Monday, 30 November 2015

D&D Background: Tavern Brawl Veteran

You are a former tavern brawler; you made a living fighting in an organised tavern brawl league, where rival taverns send teams of thugs to fight against each other, either in the streets or in the taverns and inns of the realm. It is part sport, part gang violence, a past time for aggressive thugs and street loiterers, members of gangs, and the occasional bored adventurer.

A tavern will typically build an informal team of 'brawlers' who will take part in these fights. There are few rules, although use of weapons and magic is generally frowned upon, and can lead to the expulsion of a given establishment from a league.

There are many reasons for a team to be created - some are sponsored by criminals who wish to keep their henchmen busy or test out new recruits, other leagues help to determine beer prices, bragging rights or to settle old feuds and rivalries without too many people getting maimed.

Skill Proficiencies: Athletics, Intimidation

Distinguishing Marks

Tavern brawling is a hard life. While the beer is free, many former members of leagues carry the marks of their careers upon their bodies.

  1. One eye
  2. Missing 1d4 fingers
  3. Livid scar across face
  4. Team tattoos
  5. Broken nose
  6. Missing teeth
Feature: Tavern Born

You spent a lot of time in pubs, either fighting, relaxing between fights, or preparing for the next fight. You were a local hero for the regular patrons of your tavern. Not only can you usually out drink anyone else, you are very familiar with tavern culture and can negotiate a free beer, talk your way past bouncers, or be the first to sense when trouble is brewing. When necessary, you can also use your natural environment to blend in among the other tavern patrons.

Suggested Characteristics

Tavern brawlers can be dour and sinister, or the life and soul of the party. They are not necessarily natural born killers, but they are usually competitive in the extreme, and can get bored easily. A quiet tavern is one without a brawl. A tavern with a brawl is a more entertaining place to be.

 d8 Personality Traits

  1. I'm not afraid to use my fists - or other weapons - to speak for me.
  2. Good ale, and good friends, are what life is all about.
  3. I've taken brawling as far as it is going to get me - I'm ready for the big time.
  4. Organised violence is like any other commodity - it has a price. What have you got?
  5. Life can get too quiet if you let it: when things get boring, it is time to stir them up a bit.
  6. I find my best decisions are made after a few pints of Old Gorgruk's Finest.
  7. Don't make me angry; you won't like me when I'm angry.
  8. Just because I look like someone stamped all over me doesn't mean I can't be trusted.
d6 Ideals

  1. Community. Every tavern is a community - it is not about the building, it is about the people that drink there.
  2. Fairness.It may look like chaos, but there are still rules. Without rules, you have true chaos.
  3. Tradition.You have to stick to the traditions of your team, your league. It is what makes you.
  4. Might. Only the strongest are going home with the booze, lads.
  5. Greed. I'm sure your tavern has lovely beer, but let's see the colour of your gold.
  6. Live and let live.One season you could be stamping on his face, the next he's the one taking a bottle for you.
d6 Bond

  1.  My team may be scattered to the four corners of the realm, but that doesn't mean we can't look out for each other.
  2. A few landlords owe me favours, be it food or a roof for the night.
  3. I left organised brawling after I killed a man; his team mates all swore an oath of vengeance against me.
  4. My old manager still owes me for last season; when I catch up with him, there's going to be trouble.
  5. My twin brother and I used to brawl for the same team; now I'm out, but he still brawls for a living. Occasionally, we get mistaken for each other.
  6. Some landlords still try to lure me back into brawling, or offer me a job as a coach. Once in a while I'm tempted to take on a short term job.
d8 Flaw

  1. After a couple of ales, I'm ready to rumble.
  2. I'm simply not a team player, much as I've tried over the years. I've made a bad name for myself in professional tavern brawling circles as a result.
  3. I still see double after Bogri Ballcrusher stamped on my head at the Blue Unicorn.
  4. I can't take anyone who isn't built like a barn that seriously.
  5. After my last match, I swore an oath never to go into a tavern again.
  6. People are intimidated by my boyish good looks - maybe it's the scar tissue? I don't notice it myself, but others do.
  7. I don't mind dishing out a bit of violence for the sport's sake, but I'm not a killer.
  8. I had a short term career as a tavern brawl manager - until my team was beaten by some halflings. My infamy has spread far and wide. I may have to change my name...


  1. The spontaneous creation of the tavern brawn league is one of my favourite memories of that 13th Age game.

  2. Can I send you a few for viking backgrounds at some point? :) liking the collection so far :)