Desert Non-Combat Encounters, NPCs and Hazards for 5e

"a caravan led by a noble with veteran guards. Heading to a trading settlement and then looking for a rumored place where genies trade."

Tables for Non-Combat Encounters, Quick NPCs and Hazards & Obstacles for Desert. Result is from Desert Non-Combat Encounters.

Non-combat by terrain - arctic | coastal | desert | forest | grassland | mountain | underdark

[Photo by Cody Doherty on Unsplash]

Desert Non-Combat, NPCs & Hazards

Deserts are home to hardy travelers, tricky shapeshifters and creatures of wind and rock. Jackalweres might show good intentions or a salamander offer to repair your armor. Meet NPCs from an sun priest who involves you in local politics to a herder who talks about camel milk. Deal with dust storms, problematic illusions and extreme heat.

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 Non-Combat Encounters

1d8+1d12Desert Non-Combat Encounters
2 a guardian naga is interested in events and politics of nearest cities.
3 a galeb duhr who speaks Common and who loves riddle contests
4 a thri-kreen psionicist has a map of local ruins they hope to sell at a local settlement. They don't know much about trade or barter.
5 a mummy sage whose advice is sought after by many local powers
6 a few commoner farmers trying to grow crops. Ask party for aid.
7 a pair of fire giants searching for an elemental portal seen in dreams
8 a caravan led by a noble with veteran guards. Heading to a trading settlement and then looking for a rumored place where genies trade.
9 a salamander looking for someone in need of fine metalwork. Is keen to look over metal items of the group and offer services.
10 a tame giant scorpion with no stinger and a dead rider in a saddle.
11 a few tribal warrior herders tracking camels. Worried about raiders.
12 several cultists search for hyena folk they heard welcome outcasts.
13 a wagon of guards and commoners with tools and supplies. Going to a nearby town where someone has found gold (or ancient ruins)
14 a few jackalweres try to join group as porters, guides or scouts.
15 a scout has paid for a worked-out mine. Is considering ideas to make money with it such as a dungeon, a theme park, or other attraction.
16 a young brass dragon is looking for for a long conversation
17 a lazy androsphinx seeking something low maintenance to guard
18 a few duergar who fled to surface and now look for new start as mercenaries, guards or miners. Have several references in Dwarven
19 a yuan-ti malison has a decanter of endless water and uses it to supply local settlements with water. Wants to pass on responsibility.
20 a multilingual wight is lost in the desert. Has also lost the travelers it was guiding. Wants to help the living lead worthwhile lives.

Desert Quick NPCs

1d4+1d6Desert Quick NPCs
2 Orsik is an inquisitive azer with a gemstone ring who likes giving to others. They are good at solving problems and pace as they think.
3 Beleth is a quarrelsome cult acolyte with an honest face. They believe in second chances and are feuding with a rival about a nearby mine.
4 Ember is a friendly thri-kreen psionicist with knives of unusual materials. They follow a rain god and study the desert ecosystem.
5 Salazar is a vigilant bandit captain with curly hair. They love telling stories about a legendary artifact and belong to an enemy faction.
6 Nutae is a honorable veteran athlete with several bone amulets. They are fluent in a dead language and are training for a great challenge.
7 Shan is a repulsive priest of sun with a fine musical instrument. They try to appear mysterious by saying phrases in Ignan and try to involve all they meet in a local rivalry between powerful spellcasters.
8 Romeri is a enthusiastic tribal warrior with an abundance of jewelry. They breed camels, talking about and trying to sell a curd made from camel milk. They own a jade fibula signed by a legendary artist.
9 Urhur is a restless lamia with an ornate mask and a pet vulture. They currently have no home and are proud to be a local riddles champion.
10 Zanna is a troubled gladiator with glowing purple hair that stands on end. They are on quest of self-discovery and currently writing many songs and poems. They mistake a character for someone they know.

Desert Hazards and Obstacles

1d8+1d12Desert Hazards and Obstacles
2 A glowing cave mouth containing an elemental portal (fire or air)
3 A monument protected by forbiddance (or hallow)
4 A large dust devil (or whirlwind)
5 A old stone shrine with draconic runes. Can cause a curse (or geas)
6 Earth tremors (from an earthquake, earth elemental, cavern collapse etc)
7 Dust storm (or sandstorm) (heavy winds DMG pg 110 and obscurement) or a sinkhole (as Quicksand - DMG pg 110)
8 Several camels (or corpses) infected with disease (DMG pg 257)
9 An abandoned cart with rotting mule corpses or a large insect swarm is approaching
10 Howling winds (Strong Wind - DMG pg 110)
11 Extreme Heat (DMG pg 110) or mirages of water sources
12 Large amounts of dust (or harmless insects). Disturbing causes light or heavy obscurement.
13 Signs of something dangerous. Recent tracks or other marks of... (roll or choose from Desert Encounters Levels 11+)
14 A stampede of herd animals (wild or domesticated)
15 An area of quicksand (DMG pg 110) or a covered simple pit (DMG pg 122)
16 A chasm disguised by a hallucinatory terrain
17 An area of dead magic (functions as antimagic field)
18 A thunderstorm is approaching or an area of thick webs (DMG pg 105)
19 Monsoon (or other sudden rain storm_ (heavy precipitation - DMG pg 110) or an area of razorvine blocks the way (DMG pg 110)
20 An earthquake causing fissures to open, avalanches and damage to structures

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