12/22/2012

Frugal GM Review: Tavern Tables

Frugal GM Review: Tavern Tables
This morning I decided to go through the pile of free items I downloaded off of DriveThruRPG and I found a decent series of Tavern Tables.

If you are creating a tavern in a hurry, this eight-page PDF isn't going to fill all your needs, but if you already have something in the works, then it will do a great job in augmenting your work.

The tables start off with a simple tavern name generation of 2x100, meaning there are two tables of 100 items.  Personally I'd prefer a 3x table because I like longer names and having the name generator three-deep will give more randomness.  With a 2x100 table you have 10,000 combinations (100*100), but for the same number of entries, say 3x33 (I know, actually one less entry) you have 35,937 combinations.

It is just the name of a tavern though....not a big deal in the scheme of things.  I already have a random table generator and I could see simply adding some of these entries to my current tables.

The next series of tables are d6 tables describing the general tavern layout:

  • Quality
  • Cleanliness
  • Size
  • Prices
  • Variety
  • Taste
  • Popularity
  • Noise Level
  • Dark Corners
Overall I like these tables, but I really wish that some were marked as <re-roll> and only accept the results if rolled a second time.  For example, the Taste table had "Lethal" as a result.  I don't see that as actually being lethal, but tasting like it was poisonous.  This seems too common for a d6 roll (17% chance), but if it was a <re-roll> entry then it would knock the result down to basically a 3% chance. Still possibly too high, but if the tables were d8 based instead.....

The next series of tables (15x6!) is to create a notable patron.  You have to weave the results into a small story, but these tables really seem to work out well.  At the end of the PDF there are some example results that are pretty cool.  Here is the first one to illustrate the type of results you might get:
"The muscular, dark-haired dockworker with the grey eyes has been buying drinks for women and striking out all night. He's now drunk after his many attempts. He wears a ring with the crest of the local thieves' guild, and might know something about their latest heist. He has the strange long daggers favored by local brigands. There is a tattoo of a raven across his throat, and other tattoos peeks out from the sleeves of his shirt."

Wow......

The next three tables are short, but brilliant...in my opinion.  They detail the chaos of a bar brawl.  The first table shows the active participants in any given round, the next details what actions a brawler may be taking, and the third how drunk they are and how that effects their action.  Assuming that a real bar brawl is a free-for-all melee where combatants change out quickly, this is a great set of tables, and there really isn't that much to them.  Simpler does seem better in this case.

The last series of tables is labeled "Drunken Shenanigans" and I won't describe them other than to note the PDF's flavor text describing the tables:
"Roll on these tables to find out what happened to that PC who said, “The locals say three sips of it will knock out an ox? I down a tankard of it.

Tavern Tables is a pretty good series of random tables that could use some tweaking, but are definitely worth downloading.  I think with a little work it would be something I'd definitely be willing to pay for.