Desert Encounter Combat Terrain, Treasures and Complications for 5e

"There is an abandoned cart with rotting mule corpses"

Tables for Combat Terrain and Minor Treasures and Encounter Complications for Desert Encounters. Result is from Desert Encounter Complications.

Enhancements by terrain - coastal | grassland | mountain | road

[Photo by Cody Doherty on Unsplash]

Desert Encounter Enhancements

What makes this desert encounter different?

There might be a haze of thick dust or a few tall spiked cacti. A creature might have a gold nugget or a few cards from a deck of illusions with them. There might be a a dust devil approaching or a group of wild camels nearby.

There is a 5e Desert random encounter generator at ChaosGen. There is also a pdf of these and more tables at the DM's Guild as Desert Encounters.

Desert Encounters Terrain Encounters Bundle for 5e

Desert Encounter Tables - creatures | locations | non-combat | enhancements

Desert Combat Terrain

1d8+1d12Desert Combat Terrain
2 Top of a cliff with handholds down
3 A cave entrance blocked by a boulder or a few palm trees
4 A watchtower with a signal fire
5 A few tall spiked cacti or an abandoned cart and two rotting horses
6 A cliff with a large nest on a ledge
7 A wide trench or an area of soft deep sand (difficult terrain)
8 Several empty tents
9 Stone steps leading to a ruined statue or a covered well
10 Mound of rocks and debris (difficult terrain)
11 A haze of thick dust or a ruined stone wall
12 A large tree scorched by lightning
13 A mud pool or a small box canyon
14 An overturned chariot (or wagon)
15 A patch of Quicksand (DMG pg 110) or a lit campfire
16 Steps to a defensible position
17 A beast pen holding mules or a hedge of razorvine (DMG pg 110)
18 An unstable mine entrance
19 A drop down to jagged rocks or a low cliff covered in scree
20 A hidden cache (Perception check to spot if near) with Dust of Disappearance (or roll on Minor Desert Treasures)

Desert Minor Treasures

1d20Desert Minor Treasures
1 Decanter of Endless Water or Eyes of Charming
2 Eversmoking Bottle or Staff of the Adder
3 Periapt of Health or Sword of Vengeance (cursed)
4 Saddle of the Cavalier or Wind Fan
5 Bag of Tricks - Desert (1d8 - 1. scorpion; 2. jackal 3. vulture 4. camel; 5. giant lizard ; 6. giant hyena; 7. giant vulture; 8. lion)
6 Deck of Illusions or Eyes of the Eagle
7 Mace of Terrror or Ioun Stone of Sustenance
8 Gem of Seeing or Censer of Controlling Air Elementals
9 Necklace of Fireballs or Sword of Life Stealing
10 Sun Blade or Wand of Fireballs
11 Ring of Fire Resistance or Flame Tongue
12 Wand of Fear or Hewards of Handy Haversack
13 Armor of Fire Resistance or Boots of Speed
14 Brazier of Commanding Fire Elementals or Cloak of Displacement
15 Carpet of Flying or Demon Armor (cursed)
16 Robe of Scintillating Colors or Blue Dragon Scale Mail
17 Staff of Fire or Efreeti Chain - legendary
18 Dancing Sword or Scarab of Protection - legendary
19 Efreeti Bottle or Ring of Elemental Command (fire) - legendary
20 Scimitar of Speed or Ring of Djinni Summoning - legendary

Desert Encounter Complications

1d8+1d12Desert Encounter Complications
2 There is a mirage arcana (or programmed illusion) here
3 There are mud mephits (or roll on Desert Spirits) here (or nearby) as guardians (or allies)
4 There is a hidden item (or cache) here. A potion of fire or roll on Minor Desert Treasures
5 There is a wide trench or roll on Desert Combat Terrain
6 There is a hallucinatory terrain (or forbiddance) here
7 There are several empty tents or roll on Desert Combat Terrain
8 There is a prisoner in the encounter or a lone traveler nearby. Roll on Quick Desert NPCs
9 Mound of rocks and debris (difficult terrain) or roll on Desert Combat Terrain
10 There are camels here (or nearby) as pets (or mounts). For alternatives roll on Desert Beasts
11 There is an oasis or other water source nearby
12 There are recent tracks of gnolls (or roll on an appropriate encounter table) in the area
13 There is an abandoned cart with rotting mule corpses or roll on Desert Hazards and Obstacles
14 The creatures are carrying a magic item (or it is hidden nearby). Roll on Magic Items - Desert
15 There is a large dust devil approaching or roll on Desert Hazards & Obstacles
16 Nearby is a purple worm (or pick from Desert Encounters Level 11+) those encountered try not to disturb.
17 There is a large amount of dust causing heavy obscurement. or roll on Desert Hazards and Obstacles
18 There is a shrine (or cursed statue) protected by a hallow (or it is Desecrated Ground - DMG pg 110)
19 There are jackalweres (or roll on Desert Humanoids) here (or nearby) as allies (or servants / mercenaries)
20 There is an elemental (or planar) portal here or there is a crossing to the Shadowfell

More Encounters

There is a 5e Desert random encounter generator at ChaosGen. There is also a pdf of these and more tables at the DM's Guild as Desert Encounters.

Desert Encounters Terrain Encounters Bundle for 5e

You can get random generators updates on Patreon or join the Rand Roll Discord Server