Fathomless Encounter Ideas

Roll d20 for the encounter.


  1. A dark shadow passes by the boat, and the wave rocks the ship. Make an easy DC acrobatics check, or medium if wearing heavy armor. Failure means you fall off the boat into the murky blue water. After everyone has made or failed their throws, roll a d6. On a 6, the creature attacks. Otherwise, it passes the boat by.
  2. Hurricane winds pelt the boat, make a medium DC acrobatics or athletics check to remain on the boat.
  3. Roll Perception. Off in the distance you see the sails of a large ship. Go towards it or avoid it?
  4. You hear noises from elsewhere on the boat, assuming it’s a large enough boat. Draw a character from the character deck. They have smuggled aboard, for a reason that makes sense there.
  5. A storm is spotted on the horizon, roll Nature to determine a course to bypass it.
  6. Debris floats by the ship. Roll a d4. On a 4, a character is lying on the debris. Draw a character and determine why they were there, and what happened.
  7. A small rocky island, no more than 15 feet across, comes into view. Roll Dungeoneering. On a success, determine that it is a shell, not rock, and that the island is a large shelled creature.
  8. A massive wave rises out of the fairly calm ocean, and sweeps over the deck. Make a saving throw for each person. Failures result in that person losing some supplies or a minor item.
  9. A massive ship, covered in barnacles, rises from the sea. The ship seems deserted, it’s strange shape cutting through the water with ease. Have one person roll Int, one roll Con, and one roll Str if they wish to go aboard. 2 out of 3 successes means you pull alongside the ship and can board. Less means you hit the ship attempting to pull alongside. The ship takes some damage.
  10. Large bubbles are coming up from below the ship, and (Dungeoneering Check) the smell of sulfur is strong in the air. History Check after the Dungeoneering check reveals that is a sign of an upcoming undersea volcanic eruption.
  11. Several man-sized fish swim alongside the ship, keeping up with it’s quick pace. The fish possess 8 eyes, and look up at anyone who looks down with a strange, alien intelligence. They keep pace with the ship for about 15 minutes, before peeling away from it.
  12. The Suns wink out, revealing strange constellations in odd colors. One in particular calls to you. Roll Arcana. On a success, you discern the location of a R’lyeh island in a vision, d4 hexes away in a d6 direction. If it’s a place in the Fathomless already discovered but was ocean, the island just rose from there. The Suns fade back in after a minute.
  13. Roll Insight. On a success, you notice the ship listing to the side heavily. The currents have changed, and are drastically affecting your course.
  14. The Water aside is thronged with what seem like giant Jellyfish. Their tentacles wave in the air, grasping and stinging at anything they can reach.
  15. You hear a screech from high above. A large bird, all black, flies in front of one of the suns.
  16. A quick moving sloop comes into view. Concoct a quick sailing skill challenge if the players try to outrun it. Otherwise, Gnoll Pirates, on a crude but efficient sloop come alongside the skiff. They can be bribed, reasoned with, or intimidated, but anger them and they will attempt to board.
  17. Roll Perception: On a success, you spot an island. Roll a d6. You see an island in that direction.
  18. A small fleet of fishing vessels, with very scared elves and humans on them, is damaged up ahead.
  19. A dragon, from either Fae’run or Thedas, lands on the deck of the ship, seemingly out of nowhere. Potentially hostile.
  20. Roll Perception: On a success, you spot a strange shape on the horizon. Roll a d6, place a R’lyeh there.


  1. Where is that chanting coming from? Roll Stealth to follow a passing column of cultists, or bluff to impersonate their behavior.
  2. An enormous skeleton, it’s ribcage converted into a makeshift bazaar. Strange creatures of odd shapes and sizes barter in an alien dialect. Roll Insight to discern the nature of the exchanges, and bluff or diplomacy to barter via mime.
  3. A group of d6 armored humanoids, wearing bright insectoid inspired armor, march through the underbrush. They seem to be speaking common, but in a strange accent. (Seanchan)
  4. A rumble beneath your feet is the only warning you get. Volcanic Vents start erupting all around you. Concoct a quick skill challenge to survive the heat and get out safely.
  5. A strange idol, grinning, but with far too many mouths, stands in the middle of a clearing. Roll Religion to attempt to determine it’s purpose.
  6. A curiously empty cave, with bones strewn in the corner. Whatever lives here, it must be out hunting. There is a relatively intact corpse of a creature, clutching something to it’s chest. (It picks up their scent and starts stalking them).
  7. A Sheer cliff towers in front of you, barring further progress. Carved into the cliff are screaming faces, locked in a rictus of terror. Concoct a skill challenge about climbing the cliff, incorporating some madness and will.
  8. A small altar, decorated with the skulls of animals, sits in an alcove. Roll History. On a success, realize this is an ancient ritual to bind hamadryads.
  9. There are unseen eyes, glaring at you from the shadows. Their malice is unmistakable. (If this is rolled a second time, a horrendous beast, or swarm, appears, several levels too high.)
  10. Strange piping music is coming from up ahead. Investigation reveals numerous strange creatures dancing in a circle around a fire, with a grotesque piper playing furiously. The creatures do not stop dancing unless attacked or the piper is attacked. They welcome the players into their dance, and a religion check reveals it to be a summoning ritual/prayer. Of what, you are unsure.
  11. An inlet hides a ship with black sails. History Check reveals it to be a refreshingly normal sight, a pirate from Fae’run, moored in the inlet. On the deck are a number of humanoid creatures.
  12. Corpses of dozens of humanoids are laid out up ahead in a spiral pattern. At the center of the spiral, a small red statuette sits on the ground.
  13. Resting in a small crater in the earth ahead, a glowing stone sits. The trees all around have been blown back. It is cool to the touch, but glows red hot.
  14. A skeleton of a (Nature Check) Dragon lies on the ground ahead, it’s bones picked clean. Scavengers surround the area, picking at whatever flesh still remains to fight over.
  15. A fearsome roaring echoes through the forest, shaking the trees itself.
  16. The trees around you seem to loom over you, and as you move further, the trees appear closer together, almost menacing you. You hear low laughter from out in the trees. (Eldritch Warlock, toying with the party)
  17. A party of fearsome sahaguin are walking along a path up ahead. Insight Check. They appear confused and a little afraid. They come from Fae’run, and don’t know how to return home.
  18. A skeleton, picked clean of meat, lies on the path ahead. It appears to have been a dwarf, but Nature check reveals it’s skeletal structure is a bit different than what you are used to. Inside is a journal, mentioning the Deep Roads, and how one road led out onto this island. The entrance is hidden, but provides a crude map to find it.
  19. A fearsome Balor (Demon), towering over the forest, but heavily wounded, roars out of the underbrush, grappling with a twisted horror. If the Balor wins, he is nearly mortally wounded, and will treat for his life and aid. It is from Shavarath, but was dragged into this realm, and his time is running out. Evil beyond measure, but capable of bestowing great power.
  20. You feel a rumbling from deep beneath the earth. Screams echo out from the forest and coast, and the animals of the forest start to panic, fleeing in all directions. A deep, slow voice, starts echoing over the island, in an alien dialect.

R’lyeh: d10 instead of d20.

  1. The damp seaweed coating the twisted masonry suddenly rises up. Each player must succeed at a hard DC acrobatics check or be immobilized and bound against the stone by the seaweed. It can be cut, given time, or broken with a hard DC athletics check. Once bound, you hear heavy footsteps approaching.
  2. Curled up in a ball, weeping and muttering madly, is a character. Draw one, and think up why they are there.
  3. Bowed in prayer, hundreds of robed individuals, dwarves, elves, men and women, halflings, all kneel before a grotesque twisted statue, intoning a monotone chant.
  4. The stone beneath your feet shakes, and water slowly starts pooling around your feet as you walk. This hex is slowly sinking under the water.
  5. Giant Beetles swarm out of the ground, charging in your direction.

Fathomless Encounter Ideas

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