Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Dungeon Coffee

Adventurers are made of pretty stern stuff. Such stern stuff, actually, that besides sleeping in armor and getting in a full eight hours of Z's while being ready to wake up and take their shift at any moment . . . they get up and go adventuring without coffee.

Breakfast? Cold rations.

Lunch? Cold rations.

Dinner? Cold rations.

And not a spot of tea or a cup of joe to get going in the morning.

Let's fix that.

Delver's Breakfast Tea - If drunk hot, the character is at +1 to HT rolls to resist weather-related effects and +1 to Per rolls for 1d-3 (min. 1) hours. Gives a +1 to reaction rolls from anyone given some tea. Preparing tea properly takes 15 minutes and requires a hot fire. $1/packet or cup's worth, 10 packets/1 oz. (A nice tin holds 100 packets and weighs 1 pound full, and costs $110)

Cartman (as Peter Panda): "Wow, Eric, you are the coolest guy in the world. This is tremendous tea!
Cartman: "Why thank you, Peter Panda, It's a distinctive Earl Grey."

- South Park ep 113

Knight's Roast Morning Coffee - Like Delver's Breakfast Tea, If drunk hot, the character is at +1 to HT rolls to resist weather-related effects and +1 to Will and Per rolls for 1d-3 (min. 1) hours. Aroma while brewing gives +1 to chances of a wandering monster encounter, and preparing coffee properly takes 15 minutes and requires a hot fire. $2/cup's worth, 5 cups/1 oz. (A nice tin holds 50 cup's worth and weighs 1 pound full, and costs $110.)

So, Tea is friendly and makes you sharper. Coffee draws in wandering monsters who want some coffee, but it also makes you a little sharper than tea.

A harsher reality would be to start everyone down 1d6-3 FP (min. -1) if they don't get some coffee. Or better yet, to stop players from just saying, "We rest an extra 30 minutes and we're good" give them a -1 to all rolls for 1d-3 hours (min. 1) if they don't start the day with coffee or tea.

I prefer the bonus approach.

What about Swords & Wizardry?

Change the cost to gold pieces (this is good tea or coffee). Change the bonuses from Tea to +1 to Saving Throws or Int or Wis stat checks for one hour. For coffee, the same, but add +1 to any stat check or +2 to Saving Throws for one hour. Shift the wandering monster die one smaller (So 1 in 12 becomes 1 in 10, 1 in 6 becomes 1 in 4, and 1 in 4 becomes a coin flip!)

Now start adventuring with some nice coffee.


  1. Bonus approach is best because not everyone is addicted to caffeine and should not be penalized for it!

    Also this idea is so cool.

    1. Maybe it starts out as a bonus, but after so many times drinking it, you start needing to make rolls to avoid addiction, and if you fail it becomes a penalty that you can buy off by drinking your beverage of choice?

    2. Serious game question: Why start drinking it at all if you're risking addition for mild benefits?

    3. For DF or S&W, you're right - there's no point to an addiction mechanic for something like this. But for a more realistic game, I could see reason for it.

      Honestly, why does anyone do anything that offers a slight edge with possible drawbacks, especially when it's considered social and genteel?

    4. Fair point, although there are a lot of upsides to caffeine, nevermind coffee itself.

    5. I think the bonus makes sense, but no future withdrawal effects other than some level of irritability and/or a mild headache; nothing that would actually affect combat or other intense tasks where the person is concentrating, but perhaps the ability to passively notice something.

  2. I love this idea, but don't think non-drinkers should be penalized... until they drink it for a week or so. Then you HAVE to drink it or you get penalized. :)

  3. I just use it as a quirk, but I really like the thought of a breakfast drink. I know when I'm backpacking, it's the first thing I think about after lumbering slowly out of the hammock.

    1. Some of the best coffee I've had was from a thermos while out on a boat, fishing. And drunk from a "cup" made from a can, cooked over a fire, camped out on a beach in Hokkaido. It seems like it would be what delvers hit the sack dreaming of!

  4. You can skip the fire if you have a samovar and charcoal to feed it. Tea bricks might make for interesting treasure, but if you're unfamiliar with them you'd think that they're some kind of scented wood paneling. Tea has a wild and crazy history because it was sort of the cocaine of the medieval world - high status, consumable, very portable wealth in a world with very little in the way of the rule of law.

    1. I'm just chuckling at the idea of PCs having the weight to spare for a party-sized samovar. :)

  5. There's an orc war chieftain around here somewhere with a litter-borne espresso machine named "Waaagh!".


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