Here’s a list of 100 encounters for a modern tabletop RPG. Enjoy!
1) Two shady men in suits follow the players. They are tax collectors, and due to an error, the players owe money. They can pay a lawyer $1,000 or pay the $980 in taxes. Their choice.
2) A white van rushes by on the street. A man with wild, bushy hair leans out of the passenger side window and shouts: “There’s a bomb in the library! They’re going to blow it up!” then speeds off into the distance. If players investigate, there is no bomb in the library. There is, however, one that goes off in the police station. If players reported the library, they will be under suspicion of the crime and will have to find the real culprits.
3) The players pass a man on the street. They recognize him as a local gang leader, but he isn’t wearing his colors. He’s dressed in a suit. He sees them, gives them a wink, and then walks into a local diner to sit down with a local News Anchor named Tom Flash.
4) A man with a gun dressed in all black holds up a gas station. The players are inside. He orders everyone on the floor. While the gun is on them, he takes all their money.
5) The sound of gunfire can be heard in the distance, and the players hear sirens. The expression on the face of a nearby stranger reveals that something terrible has occurred. The stranger is a well-known individual, and the players may wish to approach him and ask what’s going on. He is an eyewitness and can tell them about the happenings and the perpetrators. He is well-informed and knows a great deal about what occurred and can offer information relating to the event and to the known perpetrators.
6) The players come across a lone gunman. He will be fleeing the scene of a robbery. The players may want to approach him and ask what happened. He can reveal all he knows about the crime and its perpetrators.
7) A man pulls a gun on the players and demands their valuables.
8) The player’s vehicle has broken down and they need to get to the next town. They can try to hitch a ride, but likely will be ignored and run off the road. They can try to call a tow, but this will be more expensive than just taking the bus. A stranger may stop and offer to give them a lift, but if they aren’t able to offer him any valuables, the stranger will ignore the player’s pleas and drive them off the road.
9) A man in a black suit and sunglasses approaches the players and identifies himself as a government agent. They may ask whatever they wish about the investigation and the secret satellite in orbit, and he will be willing to answer. They may also request to speak to or observe them and he will allow them to do so. However, if the players ask about his personal life, he will reveal that he works for a secret government agency and will ONLY be willing to answer any questions the players may have about the agency and its agents.
10) A tall woman approaches the players and identifies herself as a congresswoman from a future time with a great deal of authority. If the players believe her and help her, they will learn that she is telling the truth. They can help her save the future. If they do, she will give them a hint about one future event for one person in the player party.
11) Three men in suits approach the players and identify themselves as businessmen with top-secret information about an enemy government. They’re afraid to give it to the government themselves and want the players to do so. In exchange, they can offer a deal on a new product or weapons, or a job.
12) A man in a suit approaches the characters at gunpoint. He reveals that he is a government agent on a top-secret mission. He will surrender his gun and allow the players to take him into custody, but he will wipe his memory with a new top=secret technology and will be unable to recall his real identity. If the players capture him, they will learn his name and be able to use him as a source of information – but they will have to investigate further to find out where he came from, and if they bring him to the police, the agents will demand his release.
13) A car approaches the players’ car and the driver motions for them to pull over. The driver is a local gangster and he orders them to give him all their valuables and they will not be harmed. If they refuse, one of the passengers will emerge with a gun and threaten them and the driver and passengers. The players may choose to fight and run away or comply and be robbed and threatened and this is a choice they will have to make.
14) Two men are walking. One of them is leading a pitbull on a leash. Their names are John and Pete. Their dog’s name is Paco. If players talk to the men, they’ll tell them all about the dog and mention that they’re on their way to the beach. They aren’t aware that the beach is now a battlefield and that a battle is about to start there.
15) Three men in suits approach the players. They identify themselves as government agents and reveal that they have a warrant for the players’ arrest. They have a choice – go with the agents peacefully, or run and be shot at.
16) Two hooligans accost the players and threaten to beat them up.
17) A master thief and his apprentice approach the players. The master thief’s name is Jim, and the apprentice’s name is Tom. They are looking to steal something of value for their next job. If players help them pick a target, the thieves promise to repay them after the heist. A week later, the players receive a box in the mail with $100,000.
18) Two elderly men walking down the street toward the players. One of them has a cane. The other is blind. They are arguing about which way to go, but both are clearly lost. They need directions to their destination.
19) A man in a suit on a motorcycle pulls up next to the players. He has on a helmet that completely conceals his face. He asks them for directions to a nearby strip club.
20) A beat-up sedan pulls up next to the players’ vehicle and two men jump out, waving guns and demanding money.
21) A woman in a wheelchair approaches the players. She is frustrated and needs help finding a certain building.
22) A man in a suit approaches the players and asks for directions to a nearby hotel.
23) Two men approach the players and demand their wallets and cell phones.
24) Two men approach the players and ask for directions to a nearby coffee shop.
25) Gunshots ring out a few blocks away, If players investigate, they will find no signs of anything.
26) Two members of the Eagles, a local gang, are arguing and one pulls a gun and shoots the other in the shoulder then runs away.
27) A group of 2d6 thugs appear out of an alleyway and accost the players. They will demand $100 or they will attack.
28) A car alarm goes off. A man comes out of a house, waving a pistol. Another man starts up the car and roars away. The man from the house is named Hank and will hire the players to find the car thief.
29) A man approaches the players and asks them to retrieve a package from the airport for him. He offers them $500. If they agree, he will tell them it is a duffel bag with a pair of rare d20s inside. The man is actually a con artist. He will try to borrow $100 then come back with the $500. He has pictures of two shiny dice.
30) Two wild dogs attack the party!
31) The sound of thunder booms in the distance.
32) Two ladies in a car ask the party for directions to a business.
33) A man wearing a suit and shades asks the party for directions to a business that doesn’t exist. If they make up a location, he will go away. If they don’t tell him anything, he will get out and try to fight the biggest player. His name is Tommy Knuckles.
34) On the sidewalk ahead, a man with a knife is threatening a middle-aged woman. He is demanding her purse. She is screaming for help and waving her purse around. A small child is behind her on the sidewalk, crying. If players help her, a rich man nearby will pay them $1,000 in cash for their good deed.
35) A car drifts to the curb and the driver, a young man with a baseball cap, jumps out. He’s carrying a heavy bag. He slams the door, then stumbles back just in time to avoid being hit by a speeding car. The car screeches away. The young man is angry. He yells at the players, asking what they are looking at. He stomps away, then suddenly turns and yells that he’s going to get his brother to get even.
36) A man in lab coat and glasses is looking through the trash. He is an escaped scientist who broke out of prison. He is searching for papers, materials, anything he can find. He is carrying a large bag. He will try to take any valuables (cash, jewelry, etc) or papers he finds. If attacked, he will throw his bag at the party and flee.
37) Two gang members are standing in the middle of the street, yelling at each other. They are arguing about money.
38) A street magician is doing tricks. He has a large crowd.
39) A group of young men are playing ball. They are playing football in the street.
40) A man is standing in the middle of the street, yelling at the top of his lungs. He is insane and will approach the players. If they interact with him in any way, he will tell them about the spaceship he saw last night. He will say the spaceship landed in the forest and that the aliens took his brother away. He will give them a description of his brother and say he needs help finding him. He will then ask the players to take him to the forest where the spaceship landed. The man is an escaped mental patient and he will try to touch the players. If they let him touch them, he will get a hold of them and try to get them to go to the forest with him. If they get rid of him, he will go to the forest himself and wait there.
41) A man is in a ditch along the side of the road. He’s in a bad way. He’s a drunk and he’s been mugged by a gang. He will tell the players that a gang of four beat him, took his wallet, then took his pants. He’s lying. He’s just drunk and wandered into the ditch.
42) A man in a top hat and tails is walking down the street. He is looking at the numbers on the doors of the buildings. He is a thief planning a heist. If he finds the building he needs, he will hire the party to help him.
43) A man dressed in black with a black bandana covering his face is walking along the sidewalk. He is looking for something. He will not talk to the players.
44) A woman bursts out of a local bread shop, screaming, “You dirty rat!” A man in the bakery is just walking out, carrying the last loaf of the day. The woman catches him by the collar. She starts hitting him with her purse. The man tries to fight back, but she cuts him across the face with her fingernails. The man falls back. He knocks over a display of cakes. Cakes fall to the floor. The man gets to his feet and tries to escape. The woman pursues, hitting him with her purse. She yells that she’s going to kill him. The players are later called as witnesses for a trial.
45) Five middle-school kids are playing football in the street. A car comes down the street and the kids scatter. The driver yells at the kids and threatens them with a big stick. The man is the Mayor. If players get video, they’ll be insta-famous online.
46) A man is standing in the middle of the street. He is dressed in a trenchcoat and is wearing sunglasses. He looks like a tourist. He pulls a candy bar from under his coat and starts to eat it. He will not talk to the players. He will not answer any questions. He will not move from the middle of the street. He will eat the candy bar.
47) A police car is parked on a side street. Two cops are sitting in the front seat. They are watching a man who is standing on the sidewalk. He is wearing a trenchcoat and is looking around nervously. The cops think he’s a drug dealer. After a little while, one of the cops gets out of the car. He goes up to the man and tells him to start walking. The man looks confused. He looks back at his car. The cop puts his hand on his gun. The man starts walking. He has a small bag of powder hidden under his coat. The man will run, if he thinks he’s going to get caught.
48) A local news anchor approaches the players and asks for help with this story. There’s an old man who’s been seen on the streets, asking for money. He’s not homeless. He’s just an old man, asking for money when people are in a hurry. He’s been seen in the area recently. The anchor wants the players to talk to the man and find out what’s going on. The players can go talk to the man. He is sitting on the curb, holding a cup in his hands. He is making change for people, when they give him money. He needs money to buy beer. The old man will not give the players any money. He says he’s only taking money from people who are in a hurry. The man refers to himself as Old Dirty Hank. He’s actually a bored millionaire.
49) A man is in the middle of the street. He shouts at the top of his lungs. He says the government is out to get him. He says the government is following him. He says the government is trying to kill him. He will attempt to preach to the players. If they talk to him, he will say he’s trying to make a stand against the government. He will say he’s trying to make the government notice him. He’ll ask the players to join him. He’ll say that if they join him, the government will notice them too. He will offer the players weapons. He’ll ask them to buy him a beer. He’ll tell them they’re the only people who will listen to him. He’ll tell them he’s happy to see them. He’ll say they understand. The players can give the man money or weapons. They can buy him a beer. He will give them a business card. It will say something like “Citizens Against the Government”. It will have a website. The site will be filled with government conspiracy theories. One theory will mention the players. It will mention them by name. It will say that the players are helping the man in his fight against the government. The players are being followed. They are now on a watchlist.
50) A man is in the middle of the street. He has a video camera and he is recording everything. He is recording everything on the street. He is recording the sky. He is recording the buildings. He is recording the player’s cell phones and laptops. He is recording everything and anything. He will ask the players to say something. He will ask them to say their names. He will say he wants to put them on YouTube. A local news station will report on the man, the next day. They will talk about how police believe he is a terrorist. They will say that he is a dangerous man who needs to be taken into custody.
51) Two birds land nearby and begin to fight. This is a metaphor for a political debate. The players will have no idea what’s going on.
52) A car drives by and the passengers yell something at the players. The car drives away. The players can’t understand what was said. They never will.
53) A drunk man with a bottle of alcohol stands on the sidewalk. He is shouting at the top of his lungs. He is standing in front of a bar.
54) A man is crossing the street. He is carrying a big cardboard box. It is filled with hot dogs. He is feeding the hot dogs to the pigeons. The pigeons are eating the hot dogs. The players can buy hot dogs from the man, but it’s not a smart idea.
55) A man shouts at the top of his lungs, as he walks up and down the street. He shouts about how he was defrauded by his insurance company. He shouts about how he is not getting the medical care that he is supposed to. He shouts about how he deserves better. He shouts about how he wants his life back.
56) Two men in suits are standing in the middle of the street. They are talking to each other. They are arguing about something. They are arguing about politics. They argue in front of the players. They argue in front of the players for a long time. They argue in different voices. One of the men is playing both sides of the argument.
57) A woman is hanging out the window of a second-story apartment. She is shouting at the top of her lungs. “I hate the world!” She then slams the window shut and disappears into the house.
58) A group of 1d6+3 thugs approach the players, demanding $500. They can be bartered down to $50 or there will be a fight.
59) A group of 2d4+2 wild dogs attack the party. They’re hungry and get +1 to their attacks.
60) Two women are singing about freedom, while walking down the street. They are singing loudly. They are singing on the sidewalk. They are singing about the beauty of freedom.
61) A car with tinted windows rushes past then slams on its brakes. A window rolls down and a passenger asks if anyone wants some pizza. A pizza box is sitting open on the passenger seat.
62) A surrealist painting has been set on a stool in a building lobby.
63) A man with a mohawk is attached to a cell phone. He is shouting at the top of his lungs. He is shouting about how he hates his boss. He hates his boss more than anything. He hates his boss more than his parents. He hates his boss more than anything. He hates his boss more than he hates himself. He hates his boss more than anyone. He hates his boss more.
64) A group of 2d6 gang members attack the party, mistaking them for a rival gang. If players can convince them they’re not in the gang, the fighting will stop. They fight to the death.
65) Three bald men pass the players, grumbling about the weather.
66) A master thief approaches the players with a proposition. He will offer them some information, but only if they can steal something valuable from him.
67) A group of 4d6 women are walking along the street. If the players approach, they will attack with their purses, then scream about their rights.
68) Two policemen stop the players and demand to know where they were two hours earlier. If players can’t come up with an alibi, they’ll be charged with theft of the Mayor’s Porsche. They will have to prove their innocence somehow.
69) Three different people wearing clown costumes are juggling on a traffic island. They are body builders and will attack if they are laughed at by the players .
70) A man wearing a raincoat is taking pictures of the city.
71) A woman is playing a violin on the sidewalk. She is playing an elaborate song.
72) Two con artists are selling watches. They will try to overcharge players.
73) A truck full of puppies is trying to cross the street, but the traffic light is red.
74) A newsstand is open. It is cluttered and hard to see what is for sale. There is a 1 in 6 chance that there is a live guinea pig for sale.
75) A group of people are drinking in a nearby alley. They will pick a fight with the players if they see them.
76) A delivery truck has a flat tire. The driver is changing it.
77) A nearby shop is giving away free samples of some sort of vegetable made out of meat.
78) There is a homeless man nearby. If the players give him money or food, he will ask for more.
79) A group of 4d6 people are protesting loudly about something. Players can get involved and/or listen.
80) The city has a curfew. Anyone out on the streets after dark will be arrested. If players ignore this, they will be arrested.
81) A street magician is doing tricks. He might try to pick a fight with the players.
82) A group of people are having a loud argument nearby.
83) A group of people are having a party nearby.
84) A lady is trying to sell a dog. She says it is a golden retriever, but it is actually a wolf.
85) A man is selling fruit from a truck. He has a bushel of apples.
86) Two police officers are arguing with each other over who’s turn it is to buy lunch. They will write tickets if players interject.
87) A street gang is around, looking tough. If players approach, they will attack.
88) Two similar red cars rush by. If players don’t get out of the way, they might get hit.
89) A group of people are waiting for a bus.
90) A group of people are handing out pamphlets for a business.
91) A group of people are giving away free samples of some sort of meat.
92) Two businessmen are talking loudly about their work.
93) A man is playing music on the street. He has a saxophone. His name is Bill.
94) An old man is sitting down, saying his evening prayers.
95) An old woman is sitting down, saying her evening prayers.
96) Two young office workers are eating their lunches.
97) Two young office workers are having a loud argument about donuts. If players laugh, they get a ticket.
98) A woman is selling flowers. She has a large bouquet of dead flowers.
99) Two thugs accost the players and demand to know where they were the previous night. If they can’t come up with an answer, they will be shot. Persuasion check needed.
100) A group of people is having a violent argument nearby.
More Random Encounters
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