The "Inn Ye’ Go" Inn, is a large three-story structure, built of brick and cedar logs. The taproom is huge, dominated by a rubble granite fireplace. The second floor, which has the majority of the rooms, features an outdoor deck, which raps around two walls of the rectangular building. The third floor has fewer but pricier rooms. The paint on the outside of the inn used to be a sky blue, but on a whim, Unquis the innkeeper had it painted in a mahogany color recently. A low one-story wing extends from the inn, which serves as the stable. Unquis employs young girls and boys, in their early teens, (former street urchins), to serve as the staff. For muscle, Unquis employs four pikemen, who have for various reasons been expelled from, or have quit the Town Guard.
Unquis himself, lives in an apartment below the inn, connected to the larder, root and wine cellars, and his "treasure room", a small chamber filled with thousands of old maps, sea charts, and journals from his travels. Quite the sailor and cartographer in his past life, Unquis is obsessed with maps. He is a life-long bachelor. His wife is his inn, and his ‘kids’ are his staff.
Unquis Helstraw, or "Uncle" as his patrons have called him for as long as anyone can remember runs the most popular inn in the town of Sparn. There is nothing particularly unusual about the town itself, and its only claim to fame, other than the inn, lies in the fact that it is situated at the crossroads of several major trade routes. More people have heard of the "Inn Ye’ Go" than they have heard of Sparn itself. Good food, good drink, and good times are always on the menu here.
Unquis has run the establishment for twenty-five years, and is now nearly sixty years of age. He is a portly, salt-n-pepper haired, ruddy cheeked fellow, who has one strange physical characteristic. Unquis sports one-half of an incredibly bushy moustache. The other half was scorched off long ago, during Unquis’ youth, when he was a wild and wooly explorer, sailing the southern oceans. Unquis will NEVER tell anyone how this happened. Since that time, no matter how many different ointments or balms Unquis has applied to the area, hair did not grow back left of his upper lip. He even tried a hedge wizard’s magic once, but when the drunken magician nearly burned down the inn while brewing some potions, Unquis "gave up on magic". He is now no longer embarrassed by his looks, and wears his half-moustache proudly, having heard every jape and anecdote on the subject there is to hear. Think you have an original one? Unquis will buy you two mugs of his best ale and a partridge-on-a-stick if you regale him with a quip. If he thinks its funny he laughs. If he thinks your stupid, he tells you so. Keep in mind that Unquis not only knows all the face-sitting moustache jokes, but he’s directly responsible for a few, including the one about the baker’s wife, the bag of flour, and the spatula.
An advanced derivation of these one-liner challenges is another tradition that has developed in the inn. Twice a year, at Midsummer’s eve, and during the Winter Solstice a contest is held in the taproom of the "Inn Ye’ Go". The contest involves telling a tale of how "Uncle" lost half of his now famous whisker(s). Any one is free to enter the competition, and over the years, bards, poets, lyricists, rhymers, and storytellers of no small renown have traveled from great distances to spin their yarns and tell their tales. There is only one simple rule…you have twenty minutes. It could be a song, poem, fable, or a plain story. Anything goes. Over the years, the contest has evolved to the point where rarely if ever, do the stories have anything to do with Unquis himself anymore! Sometimes a contestant will tell a tale completely unrelated to Unquis, and in the end say "Oh yeah, and THAT’S how ‘Uncle’ lost his whisker!" More often than not, and unsurprisingly, these stories feature a bawdy component.
During these contests the taproom and balconies are filled to capacity with people, often with over a hundred folks brimming inside, and more on the outside trying to get in. The prize for the enviable winner, is a free one week stay in one of the inn’s finer third story rooms (food and limited drink included), a pig-leather pouch with sixty silver, and a silver-plated wooden plaque, which is hung from the rafters, with the winner’s name carved into the wood.
The judges are three "Inn Ye’ Go" regulars. These men are local to Sparn, and spend most nights "with their Uncle". They all share one common trait, which helps with their judging. They are great listeners! The three are:
Like the other two judges, and "Uncle" himself, this chap goes by his moniker, and few know his real name. His particular appellation derives from the fact that he possesses the most putrid breath one can come across in another human being. No amount of lemon or mint seems to have any effect, though "Uncle" can often be seen forcing Dogbreath to chew on one or the other. Not the greatest conversationalist (and even if he was, no one would sit near enough to listen!), Dogbreath’s true talents are drinking and playing "Baduk", a strategy game, popular in Sparn, involving a painted wooden game board and many small white and black flattened, spherical stones. No one can best Dogbreath in "Baduk", though many have tried. His breath probably has something to do with this! Dogbreath has a soft spot for the raunchier tales during the contest, and the dirtier your little ditty is, the better chance of him voting for you.
Named for his occupation, he can often be seen dropping or picking up buttons, as he makes his "rounds" through the inn, offering people his services. Like, Dogbreath, he says little of any interest to anyone, but if you need a shiny new button for your jerkin, this is the best man for the job, a true master of his trade. He will make you buttons of wood, ivory, metal, or any other raw material you bring him. He even has a few magic buttons (!), but such business is conducted in his little shop across town, far from the eyes and ears of the inn’s patrons. Buttons tends to vote for melodramatic stories featuring love, heartbreak, and betrayal in heavy doses. As the local saying goes, if Buttons starts crying and blubbering, you’re a third of the way to victory. This man epitomizes drivel. Drivel coats him like fresh paint, staining anyone he touches.
Skinny to the point of seeming starvation, the patrons always laugh at the fact that they never see Splinter eating. "If he misses one more meal, he will vanish altogether", or "Where’s Splinter?" "He’s hiding behind that fishing pole" go the japes. Of the three judges, Splinter takes the contest most seriously. He can be counted on to be objective and often picks the truly best tale of the bunch. Splinter has no job, because of his wealthy in-laws. Splinter’s only thorn in his otherwise rosy life is his pushy, quarrelsome, wife. A woman of great height and girth, she can often be seen dragging Splinter out of the inn by his ear, while berating him for something he didn’t do, or worse, did do. He would leave her, he always says, but then he’d have no money, and since Splinter has no skills to speak of, he does not consider this an actual option. Besides, he loves her, but likes to pretend he doesn’t.
Role Playing Ideas:
- Make "Uncle" laugh with a moustache joke. If the pc can make you, the gm laugh, maybe they succeed!
- The Contest. Challenge the pc’s to actually come up with a story and have them tell it (preferably no dice rolling to gauge success). A GREAT way to test a bard character!!
- Surprise Unquis with a magical or non-magical cure for his bald left lip. Of course convincing him to accept a magical solution in the first place, takes some smooth talking and convincing.
- Looking for a rare map of some long lost land, forgotten ruin, or uncharted island? Unquis probably has it! Don’t forget to bring coin. He doesn’t like parting with his maps!
- Need a magic button? See Buttons. Let your imagination run wild with the buttons, with an emphasis on MINOR charms.
- Think you can beat Dogbreath in Baduk? Challenge him, he’ll play you for money
- Looking to meet some merchants, friends or interesting people? "Inn Ye’ Go"