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Thread: Tavern Games

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    Default Tavern Games

    OK, the adventuring party enters the stereotypical tavern to meet a mysterious old man who has their next plot point. While waiting for their contact to arrive, Our Heroes decide to play a few tavern games.

    Any suggestions of what kind of games? And how to play them? I've seen simple stuff like "Player and DM both roll a die. High roll wins." But that's kind of boring... I also don't want a D&D session to turn into a poker or chess session, or at least for no more than 30 minutes in real life.

    Any suggestions?
    Last edited by Surfing HalfOrc; 2009-11-28 at 05:01 PM.
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    Default Re: Tavern Games

    Games of skill are fun.

    "Hey, I bet I can hit that target with my dagger from across the room"
    "Feh, I can do it blindfolded"
    "Oh? Wanna put some money on that?"

    But really, the "You're in a tavern" part of an adventure is best served by allowing the PCs to establish their characters. Let them RP, and express their underlying characters through word & deed. It helps the rest of the table get a sense for each other, and it throws in some nice freeform RP into what can end up being a straight Dungeon Crawl.
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    However, a good point was made with "I can hit that across the room". Darts is a very common game that one would expect to see, and rules for that would be easy to make. Then there are various gambling games, where you would probably just want to make opposed gambling checks and reference the profession rules. Total up expected winnings for everyone, then subtract the same amount from everyone until the total is 0.
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    Default Re: Tavern Games

    Darts
    Billiards
    Dice
    Drinking contest
    Arm wrestling
    Staring contest
    Pick pocketing contest
    Karaoke

    Ok Iím done for now.

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    Default Re: Tavern Games

    Dart/dagger throwing was going to be my first suggestion, but that seems to have been suggested already.

    Someone also had that idea of a big bowl of silver coins on prominent display on the bar, and the barkeep had a cooking spoon that he's never cleaned. If you can lick the spoon without passing out, you get all the coins. If you fail, you put in your silver.


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    Default Re: Tavern Games

    A bit more complicated than roll 2 dice, high wins:

    You need 3 dice per player and 1 house die.

    Roll the house die and double the number. This is the target number.

    Each person rolls their three dice. They take the first, add the second, and subtract the third. If the second or third come up as 6, instead count them as 0. The person closest to the target number without going over wins. What happens in ties is house-rules. My group plays that the people that tie are out, and if there's still no winner, the remaining players go again.

    These are d6s, by the way. Might work with other dice though.
    Last edited by The Dark Fiddler; 2009-11-28 at 05:42 PM.
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    Try pinfinger. It was a bar game from the Fighting Fantasy choose-your-own-adventure books that was basically ripped off the movie Aliens. You remember that scene where Bishop shows off his leet skills by stabbing a knife rapidly between Bill Paxton's fingers? Pinfinger's basically that, except you place a wager on whether you'll nick or accidentally stab your own fingers. I imagine it could be resolved with Athletics checks. Good for the rougher type of bars.
    Last edited by FoE; 2009-11-28 at 05:48 PM.

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    Default Re: Tavern Games

    Something like arm wrestling or darts would be easy to work up mechanics for (as simple as opposed strength checks, or a series of them to build suspense), and would be a great way for your brawler to build a reputation as the strongest dwarf west of the Mississippi. I bet if you have a NPC challenge him to an arm wrestling contest once or twice, the PCs would start challenging them on their own whenever they come into a new town. A battle of the bards, or kabre tossing, or anything similar would also be entertaining.
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    Default Re: Tavern Games

    Strip ball

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    @ Oracle Hunter ^
    Oh, I agree! But sometimes the players actually want to play the games their characters are playing. Sort of like actually figuring out an in game riddle. By Da Rulez, a bard should be able to roll a Skill Check Knowledge (Useless Trivia) to get the answer, but DMs often say the player has to figure out the riddle themselves.

    Which means in real life I COULD play chess against the players (which I suck at) or poker (which I rock at). One almost garantees the PCs will increase their cash flow, while the other means that they'll lose their beloved +2 short sword to my A-K suited.

    I've thought about a 6x6 chess game, no queen, and only 1 bishop or knight, but I don't have nearly enough chess knowledge to balance and/or bias a game for or against a player. I could sandbag myself against my players in poker, but hey, it's D&D Night, not Poker Night.

    I've considered other casino type games, and limiting the players to say 30 minutes of real time to win or lose before returning to the actual adventure. Or playing the other gamblers "in character." The grouch, the table bully, the lucky bastard, or the card shark... Roulette is mostly luck, as is craps and slots, but Blackjack and Poker are more skill oriented.

    What other games might exist in a tavern? Pool/billiards? Darts/thrown daggers? Dwarf tossing? Goblin tossing? Cage fighting (human/animal/monsterous humanoids)? Maybe I'm answering my own question now as I write this...

    EDIT: Several people added their ideas while I was typing this. Thanks for all of your ideas!
    Last edited by Surfing HalfOrc; 2009-11-28 at 06:07 PM.
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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Tavern Games

    Asides from my earlier suggestion, you could have pit fighting in the rougher type of bars. If you're playing 4E, there are rules in the gladiator article for different types of non-lethal (but still dangerous) pit fights. The PCs could either fight on their own or bet on fights (but if they do that, don't bother rolling for an entire fight, just resolve it with one or two dice rolls).

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    There's always Three Dragon Ante.
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    I like playing a dice version of blackjack.

    Begin by setting the opening pot. Everyone rolls 1d10+1. One player then makes a wager rolls another 1d10+1. Each player can either fold, stand, or "hit" and they have to equal or raise the stakes and roll 1d10+1. If you roll over 21, you bust and you're out of the game.

    Do this with each pass until everyone stands/folds/busts. If you hit 21 after two die rolls you "blackjack" and automatically win unless someone else also blackjacks (if you're playing with a house "dealer" then you double your earnings). Rolling 10 on the die counts as an ace and is worth either 1 or 11, your choice.
    Last edited by jmbrown; 2009-11-28 at 06:25 PM.

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    There was this one dice game from the tales of the King's Blades, by Dave Duncan. Called Saving Sevens, based on the fact that in this world, there are eight elements. The four "Manifest" elements of Air, Fire, Water, and Earth, and the four "Principle" elements, Time, Love, Death, and Chance.

    (Drawn from book) "You know Saving Seven, of course?" Valiant asked.

    The kid said he didn't, so Richey demanded to see the color of his money and Aragon produced a bag of eight-sided dice. Each face represented one of the elements, he explained, and you rolled them four at a time. The object was to roll seven elements but not the eighth, death. Roll a death and you had to start collecting from the beginning. (Done drawing from book)

    Each round you put in your money. You can either bet, double, or fold. If you roll double death, you're out of the game entirely. If you roll triple death, you win that round, and if you roll quadruple death (All eights or all ones or whatever), you win, AND everyone has to double the amount in the pot. This is called the massacre.
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    I don't remember where the DM pulled the drinking rules from but my two party members (a druid and a barbarian) usually start drinking contests. Since they both have good fort saves and high con and are 13th level the amounts of alcohol needed are truly prodigious.

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    Default Re: Tavern Games

    My group's game of choice for when we're waiting on other players to show up is Farkle. It'd work well for an in-game thing, I think. Just make sure you put a reasonable point cap on it, or you'll end up playing all night.
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    Default Re: Tavern Games

    Less of a game, but at the tavern in my campaign (the one where the dice game I mentioned in my earlier post originated, in universe) has a drink called "Cry some more". It's so strong that you pass out before you even get a chance to drink it, if the bottle is still full.

    My players love messing around with that drink.
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    Ooh! I never thought of drinking games! My daughter has one of those drinking dice games (even though she's under 21. Bad child!). Roll the drinking dice, follow the results, roll to save vs. fort. Added to the game pile!

    I saw the karoke one above. I can't sing a note, and don't expect my players to either, but bards should have more to do in a tavern besides seduce wenches! Brilliant! Added!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Surfing HalfOrc View Post
    I saw the karoke one above. I can't sing a note, and don't expect my players to either, but bards should have more to do in a tavern besides seduce wenches! Brilliant! Added!
    Why? That's like the only perk of the Bard class, Seduce Wench as a DC 15 Perform check.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AslanCross View Post
    Dart/dagger throwing was going to be my first suggestion, but that seems to have been suggested already.

    Someone also had that idea of a big bowl of silver coins on prominent display on the bar, and the barkeep had a cooking spoon that he's never cleaned. If you can lick the spoon without passing out, you get all the coins. If you fail, you put in your silver.
    How about there's a big pot of copper coins behind the bar, if you can fling one in using one of the bar's spoons(an improvised ranged weapon) from twenty feet away you win free drinks for the night.

    I also like farkle as a tavern game.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Face Of Evil View Post
    Try pinfinger. It was a bar game from the Fighting Fantasy choose-your-own-adventure books that was basically ripped off the movie Aliens. You remember that scene where Bishop shows off his leet skills by stabbing a knife rapidly between Bill Paxton's fingers? Pinfinger's basically that, except you place a wager on whether you'll nick or accidentally stab your own fingers. I imagine it could be resolved with Athletics checks. Good for the rougher type of bars.
    5 Finger Fillet?


    James Cameron didn't invent crazy + knives people!

    Also, check out the drinking game version of Mumblety-peg. People were damn ballsy two centuries ago.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mumblety-peg

    There's also the original drinking game/skill test.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kottabos
    Last edited by Asbestos; 2009-11-28 at 09:43 PM.

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    A few friends and I actually sat down for a few hours one night playing poker in-character as our PC's from a New West Rifts game. We wagered our character's own money, using candy as proxies, and much good RP was had. It was a lot of fun.

    Of course, we only did that because one of our players couldn't make it. I don't think I'd drag the whole group off to play cards in character all session unless your group meets so often that it's not an issue.
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    "Hit the Nail"; you have a hammer, a log with one nail with the tip hammered in on it and you try to hammer it down with the least number of strike with the wrong end of the hammer.

    My father told me of a game like that he ran into in some German bar (IIRC) on some work trip. Sounded like fun, especially when a bit drunk.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Asbestos View Post
    James Cameron didn't invent crazy + knives people!

    Also, check out the drinking game version of Mumblety-peg. People were damn ballsy two centuries ago.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mumblety-peg
    Huh, so that's what it's called. Used to play that as a kid. The name had gotten lost, but the basic principle, that of trying to miss feet with knives by as little as possible, stuck around.

    Im gonna have to bring that up in the next session then, assuming it's considered unusual now.

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