View Full Version : The Plot Hook Tavern - everybody's invited!

08-06-2010, 06:39 AM
I hope you are all game for a laugh :)

Consider the hard-working DM who has taken weeks to craft his adventure which starts...predictably in a Tavern. Being the type of DM who doesn't want to railroad his players too much he has a number of locations which he would like the players to visit (whether voluntarily or not) immediately after they finish in the tavern. These locations are:

A graveyard
A spooky wood
A dragon's lair
A magician's tower

The adventure is a disaster. The players spend the night gambling at dice, and losing everything: their money, their weapons, their armour and finally their clothes. The evening's gaming ends when the players start a fight and end the night in the local lock-up. The frustrated DM stops the adventure and tells his players that he will be re-running it again. He comes to us for help. He needs a tavern where every person, object and location is a plot hook to get his wayward players to one of the 4 locations listed above.

Here is where I need your help. I'll start with a simple blank floor plan of the tavern and its immediate surroundings. Please pitch in with as many ideas about objects / locations / people - anything! That should go into the tavern map which can act as a plot hook to get the errant players where they should be going (the more humorous the better!). Just so you know, the way (I think - but please suggest) we can best present this is the map on one page with the objects / locations etc numbered, and another page with a legend describing how each location / object / person hooks the party so they HAVE to go to one of the four locations.

Fire away with your ideas and I'll put as many of them in as I can. For the first stage, can I have ideas about:

Rooms the tavern should have
Anything outside the tavern (e.g. well, stables, outdoor loo)
A good name for the Tavern. (The Plot Hook Tavern is just a temp name).

When you give your idea about the object / person / location etc, it would be really helpful if you could do it in the following format:

Object: Beer Keg 'Old Zombie'
Description: Drinking a pint of Old Zombie: If player rolls a 6 on a 1D6, he immediately rises from the table and heads to the graveyard, chanting the word 'brains'. Roll again for each pint drunk with a +1 modifier.

Please try to keep your description as brief as possible (I may edit for brevity / consistency).
If you want to post a .png of the object / person etc that would be fab as I can just drop it into the map (grayscale / .png format please).

I reckon at the end of this we'll end up with two maps, one without annotations as a player handout and one with for the DM.

Given the number of people (whom I hope) will contribute to the project, it would be unfair if this misbegotten child of a hundred parents should be put up for the vote, so this one is just for fun.

Looking forward to seeing your ideas! I'll give it a couple of days and once I have your ideas for rooms etc, will post a blank plan of the tavern and then we can start populating it with people and objects (although by all means start posting your ideas on people / objects etc as soon as you like).



08-06-2010, 07:33 AM
A proper DM would have no problem with the situation you sketched. The local authorities sentence the players to hard labour, such as digging graves or clearing a piece of a forest. Let the players figure out a way to get something to replace their equipment, that's what roleplaying is about.

It's a fun idea, but I personally prefer a roleplaying style where not everything is fixed beforehand. Flexibility and ingenuity on the sides of both players and DM is what counts.

08-06-2010, 09:20 AM
I would tend to agree with Fransie. Since the players have no idea what's going on the GM can change the plot/sequence of events to fit the current needs of the game without the players being wise to what's going on. Perhaps suggestions for ways to turn or twist the players decisions to fit the GM's needs would be of some help? They lost at gambling. What were the stakes? That would have been a great way to ensnare them into the service of either the magician, the dragon (avarice anyone?), or perhaps even the pixies (elves?) dwelling in the spooky wood who need help.

In the spirit of Ravells original request, may I suggest the following:

Object: Random coins strewn on floor
Trigger: Two or more coins must be picked up and placed in pocket/pouch/bag etc. on the possessor.
Description: If the possessor walks through a threshold of any sort (door, arch, garden gate, a pair of swords (staves) held up and crossed over a walkway, etc.) the coins will teleport the possessor and anything currently on them to a preset destination. The coins, however, will fall to the floor for the next fool to pickup.

In light of the fact that this tavern will be loaded with all sorts of what are essentially traps may I suggest the names Trapt Tavern or perhaps Deadfall Bar?

08-06-2010, 09:36 AM
This is a really fun idea. I'll see what I can come up with.

08-06-2010, 10:15 AM
The whole thing about the GM is complete fiction to give the idea a bit of colour! :0

This map is really just for laughs - how many ways can we railroad players on a map in a fun way?

08-06-2010, 11:03 AM
The Cursed Dartboard
The local wizard - tired of losing at darts to every rogue with an 18Dex - has placed a permanent Protection from Darts enchantment on the dartboard. He uses the only darts that circumvent the enchantment and has been winning consistently - much to everyone's consternation. He's been banned from the tavern, but the local dart hustler needs the enchantment reversed so that she can go back to winning her dinners.

Allain the dishboy
Allain is lazy. He doesn't like going into the forest to chop wood for the inn or washing dishes. One day a customer was unable to pay their tab and the innkeep - being a kind soul - let them pay for their dinner by doing menial tasks - like washing dishes and chopping wood. Now Allain is careful not to do it too often, but when he's feeling particularly slothful he looks for a likely looking mark and lifts their purse when they're enjoying their meal. When the customer finds out they can't pay the innkeep gives Allain the evening off, and makes them do his chores. Between that - and the steadily accumulating haul of stolen cash - Allain is doing pretty well. Today he's due to go and replenish the Inn's woodpile. It's dark. It's cold, and there are fell noises on the night air. He really can't be bothered going to to the woods and this group of loutish adventurers looks like just the right sort of meat-heads that would be great at chopping wood...

08-06-2010, 11:18 AM
lol! brilliant! Prof and Torstan. I guess I should add that future entries should be at least vaguely consistent with previous ones (or it will really do my head in). We know a little more about the wizard now - he's been banned from the Tavern, so we can't have him as a person in the tavern.

08-07-2010, 12:07 PM
The Odd Hatrack...

In the corner stands a hat rack. It is strange in appearance, slighlty fluted and somewhat irregular in shape... segmented and crusted with grime. During a lul in activities, the hat rack starts to twitch, causing those at the table nearest to jump up in alarm, knocking over their table and causing a general ruckus. As the patrons gaze on in stunned amazement, the hat rack shakes off any hats or cloaks hanging from it, then seems to "look" around the room, before creakily "walking" out of the inn and into the night. If the chracters follow the hat rack, which is actually an animated bone construct, it will lead them into an old, overgrown section of the local graveyard, where some form of graveyard hijinx ensue. If they choose to ignore it, the inn soon comes under assault by undead creatures of various and assorted shapes and sizes, who will no doubt cause much damage to the inn and its patrons before the characters defeat it. The nemesis is, of course, an evil necromancer, recently moved into town as a beef butcher.

08-07-2010, 02:30 PM
Object: Old porcelain pitcher, white in colour, a scorch mark on one side, chipped on rim with a blue line running around below the edge.
Trigger: Filling the pitcher with water
Description: Neela, one of the serving girls, found an old pitcher in the storeroom one busy night. As they needed the extra serving ware she asked Allain to wash it out. Allain, being overworked that night and in a less than charitable mood, filled it with soapy water and set it to the side to soak out some stains inside the pitcher. When he came back to the pitcher Allain found it filled with a deep nut brown ale. Looking about furtively, he took a quick swig - and promptly spat out the soapy ale. Thinking it was a joke, and a poor one at that, Allain rinsed the pitcher out and filled it with clean water and was then distracted by yet more dishes. When the overworked drudge turned his attention back to the pitcher he once again found it filled with a wonderfully smelling deep, nut brown ale. He sniffed it cautiously and, scenting no soap this time, took a tentative sip. Allain was in heaven. This was the best ale he had ever tasted. Allain quickly stashed the pitcher behind some other stacks of dishes. For the rest of that night the serving girls found Allain to be in an uncommonly good humor.

Allain keeps this pitcher for his own private use. As it looks old and beat up the innkeeper isn't all that concerned about it. Every so often, on a busy night, one of the serving girls will grab this pitcher to pour drinks with. Allain always grabs it back as soon as possible. Experimentation has shown that it only turns water into ale and has no effect on any other liquid poured into the pitcher. The ale can be poured into any other serving utensil (i.e. mug or cup) and retain it's full quality. What Allain hasn't yet realized is that the ale produced by the pitcher is a healing potion and will have a beneficial effect on anyone drinking it. The magician created this for his own private use as a quick restorative when his experiments went awry or his familiar got out of hand. He's been missing it for a couple of moons now and would like it back. How it arrived in the tavern's storeroom is open to conjecture though the prime suspects are the magician's familiar and the magician's housekeeper.

08-07-2010, 02:53 PM
Tee hee. Here's the first image (just playing with ideas) of what the layout might look like with people / objects numbered. I'm using Devin's characters. Thanks Devin!

08-07-2010, 03:34 PM
I just want to say this is a really cool idea.
I don't have any ideas yet, but we'll see what happens after things percolate a bit. I'll see if I can remember some of the stuff from my gaming days.. (yikes, 20 years ago!)

08-07-2010, 05:12 PM
Lol, just like me then. Here's the next update (just general stuff)....keep those ideas coming!

### Latest WIP ###

08-07-2010, 09:34 PM
How about:

Object: The Alemap
Description: A group of patrons, adventurers by their gear, are ejected after a dustup with an ancient, and likely senile, dwarf. On the surface of the table they recently occupied can be seen what appears to be a map scrawled in ale and decorated with various tavern snacks and other odd bits. If examined it's clear that the map purports to lead to treasure...but is it real, or just the fanciful imagination of an old Dwarf?

Edit: The aforementioned map is left as an exercise for the reader...er, cartographer.

Great idea, BTW. Looking forward to seeing this awesome - the home station of the DM railway. Might even use it someday!

08-09-2010, 03:42 PM
Object - Three-legged creaky stool
Trigger - Sitting upon the stool
Description - The stool doesn't really fit the rest of the decor of the Deadfall Inn nor is there any particular table to put it at. Typically, when it's found in the common room, the stool is relegated to the corner out of the way unless it's needed for one of the Deadfall Inn's shorter patrons or someone just wants to prop their feet up.

When the stool is sat upon there is a one-in-four chance that the sitter will be magically glued to the seat. This increases to a one-in-two chance if the sitter resembles a soldier-for-hire. It will be impossible to remove them from the stool short of a high level remove curse spell. A short time later the stool will begin to rock back and forth on it's own and then suddenly burst for the door at full speed. The stool makes no deviations around patrons or furniture, it simply makes a bee-line for the nearest exit. The sitter is then treated to the ride of their life on a small, rickety, wooden seat close to the ground and moving at the speed of a galloping horse. While there have been attempts to stop the stool, most typically by the rider digging in their booted heels, this just results in broken ropes, scattered people and debris or, in the case of the rider digging in their heels, twin furrows left in the surface of the road itself.

The stool was created by fairies in the haunted wood who are looking for great warriors to help them rid their woods of the evil that has taken root within. Every so often the stool will bring a likely candidate to the attention of the fairies. What has happened afterwards is unknown as none have returned to tell the tale.

08-09-2010, 04:23 PM
Love 'em! especially the stool! I'll pop them in! Thanks!

08-16-2010, 11:41 AM
I'm going on a little diversion with this and trying to do the tavern in a cut-away style, not using 3d modelling but old fashion perspective grids. It's a pain in the butt (particularly if something is not at an exact right angle), but let's see how far I get!

I'm going to try to paint it up at the end...

08-16-2010, 11:55 AM
This looks really cool - and I can see that you'll be regretting that angled wall! Great job though.

Steel General
08-16-2010, 01:15 PM
I'm going on a little diversion with this and trying to do the tavern in a cut-away style, not using 3d modelling but old fashion perspective grids.

You are insane, but in a good way! :D

08-17-2010, 06:23 PM
Awesome I also kick my heels to spur you on!!! :)

08-17-2010, 06:38 PM
Don't laugh, but I've decided I have to draw stuff to make this work. I want to get people in the picture.... anyway in-between work today I started sketching again...I used to be OK at this but I'm now so use to a mouse and and keyboard I barely ever hold a pen (I used to be very keen on Calligraphy).

So, I've made my mind up that I'll do at least an hour of sketching a day.

The pictures are dreadful....but I hope they will improve with time and LOTS of practice.

08-17-2010, 07:16 PM
still better than i could do...lol

08-17-2010, 07:37 PM
That's some good advice, I should probably get back to sketching as well. I like the cricket guy.

08-18-2010, 09:15 AM
We're of to see the Dragon... the wonderful dragon of ... pain?

Object: Deck of Cards
Description: An old deck of cards are available at the inn. The cards have been there for years and are well worn. What nobody has realised however is that most of the deck of cards are actually magic and more important - intelleligent (the deck is not complete however and has been stacked with normal cards to have a full deck). The magic cards communicate through their suits/images on them. They can show anything but "speaks" "iconic" - meaning they always look like things you'd find on a card. Now the cards have awaken from a long slumber reacting to a heros (players) touch and are now, through showing cards to the player, telling him where to go to find a dragons treasure where the missing cards of the decks reside. When reunited with the original cards, the deck completed, true sentience is achieved and the cards will be a powerfull devination item.

Steel General
08-18-2010, 09:26 AM
@Tilt - reminds me of a Deck of Many Things from D&D

08-18-2010, 09:31 AM
@SG - maybe its a close cousin? ;)

08-18-2010, 08:37 PM
... telling him where to go to find a dragons treasure where the missing cards of the decks reside.

So, what I'm getting here is that our hero's aren't playing with a full deck? ;)

08-23-2010, 11:06 PM
Actually, this deck sounds like pretty reasonable item, sort of an intelligent Tarot deck, as opposed the old Deck of Campaign Destruction.

08-23-2010, 11:24 PM
The deck is a cool idea, tho such an item must be treated carefully (by the DM)... They would need to take care that such "divination" isn't giving to much away, lest your game can become quite bland for the players. Very abstract and open for interpretation would be the key I guess