Taverns are a long-standing and cherished scene in most RPG campaigns. Certainly, even in fantasy and historical literature, taverns often play important roles, and serve as intriguing and entertaining scenes in many stories. Though through the years, the beginning scene...”You all meet in a tavern, gathered around the fire and some ale" may be cliched, and dry, and at times, boring--however, there are some good reasons to use that tried and true scene--it works. The tavern is a central location where different kinds of people from different classes, professions, and backgrounds can meet. Historically, and within fiction, taverns are where many people go to hang out, drink, gossip, relax, have fun, listen to news, or seek or offer employment. Plus, within the halls of D&D tradition, well--lots of scheming and action can also take place at the tavern, with lots of drama, and potential adventure development.
In any campaign, having some random encounter and event tables for taverns can be very helpful, as well as fun and entertaining. Here are some that I use in my own campaigns.
Tavern Encounter Table
01-20%: Tavern is Quiet
The tavern is relatively peaceful, and quiet. Relatively few patrons are present, and at least half of the tavern staff is either simply cleaning and organizing, or chatting and having a drink or a smoke.
21-30%: Tavern is Busy
Patrons throughout the tavern are relaxing, enjoying their meals, and having a good time. Tavern Girls go about, bringing platters of food and drinks to different tables. Several stock-boys are pushing hand-carts off one side of the tavern, bringing up some extra supplies from the cellars. The bartenders are busy making drinks, collecting payment, while also engaged in conversations with several patrons seated around the main bar counter-top.
31-35%: Friendly Tavern Girl
A Tavern Girl seems friendly, and engages a character in a casual conversation. (Either a player character, or some NPC near to the player characters).
36-40%: Friendly Bartender
A Bartender seems friendly, and engages a character in casual conversation. (Either a player character, or an NPC near to the player characters).
41-45%: Adventurers Arrive
A group of rough-looking adventurers arrive, and enter the tavern. They seat themselves at a large table, and order platters of food and drinks for themselves, as they get comfortable. Check on NPC Party Table below:
NPC Party Table
01-50%: Small NPC Party 5-7 members (1D3+4); Low Level: 3-8
51-60%: Medium NPC Party 7-12 members (1D6+6); Low-Level: 3-8
61-65%: Large NPC Party 11-16 members (1D6+10); Low-Level: 3-8
66-80%: Small NPC Party 5-7 members (1D3+4); Mid-Level: 9-14
81-90%: Medium NPC Party 7-12 members (1D6+6); Mid-Level: 9-14
91-95%: Large NPC Party 11-16 members (1D6+10); Mid-Level: 9-14
96-97%: Small NPC Party 5-7 members (1D3+4); High-Level: 15-20
98-99%: Medium NPC Party 7-12 members (1D6+6); High-Level: 15-20
100%: Large NPC Party 11-16 members (1D6+10); High-Level: 15-20
46-50%: City Watch/Town Militia
A City Watchman/Town Militia Patrol arrives, to either relax and enjoy a meal or to ask some questions as they seek information in pursuit of an investigation.
51-100%: Tavern Event
the DM must roll an encounter/event on the Tavern Special Events Table.
Tavern Special Events Table
01-02: Expensive Doxy Flirts and Schemes:
An Expensive Doxy giggles and whispers with another Expensive Doxy sitting at her table with her, flirting with men around her, before proceeding to saunter over to a table with a group of 2-7 (1d6+1) well-dressed young men. These young men engage the Expensive Doxy in conversation. There is a (25% chance) that one of the Expensive Doxies will begin flirting with any likely-looking male player characters that seem to be attractive and reasonably wealthy. There is a 10% chance that the group of young men will be found dead in their room the next morning. There is a 10% chance that the Expensive Doxy will be found dead in her room the next morning. There is a 10% chance that the Expensive Doxy sets them up to be robbed by a group of cunning thieves and hardened ruffians later on in the evening.
An Expensive Doxy is often well-connected with a fairly wide circle of friends and contacts. An Expensive Doxy may have very interesting knowledge or rumours and interesting gossip. (65% chance)
03-04: Haughty Courtesan Seeks Help: A Haughty Courtesan offers a character employment. The Haughty Courtesan has a problem that she needs help with--and she is prepared to offer and pay quite well for the services rendered. If the Player Characters agree to help her, and succeed, then the Haughty Courtesan may decide she likes them, and will keep them in mind for future jobs or adventures. If the players succeed in something very dangerous and very important to her, then the Haughty Courtesan may become a genuine and sincere friend. Her friendship could prove very interesting and profitable throughout a campaign. Haughty Courtesans usually have a broad range of many wealthy, powerful and famous clients, from military officers, well-traveled merchants, and arrogant nobles, to prosperous tradesmen, secretive priests, and brilliant artists and philosophers. (The character may be a Player Character, or a likely NPC that is nearby to the Player Characters.) Haughty Courtesans may know interesting knowledge, gossip, or rumours. (70% chance)
05-06: Goodwives Socializing: A group of Goodwives are socializing together at a table. A Goodwife is always well-dressed in attractive, fashionable clothing; the Goodwife's hair is beautiful and done up well; the Goodwife has all of her favourite accessories, ribbons, hair comb, purse, perhaps a hat; several pieces of fine jewelry, and doused in attractive, even sensual, perfume. Goodwives are social, and often flirtatious and even gregarious. They often come from families that are prosperous and reasonably wealthy, if not very wealthy. If a Goodwife is offended or threatened, she will scream loudly for the Watch or the Militia. Furthermore, she will talk to everyone she knows about the indignity she suffered, and seek justice and social awareness of the people responsible for robbing, threatening, or insulting her. Goodwives often have a fairly wide range of social connections, and have a 25% chance of possessing interesting gossip or rumours. The Goodwife also has a 10% chance of needing help with something; perhaps she is offering employment for some kind of job; she needs to be escorted somewhere; she needs someone to be found; or perhaps she needs some information about someone or something, or some person's relationships with others, etc.
07-08: Bard Holds A Performance.
A wandering Bard has joined the tavern for awhile, and entertains the tavern with one or more kinds of artistic performance; (Comedy, Story-Telling, Music, Singing or Dancing). Bards are very skilled in music, and performance of all kinds. Typically, the Bard is a human, elf, or half-elf. The Bard may have interesting knowledge, gossip, rumours, and so on. (80% chance). The Bard may be a permanent resident of the area--but may more likely be staying in the area for 1d6 weeks before moving on to other adventures. Meanwhile, the Bard enjoys entertaining people, sharing his art, learning news and gossip--as well as making some extra coin.
09-10: Barbarians Arrive!
A group of 2d6 Barbarians arrive in the tavern. The barbarians order massive quantities of food and drinks, and are loud, gregarious, and rowdy. The barbarians may also be friendly and cheerful--or they may be coarse, obnoxious and provocative--even surly, rude and violent. The DM should decide based on what is needed for the scene. If friendly, the barbarians may need help or have interesting rumours or knowledge of some great legends. (25% chance); the barbarians may also be discriminated against or provoked by groups of local patrons in the tavern as well, thus causing arguments or even a violent brawl. Some patrons may seek to manipulate the barbarians in such a manner as to cause the Watch to arrive to then proceed to arrest and imprison the barbarians. Typically, most civilized courts and magistrates are often bigoted towards barbarians, and condemn them with harsh punishments, and usually death.
11-12: Non-Humans Arrive!
A group of non-humans arrive. Check the subtable below to determine the kind of non-humans that arrive. The non-humans may have knowledge, information, job employment, or need help with some kind of adventure or mission.
13-14: Troupe of Exotic Dancing Girls: A troupe of exotic dancing girls entertain the tavern. 50% of the time, such dancing girls are also Brazen Strumpets, and provide services accordingly. Patrons, fans and customers usually are quite eager to solicit their talented services throughout the troupe's stay at the tavern. Most dancing troupe's usually stay at a particular tavern for two-four weeks, occasionally longer, before they pack up their things, and move on to the next town or city. A Dancing Troupe usually stays at a tavern in a particular town or city for 1D3 weeks. The Exotic Dancing Girls are one of the following types;
01-30% Acrobatic Dancers: This troupe of women are skilled at performing very entertaining and acrobatic dance routines and amazingly choreographed performances that display them all dancing together in a coordinated, synchronized group, dancing, twirling, contorting their bodies, throwing each other into the air, spinning, jumping, and strutting--all well-synchronized with an accompanying band of musicians. The women serve as both dancers and musicians--some dance while others play musical instruments, and so on during the different performances.
31-60% Belly-Dancers: These troupes of women are skilled at performing very entertaining, sensual and erotic belly dancing. The women often wear veils, as well as other colourful clothing, from flowing dresses and skirts, to diaphanous tunics and shimmering cloaks; loose, flowing trousers, or sheer, very tight trousers, as well as sandals, furry boots, or other footwear--though usually they are barefoot.
61-80% Snake-Dancers: This troupe of women are skilled at performing sensual and erotic dance performances with a large python swirled around them, or held within their hands, slithering around their legs, neck, belly, and arms, cavorting and strutting about in an entertaining manner. The snake-dancers wear only the tiniest, sheerest of clothing; usually a very small sarong, or a short skirt, and a small tunic or tight-fitting blouse. They are usually barefoot, and virtually naked. They often douse themselves in warm oil that makes them shimmer and glow as they dance with their pythons. They often dance with their snakes while within a circle of large torches, providing them with an eerie, sensual radiance.
81-00% Costumed Story-Tellers/Actors/Singers/Performers: This troupe of women are skilled at singing and dancing together, as well as performing coordinated skits and telling stories together--typically of various social relationships in a witty, humorous manner, with erotic, risqué spice throughout.
15-16: A Saucy Tart Socializes:
The Saucy Tart invites a character to join her, and she suggestively offers her services. The Saucy Tart may have interesting knowledge or rumours. (60% chance). The Saucy Tart is willing to share what she knows--but only for a price!
17-18: Brazen Strumpet Socializes:
The Brazen Strumpet cavorts lasciviously amongst a group of tables, entertaining, and working the crowd with offers of her services. Brazen Strumpets may know some interesting knowledge, gossip or rumours. (25% chance)
19-20: Intimidating Ruffians:
A group of 5-10 (1D6+4) Ruffians begin acting obnoxiously. The Ruffians bully and threaten other patrons; they grope tavern-girls and Goodwives; the Ruffians threaten the player characters; the Ruffians seek to extort the bartenders for "Donations to the Orphanage Fund". As needed, there may be more Ruffians present, as the DM deems necessary. The Ruffians may also be members of some important and powerful criminal organization. In a rural area, these ruffians may be members of an outlaw gang, or even a clandestine Slavery Ring.
25-26: A Freakish Celebration:
A large group of strange freaks and misfits are engaged in a festive celebration in the tavern. The DM should be creative, and make up a good dozen of strange, freakish characters. Make them mildly mutated. Make some of them insane. Make some of them have some bizarre personality traits, and strange habits. Go wild. The troupe of freaks may know interesting knowledge, gossip, or rumors (25% chance); May be in need of help (35% chance); May offer the player characters a job of some kind (20% chance).
27-28: Hard-Eyed Watchman:
A lone, hard-bitten Watchman quietly asks questions and engages several people in conversations. The Watchman has a 50% chance of needing help, and making inquiries to the player group. The Watchman may know important information, gossip, or rumors (50% chance).
29-30: Mysterious Stranger Arrives!
The Mysterious Stranger arrives, and sits in a corner table of the tavern, orders some food and drink, and quietly smokes a finely-carved pipe with excellent tobacco. The Mysterious Stranger watches people throughout the tavern carefully.
What kind of Mysterious Stranger is this figure?
Mysterious Stranger Table
20%: Witch Hunter
20%: Bounty Hunter
15%: Strange Wizard
15%: Suspicious Priest
10%: Disguised Paladin or powerful knight
10%: Special: This may be an Assassin, or some other kind of character.
The Mysterious Stranger may be in search of someone. The stranger may be looking for a certain individual; some kind of secret information or special, unusual knowledge. The stranger may be seeking to kill the person they are tracking; they may be trying to hide from others seeking them, or have other mysterious goals and purposes. The character may also seek to employ the player characters. The Mysterious Stranger may know some important secrets, knowledge, gossip, or rumors (50% chance); may offer job employment (40% chance); May have important and powerful friends (40% chance); May be desperate for help (10% chance); May have powerful enemies pursuing them (40% chance). The DM should roll and check for all of these notations, as all of tem could be true for the stranger. If the character has powerful enemies pursuing them, there is a (50% chance) that they arrive and attack the character in the tavern. They may attack while everyone is there and busy, or wait until later at night.
Enemies of the tavern owner set fire to the tavern, out of hatred, jealousy, or revenge--or perhaps for some other motive. The tavern owner will be desperate for help to find out who set fire to the tavern, and be eager to see that justice is done. A potential adventure opportunity exists! Who set fire to the tavern? What was their motivation? Is there someone else behind the arsonist? Who else might benefit from having the tavern burned out? Then again, perhaps the arsonist is merely some nut job pyromaniac. Have fun plotting!
33-34: Dancing Girl Performs:
A lone girl entertains the tavern by her enthusiastic and sensual dancing. The dancing girl may flirt with the player characters; she is friendly, cheerful, gregarious, and charming. The Dancing Girl may know interesting gossip (40% chance); or need help with something (30% chance); or has someone trying to hunt her down and kill or capture her. (30% chance). Who is this beautiful girl? She may become a friend or ally to the party. Maybe she's a noble's daughter fleeing an arranged marriage; Maybe she's a Brazen Strumpet, simply looking to improve her situation in life; Maybe she's a former wizard's apprentice, rejected or fleeing from a dreary, harsh apprenticeship; or something else; She may also be an adventurer that enjoys performing her dancing skills and making extra money on the side when she is between adventures. There are many possibilities.
35-36: Tavern Girl Socializes:
A Tavern Girl has chosen one of the player characters to befriend. The tavern girl admires them, is friendly to them, and seeks to be their friend--and if the player character is also interested, in developing their relationship into something more romantic. Tavern Girls may know interesting knowledge, gossip or rumors. (15% chance)
37-38: The Strong, Right Hand:
The player characters hear a woman sobbing and crying, and witness as A Wanton Wench is Pimp-Slapped by a well-dressed and dangerous looking man. The man drags the wanton wench by her hair, slapping her furiously back and forth across the face, and seeking to drag her out of the tavern, and throw her naked and bleeding, into the street. Wanton Wenches may know interesting knowledge, gossip or rumors (35% chance)
39-40: Patron Flirts with a Character:
41-42: Patron Performs a Tarot
Tarot readers, of course, may be from virtually any profession or class. Typically, most are female. (75% chance Female/25% chance Male). Generally, however, such characters are often unusual in some way--and may be quite eccentric. They are typically mystical, magical, spiritualists with interesting knowledge of spirituality, philosophy, religion, and society. Tarot Readers usually charge a reasonable fee for performing a reading for a client/inquirer. They may occasionally do readings for free, as well. The Tarot Reader may be friendly and very sociable, or more quiet and reserved. Be creative! To determine the Tarot Reader's class, check the table below.
Tarot Reader's Class/Profession
11-15%: Commoner (Select Type)
16-30%: Expert (Select Type)
81-90%: Beautiful Woman*
91-00%: Old Woman*
*Beautiful Woman: Indeed, the woman is breathtakingly beautiful. She is far more than meets the eye, however. The beautiful woman is richly-dressed, and wears the finest cosmetics, perfume, and jewelry. She is friendly, charming, and sensual.
*Old Woman: The old woman has long white hair, and is wrinkled, and stooped with age. She hobbles along and moves slowly. Despite her apparent ancient age, however, she seems cheerful, friendly, and alert.
Beautiful Woman entry shares the same table as Old Woman to determine real identity and potential motives/plots.
Mysterious Beautiful Woman/Old Woman Subtable
01-10% Half-Troll Woman
11-15% Half-Giant Woman
16-40% Annis Hag
86-87% Faerie Creature
93-94% Drow Elf
This character is usually Human; but may also be some other race. The character is a mid-high level character, disguised--or not; the character may be genuinely beautiful, or old and grey. Be Creative. The character has particular motives, however. The character needs help with a quest, or needs important information delivered to someone else; the character may know of ancient prophecies, mystical knowledge, potential assassination plots, and demonic gates, whatever. The character knows something, and may need additional knowledge from somewhere far away, as well as other quests. Someone may be after the character--or someone may be after the player characters. Doom stalks them, and they don't know it yet.
Some Celestial creature (Ghaele, Angel, etc.) is in disguise, and observing the mortal realm here, in the tavern. The Celestial creature may take notice of the player characters, or some important NPC in the tavern. The Celestial creature needs help with a quest that the creature is directly pursuing (25% chance); the Celestial creature needs to send others on quests to achieve various goals (75% chance); the Celestial creature may know some interesting knowledge, gossip or rumors (85% chance)
A Goddess has taken on a mortal-appearing form to observe the mortal realms and pursue some agenda or goal, or merely for amusement. The Goddess would most likely desire to remain undiscovered, so the encounter can generally move like a Character encounter, as noted above. However, just in case the DM wants to introduce something very unusual, or mythical, then the players may be given a quest or a series of quests by the character...only later to discover some clue that reveals to them that they actually encountered a Goddess. Fun stuff.
43-44: Patron Acts Like a Jerk:
Makes a Racist/Bigoted/Insulting commentary to others.
45-46: Patron Mysteriously Dies:
A patron inside the tavern mysteriously falls over, dead. The patron has potentially died from among several potential causes;
Patron Dies mysteriously
01-30%: The Patron died from some natural disease or ailment
31-60%: The Patron has died from being poisoned.
61-80%: The Patron has died from being shot by a dart, bolt, arrow, or thrown dagger.
81-90%: The Patron has died from some terrible magical spell-effect.
91-00%: The Patron has died from deep and lethal wounds caused from an invisible attacker that killed the Patron with such lethal and overwhelming force that the Patron was unable to barely make a sound.
47-48: Patron Flees!:
A patron mysterious runs through the tavern, screaming all the while, as they flee out of the tavern and out into the street.
49-50: Patron is engaged in Gambling
Patrons are gathered about engaged in various kinds of gambling, playing cards, and dice games for money. These are different from the recreational group. Here, lots of money is changing hands; lush women lounge about the men involved; most of the men are also armed; snarling oaths, howling shrieks, and coarse, rough laughter are common, with lots of men drinking hard liquor, as well as ale; smoking pipes, cigars, and cigarettes are constant. Violence and death are always potentially at hand, in a blink, as a deadly fight or disagreement turns lethal.
51-52: Patron is engaged in Gaming
Patrons are engaged in some casual, friendly games of various kinds: marbles; card games; Darts; Chess; Board games. Usually 2D6+6 participants, and 3d6+6 friends/family members/fans/spectators are gathered about.
53-54: Patron is engaged in a Contest
Patrons are having arm-wrestling contests; singing contests; drinking contests; dancing contests; poetry contests; and so on. Usually a group of 2d6 participants and 1D20+20 friends/family members/fans/spectators are gathered about.
55-56: Patron Gropes a Wanton Wench
The player characters witness a patron pushing up against a Wanton Wench, and roughly groping her, and the players can hear the woman snarling in defiance and disgust at the patron, seeking to resist his unwanted advances.
57-58: Patron Solicits a Haughty Courtesan
A modestly dressed patron approaches a beautiful, finely-coiffed and elegantly dressed Haughty Courtesan, and solicits her company. The Haughty Courtesan laughs cruelly, and rudely rebukes the clumsy patron, and sends the patron retreating in shame from her withering scorn. Alternatively, a well-dressed patron arrives, and solicits the Haughty Courtesan, and the Haughty Courtesan embraces the patron, and the two cheerfully leave the main hall of the tavern together. There is a chance that one or more of the player characters knows the well-dressed patron. (20% chance)
59-60: Patron Offers Employment:
A well-dressed, patron politely approaches a character and offers them some form of employment. This can be either a player character, or an NPC that is near where the player characters are sitting.
61-62: Patron/Charlatan Performs:
A finely-dressed, charismatic man is engaged in a performance in the tavern, selling miracle-cure elixirs, potions of love, anti-aging potions, wondrous skin-creams, and so on. The Charlatan may also be selling some "magical" items and artifacts of great power for adventurers! Amulets that aid in jumping great distances; Bracers that allow one to resist cuts and blows better; fine cloaks that promise to keep them warm in cold weather! Fine, shimmering rings that sparkle, and will increase their powers of charm and persuasion with people; People will be attracted to them, and eager to get to know them and be with them when they wear such fine and beautiful jeweled rings of enchantment and power!
63-64: Patron Engages in Preaching:
A cleric or priest/priestess is engaged in preaching to the people gathered inside the tavern. Occasionally, the preacher is not an official preacher or actual priest, but rather an informally-trained temple staff member or even formally educated Sage serving in the ministry as a member of the temple's staff. The preacher is speaking out against what the preacher views as evil and wicked in and about the tavern; At various times, the preacher may be either speaking inside the tavern, or alternatively, be standing outside, close to the entrance to the tavern, or across the street for example, and be preaching and speaking to people gathered about him, as well as those people going in and out of the tavern. The preacher usually is preaching on one or more of the following sermons:
Sermons in A Den of Wickedness
01-20% The Evils of Drink!
21-40% The Evils of Harlotry!
41-60% The Evils of Dancing!
61-80% The Evils of Gambling!
81-90% The Evils of Tarot Cards!
91-00% The Evils of Demon-Weed!
See notes below, keyed to each entry in the Sermons subtable.
01-20%: The Evils of Drink!
The constant rivers of alcohol, liquor, and "Demon-Rum"!!
21-40%: The Evils of Harlotry!
The Harlots plying their trade, corrupting the morals of good family men! Harlots also corrupt women they meet, or even hear of them and how they make their living. Harlots encourage wives to leave their families, girls to rebel against their families, and are a constant threat to the institution of marriage. Harlotry degrades and ensnares the women involved, ultimately to the evils of sensuality, drink, smoke, drugs, and their own spiritual corruption.
41-60%: The Evils of Dancing!
These painted whores gather here to dance and cavort, and stir up the enflamed lusts of men throughout the tavern, and all of society. These dancers corrupt men, but also women! The women are faithless, pathetic whores, and they encourage other women and young girls to follow their path to lasciviousness, sensuality, greed, and harlotry!
61-80%: The Evils of Gambling!
Games of Dice, Cards and Gambling, sucking away money from the family and the Children! Think of the CHILDREN!
81-90%: The Evils of Tarot Cards!
Tarot Cards are gateways to Evil Spirits! Look at all the money women and men alike spend on these charlatans that lead people into evil superstitions and trafficking with dark, evil spirits!
91-00%: The Evils of Demon-Weed!
Look at all the smoke! The foul habit corrupts those who partake of it, and is wasteful of hard-earned money!
65-66: Patrons Engaged in Formal Debate:
Patrons are engaged in a formal philosophical debate. There is a large table, or three tables, one for each side of the debate, plus one table for the moderator to sit at and moderate. Te debate is lively and goes back and forth, and is usually fairly interesting, and occasionally controversial, and dramatic. Usually two primary participants, plus the moderator; 3D6+12 friends/family members/spectators/fellow colleagues/students are gathered about.
A Demagogue has gathered a crowd about him inside the tavern as he speaks and harangues the crowd about some topic or another. The Demagogue may be some local whack job merely ranting about some delusionary conspiracy or pet topic of hate, or--they may be a powerful, well-connected figure, a leader of a cult, a leader or member of a powerful political or social or business organization seeking some kind of change, either social or political, though sometimes religious as well.
The Demagogue Table
01-10%: Demagogue is ranting about a Vast, Bizarre Political Conspiracy
11-20%: Demagogue is ranting about Chaos being EVERYWHERE!
21-30%: Demagogue is ranting about Guild/Corporate Corruption and Abuses
31-40%: Demagogue is ranting about Organized Crime/Criminal Street Gangs
41-50%: Demagogue is ranting about Political Tyranny and the Oppression by "The Man"!
51-60%: Demagogue is ranting about some war and how unjust and inhumane it is.
61-70%: Demagogue is ranting about the evil, disgusting criminal and cultural threat that some other race presents.
71-80%: Demagogue is ranting about how whatever "race X" needs more equality, rights, and opportunities, and how racism towards them is evil, intolerant, and hateful.
81-90%: Demagogue is ranting about how women need more equality, rights, and opportunities, and how sexism towards them is evil, intolerant, and hateful.
91-00%: Demagogue is ranting about some strange delusional theory. The Demagogue may be ranting about how cows are scheming against society; or that rats are secret spies and agents of disease and death, serving their masters, the evil Ratmen; or that Cats are secretly demonic creatures, and they are plotting to corrupt society; or some other outlandish, bizarre theory...maybe he whispers about giant, eldritch amphibious monsters lurking deep underground in rivers and lakes, and these horrifying monsters are preparing for a time of savage dominion and slavery of the surface society! The possibilities are endless...
69-70: Patrons Hold a Formal Social Meeting:
The patrons gathered belong to some kind of social organization; women, mothers, men, veterans, gaming club, a Pipe/Cigar Club, a Reading/Book Club, and so on. Mostly anything dealing with various personal interests, social issues, or hobbies of a non-professional nature. Usually 2d6+12 members are gathered. Of course, as the local population allows, there may be more or less present, as the DM deems appropriate.
71-72: Patrons Hold a Business/Professional Meeting:
Patrons hold a formal business meeting; or perhaps a professional organization; a professional guild; Bricklayers, Carpenters, Dockworkers; Stockmen/Laborers; Coachmen/Teamsters; Rat catchers, Maintenance/Sewer; Blacksmiths; Tanners; Watchmen; and so on. Usually, 1D20+20 members are gathered. Of course, as the local population allows, there may be more or less present, as the DM deems appropriate.
73-74: Patrons Hold a Celebration:
Patrons have gathered together to celebrate an anniversary, a birthday, an engagement, a divorce, a funeral wake, a business or professional promotion, a retirement party, and so on. There are usually 2d6+12 patrons gathered together for the celebration. Of course, as the local population allows, there may be more or less present, as the DM deems appropriate.
75-76: Terrifying Massacre:
A large group of 2d6+12 Ruffians, Rogues, or Assassins strike at the tavern in a swift, massive and brutal attack, seeking to kill as many patrons present as possible. Generally assume 4D6+12 patrons are slaughtered in the terrifying assault.
77-78: Desperate Victim!
A desperate victim--someone of the DM's choosing--runs into the tavern, screaming or moaning, bleeding profusely, and encounters the player characters, uttering with his or her last breath, "Help me...please..." before falling dead from the wounds. The person also drops something strange at the feet of the player characters--this may be a scroll, with a message; a book; a small coffer or box; some other kind of strange item.
79-80: Someone Sends a Drink:
Some stranger--an attractive man or attractive woman--sends one of the player characters a drink, and invites them over to their table for a chat. The strange person may be interested in the player character for some romantic motive, or simply desire friendship and be sincerely friendly, or perhaps admiring from hearing about the character's past exploits and heroism. Perhaps the character seeks to become a cohort or follower; or perhaps the character is wealthy and powerful, and seeks the player character out for some kind of mission or adventure.
A Rogue robs a patron. If discovered, the Rogue seeks to flee outside from the tavern. The player characters have a 40% chance of attracting the attentions of a Rogue--or a team of 1d6+4 Rogues. Rogues may seek to con the players from their gold; pickpocket them; or rob them while they are sleeping, or rob their goods from their rooms while they are downstairs, distracted or busy. Of course, the Rogues may feel they can attempt to bully and strong-arm the player characters into surrendering their wealth; if the players choose to resist, then the Rogues can either seek to kill them so as to rob them from their goods, or they may seek to flee, and lead the player characters into an ambush at the Rogue's lair, where they may have more Rogues waiting there that can help turn the tide in the Rogue's favour.
83-84: Lover's Quarrel:
Two people begin arguing and screaming loudly, throwing drinks at each other, hurling insults at each other, and then slapping, punching, and grappling. Pulling hair, throwing food, glasses, plates, kicking and stomping. Huge argument over something between the two lovers.
85-86: Drunken Brawling:
The tavern is swept into a huge, drunken brawl! Workmen, other patrons, barbarians, merchants, adventurers, mercenaries, and so on. All have somehow become engaged in a loud, violent, drunken brawl that rocks the whole tavern. There is a 90% chance that each of the player characters are attacked and also insulted by some drunken patron; or seized by a whole group of patrons, and thrown into the wild melee.
87-88: Cat Fight:
Two women near to the player characters explode into a loud, violent fight with each other. Pulling hair, biting, screaming, snarling insults at each other, pouring drinks on each other, kicking, stomping, and grappling. Many people begin to gather around eagerly to enjoy the festivities, as they laugh and drink, and cheer one woman on or another.
89-90: Jealous Rage:
A patron arrives at the tavern, and looks about, before seeing the person they are looking for. They proceed to approach, and violently assault the person with whatever the best and most lethal approach possible for them may be, screaming insults and snarling in rage at them. A ferocious, violent fight then develops between the two, as one seeks to defend themselves from a furious, jealous rage.
91-92: Gambler's Fight:
Two gamblers leap up from their table, and draw their weapons, and begin fighting savagely, while snarling insults and uttering oaths and curses. The savage fight is over in 1D6 rounds, ending when one of the gamblers lies dead on the floor, stabbed and hacked to death.
93-94: Business Deal Gone Bad:
A group of wealthy, well-dressed men enter the tavern, and casually walk to where another group of wealthy, well-dressed men are gathered at. After some time in seemingly quiet, friendly conversation, the two groups of men begin snarling insults at each other, and a bloody, ferocious fight breaks out into a savage melee. 2D6+6 members of each group dies. At the DM's discretion, none of one group may survive; or there may be 1D6, or 2D6 survivors from each group. The group that lost the fewer members has won the fight; they loot the dead bodies, adjust and clean themselves quickly, and leave. The survivors, if any--lay about, moaning and bleeding.
95-96: Violent Assault:
One, or 1d6 patrons, approach a single other patron, or 1d6 other patrons, and suddenly, violently assault them. Who is making the assault? Why are they targeting the people--or person--for the savage assault? Who knows? Maybe it's a criminal street gang seeking to rob them; maybe it's some kind of political group seeking to intimidate them; perhaps it is a strange cult seeking to intimidate them and kill them. The people or person is brutally attacked with fists, clubs, as well as daggers, shortswords, and brass knuckles. There may be someone or a group--perhaps a rival group of adventurers--that seeks revenge for some real or imagined slight or insult. Be creative!
Violent Assault Table
01-40% The Player Characters are assaulted
41-70% A NPC (or group of NPC's) that the player characters know is assaulted.
71-00% A NPC patron or group of NPC patrons in the tavern is assaulted.
97-98: Dueling Noblemen:
Two wealthy and elegantly-dressed nobles begin a deadly, serious duel. The two are obviously bitter rivals, and they duel fiercely while snarling insults and snarky quips at each other. If the two nobles are not seized and beaten down or otherwise separated from each other, then in 1d12+5 rounds one of the noblemen will be laying sprawled on the tavern floor, or laying out in the street, dead from a lethal wound. Should a wounded nobleman be taken to their home before they are killed, the nobleman's family may be quite appreciative towards the player characters, and reward them each with 1D10x20 Gold Pieces, for saving their son/brother/cousin/family member from an early death from their bitter rival. The wounded nobleman may potentially become a friend or ally of the player characters.
A highly trained and highly-skilled assassin targets someone in the tavern, and seeks to kill them. Unless it is a player character, the DM can simply decide if the NPC struggle and has a chance for the players to rescue them, or that they are killed, and the players discover the dead body in the morning, or later on, whatever is appropriate.
Assassination Target Table
01-40%: Player Characters--Check initiative, develop the encounter by whatever method the assassin seeks to kill the player character. (Poison, assault, trap, poison food, sending a poison snake into their bed, etc).
41-60%: NPC the Players Know
61-00%: NPC that is Unknown