How many adventures begin in an alehouse? A group of misfits get drunk and end up on a quest. Or more like a group of horny pansexual casters, with really odd dump stats, flirt with everyone they haven’t killed.
Depends on your group I guess.
But what happens when you’re finally out on the road? There’s always a way for player characters to get fucked up, from elven wines to the illicit allure of Baccaran to The Elder Scrolls’ Skooma.
But what about the players themselves?
Enter Drinking Quest by Jason Anarchy.
I met Jason Anarchy at PAX East where we chatted games, jam, and what makes a game a Jason Anarchy game.
I walked away with a sealed copy of the latest Drinking Quest: Liquor Before Honor and finally unpeeled the shrink wrap on Good Friday, and went on a quest with my friends.
Liquor Before Honor sees the game’s protagonists Chuglox, Daiquirin, Bartlebut, and Annoying Sidekick on a new adventure (there have been prior games in the series), plus Chuglass, John Below, Terry Flagon Smash and Sexy Cthulu making themselves available for the adventure. The adventure takes the form of a simple pen & paper RPG – and please note that with this being a Jason Anarchy game you don’t need any experience of roleplaying games, – the rulebook is small and a mere 6 pages – with players drawing cards and reacting to the scenario.
A full adventure to kill the mighty dragon Fizz Fang includes 4 quests; a pirate-themed starting point to get supplies, a wreck on a beautiful beach paradise due to excessive drinking, a strange diversion through a bee themed quest, and finally Fizz Fang’s Freezer – a giant frozen dungeon where the dragon resides.
Ultimately the story is lightweight and doesn’t really matter. It’s all about the cards.
There are only two types of cards that our heroes must deal with; events and monsters.
Events demand that your character rolls a saving throw – from attempting to resist the allure of the Mer People (roll against your Sexual Prowess stat) to making a show of yourself at the prow of this ship (roll against your Self Worth stat), events ask that you roll all three dice, with a success on rolling your stat score or under, a fail on rolling higher. Winning events grant permanent boons to your character, from extra Maximum HP to extra defence points or +1 to saving roll scores. Failing events on the other hands, you could throw up and slip on it, landing in the sea and having to be rescued by those sexy Mer Folk, but that will leave you with just 1 hp remaining. Events are amusing and gentle, and it’s all down to luck whether you succeed. No amount of roleplaying cleverness is going to have an impact
Monsters are the real meat of the adventure and come with some flavour text and the all-important stats. ‘Hit Points’ show how many hits a monster will take before going down. ‘Attack’ shows what kind of dice the monster will roll. Drinking Quest comes with a D4, D6 and D8 but many monsters have bonuses to their roll so watch out! ‘Defense’ indicates how much of a hit the monster will negate. ‘Coin’ is how much you’ll loot when you kill them – coins can be spent at the shop before any turn. And finally ‘XP’. How much experience will you gain for slaughtering an alcoholic albatross? 1. 1 XP.
There is no levelling up in Drinking Quest – XP is your score. Highest XP at the end of the game wins. Other players take the role of the monsters, rolling to defeat you.
So far, so card-based interpretation of a tabletop roleplaying game. “WHEN DO WE DRINK?!” I hear you cry.
You drink when you die.
As soon as your hero hits zero health points, you should chug your drink to brig them back in the game. The instructions say that each player should only chug once per quest, instead going for 3 fingers, but as hardy brits on a bank holiday, we opted for a main drink and a selection of cocktails and shots for our potions. The game eases you in a bit too gently with my players demanding to know when they’d get to have a drink, breezing through the first quest with no problems. Low monster HP and a lack of defence in their stats, plus everyone rolling high for initiative, meant one-shot kills were the order of the day.
It was during quest 3 that the espresso martinis and shots of gin made their way to the table. A few poor initiative rolls, some unfortunate events that took points away, and more drinks went down the hatch.
The quest flavour wasn’t coming through as strongly as the freshly brewed coffee in the espressotinis, but it was still a fun little romp with added booze and finally, Fizz Fang was taken down.
I honestly couldn’t tell you who won, but we carried on and played plenty more games over the course of the evening – our inaugural Drinking Quest hadn’t broken us, and we had a lot of fun