The tone of your town’s local tavern often sets the table for the entire city encounter. Do you want a raucous watering hole or a young Halfling’s ho-hum lemonade stand? Well, your DM prep may ultimately answer that particular question. Ben mulled over his options and ultimately came up with a pretty good plan. Maybe you’ll agree. Let’s see.
Two important components make up a lively bar atmosphere: a high stakes game of chance and lots of noise. Sprinkle those ingredients into your own encounter and success is sure to follow.
With that said, Ben chose the classic Left Center Right – a quick and easy dice game that several of the guys had played on previous neighborhood game nights. It’s a quick to play (20 minutes-ish). The rules are simple. Setup is a snap. And best of all, there’s definitely a fun way to apply this game to our RPG tavern setting.
Left Center Right
Our pals over at Board Game Geek give us the best explanation of the LCR dice game.
“This game consists of three dice and a set of poker chips. Each player starts with three chips and on their turn a player rolls the three dice. For each “L” rolled, they give a chip to the player on their left. For each “R” rolled, they give a chip to the player on their right. For each “C” rolled they put a chip in the middle of the table. For each dot rolled, nothing occurs. The dice are then passed to the next (clockwise) player. If at any point, only one player has all of the chips, that player wins the game.”
Left Center Right isn’t exactly a name suitable for D&D. So let’s swap that title out for a rousing RPG tavern dice game of Duck, Dodge and Perry.
Step 1: find a Nicolas Cage look-alike for your bartender…just kidding. Actually, the first move is to set the narrative. Ben’s group has just completed Thunderspire Labyrinth and traveled back to town for some much needed R&R (rest and re-supply). By defeating the evil acolyte mage, Paldemar, the group has achieved celebrity status overnight.
The DM reads the following:
“You mosey into the bustling Halfmoon Inn. An immediate hush falls over the once loud crowd. Seconds later, a cheer erupts and the party is swarmed by hearty pats on the back and bottomless pints of ale. It seems everyone wants a moment with Thunderspire’s newest heroes.
You notice a rather surly group amassed around a large table. It seems a high stakes game of chance is about to begin. Several bumbling bar patrons chide the group into playing a classic round of Duck, Dodge and Perry. Clearly the town simpletons are eager to brag about defeating such a mighty group of warriors…albeit at something other than swordplay.
Nearly three sheets to the wind and stuffed with testosterone, there’s no way any of you can resist such an easy challenge.
LCR is going to play just as it would in today’s dull modern world. Per character buy-in will be a robust 500 gold pieces. However, to ensure the final pot has some real personal meaning, all winnings will be non-transferrable…otherwise, there’s really no point to our little game of chance. So, whatever you win, sticks with your own character (sorry, no party sharing/winnings redistribution after the fact).
The pot is where we’re going to get especially creative. Ben is going to swap out those boring poker chips and their monetary value (typically quarters or dollar bills) with some salivating game play boosts.
To simulate all sorts of wacky onlooker side bets, creative buy-ins and overall crowd calamity, Ben will toss in a surprise, quirky treasure into the pot on each round (for up to 8 rounds). If the game starts to go a little too quick, just reveal the remaining treasure on the last potential game-ending roll.
Here’s what’s up for grabs:
- Fortune Cards | get two rare cards
- Lucky Charm Item Card | good for one re-roll
- Healing Potion | good for 10 non-surge HPs
- Extra Damage Die | tack on 1d12 damage to an attack
- Extra Action Point | play a second AP in an encounter
- Second Wind | take that surge as a free action
- 500 GP Coin | get some spending money back
There’s nothing wrong with a player wanting ALL the treasure. Sure, sharing loot among the group is logically the most diplomatic and strategic. However, this time you actually have an honest reason to be that greedy player. Fear not – you earned it.
Next week we’ll move onto our next homebrewed outdoor encounter on the treacherous road towards the Pyramid of Shadows.
Questions to Ponder: What kinds of traditional games have you played in your own D&D taverns? Ever play LCR with some friends? Ever try Dungeons & Dragons Inn Fighting Dice Game or Three-Dragon Ante? Would you recommend these WotC products to a friend? What did you think of our colorful rewards? What would you add to sweeten the Duck, Dodge and Perry pot?