A hush fell over the bar. Everyone turned to watch, tensing for the likely outcome. Hands slowly, nonchalantly, moved to grip bottles and tankards. A single voice hacked through the heavy silence, “Say that again. Say it to my face!” Any second now the tavern would descend into a flurry of shattered furniture and brawling figures. All it would take was one punch…
The scene is familiar: the heroes are in a seedy bar, drinking so copiously one would think their liver personally offended them. An offhand comment is made, perhaps by the adventurers or perhaps at their expense. Suddenly there are chairs flying and bottles being broken over heads as a bar brawl erupts. Bar brawls are iconic, but can be tricky in Dungeons & Dragons. Most bars that cater to adventurers should realistically require weaponry to be checked at the door, which would restricting the use of powers and class features. Choosing appropriate monsters on the fly for a bar fight can be awkward; enemies cannot be so potent as to seriously threaten the lives of the weaponless PCs – especially if they have been drinking – but neither can they be paper tigers to be casually brushed aside by the adventurers. And if the bar brawl was unplanned there might be an uncomfortable delay while the GM finds statblocks or responds to improvised actions. The aim of this article is to provide a handful of simple options to turn your next bar brawl into an exciting diversion or full-fledged combat.
With the changes to diseases and DCs in the Rules Compendium the Intoxication track also needed to be revised.
Weapons & Powers
Any innkeeper worth his apron knows that when the humanoid tin can with the six-foot length of sharpened metal or the man in the dress covered in stars with a matching pointy hat tries to walk through the door of your inn you look gruff and point to the “no spells, no swords” sign. But a good adventurer is never truly unarmed.
Improvised Weapons, One-Handed
|Bottle, full||n/a||1d4||5/10||1 lb.||Mace||Light thrown|
|Bottle, broken||n/a||1d4||–||1/2 lb.||Light blade||Off-hand|
|Cooking knife||n/a||1d4||4/8||1 lb.||Light blade||Light thrown|
Improvised Weapons, Two-Handed
|Billiards cue||n/a||1d8||–||1 lb.||Mace, Spear||–|
|Chair||n/a||1d6||4/8||7 lb.||Mace||Heavy thrown|
|Mounted antlers||n/a||1d8||–||5 lbs.||Heavy blade||High crit|
In addition to improvised weaponry, there are a number of special attacks characters can employ while in a bar brawl. Most require specific improvised weapons, terrain, or situation. These are designed to compensate for the lack of standard weaponry in a bar fight.
New Monsters, Bar Brawlers
A bar brawl is nothing without people to attack. These foes are designed for tavern brawls, with fewer than average hit points to reduce grind and make for a faster brawl.
- Aquatic Adventures III: Rules
- Dungeons & Flagons: Alcohol Rules for Dungeons & Dragons 4e
- Multiclass Mondays #10 – Arcane Power