Random Tables of the Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition Dungeon Master's Guide

by Mike Shea on 26 May 2015

The 5th Edition Dungeon Master's Guide is packed with useful information for your 5e Dungeons and Dragons game. One of its most useful features is the huge amount of random tables. Random tables are a fantastic tool of the Lazy Dungeon Master. They break you out of ruts and give you interesting and deep options for your adventure without hardly any preparation before your game. They are also a fantastic aid to help us improvise right at the table.

Breaking Out of Stereotypes

One of the most useful features of random tables is their ability to help us break out of stereotypes and cliches. When we're thinking on our feet it can be hard for us to come up with something new instead of falling back to something familiar. Our NPCs could start to look and act the same or every castle seems to feel like the ones in your favorite TV show. Random tables can help us break out of these ruts. They point us in a completely unexpected direction when we might be tempted to head in a straight and well traveled line.

The Random Table Index

Unfortunately, the Dungeon Master's Guide doesn't include an index of all of the random charts in the book. This makes it hard for us to find the chart we need when we need it while our game is running fast and furious. Where the DMG falls, however, we can pick it up on our own.

Below you will find a list of all of the charts in the 5th Edition Dungeon Master's Guide. You can also download a PDF of the random table index printable on a single piece of paper you can cut to size and tape inside your copy of the DMG itself.

Here's the index itself.

TablePage Number
Forms of Government18
World-Shaking Events27
Leader Types27
Cataclysmic Disasters28
Invading Force29
Extinction or Depletion30
New Organizations31
Discoveries31
Astral Color Pools47
Psychic Wind Effects48
Ethereal Curtains49
Ether Cyclone49
Feywild Time Warp50
Shadowfell Despair52
Abyssal Corruption62
Dungeon Goals73
Wilderness Goals73
Other Goals74
Adventure Villains74
Adventure Allies74
Adventure Patrons74
Advenure Introductions74
Adventure Climax75
Event-Based Villain Actions75
Event-Based Goals76
Framing Events79
Moral Quandaries79
Twists80
Side Quests81
Sylvan Forest Encounters87
NPC Appearance89
NPC Abilities89
NPC Talents90
Mannerism90
NPC Interaction Traits90
NPC Ideals90
NPC Bonds91
NPC Flaws and Secrets91
Villain's Scheme94
Villains Methods95
Villain's Weakness96
Dungeon Location99
Exotic Location99
Dungeon Creator100
Cults and Religious Groups100
NPC Alignment100
NPC Class101
Dungeon Purpose101
Dungeon History101
Monuments108
Weird Locales109
Weather109
Race Relations112
Ruler's Status112
Notable Traits112
Known For Its112
Current Calamity112
Building Type113
Residence113
Religious Building113
Tavern113
Tavern Name Generator113
Warehouse113
Shop114
Random Urban Encounters114
Random Undersea Encounters116
Random Encounters At Sea118
Carousing128
Running A Business129
Selling A Magic Item130
Gemstones134
Art Objects134-135
Individual Treasure136
Treasure Hoard137-138
Mixing Potions140
Scroll Mishaps140
Magic Item Special Features142-143
Random Magic Items144-149
Bag of Beans153
Potion of Resistance Elements188
Wand of Wonder Effect212-213
Sentient Magic Items214-215
Artifact Properties219-220
Urban Chase Complications254
Wilderness Chase Complications254
Madness Effects259-260
Lingering Injuries272
System Shock273
Random Dungeon Starting Area290
Passage290
Passage Width290
Door Type291
Beyond a Door291
Chamber291
Chamber Exits291
Exit Location291
Exit Type291
Stairs291
Dungeon: Death Trap292
Dungeon: Lair293
Dungeon: Maze293
Dungeon: Mine293
Dungeon: Planar Gate293
Dungeon: Stronghold294
Dungeon: Temple or Shrine294
Dungeon: Tomb295
Dungeon: Treasure Vault295
General Dungeon Chambers295
Current Chamber State295
Dungeon Chamber Contents296
Monster Motivation296
Dungeon Hazards296
Obstacles297
Trap Trigger297
Trap Damage Severity297
Trap Effect297
Trick Objects298
Tricks298
Noises298
Air299
Odors299
General Features299
General Furnishings and Appointments299
Religious Articles and Furnishings300
Mage Furnishings300
Utencils and Personal Items300
Container Contents301
Books, Scrolls, and Tomes301

Not All Random Tables Are Created Equal

Not all tables end up being that useful when we're running our game. The Dungeon Master's Guide contains nearly 150 random tables yet only a handful of these may come up as you run your adventure. We've highlighted some of the more useful tables you might want to reference. The random table index PDF includes a second index with just these useful charts in case you don't want an exhaustive index and just want the ones you'll reference the most. These highlighted tables may become staples in your game to add the most interest and excitement with just a quick roll of the dice.

Top Random Tables in the DMG

Framing Events79
Weather109
Tavern Name Generator114
Random Urban Encounters114
Carousing128
Selling A Magic Item130
Gemstones134
Art Objects134-135
Treasure Hoard137-138
Scroll Mishaps140
Magic Item Special Features142-143
Random Magic Items144-149
Madness Effects259-260
Lingering Injuries272
Obstacles297
Trap Trigger297
Trap Damage Severity297
Trap Effect297

Two Tables in the Player's Handbook

There are also two tables in the 5th Edition Player's Handbook that are also useful for a dungeon master to have on hand. These are the "Wild Magic Surge" table on page 104 and the "Trinkets" table on page 160 and 161 of the Player's Handbook. It's worth keeping these referenced as well and both can be found in the random table index PDF.

Fuel For Your Imagination

A random table is simply a way to spark a white hot flame in the furnace of your imagination. Our brains are the most powerful systems on earth for coming up with creative situations, ideas, and stories. These random tables are simply an ignition switch to help us avoid falling back to the familiar and get us thinking in a new direction. This index is designed to help you get the most out of the excellent fantastic tables in the Dungeon Master's Guide. Use it well.

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