100 Random Arctic Encounters 5e DND ++

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Brrr. Winter is coming. I’ve got a list of 100 interesting random arctic encounters for your tabletop fantasy campaign. Whether you play D&D 5e, 3e, or even 2e, this list should help you out. Feel free to flesh out all the story hook and plot ideas to make them your own. There’s some combat and non-combat encounters mixed.

100 Random Arctic Encounters

  1. Puffins fly out of the snow, dive into the water, then resurface flying again.
  2. Ice cracks and a seal pops up with a look of surprise on its face.
  3. A large polar bear is walking toward the players. It is not hostile – it just wants to cuddle.
  4. The players hear a bear growling in the distance. A large, dozing polar bear is nearby, but it’s not hostile.
  5. A group of sled dogs, tied to a stake, bark at the party.
  6. A group of sled dogs, tied to a stake, are dead. They look like they were killed by some sort of large cat that was dragging their bodies away.
  7. The players hear a woman singing a beautiful song in a language they do not know. She is standing near a large drift of snow, singing to herself.
  8. A woman dressed in heavy furs is standing near the trail. She is looking at the ground, and she looks sad. If asked, she will tell the players that she is looking for a lost animal that she has been tracking for days now. She will ask them to help her find it. The animal is actually her snow leopard that she brought with her when she was visiting her family nearby, and she has been traveling with it for weeks now, and she has gotten sick of it and wishes to send it back to her home ahead of her so that she does not have to travel with it anymore.
  9. Up ahead, the party sees a group of caribou. They are running (perhaps scared by something the players do not see yet), and they are being chased by a pack of wolves. The wolves are gaining on the caribou.
  10. A group of wolves attack!
  11. Bored looking polar bear. Will not attack.
  12. A group of polar bears are attacking a group of penguins. The penguins are shouting, ‘Stick together! Stick together!’
  13. Two polar bears are fighting over a walrus carcass.
  14. A group of polar bears are playing with a group of Arctic foxes.
  15. A group of arctic foxes are scavenging for food in the snow.
  16. A group of arctic hares are fleeing in terror from a pack of hungry wolves.
  17. A group of wolves are attacking a pack of arctic hares.
  18. Several dozen reindeer are migrating across the tundra.
  19. A group of reindeer are grazing on lichen on a hillside.
  20. A pack of wolves are hunting a herd of reindeer.
  21. Sleds from a nearby village approach in the distance. They are carrying armed men. The men fire arrows at the party.
  22. A party of 4d6 men are rushing toward the mountains. They are all wearing black robes.
  23. A party of 1d100 men are marching toward the mountains. They are wearing red robes and chanting.
  24. The players see a 1d20+10 men in black robes and shields. They are rushing toward the mountains.
  25. A party of 1d4 men are rushing toward the mountains. They are all wearing white robes and wearing black masks.
  26. A single man is rushing toward the mountains. He is wearing a black robe and carrying a torch. He is running from something.
  27. A man is running from something. He was not running when the party saw him, but it catches up to him before he reaches the party. Something about him screams Thay, but he’s not a wizard or sorcerer.
  28. A man is lying on the ground, dead. He’s wearing a black robe and there’s a sword near his body.
  29. A man is lying on the ground, unconscious. He has a black robe and a sword.
  30. The party sees a small wooden box with a copper lock on it. When they open it, they find a small key inside.
  31. A small group of 5d4 arctic wolves cross the path of the players.
  32. A small group of 3d4 arctic foxes cross the path of the players. The foxes cackle with madness and leap at the legs of the players.
  33. The players stumble across a small fortress made of ice. Inside, they find 2d6 polar bears. They are chained up and appear to be very angry. The polar bears are mad and attack the players on sight. There are also 2d6 crazed men in the room with them. They attack anyone who enters the room.
  34. A group of 2d4 polar bears attack the players. The bears are not as angry as the ones in the previous encounter.
  35. A group of 1d100 polar bears attack. They are extremely angry and hungry.
  36. A group of 1d20 polar bears attack. They are extremely angry and hungry. The bears are covered in blood and they smell like they have been feasting on something recently.
  37. A group of 3d10 wolves attack the players. They are not normal wolves and they have the intelligence of a human child. They are hungry and they attack anyone that comes near them.
  38. A group of 2d10 wargs attack the players. They are not normal wargs and they have the intelligence of a human child. They are hungry and they attack anyone that comes near them.
  39. A flock of 1d20 giant birds fly past the players. The birds are not attacking, but they seem to be carrying something on their backs.
  40. A flock of 1d100 small birds fly past the players. They poop everywhere.
  41. 2d6 giant eagles attack.
  42. 2d8 giant eagles attack, then transform into 2 giant owls that start to attack.
  43. An Arctic owl attacks. It is carrying a small treasure chest. The owl is an illusion created by a nearby wizard, who will attack if the players try to get the treasure. He is actually trying to steal the treasure himself.
  44. A group of 2d6+3 humans approach the players’ camp and ask for food. They are a group of merchants attempting to trade with the local population and need food.
  45. A group of 2d6+3 humans approach the players’ camp and ask for help. They are a group of hunters attempting to hunt in the area and need help with animals.
  46. The players arrive at an abandoned camp that was used by a group of 2d6+3 humans hunting in the area. The players find a necklace made of teeth and bone that was worn by one of the humans.
  47. The party comes across a dead polar wolf with a large bloody gash in its side.
  48. The party comes across a pack of 2d4+2 polar wolves fighting over food.
  49. The party comes across an abandoned campsite with a large bloody gash in the center of the campsite that appears to have been made by a large animal or humanoid.
  50. The party comes across an abandoned campsite that has been torn apart by something large and powerful. There is no sign of any people in the area, but there is evidence that several people were in the area recently, because some of them were probably dragged off by whatever attacked the camp site.
  51. Zor, a druid from the village, is walking down the road, looking for supplies and food.
  52. An elderly man is walking down the path, looking for his dog. He is carrying a stick, and he seems to be looking for something.
  53. A man is walking, talking to himself. He seems to be crazy.
  54. A priest is walking and carrying a small box. He seems to be looking for someone.
  55. A merchant is running, carrying a small box. He seems to be looking for someone.
  56. A group of 1d6 soldiers are walking through a field of snow. They are wearing heavy armor and they are armed with swords and shields.
  57. A group of 1d6 soldiers are marching. They are wearing heavy armor and they are armed with spears and shields.
  58. A woman is walking down the road, carrying a small box. She seems to be looking for someone.
  59. A man is walking down the road, talking to himself. He seems to be crazy.
  60. Two men are walking down the road, talking to each other. They look like they are looking for something or someone…
  61. Hiding in the snow are two tiny polar bears. They are trying to ambush a group of men walking on the ice.
  62. A group of men are fighting a creature made of ice. It looks like a giant owl with long, sharp talons and a beak.
  63. A creature made of ice randomly attacks a group of people. The ice creature has a large sword made of ice in one hand and it’s other hand is a large mace made of ice. The creature is 10′ tall and made of pure ice. It can wield both the sword and mace at the same time, dealing massive damage to its enemies.
  64. A group of men are celebrating. It appears they have just won a game of chance, and they are celebrating by drinking heavily and gambling heavily. They are so drunk that they don’t notice they’re being robbed by two men in black cloaks who are taking their money and their valuables.
  65. A man in a black cloak passes by. He appears to be lost in thought as he walks by the players. The man looks up at the players and recognizes them from somewhere else, but he can’t remember where he knows them from or what their names are. The man in the black cloak is actually an assassin sent to kill the players, but because he’s not sure who the players are or what their names are, he waits for them to attack him first before he kills them.
  66. A group of men are digging in the snow, looking for something they have lost or something they are looking for.
  67. A group of men are singing and dancing around a fire while they wait for their food to cook over the fire.
  68. A pack of wolves attacks the players. The pack of wolves is led by a Dire Wolf that is trying to get its pack to follow it somewhere else because it doesn’t like the look of the players.
  69. A group of men are singing and dancing around a fire while they wait for their food to cook over the fire. They are celebrating because they believe they have found something they have been looking for or they’ve done something they’ve been trying to do for awhile now, but they could be wrong about what they think they’ve found or done because they’re drunk and celebrating too hard to know if they’re right or not about what they think they’ve found or done.
  70. Two polar bears are fighting each other over territory or over a female or something else entirely, but whatever it is, it’s what’s making them fight each other instead of becoming friends and working together to fight off humans, so if the players attack one of them in order to save the other one from being killed, then the other one will become their friend forever after instead of attacking them later on for killing his brother or whatever it is that’s making them fight each other instead of becoming friends and working together to fight off humans…
  71. Kegorak, the Frost Giant, has been exiled from his tribe for killing a fellow giant. He is furious and has been killing everyone in his path.
  72. A patrol of 2d6 arctic gnomes passes by. They are on a mission to kill all non-gnomes.
  73. A group of arctic dwarves have been living in the mountains for so long that they have become feral. They attack if there’s any magic users in the party.
  74. A group of humans have been driven mad by the elements and will attack anything that moves.
  75. A group of humans are looking for something lost in the snow.
  76. A group of men are looking for the lair of a white dragon. They will beg the party to help them. They will offer food, information, and a map of the area if they are helped.
  77. A group of men are looking for a white dragon’s lair. They will ask the party to help them.
  78. A group of men are looking for a white dragon’s lair. They will attack if bothered.
  79. A group of men are looking for a white dragon’s lair. They will ask the party to help them and then attack later that night.
  80. A group of 2d6+4 orcs are hunting for food. They will attack on sight.
  81. Sleds marked with the seal of the Great Northern Trading Company appear on the horizon. They are being driven by an armed warrior. The warrior waves and shouts ‘Hello!’. If players approach, he will introduce himself as John Doe of the Great Northern Trading Company. He will say that he was sent out to find a lost shipment of furs and that he knows a place where there are a bunch of them nearby. He will offer to take the party there if they help him find the furs.
  82. The party spots a small band of armed men in robes. If the party approaches, they will demand that the party pay a toll for using the road. They can be bribed, but it will be expensive.
  83. A bear charges at the party. It looks like it’s not going to stop and run straight into the party.
  84. A group of men in robes and wearing strange masks are gathered around a campfire; they are roasting a half-eaten body. One of the men looks up and sees players; he points and shouts, ‘Look! More food!’ The robed men charge at the party.
  85. A man wearing robes, strange mask, and carrying a staff is walking along the road; he is muttering to himself.
  86. A man with a staff is standing on the side of the road and waving at you to stop and talk to him. He is a wandering priest and he wants to bless everyone in your party.
  87. A man in robes and wearing a strange mask is walking down the road; he looks like he’s in a hurry to get somewhere.
  88. An old man wearing robes and carrying a staff tells you that he’s heading to the Olde Olde Crone’s cottage, but has no idea how to get there. He will accept whatever you wish to give him as payment for him to guide the party there.
  89. A man in robes and wearing a strange mask is standing on the side of the road; he looks like he’s lost.
  90. The party hears screaming in the distance. When they investigate, they find five bandits have captured a couple of peasants and are torturing them for information on where they have hidden their valuables.
  91. Hikers. A group of 3d6 humans and elves huffing and puffing, trying to keep up with their guide. They’re carrying rations, shovels, and picks. They’re looking for gold. They’re from a nearby city.
  92. Five elderly women stumble from their tent in the middle of the night. They’re cold and terrified.
  93. Monsters! A giant polar bear has stumbled upon the party, waking them with its roar.
  94. The party comes across a pile of bones. They’re human bones, but they’re not old.
  95. A group of 1d10+6 kobolds are on the trail. They are leading a line of 1d10+2 wagons, each wagon loaded with 1d20 dwarven ale kegs. They are making their way to the nearest human village.
  96. The party comes across a stranger (a human with a stout staff), who is sitting by a campfire, warming himself. He doesn’t look like he’s been out in the cold weather for very long. If the players ask him, he will tell them that he was travelling through the area when a band of kobolds attacked him, killing his horse. He says that he managed to kill one of the kobolds, but not before they stole his horse and his pack. He asks to join the party and if players let him, he will betray them soon, attacking them when they least expect it.
  97. A party of six dwarves attempts to cross the mountains. They are carrying 1d12 sacks of gold, each sack weighing 60 pounds each (240 pounds total per dwarf). They are making their way to the nearest city so that they can buy supplies and hire mercenaries to help them reclaim their mines from kobold and goblin invaders.
  98. A group of 2d4+4 goblins disturb a herd of 10d10 reindeer, which stampede and run away, herding themselves toward the party’s camp. The players will have to kill the goblins fast before they are trampled to death by the reindeer! Or they can try to herd the reindeer back toward the goblins so they can kill both at once!
  99. A group of 1d6+3 elves are hunting elk. They do not want to be disturbed.
  100. The players stumble across a small hut in a small clearing in the forest. A small fire is burning in the middle of the floor. Inside the hut, an elderly human sits, sleeping. If the players awaken him, he will tell them that he is a druid and he is travelling through the area looking for herbs and plants that he needs for his rituals and spells. He does not look like he has many supplies, but if players offer him something to eat or drink, he will gladly accept it!

Even More Random Arctic Encounters

If you want more random arctic encounters, be sure to check out Random Encounters AI and LitRPG Adventures. Both sites are full of all sorts of useful random encounters and more for your tabletop fantasy campaign.


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Paul Bellow

Paul Bellow

Paul Bellow is a LitRPG author, RPG game developer, and old school webmaster. He's been playing tabletop games since the 1980s. He started Random Tables RPG as a way to give out free D&D and Pathfinder content to the world. Enjoy!