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Warfare artwork

Warriors make history. They're the ones who slay dragons, who dethrone kings, who stand tall among the brutal carnage of a blood-soaked battlefield and raise their swords in triumph. Some of these men-at-arms have humble origins, taking up weapons in defense of home and family. Other pursue bloodshed as if they are born for it, travelling the land to train under exotic blademasters and master tacticians. Regardless of their past, all warriors follow the one universal truth of combat: kill your opponent before he kills you. And they're damned good at it. Every veteran warrior carries remnants of his past triumphs -- each scar a reminder of a wound that could have been his last, each notch in his sword a lesson learned in the importance of precise swordplay. Even now, countless warriors are training for the day when they meet you in battle. Will you be strong enough to vanquish them? Take up arms, warrior, and prove to the world that today is not your day to die!

Examples of Warfare characters include:



(Warfare | Combat)

  • You can disarm someone. They drop a held item, which lands in a close space. If you have a free hand, you can catch the item instead
  • Descriptions
  • attacking in a flurry
  • cutting through foes
  • spinning in a blade tornado
  • releasing an explosion
  • Every Scar a Lesson

    (Warfare | Combat)

  • Whenever you're defeated by a worthy threat, gain the defense "Scarred by ________ ☐". Write the threat in the blank. Mark it when you suffer a Bad Tale related to that threat
  • Descriptions
  • jagged cut
  • burned skin
  • crooked finger
  • missing tooth
  • glowing rune-scar
  • dented armor
  • Examples
  • dragon
  • bug
  • beast
  • sword
  • trap
  • soldier from the southern kingdom
  • wizard
  • rogue
  • frost
  • fire
  • acid
  • Guardian

    (Warfare | Combat)

  • You can intercept attacks if you're in a position where you can logically do so
  • Descriptions
  • interposing yourself
  • diving int he way
  • lifting your shield over someone
  • shoving them behind you
  • Kensai

    (Warfare | Combat)

  • Give one of your weapons a name. It is now a magic item, but only in your hands. Collaborate on its effects. Absolutely nothing can forcibly remove it from you. If lost, it miraculously finds its way back to you in less than a day
  • Descriptions
  • performing a sacred blade ritual
  • carving the weapon's name into it
  • baptizing the weapon in blood
  • Examples
    Miraculous Return
  • trip over it in the woods
  • find it on the next corpse you loot
  • find it for sale in a shop
  • Shove

    (Warfare | Combat)

  • You can push someone back as far as you can normally move. Move into the spaces they vacate
  • Descriptions
  • a powerful bull rush
  • lowering your shield and charging forward
  • making them dodge backward
  • Tough as Nails

    (Warfare | Combat)

  • Gain the defense "Tough ☐☐". Mar it when you suffer a Bad Tale that you can ignore with sheer toughness
  • Descriptions
  • scarred skin
  • thick muscles
  • shining armor
  • good old-fashioned grit
  • raw willpower
  • magic tattoos
  • Arena

    (Warfare | Exploration)

  • When you set foot on a battlefield, tell the GM about a strategic asset on that battlefield
  • Descriptions
  • examining the field with a tactical eye
  • noticing an important detail
  • exploiting the terrain
  • Examples
  • a platform that will crumble from a good hit
  • a hidden trap
  • ample cover
  • a bottleneck
  • Grit

    (Warfare | Exploration)

  • Your endurance exceeds normal limits. Collaborate on what this entails
  • Descriptions
  • setting your jaw and powering through
  • shrugging it off
  • ignoring pain and aching muscles
  • Examples
  • run a marathon
  • carry an unconscious ally for hours
  • ignore your biological needs for a week
  • Guard Duty

    (Warfare | Exploration)

  • While you're patrolling, guarding, or escorting, you have a basic understanding of everything that happens in and around whatever you're protecting. Also, you can completely negate 1 Bad Tale against whatever you're guarding during this time
  • Descriptions
  • keeping an eye out
  • watching the shadows
  • establishing lookouts
  • guarding the area
  • setting patrols
  • High Ground

    (Warfare | Exploration)

  • When you reach an area's most tactically advantageous position, immediately tell a free Good Tale
  • Descriptions
  • using the high ground to cut down foes
  • getting a better vantage point
  • controlling a bottleneck
  • Strong Back

    (Warfare | Exploration)

  • You have +5 inventory slots
  • Descriptions
  • a huge backpack
  • strong muscles
  • broad shoulders
  • bearing the burden
  • wearing heavy armor
  • Titan's Strength

    (Warfare | Exploration)

  • Your ability to lift and carry heavy weights exceeds normal limits. Collaborate on what this entails
  • Descriptions
  • your veins pulsing
  • straining your muscles
  • gritting your teeth
  • heaving something over your head
  • Veteran

    (Warfare | Exploration)

  • You can have the GM tell you what dangers to expect. Explain how you know this information
  • Descriptions
  • knowing what to do from past experiences
  • noticing a tell-tale giveaway
  • keeping a watchful eye
  • Blood on the Wind

    (Warfare | Interaction)

  • WHenever someone important to you is in danger, you know their exact location and what sort of danger they're in
  • Descriptions
  • feeling it in your gut
  • the hairs on the back of your neck standing up
  • getting a dark premonition
  • Bushido

    (Warfare | Interaction)

  • When you show an enemy profound mercy or respect, their disposition toward you significantly improves. Also, write on your character sheet that you hold their debt. Cross it off to have them pay off that debt
  • Descriptions
  • earning karma
  • holding others to a high standard
  • bringing out the best in others
  • Cold Read

    (Warfare | Interaction)

  • You can have the GM tell you all of a visible creature's traits
  • Descriptions
  • reading their body language
  • getting a gut feeling
  • making guesses based on their equipment
  • Enemy of My Enemy

    (Warfare | Interaction)

  • When you harm, hinder, or disrupt an enemy, you can have the GM tell you of one of your enemy's enemies. Their disposition toward your significantly improves. Explain how you know this information
  • Descriptions
  • teaming up
  • forging an alliance
  • putting petty grudges aside
  • using each other towards your goal
  • Get Their Attention

    (Warfare | Interaction)

  • You can make everyone present think that you are by far the biggest threat until they see evidence to the contrary
  • Descriptions
  • performing a deadly weapon maneuver
  • looking deadly and intimidating
  • pissing them off
  • Gladiator

    (Warfare | Interaction)

  • After you win a fight, choose someone who watched you fight. Tell the GM how they henceforth feel about
  • Descriptions
  • showboating
  • an incredible display of power
  • pleasing the crowd
  • flexing your muscles
  • Examples
    How they Feel
  • don't cross them
  • they're so sexy
  • i need to befriend them
  • i never want to fight them
  • Iron Sharpens Iron

    (Warfare | Interaction)

  • When you train with others, you can gain 1 of your training partner's traits (max 1) as a temporary trait for about 1 day. Each of your training partners can similarly gain 1 of your traits (max 1) as a temporary traits for about 1 day
  • Descriptions
  • practicing weapon drills
  • trading war stories
  • forging spiritual bonds
  • swearing oaths of loyalty
  • No One Left Behind

    (Warfare | Interaction)

  • You can save someone from any threat imaginable. However, your fates are now intertwined until both of you are completely safe and have no conditions. If one of you gains a condition or dies while your fates are intertwined, the other does as well. You can't use this trait on someone if your fates are already intertwined
  • Descriptions
  • leaping to their rescue
  • dragging your ally to safety
  • grabbing them as they fall over a cliff ledge
  • War Stories

    (Warfare | Interaction)

  • After you defeat a worthy foe or accomplish a worthy deed, write it on your character sheet. Cross it off to share the story with others. Their disposition toward you significantly improves, or they're intimidated by you and back down (their choice)
  • Descriptions
  • telling them your body count
  • explaining what true danger really is
  • telling tales in a tavern

  • © 2023-2023




    Physical contact and adjacent spaces


    Several steps, or 3 spaces


    A room, or 5 spaces


    A building, or 10 spaces

    Very Far

    Several buildings, or 20+ spaces



    Players can spend their bolsters to increase a related roll. The GM can spend bolsters to make a PC decrease a related roll. Unspent bolsters eventually expire.

    Refer to Chapter 2 of the rules for more about increasing/decreasing rolls


    Traits that tell you to collaborate are intentionally vague and ambiguous. Work with the GM to create a balanced and thematically appropriate effect. Collaborations should be an ongoing process. For example, you may discover that an effect is too strong or weak after a few sessions, so you and the GM should rebalance the effect


    A condition is anything that temporarily affects your capabilities or status.

    Refer to Chapter 3 of the rules for more about conditions


    Defenses make you more resilient during Challenges. Defenses grant one or more boxes, which function the same as Challenge Number boxes. However, defenses have unique requirements that allow you to mark them only in specific situations


    A minion is a creature that serves another creature through a contract.

    Refer to Chapter 7 of the rules for more about minions


    A shrine is a divine conduit that allows a specific deity or set of deities to affect the mortal world.

    Refer to the Faith theme of the rules for more about shrines

    Temporary Item Trait

    A temporary item trait is any item trait that you did not spend XP to acquire. Temporary item traits come from a variety of source: magic items, potions, spells, etc. They're free and don't affect the XP cost of buying other item traits. You can't upgrade temporary item traits

    Temporary Trait

    A temporary trait is any that you did not spend XP to acquire. Temporary traits come from a variety of source: magic items, potions, spells, etc. They're free and don't affect the XP cost of buying other traits. You can't upgrade temporary traits


    Worldbuilding a collaborative process wherin the players and the GM work together to create something about the game world. One person is in charge of the worldbuilding event, and the other players support that player.

    Refer to Chapter 6 of the rules for more about world building


    A zone is an area of effect. If a trait affects a zone, collaborate on logically fitting zones that you can create with that trait, and write them into your trait. Example zones:
    Blast: An explosion that affects one space and adjacent spaces. Blast attacks can be melee or ranged.
    Cone: A 90° cone that extends out to a Close distance. Cone attacks are considered to be melee.
    Line: This is a line of spaces that extends out to a Far distance. Line attacks are considered to be ranged.


    Tavern Tales Toolkit 0.0.1-alpha-5

    Based on the Kickstarter 1.0.1 version of Tavern Tales with minor modifications


    • Metamagic has been renamed Augment and moved from Arcane traits into General traits
    Tavern Tales, the Tavern Tales logo, and any other associated artwork were orginally © 2014-2017 by Dabney Bailey, and has since been released under the Creative Commons BY-SA 4.0 license


    Tavern Tales KS 1.0.1 on Fandom Tavern Tales Discord