Ryan McRae

Ryan McRae

Creator of Burn the Tavern Down.
Bringing Creativity Back to Gaming.

BTTD #10: Orphans. Make them your business.

TL;DR. An Article of Justice. Something I like. Your Tavern Is Boring. There are Always Orphans.

Oh—I would hate for you to miss out on the Ultimate D&D Dice Giveaway—it’s almost over. Click this big link!

Alright, let’s get to it.

An Article of Justice

As a 40+ something kind of fella, when I was playing RPGs I took a ration of crap for it. The whole “Satanist” thing. Well, thanks to Stranger Things, D&D has hit a total resurgence. And we are here for it.

And Wired agrees. Check it out here. 

Can’t Say Enough About This—Get It.

Oooooh, I’m still digging the Essentials Kit from D&D. It’s sooooo good and easy to run a game as a beginning DM and as beginning players.

If you have someone who is even tempted to look at it—it’s worth it. (I thought about doing an “unboxing” video because all the kids love that stuff. If you would like to see an unboxing video—click this link and let me know; it will show you something I’m wishing I had room to have some day.)

Your Tavern is Boring

Yes, this is called Burn the Tavern Down and I’ll eventually get to explaining that title. But I don’t NOT like taverns.

If you are going to have a tavern, and a tavern that your characters are going to use often—you can use a little instrument to mystify it and make it not only helpful, but make it theirs.

(I use tavern super loosely. If you’re in space, you have like a . . . space tavern? You get it. Wherever your characters meet, rest and probably get their quests from.)

You can create something that is unique to that tavern because taverns have histories. Is there a ley line in the basement that a local wizard uses as a laboratory? Is there a halfling thieves guild that meets there on the first full moon? Are they well known for their elvish desserts that they send out to royalty?

I once played in an adventure where the villain found us and the owner of the tavern told us to break the legs off the table we were sitting at. Once we did that (harder than you’d think), a portal opened and we escaped—narrowly. Who knew that there was an emergency system built in?

What can you add to your tavern—something that’s so unique—that it builds adventures based off of it? You’ll never be stuck hours before a game night thinking, what do we do now?


Need even more world-building stuff? My friend Shaunta Grimes runs an online writing community called Ninja Writers and she’s put together a whole bundle of world-building resources for you. Fill out this form and she’ll send it right to you.

Here’s the link: https://upscri.be/07k9b4

There Are Always Orphans

In nearly every setting you have, there are going to be orphans. And an orphanage can be ripe pickings for your adventurers and you as the creator of their stories.

  • Maybe a necromancer is picking off orphans and well, let’s just say it’s not a good situation.
  • Can your rogue hire some of them and perhaps dabble in the Fagan part of our beloved classic, Oliver?
  • Does your paladin have to donate their earnings to a certain orphanage because their Goddess demands it?
  • Oooooh, there is a new dark cult in town and they are looking at that orphanage like a jackal looks at a wounded gazelle.
  • One of the children…..well…..can do some wicked, wicked magic. You get to deal with that and get them to a magic academy. But there’s paperwork. Enjoy.

There are a ton of stories you can come up with with a ton of hooks based on poor abandoned children. The children!!!

Have a good week. Let me know what games you’re playing.

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