12 Taproom Sights, Sounds & Events

Few nights in a travellers’ inn are boring and wholly without intriguing—or at least slightly interesting—events. Visiting bards may sing songs and customers might argue, gamble or even brawl. And—of course—where there are travellers there are thieves lurking ready to separate a tired, distracted or drunk patron from his purse.


Use the table below, to add depth and flavour to the PCs’ visit to the inn:

  1. Laughter erupts at a nearby table as four men play a simple dice game of Dragon and the Thief. One of the men is enduring terrible luck, and his fellows are delighting in his discomfort.
  2. A server wends around the tables collecting used plates and tankards. As he passes one table, he stumbles and trips over a chair leg; his tray falls to the ground with a loud crash. After a moment of silence, many of the locals break into spontaneous, good-natured clapping and cheering.
  3. The door bangs open, and everyone turns to stare at the newcomers. Two travellers (see 1: Fellow Travellers) barge their way loudly into the taproom, dump their bags on the floor and shout for the inn-keep.
  4. Two drinkers are engaged in a loud discussion about the weather or some other mundane and tremendously dull subject. Neither is listening to the other one, and both are getting increasingly frustrated with the other. A dog—a stray or someone’s beloved pet—sneaks under their table and start licking up a pool of spilt ale.
  5. Sparks fly from the fire warming the taproom as one of the large logs burning therein falls apart. Part of the burning log rolls out of the fire onto the hearth. A server rushes to return the wood to the fire.
  6. A customer sits in one corner trying to entice other patrons into a “friendly” game of chance. He has no luck for a half-hour or so until a couple of fellow customers sit down to play. It quickly transpires he is very well acquainted with the game and is a consummate gambler.
  7. Three children—bored into mischief by being forced to sit quietly while their parents drink and chat—begin to misbehave; this culminates in the children breaking into an impromptu game of tag in the taproom—with predictably disastrous consequences for the PCs’ drinks.
  8. One of the barrels of ale behind the bar runs dry—service is interrupted while the bar-keep and a server manhandle it away and bring up a replacement. Some of the inn’s customers are less than patient.
  9. A hunter enters the taproom carrying bloody bags filled with meat from his recent kill. He gestures to the inn-keep and the two repair to the end of the bar to haggle.
  10. A drunk customer bangs his tankard on the table and calls loudly for more ale. When served, he tries to weasel out of paying—and gets angry when he has to cough up the coin for his drink.
  11. Two drinkers are engrossed in conversation; they hoist drink after drink and are soon slurring at each other. As they descend into drunkenness, a young boy sneaks over and steals one of their half-finished drinks by swapping it with an empty flagon; neither man notices.
  12. Two travellers (see Fellow Travellers) sit hunched over their table intently studying a map of the surrounding area—they are plotting their route and are happy to discuss their plan with other travellers as they are new here and want advice on the best way to go.

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This article appears in 20 Things #28: Travellers’ Inn. Members of our Patreon campaign got 20 Things #28: Travellers’ Inn completely free as a thank you for their awesome support. Join today!

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3 thoughts on “12 Taproom Sights, Sounds & Events

  1. I used to work in a pub, and there was regular just like number 10 on this list. every single time he wanted a drink :/

    • I also used to work in pubs and several of the entries on the list above take inspiration from that time in my life! I could do hundreds more (like I suspect you could!)