Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Someone Goes Missing: Random Journey Event List

THERE AND MAYBE NOT BACK AGAIN
I offer a list of random events for travels, generally aimed at a fantasy setting. I’ve presented these as collaborative questions. 13th Age and Dungeon World use this kind of approach to tell the tale of journeys. It may also prove useful for The One Ring or Adventures in Middle Earth. The GM can put these questions to a player or group of players to spice up the trip. Alternately they can answer themselves and throw the incident on the table.

For each I’ve put a primary question. In parenthesis I’ve added two alternate, follow-up, or secondary questions. In some cases you can use these to draw out more or help elicit answers. In some cases the answers to the primary question will cover the other questions.
  1. You hear someone but do not see them. What do you hear? (What identifies them as a person? How close do they seem?)
  2. You see a group gathered around a single figure. What's happening? (How many people do you see? What mood holds sway?)
  3. You see a procession. What does it seem to be for? (How many make up the gathering? What symbols or signs do you see?)
  4. You spy a person carrying an awkward load. What does the burden look like? (What’s manner does the bearer display? Do they look like they’ve traveled far?)
  5. You spot persons manning a barrier. Why do they block the road? (Is the post makeshift or developed? If they aren’t blocking the road, what do they guard against?)
  6. You come across a person who should not be there. Who? (How do they react to your arrival? How do you know they shouldn’t be in this place?)
  7. A person runs when they spot you. Why? (What do you see before they flee? What do they leave behind?)
  8. You note a person in disguise. What gives them away? (What other signs of deception can you detect? Do other accompany them?)
  9. You see preparations for an event. What kind? (Do you see the creators? How far along does the site appear?)
  10. You see someone dressed too fancy for travel. How do you know? (Do they seem to know they’re ill-dressed? How long have they been on the road?)
  11. You see a troupe preparing. (What kind of performance will they give? Do they appear skilled?)
  12. You see someone in peril. How dire? (What’s the immediate threat to you? Did someone put them in this position?)
  13. You see someone in despair. What tells you this? (What does their dress look like? Are they alone?)
  14. You see a madman. How do you know? (Do they bear familiar or strange signs? Do they seem dangerous?)
  15. You see a holy person. What faith, god, or ideal do they serve? (What signals their holiness? Do they have followers of some kind?)
  16. You see someone preparing to bar your way. How? (What numbers can you spot? Have they rushed to do this or lain in wait?)
  17. You see someone lost. How badly? (Where do they seem to be from? How long have they wandered?)
  18. A stranger calls to you by name. What do they look like? (What tone do you detect: friendly, hostile? Can you lose them or have they caught you out?)
  19. An unexpected enemy appears. Who? (Why should they not be here? Will they to attack or do they have other plans?)
  20. You see a person in a makeshift shelter. What kind? (Does it seem to be theirs? How fresh does the construction seem?)
  21. You spy a person toiling at a craft. What object or work can you see them creating? (Do they appear to be an amateur or expert? What progress have they made?)
  22. You spot a bound person. What do they look like? (What binds them? Can you see their captor nearby?)
  23. You witness a person's misfortune. What misery occurs? (How do they react to it? Are there other witnesses?)
  24. You see a person lying beside the road. What can you make out from here? (Do they seem still or moving? Can you detect other signs of what’s happened?)
  25. A group cuts across the road in front of you. Do they impede your progress? (How large is their company? What seems to be their purpose?)
  26. You see a fleeing person. What are they running from? (Are they fresh or on their last legs? What can you sense of their pursuer?)
  27. You see people beside a disabled transport. What has happened? (Is anyone hurt? How hard does this seem to be to fix?)
  28. You see a strange pairing of a man and a beast. What is it? (Are these two things working together or some supernatural fusion? Do they seem angry or calm?)
  29. You see a dead body. What do they look like? (How did they die? What oddities do you find on the body or nearby?)
  30. You spot two persons in a conflict. Who? (Does one have the upper hand? Has the fight just begun?)
  31. Someone rushes past, heedless of you. What do you spot? (Are they rude, reckless, or panicked? Do you see more of them?)
  32. You see someone constructing something. What are they building? (Is their purpose clear? Are they nearly finished?)
  33. You see someone destroying something. What are they destroying? (Are they alone or in a group? Are there witnesses or objecting bystanders?)
  34. You see someone digging. Where? (What do they look like? Have they been at this a while? 
  35. Fellow travelers ask to travel with you. What kind of group do they seem to be? (Are they respectful or demanding? What seems out of place among them?)
  36. You hear singing. How close by is the song? (Do you recognize the song? Is the voice natural or inhuman?)
  37. You meet a quester. What is their quest? (Do they seem like someone who can actually accomplish this? Are they excited or resigned?)
  38. The road is broken before you. What has happened? (Is the damage recent? What will you need to do to move past?)
  39. The path ahead splits unusually. (What’s unusual about the spot? What signs mark the new directions?)
  40. The trail ahead does not match your maps or memory. What’s different about it? (How recently did this change happen? Does this seem a deliberate gambit against you?)
  41. You see evidence of a great conflict. What remains and debris do you spot? (Has the battle just finished or has it been there some time? How do you know who won?)
  42. You note evidence of a recent desperate conflict. What clues do you spot? (Are there survivors? What obligation do you have to follow up on this?)
  43. You a see sport, contest or competition happening beside the road. What’s the game at play? (How do you know who is winning? What makes the participants unexpected?)
  44. You catch sight of something glinting. What do you see when you approach? (Is it abandoned or held by something? What trap do you detect?)
  45. A beast sleeps upon the road. What is it? (How can you keep from rousing it? Why has it chosen this place to rest?)
  46. The air fills with a swell of sound/noise. What do you hear? (Are there other persons or animals who react to it? Does the noise move or remain in place?)
  47. The going suddenly becomes more difficult. Why? (What must you do to make it through this next leg? Are there other travelers stumped by this?)
  48. The going suddenly becomes easier. Why? (Does the change seem natural or unnatural? How will this aid your company?)
  49. You see an unusual building/structure. What does it look like? (What movement do you see nearby? Will it serve as shelter from the elements?)
  50. You catch sight of a cave or crevasse. Does it seem inviting or threatening? (What treasure or resource do you spot in it? Why do you need to hide?)
  51. The road ends abruptly. What has happened? (How long ago was it cut off? How will you make it to the next leg of the trail?)
  52. The wildlife is agitated. What are the signs? (When have you seen this before? What makes this a risky moment for this to happen?)
  53. A sudden silence falls over everything. What fear grips you? (Do other persons or animals notice it? What warning do you recall about this area?)
  54. You catch sight of a flash of brilliant color. What does it look like? (Is it ahead or somewhere off the path? How long does it last?)
  55. You spy something abandoned. What is it? (What condition is it in? Do you see signs pointing to the original owner?)
  56. You see something buried. What do you spot sticking out from the concealment? (Is the soil freshly turned? When you uncover it, how it is completely different than you expected?)
  57. The air moves unnaturally. What do you feel? (How does it affect the wildlife? What peril might this signal?)
  58. You catch an unusual smell. Why is it out of place? (When was the last time you smelled this? Does it grow stronger, remain steady, or trail off?)
  59. You find yourself on contested ground. How can you tell? (Who disputes control of this place? How do they react to your intrusion?)
  60. You find something thought lost. What is it? (It shouldn’t be here: why? What tracks do you see?)
  61. A beast acts strangely. What is it and how does it act? (What risk does this pose? When have you seen this before?)
  62. Something stalks you. How have you detected this? (How long has this been going on? Do they seem ready to ambush or merely shadow your path?)
  63. You spy strange patterns. What kind? (What memory or warning do you recall? Have they been made by human hands or something else?)
  64. Someone cries out but you do not see them. What do you hear? (What direction and distance can you gauge? Does the sound cut off, continue, or change?)
  65. Someone has claimed this place. How do you know? (How will they react to your arrival? What wards or protections have they established?)
  66. You’re caught in the midst of a stampede. What beasts or things make it up? (Is this a freakish event or expected migration? How does this split your company?
  67. You see a book. What kind is it? (What damage has it suffered? What does it rest atop?)
  68. You spot an ambush. Is it of you or someone else? (How many ambushers can you see? What are they not acting as you’d expect?)
  69. You see yourselves ahead. What reaction does the doppelganger group express? (What one detail allows you to distinguish between the two groups? How long before this happens again?)
  70. A riddle is put to you. What is it? (Who or what is the giver? What are the stakes?)
  71. You see a ghost. What details can you make out of its form? (Does it seem aggressive or forlorn? How do you know this is but the first of many?)
  72. A toll is demanded of you. Who asks this price? (Do they have the right to ask this cost? What other option do you have if you chose not to pay?)
  73. Someone or something tells you to turn back. Who are they? (What makes you believe them? What consequences do they speak of?)
  74. You see someone you know shouldn't be there. Who is it? (Are they expecting you? What other detail feels off about this scene?)
  75. Something falls from the sky. What? (Does it draw the attention of others? How does it change after it strikes the ground?)
  76. It grows suddenly dark. What else do you notice? (How does the temperature change? What have you heard about this phenomena?)
  77. You encounter an ill omen. What is it? (Who argues with your reading of these portents? How do you know this omen was meant for you?
  78. You spy a good omen. What is it? (What good fortune can you expect? What one detail seems out of place for this omen?)
  79. You catch a scent which reminds of home. What is it? (Why shouldn’t you smell that here? How fast does the scent disperse?)
  80. Something speaks with a voice not its own. Who and what do they say? (What marks the bearer of these words? Who comes in pursuit of them?)
  81. You receive a prophecy. What do you learn? (Who delivers this to you? What compels you to believe?)
  82. You find a message meant for another. What does it say? (What signs point to the author? What dangerous conspiracy does it point towards?)
  83. You spot a posted warning. Is it for you? (What admonition does it give? What consequences does it promise?)
  84. You come upon territorial or tribal markings. Why did you not expect these here? (Who do they belong to? How do you know their owners remain nearby?)
  85. You spy still-burning embers. What was on fire? (What tells you the maker of the fire may be nearby? What detail points to danger from the site?)
  86. You spy a bounty of food. What kind? (How can you tell it remains fresh? What tells you the owner has gone away?)
  87. Something has become stuck in the wilds at the edge of your path. Who or what? (What makes you loathe to approach? What makes it difficult to tell the precise nature of the trapped being?)
  88. You spot an abandoned transport. Does it seem intact? (What compelled its owner to leave it? What odd thing must you do to make it mobile?)
  89. You see blood ahead of you. How much? (Can you see a trail of any kind? How do you know this happened recently?)
  90. Something has recently fallen. What and why? (Can you determine the cause? How does this impede your travel?)
  91. You come across a great mess. How recent is it? (How far do these piles or junk and debris stretch? What awesome and unexpected thing do you find among the scrap?)
  92. Something has devastated the landscape before you. What are the signs? (Why is this unexpected? How long ago did this happen?)
  93. The ground gives way. Where do you land? (What caused this collapse? What sudden danger makes escape even more difficult?)
  94. A task is laid upon you. What is it? (Why can you not avoid this duty? What reward will you receive for this task?
  95. You cannot sleep. What keeps you from your slumbers? (Is it only one of your party affected or all? How long has this been happening?)
  96. A divine being appears before you. What does it want with you? (Did it descend from the skies, rise from the depths, or arrive by some other strange means? Why did this divinity none of you serve chose your party?)
  97. You find yourself way, way off track though you shouldn’t be. Where have you stumbled upon? (What strangeness caused you to end up here? What danger must you deal with right this moment?)
  98. The road rises with you. What does that mean? (What accident does that cause? How do you stop it from continuing to do this throughout your travels?)
  99. Strangely the journey goes quickly, you arrive are your destination refreshed and well rested, with a shared bond not to speak of the horrors you were involved in. What secret must you now keep from the outside world?
  100. Roll two results and combine them.
Cross-posted and submitted for the RPG Geek R-A-N-D-O-M Design Challenge. Check it out.