REPOST: Barroom Brawling 101

How many times have you been faced with the issue of Players getting itchy to throw some d20’s, but you haven’t got any good encounters lined up for that session?

It is no secret, Player Characters simply love taverns! They are a good place to collect information, but how often have you really wanted the PCs to go into a really seedy bar, and have a good old fashioned bar fight, like right out of the cowboy western movies?

Normally, these bar room brawls are regulated to the same old sword and shield affairs, but . . . Why? Cowboys and Pirates had lots of brawls in such conditions, and always felt like a good fight was simply entertainment! Clearly real bar fights are non-lethal affairs, the goal of a bar fight isn’t to kill anybody, it’s simply to knock people out. The PHB carries lots of rules for attacking without killing, but what we want to do is add some style to this!

Unstated Rules of Brawls

There really isn’t any real anger involved in brawls, except for maybe between two individuals who start the fight, but even then we can assume that they are friends who wish to settle an argument with their fists rather then . . . You know, being civilized and talking it out. The rest of the combatants will gladly join in for a free-for-all!

There is only one rule to these friendly little melees, drawing a weapon and using it to kill is bad form! Folks who do this may be able to kill their intended target, however they will get mobbed by everybody in the bar.

Combatants are blowing off aggressive steam, and trying to knock each other out, fist fights are handled as described in the PHB, but the expectable brawl room weapons that I’ll be adding will cause damage as described for Non-Lethal Weapons Attacks, which causes 50% temp damage.

Knock Outs!

To figure out a knockout, we simply need to calculate how much damage was taken. For non-lethal combat you’ll want to use two hp scores, 1 is normal damage, the other is Temp damage. As soon as your Temp dmg drops to 0, a knock out has occurred, there is also a chance of KO per hit which depends on how many hp an opponent has. If Randolf smacks a 1st level fighter who’s got 10 hp, and does 2 points of damage, there is a 20% chance that the fighter will be knocked out. If Randolf smacks him with a bottle, then we’ll add 35% to the KO roll, which makes weapons like bottles very desirable to have!

New Non-Weapon Proficiency

Brawling: A Character with Brawling is skilled at fighting in non-lethal conditions. He does not suffer any penalties to attack while fighting with improvised weapons.

Now this isn’t the same as Pugilism, or specialization in wrestling or hand to hand combat, however you can easily add this to all of those others at DM’s discretion, as it is in the same family. Depending on a characters social class, he may also get this proficiency for free, lower class folks enjoy brawling as much as high class society enjoys reading! People who don’t have the Brawling Prof, or something like it would suffer a -4 penalty to hit.

Improvised Weapons

Bar fights utilize weapons that are simply picked up and either thrown or used as a standard weapon. Through this list, you can use it to quickly figure out the stats of things that are like them, everything that isn’t nailed to the floor can be used as a weapon in a brawl!

Speed Factor Damage S-M/L
Bottle S B 2 1d3-1/1d2-1
Beer Stine S B 2 1d3/1d2
Stool/Chair M B 5 1d6/1d4
Wooden Bench M B 10 1d8/1d6
Bucket/Lantern S B 4 1d6/1d3
Roasting Spit M P 6 1d8/1d6

Now, I’m not going to put a list of Missle Weapon Ranges, Bars aren’t all that big, and can easily be configured on your own. A Roasting Spit would be calculated as a Javelin, small objects could follow the rules of rocks, and I really don’t see a stool or a bench as being able to go too far without hitting some people. Of course bonuses for Strength and Dexterity would also apply to these weapons.

All of this stuff would be subject to a saving throw to see if the object breaks or not, in the case of a glass bottle, it could still be used as a Piercing weapon, but since it couldn’t cut as deep as a knife, it will still keep the damage stats as they are written here. A broken stool’s damage would change, depending on what you want to do, you can either make it worthless or just down grade it to 1d3.

Who pays for this mess?

That is a good question! A brawl usually doesn’t last very long, only about 10 or 15 minutes in most cases, then everybody gets tired, and order returns . . . Sometimes in the form of the local law to break things up. Of course the bartender isn’t very happy, especially if the brawl costs lots of money, he will look for familiar faces and heckle them later about helping pay for everything. If the bar is seedy enough, then it may have connections with a local carpenter whose favorite client is the bar! He’ll probably keep them supplied with stuff at a discount price, but the bar owner will still try and get as many people as he can to help pay for damages . . . This includes famous adventurers! Thankfully this stuff is cheap, and the bill is split between everybody that the bartender recognizes so the consequences of participating in barroom brawls is minimal. It could even be beneficial! One can earn some friends and respect by grizzly NPC’s who are impressed by how bad they get beat up, and how much damage that the PC’s can take! Of course, it could also be the opposite, but that depends on the bar.


Chris said...

Boot Hill Brawling in AD&D - related?

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