Seriously though, I need help creating a drinking contest.
One of my player's characters has high Endurance and in one of our previous sessions challenged a tavern half full of bad guys to a drinking contest, which worked out well since I needed to clear some out anyway to compensate for there only being 2 PCs in that session.
However the only way I could think to do it at the time was Endurance vs. Endurance and it just lacked in entertainment value.

I found this question in regards to the effects off drunkenness which I can easily convert to theatre of the mind fluff and it's a starting point but I need something for "outside of combat", especially for when the NPC's are just randoms with no stats.

Now for the actual question, does anyone have any ideas/resources on how I could create a drinking contest that doesn't require a roll vs. roll approach yet still feels like a contest, especially when competing against a group of NPCs at one time?

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Regarding the dead link in the answer to the linked question, looks like there's a snapshot of it on the wayback machine here: web.archive.org/web/20131017075824/http://… \$\endgroup\$ – CTWind Oct 2 '14 at 4:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ I just fixed the dead link in the related question's answer. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Oct 2 '14 at 17:53

Use the skill challenge mechanic.

Decide the level and difficulty of the encounter, and then consult the table in the Rules Compendium for the correct number of successes before 3 failures.

That really just leaves which skills you want your PCs to use.

  • Endurance is a clear primary skill. I like Sandwich's idea of inflicting a penalty on a failed check, and I think it's the right move.

  • Bluff is another good primary, to fake out actually drinking a round.

  • Arcana might also be a good primary though not necessarily by the involved PCs, prestidigitation or some other minor spell could be used to strengthen the drink of an opponent or weaken that of an ally.

There are tons of possible secondary skills, these would not count as a success, but would provide bonuses to future checks (failures still accumulate)

  • History for creative insults

  • Streetwise or Diplomacy to rile up the crowds and distract folks

  • Just about anything creative your players can come up with, award +2 to an appropriate skill roll.

The important thing with a scene like this is to narratively drive the action. Build it up strongly and make it seem quite vivid. Don't call for specific skills, ask your PCs to describe their actions and let that guide what they roll.

The other thing is to set up different paths for different failure rates. Have a consequence in mind for the first, second and third failure.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Heal might also work, being able to understand when someone else is fading, for example. Thievery (or perhaps Stealth) if you want to pour some of the drink down your sleeve or into a plant without others noticing. \$\endgroup\$ – JLan Oct 3 '14 at 1:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JLan aye! lots of room for creativity in creation of this kind of scenario \$\endgroup\$ – wax eagle Oct 3 '14 at 2:20

Due to my unfamiliarity with DND 4th Edition I'm going to give you a system agnostic answer.

Assign each of the "bad guys" who your PCs will be drinking against a modifier from -5 to +10 on their rolls to resist the effects of alcohol. The ones with the low modifier would be the lightweights who can't hold their drink.

Give the ones who you intend to be the ones your PCs are going to fight the high modifiers and have the PCs roll against all of the other enemies all at once. For example, have the PCs roll once and roll once for the entire group of bad guys to reduce the number of rolls you have to conduct.

Each time someone fails a check reduce their modifier by -2. If they incur a total of -10 they pass out due to alcohol poisoning.

If you want to exceed the excitement for the fight after the drinking contest, disarm the PCs and the people they're going to be getting into a scuffle with so that only improvised weapons, such as chairs, bar-mugs, tables, and trays can be used.


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