There’s quite a few of us Geeks that enjoy playing tabletop games such as Dungeons & Dragons or Pathfinder. These games often begin in a tavern, or at least come by one during the course of the adventure. In those taverns is often a comely wench who serves the adventurers drinks and may even have have heard rumours of bandits or trolls.
These wenches are often seen as decorative characters, there to give the adventure a little colour and brighten the mood of an otherwise depressing world. However, you may be surprised to find that a good tavern wench might give a few adventurers a run for their money.
Let’s take a look at their strength first. A wench mu a time be strong enough to bear the weight of a tray of full tankards, to lift drunks off the floor, to move barrels and tap them, and even the pumps (if the tavern has them) require strength to operate. They may even have to punch the occasional handsy customer in the face, or to physically eject someone who has had too much.
Constitution also needs to be high, since many wenches have to work all day with no breaks. Carrying drinks around, changing barrels, staying on your feet for 10 hours or more, and occasionally bumping into walls and furniture can take it’s toll. Particularly if there’s no time to rest and recover lost hit points. The pain in their feet alone could be near agonising.
Dexterity. In addition to having the strength to carry a tray of tankards and glasses, a good tavern wench must be able to get around a crowded tavern without dropping or spilling any. People who are drinking can often move in exaggerated and unpredictable gestures. A wench must avoid the flailing arms, the stools pushed in their path when someone stands dramatically, any other wenches, and the general hustle and bustle of patrons not looking where they’re going.
Being able to determine who has yet to be served, how much each order comes too, and on several occasions keep track of several orders at once, making sure each patron gets the right drinks, pays the right amount and gets the correct change, all requires intelligence. They must also be smart enough to know when they require help.
They also need the wisdom to know when a patron has had too much. They must also be able to know the difference between an ale and a lager, or even the difference between various ales, for those with a discerning palate or looking for the fastest way to get drunk. Knowledge of the surrounding area and local gossip is also expected of them.
Lastly, charisma. What would a wench be without charisma? Despite the hardships of the day, a wench must remain pleasant and charming. No matter what obnoxious thing has been said to them, or how difficult that last keg was to tap. They might have just taken an elbow to the ribs and lost a tray full of dwarven honey ale, they have to keep on smiling.
To summarise, a wench needs to be strong, tolerate punishing work conditions, be nimble, smart, wise and charming. They also need to understand multiple dialects and languages, respect cultural differences, and handle animals such as riding horses, dogs and other companion animals, and the occasional stray or tavern cat. They might even have had to swing a club from time to time.
So respect your tavern wench adventurers. You don’t know who you’re messing with!