Wild Wilderness is a new D&D 5E supplement available on the DM's guild. It features 50 fully detailed wilderness encounters for levels 1-20. Your players can rescue a time traveling wizard, exorcise an all-powerful haunted cello, liberate a slave ship on the high seas, or tame a demonic camel. There are combat encounters, social encounters, and puzzle-solving encounters. All encounters are organized by level and terrain type (i.e. forest, plains, sea) for easy reference.
Keep reading for a couple of samples!
Unidentified Flying Object
Suggested Level: 7-9 / Terrain: Any / Type: Other / NPC Class: None
The PCs are traveling near a lake when they spot a large object shining beneath the water. If the PCs swim down to investigate, they find a metallic sphere the size of a carriage. Its surface is lined with seams and dotted with plates of smoky glass.
To further examine the sphere, the PCs will probably need to bring it ashore. This could be a challenge since the sphere weighs several thousand pounds. The PCs could tow it with horses or oxen. This might require a Wisdom (Animal Handling) check. They could also build a crane. This might require proficiency with smith’s tools, stonemason’s tools, woodcarver’s tools, or all three.
As the PCs handle the sphere, they will realize it is hollow. They can enter in several ways. Any PC who examines the sphere can make an Intelligence (Investigation) check (DC 15). If successful, they discover a hidden latch that opens a door in the sphere’s side. If a PC pries at the sphere’s seams, they can force the sphere open with a successful Strength check (DC 20). The knock spell will also open the sphere. Several gallons of acid could eat a human-sized hole in the sphere.
Inside the sphere is a narrow compartment with two metal chairs. The walls of the sphere are covered with levers, dials, buttons, and panes of glass. In one of the chairs is a humanoid skeleton with an elongated skull and impossibly long and thin limbs. The creature appears to have died from an impact. Its skeleton is crushed and white viscera stains the walls. The PCs cannot identify the creature’s race, but with a successful Intelligence (Investigation) or Intelligence (Arcana) check (DC 15), they can deduce that the creature is not from this plane.
The sphere is a magical or technologically advanced vehicle from another plane or planet. It still works, but the controls are totally alien. A successful Intelligence (Arcana) check (DC 15) reveals that the sphere is a vehicle and allows the PC to activate it. However, they cannot control its destination. If the PCs fail the check, but play randomly with the controls, they will eventually activate the vehicle.
The exact nature of the vehicle is up to the DM. When activated, it might transport the PCs to another plane or planet. It might soar through the air to a distance country, travel through time, or just hover over the ground to a nearby dungeon. The vehicle is a good way for the DM to suddenly and dramatically transport the PCs to a new locale.
We're Inn a Lot of Trouble
Suggested Level: 4-6 / Terrain: Tundra / Type: Puzzle / NPC Class: None
The PCs are traveling through an arctic wasteland. They are crossing an icy plateau that affords little cover from the powerful winds sweeping the area. They know that this will be the most dangerous part of their journey and shelter will be scarce. They are far from civilization. Suddenly, the PCs’ worst fears are confirmed. There is a dangerous snowstorm on the horizon. Conveniently, the PCs also notice an inn in the distance. The inn is not on any maps they carry. When the PCs get close to it, they have a general sense of unease. Something about this inn is not as it appears to be. Magic is in the air.
The PCs have a choice about visiting the inn. The DM should let them know that trying to survive the snowstorm will be very difficult, but not impossible. If they do not wish to enter the inn, they can make a Wisdom (Survival) check (DC 20) to find shelter.
PCs who spend time inspecting the inn’s exterior can make an Intelligence (Investigation) check (DC 12). If successful, they realize a few peculiarities about the building. The roof and window sills are not covered in snow, and the wood and stone used to make the inn are not from a local source.
The interior of the inn is warm and inviting. A plump woman is cooking at a stove near the back. A huge, hairy man serves drinks to the various patrons. The patrons are an odd and alien group. They are of many races that the PCs may or may not recognize. There are githyanki, satyrs, slaadi, and rakshasa, as well as more common races. The PCs may even recognize the avatar of one of their deities or a renowned hero from their world.
A huge satyr, obviously drunk, welcomes the PCs loudly as they enter. “Another sad and sorry lot coming in from the dangers of the outside world. Welcome all ye. Let old Pan buy you a round in exchange for knowing what brings you to this sanctuary and prison.” The satyr will purchase whatever the PCs want and wait for them to ask about the inn. “We're all travelers here. We come from all over reality. From realms like yours where there is an up and down and the people breathe air, to worlds made entirely of fire or water. From places where the gods lounge around, quarrel, and fall in love, to worlds even more alien than that. We're all trapped here. The inn appears when someone of importance needs safety, but they cannot leave the inn until they tell the right story. It's what the magic of this place demands. It saves your life, but it wants something in return. I've been trapped here for forty long months now. I think I'm close to telling the right story, but I can't seem to get it. I know the subject is right. Old Ibis, the bartender, told me so, but it needs to be told in the right way too.”
The PCs are trapped in the inn until they tell the correct story to the bartender and succeed on a Charisma (Performance) check DC (14). The correct story for them is the tale of their arrival at the inn, but most importantly, their story must end with them leaving the inn to return to where they came from. After a PC tells a tale, Ibis the innkeeper will congratulate them on their tale and give them hints to help them tell the right story. If the PC makes up a story, Ibis will tell them that their story should be a true story. If they tell a story about someone else, he tells them it should be a personal story. If the PC’s story is from their past, he tells them the story should be more recent. If they tell the story of their arrival to the inn, Ibis tells them it was a great tale, but it is missing an ending. If they tack on an ending that does not involve leaving the inn, he tells them the ending was not very realistic or was not very good. If the PCs are having trouble, they might witness another patron telling a story about a quest they were on, the danger that brought them to the inn, and then leaving the inn and completing the quest. At the end of it, Ibis will thank the storyteller for their patronage and escort them out of the inn.
While the PCs are trapped in the inn, they can purchase meals or drinks for a silver piece. Rooms can also be rented. If they explore the inn and look out the window, the snowy landscape is gone. Instead, the inn sits in a vast sea of darkness against an unrecognizable sky of stars. Sometimes giant figures move in the distance. These are old gods shuffling through the sky on one errand or another.
Once the PCs return to the mortal realm, the DM should reward them. The inn is an awe-inspiring place of legend. Tales told there are often stories that become myth or history. The PCs can draw inspiration from their journey. The DM can grant the PCs 1d10 inspiration that does not expire until it is used.