Photo by jerekeys

Why aren’t there more riots and civil disorder in roleplaying games? Because they’re a pain in the ass to run, and no PC has ever been able to mind his own business, that’s why. Here are some ways to introduce riots and revolution to your games.

  • Riots and mobs are massive, moving forces. Treat a riot like a large river, pushing the characters at random through the city. Characters may attempt to swim against the tide or out of it, but combat and spellcasting are impossible within the flood.
    • Violent riots may also deal small amounts of damage for every round a character is part of the crowd.
  • If the characters are in a city where riots are common, spring a riot on them without warning at random. Some quarters of the city are more likely to produce riots, of course.
  • Riots are a sign of instability and unrest. A skilled party may stir up or calm a mob at will, giving them leverage against a government or other powerful faction.
  • Barael’s Scythe is a relic of the third human empire. Barael, a humble farmer, carried it in a failed, forgotten revolution against the Shan. Barael whipped up a mob and led a suicide charge against an Imperial Guard unit stationed nearby. Against all odds, they successfully captured two dozen Guardsmen, whom they promptly executed. Barael was assassinated not long after, but his scythe has appeared at the forefront of riots and mobs all across Telmane.

How do you do riots and mobs?