Warhammer fantasy roleoplay

During games of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, I have often found it a challenge when players announce that they are heading to the nearest tavern, often resorting to reusing a place from a Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay adventure or handwaving the details if I am not feeling particularly inspired. Should the tavern be a source of hazards such as poor-quality fare or criminal customers, or would that be needlessly and unfairly making life harder for the players? Ought it to meet the expectations of the players in that it merely serves as a convenient place to pass time before the next notable happenstance of an adventure, or ought a tavern be a place with interesting features of its own that might well offer distraction?

The Taverns of the Old World article is designed to help GMs in a similar situation. By using this guide a GM can let the dice do the work for them, and if it happens that a resulting tavern is a rather humdrum and uncomplicated place to stay, or a source of extra difficulties and disturbances then, well, that is the fault of the dice rather than the caprice of the GM.

Inside pg 1 Taverns of the Old World

With this guide to hand all a GM needs is a minute or two to work out what distinguishes this tavern from the multitude of other inns, hostelries, and emporiums found throughout the Empire and beyond. Players could even help speed the process up if a convenient tavern needs to be generated during a game. The GM should reserve the right to generate things like quirks and customers, as these could well include some nasty surprises for an unsuspecting party, but factors like the inn’s vital statistics, what food and drink they serve, what rooms they have available, and so on, could be worked out by players whilst the GM decides on the more complicated details.

So, say my players wanted to head to the nearest place in an unfamiliar part of a city such as Middenheim. 

The first roll is a four, so the venue is a Brass Tier place.

The next roll is a 50, so the tavern is called The Seven Emperors (a reference to a particularly busy and bloody year of the Empire’s history).

The next table determines the general look and feel of the place. Because the tavern is a Brass Tier venue, I roll an unmodified d10. The score is a one, so the place is a dreadful dive (of which there are a fair few in Middenheim).

Inside pg 2 Taverns of the Old World

Quirks are optional and add a distinctive detail to the tavern. They may have some bearing on staff, fare and so on (which is why they are included towards the start of the process rather than the end). A tavern could have no quirks or several, but I’ll keep it to one. Because the tavern is Brass Tier, I roll an unmodified 2d10. The score is 20, meaning that any food served here will be of Poor Quality, and could potentially lead to customers feeling rather peaky.

Now it is time to find out what staff and services are at the venue, so I roll four times to generate the vital stats, scoring four, two, ten, and nine. The inn has a Skeleton Staff (a Poor Landlord and a Menial to help should suit, and small wonder the food is bad), it sells Small Beer and Simple Meals (bowls of lukewarm potage with bits of stale mutton I reckon), has two private rooms and a common room that can fit twelve guests (though a night’s stay could result in Itching Pox from the lice).

Capacity is the next thing to determine. Brass Tier places can vary a lot in terms of how many guests can sit in the bar. I roll a nine, meaning there are four tables and a booth in the barroom. As for what entertainment there is to be had here, I roll a five and a ten. This means that customers often play Scarlet Empress and that folk music sessions sometimes take place here.

For customers, I decide that two of the tables and one of the booths will be occupied when the Characters enter. Because the tavern is Brass Tier, I roll an unmodified 2d10 for each group of customers.

The first roll is an 11, four locals enjoying a drink.

Next a 14, a criminal customer, requiring a second roll on the relevant table, which is a nine. One of the folks here is a cutpurse, meaning I can try to relieve a player or two of their hard-earned shillings — and if they don’t like that the dice can take the blame!

The third and final roll is a four, a gang of four Radical Loudmouths. This being Middenheim they may well be New Millennialists out to inspire revolutionary fervour, or maybe hardline Ulricans who won’t take kindly to anyone talking kindly of Sigmar and his cult.

So welcome to The Seven Emperors, one of the most unappealing hostelries in Middenheim (though there is plenty of competition — and it is probably a nicer place than The Drowned Rat and on a par with The Pit and Bretonnian House). This inn is untidy, dank, mouldy, and, perched up there on the Fauschlag as it is, permanently and bone-chillingly cold. There is food and board available, but you would risk your health if you were to eat or sleep here. The ale is watered down (though at least it can be imbibed without risking further illness). The two members of staff are complacent and unqualified but will supply cards if you fancy a game of Scarlet Empress, and they play host to some local amateur musicians each Festag evening. The customers enjoy a drink and a lively rant about politics, but one of them may well try to make off with your purse if you aren’t taking good care of it.

out now Taverns