Top Shelf: A Judge of Mystics One-Shot
A system agnostic TTRPG
Finnegan's Pub is celebrating and Finnegan is 'occupied' by a fetching duo of beauties. Head Bartender Donovan Shoemaker is pouring drinks at a ludicrous dash & the The Judge of Mystics Saga Caleb Mauthisen up and ran off for alone-time with Pub bouncer & badass warrior Tuija Draganova.
Now is the time.
Steal the top shelf treats from Donovan's bar.
Have the best night of your lives.
Become Finnegan's Pub legends.
All within 60 minutes
A Timed One-Shot TTRPG
2 - 6
Play Time: ~ 60 - 90 minutes
3 Play Modes: Non-Combat, Light Combat & Combat Heavy
Base played with 2D6
Top Shelf is system agnostic & meant to focus on role-play & creative problem solving.Each of the 6 rounds lasts 10 minutes of real time.
A Beanbag at the Kid Party:
The party at Finn's is bumping, with Folk from across the Mystic Realms bringing their own version of entertainment to the sprawling establishment. Finnegan drifted upstairs to his boudoir with a couple fetching redheads, Tuija trotted off with her lover Caleb for frivolity and Donovan looks busier than anyone's seen since the Symposium of '84. If ever you were to steal from the top shelf - a feat that's never been done - tonight is the night.
Gather your heroic hooligans, choose a plan of 'attack' and venture forth to steal the best libations in the entirety of the Cosmos. All under Donovan's nose, with the Pub's two heaviest hitters still occupied... for now.
Six Rounds. Six chances. Sixty minutes until Finnegan or Tuija reinforce Donovan & foil your attempt at utter, and spectacular, frivolity.
Happy Hour Menu (Players):Playable Characters | Top Shelf Treats | Intro Round
VIP Section (GM):GM Only | Bar Snacks | Top Shelf Tricks | Party Beats
Top Shelf is meant to be played within a TTRPG system of choice, where characters have a specific Class (Level is GM Dependent) + Bar Tricks. Meant to be ridiculous & light-hearted, Top Shelf is the perfect place to let loose and flex some story muscles. The number one rule is don't take things too seriously, work together to build a nifty story & enjoy.
Up the Stakes
Miroslav Anisimovich Dimkov (MAD)
A Rogue Speciality
MAD Bio & Tipple
A 0.9 metre tall Domovoy between houses to guard after LAD ruined their cushy life by sucker punching their employer, MAD is stealthy as a household spirit can muster, and smart as a button. If he can stop bickering with his brother.
Mad's tipple of choice is vodka crafted from the runoff from a specific glacier-fed stream where Lada once bathed.
Story Bar Trick: Hidey Hole
Combat Bar Trick: I Was Drinking That
Lyosha Anisimovich Dimkov (LAD)
A Barbarian Speciality
LAD Bio & Tipple
A 1 metre tall Dvorovoi between yards to protect, LAD is a belligerent hard drinking brawler who throws hands at anyone who calls him or his brother 'garden gnomes'. Even if it was an 'honest mistake' by the new owners of the house they inhabited for human generations.
Lad's tipple of choice is double-salted liquorice so salty it makes Folk's mouths shut for an hour. Why? So he can feed it to Mad and get his brother to shut up!
Story Bar Trick: Say Hello to my Little Friend
Combat Bar Trick: Sucker Punch
Doug the Unicorn
A Bard Speciality
Doug Bio & Tipple
A crass unicorn, DJ Bard dubsteps into the Pub every Thursday and some Saturdays when Melpomene's Poetry Jam is cancelled due to tears. Big, white fur with a rainbow mane, Doug has what can be defined as 'casual magic' of a musically inclined troublemaker, and even when he's not at the turntable, practically lives at Finnegan's Pub.
Doug's desired tipple is the legendary Mead of Poets, of which Finnegan won a single shot from Odin during a high stakes poker game. Maybve then, Doug will start creating new music, again.
Story Bar Trick: Look at me! Look at me!
Combat Bar Trick: Dubstep Mosh Pit
A Mage Speciality
Primrose Bio & Tipple
A Changeling tasked with watching out for the missing Changeling Princess, Primrose can’t be bothered to complete her mission. Fifth in her class in magic & spellcasting, Primrose is waiting out enough time before she can give up her quest, or say the Princess is fine as an ivy vine.
A vinophile, Primrose's only real reason for spending time around the... ugh... mammals is a chance to sample the rarest wine of all: A Chateau La Faerie 1945.
Story Bar Trick: Five Fingers
Combat Bar Trick: Wha'Bam Ma'am
A Monk Speciality
Mei Bio & Tipple
A Monk from Tian who mastered and continues to develop Drunken Kung Fu like her ancestor Wong Fei-Hung, Wong Mei can balance rice wine cups like a boss. She can also make or break a party with her jovial nature, attention to detail & ability at misdirection.
Mei's top shelf tipple is a glass cloche of chocolate eclairs baked by legendary Olympian Hestia. These delicious eclairs never sour and one bite has the capacity to cure what ails, including those aches and pains from a lifetime of martial arts injuries.
Story Bar Trick: Peach Schnapps
Combat Bar Trick: Drunk Monk
A Cleric Speciality
Ivar Bio & Tipple
Story Bar Trick: Transcendant Treat
Combat Bar Trick: Eir's Plasters
The Top Shelf
Glorious treats, tipples and legendary liqueurs kept up top under lock, key, and illusion. Each treat holds its own secrets, attempt them if you dare... or... or if you're tired of Stoli...
GMs: Details on Traps, Shields & Mystic Iinterventions
Mead of Poets
A single regurgitated shot of the Mead of Poetry, which Odin Borson stole. One drop is enough to inspire mediocre creative pursuits. An entire shot? Epic!
Eclairs of Hestia
The healing food of the Olympians combined with Hestia's heavenly flavours. There is no dessert more divine, nor pastry more unctious.
Black liquorice candies in a glass jar, it seems innocuous until one taste gives the saltiest, strongest flavour even Gjengangers can enjoy.
A dusty glass bottle, with cork & wax seal. The label is faded and appears to be hand written in a Scandinavian dialect.
A vodka so sweet it tastes of happiness crafted with the purest, most beautiful tasting glacier water in the Realms. One shot is enough to picture and manifest a beautiful future.
Chocolate confections crafted by Baba Yaga, who was so pleased by the work ethic of two children, she not only let them live, but gave everlasting treats to satiate. One bite, and never be hungry again.
Monk Watch Bourbon
A fine bourbon, from Kentucky, charred paper wrapping torn away from the top. Said to taste like caramel, chocolate and bbq smoke, with a hint of catharsis.
Chateau La Fairie, 1945
A dessert wine fermented by single grapes harvested from the most powerful vineyard Fae from multiple Realms. The flavour & bouquet so rich, it changes the flavour & scent of one's life forever.
Which of these mythic mouthfuls intrigues and entices with enough force to make burglary worthwhile? Are you going for all of the Top Shelf Treats, or one? A few? How many do you dare descend upon?
Congratulations, barflies! How you came to be a merry band of boozy brigands is up to you. Take this time to have a row of shots on me (select 1 of 3 below), and begin your journey to Finnegan’s Pub Legendary Heights, or to be another ‘Assholes Kicked Out’ who end up on the wrong side of Midgard’s liminal spaces. Or worse…
Here, one of these shots is on the house! Choose wisely.
Up the Stakes
Story ModeThe party is hopping and you fancy yourself skalds. A story-and-rp adventure with no combat. Success/failure depends on how convincingly you tell your story.
Goals & Win/Lose
Successfully capture 2+ Top Shelf Treats
Avoid alerting Donovan, Finnegan, Tuija or Caleb
Story & Light Combat ModeSure the party's great, but we wouldn't mind a bit of a brawl. Maybe a shoving match. May or may not include a boss fight in the course of RP. The choice for a mix of story & combat.
Goals & Win/Lose
Successfully capture 3+ Top Shelf Treats
Avoid alerting Donovan or Finnegan
Combat ModeYou choose violence, and intend to start a bar brawl. A more pugilistic adventure full of testy drinkers, with an inevitable boss fight by the end. Prepare thyself, mighty hooligans. Death is on the line.
Goals & Win/Lose
Successfully capture 4+ Top Shelf Treats
GM VIP Section: Players Stay behind the Velvet rope! Stay!
VIP Section (GM Only):Bar Snacks Top Shelf Tricks Party Beats
Purely story driven, with non-combative solutions to problems which come up, Shirley Temple mode includes more puzzles and riddles to solve. Disregard Worst Case Scenario options in the Buzz Kills.
Purple Nurple Mode
A combat-light, mostly story adventure, combat works on a simplified adventure mechanism, where story can influence combat result.
The Judge of Mystics Saga is a wealth of mythologies from across our planet conflagrating in one place. Choose 1 - 3 NPC Low Level enemies for random encounters from your system of choice. Combat stats are based on your chosen system.
The Top Shelf
Glorious treats, tipples and legendary liqueurs kept up top under lock, key, and illusion. Each treat holds its own secrets the PC's need to solve... The following is a list of potential tasks, puzzles & searches for the PC's to claim their prizes.
Feel free to add your own creativity.
Mead of Poets
Improv Poetry Jam
Improv Poetry Jam. Doug needs to win the crowd and Donovan with a song, poem or interpretive dance so majestic it's worth a sip of Odin's backwash.
Answer me this: White-haired women, servants two, bore ale-tub to the larder. No hand turned it nor hammer beat it. But there, outside the islands, the upright one who made it. (If answered incorrectly, an angry swan waddles in from a secret door, catches sight of the interlopers, and makes a petulant racket, while flapping their wings)
Eclairs of Hestia
Delicious eclairs, which even heal old scars? A PC must steal the poker from the Pub fireplace, which is guarded by a surly 2 headed Hell Hound. It only wanted a nap, okay! Coerce, tame or trot it off, stage right.
The Eclairs are guarded by a fraction of Hestia's spirit, who demands all PC's discuss their most sentimental meal... or fight her hearth fire.
To take down the lauded glass container of Salmiak, all PC's must create an impromptu advertisement for salted liquorice rousing enough to make the GM clap and want to try some for themselves.
Venture through the Pub unti you find an ancient & quiet room given to contemplations and deep conversations, where a fleck of the cornerstone shears off. Take the fleck and use it as a key on the Salmiak lid.
Answer me this: From home I went, from home I made my way, I saw a road of roads, and a road under them, and a road over them, and a road on all sides. (If answered incorrectly, three bottles on the second to top shelf smash open, and a geyser of water pours out, with enough power to sweep them away to a liminal space in the pub)
I'm Thor, It Hurts
Ancient Einherjar challenge the Mighty Thor Odinson to a contest of strength and skill for a chance to hold the bottle. Join them, and go a round with mighty Thor! Before Caleb sees his grandfather and tries to send him home.
Ivan the Mildly Annoying
Hark! In the breath it took to reach Lada's vodka, a rather diminutive Domovoy named Ivan rolls out from behind a secret panel in the bar, mounts his mighty steed (the Eskie known as Mish'ika the Turribl-y Fluffy) and charges across the counter!
A suspiciously beautiful Slavic woman sidles in to chat up 2 PC's. She only needs you to do one thing for her, maybe two.
Baba's BonBons will instantly grow chicken legs, run through the bar & scream to alert Tuija. Tuija will rush in at full bore, angry as all get out that her date was cut short by idiot thieves.
Mortar & Pestle
Monk Watch Bourbon
Fire bursts from the paper cover, lashing at the PC's & alerting Donovan to sticky fingers.
Chateau La Fairie, 1945
She's a Screamer
The moment any fingers touch the wine bottle, it opens a set of hidden lips and shrieks like an off-pitch aspirational Opera Soprano. Glass will shatter, if the bottle screams too long.
Upon grasping the bottle & prior to pulling the cork, the Chateau La Fairie wails and tells the saddest origin story in the universe, sad enough to put half the party into the doldrums.
Top Shelf allows a maximum of six 10 minute rounds per playthrough. The round system is a guide, and includes as many turns as your players can feasibly do in 10 minutes time. Talk about what to do next is part of the timer. Anything not completed by the end of the 10 minute 'last call' mark, is a failed attempt, and can either be re-attempted next round (plus the new Bar Snacks & Party Beats), or ditched.
Each round starts with the random selection of a Bar Snack & Party Beat.
The GM decides on the length of time between rounds, and any Time Outs, for bio breaks, snacks, rules checks & chatter.
Up the Stakes
Finnegan's Pub is rocking tonight, the liminal spaces which stitch together in this magical place combine in the central hub to what appears an old Irish pub with a long central bar. Made of bric-a-brac and forgotten things, Donovan's bar serves the best beverages in the joint, direct from Dono's ghostly hands.
It's time to do recon, set up the foundations of a plan and see how easy Dono will be to distract.
Up the Stakes
Shirley Temple Party Beats
Fun, story-based random encounters a party can talk, joke & puzzle their way through, a combat-free option.
Purple Nurple Party Beats
A mixture of bar brawls & puzzle fun, random encounters with a greater focus on story than combat.
Kalashnikov Party Beats
Off the rails pugilist random encounters, one per round.
DonovanGjenganger, who tends the bar, Dono hasn't left the Pub in 160 years. Being dead gifted him the ability to see beyond the physical, he is a creature touched by magic, whose unfinished business makes the perfect bartender. He never tires, and mixes the best bevies (including hot cocoa).
Bar Trick: Time & Space
Worst Case Scenario
The good-natured Fae in charge of travel between Mystic Realms, Finn is a confirmed hedonist. He built the sprawling Pub out of forgotten and liminal spaces. Good for a laugh, two things can make the old Oak throw hands: cruelty & mistreating his staff.
Easily distractable & a lover of music, Finnegan holds the power to kick anyone out.
Worst Case Scenario
TuijaBogatyrs with a Fae Curse. Expelled from Mat Zemlya, she's fiercely protective of her home: the Pub. Glad to have some down-time with Caleb, Tuija ought to remain occupied the entire time... unless things get too brash.
Worst Case Scenario
The Judge of Mystics, Caleb ensures the Mystic Realms and Folk behave. A heavy hitting paladin with Aesir blood, Caleb is the last to take down a dragon.
Tonight is his first break in weeks, nothing requires his attention... except Tuija. Easily distractable, Caleb can only become a problem if the Pub gets too loud or fists start flying. Doubly so if Tuija is involved.
Worst Case Scenario
Feel free to create an ending which fits with the story you built, or if you want, there are pre-written endings you (the GM, players be gone) may use.
Pass or fail, I hope you had fun and you can play again.
Top Shelf Treats
GM:Choose which PC gets their prize, by calculating who was the most fun/most successful of the game.
"Well, go on! What's it like!? Was it worth it?"
One of you Won!
GM:Everybody wins! Congratulations!
Ivar sits at the nearest counter, as a calm shrugs across his shoulders. This, was it. The last sip, his final hurrah. "Five hundred years I've waited... here it is."
A brilliant sunshine light swathed Ivar's body, his clothes discintegrated and reknit back to the clothing he wore in death. The music swelled, as for some inexplicable reason, a Scandinavian folk singer with her hurdygurdy took centre stage, with a skaldic song painting synesthetic images of Home. Fjord and tallship, painted wood carvings and sod roofs in the countryside.
"Home... where my wife was waiting, with her best batch. This batch, blessed of Iduun and coughed on by Thor. Hah. I found it... I have it..." Ivar shed no tears, for he was dead. As he lifted the glass to sniff it, Ivar smiled. "Hmm... I should have told her not to use as much dill."
He drank the shot, and in a wash of divine, glorious light, Ivar ascended. The entire Pub quieted, the folk singer let the last chord of her hurdygurdy ring out.
And then, cheers exploded from the gathered throng. Cheers of happiness and glee, of catharsis and joy. The hooligans in their heist brought pure and true joy to the Pub that night, and in gratitude for their selfless act to bring peace to a long unsettled soul, Donovan leaned against the bar.
"Hey now, that was darned generous, what you did for ole Ivar. Shit, if I'd known that's all he was stickin' round for I'd of poured it myself. What can I get y'all? Anything, name it."
You Won. Time to Party!
Worthy of Song
GM:When the antics are wild & entertaining enough to declare victory, or they completed their goals.
The denizens of Finnegan's Pub discovered out what the hooligans attempted with roars and cheers. It took a special sort of insanity to attempt the impossible, and Donovan at least, is entertained.
"They did an awful lot to get in the pickle they're in, Finn. Mighty entertaining for the Folk." Donovan tried to cover his smirk, eyes aglow at Finnegan.
"But... my booze and various other tawdry bits!"
"Ain't nobody touching your tawdry bits till you shower."
"Come on, Finnegan! You turning spendthrift!?" Tuija roared, as several Folk shouted and even more gasped in baited breath. Caleb hugged Tuija from behind, pursed his lips and nodded to the Fae Lord. Tonight, Caleb wanted to remember.
"Alright, alright! Your antics put me in a jolly mood, fine! A treat of choice for the winner!" Finnegan spread his branch-like arms wide, root-feet planted into the floorboards as he grew to a large enough height to be seen through the entire crowd. "Whichever of these mighty hooligans does the best interpretive dance, impromptu song or rousing monologue wins a round on me for them and a friend!"
The Pub burst into excited shouts as the party was pushed on stage by Caleb and Tuija, chuckles and grins on their faces.
"Go on, you got this! It's a party." Caleb lost the weight which usually bowed his shoulders, the Realm's problems a far off mystery lost to the blessed hedonism of the event. "Haha! Anyone who can make Finn and the rest of us laugh deserves what they get."
Tuija pulled Caleb back to snuggle into his side from the corner of Donovan's bar, Finnegan waited in Oak-like display for the song and dance to begin and Donovan chuckled as he poured drinks, in a perpetual loop, which kept the jovial Gjenganger alive.
Bonus Round: Each PC gets a chance to entertain, the top two get their Top Shelf Treat!
GM:The PC's didn't complete their goals before the final round timed out.
A rustle from upstairs.
Grin plastered ear to scandalous ear, Finnegan trots down wearing nothing but a fluffy green bathrobe. The smile doesn't last, when the Lord of Finnegan's Bluff sees the shenanigans taking place at his Pub.
"You lot! What in the Creatrix' castle are you doing?! Are you..." A large inhale, and Finnegan points. The entire pub falls to a radical silence. "... thieving me!? Not bloody likely! Be gone, you unwashed miscreants!"
Vines grow from floorboards, ceiling and walls, as each of your party are pulled through one rusty, metal and glass door. The last sounds of Finnegan's Pub are the slow return of chatter and a lonely harpsichordist playing you out.
You Lose. Hope You Like Midgard
GM:An alternate, less serious loss for those who didn't reach their goals, but also didn't damage the Pub or rile up the ire of Donovan/Finnegan.
"Are you a level of serious!? Did..." Donovan grunted and threw the last of the hooligans into a heap on the dance floor. "... did y'all think that'd work? Be copacetic!? None of y'all stop to think why this is the positively worst idea in the history of the mind?!"
With a last swift kick to Lad's butt, Donovan groans. "Well shit. You're lucky Finn ain't here to see your ungrateful asses! I've half a mind to let him have at you."
"Half a mind ain't a whole one, I guess. There's no harm, no foul... if y'all pay me back for the tomfoolery. Up! All y'all, get into the dishwashing station and start scrubbing! You too, Doug! Y'ain't gonna be happy for a good long while."
You Lose, But It Could Be Worse
Kalashnikov: Draugr Boss
GM:The worst ending, for Purple Nurple or Kalashnikov. The PC's did enough damage to awaken the true Final Boss - Draugr Donovan. Caleb & Tuija join the PC's side to defeat the triple-strong Donovan.
You done did it. Finnegan's Pub is a battle zone, Folk are flying with their fists, chairs are breaking over heads, and Donovan set down his bar rag with rage in his eyes. The usually docile and friendly Gjenganger howls as his tormented spirit metamorphoses into a dreaded, bloodthirsty Draugr.
The Pub rumbles, as Folk try to rush through doors, which won't open. They have no recourse but to rush through liminal spaces for places to hide as Donovan, consumed by his rage, becomes a danger to all.
"Tuija, your spear!" Caleb rushed in, grabbed his sword from behind the bar and shoved a wide-eyed partygoer out of Donovan's way. "Dono, buddy simmer down!"
"On it! Don't let him bite you!" Tuija brandished her spear, conveniently kept in a pocket closet beside the bar and whistled to the enbloodied Draugr. "Damned idiots... You thieves! You caused this mess, you help clean it."
"Finnegan close us in so he doesn't travel!" Caleb dove away from the Draugr's claws, "I hate to do this buddy but I will end you. And you lot, I'll get to later!"