Levels in the Wilderness
Random encounters based on distance from civilization
In episode 78 of the podcast (listen above) I talked about scaling your random encounter tables based on how far you are away from civilization, and I thought I'd expand on it a bit more and with a few more details I’ve thought of since I published that episode. As a point of reference the colour bands in the map below simply indicate distance zones away from civilization (marked with orange triangle).
I’d suggest making a different random encounter table for each “ring” of area and everytime you roll a check if you don’t roll an encounter, make sure you subtract 1 from the next encounter check roll.
Alternatively and possibly a bit more harshly would be to create a single table - I’d suggest a 3d6 table for this one, and make any rolls in the green +2, blue +1, grey -1, and red -2.
The key takeaway however is encounters should take place less frequently closer to civilization and be less deadly, and as the party explores outward it acts as if they are going down the dungeon. That doesn’t mean something terrible can’t happen close to home but it would be incredibly rare.
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Thanks for this article. This is how I've always imagined it should be done. :)