Tavern drinking

Some scholars believe that civilization would not exist if alcohol had not given early peoples a reason to settle in one place where they could make alcoholic beverages. Certainly, drinking is an important part of many cultures. To many, socializing over a couple of drinks is a cherished and enjoyable tradition, while others decry alcoholism as an unavoidable source of clumsiness and stupidity. Alcoholic drinks are commonplace at nearly any festival or tavern, and sometimes drinking is the focus of a game or competition. Like in real life, too much drinking in-game can make people sick and ruin their fun, but a little drunkeness can add to the merriment of all.

Drink SizesEdit

Servings of alcohol are measured in ‘shots.’ A ‘shot’ does not denote any real-world significance; rather, it is simply a convenient word to measure small volumes of liquid in game terms. The number of shots contained in various drinking vessels is as follows.

  • 1 - Shot glass/mouthful (4 ounces)
  • 2 - Small glass (cup)
  • 4 - Mug/wineskin (pint)
  • 8 - Large flagon (quart)
  • 16 - Jug (half gallon)
  • 32 - Large pitcher (gallon)
  • 96 - Keg (3 gallons)
  • 320 - Small barrel (10 gallons)
  • 1280 - Large barrel (40 gallons)

Drink StrengthsEdit

The strength of the drink is measured on a scale, with 0 being no alcohol content, and 10 or higher being powerful beverages. The following table should not be regarded as a definitive list of drinks, but rather a rough guide to how to use Alcohol Strengths.

  • 0 - Water
  • 1 - Weak beer (Ladosian ale, a common drink found in most taverns, very cheap).
  • 2 - Regular beer (Rumblekin mead, produced by gnomes using alchemically created honey, known to have a strong, heady taste).
  • 4 - Wine (Azureberry brandy, a sweet flavored dessert liquor brewed by the avarta from the azureberries that grow around their cities).
  • 6 - Strong wine (Dwarven peat beer, so named for its thick consistency and dark taste, it is one of the most potent beers known to man).
  • 10 - Spirits (Urshahk's Dark Wine, created by the famed half-orc brewer Urshahk, it has a taste few can stand except, strangely, elves).
  • 12 Strong Spirits (Serpent's Tongue, a drink that it literally poison to all but lamni, it deals 1 hp damage to the imbiber per AU).
  • 14 Dwarven Spirits (Ironweave Special, a drink famous on multiple worlds for its strength, one drink has been known to knock a man out).

Alcohol UnitsEdit

A drink’s total effect is measured in Alcohol Units (AU). The alcohol units of a given drink is the product of its number of shots times its strength. For example, a mug (4 shots) of wine (Strength 4) is a total of 16 AU.

Effects of AlcoholEdit

Alcohol is, basically, a poison. The more you drink, the greater effect it has. There are several levels of intoxication, each accompanied by penalties to certain abilities, and a slight bonus to resist pain.


Judgment slightly impaired, but no noticeable effects. -1 penalty to attack rolls, skill checks, ability checks, and Reflex saves. No effect on movement or hit points. Must make a Concentration check (DC 10 +spell level)* to cast spells or take similar actions.


Inhibitions lower, voices raise, and balance wavers slightly. -2 penalty to attack rolls, skill checks, ability checks, and Reflex saves. +1 temporary hit point per hit die. No effect on movement. Must make a Concentration check (DC 10 +spell level)* to cast spells or take similar actions.


Dizzy and disoriented, words slurred. -4 penalty to attack rolls, skill checks, ability checks, and Reflex saves. +2 temporary hit points per hit die. Can safely take one move action each round, but must make a Balance check (DC 10)* to both move and take an action. Falls down on a failure. Must make a Concentration check (DC 10 + spell level)* to cast spells or take similar actions.


Can’t walk in a straight line, generally incoherent. -8 penalty to attack rolls, skill checks, ability checks, and Reflex saves. +3 temporary hit points per hit die. Can safely take one move action per round, but must make a Balance check (DC 10)* to both move and take an action. Falls down on a failure. Must make a Concentration check (DC 10 +spell level)* to cast spells or take similar actions.


Communication is nearly impossible, as is standing up. -16 penalty to attack rolls, skill checks, ability checks, and Reflex saves (though the character can take no actions, so it usually doesn’t matter). +4 temporary hit points per hit die (but usually unable to take advantage of this). He must make a Concentration check (DC 10+spell level)* to cast spells or take similar actions. Character is nauseated, and the only action he can normally take is a single move action per round, but is then stunned for the next 1d6 rounds.


Character is unconscious, usually from sickness or extreme dizziness and confusion.

*: Skill check penalty applies for this level of drunkenness as normal.

Getting DrunkEdit

An average person’s Alcohol Threshold is equal to his Constitution score, but this number can modified by several other factors. Any racial, magical, or class-based bonuses to resist poison add to this number, the Endurance feat adds +4 to this number, and the Hard Drinking feat doubles a character’s Alcohol Threshold (Constitution score and all other modifiers are doubled).

For each size category smaller than Medium-size that you are, your Alcohol Threshold is reduced by half. For each size category larger, double your Alcohol Threshold. For example, the Alcohol Threshold of the average gnome is only 5, whereas a Great Wyrm Red Dragon would have an Alcohol Threshold of 496.

Once you reach your Alcohol Threshold, you become Tipsy. As you drink more, you progress through the various levels of intoxication, with a number of AU equal to your threshold increasing your drunkeness to the next category.

For example, Seth has a Constitution of 14. He drinks two shots of whiskey (12 AU each, total 24 AU). This exceeds his Alcohol Threshold, so he becomes Tipsy. Another 4 AU will take him to 28, putting him in the Merry category.

The game master may give a temporary bonus to a character’s alcohol threshold of up to +2 from various factors, such as a full stomach or magical enhancements.

Drinking Too FastEdit

A Medium size character can drink 2 shots as a move-equivalent action. Double this number for each size category above Medium and halve it for each category below Medium as indicated in the table below. A character can drink double the amount indicated as a full round action instead.

Size Number of shots that can be drunk as move action Alcohol Threshold
Tiny 1/2 1/4 Con score
Small 1 1/2 Con score
Medium 2 Con score
Large 4 2x Con score
Huge 8 4x Con score
Gargantuan 16 8x Con score
Colossal 32 16x Con score

Attempting to drink more than this in one go requires a Fortitude save (DC 10 + 4 per extra multiple or part thereof). A failure means that the character cannot swallow fast enough, and a failure by 5 or more causes the character to also lose his action the next round from gagging. In most drinking contests, this automatically means that the character has lost.

Additionally, sometimes an overdose of strong drink can shock a person’s system. If a character drinks too much too quickly, there is a danger of him passing out or getting sick right away. If a charater drinks more AU than twice his Alcohol Threshold in one round, he must make a Fortitude save (DC 20). If he fails the save, he either vomits out what he just drank, or falls unconscious (the GM gets to choose).

For example, in a drinking contest, Seth downs a mug of Dwarf Spirits, for a total of 56 AU. Since his Alcohol Threshold is 14, he becomes Hammered after one drink. He must make a Fortitude save (DC 20), or he’ll most likely lose the contest.

Recovery & HangoversEdit

A character recovers at a rate of 8 Alcohol Units per hour. Additionally, eight hours of uninterrupted sleep enables him to recover completely.

A character who has become Drunk or higher suffers a hangover once he sobers up. A hangover consists of headaches, nausea and other unpleasant side effects. After recovering from drunkeness, a hangover begins. While hung over, a character suffers the same penalty to his attack rolls, skill checks, ability checks, and Reflex saves of the drunkeness category he reached the night before. Every two hours, the severity reduces by one category until the penalties go away.

For example, Seth continues drinking until he is Hammered. This category gives him a -8 penalty to most of his rolls and checks. He gets 8 hours of sleep and wakes the next morning with a hangover. He suffers a -8 penalty to various rolls and checks for 2 hours, then -4 for the next two hours, then only -2, and finally -1. After 8 hours, the ringing and buzzing finally goes away.

Folk RemediesEdit

A Craft (alchemy) check (DC 20) will allow a character to brew a hangover or drunkeness remedy. Characters with 5 or more ranks of Heal get a +2 synergy bonus to this check. Most such folk remedies sell for 2 gold pieces per dose, and many inns and taverns make as much money sobering up their patrons as getting them drunk. A character can only benefit from one dose of a folk drunkeness remedy per day.

Remedies have an effect either on current drunkeness, or on hangovers. Particular effects may vary, but we present here a sample remedy, Hair of the Dog.

Hair of the DogEdit

This foul-tasting concoction doesn’t even try to hide its ingredients; a clump of dog hairs float atop a green-brown broth filled with mashed leaves. The necessary ingredients for 5 doses can be found in a typical forest with an hour of searching and a successful Wilderness Lore check (DC 12). Two hours of work and an Alchemy check (DC 20) can turn the ingredients into 5 doses, each the size of a small cup.

Hangover Recovery – A dose of Hair of Dog reduces the character’s penalties from a hangover as if 2 hours had passed. Only one such drink can have an effect per day.

Sobering Up – Alternately, Hair of Dog sobers up a drunk character by 5d6 Alcohol Units.

Optional RulesEdit

Avartan CourageEdit

You may choose to let drunkeness provide bonuses to certain social skills. The jokes about friendly and unpleasant drunks have a grounding in fact, since ale helps reduce people’s inhibitions.

A player can choose for his character to be a friendly or unpleasant drunk. Once this choice has been made, it cannot be changed. A friendly drunk gets a bonus to his Diplomacy and Gather Information checks, while an unpleasant drunk gets a bonus to his Intimidate checks.

This bonus is +1 for being Tipsy, +2 for being Merry, and +4 for being Drunk. These bonuses replace the normal penalties to skill checks for those levels of intoxication. Beyond drunk, the character is not coherent enough to take advantage of his lack of inhibition, and the usual penalties apply.

Unwitting BraveryEdit

You may also decide that intoxicated people do not frighten easily. Tipsy characters get a +1 bonus to Will saves against fear effects, and the bonus is +2 for Merry, +4 for Drunk, +8 for Hammered, and +16 for Plastered. At a certain point, some people care too much about stopping the room from lurching to worry about running away.

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