In Dungeons & Dragons, a Tavern is a great place for every adventure to start, and hopefully where every adventure ends. Taverns are a place of community; whether it’s a sleepy hamlet on the outskirts of a kingdom or a bustling commercial district in a metropolis, everyone – good or bad, chaotic or loyal – needs a moment to sit down and relax. a mug of beer before venturing into the next exciting chapter of everyday fantasy life.
A tavern’s level of popularity and comfort is what players need to find their footing – not just as a character in their current surroundings, but sometimes as someone diving into their first roleplaying games. That said, it’s essential that locals and strangers who come to drink for the day not only reflect aspects of the world they inhabit, but draw players deeper into the DM’s narrative.
8 The goofy artist
Tonight’s musician is particularly outstanding (hopefully in a good way), taking requests, performing an intriguing piece for one of the player characters, or maybe he’s in desperate need of a ” filler” for a party member who just called in sick with goblin pox. Or maybe it’s a cartoonist sitting quietly with a notepad, sketching the likeness of someone he can’t help but stare at, or someone he has no clue about. memory.
The entertainer is an easy entry point for conversation, usually having high charisma and a desire to earn money, making them appealing to a group of players with little effort. Having a little humor at the table on silly antics with the bard is never a bad idea. Make them memorable by dressing the performer in an obscure way, or grant them some magical ability, like conjuring.
seven The Retired Adventurer
How clear is it that someone was an adventurer for hire at some point in their life? It’s unlikely that someone trying to put killer monsters behind them still wields their weapon of choice, but maybe his muddy boots are from Elvenkind, or on his finger he still wears a Ring of Mind. Shielding out of habit. Maybe they’re chatting with the bartender, an old friend of theirs, about a topic that’s just begging to be front and center – like the argument that there’s too much spice on the jerky. of owlbear.
When things get too rowdy in the bar, this NPC doesn’t sit idly by, which can be used to manage a group of players determined to cause mayhem. Or maybe someone walks into the bar that picked up the players, or that particular character, setting up a unique plot for the next adventure.
6 The cheeky player
The local watering hole gathered a crowd; there’s one customer in particular who’s been rolling doubles on his dice all night. Tymora is one of many deities who uphold luck and bets; maybe they are worshippers? Maybe the dice are weighted, and all it takes is a keen eye to spot the scheme. Either way, pray it’s not some fairy visiting the Material Plane, shackling every opponent in a bargain they can’t escape!
Small Tavern Games are unique ways to engage players in a hobby that can involve non-combat uses of spells and other class skills – and in most cases even invite players to s to face. Adding a dose of mischief from a player, whose winning streak is endless, adds a level of mystery. Perhaps there are stakes that will attract even characters who have no interest in losing their piece on the table.
5 The crazy place
Right on the bench, just before entering, you are accosted by a smelly drunk who fumes nonstop about a secret cult practicing ancient rituals in the cellar of the tavern. You push them away, just getting on with your business, but something stands out about them. Do their eyes glow a strange color? Do they have a tattoo from an old thieves guild you’ve known for a long time?
An exciting NPC that’s just as fun to play as it is to meet, the local drunk is a particularly engaging vehicle for storytelling. Are they prophets of doom, endowed with prophetic visions of an apocalyptic event? Were they nobility, once considered murdered? Even if the characters let the conversation slide, maybe what they steal from the drunk or hear them shouting at another passer-by is just as interesting.
4 The unexpected patron
You produce your purse of coins in exchange for a hard-earned meal, when the bartender waves you off, telling you that your bill is already covered. When you ask who they only point to an empty table and tell you they haven’t been back yet, but should be back shortly.
Try giving all bar services to your players for free. Let them wonder why their money is worthless in the establishment, then surprise them with someone waiting for them to arrive. Does this person want to hurt him or help him? Are they of this world or do they come from another realm where money has little value to them? It might just be the perfect way to set up a fateful encounter with the campaign’s big bad.
3 The off-duty guard
Still clad in their chain shirts, the rest of their gear hanging along the entrance, they sit alone at the bar, listening to the sounds of the evening’s festivities. You would hardly recognize who they are without their helmets. This city guard is around the clock, so whatever the problem, it’s probably not theirs to worry about, is it?
Suppose the players had a particular run-in with the law, or some involvement in criminal activity. In this case, nothing heightens the player’s senses like an unfortunate encounter with the exact person you’re trying to avoid. This can set up a juicy social gathering, where the “face” of the party is tasked with finding the best exit route for the whole group while trying to distract the one person who might raise the alarm. Or maybe the group just needs to get their hands on a city guard’s uniform!
2 The rowdy group
You enter the tavern to find it already filled to the brim with customers. They all seem to know each other, they seem to have gotten a little too comfortable with the pageantry of the bartenders. Maybe they’ve decided to play darts, targeting the hapless cook, or they’ve drunk the whole place and are looking for more beer when the bartender has nothing left to give.
More than just an NPC, this can be a great introduction to the local gang of bandits or crooks you’ve already heard so much about in the nearby town. Conversations could be had with the group leader, where things could turn sour in the blink of an eye. The fight set in a tavern is a fun, close-quarters battle where pretty much anything can be an improvised weapon.
1 the innkeeper
They remember the names of everyone who has walked through their door, no matter how long ago. The scars on their bodies tell the story of a life not always throwing drinks behind a counter. The stuffed black dragon head above the mantle is believed to be authentic, but the innkeeper refuses to feed the gossip.
The person who owns a tavern in a fantasy setting must be able to defend themselves against a group of players, or have friends nearby who can; that’s exactly what all good DMs do. Be careful, not everyone needs to have a life of adventure behind them. Chromatic dragons, especially of the silver variety, enjoy the company of mortal races and will spend most of their time in humanoid form to live among them. Why not install one in the most eclectic and exciting places in the mortal realm?
NEXT: D&D: How to Encourage Your Players to Roleplay