CHAPTER 1: GETTING STARTED
Tavern Tales is a fantasy-themed tabletop roleplaying game (RPG) that invites players to take on the roles of powerful heroes to fight dangerous monsters, explore exotic locations, and interact with amazing characters. RPGs are unique in the world of games in that there is no ultimate objective. Players don’t win or lose—they simply make decisions and see where the adventure takes them. An RPG is like a collaborative story where every player gets to affect the outcome.
Tavern Tales is played across one or more sessions, which typically last 2 or more hours. Past that, it’s entirely up to your gaming group to determine the scope of your game. Do you want to play a short and sweet one-shot that only lasts a few hours? Would you rather play an epic ongoing campaign that consists of dozens of sessions? The choice is yours!
Before You Start
You’ll need a few basic supplies to play Tavern Tales:
Pen and paper.
Dice, including six-sided dice (d6), eight-sided dice (d8), and twenty-sided dice (d20)
Access to the Taverntalesrpg.com website or an official rulebook.
Optional: A battlemap and miniature figures
It’s generally agreed that the sweet spot for a roleplaying game is 4-6 players, but individual tastes will vary between gaming groups. Once you’ve gathered your friends, you need to decide which of you will play as the Game Master (GM).
If You’re the GM…
The GM has the most important job in Tavern Tales. Think of the GM as a director in a play where nobody knows the outcome, and the players are the actors. The GM gets to decide the setting, the conflict, and so forth. Most importantly, the GM acts as a judge who determines what does and doesn’t happen. If two players say they want to take conflicting actions, the GM decides which of the players (if any) gets to act. As a GM, follow these basic principles:
1. Know the Rules
Since you’re in charge, it’s important that you familiarize yourself with the rules of Tavern Tales. If you don’t, players could exploit the rules (wittingly or unwittingly) and disrupt gameplay. Fortunately for you, the GM gets to break as many rules as he wants. Think of the rules as a general guidebook. They tell you what to do in most situations, but every now and then you can bend the rules to make the game more exciting.
2. Make Decisions
If the players got to decide the outcomes of their actions, they’d succeed every time. That would lead to an awfully boring game. As the GM, you get to decide the consequences of the players’ actions. You always get the final word!
3. Create an Exciting World
A story without conflict isn’t much of a story. It’s your job to fill the world with exciting creatures, locations, and events. This is your biggest opportunity to express yourself in Tavern Tales because your only limit is your imagination. You could pit the players against brain-munching undead, fire-breathing dragons, vindictive gods, or anything else you can imagine!
4. Give Players Opportunities
The GM is the most important person in Tavern Tales, but the real excitement comes from the players. Their actions provide that element of uncertainty that makes RPGs so fun to play. It’s your job as the GM to create dramatic opportunities for the players: cliffs that need to be scaled, monsters that need to be slain, and political intrigue that needs to be unraveled.
If You’re a Player…
The players are the main characters of the story. They have the opportunity to venture out into the GM’s exciting world. As the player, you should follow these principles:
1. Create an Exciting Character
Your character is your vessel in Tavern Tales. You act through him (or her), so his triumphs are your triumphs; his failures are your failures. Pull out all the stops and build a character you’ll love to play. The more interesting your character, the more enjoyable the game will be for everyone involved.
There’s a big difference between playing a character and playing as a character. It’s your responsibility to act and talk in a manner that fits your character. Think the way your character would think. Act the way your character would act. Speak the way your character would speak.
3. Seek Adventure
If Tavern Tales were a movie, the camera would follow your character at all times. It wouldn’t be a very exciting movie if you sat around all day twiddling your thumbs. It’s your job to go find adventure so that all of the players in Tavern Tales have a good time.