Sunday 5 January 2014

Wunderkammer Drinking Games

Another neat thing we saw in the new Rijksmuseum: a room of cups used in 17th century drinking games.

Dice cup
DICE CUP: Like many drinking cups, this has no base, so that it can not be set down while full. Instead, at the bottom of the cup is a round cage with a die in it. The point of the game is simple: shake the empty cup, then drain it a number of times equal to the number on the die.

SPINNER CUP: This cup has a spinner built into the stem. Whosoever the spinner points to must drink from the cup. A game that is not entirely forgotten.

Measure glass
MEASURE GLASS: The "pasglas" or measure glass is a clear cylinder with three to five marks along its side. The object is to fill the glass and drain one of the compartments exactly, no more, no less. Failure means you must drink from the next compartment, and so on.

How would I rule a drinking game in an old school system? Each basic "drink" is 1 pint of beer or cider = 1 large glass of wine = double shot of distilled spirits.

Drinking skill doesn't match well with adventuring levels, so I would just use the ad hoc "tiny competence" system and have everyone roll a d6 (+2 if a dwarf, automatic 6 if an appropriate background such as "tavern keeper"). on a 1 you are a lightweight and must make two d20+CON >= 20 rolls after each drink, on a 2 you are a heavyweight and make one such roll after every two drinks, everyone else makes one roll per drink. Failure moves you one step down the track:

0: Not Drunk: You are fine.
1: Tipsy: -1  penalty to all rolls involving skill
2: Drunk: -2 penalty and -3 move
3: Legless: -5 penalty and -6 move. If you failed on a natural 10 or less, vomit, losing 1 drink from your system.
4: Unconscious. Recover in 2d4 hours.

Sleight of hand may be used to try to manipulate the die or the spinner, and the measure glass can be set as a d20 + WIS >= 20 task.

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