clerics. It is established by an abbot (level 9 to 12 monk). The abbey contains a training ground surrounded by a shrine, armory and barracks. The monastery houses 1d6 monks of level 2 through 5 and 3d6 level 1 monks.
A magic-user’s tower is built in a hard-to-access spot that offers unique magical properties. It is to these places an adventurer must travel if they wish to commission a magic item or to obtain spells of level 5 or higher. Magic-users have 1d4 apprentices and 1d3 level 1 magic-users.