Desert Encounter Locations for Dungeon & Dragons 5e

"A tangle of ramps and stone steps lead up a barren escarpment. Among them are carved massive images of desert creatures. "

Tables for Wilderness, Semi-Civilised and Unusual Desert locations. Result is from Desert Unusual Locations.

Locations by terrain - arctic | coastal | desert | forest | grassland | mountain | underdark

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Desert Encounter Locations

Barren wastelands, shifting dunes and arid steppes are all defined by a lack of water. Patches of life exist among the landscapes of rock and sand. Places of death and ruins of past civilisations are found here, but a watering hole can be a valuable find to the thirsty traveler.

There is a 5e Desert random encounter generator at ChaosGen. And a separate tool for encounter locations including Desert.

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 Wilderness Locations

d8+d12 Desert Wilderness Locations
2 A high cliff and a muddy sinkhole (nearby is an unusual grave)
3 A low cave entrance and a muddy stream fed by a spring (nearby is a shrine to a power of smiths)
4 A group of ferns surrounded by flowers (nearby is a crumbling statue)
5 An area of rock-strewn ground with a circular hole (there is an inscription here in Common)
6 A tall mesa and a cypress sapling (near a dusty monument)
7 A dark cave entrance near a muddy stream (there is the skull of a mule)
8 A deep sinkhole and a formation of grey dunes (by a large salt plain)
9 An overhanging cliff with rocks strewn below (there is a strong wind from the east)
10 A formation of shifting dunes (there is a programmed illusion here)
11 A group of hardy cacti with a palm sapling (close by is a marked trail)
12 A mossy rock surrounded by sand (close by is a muddy hole)
13 A bleak slope with a pile of rocks (there is an abandoned tent)
14 A deep depression by a field of blooming cacti (close by is a dusty chasm)
15 A shallow waterhole at the bottom of a steep slope (there is a horrible stench lingering in the air)
16 A deep valley with many desert flowers (it is associated with a shapeshifting vulture)
17 A narrow ravine with a few dark cave entrances (there are several spiky cacti)
18 A patch of spiky cacti surrounded by gray dunes (there are fresh tracks of more creatures nearby)
19 A weathered rock by a patch of purple flowers (nearby is a Mordenkainen's magnificent mansion)
20 A large salt flat with four tall cacti (close by is a shrine to a power of trickery)

Desert Semi-Civilised Locations

1d8+1d12Desert Semi-Civilised Locations
2 A sheltered temple to a power of death with a mound of bones (which is protected by a wind spirit)
3 A cairn by a patch of bright cacti (associated with a power of lies)
4 A part-buried monastery (it is associated with a powerful lamia)
5 An dried-up well by a crooked cacti (there is demonic magic here)
6 A splendid pavilion tent in an area of desert flowers (there are many hyena skulls)
7 A pile of rocks by a smouldering campfire (there is a burnt handcart)
8 A sacred oasis by a grave (there is a collapsed tent)
9 A tunnel entrance full of webs by a haunted well (near a granite outcrop)
10 A dusty road lined by carved rocks (nearby is a patch of red flowers)
11 A small oasis surrounded by palm trees (there is a dead humanoid)
12 A hut sheltering behind a recently-built wall. (by a narrow track)
13 An old shrine to a forgotten power among short grass (there are a few large rocks)
14 A tomb surrounded by dirt and debris (there is a strong wind from the west)
15 A low wall and a pile of rocks (nearby is the fresh corpse of a giant lizard)
16 A ruined statue by a shallow hollow. (there is a wanted poster)
17 A beast pen with several dead animals (near a few cave entrances)
18 A wide cave entrance and a poisoned well (there is a monstrous skeleton)
19 Two mounds of stone and debris surrounded by a trench (close to an area of tended cacti)
20 A shrine to a power of courage atop a large rock (someone has left an ornate scimitar)

Desert Unusual Locations

1d8+1d12Desert Unusual Locations
2 Jagged blackened cliffs sometimes sprout flames. Bright flowers grow here in a day, blessed by the Elemental Plane of Fire.
3 A fiendish relic is buried under piles of rubble and. Red eyes watch from the shadows and the spirit of a vengeful mage lurks nearby.
4 Tomb of the Cabal. Much of this weathered pyramid is shrouded in roiling mists. Chilling shrieks and screams can be heard at night.
5 Plants and a vegetable garden grow among monstrous bleached bones. Druidic magic sustains an oasis and fey are sometimes seen.
6 A village of scavengers and outcasts is built into the side of a canyon. A shrine is tended by an oracle who speaks to the winds.
7 A tangle of ramps and stone steps lead up a barren escarpment. Among them are carved massive images of desert creatures.
8 Genie's Spire. Carved steps lead up a mountain of blue stone to a glowing shrine. Elemental spirits are attracted to the area.
9 A sludgy waterfall descends into a muddy stream. Numerous spiky cacti seem strangely alert. At dusk and dawn a sage's spirit appears.
10 An orchard of crooked trees shelters a collapsed temple to a power of life. A sense of peace reigns and locals keep livestock here.
11 Grand tents shelter by an impressive mesa. Many bear gifts to the summit, seeking the blessing of a sovereign entombed there.
12 Wellspring of Hope. A large oasis is sheltered by numerous palms. Legends tell of a shapeshifting hyena who protects travelers.
13 Several huts are built into caves at the base of a cliff. Sculptures of bone and stone are proudly displayed by the inhabitants.
14 A discolored river is lined on one side by cypress saplings. A narrow iron bridge is watched by minions of a scheming lamia.
15 An old quarry is riddled with tunnels and sinkholes. The few workers warn visitors of collapses and an entrance to the Underdark.
16 The Stand Off. Towering twin statues exchange stares across dunes of shifting colors. Locals gather here for a ritual at every full moon.
17 An illusion shows a clear waterfall into a stream. It hides a treacherous ravine which is home to a opportunistic naga.
18 Several beasts drink from a deep waterhole. Atop a crumbled fort is built an inn of wood and canvas. It has impressive views all around.
19 A cursed stone monument lies in ruins, a programmed illusion warning visitors away. A rare healing herb grows in the area.
20 Spider Hulk. Atop an outcrop is a mysterious ship shunned by locals. It is infested with spiders and protected by a magic hidden inside.

More Encounters and Locations

There is a 5e Desert random encounter generator at ChaosGen. And a separate tool for encounter locations including Desert.

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

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