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.