Drinking & Dragons
- An Alternative Set of Rules for Alcohol Consumption in D&D -
 
    As long as the olí tavern and/or inn remain a staple of fantasy settings, groups of adventurers will be found within their confines wither as a prelude or conclusion to adventures epic and not so epic. Maybe it is because that nothing concludes a successful dungeon crawl better than washing down the dank dust of said dungeon with a healthy serving or two of a tankard of stout dwarven ale or a goblet of rich elven wine.

    But, what effects do these spirited beverages have on characters. Trying to figure out the results of imbibing in too much alcohol upon a character can fall victim to being a rules-heavy burden chore of number crunching and calculations. Rules for the effects of partaking in spirits have been established many times in many various forms. What is attempted here is a set of streamlined, straightforward rules to establish the effect of alcohol consumption on characters.

    Hereís how it breaks down. The base DC for the first drink is 10. This means that the average commoner (Con 10, Fort +0) will have a little better than 50/50 chance of being in the first stage of intoxication after their first drink. Additional saves versus poison should be included if they apply to the character (per the DMís discretion of course).

    A characterís size also plays a part in determining the chances of a character becoming intoxicated. It is a lot easer for a Small character to become drunk than a Large or Huge character. The DC is adjusted according to size.

SizeMod.
Fine
+16
Diminutive
+8
Tiny
+4
Small
+2
Medium
0
Large
-2
Huge
-4
Gargantuan
-8
Colossal
-16
 
    So, a halfling commoner (Con 10, Fort +0) would have a DC of 12 to avoid being drunk after his first goblet of mead.

    Each additional serving of alcohol gives an accumulative +2 to the Fortitude save DC. This assumes that a single 12-ounce serving of beer, a single 4-ounce serving of wine, and a single 1-ounce shot have roughly the same alcohol content. Additional modifiers may be applied by the DM for special drinks such as; Orc Blood Brew (+4 DC), Drarven Stone Stout (+3 DC), Elven Sylvenberry Wine (+2), or Kobold Kettle Ale (-1 DC). DMs should feel free to come up with creative names and recipes for whatever fits their campaign.

    When a character fails their Fortitude save they are in a state of intoxication. If a character continues to consume and fail their Fortitude save, their state of intoxication will increase. There are five states of intoxication.

State of Intoxication

Effects on...
Slight
Moderate
Complete
Severe
Dexterity
0
-1
-3
-6
Intelligence
-1
-2
-4
-6
Wisdom
-1
-3
-6
-8
Charisma
0
-1
-3
-6
Base Attack
0
-1
-2
-4
Damage Resistance
0
0
+1
+2
Concentration
-2
-4
-8
-12
Spell Failure
15%
30%
60%
100%
 
    The fifth state of intoxication not listed on the chart above is Unconsciousness. If the character manages to drink enough to surpass the severe state of intoxication they end up down for the count and sleep it off for the next 1d6+4 hours.

The Effects of the Hangover

    So, how does the character feel the next morning? How is his condition going to effect his adventuring? The next morning the character needs to make a Fortitude Save according to how intoxicated they got the night before.

State of Intoxication
DC
Moderate
10
Complete
15
Severe
20
Unconsiousness
25
 
    For the following day the character suffers from a hangover according to how much they miss their Fort save. If the character fails by 5 or less he is affected as if he were two states of intoxication less than what he managed to achieve the night before. Thus, if the character drank until he was severely drunk, he would then suffer -1 Dex, -2 Int, -3 Wis, -1 Cha, -1 Base Attack, -4 Concentration, and 30% Spell Failure while suffering from a hangover. If the character misses by more than five they are affected as if he were one state of intoxication less than what he managed to achieve the night before. Thus, the same party-animal character that drank until he was severely drunk would then suffer -3 Dex, -4 Int, -6 Wis, -3 Cha, -2 Base Attack, -8 Concentration, and 60% Spell Failure while suffering from a hangover.

    Could these rules be more realistic by taking in account all of the various scientific research that has been dedicated to the study of intoxication and its effects? Sure. But, then they would tend to grow more complicated and muddled. The rules for intoxication offered above are to serve as a basic, easy method of including the hazards of hanging out at the olí tavern after a dungeon crawl. Cheers!

-- Created by Dan Taylor