In the D&D game we’re running in the sidebar, we just spent two real-time months running around the Elven Forests. Early on, I realized I needed random monster tables for forest encounters. The ones I’m most familiar with (the OD&D table and the various Challenge Rating-based 3rd edition tables) didn’t appeal to me: not enough variety, and not enough bizarre encounters. Here’s the one I wrote for myself. It’s responsible for all the woodland battles in our D&D game: the moon girls, the white stag hunt, the green dragon. New monsters are marked with an *asterisk. For these new monsters, I started with just their names, and detailed them only when I required them.
Elven Forest Encounter Table
1 Unique monster (You must invent it on the spot, or pull it out of some sourcebook the players have never seen. The PCs will never meet another one of its kind.)
2 elf (Remember, not all elves are friendly. You know, it would be nice if drow weren’t color coded.)
3 fairy (any of dozens of small fey that all want to mess with you)
4 animal (wolf, boar, bear, panther, snake, spider, etc)
5 manimal (centaur, satyr, werewolf, werebear, etc)
6 snooty white steed (white stag, unicorn, pegasus, white elephant, paladin mount, etc)
7 redcap goblin (and its cursed treasure)
8 dangerous flora (*red bell ring, *cobra vine, *tree of death, *pearl plant, *fairy ring, assassin vine)
9 dire animal
10 invaders of the woodland (orc, human, *axehand ant, *the Blight)
11 defenders of the woodland (treant, druid, ranger, dryad, *bog mummy)
12 underworld entrance (pit trap, cave, or hollow tree leads to caverns or elf hill)
13 sinister lair (castle, cave, villa, tower, circus tent, tomb)
14 *sinister child
15 sinister tribe (troll, ogre, shadow, bugbear, owlbear, *screamer, *redface)
16 *green coat man
17 *moon girl
19 green dragon
20 wild hunt
The party ran into several of my new monsters. Here are some details on a few:
Moon Girls: Packs of luminescent wild women who leap through the forest, fleet as deer. During the day they act like deer, and have basically the same stats (speed, HP, etc). At night, under the moon, they act like, and have the same stats as, wolves. In the darkness, because of their glowing pearly skin, you can see them coming.
Moon Girl’s glowing blood is prized by healers. Being treated with Moon Girl blood cures 1 HP of damage.
White Stag: This is a prominent monster in Pendragon, and it’s probably been statted up somewhere in D&D, but it’s not one of the standard D&D monsters. Here’s my take:
While it’s not aware of you, the White Stag has the same stats as a normal stag, but while it’s running it has +10 AC and +10 feet of speed. If it gets out of sight, you’ll have to make a tracking or Wisdom check to see where it went.
An old legend says that “if you aim at its heart, and let the beast go, that arrow will kill when it flies from your bow.” (To aim, make an attack and damage roll as if you had shot an arrow. If the attack would have killed the stag, your arrow gains the stag’s blessing. The arrow turns white. The next time you fire it, it automatically critically hits. One blessed arrow per customer.)
What if you shoot the stag instead of letting it go? That’s the dark path. You gain the same blessing on the arrow, but the arrow turns black.