A d100 list of found objects, unexpected sights, and strange encounters for your players to blunder across while trudging through the snow, frost, and ice of arctic lands.
Brrrr! It’s cold up here!
Among the many terrains your players may find themselves in, the arctic is a particularly nasty and hostile environment, it’s cold and barren, snow and ice impede movement.
Hostile as it all is, that doesn’t mean it’s empty or that creatures haven’t passed through before or are lingering nearby.
This d100 list of one-hundred possible things to find in an arctic or tundra setting is yours to use the next time your players journey to the frozen North. Whether they’re pushing through five feet of snow or sliding across unexpected ice fields all the while dodging hungry monsters, this list gives them many additional items and sights to experience.
Review the list and pick out some favorites for your next campaign or take a chance: roll a d100 and improvise.
Every fifth item listed is more memorable than the others. If you want to get straight to the exceptional stuff just roll a d20 and multiply by 5.
d100 Arctic Finds
1. A side of frozen beef wrapped in canvas. It appears to have been professionally butchered and prepared.
2. A pile of goblin skulls.
3. A woodsman ax with a broken handle.
4. A small hot spring.
5. [Encounter] A hobgoblin hunting party has not been very successful and will eat anything (or anybody).
6. Half sunk into the snow, an empty but intact potion bottle.
7. A glass jar sitting next to a rock. It’s filled with dead bees.
8. A dwarven helmet cleaved nearly in half.
9. A pile of frost-stiffened rabbit skins.
10. [Encounter] A elderly human male decked out in heavy bundles of fur who can give legitimate guidance to your party. Some call him the Winter Hermit. He calls himself Kevin.
11. A broken wooden crate.
12. A lone rock pine. On one low branch hangs a hollow glass orb on a thin hook.
13. A small group of evergreens that can partially shelter a small group. There is evidence of past travelers.
14. The remains of a camp including a canvas tent that has been ripped up by something with claws.
15. [Encounter] A small, humanoid creature with an uncanny ability to perfectly blend into a snowy background. Very difficult to detect. It watches and follows for a short time, then leaves without threat or notice.
16. Five sticks are arranged parallel to one another in a north-south orientation.
17. A small pile of stones. Obvious piled by an intelligent being. There is nothing hidden within or buried beneath.
18. A boulder, half-submerged in the ground, with a warning not to go further, scratched on the side.
19. The remains of a sizeable bear-like creature that appears to have been mostly eaten by something larger and meaner.
20. [Encounter] A pack of hungry dire wolves has caught your scent!
21. The party hears the tinkling of chimes coming from a distance. No amount of investigation reveals its source.
22. Wolf tracks. Large wolf tracks.
23. A frozen human hand reaches up from the earth. If the party digs, they find the preserved corpse of a human male—possibly a hunter—buried in the ground except for that one hand.
24. A burning campfire. There are no tracks or evidence of people. It’s a regular campfire and will burn to coals within an hour, and the embers will die within a couple of hours unless given more wood.
25. On a small stone shrine sits a gem that will purify any liquid and remove any poisons when placed in a vessel holding no more than half a gallon of liquid.
26. A small pine sapling with long thin needles is the only greenery within sight. It’s presence either gives the party much hope or great despair. GM’s choice.
27. A glass jar filled with copper coins sits buried in the snow.
28. Someone built a snowman. Not a good snowman, but a snowman just the same. Even sacrificed a carrot for the nose and coal for eyes and buttons. The carrot is frozen but edible. The coal will burn as will the stick arms. Sorry…no hat or scarf.
29. The party comes across an igloo with a small firepit. It can house three comfortably, four if people sleep sitting up. Five if you forego the fire. While well-constructed, it’s a temporary structure and will likely start to come apart in a few days.
30. [Encounter] A small party of traveling merchants and their baggage carriers who are heading south. They have minor potions, foodstuffs, cloth, and seed for sale. One merchant has a small pouch with a few gems hidden on his person.
31. The party comes across a dead mastodon. Its ivory has already been harvested.
32. A large stone statue of an imposing human-looking warrior. At her feet sit the remains of animal sacrifices.
33. A single white flower—similar to a tulip—grows in the middle of an empty field. Knowledge checks reveal it to be a “snow blossom.” This is a rare plant that flourishes in winter temperatures and hibernates when it’s warm. It’s worth some money if it can be kept alive. It’s rare because pollination relies solely on a lucky breeze. No bees this far North.
34. A discarded left gauntlet. It’s missing the thumb.
35. A small hot spring, which glows at night, gives a feeling of calm to anyone who stands near it. Bathing in it will remove all effects of hunger or thirst for 24 hours.
36. A leather sack containing the bones of crows, and a few black feathers. The right kind of knowledge check suggests they are used for ritual magic.
37. Buried deep in a snowdrift sits the wreckage of a small cargo ship—its sails in tatters, its timber aged and brittle. It has long-since been looted. There are no clues as to how it got there or why.
38. A pine tree with golden-colored needles stands along a snowy ridge. During the day, it is unremarkable, aside from its coloring. At night, it glows.
39. A broken pack sled lies abandoned along the trail.
40. [Encounter] An antisocial hermit tending half a dozen thickly-coated sheep. She appears to have some wintry-themed druidic powers.
41. An ancient sword has been stuck into the ground. It marks the grave of long-dead hero of the North, whose name is long-forgotten. The blade is nothing special and will likely break on its first use.
42. The players come across a cloth bag full of onions and potatoes. A bit old, but still edible if cooked right.
43. A book where the pages have been waterlogged and frozen many times over, rendering it useless and unreadable. If magic is used to restore it, it turns out to be a cleric’s travel journal spreading their religion to the North.
44. A circle of stones about 10 feet across.
45. [Encounter] A small child wearing a thin, cotton tunic appears suddenly in front of the party. It utters the word “stone” then promptly disappears. Each party member hears the word in their native language. If the party continues, this Encounter is repeated twice more at roughly one-mile intervals.
46. A leather bag containing dried reindeer meat.
47. Four pine trees growing at different angles, but when viewed a certain way, look like a giant “W.”
48. An empty, unfilled-in grave.
49. A stack of firewood. Currently frozen, but if thawed and dried, will keep a fire going tor a decent amount of time.
50. [Encounter] A crazed mountain dwarf thinks the party is after his secret treasure hoard. He is armed with a mining pick and will attack the party with little provocation. Alas, the dwarf is clearly mad. There is no treasure.
51. An ancient spear stuck in a block of ice. The haft is ruined, but the blade is good.
52. A small crate of dried, salted fish
53. A pair of snow-filled boots with no soles.
54. A sign that reads, “Tralwer’s Tavern.” There is no tavern.
55. [Encounter] A vicious and large frost giant (even by frost giant standards) rages toward the party out of nowhere, its eyes blazing with madness.
56. A frozen squirrel that, if thawed, comes to life and scampers away.
57. A small, crashed airship—most likely just a crew of two or three and little cargo—of unknown origin.
58. The shattered remains of an old iron cannon of unknown design or origin
59. The remains of an unlucky adventuring party made up of an elf mage, a halfling rogue, and a dwarf warrior. Their bodies have already been looted of valuables.
60. [Encounter] A strange woman sits at the entrance of a small earthen shack, her home. She is unarmed and peaceful. At the GM’s discretion, she can heal the party, bless items, and remove curses. She could also be used as a source of information or wisdom.
61. A pole set in the ground decorated with crude paint, feathers, the skulls of small animals, and a bundle of sage.
62. A lean-to made of canvas and stout branches. It is large enough for two medium-sized creatures to stay out of the worst of the elements. There are signs of a small campfire having once been set up in front of it.
63. A rolled-up piece of canvas, tattered and worn, shows the most direct path the party needs to take through this terrain to reach their destination.
64. A small boulder with the image of an arrow scratched into it, pointing away to the east.
65. [Encounter] A large white wolf follows the party from a distance but disappears as soon as any party member tries to approach. The wolf is sighted several times over the next day or two. It then attacks the slowest party member.
66. A strange spot on the ground, about a foot square, upon which whoever stands hears a ringing of bells from above.
67. A blank wooden signpost.
68. A woman’s silk robe, luxuriously decorated with gold and silver thread, sits abandoned on the snow-covered ground. It’s in surprisingly good condition.
69. A mysterious blast of warm air blows past the party. It is harmless, but there is a faint scent of brimstone.
70. [Encounter] The party comes across three shallow graves. If the graves are disturbed in any way, they are attacked by the three ghouls who rest there.
71. A frozen, cracked saddlebag with broken straps. Deep in the bottom of the bag is an apple and a jade comb.
72. A tin pot with some unidentifiable substance burned to the bottom.
73. Shed white dragon scales litter the landscape for the next mile
74. A crude depiction of a massive flying beast is scratched in the frozen earth.
75. [Encounter] A dark shadow forms in front of the party. It speaks prophecies of death and doom for Taldar the Younger. No one has any idea who this is, and the shadow fades away, disappointed.
76. A lone pack mule with a broken lead. It is carrying a full load made up of four heavy woolen blankets, ten full waterskins, two camp shovels, five sacks of flour, a cast iron pan, a cast iron pot, a sealed wooden tub of butter, a large sack of potatoes, three dozen carrots, a two-pound bag of sugar, and a box of mixed cooking herbs and salt.
77. The remains of a dwarven adventurer who appears to have fallen from a great height
78. The party is suddenly overcome with the sound of thousands of crows. No crows are visible, and the sound lasts only a few moments.
79. Small birds begin dropping out of the sky for a full minute as if they froze to death in midflight.
80. [Encounter] A nest for two giant eagles lay just ahead. One is usually circling nearby. If they see the party, they will attack without hesitation. In its nest are a pair of eggs.
81. A locked box. Inside is a map to a gold mine located in a faraway jungle.
82. A sturdy wooden shack with one wall made up of a rolled canvas sheet. Inside are three sets of bunk beds and a camp stove. It does not appear to have been used recently.
83. Twenty-five massive pine logs spread out haphazardly over the areas. The ends of the logs are marked with red paint.
84. A hot spring that smells faintly of mint.
85. [Encounter] A group of a dozen dwarves is on a hunting and foraging mission. All are armed with small crossbows and axes but are otherwise peaceful. They will offer traveling info if asked politely. If treated rudely, they will give bad advice. If threatened, they will attack. If a fight lasts more than three rounds, another four will appear to help their comrades.
86. A sheet of ice concealed by a thin covering of dry snow. It’s very slippery and well-hidden. The likelihood of slipping and falling is high.
87. A large stone with a warning chiseled into the side that reads, “Warning! Drag—.” The message looks incomplete.
88. A pair of broken reading spectacles.
89. The remains of a campfire and cooking pot.
90. [Encounter] Snow sharks! (Have fun statting them. Seriously. This should be fun.)
91. A small fir tree decorated with red ribbons.
92. A half bottle of brandy.
93. A beartrap concealed by snow. Anyone who steps into it takes damage and has their movement slowed until adequately healed.
94. The snow suddenly becomes very deep, slowing the party down considerably.
95. The party finds the charred remains of what is probably a skeleton. It’s hard to tell for sure. The only thing that looks unharmed is an amulet featuring an orange jewel. Whoever puts the amulet on immediately catches on fire and burns to death very quickly. Removing the curse is the only way to get the amulet off, but it has to be done fast. This is a very nasty artifact.
96. Heavy sleet hinders both visibility and movement. This lasts for about two hours.
97. A small, abandoned village. Only the rock foundations and crumbling walls of about a dozen structures remain.
98. An empty scabbard to a two-handed sword.
99. A coil of hemp rope in terrible condition.
100. [Encounter] Someone calling themselves “The Wizard of Winter” is enraged that the party is in his domain without permission. He attacks mercilessly with frost and cold spells. He has a flair for the dramatic, and the smallest fire-based spell will send him fleeing.
A list of 100 found objects, unexpected sights, and strange encounters for your players to discover whilst trekking through the muck, mire, and treacherous waterways of the swamp.
Written by John Teehan
What mysteries and danger await within the swamp?
When your player’s characters are forced to traverse a swamp, you know things are about to get weird, wet, and creepy. Swamps really do represent the whole circle-of-life concept where growth and decay exist side by side.
Swamps can be tricky to traverse given the many types of terrain and waterways. While some wetlands have fairly sturdy ground built upon centuries of layers of moss and rich soil, others are brackish waterways concealing many dangers. Channels through some swamps may have little to stand on save clumps of above-water roots and patches of grass with muddy soil.
The twisted trees grow in a tangle of branches and vines, competing for precious sunlight, but shrouding much of the ground in darkness. Who can’t help but feel a little uneasy?
Add to all of that slimy lichens, wet moss, suspicious fungi, and other exotic vegetation that could come alive at any moment, swamps surely aren’t for the faint of heart.
Characters traveling through your swamp may come across all manner of strange objects and sights. Some innocuous, some wondrous. Some mundane, and some inexplicably magical.How to use this list
This list of 100 things to find in a swamp is yours to use the next time your player’s characters make that unforgettable, wet journey across the marsh. Whether they’re treading carefully across damp, mossy earth, or wading hip-deep in waters hiding vicious creatures, this list gives them many additional items and sights to experience.
Review the list and pick out some favorites for your next campaign or take a chance and roll a d100.
Every fifth listed item is something more memorable if you want to get straight to the exceptional stuff, in that case, just roll a d20 and multiply by five to see what your players find.
d100 Swamp Finds
1. The rotting remains of a wooden barge. The wooden parts are weak and will not support much weight. The metal parts are rusted. The whole thing is covered with a slippery green sheen. It is home to numerous snakes.
2. A broken wooden wagon wheel. It looks maybe a month old. There are no roads nearby.
3. A frog wearing a tiny little crown. It swims or jumps away and disappears before it can be caught.
4. An old boot filled with brackish water. If players really dig into it, there are three gold coins in the toe.
5. A small stone that gives off a continuous soft greenish light. This is a permanent effect and is non-magical.
6. A severed skeletal hand (left) holding a more-recently severed hand (right).
7. A length of rusty chains hanging from a thick branch.
8. A moss-covered elf skull wedged in where a branch meets its tree.
9. A fixed illusion of a candle set atop a rotten log. Its flame gives off a soft light but emits no heat. Only a powerful spell of dispelling magic will cause it to disappear.
10. A simple straw broom. It gives off a magical aura. All it really does, though, is sweep better than any broom you’ve ever seen.
11. A sealed scroll case. Inside is an irritated venomous snake.
12. Buried in mud and grass, three alligator eggs.
13. A perfectly spherical ball of white marble measuring about a foot in diameter.
14. A rusted metal shopping cart. (I mean, why not? Have you ever seen a swamp without a random shopping cart stuck in it?)
15. A silver whistle that summons the nearest hostile creature.
16. The skeletal remains of a dwarven warrior. Its weapons and armor are all in varying stages of decay.
17. A bird on a nearby branch looks at the party, utters the word “Oops!” then flies off.
18. Vines producing white flowers surround an old tree. The scent is sweet and comforting.
19. A dwarven handaxe is sticking out of a tree. There are remains of hemp rope tied about its handle.
20. Characters hear a muffled sound coming from the ground. A little digging reveals a gold coin showing the head of a man who is always singing. The coin emits a loud operatic song in an unknown language that never, ever ends. Ever. High-level magic will remove the effect. Attempts to otherwise melt or destroy the coin are unsuccessful.
21. A hangman’s noose hangs ominously from a nearby tree branch. The rope is new and fresh. There are no signs of recent travelers.
22. Walking along, the ground makes a wet burping sound, and a small pouch filled with 30 gold (or silver) coins appears from beneath the visible surface. It’s damp and muddy but in otherwise good condition. There is no trap here. Nothing more than a previously buried bit of treasure appearing because swamp gasses have been slowly pushing it upward, and the presence of the party was just enough to reveal it. The ground is very soft but will take normal-weighted players just fine.
23. An old skeleton key, balanced upon a rock which in turn is balanced on a log which sits level upon the skeletal remains of a gigantic lizard-like creature (T-Rex)
24. A tree stump with a dozen arrows sticking out of it.
25. A perfect doppelganger of one of the party members hangs from a tree by a noose. As soon as any character touches it, the doppelgänger turns into water. Anyone caught in the splash zone will experience significant feelings of dread for the foreseeable future.
26. An empty wine bottle. Empty, that is, if you don’t count the rib bone. Expert, specialized knowledge might recognize it as the rib bone of a young female elf.
27. A large sack of old rabbit remains.
28. A ceremonial dagger with gold and pearl inlays. Valuable, but useless in a fight.
29. A heavy iron helm of the sort worn by dwarves a thousand years ago. Rust spots adorn it, but otherwise surprisingly durable and even wearable once cleaned.
30. Three spectral witches surround a spectral cauldron. They talk about some event that will happen to the party in the near future. As soon as the party interacts with them in any way, the ghostly figures shimmer away.
31. A porcelain teapot. Dirty and filled with muck, but in good condition.
32. A large petrified egg.
33. A wooden basket on which grow numerous mushrooms.
34. A tree festooned with bright purple flowers.
35. A strange clockwork humanoid-shaped figure is sprawled on the ground. It’s made entirely of wood—wood which has decayed to the point of pure interoperability. It’s impossible to make out how it worked because it’s so rotted and wet.
36. A feral chicken.
37. A deer hide stretched between two trees.
38. A large cast-iron cauldron half-filled with brackish water. At the very bottom is a human finger with a silver ring (non-magical).
39. A pile of enormous feathers in the middle of a jump of grass forming an empty, abandoned nest.
40. A silly-looking mud creature comes out of the ground and attacks the party. It does very little damage but is impervious to physical attacks. Fire or ice spells will slow it down, but as it’s bound to this area, players can simply move out of range and continue on their way.
41. A bag of squirrel bones
42. A pile of smooth stones carefully stacked 10-high.
43. The image of a sword floating in a pool of green water. It’s an illusion, and disturbing the water makes it disappear.
44. Fifty or so small peep toads chirp loudly inside a hollowed-out log. It’s very crowded in there, and the acoustics make them very, very loud. Repeated banging on the log will gradually break up the party and quiet things down.
45. A small wooden bowl floats in a pool of brackish water. Water that is placed in the bowl is purified, and any poisons are removed.
46. A hat. Looks kind of new.
47. An impenetrable wall of thorny vines 10 feet high, 20 feet thick, and stretching across the players’ path for a good mile in both directions.
48. A leash for a three-headed dog?
49. A decaying hand reaching up piteously from the center of a bog. Should the party investigate further, they may find a remarkable preserved (but still dead) merchant robbed of his valuables.
50. A jeweled chalice sits in a clearing. Sun (or moon) light shines down on it in a majestic shaft of light. It gives off a magic aura. It’s power? Summoning a majestic beam of glowing light. Outdoor use only.
51. A rotted wooden crate covered with moss and glowing white mushrooms.
52. Small blue flowers hanging from vines that make little bell-like sounds when disturbed.
53. A bird whistles a portion of a well-known piece of church music then flies off.
54. A broken drum.
55. A long-forgotten skeleton wearing rotting leather armor sits propped up against a tree. Around its neck is a compass that always points to danger.
56. A half-buried hurricane lamp. Water has leaked into the oil reservoir, and the wick is waterlogged.
57. A large boulder sits improbably in the middle of the swamp. It weighs as much as one would expect, but also floats in the water. It’s too large to get far, though, given brush and trees.
58. A skillfully stuffed squirrel dressed as a wizard.
59. A small, waterproof pouch filled with a dry, white powder. (Chalkdust)
60. Spiders. Ohmigod. So very many little black spiders start attacking from every direction. They get inside clothes and armor. They bite. Not deadly, but enough bites will slow a character down for 24 hours. Killing them only attracts more. The only strategy is to move out of the area. It would be a shame if a DM put something intriguing there for the players to investigate.
61. A torn leather map depicting the area between the nearest settlement and this area of swamp.
62. A leather-bound journal with severe water damage. Unreadable. If restored by magic, it reveals the writings of a bard who has gotten lost in this swamp and fears is being followed by something hungry and evil.
63. A small, flat-bottomed boat. It can hold two people but will break if used in any way other than gently.
64. A rusty sprung bear trap. In its metal jaws is the foot of some kind of humanoid.
65. A small pool of water gives off a comforting glow. Within 15 feet of its edges is a very calming version of a zone of truth.
66. In the branches of a tree are signs of people having taken refuge there for a long time. There are old claw marks up and down the trunk of the tree.
67. Two left shoes made of leather. They’re high-quality shoes, but covered in muck and filled with mud. Inside one shoe is a small fragment of bone.
68. A doll’s head just…just laying there out in the open.
69. An unexpected and unseasonably cold breeze that lasts a full minute.
70. A long broad pipe peaks out of a leather bag. It’s in good condition. When used with any tobacco, there is a 50% chance the smoke reveals whispy versions of places known to the smoker and what is currently happening there. User can attempt this three times a day, but can only have one success.
71. Out of all the surrounding trees, there is one that is absolutely covered in cobwebs.
72. A large, locked wooden chest containing several sets of fine clothing wrapped in waterproof canvas.
73. A full, complete skeleton of a draft horse covered in moss.
74. A single footprint of an improbably large three-toed creature.
75. Stuck in the ground is a mysterious wand. Any player can use it. It has one unrecoverable charge. Its spell is unknown. (DM’s discretion)
76. A pamphlet describing the next settlement or structure the players are going to.
77. The ground gives way to a sucking bog that begins to drag everyone under!
78. The smell of rotten eggs.
79. Set atop a log is an hourglass with no sand and a small note that reads, “Time is running out.”
80. A fearsome creature of muck and mud rears out of the ground, towers over the party, lets out a mighty roar, then collapses and disappears.
81. A sealed, water and air-tight box containing dried meats and fruits.
82. 13 walnuts arranged in a circle on the ground.
83. An empty quiver hanging from a tree branch. A bird is living inside.
84. A glass jar with a sealed lid. If the jar is broken or the cover is removed, the party hears a burst of hideous laughter that fades away after a few seconds.
85. A body is found tied to a tree. It’s long dead, and its chest is full of arrows as if it were the subject of an execution. On a finger is a cursed ring. Those accompanying the wearer suffer disadvantage on _all_ rolls until the player is dead. (The wearer does not suffer the same penalties. The ring can only be removed by death, cutting off the finger, or potent magic.)
86. A crude humanoid figure erected on a stake made of dried vine and mud blocks the way. A warning?
87. A feral black cat in a tree.
88. A small harp with no strings.
89. An unsuccessful campfire setup.
90. A goblin skull sits on the ground. Scratched in the dirt before it is the word “ask.” The skull will answer three questions (in goblin) at DM’s discretion before crumbling into dust.
91. A gold coin nailed into a tree.
92. A pile of dead fish. Probably not more than a day old.
93. A flock of crows sit on nearby trees and begin cawing loudly as the party approaches. A random party member’s name can be heard among the cawing. Then the crows all take off at once and fly away.
94. A small, long-forgotten stone shrine to a moon deity.
95. A vial of blue liquid is hidden in a hole in an old tree. Most likely, some kind of healing potion.
96. An eyeball to an unknown creature floating in a pool of black water.
97. An old steel gauntlet sized for something much larger than human.
98. A bolt of linen decorated with gold thread. The outer layers are pretty much ruined, but the inner parts are salvageable.
99. The remains of a shark-like creature approximately 10 ft long.
100. On an old, large tree are carved all the party members’ names who are not elves. Any members who have died have been crossed out. Any members who are just missing have a check next to their name.