D100 In the City: Random Non Combat Encounter Table 5e

Cities are melting pots of culture, intrigue, magic, and opportunity, where adventurers can find more than just shops, inns, and quest givers. A city is a living, breathing entity with its own rhythm, secrets, and characters, each one contributing to a rich tapestry of experiences. This D100 table of non-combat encounters is designed to help Dungeon Masters bring cities to life, adding spontaneity and immersion to any urban setting in a D&D 5e game.

Whether it’s a chance meeting with a mysterious stranger, a bustling marketplace’s vibrant sights and sounds, or an intriguing mystery hiding in plain sight, these encounters can provide unexpected twists, enrich storytelling, and deepen characters’ connections to the world. Dive into the complexity of city life and let your players explore the nuances that make each city a unique and engaging hub of adventure.


Cities are melting pots of culture, intrigue, magic, and opportunity, where adventurers can find more than just shops, inns, and quest givers. A city is a living, breathing entity with its own rhythm, secrets, and characters, each one contributing to a rich tapestry of experiences. This D100 table of non-combat encounters is designed to help Dungeon Masters bring cities to life, adding spontaneity and immersion to any urban setting in a D&D 5e game. Whether it’s a chance meeting with a mysterious stranger, a bustling marketplace’s vibrant sights and sounds, or an intriguing mystery hiding in plain sight, these encounters can provide unexpected twists, enrich storytelling, and deepen characters’ connections to the world. Dive into the complexity of city life and let your players explore the nuances that make each city a unique and engaging hub of adventure.

D100 Table: Random Non-Combat City Encounters 5e

  1. Street Performers’ Parade: The party encounters a lively parade of street performers, including jugglers, musicians, acrobats, and fire breathers. Joining or observing the parade could lead to new contacts, entertainments, or even a hidden message.
  2. Lost Child: A distraught child approaches the party, tears in their eyes, unable to find their parents. Assisting the child could earn gratitude from the family, uncover a deeper plot, or lead to an unexpected reward.
  3. Fortune Teller’s Prophecy: A mysterious fortune teller offers to read the characters’ futures. Whether or not they believe in such things, the prophecies might contain hints of truth, guidance for a current quest, or cryptic puzzles that need unraveling.
  4. Market Day Chaos: The party stumbles upon a bustling market day, filled with exotic goods, loud haggling, pickpockets, and potential treasures. Exploring the market could reveal hidden magic items, valuable information, or connections to local merchants.
  5. Library of Secrets: While exploring the city, the characters find a hidden library filled with rare and forbidden knowledge. Access to these tomes might offer insights into current quests, ancient histories, or magic, but not without drawing the attention of those who guard such knowledge.
  6. Mysterious Message: A parchment airdropped by a carrier pigeon lands at the party’s feet. The coded message inside might offer a new adventure hook, key information for an ongoing quest, or a subtle warning from an unknown source.
  7. Mischievous Street Urchins: A group of street urchins pulls harmless pranks on the party. Dealing with these kids could lead to laughter, annoyance, goodwill, or perhaps even the discovery of a hidden locale.
  8. Respected Artisan’s Plight: The party comes across a renowned artisan – a blacksmith, tailor, or apothecary – struggling with a creative block. Helping them could result in a friendship, ally, or a steep discount on their expertly crafted items.
  9. Unexpected Festivities: The city abruptly becomes lively with an unexpected festival – celebration of a great victory, commemoration of a local hero, or perhaps a religious occasion. Participating could mean fun games, local delicacies, dances, or folklore tales that lend insight to local culture and history.
  10. A Race Against Pigeons: A local eccentric challenges the party to a race across town – their prize-winning pigeons versus the adventurers. Whether they accept could spur a high-spirited race, a city-wide tour, or perhaps earning the pigeon-racing champ’s goodwill (or disdain).
  11. Thieves’ Guild Recruiter: A shady figure tries to recruit the party into a local Thieves’ Guild. Engagement could uncover the city’s underbelly, lead to new skills, or add unsavory alliances, while refusal could make unwanted enemies.
  12. Less-than-helpful Conjurer: A magic user has accidentally released a group of mischievous elementals into the city. The party may choose to help corral the harmless, but naughty creatures, endearing themselves to a grateful, if slightly irresponsible, conjurer.
  13. Statue’s Secret: An impressive statue in the town square holds a secret readable only under moonlight. Unraveling the secret could lead to hidden treasure, reveal an ancient prophecy, or expose the city’s rich history.
  14. Festive Fireworks: An evening of colorful fireworks descends into chaos as the fireworks begin getting out of control. Aiding in the control of the runaway fireworks could result in gratitude, rewards from the city officials or just a great story to tell.
  15. Stray Familiar: A small and frightened familiar tugs at the party’s clothing. Helping it return to its master could earn you gratitude from a local magic user, or draw the ire of a less scrupulous one.
  16. Bardic Battle: A local bard challenges the party to a battle of limericks, music, or tall tales. Jumping into the creative fray could lead to fame, infamy, or possibly an unexpected ally in the bardic community.
  17. Street Food Delight: A wafting aroma of delicious street food leads the party to a vendor. A bite into the city’s delicacies could reveal a secret ingredient, a family feud, or simply a bellyache and laughter!
  18. Elusive Pickpocket: The party notices they’ve suddenly lost a (relatively unimportant) item. Chasing the unseen pickpocket could lead to the city’s hidden corners, a thieves’ hideout, or just a wild goose chase through winding alleys.
  19. House of Mirrors: The party stumbles upon a house of mirrors. The magical mirrors could reveal characters’ inner souls, deepest fears, or give a glimpse into a parallel existence.
  20. Unexpected Parade: An impromptu parade for a minor deity of joy and happiness sweeps down the street, inviting everyone to dance. Joining the jubilation could lead to unexpectedly divine revelations, city-wide recognition, or a jolly good time!
  21. Clock Tower Conundrum: The city’s signature clock tower has frozen in time. Helping reset it might uncover ancient machinery, time-related anomalies, or the gratitude of a town chronomancer.
  22. Unusual Potion Vendor: An eccentric potion vendor offers the party a taste of their new experimental brew. Trying it could bring a burst of unexpected effects, remarkable discoveries, or frankly, fabulous fiascos.
  23. Helpful Homunculus: A homunculus approaches the party, carrying a scroll from its master. Delivering the message could lead to a wizard’s tower, a challenging conundrum, or an enchanted item in the making.
  24. Notice Board: The town notice board has requests, challenges, warnings, and even riddles posted by citizens. Exploring these tasks might offer new quests, local connections, comedy-filled misadventures, or the murky depths of city politics.
  1. Night Watch: On a quiet night, a city watchman asks the adventurers to join him on a walk. What starts as casual chatter might reveal local mysteries, hidden city threats, or a life-changing chance friendship with this humble guard.
  2. Abandoned Pet: The party finds an abandoned animal that leads them to its fallen owner, an eccentric but beloved local character.
  3. The Broken Cart: A merchant’s cart has broken in the middle of a busy road. Helping to clear it could lead to a discount, a friendly contact or a small token of appreciation.
  4. Cafe Philosophical: The adventurers stumble across a bustling café where philosophical debates take place, offering brainy interaction or a better understanding of local ideologies.
  5. Flower Sale: They find a child selling various herbs and flowers with esoteric properties. Some might even have a bit of spontaneous magic in them.
  6. Gate Painter: A local artist has taken to painting the city gates each season. Observing their craft, they might reveal a hidden aspect of the city’s history or culture.
  7. Roving Repairman: A gnome with a cart full of tools offers his services. He can mend or improve just about anything, perhaps even offering an offbeat upgrade to a piece of equipment.
  8. Fortune Cookie Vendor: A friendly old lady sells cookies that contain cryptic messages. Surprisingly, these often have a habit of coming eerily true.
  9. Intangible Thief: Someone or something seems to be stealing shadows. Is it a prankster wizard, a mischievous fey, or a sign of something more sinister?
  10. Park Lovers: The characters spot a pair of lovers eloping from feuding families, twinkling a story much like Romeo and Juliet – and would they intervene?
  11. Sewer Groaning: The sewers emit strange noises. An investigation may lead to a non-threat: a burrow of friendly giant rats with a repetitive echolocation.
  12. The Alley Race: Local kids challenge the party to a race through the city’s alleys. Whether they win or lose, it’s a fun route through lesser-known shortcuts.
  13. Stray Cat: A mysterious cat weaves through the party’s legs, leading them to a hidden part of the city.
  14. Silent Mime: A silent mime mimics party members. Is it just a street performance, or is there a deeper magical meaning to their act?
  15. Lost Apparition: A ghost appears, wrongly convinced it’s still alive. Can the party break the news gently and help it find peace?
  16. Vegetable Stall Rivalry: Two rival vegetables vendors attempt to persuade the characters to buy their produce. Choosing could result in comical escalations.
  17. Water Well Wishing: A crying well spirit asks the characters to retrieve stolen wishing coins from a greedy grifter.
  18. Horns of the Watch: The town watch’s horns are stolen. The guards, embarrassed yet determined, ask the party for help.
  19. Broken Monument: A local monument has been vandalized. The party’s drawn into repairing it, learning about local lore and history.
  20. Alms House Aid: The party meets a priest who runs a local alms house, struggling to feed the poor. Players can lend a helping hand or a generous donation.
  21. Music Box Mystery: A music box plays a melody familiar to one of the characters, sparking a personal side quest.
  22. Twilight Dance: As sun sets, fairies emerge to dance in the city parks. The sight is entrancing, and fairies might offer a small gift or boon for respectful audiences.
  23. Gardener’s Woe: A royal gardener is distraught over a blight affecting the city gardens. Helping could gain the party access to exotic herbs or valuable plants.
  24. The Drunken Scholar: The party encounters a scholar, so drunk they’ve forgotten where they live. Helping them home may reveal a trove of useful academic knowledge or historic information.
  25. Street Rally: A fiery political rally fills the streets. Participating might help the characters gain insight or contacts within local political factions.
  26. Save the Date: It’s the city’s millennial celebration. Joining the celebrations could mark the characters’ names in the city’s annals!
  27. Library Lock-in: The party accidentally gets locked in the city’s library overnight. The quiet hours could lead to a wealth of uncovered information…or the ire of a grumpy librarian.
  28. Poor Man’s Feast: A generous beggar shares his simple meal with passing adventurers. Enjoying his company could lead to a deep conversation, insight into the city’s culture, or even discovering his hidden past.
  29. Curio Collector: An eccentric collector showcases a collection of bizarre and magical curios. Trading, buying, or just intriguing chatter could lead to peculiar gizmos, unforeseen adventures, or hidden aspects of magic.
  30. Unexpected Patron: A wealthy and somewhat bored noble finds amusement in the adventurers and becomes their patron. It could mean unexpected gold, fancy parties, or dangerous political attachments.
  31. Al fresco Art Class: A group of local artists paints the cityscape en plein air. Whether helping to set up or getting portraits done, it could lead to unexpected friendships, gifts, or opportunities.
  32. Window Washer Woes: A window washer hangs dangerously from a faulty platform. Rescuing him could mean the gratitude of a city official or a small reward.
  33. Messengers’ Maze: The city’s messengers challenge the party to a navigation race, revealing shortcuts, lesser-known paths, and a city-wide layout.
  34. Midnight Serenade: A troupe of bards takes advantage of the city’s acoustics to perform a stirring midnight serenade. Enjoying the music might lead to personal inspiration, a soothing rest, or reputation boost.
  35. The Flavour Test: A renowned chef conducting a “flavor test” of their new savory pie recipe. Being the culinary guinea pigs could end in a battle of taste buds, future discounts, or potentially, indigestion.
  36. Silent Auction: The group stumbles upon a silent auction for various artifacts, mystery boxes or exotic pets. Joining it could mean unexpected wins, surprising losses, or a competition between party members.
  37. Smoke Signals: A local tribe sends smoke messages from city outskirts. Decoding it might mean a mini-adventure, discovery of a threat, or insight into local customs.
  38. Starlit Swim: The city’s bathing pools, bathed in moonlight, offer a serene swim. It might mean relaxation, overhearing gossip, or meeting potential allies/enemies.
  39. Midnight Market: A hidden midnight market offers exotic goods. It could mean rare items, strange potions or perhaps stolen goods.
  40. Tattoo Tales: A tattoo artist claims his tattoos tell the future. Getting one might result in a magical tattoo, a prophecy, or just an amusing story.
  41. Seed Spreading: Druids plant trees around the city. Joining them could mean a favor from the local druid circle or blessings from nature spirits.
  42. Runaway Float: A parade float breaks free, barreling down the street. Stopping it might result in gratitude, prizes, or a heap of flowers and glitter.
  43. Banner Heist: The city’s banner is stolen, and the city guard seeks help. Recovering it might lead to a gratitude of city officials or an insight into a rivalry.
  44. Architect’s Dream: An architect dreams of impossible structures and seeks discussions about it. Lending an ear could lead to a creative magic item design or new architectural structures in the city.
  45. Monk Meditation: A group of monks invites the party for sunset meditation. Joining them could refresh the mind, grant wisdom, or subtly adjust alignments.
  46. Stowaway Fae: A playful pixie stows away in a character’s backpack. Its antics may cause chaos or lead to hidden treasure.
  47. Public Trial: There’s a public trial for a notorious city thief. Attending it could reveal city’s crime underbelly, possible false accusations, or a chance to weigh in on city justice.
  48. Sundial Puzzle: A sundial in the city square reveals a puzzle when the sun rays hit. Solving it could reveal a secret compartment, a magical location, or a city mystery.
  49. Guild Gathering: Various guilds exhibit their trades at a city fair. Interaction might lead to new proficiencies, affiliations, or quest opportunities.
  50. Mimic Mayhem: A mischievous mimic disguises itself as city structures, causing harmless mayhem. Capturing it might please city officials or unveil a fun-loving magic user’s prank.
  51. Cryptic Code: The party finds a cryptic code inscribed on city walls. Decoding it could lead to a secret society, a treasure map, or a deep city mystery.
  52. Foliage Festival: A festival celebrating new spring growth fills the city with joy. Joining it might lead to a refreshing celebration, a dance, or a competition with local druids.
  53. Pawn Shop: A pawn shop purchase leads to an unexpected adventure. It might hide an item’s secret, a previous owner’s story, or a mystery to be solved.
  54. Landscaping Labyrinth: The city’s topiary garden rearranges itself into a labyrinth. Navigating it would lead to a peaceful center, a meeting with a lost visitor, or even a hidden reward.
  55. Runaway Wagon: A horse-drawn wagon races uncontrollably down the streets. Stopping it could lead to gratitude from the city or unintentional participation in a city-wide event.
  56. Haunted House: Rumors of a haunted house turns out to be a misunderstood lonely ghost. Helping the ghost might result in a spectral ally, useful haunting stories, or spooky yet harmless nighttime fun.
  57. City Messenger: A city messenger delivers a missive addressed to one of the characters from an unexpected source. The message might hold a personal quest, a summons, or surprising news.
  58. Bell Tower Symphony: The city’s bell tower plays a harmonics at sunsets. Listening to it could tell a story, provide a soothing effect, or hint at a secret message in the melody.
  59. Hide ‘n Seek: Local children invite the party to a game of hide ‘n seek. It could offer a fun diversion, an unexpected discovery, or a local child’s heartfelt gratitude.
  60. Living Statues: The city’s statues magically come to life to perform a pantomime. Watching it could be an entertainment, a unique magic lesson, or a living history of the city.
  61. Accidental Proposal: A love-struck noble misinterprets one of the character’s kindness as a proposal. Sorting out the misunderstanding might lead to amusing tales, political issues, or unexpected alliances.
  62. Magic Dust: A stray bag of pixie dust causes unexpected magical effects around the city. Tracking these effects might lead to a series of comedic situations, magical phenomena, or a harmless prank been played on the city.
  63. Star-studded Night: It’s a once-a-century celestial event where shooting stars fill the sky. Making wishes might lead to dreams coming true, divine messages, or a celestial creature’s visit.
  64. Celebratory Drink: A pub invites the party for a free round of drinks to celebrate a local legend. Participating could lead to a hearty celebration, tavern gossip, or intoxicating tales of the city.
  65. Cheery Chase: A mischievous sprite steals a trinket and leads the party on a merry chase. The pursuit could reveal hidden areas of the city, newfound allies, or an innocent laugh.
  66. The Town Crier: The Town Crier announces unexpected news that may shift the city dynamic or put the party in an advantageous position.
  67. Jewelry Crafter: A jewelry crafter needs help catching gem-encrusted beetles for his work. Helping him might earn a beautifully crafted keepsake or a possible jewel source.
  68. The Lost Ball: Kids ask the adventurers to retrieve their ball from a grumpy ogre’s yard. Retrieving it might please the ogre or make a small friend.
  69. A Painter’s Portrait: A painter paints the party’s portraits, capturing some secret nuance about each individual that can lead to personal revelations or identity crises.
  70. Singing Flowers: A mage’s enchanted garden croons melodious tunes. Listening might provide therapeutic effects, a mood boost, or even a song with hidden magical meanings.
  71. City-wide Hide and Seek: The mayor declares a city-wide hide and seek game. Participating might lead to hidden areas, secret passageways, or an amusing encounter with city residents.
  72. Half-Bitten Mystery: A half-eaten fruit with a love note written on its peel, sparks a romantic mystery. Solving it might lead to a love-stricken individual or a prankster’s joke.
  73. Clockwork Creatures: A toymaker’s clockwork creatures escape his shop. Recapturing them can result in the gratitude of the craftsman or interesting clockwork toys.
  74. Sky Lantern Release: A sky lantern release on a clear night. Writing wishes on them might result in a catharsis, divine intervention, or just a beautiful night.
  75. City Riddles: A day when city buildings sport riddles concerning city history. Answering them might win minor magical rewards, city-wide recognition, or reveal intriguing city facts.
  76. City’s Birthday: It’s the city’s birthday! The grand party might lead to a day of celebration, unexpected encounters, or the marking of the party’s name in city bards’ songs.

The hustle and bustle of city life offers a rich tapestry of opportunities for adventurers to engage with the world around them, beyond the traditional boundaries of quests and combat. Through the use of a random non-combat encounter table, Dungeon Masters can breathe life into their urban settings, allowing players to immerse themselves in the culture, mysteries, and everyday realities of city-dwelling denizens. These encounters provide texture, spontaneity, and depth, contributing to a multifaceted and dynamic campaign experience.

Equally important, non-combat encounters emphasize aspects of role-playing that go beyond mere battle prowess, encouraging creativity, empathy, and strategic thinking. By presenting players with ethical dilemmas, intriguing mysteries, and chances for meaningful social interaction, DMs can foster character development and player investment in the storyline.

Moreover, these encounters can serve as hooks for new quests, tie into larger campaign narratives, or simply create memorable moments that resonate with players long after the game session ends. They are tools to be wielded with creativity and intention, ensuring that every stroll through the city streets becomes a chance for wonder, discovery, and connection.

In the end, a city is far more than its buildings, streets, and marketplaces; it is a living entity filled with stories waiting to be told. By incorporating these non-combat encounters into your game, you invite your players to become part of those stories, turning each urban adventure into a rich, immersive journey through a world teeming with possibility.

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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!