• Mark S. Cookman

13 Wild West Wilderness Encounters


Recently I have been working on a project of a western nature and that has led me to create a few western themed tables. I am thoroughly embracing the "New Year, New Game" resolution. This allows me both to move away from what I normally do to give my players a "palate cleanser" before I start a Seas of Vodari campaign later this year, and to return to a genre that I haven't played in for many years -- The Wild West. So, while the table below is not of all that much use for the standard fantasy setting, perhaps you could try it in a "new" game like: Boot Hill Aces & Eights Deadlands

Dust Devils Edge of the Frontier (based on FFG Star Wars) Snakes & Saloons (5e Compatible)

The last two games on the above list are PWYW, so there's no excuse for not trying them out if they look interesting to you. Without further delay, here are 13 Wilderness Encounter Seeds for Western Games. Thank you for your time and support. As always, happy gaming!

  1. A bounty hunter on the trail of a grizzly bear that mauled and dragged off the bounty that she was chasing. Now she figures the bear's cave might have remains or items that can help her claim the dead money for the bounty.

  2. A Sioux war party on horseback fleeing a group of 16 red hooded vigilantes also on horseback, spots the PC's group and charges toward them to attack. The vigilantes remain at a distance and watch with binoculars and spyglasses.

  3. You spot a pair of bearded game hunters who are checking on their trap line near the border of tribal lands. High above on a plateau, a lone scout, mounted on a white and brown paint, watches silently.

  4. The group encounters an itinerant preacher driving a buckboard wagon filled with blankets, clothes, food, and hymnals. He is taking his "parcel of hope" to the Chesapeake & Western railroad camp where he intends to preach among "the lost and the Chinese". He would love an escort to the camp, but he has no money to offer for payment.

  5. A Texas Ranger stops in at a small bar near a watering hole. He is on the trail of a pair of stage coach robbers who are fleeing into Indian Territory to avoid justice. He is looking for men to join a posse. He will pay $3/day plus food until the bandits are caught.

  6. Near nightfall the group comes across a camp with a fire, a large tent, various supplies, and two horses. Alone in the tent and sleeping is a wildlife photographer who is gathering pictures of various species of birds. She is currently "hunting" a red-tailed hawk.

  7. The group comes across a well-dressed man riding a horse and leading a pack mule with supplies. He is not skilled with mules and is a novice horseman, at best. He shies away from contact, if he can for fear of being robbed. The man is a gunsmith who won a map to a lost silver mine in a poker game. He needs help following the map and finding the mine. Although he has no money, he agrees to craft custom firearms for those who help him, as well as a share in the mine.

  8. The PC's cross paths with a trio of buffalo hunters, a native couple and a black man, who are on the trail of a group of bandits and kidnappers who have the man's wife and young son, whom they plan to sell to a slaver in Mexico.

  9. Someone spots a rock that looks like a boot. It turns out not to be a rock, but rather a pair of boots belonging to a Pinkerton detective who has been abandoned in the badlands and is barely alive. He is dying of thirst and will take at least a day to recover before he can tell his tale.

  10. The group encounters a cavalry patrol headed toward the nearest town transporting a pair of prisoners. The Reed Brothers robbed a stage coach, killed two men, and then fled into Indian Territory to escape justice. The captain commanding the troop is anxious to turn the pair over to a US Marshal, so that they could get back to doing their jobs. He will transfer the prisoners to any legitimate officer of the law, if there is one in the group.

  11. You see a lone nun driving a Conestoga wagon with a team of four horses. She seems skilled at driving the covered wagon. She claims to be transporting aging pilgrims back from a shrine in the desert, but in reality she is taking a group of tribal and native crossbred children to see a doctor in a nearby town past the eyes of the WHITES ONLY group that runs the place. She will avoid contact if possible and will do everything she can to keep anyone from searching the wagon.

  12. You spot a large buckboard wagon filled with something, but covered with a tarp. There is a driver, a wagon guard, and three men on horseback to contend with if you want to see what's under the tarp. The men will draw guns and warn off all who approach to give way. The wagon is carrying $30,000 worth of silver ore.

  13. You spot a group of 4 settlers wagons fleeing from a mounted group of bandits and renegade indians numbering 14 in the valley below you. The bandits are gaining ground on the settlers and will catch them soon. What do you do?

I hope you enjoyed this pirate's dozen of wilderness encounters for western games. Next week I hope to bring you more encounter ideas for wild west towns. If you enjoy these blog entries, please check out my page at DriveThruRPG by clicking here.

As always, I thank you for your time and support.


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