->''"Something has happened!"''
-->-- ''Website/{{Neopets}}''

In order to keep players from being complacent, matches from becoming repetitive, and to better simulate the vagaries of fortune, some video games include Random Events. The chaotic relative of the ScriptedEvent, Random Events are things that ''can'' happen, but where, when, or ''if'' they will happen are determined purely by chance. In video game parlance they're called "procs" (short for "special procedures", originally referring to the chunks of code that ran in {{MUD}}s when these events occurred), especially when they're attributes of an item that activate randomly when the item is used, but Random Events can also pop up in board games in the form of "chance" decks and the like.

Players' reactions to these usually depend on whether the events in question are beneficial or not.

See RandomEncounters for an RPG subtype. If the event ''appears'' random, but is actually triggered by an action that might not be immediately obvious, see GuideDangIt.


[[folder: Video Games ]]

* In ''VideoGame/GalacticCivilizationsII'', you occasionally get a random event when settling a world, typically [[KarmaMeter ethical dilemmas]] such as "do I clear out the indigenous life-forms to make room for my colonists, or limit my people's living space?" Expansion packs introduced "mega" events that can ''drastically'' alter the state of your game. These include a sudden surge in [[SpacePirates piracy]], a strange energy wave that boosts population growth across the galaxy, a plague of spies that shuts down everything in the area, a sudden spike in planet quality that turns an uninhabitable system into a garden spot, uninhabited planets exploding into asteroids, or the assassination of a rival faction's leader by one of your citizens, sparking a war. One of the worst is when some evil syndicate suddenly seizes power on a large clump of worlds, ignoring faction boundaries - a good way to lose half your empire through no fault of your own.
** There are also two extra powerful mega events, the Telenath crystal, in which a random evil race gets a constantly increasing bonus to everything related to economy and production, and the Dread Lords arrive, in which a race with magical superpowers colonizes a world and begins building ships stronger than are physically possible to build for other players; 170 power on a fighter or constructor is not uncommon, which is a bit like having a fishing trawler with more mounted guns than anyone else's battleships. They then proceed to conquer worlds while facing hundreds-to-one odds using force lighting.
* ''VideoGame/{{Civilization}} IV: Beyond the Sword'' has things like wildfires that clear a forest square, slave revolts that leave cities in turmoil, the domestication of prairie dogs as novelty pets, or arranged marriages between nations' royal families and the responses of either side. Occasionally you'll also be offered a "quest," usually along the lines of "build x number of y and choose a reward."
* Encountering a shiny ''VideoGame/{{Pokemon}}'', at least from Generation 2 onward. The Pokerus as well, an extremely rare virus that Pokemon can be infected with, but it's actually very beneficial, giving the infected Pokemon a permanent boost to its stat gains upon levelling up.
* The latest iterations of Creator/ParadoxInteractive games have a whole bunch of really complicated random and semi-random events (that is, events with triggers that makes an event more or less likely to trigger, but it is still random). Older games simply mixed random and {{Scripted Event}}s.
* Natural Disasters in ''VideoGame/SimCity''. Assuming you didn't give in to VideogameCrueltyPotential and just mash the button to send them, of course.
* In ''VideoGame/TheSims'' and its progeny, burglars, aliens, at-work events, etc. all fall under this category.
* Many {{MMORPG}}s have this as a way to counter people just leaving the computer to do something for them. Because of the chance of a random event making something bad happen you're forced to sit and watch your character to make sure you're there for a random event.
** ''VideoGame/{{Rift}}'' runs on this trope. It is extremely unlikely (almost impossible) that you'll be able to play for one continuous hour without running into a dimensional invasion, rift, or minor region event. With the first update, the major ''world'' event means even more chaos.
** ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'' added a single random event with the ''Cataclysm'' expansion. Deathwing, an enormous dragon and the main antagonist, would spawn at the edge of a zone and fly across it, burning ''everything'' to the ground. There was even an achievement for getting caught in his attack.
* ''VideoGame/EmpireAtWar'' had random events in the Galactic Conquest mode. The expansion pack removed them.
* ''VideoGame/SidMeiersAlphaCentauri'' had these, although you could turn them off. They are stuff like heat waves (extra energy at the base) or an industrial collapse (fewer minerals at the base).
* ''VideoGame/DokaponKingdom'' has these on Yellow Spaces. Usually, they have monsters on them, but they have random people on them as well. Some of them are good, like Kira the wandering merchant and Mulch, but others of them border on the outright sadistic on the part of the game (such as Weber, who gives you the obnoxious "cursed" items).
* In ''VideoGame/{{Spore}}'', biodisasters and pirate attacks. [[FinaglesLaw When you're halfway to the Galactic Core and don't have Return Ticket, of course.]]
* In ''VideoGame/TheOregonTrail'' random events were used to simulate what could happen on the trail to Oregon back in the 19th century. These events included bandits, finding empty wagons, fire, snakebites, or disease, including, of course, dysentery.
** Other games by MECC included a lot of random events too. ''AmazonTrail'' would give the player more direct control but could still have the player get sick from a disease that was commonplace in the Amazon and the stuff the boat could hit were random. The ''YukonTrail'' would have the player or their partner fall (and possibly get hurt, slowing them down), get stuck in a blizzard, get stuck behind a mule train, and randomly losing food.
* ''VideoGame/{{Runescape}}'' was known for this trope to not only give players an occasional reward such as a party hat or a small exclusive item they can find anywhere but also to punish bots. The most common examples of bot punishers were when a high-level monster would appear and attack the player who was "Farming" items from a gathering skill. The level was variable, and would often be scaled to be a large threat to the attacked player. They only happened on some skills, because others like cooking would require complete player involvement, as opposed to Fishing and Mining that either happened until an item was obtained or the player's inventory was full. (River trolls were perhaps the most common)
* ''VideoGame/KingsQuestVII'': If you are idle for too long in Ooga Booga, the dreaded Boogeyman will show up out of nowhere. Continue to do nothing, and he will kill you.
* A potentially NightmareFuel example is on the ''VideoGame/JumpStartAdventures4thGradeHauntedIsland'' game. When wandering around the haunted island, Repsac may block the player's path and force the player to answer a random question... and if they get it wrong, they lose health points. This is a completely random event, [[ParanoiaFuel and it even happens in the Labyrinth.]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Colonization}}'' is a borderline example: "Lost City Rumors" have their nature determined randomly at the start of every game, so Save Scumming can protect you from events like "You were never heard from again." That said, what was "You discover a friendly village" in one playthrough seems to become "You discover the fountain of youth" in the next. This is because the ''sequence'' is fixed, so whether you try ruins A then B or vice versa, you get e.g. "friendly tribe" in first attempt and "fountain of youth" in second.
** Open-source remake ''VideoGame/FreeCol'' adds conventional natural disasters that cause items to get lost or buildings to be damaged.
* ''VideoGame/MasterOfOrion II'': oh, yes. Aside from random proposals from heroes, there are: research advance or wipe-out, findings with tech or resources, [[InterspeciesRomance diplomatic marriage]], assassination, monetary offering, total hyperspace block, ecological calamity, surprise mineral deposit, reproductive boom, [[DeathFromAbove incoming comet]], plague, [[StuffBlowingUp nova]], SpacePirates, monsters, ''Antarans''... All? This can be turned off, though.
* ''VideoGame/MasterOfMagic'': non-linearity being one of best features of the game, it's no surprise random events may have a great impact. Global conditions that affect power income or population, offers to get mercenaries, heroes or magic items. And wandering monsters, of course.
* The hallucinations in [[VideoGame/ChzoMythos Trilby's Notes]]. Chances are you will run into at least one or two over the course of the game, but which ones and where you are when they happen are random: the game is coded so that every time you take a pill, there is a chance that a random hallucination will trigger two screens later. Granted, it is possible to take advantage of that fact by trying to trigger them on purpose, but chances are it'll take several pills and a lot of patience to trigger them all.
* ''VideoGame/Left4Dead'' is made of this for the Tank and Witch. These two powerful special infected CAN show up at any time, but where and when is left up to the AI Director, assuming it's not in a sadistic mood.
** And by the way, just because you ''never'' see a Tank and Witch together, doesn't mean they ''[[OhCrap can't show up together]]''.
*** One video on youtube has an incident in Versus mode where a Witch spawned at a chokepoint... then a Tank appeared. By the time the survivros got to that chokepoint, there were seven Special Infected total at the top of that lift. [[CaptainObvious The Survivors died.]]
* The game worlds of ''VideoGame/DwarfFortress'' are procedurally generated, and in play the kind of creatures that appear are semi-random, whether raids or sieges strike are random, dwarven moods and the products created from them are random. There are very few set events -- ie same type of merchants arrive in the same season around the same date -- and even those are being replaced with random distribution based on generated civilization and the fortress' own trading history.
* Every now and then, a random event will happen in ''VideoGame/{{Deadlock}}: Planetary Conquest''. These can be good, such as your colonists raising a bunch of money for you, or finding rich resource deposits, or bad, such as an earthquake destroying your buildings or ion storms interfering with your satellites.
* In ''VideoGame/BloodCrusher2'', every event is randomized. From the weapons, to level layouts, and even your enemy.
* ''VideoGame/PAYDAYTheHeist'' has random events that may or may not happen when you play a map. Some are minor, such as certain doors being open or closed, which can alter how you get around the map. Other random events are much more in your face, such as having a [[MightyGlacier Bulldozer]] suddenly burst through a door while you're trying to escape to the safe zone. The random events become more apparent on higher difficulty levels and you usually get the short end of the stick.
** Payday 2 continues this, with some heists becoming very easy or very hard depending on certain events or random elements in the level, such as whether or not you can access the camera room in Diamond Store from outside the building (making stealth easy) or not (virtually guaranteed to go loud). 'Escape' missions, which randomly occur after an otherwise successful heist, are the epitome of this.
* The City Trial in ''VideoGame/KirbyAirRide'' and Smash Run in ''[[VideoGame/SuperSmashBros Super Smash Bros. for 3DS]]'' both have these happen during the phase where the characters hunt for stat boosts and items.
* ''VideoGame/SpaceEmpires IV'' has things like random plasma storms striking planets and killing millions of inhabitants.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Tropico}}'', random events take the form of requests from the various factions that want you to do something for them, such as having certain buildings made or edicts enacted. The reward is typically an increase in the faction's respect for you, but in ''Tropico 5'', some random events reward you with a choice between free buildings, more faction members, or Swiss bank deposits.
* ''Videogame/EndlessSpace'' has a variety of random events; beneficial, negative, interactive, and so on. Their effects can vary in scope between single star systems, entire empires, or the entire galaxy. Of note are the Interactive events, where players have a choice of Helpful, Selfish, or Hostile actions. On galaxy-wide events, Helpful benefits your allies and neutral powers (often at your own expense), Selfish benefits your own empire, while Hostile screws everyone else over. In the [[ThePlague Galactic Plague]] event, for example, Helpful will reduce your approval and population but benefit your allies as you develop a cure while using your own citizens as guinea pigs, Selfish devotes almost all your science towards a cure for your own empire, and Hostile dumps your [[BiologicalWeaponsSolveEverything plagued citizens on other player's worlds]].
* As a homage to[=/=]AffectionateParody of ''VideoGame/TheOregonTrail'', ''VideoGame/OrganTrail'' naturally has these. Some are virtually ripped wholesale from ''Oregon Trail'' (including, of course, dysentery) while others are adapted to the modern zombie apocalypse setting (e.g. "fording" a horde of zombies) and still others are original to ''Organ Trail'' (prepare to lose a lot of money in the void that is your station wagon's cushions).
* ''VideoGame/{{Elona}}'' has these. While exploring dungeons or travelling, you might be blessed by a priest, have your money stolen by thieves, stumble upon some materials, find a platinum coin, meet a rich man who will throw money at you, meet a wandering merchant with rare equipment, or be attacked by bandits. Additionally, sleeping causes random effects from dreams such as training skills, gaining a huge luck boost, mutating, having your equipment cursed, or gaining a treasure map.
* In ''VideoGame/DiabloIII'' each map and several dungeons draw on individual pools of random events and unique mobs that can spawn. The events range from minor roleplaying incidents to full quest events.
* ''VideoGame/{{Undertale}}'' features quite a few of these, the appearance of which is determined by the game's 'FUN value', a random number assigned each time a new save file is created. Most of them still only have a chance of occurring even if the number lines up. These can be anything from random calls from {{NPC}}s to some truly [[MindScrew Mind Screw-y]] experiences with a good number of the latter involving [[spoiler: W. D. Gaster]].
* Inn and stage events in ''VideoGame/{{Miitopia}}''. More noticeable in the post-game because you're no longer restricted by the plot. Certain spots in stages contain event triggers that can play these (though non-random plot-specific events are always located on the same spots).


[[folder: Other games ]]

* In the board game ''Mandate of Heaven'', each player must draw a yin card and a yang card during their turn. One type hits you with bad events, the other either confers an advantage (like being able to pass through the Great Wall even if its guarded) or a counter to a specific bad event.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Monopoly}}'' has Chance and Community Chest Cards.
* Even for a tabletop roleplaying game, ''TabletopGame/MaidRPG'' takes this unusually far; there are rules giving players the explicit ability to call for a random event, and said random events can quite easily completely derail the game's current plot.


[[folder: Other media ]]

* In ''Film/StarTrekFirstContact'', Picard runs a specific chapter of his Dixon Hill program, usually used as entertainment, as part of a gambit to slow down the Borg. Picard expresses mild surprise when a blonde approaches him, suggesting that she doesn't always appear in that chapter and instead works as a random event.