Your hubris has angered the gods, and to teach you a lesson in humility, they have sent you to hell. And hell is a minimum wage job in a tip-based industry.

Java, Prince of the Dark Roast

The Story


The characters’ hubris has angered the gods, and to teach them a lesson in humility, they have been sent to hell! Hell turns out to be a minimum wage job in a tip-based industry. In their own universe they might have been a hero, a demigod, or a villain, but here they are but a lowly barista of the Eternal Grind Café—and the breakfast rush is coming.

Their only hope is to earn enough tips to open up the portal back home!

But evil corporate ways do not stop there. Just when the café opens, a letter is slipped under the door...

Hello my fellow Grinders,

We from upper management are elated to have fresh members to add to our family. We believe in empowering our employees to the max, and with that amazing freedom comes responsibility. To maximally motivate our super employees, we have implemented the new rule that all fines of the health inspector are paid from the tip jar. You can expect the health inspector around noon.

Go Go Grinders!
Java, the Jinxer,
Prince of the Dark Roast.

The Rules

Character Creation

This game can be played with any character from any RPG system. Imagine the D&D necromancer Willard the Undying responsible for cupcake decoration. Find out how good the customer service skills are of Mad Eddy from your Call of Cthulhu game. Ask your players to introduce their character, the universe they are from, and let them tell what act of hubris has landed them in Hell. Also, they must create a menu item.


In this game you have 2 two skills—barista skills (anything barista) and character skills (anything else). You roll a d6 and must roll under the current number (they start at 3) to succeed. If the attempted action is related to a character class, background, concept, or general shtick, roll a bonus die and take the lower number. Both skills start at 3, mark them with a paperclip. If good customer service is given (i.e. they pass a barista roll), you move both your numbers to the right and thus become more barista and less epic. If bad customer service is given (most likely by passing a character roll and doing something epically unbarista), you move both your stats to the left. If either stat hits 6 you become unhinged and either go on a murderous rampage or become a soulless work drone. To prevent this, the player can describe a social media post where their character complains about their job and move their barista skill one down, or tell a flashback of their character’s epic deeds and move the character skill one lower. This can be done at any moment.


At the start, roll a d6 on the coffee machine table and let the players discover slowly what is wrong with it. The coffee machine cannot speak, but may show its intentions trough actions like spouting steam, words drawn in the coffee grounds, or ominous latte art.

The Coffee Machine

  1. The coffee machine is haunted. On a failed barista roll, poltergeist events will happen, such as the chairs floating into the shape of a pentagram, ominous knocking sounds, or blood dripping off the walls. Either fulfill the haunt’s dying wish or exorcise the coffee machine.
  2. The coffee machine has turned evil and on a failed barista roll attacks the character with hot steam, whipping extension cords, and demands sacrifices to be fed into the grinder.
  3. The coffee machine woofs, wines and wags its cord. On a failed barista roll it will chase any cat, try to steal food and hump other appliances when left unsupervised for too long.
  4. The coffee machine is actually operated on the inside by little imps who will start complaining and go on strike mid game. Union talks or strike breakers may be needed at some point.
  5. The coffee machine is sensitive to flattery and poetry. Without extensive compliments it will only give out warm milk foam with sad looking latte art.
  6. The coffee machine only runs if the character whispers secrets down its hatch. The juicier the secrets the better the coffee.

The Events

  1. The sewer is blocked. By sewer alligators.
  2. It is full moon. Roll 1d3 to see how many customers turn into werewolves.
  3. An adventuring party stumbles in. They will try to fight any customer or player character that looks like a monster or is a known villain.
  4. The cupcakes need decorating but there is no decoration in sight. Better get creative.
  5. Evil Corporate has heard that cat cafés are popular and has released 20 feral cats into the café.
  6. There is a baby crawling on the ceiling.

The Endgame

Roll or pick from the customer entries, and when things get too calm roll on the event table. If the same number is rolled twice, take the nearest, funniest option. Customers tip in dice (1d4s to 1d20s—higher value dice, or more of them) depending on how satisfied they are. At the end of the game roll all the dice in the tip jar and count them. The players need 20 points per character to get out of hell. This leaves lots of room for epic betrayals at the end. The only thing that gives tip points is actual tips given by the customers. Other forms of wealth are not accepted. How the tips are extracted is up to the players. The players cannot die but they do feel pain. Not all customers’ tips are needed to win. Setting fire to a handful of customers is expected.

The health inspector is due around lunch time, which also signals the end of the game.

The Customers

Roll a d20 or pick the next funniest option. Lower numbers are better suited for earlier in the game and higher numbers for later in the game.

1. Three sloths in a trench coat

Three sloths have escaped the zoo and are trying to order the finest leaf water.

Roleplay: Do your best slow talking sloth impression. Maybe take some suggestions from the two other sloths whose shoulders you are standing on. Let the players make the leaf-water-equals-tea connection. When the sloths are about to collect their order, two zookeepers burst through the door! “Heeellllp meee,” the top sloth begs.

High tipping: If the players successfully get rid off the zookeepers and serve them.

2. Fad Diet Girl

Girl with a nasal voice, who is on all the new diet trends at once.

Roleplay: Channel your inner valley girl and start condescendingly explaining that you are pegan: paleo vegan, Whole30 clean eating with histamine restrictions. OMG.

High tipping: She will tip high if the players match her extreme demands or convince her that they did. If the players lied, she still will tip high but upon consumption of the order you can decide to give her the shits, extreme rash or turn her into a gremlin.

3. Belon Trusk X

Tech startup wonderboy phishing for compliments.

Roleplay: This man’s ego barely fits through the door. The only way he can cope is by a constant flow of compliments for his actions. Like his ever-successful space program and his attempt to single handedly repopulate the world with his many baby mammas.

High tipping: If the players do their best to boost his ego, he will be a big tipper.

4. Charming Old Lady

Charming old lady with a pointy hat, who wants her order with an extra side of children.

Roleplay: This witch offers kindly, motherly advice, but will grow grumpy very soon if the players don’t produce a child to eat. Get as many fairytale puns as possible into your roleplay. She does not suffer fools and will turn a player into a frog if she becomes offended—or if it would be funny.

High tipping: When she is convinced that she has gotten a side order of children or is persuaded to try an alternative meat source.

5. A Character’s Mother

One of the characters’ own mother (or grandmother) is here to probe them about when they are getting a “real” job.

Roleplay: This is hell, and it is also possible for one NPC to be all the characters’ mothers or similar relative all at once. They loudly voice their concerns and disappointments about all the characters’ life choices. Like urging them to go into the mattress business like cousin Stevie. Sprinkle in some boomer references.

High tipping: If the characters promise to call more often and visit for the holidays.

6. Smug Wizard

A wizard who brings a bag of holding for the “bring your own mug” day.

Roleplay: This extremely smug wizard knows that his bag of holding can take up to 7 000 000 liters of coffee. He wants to run the coffee shop dry and create a coffee shortage. Ripping the bag of holding will make all its contents spill out and leave a tear in the dimension. A curious tentacle will come out and cause mayhem.

High tipping: When the wizard believes he has all the coffee in the shop or if he is convinced there is a better place to steal coffee from.

7. Woman in Tears

A recently dumped middle aged woman in tears.

Roleplay: She is dressed like a less fabulous Dolly Parton lookalike, and has recently been dumped by her husband who cheated on her with her own sister. She pours her heart out to the character serving her. And asks them: “Do you think I am still pretty?”

High tipping: The characters will have to make her believe in love again, or help her prepare a horrible revenge on her cheating ex-husband.

8. Mango Maga Man

An orange faced man with stubby hands who claims to be president and wants his order with a side of 11 780 votes.

Roleplay: It is important to continuously tell the characters that you are in fact “The Best!” and ask for their help in solving that pesky election problem. Also you are hyper aware that your highly flammable, and semi-sentient, blonde wig might escape you at any moment. Be sure to be extra condescending towards the characters.

High tipping: If the votes are found.

9. Escaped Convict

An escaped convict looking for a disguise.

Roleplay: There are sirens in the distance and this man does not want to go back into prison. He will ask the characters to help him with a disguise. Soon after, the cops will bust down the door and start asking questions.

High tipping: If they manage to evade the Feds.

10. Larkish Leprechaun

A leprechaun who wants to pay with wishes for his Irish coffee.

Roleplay: The wishes are executed in the worst interpretation possible. You want a big tip? Tip of nose swells up to balloon size. Want to go back to your family? We will bring them here to hell. If the characters call him leprechaun at any moment, he will turn irate, and scream at them that leprechaun is a slur. Be creative with Irish insults like: feking hornswoggle, dryshite dog, and peckerless pumpkin.

High tipping: If served any type of alcohol.

11. Slimy Bodybuilder

An oiled-up bodybuilder trying to aggressively hit on the characters.

Roleplay: This cap-backwards, energy drink chugging, tribal tattoo dudebro will aggressively compliment the characters. Go for the most unlikely character. Like, walk straight past the pretty princess and start complementing the old mage on his silky lush beard. Keep the compliments as weird as possible. If your players decide to go along with him instead of setting him on fire, you can always diffuse the flirting with a tearful confession that girls only want him for his muscles and not his personality.

High tipping: Either when he feels like he is worshipped by at least two characters, or when he is comforted after his tearful confession.

12. Cartoonish Villain

A toonish robber trying to steal the tip jar.

Roleplay: While roleplaying, twirl your mustache, laugh menacingly, and tell the PCs to stick-em-up! If there is an innocent looking creature nearby, kidnap it.

High tipping: If intimidated to do so.

13. Future Fortune Teller

A fortune teller from the year 2019.

Roleplay: This poor, naive fortune teller wants to warn the world about all the horrors yet to come. As divine punishment she was sent into the medieval fantasy past.

High tipping: If sufficiently comforted that the world will not degenerate.

14. Alarming Date With Vampire

A sexy, sparkly vampire who is 104, with his teenage date. The date doesn’t seem to know that he is a vampire.

Roleplay: This charming fellow cannot wait to eat his date. He will probably try to sneak her off to a quiet corner. The teenage girl happily will tell the PC serving her: “I am so happy my tinder date isn’t some creep”.

High tipping: Depending who survives. The vampire tips for privacy and discreet corpse removal. The teenage girl for saving her life.

15. Greedy CFO

The Greedy CFO of Sorcerers of the Shoreline.

Roleplay: The Greedy CFO of Sorcerers of the Shoreline, who boasts about revoking the Open Magic License so that they can profit off the work of smaller adventuring parties. He tries to pay with magical cards because he overprinted them and needs to lose them fast.

High tipping: When the players characters offer to endorse their greed.

16. The Nemesis

The nemesis of one of the characters from their own universe.

Roleplay: Does one of the characters have a rival or arch-nemesis? That person now just walked in. They mock and taunt that character, and order an insanely complicated coffee just out of spite.

High tipping: If the power of friendship prevails, or if they are blackmailed into it.

17. Blind Eye Tyrant

A blind beholder with a cane in its tentacles.

Roleplay: This beholder has fallen victim to an adventuring party that has blinded them. They now want to lick all food items before ordering, as means of identification. They will also eat any small animals or children they encounter.

High tipping: If the characters either restore their vision or accommodate their sensory needs.

18. Snobby High Elf

A speciesist snobby high elf, who wants to speak to the manager.

Roleplay: This elf does not trust species other than high elf and assumes they’re stupid and incompetent. They are dressed in a pristine white suit with a pointy hood. Shame if something were to happen to it...

High tipping: Should they see their food and drink being handled by another high elf.

19. BBEG

The big bad evil guy from the last adventure one of the characters had.

Roleplay: This one is great if you know the background of the characters a little bit. Is the big bad dead? No problem, this is hell. The plot twist is that the big bad only wants to get brunch before torture rush hour sets in. No fights, just a black coffee and a sandwich.

High tipping: If actually getting good customer service.

20. Illithid Schemer

A mind flayer pushing the tadpole pyramid scheme.

Roleplay: This mind flayer tries to sell the characters on the idea that incubating a brain tadpole is the way to ultimate power. He is very insistent, and holds the tadpole between his fingers. It is a pyramid scheme and a cult.

High tipping: If allowed to insert a tadpole into someone’s brain.