Thursday, March 27, 2014

Shot, Shot, Shot! Taverns for the Win.

One of the reoccurring themes I've noticed in stories about the creators of Dungeons and Dragons is that they tended to hang out in bars after work talking about the news of the day - whether that was the latest game to cross their radars or the newest political scandal. So it seems that a natural extension of this in the game would be the Tavern.

And why not?

Up until the advent of the internet and smart phones you went to the bar to meet people and get into incredibly stupid situations with a high potential for death. Speaking just for myself I've had knives pulled on me in bars, dodged chairs flung from across the room, been hit on by gay men and transvestite hookers, and insulted a biker gang for their pussy-assed bikes.  So it makes sense to me that walking into a smoke filled bar looking for trouble would lead to adventure - but in many ways those days are over.

Today when you walk into a bar you can see everything because there is no smoke to obscure the vomit stains on the walls or the blood on the floor. You can hear everybody too, because no one's talking; they're all too busy surfing the internet on their phones and playing Candy Crush. So it's not surprising that newer players bitch about the tavern concept because it a trite, played out methodology used by tired old Dungeon Masters.

Yeah, well, I'm a Dungeon Master who uses fucking taverns because I still remember when they were fun. I remember getting blind drunk while my roommate got in a fight with a three hundred pound body builder and I finished both their drinks before I left the bar with the body builder's girlfriend. I remember trying to ride an ox that a drunken cowboy had ridden there and tied to the front of the bar on a five dollar bet. I remember watching two girls beat the shit out of a guy who'd been fucking both of them.

I run my taverns like the bars I remember.

I have nice places where you couldn't get drunk without getting kicked out and nasty, disgusting dives where if you don't have a knife or a gun they give you one at the door. I have bouncers and barmaids who give as good as they take and I bring in all the people who sat in those bars I used to frequent. And yeah, I have a lot of drug dealers and gangs that crop up in there because I've seen a lot of them.

What I'm saying here is that if the taverns you're using in your games aren't exciting then you have no one but yourself to blame. Bars, taverns, saloons and the like are where adventures started for centuries because where alcohol and people looking for trouble meet bad things happen. So stop running trite, boring shit and crank up the excitement. 

8 comments:

  1. Haha that made me nostalgic :P
    On topic: you're very right, anything be exciting - if you make it exciting. Including the tired old tropes.
    (invert, subvert, avert them!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's the thing is that so many people just say, "Well, you're in a bar," and leave it at that. They need to remember that bars can be dangerous and exciting and wonderful.

      Maybe I just spent too much of my 20s in bars?

      Delete
    2. So I walked outside into the street
      From a hall I heard thunder and screams
      I walked inside so I could hear
      and the guy beside me gave me a beer

      He had his fist up in the air
      and called me brother said my friends
      are over there

      :)

      Delete
    3. Fuck, that's my life right there!

      Delete
  2. Ahahahaha Charles! Beyond that I fully agree with the sense of your post and I think that bars, taverns and inns are one of the best parts to play and take advantage in the RPG, I wonder what the hell kind of places do you hang, or did you attend! ;)

    Although I do not doubt that there may be local "disreputable" and I also attended/participated in some particular scene in a local, I have to say that some of the episodes that you tell are far beyond my misadventures! :)

    The problem with smartphones and tablets, however, is not reduced for indoor use only, but unfortunately also in the middle of the streets, in schools, etc... etc...

    These young people, and lately not only young people, do not know what they lose in being always attached to these devices, and tells you someone who has always been interested in technology and kept up to date, but I use them when I need and not to the extent invasive towards others.

    I love being with people, interact with them and have fun with them, but when I see groups of young people all with their heads bent over their smartphone or people at the table in a restaurant that is more attentive to the ringing of his cell phone rather than the company at the table I just feel a great sadness.

    P.S. Excuse me if I made grammatical errors, but when I put down long arguments in English there is always the risk that write crap or something wrong! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Although I do not doubt that there may be local "disreputable" and I also attended/participated in some particular scene in a local, I have to say that some of the episodes that you tell are far beyond my misadventures!"

      When you grow up in a small town you find trouble; when you move to the big city that habit stays with you.

      "when I see groups of young people all with their heads bent over their smartphone or people at the table in a restaurant that is more attentive to the ringing of his cell phone rather than the company at the table I just feel a great sadness."

      Me too.

      Delete
  3. People still hang out in crappy bars don't they? It's been over 20 years since my one and only barfight, heck I donkt think I've even been in one for 5 or 6 years.
    I remeber one bar that used to be near my place of employment it was full of lowlife degenerates, hookers, thugs, and worse. I went there early one day when I was 19 or 20 walked up to the bar and ordered myself a cream soda (they were only 33 cents there as opposed to 50 cents in the convenience store down the street) the looks I got were priceless.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "People still hang out in crappy bars don't they?"

      Yeah, but now they keep their heads down and ignore the world around them. It's a damned shame.

      "I went there early one day when I was 19 or 20 walked up to the bar and ordered myself a cream soda (they were only 33 cents there as opposed to 50 cents in the convenience store down the street) the looks I got were priceless."

      My hero!

      Delete

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