John-Michael Gariepy

Random Hindrances for 4th Edition Dungeons and Dragons

For an explanation of Random Encounters, see Why would anyone make a giant chart of Random Encounters?  If you’d instead prefer to jump straight in, go to Random Encounters, Level 1.

Roll 1d100, then consult the chart.  The “Common Hindrances”, “Uncommon Hindrances” and “Rare Hindrances” sections all belong to the same chart, and are only here to show disparity between the most minor things on this chart, to the most condemning.  The next creature you roll up in your in your Random Encounter will have the following hindrance.  If your next roll in your random encounter happens to be multiple creatures, feel free to give the hindrance to only one creature, or to all of them, depending on your tastes.  Rolling on the Random Hindrance Chart does not count toward the number of creatures in an encounter.

A note on granting experience points after combat:  The following hindrances will almost always decrease the challenge of the encounter.  Should you pass out less experience to the players, since a fight with a Blind Goblin Cutthroat is not as hard as a fight with a Goblin Cutthroat?  I suggest against it, unless the situation is extreme.  If the monster has a penalty that appears on the “Common Hindrances” chart, there isn’t much reason for denying your players 5% of the experience, for example, except to prove that you are a miserly Dungeon Master.  Some Dungeon Masters may be tempted to reduce the amount of experience points the players receive from a creature effected by the “Uncommon Hindrances” chart,  but I’d stay my hand.  Players appreciate it when the Dungeon Master is magnanimous, glossing over details speeds up the game, and you won’t need to double back and give the players extra experience points when a creature has a minor advantage.

For many of the items on the “Rare Hindrances” chart, however, I would consider cutting back the amount of experience that players receive.  Many of them make the next creature rolled highly noneffective.  Taking 10 damage per turn will kill many low level monsters, and skipping every other turn is not a good way to survive your fights.  How much you reserve should be taken in a case by case basis.  Remember, you want your players to like your game, so keep in mind what you would think fair if you were playing the game yourself.  Also, players should never be rewarded experience points for slaying the helpless.  This isn’t a matter of ethics… players aren’t supposed to be rewarded for effortless engagements.  If a player sneaked up on a sleeping guard by role-playing and making a stealth check, then feel free to reward them for that.  If, instead, the player says that they “smash the guard’s head in before he even realizes that I’m here,” and you agree, then, no, that player shouldn’t get any experience points for that.  Giving away experience points for trivial matters trivializes every time that your players work hard to achieve them.

Common Hindrances 01 – 55

1 – 5 Unwell – The creature is in some pain at the beginning of the encounter, and begins with 90% of it’s total hit points, rounded up.

6- 10 Ongoing Damage 2 – Something happens to this creature at the beginning of the encounter and he starts taking damage at the beginning of each of his turns.  Maybe another monster hates him, and stabs him just as the fight is beginning, or maybe it twisted it’s ankle the wrong way when the fight began, and now he’s running around on it, hurting himself.  Feel free to be creative.  If the players decide to put some distance between this monster and them, to let the creature bleed out, it makes a saving throw at the end of its turn to end this condition.

11-15 Prone – The creature begins the adventure prone.  It’s probably just resting.

16 – 20 Under the Influence – This creature is under the effects of some form of depressent, and is very sluggish.  It can only take one standard action per turn, and grants +2 to all attacks aimed at it.

21 – 25 Nauseated – The creature is in the first stages of a disease.  The disease is most likely the one associated with his level.  A first level encounter would probably have a monster with the first stage of Filth Fever.  Don’t let him bite you!

26 – 30 Fatigued – The creature is just plain tired for one reason or another.  All his d20 rolls are modified by -2.  If the players hang back and let him take a short rest, however, he’ll get over it.

Suseptable – This creature is vulnerable 5 to a single damage type.  Roll a 1d100 to determine which one.

01 – 7 Acid
08 – 14 Cold
15 – 21 Fire
22 – 28 Force
29 – 35 Lighting
36 – 42 Necrotic
43 – 49 Poison
50 – 56 Psychic
57 – 63 Radiant
64 – 70 Thunder
71 – 74 Arcane
75 – 78 Divine
79 – 81 Martial
82 – 85 Elemental
86 – 88 Ki
90 – 92 Primal
93 – 96 Psionic
97 – 00 Shadow

30 – 34 Weak – The creature is not as strong as others of its kind.  It has -4 Strength.
35 – 38 Clumsy – The creature is not as agile as others of its kind.  It has -4 Dexterity.
39 – 42 Sickly – The creature is not as tough as others of its kind.  It has -4 Constitution.
43 – 46 Thick – The creature isn’t as bright as others of its kind.  It has -4 Intelligence.
47 – 50 Foolish – The creature isn’t as conscious as others of its kind.  It has -4 Wisdom.
51 – 54 Underwhelming – The creature isn’t as enigmatic as others of its kind.  It has -4 Charisma.

Uncommon Hindrances 55 – 89

55 – 57 Ineffective – This creature has the condition of Weakened.  The reason may be because it is hampered in some way, but it is quite possible that the creature is just weaker than its contemporaries.

58 -60 Ongoing Damage 5 – Like Ongoing Damage 2, but this time the creature is taking 5 damage, and whatever caused it to start taking damage is more severe.

61 -62 Panicked – The creature wants nothing to do with the adventurers, perceiving them as monsters come to kill him and everything he holds dear.  It runs away at the first available opportunity.

63 – 65 Delimbed – This monster is missing a limb.  How bad this is depends on the monster.  A Spire Drake wouldn’t be able to fly.  An orc wouldn’t be able to carry a shield, or swing a two handed axe.  A treant may be unphased.

66 – 68 Shocked – This creature is perpetually stunned by things it doesn’t expect.  When the encounter begins, it stands there, unsure of what to do for the first surprise round, and the first round.  This creature has the condition of Surprised until he takes his turn on the second turn of combat.

69 – 70 Blind – This creature cannot see.  It inherently has the condition of blindess.  If this creature couldn’t see to begin with, feel free to remove whatever a creature of its type used to experience the world (for example, a grey ooze may no longer have tremor sense, and must wander about lashing at everything around it, in an attempt to eat enough to stay alive).

71 – 72 Deafened – This creature can’t hear, and has the condition of Deafened.

73 – 75 Slow – This creature has the condition of Slowed.  Something is hold it back, from chains keeping its feet together, a serious injury, a magical impairment or maybe it is forced to drag something behind it.  The creature may have the means to release itself, but it should take at least two rounds to do so.

76 – 78 Coward – This creature refused to engage in combat.  It may be a pacifist, even in times of extreme crisis, or is too fearful to even swing a sword.

79 – 81 Hurt – This creature has recently been in a fight, or got caught in a trap, etc.., and is hurting at the beginning of this encounter.  It begins with 75%  of it’s total hit points, rounded up.  A player may succeed on a DC 15 Heal check to notice this.

82 – 84 Tied Up – The creature is entangled in something, possibly tied up in ropes, and begins the adventure helpless.  It can make an attempt to get out of the ropes every turn after the first round of combat.  The DC is hard for whatever level of encounter this is.  DC20 for 1st level.

85 – 87 Immobilized – Something is stopping this creature from walking about, and it has the condition of immobilized.  Perhaps it is chained to the wall, or maybe a magical barrier is keeping it in place.  Another monster, such as a watchdog’s master, may have the means to release it.  The creature may have the means to release itself, but it should take at least two rounds to do so.

Vulnerable – This creature is vulnerable 10 to a single damage type.  Roll a 1d100 to determine which one.

01 – 7 Acid
08 – 14 Cold
15 – 21 Fire
22 – 28 Force
29 – 35 Lighting
36 – 42 Necrotic
43 – 49 Poison
50 – 56 Psychic
57 – 63 Radiant
64 – 70 Thunder
71 – 74 Arcane
75 – 78 Divine
79 – 81 Martial
82 – 85 Elemental
86 – 88 Ki
90 – 92 Primal
93 – 96 Psionic
97 – 00 Shadow

Rare Hindrances 90 – 100

Very Vulnerable – This creature is vulnerable 20 to a single damage type.  Roll a 1d100 to determine which one.

01 – 7 Acid
08 – 14 Cold
15 – 21 Fire
22 – 28 Force
29 – 35 Lighting
36 – 42 Necrotic
43 – 49 Poison
50 – 56 Psychic
57 – 63 Radiant
64 – 70 Thunder
71 – 74 Arcane
75 – 78 Divine
79 – 81 Martial
82 – 85 Elemental
86 – 88 Ki
90 – 92 Primal
93 – 96 Psionic
97 – 00 Shadow

Devious – When it looks like this creature’s allies may not win the fight or when it becomes bloodied, it switches sides and attacks its allies, in an attempt to side with the winning team.

90 – 91 Bloodied – This creature has had a serious shock to its system.  It begins the encounter at it’s bloodied hit point value. Only the most dense of adventurers would not be able to recognize that it was in substantial pain.

92 – 93 Ongoing Damage 10 – Like Ongoing Damage 2, but this time the creature is taking 10 damage per turn, and what ever caused it to start taking damage is severe, indeed.

94 Fascinated – This creature can’t keep his mind on the fight at hand.  Something keeps distracting it.  At the beginning of this creature’s turn, roll a saving throw.  If the creature succeeds it may act normally.  Otherwise, it continues to gawk or paw at whatever has captured its attention.

95 Confused – There is something terribly wrong with this creature.  At the beginning of this creature’s turn, roll a d100.

01–10 Attack the enemy closest to it.
11–20 Act normally.
21–50 Do nothing but babble incoherently.
51–70 Run away at top speed.
71–100 Attack nearest creature.

96 Dominated – Another creature is in control of this creature’s mind.  On the creature’s turn, it may only perform one standard action, and cannot perform special abilities.  When the master is knocked out, however, the dominated creature gains control of his facitilies.  This may make the creature a more daunting adversary if it continues to fight on, but it may also result in the monster running away, changing sides, or whatever would be in that monster’s nature.

97 Mind Controlled – This creature is under the thrall of another creature, but it is much more in control of it’s abilities.  He or she thinks highly of his master, and acts normally, but when the master is knocked out, this monster regains control of it’s mind in the same manner as being Dominated.

98 Asleep – The monster begins the encounter asleep, and is therefore helpless.  Once the action starts, it will probably wake up shortly, but can only be capable of taking a single standard action on it’s first turn.

99 Unconscious – This creature is unconscious, but stable.  If the players leave the area, then come back after the creature has had a chance to take a short rest, the creature will be bloodied, but it probably decided not to hang out in the place it got knocked out in.

100 Dead – This creature is dead.

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