Porked lightning

March 27, 2016

rpg encounters

Here's a light-hearted game you can throw at your PCs to add a little respite and hopefully amusement to their next visit to “town”. It uses a game I remember from years ago as a kid, a game where instead of rolling dice you get to roll two plastic pigs: Pass the Pigs from Winning Moves (MB in my day!).

In Pass the Pigs, "each turn involves one player throwing two model pigs... The player gains or loses points based on the way the pigs land. Each turn lasts until the player throwing either rolls the pigs in a way that wipes out their current turn score, wipes out their total game score, or decides to stop their turn, add their turn score to their total score and pass the pigs to the next player. The winner is the first player to reach a predetermined total score."

As your players return to their nearest town, or perhaps arrive at a new settlement, inform them of some commotion near an appropriate location, such as a farmstead, town trade entrance, butchers or meat market. A large wagon (or wagons) transporting dozens of pigs is at the centre of it, a farmer seemingly in charge but barely controlling the piggy chaos.

Upon investigating and conversing with the farmer or farm hand (or perhaps a bystander if the piggy struggle is overplayed and the farmer is occupied), the PCs are asked to lend a hand. The PCs will likely ask what's in it for them. The NPC will encourage a competition between the PCs and also encourage a wager.

The challenge is to first offload the pigs/carcasses, two at once, from one of the wagons (arrived from the slaughterhouse). Second, they must transfer them to the butcher's cart. They can do this as many times as they like per turn (re-rolling the pigs and clocking up points), at the risk of the cart collapsing ("pig out", that player loses all their points cumulated that turn).

The different points and combos can represent how the carcasses are handled throughout and thus the “quality” of the meat for market.

"One carcass slides off the butcher's cart onto it's back, spoiling the loin... The other pig's side scrapes along the edge of the cart, but it's otherwise intact..."

For extra bacony flavour, here's a reference on the cuts of pork meat.

How the game is won (the predetermined score of 100, for example), or how many times it's played is up to you and your group. Rewards could range from gold through to prime cuts or salted meat rations. Perhaps the farmer has something somewhat more precious or helpful to the characters...

You can pick up Pass the Pigs for about £10 in the UK. Next up, I try to shoehorn Cthulhu Dice into a plane-splitting summoning ritual or world-ending magical disaster.