I've been watching the puppy interact with the cats over the last few days, and it's gotten me thinking about Wandering Monsters and Random Encounters in OSR gaming and the like. Why has it gotten me thinking this way? No idea, except for all of the high energy interactions I guess.
From my perspective, wandering monsters and even random encounters are generally missing out on events - something that occurs that the players may or may not immediately interact with. Personally, I'd like to see some foreshadowing events on those random tables.
I see wandering monsters as the simplest of the tables - all monsters, damn near all combat situations.
Random encounters take the wandering monster table and add situations where the PCs can interact without combat.
Unplanned events goes one step further and adds in events the PCs see but can't interact with and events that transpire without the PCs need to interact with, but can. This could include foreshadowing, visions and natural events such as weather and the like.
Of course, the further you go from "Wandering Monsters" the more complicated and detailed the potential tables get.
Random puppy induced thoughts...