13 Fun Things to Do When You're Bored in Barak Varr
Your recent travels have brought you to Barak Varr. If you're lucky, you have some time to yourself but have no idea what to do on a day off in a dwarf hold. Here are some ideas to keep you busy (but not necessarily out of trouble).
- Indoor Treasure Hunt: Barak Varr is filled with dwarven riches!
Dwarves have so much gold that they can't even contain it in their massive treasure vaults. Check every nook and cranny of the hold. Don't forget to look under the throne cushions!
- Scrub Last Year's Filth Off!
Slip into a soothing bath laced with your own moisturizing soap blend. In a clean container, mix together ½ cup lye, 1 tablespoon beef tallow or pig fat, and 1 tablespoon of honey. Pour the entire mixture under the running water as you draw your bath. Honey is a natural humectant, which will attract and retain moisture in your skin.
- Create a Recipe Book
You won't be in Barak Varr forever, and who knows when you'll have access to these wonderful recipes again. Travel tavern-to-tavern, collecting recipes of the most mouth-watering meals you find!
- Camp in the Great Indoors
Some of these dwarven caverns are the size of small forests. Grab your tent and your bedroll and set out for a night under the stalactites. If you forgot to bring your own camp wood, try some fallen fungi.
- Invent a Game
One-word story: Starting with “Once upon a time,” go around the room and have each person add a single word to the story. Tip: Decide on an historical event in advance―The Great Betrayal, The Legend of Sigmar, Tyrion & Teclis, etc.―and go from there.
Improvised poetry: One person says a line of poetry, and the next must say a line that rhymes with it, and so on. Each patron gets to say a line first, and the tavern's entertainer must come up with the rhyming line.
Yes, and…monster! List a monster from deep beneath Barak Varr or its environs, with each person adding a new characteristic to the first person’s monster description. Every new idea has to start with an enthusiastic, “Yes, and…” and build on what has already been described. The last person gets to say, "And you kill it with _____!"
- Comb Out Your Hair/Beard
Your hair gets more tangled with each successive adventure, and you just haven’t been able to get to the apothecary or barber-surgeon. Combine this idea with #2, and comb it out while you soak. (Note: Do not offer beeswax to a dwarf when he is oiling his beard. Only the rankest pigfat will do.)
- Bake Up Some Fresh Bread
Nothing cures boredom like baking. Sop your bread chunks in milk or eat it warm right out of the oven. Now, if you and your traveling companions fancy other varieties, that’s no problem: Look to idea #3 and collect bread recipes from all over the hold.
- Enjoy the Street Entertainers There's always a knife-thrower or fire-eater somewhere in the big city. Actively seek them out and check out their shows instead of just walking by.
- Host a “Tea” Party
Dress up in fanciest clothes, ask for the best cutlery, and put on your most formal manners (remember, extend your pinkie and sip politely). On the menu: tea, juice elvish wine (skip the more alcoholic dwarf ales), and easy egg or chicken salad Ludowiches in fun shapes, courtesy of an imaginative halfling. Try to invite mostly elves and halflings for a proper, fancy tea!
- Pamper Yourself With a Skin-Softening Salve
Separate yourself from the orcs! It's going to be a long time before you find yourself in a location when you can properly bathe again. Prepare for those long days on the road: make a soothing salve. Grind about two cups of oatmeal (a natural skin soother); add a few handfuls each of tea grinds and molasses sugar. Then stir in three or four spoonfuls of skin-nourishing honey, ginger, and hag apple (from the local apothecary). Before storing the batch in the root cellar, scoop out enough for a week into a jar, which you'll keep with your bedroll, using it daily.
- Map Out the City on Paper
Get as large a piece of vellum as you can afford. Roll a long piece across your room floor, use cutlery, your hand weapon, a pewter tankard (or heavy books if you have an academic in the party) to secure the corners and edges, and start mapping the hold. Dutifully recreate roads, bridges, cul de sacs, and neighborhoods. Include lakes/ponds/water repositories, empty yards, schools, hospitals, shops, and taverns. This map could prove a valuable sale item when visiting human or elves! Also, with everything mapped out, you may notice areas conspicuously lacking representation. Those would be the most interesting to explore the next time you're bored.
- Brush up on Your Brewing Skills
Is your signature drink a tankard of locale ale? Are you intimidated by halfling bartenders? Use a lazy afternoon to master the art of the classic drink—we’re talking Bugman quality ale here—that you can serve at your next Pie Week. Once you know the basics, you can alter the recipes to suit your taste. So grab some snacks—no one needs to drink signature ales on an empty stomach—let the miller tell you the difference between wheat and rye, and try your hand at your own brew.
- Plan a Vacation! For Real!
Look, we know you're not at Barak Varr by choice. However, you can still dream of a warm, Estalian resort or gorgeous Karak Eight Peaks escape. Even better: you can make a game out of it. One that’s even a tiny bit educational (shhh, don’t tell the swordarms). Look at a map—of the Old World, if you can actually swing an international vacation, or of the Empire—and pick a location you'd like to visit. Research how to get there, where to stay, and what to do. You can create a budget based on the payout of your last adventure, make a plan of what sites to hit or local foods to try, and then sell your ideas to the rest of the party. At the very least, everyone will learn a little bit about a new city or country. At best, you may figure out your next exciting adventure.
We'd love to hear what you did in Barak Varr during your downtime. Please pepper our comment section with your dwarf-hold doldrums designs!