Tavern Talk Preview: Brewing Adventure

I am real into this one, y’all. A mix between Coffee Talk and D&D? I couldn’t resist booting up an extended demo of Tavern Talk to see exactly how this concept plays out. Turns out, it plays out really well, and I can’t wait to see where the characters’ stories go and how there adventures turn out.

To set the scene at the Wayfarer’s Inn, I stand behind the wooden bar. Beyond the carved chair tops, a notice board, ingredients cabinet, and large window sit under the constant flow of shimmering, welcoming dust motes.

Outside, a town with soaring clock tower bathes in the warm glow of sunrise, with the golden rays pouring into my homey establishment. I notice movement in the top right of my screen and realize an unexplained tentacle stretches out occasionally to catch the sun. A darkly-clad bird also hops along a pole used for hanging herbs.

A pointy-eared, yellow-haired patron soon appears. Dressed like the forest, my visitor, Fable, is obviously a regular. Cleverly, their curiosity about how I make drinks transitions into a tutorial.

Andu is the first thing to catch my eye. Round, squishy, and large-eyed, this purple dragon-like creature is the most adorable assistant/trash can I’ve ever seen. If I ever mess up, I can pour out unwanted concoctions right into its happily little mouth. And it also confirms when I’ve made something correctly by holding up the drink’s proper name. Such a helpful little smooshy drake!

Creating concoctions is delightfully straightforward. As I run a bar in a fantasy realm, my patrons stop by for potions that impart some kind of attribute boost. My base mixers include five ingredients that influence Dexterity, Intelligence, Defense, Strength, and Charisma. A handy recipe book on my bottom left tells me how to mix them together.

My wood-wise customer, for instance, orders a Swift Strike. It’s easy to guess this potion leans hard into Dexterity, but a glance at the chart in my recipe book shows me the drink also requires a little Strength and Defense. By clicking on a piece of chalk, I draw the book’s diagram on a blackboard so I can easily pour the correct amounts.

A magical meter tracks my pouring and will look like the diagram on the chalkboard by the end, if everything has gone well. If they haven’t, well Andu gets some yummy mystery juice and I can try again with no stress. When I’m sure the potion is ready, I just have to hit the bell and the order magically serves itself.

Returning to my place at the bar, Fable begins to unwind while sipping on the Swift Strike, soon explaining that life is becoming too routine. The ranger longs to go out on an adventure, perhaps taking a turn as a bard singing of all the adventures they’ve been on.

But Fable isn’t my only visitor. A mysterious blue-tinged rogue reveals themselves just long enough to finish a drink before disappearing again. Then a Vukakin — a humanoid wolf — with hulking muscles drops by to tell me there’s a werewolf problem up north which they won’t take, being too close in form to the offending creature.

Luckily, the notice board hanging beyond the bar isn’t for show. As my patrons tell of strange happenings, I write these rumors down on slips of paper, sticky notes, napkins, or whatever I have on hand. When I assemble three rumors related to the same thing, I can turn rumors into a quest. A magic quill manifests a full notice I can place on my board. However, I am warned to be careful to place the right rumors together, otherwise the quest will just confuse would-be adventurers.

When my regular ranger next walks through the door, I have a werewolf quest posted. Fable grabs it, sure this is the chance to get out of more familiar woods. The interesting part for me is I get to influence how this story will unfold. Fable asks me for a potion before setting off, and I can either make something to help sneaking or talking through the problem. I chose a charisma-filled brew just to see what would happen.

I’m eager to see how my help affects the adventurers walking through my doors, but Tavern Talk is far from finished. The game’s Kickstarter funded in under six hours, but there’s still about a month to back the project if you are interested in snapping up the rewards. If you’d rather just check out the gameplay, there’s a version of the demo up on the Steam page.

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