The Explorer’s Metropolitan Mayhem Machine

Game Ready Content Game Ready Content Generators Ideas Urban Adventure

For centuries, like-minded citizens have huddled together against the threats and mysteries of the untamed wilderness around them. (Check out last week’s Environmental Encounter Engine for some of these organic twists that could grow out of your campaign!) They have built fires and erected walls and laid out place to live and labor. It was believed by many that these cities, villages, towns, and hamlets provided the people within them the strength of numbers they needed to survive against the elements and their enemies. They were often right, for many cities that were planted centuries ago still flourish today as a testament to the fortitude of their founders. Many of those cities are also frequently cast as backdrops for famous tales, both fact and fiction.

However, while cities can be a rich source of public security and architectural majesty there’s a reason someone coined the phrase ‘the urban jungle.’ Any time that many people are gathered in one place, human nature can prove quite powerful. Those combined forces of greed, lust, fear, and desperation can turn otherwise civil streets into a twisted path that may lead one to danger or ruin. Many of the elements below are merely hooks to lure your campaign around a dark corner or down a blind alley. Maybe they’re part of an ongoing story, or maybe they’re a red herring designed to keep a party on its toes. No matter where your games take place, these urban encounter ideas should give your story some new doors to open- or maybe slam shut!

The Metropolitan Mayhem Machine requires at least one roll of your percentile dice.

% Roll Urban Encounter Hook

1 Projectile fired from a nearby window

2-3 Blind beggar asking for coins

4 Rapidly approaching out-of-control vehicle

5 Silent crowd gathered facing a doorway

6 Unmarked crate filled with weapons

7-8 Street performers’ intriguing stage show

9 Geyser bursts from middle of street

10-11 Party members are guests at the wedding of a prominent local

12-13 Young girl is accosted by a rough-looking group of men

14-15 Large natural creature runs rampant through the streets

16-17 Screams come from an unlit building

18 Rain of coins on the main street

19-20 Street preacher proclaiming that the end of the world has begun

21-22 Party is hired to deliver an important package across town

23-24 Vendor offering an apparently genuine artifact

25-26 Neatly folded pile of clothes on a public bench

27-28 Local leader invites the party to a banquet in their honor

29-30 Canal or river suddenly runs dry

31 Townspeople are ordered to evacuate immediately

32-33 Building’s exterior shrouded in column of mist

34-35 Hooded figure at the tavern/bar buys the party a round

36-37 Lost child looking for parents

38 Major building fire

39-40 Open manhole or trap door

41-42 Noisy flock of birds circles a particular building

43-44 Local law enforcement confronts the party with an arrest warrant

45-46 Party has been imprisoned for a crime they didn’t commit

47-48 Bathroom stall at a local watering hole is really a mystical portal

49-50 Party members attend the opening of a curious new shop

51-52 Tripwires stretched across the road

53 Fortune teller prophecies death for a party member

54 Party member spies their doppelganger on a crowded street

55 Pile of empty shackles

56-57 Angry mob hunting a criminal

58-59 Courtesan/dancer takes a liking to a particular party member

60 Giant vine that reaches to the heavens appears in the town square

61 Public brawl or street fight

62 Party member is elected leader of the town

63 Party interrupts rivals fighting a duel

64-65 Local guild/union offers a bounty on one of the party members

66-67 Swarm of rats covering the road

68-69 Unexpected package arrives for a party member at their lodgings

70 Frightened citizen accuses the party of being possessed by devils

71 Bound and gagged humanoid falls from a passing vehicle

72 Streets are completely deserted

73 Dead body strung up from a lamp post

74-75 Party is recruited to guard a locked hotel room

76 Giant fissure opens in front of a local house of worship

77 Party member’s pocket is picked

78 Abandoned infant in a basket

79 Satchel stuffed with secret documents

80 Passing parade blocks the street

81 Fallen comrade’s casket is found to be empty at his funeral

82-83 Decorative fountain begins flowing with blood

84-85 Woman claiming to be a party member’s lost love

86-87 Party member is poisoned after dining at a local eatery

88-89 Freshly painted symbols on the side of a building

90 Large building suddenly appears overnight

91 Coded message tacked to the door of the party’s dwelling

92 Corpses rise from one particular crypt/mausoleum

93 Town is shrouded in constant darkness

94-95 Haggard man shouting a party member’s name

96 Trail of worn shoes or boots through town

97 Statues/gargoyles come to life

98-99 Annual folk festival has begun

100 Public figure giving an official proclamation


Have you had some memorable adventures in an urban setting? Have you designed your own city to house your group’s ongoing exploits? Are you just an urchin livin’ under the street? Are you a hard case that’s tough to beat? No wait, that’s Axl Rose. Don’t worry, the grass is green and the girls are pretty right here in the Comments section!

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