The Top 10 Types of Parlor Games useable in Dungeons and Dragons
Sometimes, it will be necessary to have a small diversion during play. Perhaps a character is gambling, or they have an opportunity to avoid combat. You can even use some of these to resolve appropriate situations. Let's look at some popular and easy parlor games that can be integrated into Dungeons & Dragons. These are not full time replacements for mechanics, but something you can drop into a game. As always, it's never recommended to put one of these in the way of the game progressing. Non-traditional tasks should be optional.
10. Two lies and a truth. The rules to this game are simple. Make three statements, one of which is a lie and the other person must guess one. This is particularly useful for Dungeons & Dragons because you are playing characters, adding a second layer upon the game. The statements are made in character, and the interplay between the characters over the players provides interesting situations, while also empowering players to expand on their backstory!
9. Piggy. This is good for a game in a maze or darkness. Have the character seeking a way out close their eyes. Then have a person in the group squeal like a hog. If the blind player can determine who is the person that made the noise, they have succeeded in their sightless navigation (or made their listen roll, etc.)
8. Codes, puzzles and riddles. I've talked about using these before. But it's possible to do so without any preparation. Simply search for word puzzles and riddles will give you more than you need for years of play, but it's a good idea to have a couple famous ones in mind. Much like jeopardy questions, people like knowing trivia. "No hinges, latches or lid, inside a golden treasure is hid!"
7. Don't Laugh! This is great for a test of will or constitution. The game is simple. The player must not crack a smile for 60 seconds while the rest of the group attempt to make them laugh. If you have to be told not to infringe on personal space inappropriately during this game, you probably shouldn't be playing Dungeons & Dragons.
6. Slaps. Did you like bullies in high school? Relive the memory awkwardly with your friends by playing slaps! The Dungeon Master puts out his hands palm up. Someone places their hands a few centimeters above the Dungeon Master's hands. The Dungeon Master tries to slap the players hands. If they fail, the player succeeds. If they hit the player, that probably sucks for the player, because getting slapped on the hand hurts. If the player flinches or pulls their hands away before the Dungeon Master starts moving, they also fail.
Somebody who likes you but is also insecure usually bullies someone by punching someone in the shoulder is what generally happened next. This doesn't have to happen in your game of course.
5. High Card or War. Pick a card, reveal your card. The higher card wins! This is a classic game. War is played to win the deck. The number of cards gathered or lost can be used to determine outcomes of actual battles, where you get cards equal to your troop count. Ties have a runoff, where three cards are burned (Each player turns 3 cards face up to add to the weight of the conflict), and the fourth duels, high card winning. Ties cascade of course.
4. Game of Phones! I saw bumblebee the other day with my daughter. It takes place in 1987. I told my daughter that 1987 was when daddy and momma were kids and there was no internet or cell phones. She said, "You didn't have TV?"
So yeah, I am old and we are in the future. Name a word or theme, and give everyone in the room 60 seconds (90 seconds if the phone is more than a few years old) to come up with the best image or video from the internet related to the word or theme. Players vote for their favorite.
3. Never have I ever played in character can be entertaining. The game is played by a person saying "Never have I ever. . . " and then states an embarrassing occurrence, such as having sex in an uncomfortable place (like the back seat of a volkswagen). It doesn't have to be sexual. "Never have I ever been robbed while drunk!"
2. Race the dice. A simple game is everyone rolls 2d6 and the low roll loses a 'life'. You can set a number of losses. This is an interesting way to handle a race. Different factors can change the die sizes. Bonuses are very powerful since you are averaging two dice, so probably you shouldn't use them!
1. Finally, Liar's dice. This classic game is played with 5d6. Each player rolls their dice and hides them behind a wall or cup. This is a pure test of player skill and the ability to bluff and lie, making it a possible tool for a tense social situation! Everyone rolls. The first player has to bid on how many dice of a certain number there are. The next player either has to raise the bid, either by increasing the number of dice or the number on the die or both, or they can challenge and call. If called, all dice are revealed. And if the dice are there, the caller loses a die. If not, the liar loses a die. The game continues until only one player has dice, them being the winner. Quicker games can be played with fewer dice and fewer players. A 1 on 1 game with the Dungeon Master could be used to resolve a deception or insight attempt. Variants include 1's being considered wild cards and representing whichever numbers are generated.
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