Should You Use Random Encounters?
Some argue that random encounters are foolish and should not be used. These
people maintain that everything should be under the control of the DM, that there
should be no surprises for him while playing the game.
Certainly, random encounters can be abused through overuse, and they can
create illogical encounters. (The word foolish would certainly apply to the DM who
allowed the characters to be attacked by an orc war-band in the middle of a
peaceful human city!) However, when used judiciously, random encounters add to
everyone's fun in a couple of ways.
Variety: Random encounters introduce variety the player characters didn't expect. The
characters, exploring a dungeon, become overconfident if they only encounter
monsters in chambers and rooms. Random encounters reminds them that any second
could be dangerous, no matter where they are.
DM Challenge: Random encounters make the game more exciting for the DM. The game has to be
fun and challenging for him as well as the players. Part of the challenge for
the DM is to improvise an encounter on the spot. The DM gets involved and
excited, improving the play of the game.
To use a random encounter, the DM doesn't just open his rulebook and blindly
pick a monster (although there is nothing that says he can't do this). Instead,
he uses or creates specific tables that are tailored to the needs of the
adventure and adventuring area, by including only those monsters or NPCs that are
appropriate to the setting.
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