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The Gateway Pub

Written by Krystal - Published on May 18, 2010

The tavern is bustling as usual, the patrons are drunken and rather outspoken, the bards are out singing and collecting a fee while women are wenching to the tunes of dwarves who are drinking and everything’s quiet merry as the barkeep approaches you, and you simply turn to ask one question…

Why is every damn bar so busy?

There’s only drinking and the occasional bards, the wenches are dirty and the dwarves won’t shut up! The elves are so haughty and the group in the corner keep eying my pouch, this is probably more of an uncomfortable situation than trying to convince that dragon you were simply taking his treasure out for annual cleaning and not ACTUALLY stealing it! What is so important that you have to be here for?!

Well I have a few answers, first of which is gambling! Yes friends, gambling! We do it, we make bets, why not do it in DnD! Let your players take a risk, or take a toll! Gambling doesn’t have to just be for coin, it can be for body parts or armor. Whatever you got on you is a potential bargaining chip, a gateway for mass destruction and an in game addiction. At least if they gamble here, they won’t lose their house.

Table games! Games have been around since the dawn of time, so why not incorporate them? Classical games like marbles or jacks are easy to implement into DnD, especially when you are playing jacks with caltrops! Youch! Ever heard of hot potato? I’m sure your characters have too! A form of cats cradle can be implemented, and that game where someone takes their hand and spreads it out on the table, while the orc grabs his dagger and stabs in between your fingers faster and faster until.

Whoops, looks like you dropped something friend…

Oh! And don’t forget to make up your own classical games to add into your dimension of fun and exciting new tricks! Speaking of tricks, bar pranks! What’s funnier than sawing the leg off someones chair, and sitting in there so it looks like it’s there but really isn’t….Do that to the wrong person, and BAM! Bar fight! Everyone loves one of those, don’t forget to toss some food around! Wouldn’t want anything to go to waste now would we….

The ultimate escape!

People go to clubs and bars for dancing, drinking, and music sometimes too. You can create your own dance place full of creepy figures, information you need to buy, I’ve even seen DM’s incorporate a form of drug into the game that does crazy things to your characters! I’ve never really used these in my games, but I’ve seen them done before!

Bars are great for dirty deeds, too!

No, I don’t mean with the wenches, I mean the underground side business the barkeep has going on with the local thieves guild, or the slave trading he has going on. Perhaps he’s smuggling some sort of illegal goods (perhaps you can take certain items such as drow weapons and make them illegal in some above ground cities?) or you always have the genius’s that are trying to breed dangerous creatures whom can’t be tamed in the cellar.

Of course bars are good for job postings and rumors as well. Rumors are a rather versatile tool that can be used for so many different outlets in a game such as hunting down a mysterious villain, or finding an old friend, treasure seeking, jobs, lore, or even if you are looking to hire someone else! You can even set up a random chart to help you get started, I’ve created an example chart for you below.

1-10 Low Paying Job
11-20 Decent paying job
21-25 High Paying job
26-30 Con Artist (Fake Job)
31-40 Fake Leads
41-50 Folk Lore*
51-60 Minor Artifact Location
61-70 Treasure Hunt
71-75 Lead on a Villain/Friend/Etc
76-80 Major Artifact Location
81-90 Two pieces of useful information**
91-100 Someone is selling a map!***

Some of this is rather self explanatory, and of course this is simply an example of a few things you can do, you are welcome to come up with your own, better chart that better suits your game, but for the sake of this article I’ll describe some of the items on this list. The jobs are rather self explanatory, if you are unsure of “low” ranges to “high” ranges, think copper to silver or small amounts of gold for low paying, decent jobs can pay higher amounts of gold (such as 10-40 for low levels) or small amounts of platinum (1-5), and high paying jobs will make a little bit more bank than the rest of them. The Con Artist or Fake Job can be someone who doesn’t plan on paying the party but either stealing from them, tricking, or killing the players. Fake leads could be leads on the person they are looking for that goes in the wrong direction, leads them astray, and just messes up their program entirely.

Folk Lore is anything you decide it is, it can be the stories of a strange creature attacking the livestock, or even a strange portal in the forest. Create your own legends and mysteries for your realm and it could lead into an adventure!

Minor Artifact location is simple, it’s the rumors of an artifact (minor) that the party can attempt to find, perhaps for themselves or for a reward. The location can be in a volcano, a dragon’s hoard, buried somewhere, in a grave, the options are limitless. A treasure hunt can be similar to this only the location is either not disclosed or there is a map! Think piratey!

Lead on a Villain/Friend/etc. Is the ultimate “The party was looking for this, here they are.”, if the party was searching for someone this is their clue or location they are looking for.

Two Pieces of useful information is simple! Give them any two pieces of info you find fit to give them, be it from the list or otherwise.

Someone is selling a map! Woohoo! Maps are a lot easier than directions, and maps can be extremely useful for treasure hunts, rumored hidden cities, lost ruins, rifts, or anything else you can think of!

Remember, next time you need some info or a good time, stop at the pub! You’ll never know what you’ll find!

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Written by Krystal

At a young age, my mother opened up her own gaming store. We had two game rooms, an office, and the front area which had a ton of miniatures and books. I helped manage that store for several years, my mother teaching me the ropes and treating me like an adult so I could learn. Even beyond that she played games at stores like Haster Hobbies and several other places. In fact, my parents met gaming! DnD kind of runs in my blood, as well as any other gaming you can think of. I’m simply a gamer at heart, an artist, and a jack of all trades. I love to write and that’s why I’m here at Dungeon Mastering! I’m going to be going to school for Video Game Design, and my bf is going to school so he can publish Core Rule Sets. In the short few years I’ve been with him I’ve learned all about how to create my own rule system and create a game from the ground up! But my expertise is not limited to DnD alone. I’ve ventured far into Call of Cthullu, and beyond to games like Shadowrun and some White Wolf games..though I’m not a big fan of dice pools. :)

Anyways! Gaming is my passion and my life. I game constantly, go to conventions, and so much more! Maybe I’ll see you there! Happy Gaming!

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 Comments

6 Responses to “The Gateway Pub”
  1. DragonlanceBJH says:

    Bars are a grate place to start adventures and launch campaigns they are also a good place to get information and for DM’s too use as a tool to seed adventures.

  2. Longtooth says:

    It may be a bit cliche’ but bars & taverns have always been one of my favorite encounter locations. There is so much opportunity to include interesting NPCs and other flavorful tidbits like gambling, creatively named drink brands (Have another tankard of Old One Eye), and local dishes. They are cultural meting pots, and places you can weave in customs and traditions like songs, and cultural taboos. Love this article, great job!

  3. Begindnd says:

    All my group ever wanted to do was roll constitution checks and see if they were getting drunk. They frustratingly were not interested in the adventure I spent hours slaving over. But you know, it can lead to some pretty fun improvisations and it helped me develop a few original NPC. Thanks for the article! :)

  4. Elderon Analas says:

    I like taverns. They let me tell my tales of adventure. I also get to drink gallon after gallon of ale and other alcoholics. I’m quite the match for ANY dwarf. I also like gamble but i have a tendency to be an “angry loser”, at times I may even, um, how you say “bring the house down”, accept in the bad way.

  5. Darren says:

    I used one in an adventure recently: the party had already been adventuring for a long time, but they needed to meet a potential employer. They then received three further propositions, one similar, one contrary and one for marriage with a drunkard.

    Taverns rock. Hooray for the Giant Dwarf tavern, “The only greater paradox being just how good our house ale is.”

  6. Brian says:

    Bars are also a good place to give characters information and little tid bits of game info. As well as access to adventure seeds and NPC’s that can help or harm them its really up to you.

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