Thursday, December 18, 2014
Review: Mead & Mayhem
Mead & Mayhem is a small supplement for OSR roleplaying games (although it could easily work for any medieval fantasy game) that sets out to power raucous and unruly tavern brawls. The biggest chunk of the supplement is a big d30 table that keeps escalating the chaos of the bar fight to catastrophic levels. The table actually has 40 results, the highest of which can only possibly be reached after the brawl has been going on for a while and the accumulative bonuses to the rolls has escalated things out of control.
Here is a sample of how one such fight goes down:
Things kick off when some rowdy dwarves smash up a barrel of beer to fill their flagons, resulting in the floor becoming slippery. Punches begin the fly as people slide into each other. Suddenly, a group of adventurers burst out of the wine cellar (which I guess is attached to a dungeon). They enter the melee, already in murderhobo-mode. As the brawl gets more and more out of control, someone begins shouting out accusations of theft and assault at the tavern's owner, adding paranoia to the mix of heated emotions. Seizing on the opportunity, members of the local thieves' guild begin to nick the coin purses of anyone distracted by the bar fight. And finally, as if summoned by the drunken brawl, a coven of witches dance nude on the tavern's roof, drawing a crowd to the building.
At this point I think I would stop, because a coven of naked witches seems like an excellent set of antagonists, but I could continue rolling on the table, which will likely result in the complete destruction of the tavern itself.
Also included in Mead & Mayhem are guidelines for combat in a bar fight and a playlist of recommended fight songs.
Although it is a small supplements at only five pages, Mead & Mayhem does its job well in making the tavern fight an actual interesting prospect for the DM. Before reading this I would have problem run any bar fight my players instigated as a straight-forward combat encounter or simply have their opponent lay them out because fighting yokels in a bar is boring and a waste of time. Not any more.
Pair Mead & Mayhem with the Brewhouses of Vornpathium and you can run an entire session around one crazy night at the bar.
One thing that should be noted is that, as far I know, English is not the native language of either of the authors. As a result there are many grammatical errors and awkward wording. While pervasive, these errors do not get in the way of the functionality of the supplement. I have already sent a list of suggested edits to the authors and they have said that an update will be uploaded eventually.
Mead & Mayhem is currently Pay-What-You-Want on RPGNow. Grab it now and toss a few bucks to the authors.