I know, "you all start at a tavern" is a cliché. But that's a good thing.
You need to start your game in some physical location. The location will feel like a natural choice if it's a natural meeting place. A tavern is a good choice because that's exactly its purpose: a meeting place for many people.
More importantly, we're going to make the tavern part of the story.
The Tavern Itself
Okay, you'll need to figure out a few things about the tavern:
- Its name
- Who runs it
- Where it is (the name of the town it's in)
- How big it is
- What cool advantage it can give the player-characters.
You only need a few words for the first four of these. Search the web for lists of tavern names, fantasy character names, and town names, and just take whatever sounds cool to you.
I did a bit of digging and came up with the following: the Dancing Stag, owned by Olaf, is a simple 1-story tavern with a single common room and a small kitchen that stands on the main corner in the small village of Goldhaven.
Some DMs take this opportunity to flesh out the town or village that the tavern's in, describing all the nearby shops and NPCs. Resist this urge. You can make that up later. If you really want to, go ahead and find a village map online and figure out a few details, but only spend time on this if you need to. Plenty of other things need your time.
The "cool advantage" is some object or power that the PCs can take advantage of, if they're paying attention enough to realize it. You're not going to hide it, but you're not going to tell them up-front, "Do this to get a bonus of +2 on your attacks."
Some examples of cool advantages include:
- A keg of special beer
- A traveling cleric who will cast a buff spell
- A sword hung over the bar
- A shipment of healing herbs waiting for pickup
- The bartender is an ex-adventurer who will join a fight if it breaks out
Next, you need to decide on something that's attacking the tavern. this will be a simple threat, and here are a few easy options:
Why are they attacking the tavern? Because Kogo the Awful, leader of a group of goblins (or bandits, or cultists, or zombies) is raiding the village for both loot and prisoners.
He's not looking for a particular person or treasure. This is important! If he's just after a jewel, the PCs can destroy the jewel and he'll go away. This needs to be an existential threat to the town, where the PCs have to defeat Kogo to make him stop.
Also, Kogo and his minions has to be taking villagers away, because this will draw the PCs away from the village and towards a showdown.
Kogo is the first faction in your game!
If you've been reading my other posts in this series, you'll know that we've already established Kogo as the shaman leader of a tribe of goblins. You can use that or invent your own group and leader.
So! Your tavern now has a name, an owner, a town it sits in, a cool twist, and a threat. You're just about ready to run it.
You need to define just one more thing. The villain and his followers will drag villagers away. But where will they drag them to? That's the subject of the next post: defining the enemy's lair.
What Is This?
This site is dedicated to intellectual reviews and analysis of geek topics, including anime, video games, novels, and tabletop RPGs.
Live ShowsVideo Gaming Sundays
4:00P.M. Pacific / 7:00P.M. Eastern / Midnight GMT
6:00P.M. Pacific / 9:00P.M. Eastern / 2:00A.M. GMT
Worldbuilding & Workshop Wednesday
5:00P.M. Pacific / 8:00P.M. Eastern / 1:00A.M. GMT
6:00P.M. Pacific / 9:00P.M. Eastern / 2:00A.M. GMT
Popular Tagsanime news review Role-playing gundam Faction video games Monsters faction monsters Let's Play an Interesting RPG drawing Uncategorized workshop boogiepop Random Idea 50 Games in 50 Weeks Pyre Game Design Hour Shattered World basics GM Advice Tarakona Prescriptions gm advice gunpla serial experiments lain
- September 2018
- The bizarre anthology film NEO TOKYO - Anime Review
- Why I love DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS
- News: MR. OSOMATSU, FAFNER, YONA YONA PENGUIN, and more!
- Why I love the original KING KONG
- A slice-of-cafe series? Review of YOTSUIRO BIYORI
- News: New EL HAZARD? SAO Movie in US Theaters! More!
- Why I love the PRYDAIN CHRONICLES
- What impact will 3D printing have on model kits? - The Great Debate
- The incrediby ecchi 1+2=PARADISE - Anime Review
- News: New KYOANI Series! BUNGO STRAY DOGS S3!
- Why are there so few horror anime? - The Great Debate
- Why I love SCOTT PILGRIM (the comic)
- This is pure slice-of-life: QUIET COUNTRY CAFÉ / YOKOHAMA KAIDASHI KIKOU
- News: More STRIKE WITCHES! COWBOY BEBOP and DRAGONBALL in Theaters!
- Why I love the manga of Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind
- The obscure, thoughtful SF OVA SPACE FANTASIA 2001 NIGHTS - Anime Review
- News: VIOLET EVERGARDEN Movie! PIANO FOREST S2! CAPTAIN TSUBASA on US TV!
- How to Redeem the SyFy Channel - The Great Debate
- Dubs are made for stupid people - Dramatic Reading
- Why I love Mystery Science Theater 3000
- The pervy fantasy of MAZE (OVA) - Anime Review
- News: GOLDEN KAMUY S2! New Tite Kubo Manga!
- The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao - Book Review
- Otaku no Cooking: Rice burgers
- How do we encourage fans to financially support the anime industry? - The Great Debate
- What fanservice should learn from Tenchi Muyo!
- The perverse yet fascinating WICKED CITY - Anime Review
- News: New Anime; Season 2 for GURAZENI, REAL GIRL, MOROSE MONOKEAN, more!
- Live stream announcement
- What Tenchi Muyo! series should you start with?
- DVD is not worth the hype - Dramatic Reading
- The Complimentary: Yotsuba&!
- The Anime Western GUN FRONTIER - Anime Review
- What Western properties would make great anime? - The Great Debate
- Botched Miyazaki dubs - Dramatic Reading
- Tenchi Muyo! - Why you should care
- An anime Western? Review of EARLY REINS
- News: SIX New Anime Announced!
- Celebrities endorsing anime - The Great Debate
- Butt ugly character design - Dramatic Reading
- Making Japanese potato salad balls - Otaku no Cooking
- The finality of CHAR'S COUNTERATTACK - Anime Review
- News: New anime! BEAN BANDIT Kickstarter! LAND OF THE LUSTROUS Streaming! GHIBLI Documentary!
- Bacon-wrapped veggies? Yes! Making NIKUMAKI on Otaku no Cooking
- Anime Expo: Is it worth it? - Dramatic Reading
- What's so impressive about STARSHIP TROOPERS (the novel) - Complimentary
- The upbeat slice-of-life THE STELLAR SIX OF GINGACHO - Manga Review
- News: MESHI NUMA Anime! BANG DREAM Seasons 2 and 3! New YAMATO TV!
- Kenner's Alternate Star Wars Timeline - Complimentary
- Bootleg CDs are moral to buy - Dramatic Reading
- Making Naruto Rolls - Otaku no Cooking
- The live-action epic TO THE ENDS OF TIME - Movie Review
- News: 2 New Anime Films! More FREE! More Writers for LUPIN PART 5!
- Leave anime anime and live action out of it - Dramatic Reading
- Will we get another Hayao Miyazaki? - Great Debate
- The sweetly controversial manga BUNNY DROP - Manga Review
- News: New SHIROBAKO! More DIGIMON! More YU YU HAKUSHO details!
- The Positive Aspects of Anime Fandom - Great Debate
- Elitists Just Love Bashing Hentai - Dramatic Reading
- The psychological thriller THE GARDEN OF SINNERS / Kara no Kyoukai (movie 1) - Anime Review
- News: GHIBLI PARK Details, BEAN BANDIT Anime, GUNSMITH CATS Blu-Ray, and more!
- Spring 2018 Anime Preview Guide
- News: New Studio DEEN Anime, MIRAI OF THE FUTURE Premiere, and more!
- Anime Genres Poised for Comeback - The Great Debate
- Do not buy anime on DVD - Dramatic Reading
- Isao Takahata's Passing and Legacy - The Backstory
- Vampire Princess Miyu (OVA) - Anime Review
- News: Takahata passes, Japanese govt. asks ISPs to block pirate manga sites, and more
- When Real Life Meets Anime - The Great Debate
- Once You Hear the Difference.... - Dramatic Reading
- News: Final GUNDAM THE ORIGIN (maybe), MAERCHEN MAEDCHEN final eps in question, and more
- Fanservice - The Great Debate
- News: New DORORO and FLCL info! And GINTAMA coming to its end?
- Harem Anime - The Great Debate
- G-Gundam Made a Horrible Gundam - Dramatic Reading
- Usagi Ringo - Otaku no Cooking
- The epic art house film ROYAL SPACE FORCE: THE WINGS OF HONNEAMISE - Anime Review
- News: Tons of new anime, including BOOGIEPOP, TIGER & BUNNY, CARDFIGHT VANGUARD, and more!
- What does anime do poorly? - The Great Debate
- Macross Anniversary BLOWN - Dramatic Reading
- The surprisingly quiet THE DISAPPEARANCE OF NAGATO YUKI-CHAN - Manga Review
- News: Lots of New Anime Announced, including MAMORU OSHII and IKUHARA! Plus KISHIMOTO's next work!
- Why screwball comedies so popular in anime? - Great Debate
- Evangelion's Last 2 Episodes Will NEVER Be Released - Dramatic Reading
- The experimental weirdness of THE CHOCOLATE PANIC PICTURE SHOW - Anime Review
- News: New Anime Announced! Mari Okada's First Film Released! 2 Big Anime Films on Netflix!
- Why is there so much fantasy anime now? - The Great Debate
- Mononoke Hime DISSED - Salty Waters (Dramatic Reading)
- The post-apocalyptic slice-of-life comedy GIRLS' LAST TOUR - Anime Review
- News: New Anime Coming and Licensed, details on SWORD ART ONLINE live-action, and more!
- Internationalization of Anime - The Great Debate
- How can fans grow anime fandom? - Great Debate
- Bandai in America - Salty Waters (Dramatic Reading)
- 2018 Winter Anime Preview Guide
- News: New Anime Announced! MONSTER MUSUME almost sold out in UK! FMA live-action on NETFLIX!
- News: FREE in US theaters! New BAR HUNTER franchise! CELLS AT WORK gets an anime!
- How can the anime industry get more Western fans? - The Great Debate
- Anime Stagnation - Salty Waters (Dramatic Reading)
- The ecchi action comedy CUTIE HONEY (1973) - Anime Review
- News: New MIYAZAKI! TANYA THE EVIL movie! SILENT VOICE in US theaters Feb 2! GODZILLA!
- The Great Debate: Why is the manga "always better"?
- Salty Waters: Thumbs Down on Akira and Ghost in the Shell
- The absurd slice-of-life comedy A SISTER'S ALL YOU NEED - Anime Review
- News: Anime Strike Shuts Down! New TIGER AND BUNNY and LOVE LIVE SUNSHINE! VIOLET EVERGARDEN dates!
- Questions and Answers for 2017
- The avant garde symbolism of Mamoru Oshii's ANGEL'S EGG - Anime Review
- News: CRUNCHYROLL simulcasts! SENTAI licenses TAKUNOMI! New NON NON BIYORI!
- Salty Waters (Dramatic Reading): Monster Pocket Mind Control
- A novel about the anime industry: ANIME SUPREMACY! - Novel Review
- News: HOSODA's films streaming! Live-action ONE PIECE! New CUTIE HONEY!
- Salty Tears: Mortal Sin
- Moebius's psychedelic space epic WORLD OF EDENA - Comic Review
- The sweet online romance RECOVERY OF AN MMO JUNKIE - Anime Review
- News: Simulcasts! MAMORU HOSODA's next film! VIOLET EVERGARDEN Jan. 10!
- Dramatic Reading of Old Anime Posts: 10 Years After
- Anime Soup Premiere! Weird clips from this week's anime
- Re:Monster vs. Reincarnated as Slime vs. How to Build a Dungeon volumes 1 - Manga Review
- News! MIYAZAKI's next film, new CARDCAPTORS on CR, BATMAN NINJA, and more!
- News: Live-Action FMA, KENSHIN Creator Possessed Child Pr0n?, POKÉMON movie makes $2.4M, and more
- The D&D comedy RUNE SOLDIER LOUIE - Anime Review
- Dramatic Reading of Old Anime Threads: Blind Faith in Disney
- Dramatic Reading of Old Anime Threads: Missing Millions
- The beautiful arthouse film THE TALE OF PRINCESS KAGUYA - Anime Review
- News: Anime at the Oscars, CR adds Star Blazers and gets hacked, and more
- News: Cameron's ALITA! DEADPOOL is PIKACHU!
- How to Run Stranger Things in The Whispering Road
- The adult competence of BLADE RUNNER: BLACK OUT 2022 - Anime Review
- News! More on HAYAO MIYAZAKI's next film! Possible SATOSHI KON adaptation! More FREE!
- The comedic horror of GEGEGE NO KITARO - Manga Review
- Why I Stopped Watching RE:CREATORS - Anime Review, eps 1-9
- A Dramatic Reading of an Old Anime Thread: More Violence
- Anime news! Industry sales high, Haruhi Suzumiya back at CR, and more
- Boogiepop Phantom vs. Serial Experiments Lain: How Similar Are They?
- Dramatic Reading of Old Anime Threads: I Resent Akira
- The historical comedy NINJA GIRL AND SAMURAI MASTER - Anime Review
- News: New Kawamori Anime! 30 New Anime From Netflix! More!
- A Dramatic Reading of Old Anime Threads: Armageddon
- Fall 2017 Anime Preview Guide! 21 Anime!
- News! New ASHITA NO JOE and MAJOR! LITTLE BUSTERS visual novel in America!
- Why I Stopped Watching Re:Creators (review of eps 1-9)
- News! INDEX! MAZINGER! MY-HIME!
- December 2017