Thursday, October 15, 2009

Review : Tavern Denizens - Book 1:The Dives

"You walk into a tavern..."

Those five words have been said at every gaming table. Let's face it, the kings can have their castles, priests can have their temples, and mages can have their towers, but the taverns belong to the adventurers. Tavern Denizens provides 25 personalities to populate those taverns.

Let's get the boring, but important stuff out of the way. The formatting was good and made for easy reading. The artwork was minimal which fit this product. The choices of tavern scenes went with the theme. And being a person who prints out his PDFs I appreciated the smallness of the pictures and no heavy black areas.

The heart of Tavern Denizens is the tavern personalities. A table is provided in case you want to randomly choose your personality. The personalities are described in a two cell table. The first cell provides the name, sex, race physical traits and age. Also included in this cell is the generic rating of the NPC's ability. We'll get into this later. The second cell gives a description of habits, history and possible hooks. Overall, the personalities are well done and accomplish the goal. There is enough to get a GM the flavor of the person after a brief reading. The names are colorful and easy to remember. Some of the personalities lacked...personality. Some were just appearance with hints of a back story. I would have liked a sentence or two more of background or current situation.

This supplement runs off a generic system which is explained in the beginning of the book. And this is where I had the biggest problem. Three pages are used to explain the generic mental and physical system. A table and explanation accompany each of the four attributes. I did not feel these enhanced the product. In fact it was a distraction. These attributes are used to explain the competence of the 25 personalities, but 12 of the personalities have no rating at all. If you're using nearly 25% of your product's space to describe 50% of the personalities it should have been left out or the ratings should have been applied to all the personalities.
The last section is Adventure Ideas. Another problem here is the 20 adventure ideas suggests most are situations. Having someone follow a character around annoying him is not an adventure. And the ones that do hint at an adventure fail to develop the seed needed to begin.

Tavern Denizens heart is the personalities to populate your taverns. This it does. But I do wish the generic system was applied to everyone. The adventure ideas don't inspire. I wanted more throughout the product. Each section stopped short of its goal. Tavern Denizens could have been a very good product instead it falls to below average to poor.

Whimpy rolls an 8 for Tavern Denizens.


  1. Worth skipping than. Thanks for the review!

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