Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Tipping Hill Festival - Barrel Rider

Tipping Hill is a neighborhood in the southwest corner of Loreltarma. The neighborhood exists on a large section of hills that overlook the center of the city. There is a great dip at the crest of the largest hill with a cobblestone road running from peak to peak.

During the annual festival a contest is held with several teams competing. Each team must have between three and five members.

The teams purchase a keg that was emptied during the fall and winter seasons from either of the taverns. Usually there are about half a dozen kegs available in various conditions. Since the taverns also want to be able to claim that the winning team used one of their kegs, they often try to protect the empties from the weather and skullduggery, but sometimes, stuff happens.

At each peak are taverns and the objective is for each team to get their keg from peak to peak 7 times by rolling it on its side, ending at the opposite tavern from which they started. One member of the team must ride in the keg, and this can be a different member for each trip. If the passenger gets sick during the trip to the other peak, the team is eliminated from the contest. At each peak the teams stop and go into the tavern where they chug at least one beer each.

Participants must pay for their drinks and often tip generously for quick service, and sometimes for non-poisonous additives in rival team's beers to try to slow them down while they fish out the offending object or to encourage illness.

No magic may be used to enhance performance or to interfere with other teams directly. Showy displays of magic for entertainment are highly encouraged by the spectators, especially if it gives everyone a good laugh.

Points are scored, one for each beer consumed at each stop and any team member getting sick loses the most recent point they scored. Since this is also a race, the winners are determined first by seeing if any team makes all seven stops, then by which team made the most stops, then by how many beers were consumed as a tie-breaker.

Much wagering is done on which team will win.

If a team of pcs want to get in on this, here is how it is done.

Use a battle mat or a piece of paper, or your wall, whatever can be used to show where the taverns are and everywhere in between. Make sure there are 20 rows and 5 columns on the playing field. Random placement of 1d6 worth of obstacles at the beginning is optional. More may be added by destroyed barrels and other mishaps.
Grab a standard pack of playing cards, leave the jokers in. Shuffle the deck thoroughly. The cards function as random direction modifiers. Even cards indicate a 45 degree right angle, Odd cards indicate a 45 degree left angle, Face cards indicate straight forward movement, and with the jokers acting as random mishaps.

Each team rolls for initiative using the lowest modifier among the members of the team as that team's modifier with the exception of the rider that trip.

The players will draw a card for each space they wish to move to try to get to the opposite end of the map and the next tavern. If they want to try to change the outcome one player is chosen from those not inside the barrel, to make a roll under a specific ability. When going downhill the roll is against dexterity, when going uphill it is against strength. Keep in mind that a bad turn of directions can temporarily flip which roll is used for steering.

Succeeding at a steering roll means the team can counter the direction card to either keep straight or turn slightly if the card was indicating straight. Failure on the roll indicates the opposite effect. For example if the card indicates a left turn and the team wants to maintain straight and the roll is failed, then it turns 90 degrees left instead of only 45 degrees. In the case of a card indicating straight and the roll failing, the barrel instead moves backwards a space if going uphill, or continues straight.

At the halfway point on the map is the bottom of the dip in the road. Mark it with a darker line. Not only does this line indicate which ability score is used for steering, but is the point where the rider has to save or get sick.

PCs each begin with a -5 modifier to help them with steering. This may be further modified by having a good or bad Constitution modifier. If Bruno the Axe has an 18 constitution in Labyrinth Lord, he may modify the roll an additional 3 in his favor. At the start Bruno would have a combined -8 added to his roll.

Likewise for anyone that needs to try to avoid getting sick, characters begin with a +5, modified further by Constitution. In this case Bruno would have a combined +8. To avoid sickness the character saves vs poison.

Ah, but there's a catch! For each beer consumed by a character that modifier changes one for the worse. In Bruno's machismo at the start of the competition he decides to down two beers to score two points. He's tough, he can handle it, so now he begins the race with -6 and +6 as his modifiers.

By the start of the final leg of the race, each character will have downed at least 7 beers, maybe more if they are trying for points to help them in a tie-break.
If movement indicates a collision of barrels or with obstacles (in which case backwards movement is possible), draw a random card and move the barrel that diection. Also the character steering saves vs paralysis or falls prone for one turn and someone else must steer the next turn. Riders must also make a sickness save. Modifiers do apply as above.

The condition of the barrels can also modify rolls. Warping, loosened bands, and split boards can all modify the rolls as can slickness of cobblestones should there be rain or other liquids spilled. Taven keepers charge good money for better barrels.

If people want to run separate teams just get extra decks of cards.

The beginnings of the random mishap table will be this week's Random Table Thurdsay post. It is hoped that anyone that runs this will add more random mishaps.

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