Special Encounters – Bright Desert

  1. The skeleton of a horse and rider. The rider is sitting next to the horse, which seems to have collapsed, and the rider stayed with it to the end. Saddlebags might have a map or other item of interest.
  2. A lone palm tree. Actually the home of a dryad, who appears old and desiccated.
  3. The ruined foundation of a building. There is a set of decorated tiles lining the back of the hearth, which show the progression of the seasons. They are worth 20 g.p. as a set, or twice that to a devotee of the Oeridian wind gods.
  4. A single desert nomad, on a personal vision quest. He will not allow the PCs to approach him, but will follow them at a distance, not sure if they are a vision or not.
  5. The remains of a desert nomad campsite. There are several cold fires, and the sand has been disturbed. The tracks go off in a random direction; following them will result in an encounter with a band of nomads 80% of the time.
  6. A gynosphinx flies overhead, and then lands near the party. She is looking for a lost androsphinx; her son. If the party cannot help her, she flies off. (50% chance they will see the son within 1-3 days.)
  7. The large moon, Luna, grows to three times its normal size that night. The phenomenon is only local to the PCs.
  8. A pit of bitumen bubbles up from the ground.
  9. A patch of mirrorsand. Treat as if viewing a medusa; if the saving throw fails, victim is blinded for 1-4 days.
  10. A small boy (10-12 years old) of Oeridian origin by his look. He is obviously both afraid and hungry/thirsty, but will not talk. If he is taken in by the PCs, he will mysteriously disappear overnight, without any tracks to show where he has gone.

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Wargamer and RPG'er since the 1970's, author of Adventures Dark and Deep, Castle of the Mad Archmage, and other things, and proprietor of the Greyhawk Grognard blog.

4 thoughts on “Special Encounters – Bright Desert

    1. I’m thinking of an aspect of Farlanghn…
      If tracked down he could provide a boon or insight that will aid the PCs.

  1. This is a nice collection and it would be great if a few others followed that could be collected in a single document.
    I would anticipate adding these as a “special encounter” category in the specific area encounter tables from the gold box.

  2. Number two has a ton of potential ways to go, from a lonely dryad wanting a companion/servant to her giving the PCs a place to hide out from the desert sun (or pursuit by enemies) within her tree, perhaps in exchange for a favor. Maybe she wants her palm’s seeds planted elsewhere to carry on her line, or she might want to move to a more congenial locale and demand the PCs transport and transplant her tree to an oasis – and maybe not the nearest one, either.

    Number three makes me wonder how much a complete set of decorative antique tiles weigh. Particularly in terms of, say, the amount of water you could have carried instead.

    Every party I’ve ever seen would use number four to prank the poor guy if/when they figured out what he was up to. Pretending to be spirits that are part of his vision quest would seem hilarious to a lot of players – until some actual spirits show up and decide they don’t like being mocked.

    Number seven is reminiscent of the effects of the Moonbrighten spell from my blog post over here:


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