Dungeons & Dragons Online

Bruises & Barstools 1st Edition

The bar fight is a nearly quintessential part of D&D, likely as the natural outcome of gathering four adventurers in a tavern. Taverns in fantasy are, after all, rough-and-tumble places brimming with bravado, drink, and chandeliers that it would be an affront to Korgle, god of theater and tropes, to not swing on in a frenzied brawl. The following is a mini-supplement to make these frantic frays slightly deeper.

Item Damage. Item attacks are made as regular attacks: Str.-based for melee attacks, Dex.-based for ranged attacks, unless the item being hurled or flung is Two-Handed or Heavy in size, in which case the ranged attack will also be Str.-based.

Take the Damage Base of the item, determined by size, add the Damage Modifier from the item's material, and then add the relevant ability score modifier to find the damage of the attack. Unless the nature of the item is clearly otherwise- an already-broken glass bottle, or slamming someone onto a spike-topped fence -all weapons in a brawl are Bludgeoning.

Item SizeItem Damage Base
Hand (i.e., tankard)1d4
Arm (i.e., heavy serving platter)1d6
Two-Handed (i.e., bar stool)1d8
Heavy (i.e., full table)1d10

Item MaterialItem Damage Modifier
Paper, cloth (i.e., smacked with sheaf of documents)+0
Glass, china (i.e., hurled a teacup or saucer)+1
Wood, bone (i.e., broken table leg)+2
Metal, masonry (i.e., rammed into brick wall)+4

"Pamela snatches the honing steel off the table, and brings it to bear on the Mafioso 'chef'. Her Strength is +2, the item is Hand sized, and the material is metal. Her Proficiency with simple weapons is +2, so her attack will be +4 and deal 1d4+2+4 bludgeoning damage."

Ramming. Not all attacks made in a bar fight involve using scenery against people; some involve using people against scenery. Forcefully. Ram attacks are made as a shove action would be made. Use the Item Material table above and the Item Composition table below, adding the attacker's Str. ability score modifier to find the damage that a Ram attack would do.

Item CompositionItem Damage Base
Weak (i.e., bamboo screen)1d4
Reliable (i.e., light wooden table)1d6
Sturdy (i.e., metal lamppost)2d6
Indestructible (i.e., brick wall)3d6

"Barates goes for the satyr reveler's throat, intending to chokeslam him through the table. Barates rolls a 13, with +6 in Athletics; the satyr rolls 11, with +5 in Acrobatics. Barates hoists him up and smashes him back down again, with the table- being a reliable wooden surface -dealing 1d6+2+4 bludgeoning damage."

Scenery Damage. Both people and things regularly get broken in a bar fight. Weapons break, chairs and tables break, sometimes even the floor gets roughed up.

Item Damage from Slamming/Improvised Weapon Use. Use the combined stats from the two columns below and make a Damage roll whenever an item takes heavy damage. On a 1, the item breaks. Depending on the circumstances, items may be salvageable. For example, while a Heavy table that has broken could have Arm-sized table legs pried off of it, you can't get much out of a glass filigree statue that you've just shoved an opponent into from one side and out the other. This part is up to the creativity of the players.

Item SizeItem DieItem MaterialItem Modifier
Hand1d4Weak-1
Arm1d6Reliable+0
Two-Handed1d8SturdyEvens/odds to ignore a 1
Heavy1d10IndestructibleReroll 1s

Brittle Items. Certain items are by their nature breakable. Things like wedding cakes and glass goblets can be safely assumed to break on the first use of them as a weapon or crash-pad.

Slam Modifiers. Tiny creatures increase die size by 1, to a maximum of 1d12, when they are Slammed into something. Large creatures or creatures that count as Large, like Goliaths, reduce the die size by 1, to a minimum of 1d3.

"Rin Min has found himself embroiled in a sudden brawl at a wedding banquet. He seizes his current attacker and uses a Slam to introduce the assailant to his table. The table is Reliably constructed and Heavy, and his assailant is Medium; he will roll a d10, adding nothing, to see whether it is damaged. He rolls a 2, and so while the table is now bloody from the smashed nose, it remains intact."

Breaking Surfaces. Walls and floors may also find themselves in danger when the bitter and blood start flowing. Floors and surfaces are always Heavy, but their composition may vary- a royal pavement is Indestructible, a mossy wood railing is Weak.

When a surface rolls a 1 on the damage table, it goes from Fine to Damaged; the next time, it will go from Damaged to Hazardous, and the time after that, from Hazardous to completely broken. (In areas where brawls are common, surfaces like pillars and floors might already be Damaged or Hazardous.)

The rules for brittle items also apply here; windows or shoji screens are liable to break on first use.

"Rahunjit has taken a wrong turn and run afoul of a pack of Maulfists. Weaponless, they act in desperation, seizing the leader by his neckerchief and shoving him into a balcony railing, threatening to pitch him off if the others don't back down. Rahunjit wins the slam roll-off, deals 1d6+4 bludgeoning damage to the thug, and rolls a 1 on the d10 damage roll- but as the railing is Sturdy, it holds fast by winning the evens/odds."

Combo Dice. Bar brawl combat demands a fast and furious battle. As such, each combatant has Combo Dice, which they will roll on their turn. These are (proficiency bonus x 3)d6, although Monks and Barbarians get an extra one.

On your turn, if you choose to attack, you and the target of the attack both roll your Combo Dice. 6s grant you an extra attack; 1s allow you to negate one of your opponent's 6s. If you have Multiattack, you get the normal number of attacks this would grant you, plus your Combo Dice.

"Carmine St.-Henry is fighting a ghoulish Orderly of the Sanitaruim that has cornered her in a study. On her turn, she chooses to attack. She rolls two 6s, a 1, two 5s and a 3; the Orderly rolls a 6, a 1, two 5s, a 3 and a 2. Out of the frantic scrabble, she gets one extra attack in, but leaves no openings for the Orderly to get one. She uses her attacks to give it a knee in the vitals and a marble bookend to the skull."

Why to Use These Rules. These rules allow for more detailed "brawl" combat, leaving less up to GM fiat in a few respects, and possibly opening up more opportunities for unarmed and unexpected fights- sudden ambushes at swanky balls or an unexpected battle in a no-weapons-past-the-door tavern. They might also be used in regular fights to allow for less traditional attacks than spears and shortswords.

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