Top Mini-Games for Enjoying in a DND Tavern

Dungeons & Dragons is a unique game that uses rules, dice, pieces, and sometimes even a game board. Unlike other games that simulate specific activities like war, commerce, trading, and sport, D&D has rules for almost anything you can think of. As a result, players and DMs have been creating in-game D&D mini-games for decades, such as gambling in taverns, drinking with NPCs, and making downtime more fun. Tavern mini-games in D&D can be enhanced by incorporating players’ ability scores as factors.

For example, Charisma should play a role in games involving deception, Constitution should influence eating and drinking contests, and Strength naturally works for tests of strength. Additionally, players can add their usual bonuses to rolls involving associated ability scores, and granting bonuses or advantages to players who roleplay their participation encourages an immersive game. One example of a mini-game is the Roman Tali Dice Mini-Game for D&D, which is a gambling game using four-sided dice easily replaced with D&D’s d4. Another example is the Tavern Drinking Game, which involves a series of d20 Constitution checks with the difficulty class increasing each time.

In D&D taverns, pit fighting, gladiatorial combat, and animal fights are common gambling options. To bring these to the tabletop game, one can describe the fighting area, allow observation of the combatants and creatures, and set odds reflecting the likely outcome. There’s also an option for a more Jabba’s Palace-type setup where bets can be placed on how many rounds of combat a person survives. Overall, the key to mini-gaming in D&D is to keep it simple, snappy, thematically appropriate, and fun.

There are many ways to mini-gamify D&D’s hardware, and while there are entire books dedicated to tavern mini-games and gambling activities, there are also an equal amount of free resources available.

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