Saturday, July 1, 2017

Simple Bar Contests: Target Shooting

Another simple bar contest for DF is target shooting.

To make this more fun, like any other of these contests, have a drinking contest first. Then, complete these trials with the penalties for intoxication.

Target Shooting

This can be done with any ranged attack - thrown knives, thrown axes, and thrown darts are all popular, but equally can be with bows, crossbows, and so on. Settle on a target, a missile, range, and number of tries and have at it. Targets include colored rings, shooting through rows of rings, throwing axes at locks of hair, shooting apples off of heads, and the ever popular shooting at each other - see Duels, below.

Score it in one of several ways:

- make attempts from further and further distances; one point per successful hit.

- 1+margin of success of each shot (max 10); best score wins.

- single shots until one competitor misses.

Modifiers: Distance and target size per the Size and Speed/Range Table. Very rapid throwing or shooting competitions should use the rules for rapid throwing from GURPS Martial Arts.

Drink & Throw

One fun variation is one shot, one shot. Each competitor takes a shot of alcohol, and then one shot at a target. Alternate until someone misses the target or falls unconscious from drink. Heavy drinkers or harder competitions might make you miss three times before you are out.


It should go without saying, but if your target is your opponent, it's probably a duel. Resolve as a combat, with the rules for Cascading Waits and a Quick Contest of Fast-Draw (if appropriate) to see who goes first. Dodge and Drop is legal, but generally would be regarded as an automatic loss - rules, however, may vary. Duels may be until one competitor is hit and the other isn't, to first blood (best done at half-damage range, so as not to kill each other), to the death, or anything else the competitors can agree on. One variation is to do this with shields and axes, and the first person to break the other's shield wins. In such contests, you don't Block, you hold the shield as a target. Will roll not to flinch; failure means you try to Dodge and suffer a free penalty throw by the other competitor.

Those should just set the table for more contests.

By the way, most of these come down to dice rolling. Some people might object that this isn't very fun, mechanically. I disagree - just make the stakes important, the setting enjoyable, and the task challenging. Players love to have their PCs show off their skills, and when the stakes are money, humiliating punishment, awe of a room full of NPCs, etc., the players will absolutely lean in over the table at every roll of the dice. These contests will be what you make them.


  1. Hjalmarr can't wait for this.

    1. Drink & Throw especially.

    2. Excellent. I think it'll be great when we get to deploy these in-game.


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