We live in strange times where each of us has had to find a way to augment our normal day-to-day rituals. Adapting to the current climate has been tricky to say the least, with work and social lives changing in big and small ways. If you’re reading this sometime in the future and don’t know what I mean, that’s great! I hope your gang of road warriors is the terror of the cities that once were. Shiny and chrome!
For me, though, the biggest impact has been on my street at night. Where once were neon signs of different typography illuminating bare brick walls for a dive bar or the wooden facade with a name engraved above the door to let potential customers know that civilized people play pool and yell here, the neighborhood’s watering holes have gone silent. While much of New York is quieter, the absence of someone laughing too loud or yelling “Wooo!” for an instance that, under normal circumstances, would not necessitate a “wooo” is like a deafening wave of silence crashing on the street. I can feel the absence of the stupid jokes, the drama whisper-yelled to a friend one foot away and countless other indicators that mistakes are being made and good times are being had. I can feel it in my soul.
So I did what anyone in my situation would do (that situation being people in quarantine who occasionally still game online and are also part of a podcast where we make supplements for games, okay yeah pretty specific) and thought “if I can’t find a place to have a drink in reality, maybe I can find one in the realm of imagination” and made a supplement called Whatchya’ Having? for bars and drinks to be used in games.
What my therapist would call a “red flag” is an opportunity for you to alleviate yourself of some of the guesswork of what the deal is with every saloon, tavern and bar your players expect you to come up with. A simple system for quantifying what a place’s crowd is like and the general vibe is summed up, as well as some example establishments and drinks to round out the experience, or at least act as a stepping off point to help bring the “life” into your game’s nightlife.
Available for free to our Patreon members for $5 and up, I hope it gives you one less thing to worry about when you sit down, notes in hand, ready to guide your players on a fantastical adventure only to have them ignore your crafted plot and say “We go to the tavern.”
Then all you have to say is “Whatchya’ having?”
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