You arrive in a town called Marrow’s Mead, and before long you find yourself in a tavern called The Mighty Beard. You see some fellow travelers, and the rag-tag band happen to sit at your table. The table is old and worn, water damage certainly from spilled beer. The tavern is lively, a barmaid seems to dance between tables as she holds pint glasses by the dozen. A rosy cheeked dwarf slams her ale down and challenges a behemoth of a Ren’kai to an arm wrestling match. Music walks its way to your ear, and begins to run as the Elf increases tempo. You feel at home, and your could-be companions at the table begin speaking.
Many adventures begin in a humble tavern. I’m sure many of you have memories from pen and paper adventures that begin in a small town, with a small town tavern and small town problems. Over time, it becomes a headquarters. You go there to rest, to eat, to hear gossip and meet friends. It’s a home away from home and your connection to the world when you’re not on a quest. What makes a dimly lit, odd smelling, drunk-patron-having tavern a great place? It’s the atmosphere, it’s the people, it’s the feeling you get, and it’s the memories. We’re going to try to capture this feeling of home best we can, and we have some cool ideas to make this happen.
First, let’s talk about what the tavern has to offer in a more direct sense. Players will be able to buy food and drink from the tavern, some of which will be supplied by the tavern owner or other patrons that they get their menu from. These consumables will offer tangible benefits to players that stay within a certain proximity of the tavern itself. In short, our taverns are going to be more than just a place to go AFK. We want players going to taverns for things they can’t get anywhere else, you’ll find this in what these consumables do here.
After you return from your excursion, you’ll find a private chat available to you (with voice to) for all patrons within the building. This puts you right into the place you are, it keeps you present – in the moment. We want the interaction between players to be meaningful and easy. We want there to be communities within communities. You quest every day, PvP every night, so why not be a regular here to help relax? It’s a player’s home away from home. The music within the tavern can be switched by players to give the atmosphere they’re after. We want you chatting with friends at a table, grabbing some food before you go out to adventure and enjoying the music you’d like in the meantime. We believe everything in our game should be an experience.
But what about the real meat and potatoes? Beyond the delicious food the tavern will offer, there are systems that really will change how the game is played for you. We want to include systems that have you staying inside the building, and enjoying what the owner has created. The first thing that all players will enjoy and use is rested experience. It goes back to our purpose here: to keep you socializing with your fellow players and to enjoy the amenities tavern owners provide. Offering rested experience for those that rent rooms or spend time as patrons of the tavern does this. For those that don’t know, rested experience lets players gain experience at a faster rate for a chunk of their experience bar. It’s a nice reward for taking a break, and means that not being “active” in the questing or hunting sense still lets you reap the rewards of having been so. Next, another system is the battle map system. Our game doesn’t have fast travel, uses imperfect information to cause intrigue and as developers we want players to work together in order to plan their next moves. Battle maps allow players to strategize, gain bonuses on planned attacks, and see the blueprints of attackable points. If attacking a node or castle they’ll be able to discern defenses, analyze possible weak points and gain tactical advantages before any battle begins. The battle map might not fit into a lower level tavern, or one with smaller rooms however.
Depending on the level of the building, the owner will be able to rent out more (and better) rooms. Different types of rooms allow for different benefits. With some rooms for sleeping, activities like parlor games or even the aforementioned battle maps system, we want tavern owners to customize their space. We also want our players visiting the building to take advantage of the wide range of benefits. A major focus of our game in general is being scalable, where anyone can enjoy something, and whether it be a group or a lone player we think parlor games offer fun to all. The parlor games were a stretch goal (Thanks to all who supported!) during our Kickstarter that we think will act as a way to have people have fun with friends or even compete on their off time. For the particularly skilled, this could be a good way to earn some extra gold when you’re not adventuring! There will be traditional dice and card games as well as some of our own! We want players to be having fun at all stages of the game, and we think that having games in a tavern only increases the atmosphere we’re after. Walking into a tavern in any town, finding a group enjoying food and drink, a Bard regaling a crowd with a tale or a group of hardened mercs playing cards all adds up to the humble fantasy beginnings we remember.
With all of these benefits, why would you even leave? Well, that’s because a temporary respite is just that, temporary. The moments of calm are the intermittent times between the adventure. Taverns foster adventure in a few ways, one large part being the bulletin board. The bulletin board, quests can be posted here and completed too. If a Tavern owner needs supplies they can post quests, others can also purchase space in order to post quests as well. This keeps the Tavern as a hub of activity. It’ll have people moving in and out, but it will encourage new patrons for the owner and will encourage a higher base of “regulars.” When you get people from all over Verra coming to one place, you get an influx of information. Remember Marrow’s Mead? People from all over venture there and walk into The Mighty Beard, but they don’t just buy ale and leave, they leave something behind. Information, gossip, gab, rumors. This drives quests, points of interest, and activity. Our taverns act as central points to capture this information.
Since our maps don’t illuminate when a point of interest becomes active, Taverns act as a large source or regional information. A haunted tomb has been uncovered, a cave with kobolds (sound familiar, Tavern starters?) or a sprite-filled forest are all points of interest that will be passed by word of mouth in Taverns. Perhaps a more nefarious band of adventurers are spreading false rumors to trap others, but, you need to go out and adventure to solve or confront these rumors. Taverns also help you find a party to better handle those adventures, tables in our taverns can act as group finders to help fill out any empty spots. While resting, eating and playing games, players will be able to queue up for groups and be able to pick from the available tavern quests or simply go out and hunt. You don’t just have to hunt monsters, though, the bounty system will be present at the tavern as well. When someone in our world openly kills fellow players they become corrupted, and bounties will be set for these players. Groups can become bounty hunters in their spare time in order to help those in the nearby region by cleansing it of these corrupted souls.
After a long day of adventuring, solving riddles, completing quests, gathering resources and learning more, everyone can use a rest. Taverns are a calm place in the tumultuous world. For those who are looking for a little down time, there’s gambling, food, drink, camaraderie, and comfortable lodgings. For those looking to prove themselves there are quests, bounties, challenges and rumors of treasure left untouched. No matter what’s in store for the rest of your day, Taverns have what you’re looking for. Whether you want to own one of be known at one, we know players will enjoy them. Good luck on your initiative rolls, next blog we’ll be taking a dive into more social buildings!