A good lead-up to this encounter would be a couple days of non-stop rainy weather. Obviously, these weather conditions can just be the backdrop for the other questing that your party is doing.
While stepping into a drizzly town, a man drunkenly stumbles into a member of your party. He is warm and cheerful to a degree that, for some, can only be achieved with a few generous flagons of ale. Through hiccups, he tells you and the party to go to a tavern down the way for an incredible deal: half-off pricing on all draft pours while it’s raining. He could even jovially share the slogan of the tavern: “when it rains, it pours.” It’s been raining for days now, so he and the rest of the townsfolk have been taking advantage of the flowing drinks.
As your players advance into town, they will notice the water-level rising: first just puddles, then up to their ankles, and finally up about mid-calf.
As they approach the tavern, the party will hear plenty of bright and joyous frivolity coming from inside. Above the entrance is an illuminated sign in blue (enchanted) that reads “The PreSIPitation Station” followed by an animated magical image of a little raincloud sprinkling drops.
Walking into the tavern, the party sees a packed house. Everyone is in great spirits despite the fact that the water-level is now rising to knee-high. Most of them seem blissfully unaware as they drunkenly sing their songs and play cards at tables that, fortunately, are still above the waterline (for now).
As your party approaches the counter, they see that the owners of this quirky new establishment do not share in the joy of their patrons. Their expressions fluctuate between panic and complete exhaustion.
Inquiring about business or the weather can trigger the beginning of the encounter.
Rain, Rain, Go Away
The chief proprietor, an elderly gentlemen, introduces himself as Mr. Douglas DeLuge; beside him is his daughter and co-owner Daphne DeLuge. He explains that the fledgling bar is losing money at an alarming rate because of their “when it rains, it pours” policy coupled with the seemingly endless monsoon. More pressingly, however, the tavern area is taking on water fast and will be flooded unless they can seal off 3 openings: a low window, a crack that’s busted open some between stonework, and the front door itself. They’ve tried to convince their patrons to help or at least vacate so that they can work, but everyone is much too drunk and elated to take anything seriously.
They ask you if, as the only sober people in the building, you would be willing to lend a hand and help them seal off/barricade their tavern from the influx of water.
If the party decides to help, they can certainly offer up creative suggestions (based on their characters’ talents/abilities). If not, Mr. DeLuge will suggest that they grab spare boards and empty whiskey barrels from the basement to break up and use to seal the building. The only struggle with this option will be that the basement is already underwater. Party members need to complete ability checks to swim, dive down, and try to feel around for barrels/wood. Additionally, while this is happening, consider adding some combat: rats or other water-dwelling enemies could make the wood-recovery process more challenging.
During the boarding-up process, while players are completing ability checks related to building (survival maybe?), have them be constantly interrupted by nosy guests who want to dance with them or “help” them (at severe disadvantage, of course). If a player fails an ability check at any time, they should roll a Dexterity saving or be knocked down prone by the gushing water.
If your party is successful despite these distractions, one of the higher windows becomes the new entrance/exit for The PreSIPitation Station. Scroll down to “The Reward” for further details.
A More Magical Solution
Following the owner’s suggestion of boarding up the entrance points the old-fashioned way, a man in a grey cloak and a well-worn wizard’s hat, seated at the bar, rotates on his stool to face the party. His clothes are astonishingly dry given the incredibly drenched conditions (if asked about them, he brags how he enchanted his outfit himself so that it repels water).
“It sounds like you’ve got yourself a situation,” he slurs, staring sort of past the party with bleary, drunken eyes. “I can help you out.” He takes another swig from his double-fisted drinks.
Mr. DeLuge sighs and introduces this stranger as “the magician who enchanted our sign outside”, Horace Heavydew. “He’s not really in any state to help us with this problem though,” DeLuge adds.
Horace rolls his eyes, claiming that he feels great (for flavor, he could slip off the stool and into the water with a graceless splash, popping back up again, seconds later, pretending that it didn’t just happen. He’s still dry, of course, from his enchanted clothes).
“You can fix your problem with silly boards and barrels, yeah…or you can try to beat me in a drinking game. If you win, I can fix this little rain problem of yours with a wave of my rod.”
As far as Horace’s drinking game goes, the easiest method might be playing a D&D version of “Beer Pong.”
- 6 mugs are set on each end of the bar counter (arranged in a little triangle: 1 in front, 2 in the middle, and 3 in the back)
- A tiny wooden ball is used to throw and try to make it into the opponent’s mugs
- Each side gets one shot per turn (have the party members alternate; Horace will always throw for his side)
- To make the shot, roll a dexterity check with a DC of 10-15 (DM’s choice depending on how challenging you want the game to be)
- If the shot is successful, then the side who was scored on must remove the ball and drink that mug of beer
- If the shot fails, then the ball is passed to the other team for their turn
- After drinking 2 mugs, receive the ability “light buzz” and have advantage on all subsequent throws (to clue the party into this new ability, just tell that character how, all of sudden, they’re starting to feel really good and confident in their abilities: maybe it’s the fun competition, maybe it’s the adrenaline rush of all the flooding, or maybe it’s the chorus of drunken singing happening around them)
- After drinking 3+ mugs of beer, continue to feel confident, but now you’re starting to slip past that comfortable buzz and are getting sloppy. Roll disadvantage when making shots.
- If Horace starts to lose considerably, have him use subtle spells to help his chances that must be detected via insight check or other means
If you win the game against Horace, he will applaud your party and instruct you to follow him outside, trudging through the knee-high water (or higher depending on how long the task took to complete). Daphne Deluge follows you out as well while her father continues to run the bar and oversee the guests.
Once outside, Horace takes out a rod from his sleeve and casts a new enchantment on the entire building. The entire structure glows a soft blue for a moment before suddenly sprouting chicken legs beneath it, lifting the establishment up off the ground and allowing the water to come draining out. Mr. DeLuge will appear up in the now-elevated doorway and drop down a ladder for everyone to reenter the tavern.
Regardless of how your party handles the crisis:
- Sealing up the tavern with wooden planks and barrels like true craftsmen
- Earning a wizard’s respect through a successful drinking game
- Any other creative methods your party comes up with
…they will be rewarded. In addition to always being welcomed at the tavern and granted free drinks (assuming the rain will end in the next day or two and they can stay in business), the DeLuge Family will give you the Tankard of Lost Thoughts (one of our items from an earlier post).