Friday, December 19, 2008

Party like it's 999

Here's a first go at specifics for my 'Ale & Wenches' rule from my Cinder house rules. I'm not entirely satisfied with these rules, but I can't quite put my finger on the problem.

Under my draft Labyrinth Lord house rules players can opt to earn some extra XPs by carousing. At the beginning of a session if a PC is hanging around Ye Olde Village Inne with nothing better to do, they can roll 1d6 and spend 100gp times the roll on liquor and/or lechery. The character gains experience equal to the gold spent. The d6 x 100 standard applies to villages only. A PC could travel to a town or city and debauch much more efficiently. Towns are worth d8 x 150 gp/xp and cities d10 x 200. The city of Hautville is worth d12 x 250 owing to its extreme wickedness. Carousing occurs at the beginning of a session and normally only characters that ended their last adventure in a town or city can take advantage of the bigger dice and higher standard of living sinfully. Thieves who are members of the local guild can spend 50gp more per pip if they so desire, while their friends can spend 25gp extra. Being mobbed up gets you first crack at the really good lotus powder, etc.

If the die roll is equal to or less than the character’s level, the result is a rousing good time and no harm done. Rolling above the character’s level indicates things got out of hand one way or another and the poor sucker must roll d20 and consult the chart below.   If a character cannot afford the carousing they have rolled, they also must consult the chart and they only gain XP equal to half their money (though all the money is spent). Fellow PCs can chip in to cover a character’s bar tab, but henchmen only do so to avoid the imprisonment of the PC and then only if a loyalty check is successful.

[Update: I know use a straight save vs. poison to avoid mishap.  Also I let people borrow to carouse as normal, but any money spent this way is owed to some local organized crime figure.]
Carousing Mishaps

1) Make a fool of yourself in public. Gain no XP. Roll Charisma check or gain reputation in this town as a drunken lout.
2) Involved in random brawl. Roll Strength check or start adventure d3 hit points short.
3) Minor misunderstanding with local authorities. Roll Charisma check. Success indicates a fine of 2d6 x 25gp. Failure or (inability to pay fine) indicates d6 days in the pokey.
4) Romantic entanglement. Roll Wisdom check to avoid nuptials. Otherwise 1-3 scorned lover, 4-6 angered parents.
5) Gambling losses. Roll the dice as if you caroused again to see how much you lose. (No additional XP for the second carousing roll.)
6) Gain local reputation as the life of a party. Unless a Charisma check is failed, all future carousing in this burg costs double due to barflies and other parasites.
7) Insult local person of rank. A successful Charisma check indicates the personage is amenable to some sort of apology and reparations.
8) You couldn’t really see the rash in the candlelight. Roll Constitution check to avoid venereal disease.
9) New tattoo. 1-3 it’s actually pretty cool 4 it’s lame 5 it could have been badass, but something is goofed up or misspelled 6 it says something insulting, crude or stupid in an unknown language.
10) Beaten and robbed. Lose all your personal effects and reduced to half hit points.
11) Gambling binge. Lose all your gold, gems, jewelry. Roll Wisdom check for each magic item in your possession. Failure indicates it’s gone.
12) Hangover from hell. First day of adventuring is at -2 to-hit and saves. Casters must roll Int check with each spell to avoid mishap.
13) Target of lewd advances turns out to be a witch. Save versus polymorph or you’re literally a swine.
14) One of us! One of us! You’re not sure how it happened, but you’ve been initiated into some sort of secret society or weird cult. Did you really make out with an emu of was that just the drugs? Roll Int check to remember the signs and passes.
15) Invest all your spare cash (50% chance all gems and jewelry, too) in some smooth-tongued merchant’s scheme. 1-4 it’s bogus 5 it’s bogus and Johnny Law thinks you’re in on it 6 actual money making opportunity returns d% profits in 3d4 months.
16) Wake up stark naked in a random local temple. 1-3 the clerics are majorly pissed off 4-6 they smile and thank you for stopping by.
17) Major misunderstanding with local authorities. Imprisoned until fines and bribes totaling d6 x 1,000gp paid. All weapons, armor, and magic items confiscated.
18) Despite your best efforts, you fall head over heels for your latest dalliance. 75% chance your beloved is already married.
19) When in a drunken stupor you asked your god(s) to get you out of some stupid mess. Turns out they heard you! Now as repayment for saving your sorry ass, you’re under the effects of a quest spell.
20) The roof! The roof! The roof is on fire! Accidentally start a conflagration. Roll d6 twice. 1-2 burn down your favorite inn 3-4 some other den of ill repute is reduced to ash 5-6 a big chunk of town goes up in smoke. 1-2 no one knows it was you 3-4 your fellow carousers know you did it 5 someone else knows, perhaps a blackmailer 6 everybody knows.


  1. Have you seen the excellent game "Red Dragon Inn"? It's all about what happens when the party returns to the inn after emerging from the dungeon. The idea is to get your fellow party members passed out drunk or spend all their money. This made made me think of that...

    I like your idea here, though; it's a little simpler, but I could see turning it into a whole sub-game unto itself. "You play the nuptuals card on me? Ha! I've got a evasive patter card. All I need to do is roll my CHA or under on a d20..."

    Or maybe I'm just going overboard. Cabin fever with all the snow today.

  2. I'm adding this to my repertoire ;)

  3. jeff, you MUST do a whole book of random tables someday!!

  4. Anonymous2:47 AM

    I'm a little skeptical about number 18 -- telling players whom they've fallen in love with seems to be going a step too far. Though it would make it possible to role-play relationships that fall outside the "epic romance" paradigm (Arthur & Guinevere, Aragorn & Arwen, etc.). "Married with Half-Orc Children," perhaps?
    What about making this a 100% chance the dalliance is married and the carouser has drunkenly agreed to "take him [or her] away from all this." They've promised to meet at the crossroads at midnight. Does the character show up?
    In the same way I might downgrade the result of the failed wisdom check in number 4 to an engagement. This gives the character an incentive to stay out of town and/or fake their own death to avoid the marriage.

  5. Might I suggest that when determining the amount of gold spent carousing, that if the character has fewer gold and gems, jewelery etc., of an amount less than what was determined by the die roll, that he or she could only just spend up to the amount they had. Since they spent all their money and gained xp for doing so that would be it. Seems the PCs get unnecessarily punished otherwise. I would change the results on the random table that cost the PCs even more money for no gain (i.e. #5 Gambling losses). It would stand to reason that if the PC only had lets say 500 gold and he spent it all gambling, that is in itself a gambling loss. Otherwise this seems like double-dipping on the table's behalf.

  6. Anonymous5:06 AM


    I read the table twice this day already. It´s just a pleasure to read.

  7. The table is fun to read, but in actual play, I don't know whether I'd dare to use them. I suspect I would not.

  8. 1d6x100 - that could be quite a bit of XP earned, on top of a 1gp=1XP reward. Gives me something to think about the fiddly bits though - maybe if the game isn't a gp=XP one, this could be used as a way to get it in there...

    "You can take your chances, if you want a bit of XP, but I can't guarantee you'll like it..."

  9. I like the idea of adding the plot complications and minor adventure hooks to the game, and I love the idea of adding the stories to the characters' lives.

    I would eliminate the idea of the die you roll being based on the size of the city you're in, and instead let the player choose how hard he carouses.

    This makes it more of a gamble -- he's more likely to roll over his level with higher die sizes, but the rewards are greater. This puts the responsibility in the player's lap: he'll be more likely to take the bad results in good humor if he's the one who chose how hard to party.

    You could still limit the die size to the town size -- d10's are only in big cities, etc. -- but let the player roll smaller ones if they want to. In any case, once your level reaches one point under the die code (level 5 for d6, etc.), you MUST move to the next higher die code.

    To make it more of a challenge, you could make the mishaps get progressively worse on the chart (#15 is much worse than #4), and make them add their level to the roll when they make it. Heh heh.

    My 2 cps, for what it's worth.

  10. Anonymous9:23 AM

    Love this.

  11. I know the problem, Jeff -- that chart takes a d20, not a d30.

  12. Anonymous10:56 AM

    Jeff, the random tables are why I read your blog.

    Great table!

  13. F'ing saved! (as the young folk say nowadays *harrumph*)

    I have to echo the calls for a book of Cinder-specific stuff. I've probably saved off ~20% of the blog for reference and inspiration, but a nicely bound (or even a pdf) "Musings of the Mechwizard" would be more than welcome on my shelves.

  14. Ok, I'm going to have to start a campaign just so I can use this chart!


  15. NOW, I know why Han Solo had the fastest ship in the galaxy, but still has NO money to pay his debt to Jabba.

  16. NOW, I know why Han Solo had the fastest ship in the galaxy, but still has NO money to pay his debt to Jabba.

    At least up until Return of the Jedi. Leia settled up for Han with a nice choker necklace. ;)

  17. I'm from the Conan school of Sword & Sorcery gaming! In such a genre, there are no fancy rules for blowing you stash on wine and women - it the order of the day!!

    I generally strip the players of their hard earned swag, so they are more motivated to get to the next adventure. I would even put a Monty Hual's worth of treasure before them, just to pull it under them with a nasty trap (or even forcing them to make an important chose). I dont even place fixed values on gems and jewelery, as is just a lot of paperwork for something the players are just going to (literally) throw away in a beer mug or a wench's bosoms. This may seem odd that I would devalue treasure like this, but I find such splurging as an important part of an adventures life - they get better henchmen, more contacts, and it helps build their reputation.

    But still, I like your Carousing Mishaps list. You know I'm going to steal it for my own games! ;)

  18. You know Jeff, if the party has a paladin, (in some other rule set) they could have the ability to keep one member out of trouble. Or allow one reroll per charisma bonus.

  19. Anonymous10:13 PM

    What makes this genius is that the players have to decide to risk carousing! I think that gives you a lot more leeway with the random outcomes--they can't say they didn't know the risks. Great post!

  20. Hey Jeff.

    I really like your tables, and rip them off quite shamelessly. And I fully agree with Horrox: Make a book of tables, or at least a pamphlet of houserules -- I'd pick up either, so that's at least one certain sale.

    Anyway, about these 'carousing mishaps': Do you have to roll your level or less to succeed? 'Cos that's kind of harsh for beginning adventurers, IMO. I'll housemod this like so:

    To successfully carouse, you must make a saving throw versus poison. Failure means you get to roll for a carousing mishap.

    Which still makes it a hard roll for green adventurers, but at least not 1-out-of-20 hard. More like around 1-out-of-4-or-5 hard.

    (I have personally reality-checked this rule, recently at the office christmas party. Believe me, you'll want to make that save vs. poison. I give you my 100% Scientifically Accurate guarantee.)

  21. Save versus poison, huh? Why didn't I think of that? THANKS!

  22. Anonymous9:56 PM


    Depends on how XP is awarded for gold. This runs perfectly if the DM only awards gold-as-XP for money spent.

    I also like the idea of choosing the carousing dice rolled. But if you go this route, I'd suggest making a minimum roll based on level, like the standard cost-of-living charges to reflect the "been there, done that" jaded attitudes that affect seasoned adventurers. Perhaps a minimum is half your level (rounded up), maximum of whatever the city supports. If the city/village can't support half your level, you roll the maximum amount but get no XP for it (or a percentage based on how far off you are) because there's really nothing new there for you to do.

  23. Tacoma4:45 PM

    The jaded adventurer strides into the country inn, eyeing the peasant lasses in their homespun. Browses the local wines and beers. He sighs. He has done all of them before.

  24. My players went carousing in our last session. One of them ended up in jail. They had to put all of their coin together and sell some healing potions to get their buddy out of the clink. They were almost completely broke at the beginning of the session and reminded the stricken player all evening that he owed them big.

  25. I'm definitely going to use this in my upcoming Castles and Crusades campaign. Thanks!

  26. I'll be using this. Thanks!

  27. This is amazing and it's going in the Mishmash. Thanks! :D

  28. Been using this in my current C&C campaign and man are the players working it over like a $2 whore (which seems appropriate).

    Finally got a substantial penalty with one PC getting a quest!

    They are lovin' it though.