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D&D General Things to Find in a Large River?


As the title says. By large river think Nile as I'm running a not Egypt game.

Along with RL stuff and fantasy versions of them I have thought up.

Bronze Dragon
Stuff in Tome of Beasts.

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River dolphins.

People in the Amazon region regard river dolphins as a bit like faeries. They can turn into people and they seduce humans and take them away to live in their cities beneath the water.

The Old Crow

A sunken boat

A burning barge beset by bandits

A giant herd of hippos that refuses to move

fishing nets (with various things caught in them, or set by various things that might be trying to catch you)

A river "god" that claims to own the place and demands tribute

A sarcophagus washed from somewhere upriver, floating along like a canoe, that may contain a very damp and irate mummy.


Elder crocodile god

Nobles traveling on a barge, forcing everyone to yeild right-of-way

Wedding procession, either on the river, or on the bank. Funeral/holy day, etc... can easily replace.

Cataracts with fey/lesser deity guardians - the Nile had several sets of cataracts that divided Egypt into upper, middle, and lower sections, so they were very important.

Depending on your geography, where a lesser river joins your "nile" you could have a fortress where passers-by must present documentation/pay bribes/sneak past


Its all about crocodiles and hippopotamuses.

Maybe make the bronze dragon a monstrous crocodile.

Make something like the tarrasque a monstrous hippopotamus.

Nile crocodile.

15 kinds of venomous snakes (horned viper, various cobras, ...).
Egyptians depicted winged snakes (and Herodotus claimed to have seen the skeleton of one in Egypt)

7-foot long Nile monitor lizard.
Soft-shell turtle.
Black rhinoceros.
Many fish (perch, catfish, lungfish, ...).
Many birds (ibis, kingfisher, Egyptian vulture, hawk, ...).
Many insects (scarab beetle!, locust, ...).

So many species of wildcats!
The wild cat (Felis silvestris) origin of domesticated cats.
Swamp cat (Felis chaus).
Sand cat (Felis margarita).
Cool looking caracal (Felis caracal).
Many others.

Various species of jackal, wolf, and fox.
Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes).
Somehow Ruppells Sand Fox (Vulpes rueppelli) is both cute and spooky.
Blandfords Fox (Vulpes cana).
Insanely adorable Fennec Fox (Vulpes zerda).

In Egypt and possibly near Nile:
Even lion, but not today.
Nubian ibex.
Last edited:

David Howery

I did use piranhas once in an Amazon jungle-ish type adventure, where the PCs were looking for a lost pirate ship, which turned out to be sunken in a wide river pool... the hardest part of the adventure was finding a way around the zillion and one piranhas in the pool.
For a Nile River-ish type adventure, crocodiles and hippos seem more apt, along with giant perch maybe, as others on here said earlier...