Features Archive | 10/12/2012
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Random (Potential) Allies in the Underdark
Appendix d12
By Jason Sholtis

With the Rise of the Underdark campaign underway, this year has seen its share of drow incursions against the surface world—playing out right now in both the current D&D Encounters season and D&D Lair Assault. Add the recent release of Menzoberranzan: City of Intrigue, and it’s highly possible that your campaign could be venturing into the Underdark.

To help DMs add further detail to their adventures underground, Jason Sholtis (of The Dungeon Dozen) has provided the following tables—in the spirit of the 1st Edition DMG’s appendices, charts, and random encounters!

Random (Potential) Allies in the Underdark

The Underdark is a vast territory—and the PCs certainly aren't the only ones exploring its depths. Who else might they run across, and can they be of potential help?


  1. Petty noble and much nobler bodyguard: half-starved escapees from deep gnome labor camp.

  2. Band of terrified men-at-arms: formerly led by fanatical paladin missing and presumed dead.

  3. Armed-to-the-teeth acolytes of sun god out to earn favor by intruding (violently) upon the darkness.

  4. Friendly vampires: scouting locations for lair, highly critical of typical Underdark aesthetics, looking for tips and offer finder’s fee.

  5. Trade caravan of human smugglers/outlaws/slavers: hey, at least they’re human.

  6. Beholder with magical pike embedded in central eye: rendered even-tempered and good by traumatic brain injury.

  7. Dwarf suicide vengeance squad looking for spectacular ends smashing evil.

  8. Recently unemployed ogres: unknown to them, hunted by drow assassins for sedition.

  9. Party of fledgling adventurers took wrong turn and ended up way over their heads.

  10. Singular robed being: hairless, pigment-less skin, possibly immortal, totally non-violent, dispenses Underdark information and sage-like wisdom in exchange for lives.

  11. Helpless white ape juvenile, still pretty cute: desperately seeking fellow mammals, not picky.

  12. Half-feral halfling: former adventurer in tattered loincloth, slowly remembers how to talk, expert at Underdark survival.

About the Author

Jason Sholtis serves humanity by day as a humble social services worker but keeps evenings free for self-indulgences such as writing, drawing and playing in rock bands. D&D occupies a special place in his heart. His semi-daily blog The Dungeon Dozen focuses exclusively on random tables for the twelve-sided die.

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