When your halfling has the sniffles and your gnoll chooses mental impairment over D&D…

Inn-FightingWhat do you do when members of your group are (expectedly or unexpectedly) absent?

Inn-Fighting, that’s what!

My original plan yesterday was for us to play while waiting for whoever was late (and isn’t there always someone late?). We knew Hakim wouldn’t be there because he wasn’t feeling well, but we didn’t expect to wait and wait for Eko and not have him show up at all. (The gnoll is a bass player – music geeks will understand why this explains everything.)

While waiting, Name and I tried to figure out the rules to Inn-Fighting with the new guy, who will eventually be playing a caster (warlock, I think). I’m not sure if we were all brain-dead or the rulebook is hard to follow, but it may be a combination of the two. (We did wonder about the ages 12+… would a group of 12 year olds figure out the rules faster than we did? If so, what does it say about the college-educated set?)

It became evident that Eko wasn’t showing up. Our DM didn’t want to run the adventure with two people out, especially since some of it actively involved the druid, so we decided to try Inn-Fighting instead.

We even got the DM’s girlfriend involved! (He was so happy that she was playing – it’s one step closer to getting her playing D&D! She’s borrowing my copy of Confessions of a Part-Time Sorceress, too.)

For those that are unfamiliar with this game, the premise is simple. You are an adventurer in a bar. A fight breaks out and you kick arse, gathering up allies where you can. The more people you knock out, the more victory points (VP) you accumulate. The first person to accumulate 20 VP and make a successful attack, wins!

Seems simple, right?

We played for over two hours. On one game!! There are lots of twists and turns coming from the various powers of each adventurer, bystander, and action card.

Some of our favorites:

  • Syranil, Half Elf Paladin - Her Smite power deals crazy damage to Evil characters and the evil character gets no defense roll. (Extra Irony Points? Her bystander was an Orc Maurauder.)
  • Finno, Halfling Rogue – When he has a bystander on his team, you can’t defend against his power attack because you are flanked!
  • Charrg, Half-Orc Barbarian – We all hated Name for having this card. With Charrg’s defensive move, a frenzy, he deals anywhere between 1 and 5 damage to every adventurer. When all you have is 2 to 10 hps, that’s a big owie.
  • Bodyguard, Bystander – Does his job by eating 2 pts of any damage to your adventurer.
  • Drunken Caravan Guard, Bystander – When he defends from an attack, he hits his head and forgets who he was fighting for. Everyone rolls a d20 and the high roller takes him.
  • Kobold Wizard (evil), Bystander – Stinking Cloud. Nuff said.

What makes the game so long is that it thrives on “Take Down the Leader“. The Power Attack is always targeted at the player with the most VP, so may the gods be kind to you if you are winning!

The good news? This evens out the game so that by the end, everyone is within an inch of winning and has to really get a lucky card or roll to get over the edge. It’s not like Monopoly, when you look across the table and see Grandma with stacks of 100s and you have change for a twenty. Many a game of monopoly in my house would end with people leaving the table because it just wasn’t fun anymore. Not the case with Inn-Fighting – everyone is almost a winner until the bitter end!

The bad news? We spent the last hour of the game with the whole table hovering between 18-22 VP. Once you have 20, you must make a successful attack before you can win, which means everyone else at the table is trying to power attack you to take you down before your turn rolls around.

In the end, our DM won. (We like to make him think we let him win.)

All in all, once we had figured out the rules, this game was really fun to play. I’ll be bringing it to future sessions for sure. It could be easily modified so that the winner would only need 5 or 10 VP to win, which would make the game much shorter.

The unexpected bonus? The blue d20 that game with the game gave me 4 critical hits… more 20s than I’ve rolled in my entire career as a drow. Go figure.

About e

Since 2008, E. Foley of Geek’s Dream Girl has been helping geeks from around the world find love. She writes amazing online dating profiles for her fellow geeks and guides them through the perilous waters of the dating scene and out the other side. She's totally proud to report that she's even caused a couple geek weddings! She lives in Maryland with DaveTheGame, her adorable cats, Mr. Peanut & Don Juan, and Titania, Queen of the Cocker Spaniels. (Email e, or follow @geeksdreamgirl on Twitter.)

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