On the corner of 5th and Elm Streets sits a moderately-sized, moderately-old cemetery. Once one of the city’s primary boneyards, the cemetery now receives only the destitute - nowadays, the wealthy prefer the new graveyard on Harrow Hill, where they needn’t worry about their corpses being relocated in a few years.
Sitting just beside the gate is a stone building. From its four chimneys, a surprising number for the building’s fairly small size, there frequently pours a small amount of smoke, indicative of the warmth waiting within. Over the sign hangs a small sign showing a tankard carved from a skull, painted over the black words ‘The Mausoleum.’
Opening late in the day - around 4 pm - the Mausoleum spends its first few hours each day catering to mostly young city-dwellers, for whom the thrill of entering a cemetery is more than enough adventure. As the day drags on, the younger clientele begin to filter out, and the bar’s true patrons begin to show up. These are the hours when the bar does it best, and most traditional, business.
The bar closes at 2 am - at least, that’s what most of its patrons believe. For the truth, see the entry on Darian Sartun below.
The Mausoleum began as a temple devoted primarily to the maintenance of the cemetery sitting beside it. For almost two centuries, the priests and priestesses consecrated the grounds, contained those ghosts which occasionally materialize in even the best-kept cemeteries, and hired and paid gravediggers. Because of the sheer number of dead, and the limited space, the temple was forced to open a catacomb beneath the temple, and begin relocating buried corpses to make room for new arrivals.
Unfortunately, the cemetery’s recent decline led to the church rapidly becoming impoverished, and, embarrassingly enough, being forced to sell out to a retired adventurer looking to settle down - one Darian Sartun. Eager to begin work on one of his lifelong ambitions, Darian set about changing the temple into a tavern. Demonstrating all the respect a man of his experience was bound to have for the dead, Darian continued the necessary maintenance of the graveyard.
In shape, the Mausoleum is, of course, built like a temple. It contains a single large room - now filled with tables and a bar - that once served as the temple’s sanctuary. The altar is long gone, but two other doors sit near the end farthest from the entry way. Because of the three fireplaces in this large room, the first thing most patrons notice when they enter is a soothing blast of warmth from the interior.
The first of the two rear rooms once served as an office for the temple’s head priest. Now it is a kitchen, and contains the last of the tavern’s four fireplaces. The room is fairly small, and only a few people work here, as there is not a particularly large demand for food at the Mausoleum.
The second door leads to a small, dark room containing a staircase leading down into the catacombs beneath the tavern and cemetery. This small room is also used as a small wine cellar, as the cold air coming from the catacombs keeps the wine chilled.
The food served by the Mausoleum is generally of an excellent quality (again, see the Darian Sartun entry for why). Prices are slightly but barely more expensive than at most other taverns. The house’s specialty is a particularly exquisite roast mutton.
The Mausoleum serves mostly wine, of a wide variety of qualities. Occasionally, exotic alcohols can also be had, but they tend to be extraordinarily expensive.
Darian is the owner and barkeeper of the Mausoleum. He’s a middle-aged, slightly overweight man, with short grey hair and a meticulously trimmed beard. Friendly and jovial, Darian is much-liked by most of his patrons, although Taryne disapproves of him on principle.
Although one would not guess it from the look of him, Darian is a fairly competent adventurer. Even more unpredictable is his specialty - Darian is a necromancer, although this is not known to most of the patrons and staff of the Mausoleum.
Despite this odd choice of specialization, Darian has somehow escaped the corruption that is so common among others of his specialty. Most likely, it is because he lacks the ambition that drives most necromancers - he has never desired power over life and death, never dreamed of respect and fear from his peers, never sought to delve into the great mysteries of death. Indeed, his greatest desire has always been simply to own a tavern.
Throughout his career, this lack of drive prevented the full development of his powers, and yet it also saved his soul from certain damnation.
Now, Darian not only runs and owns a tavern, he also pays Alus’s salary and maintains the catacombs and graveyard. Of course, the maintenance of a moderately large graveyard requires a fair bit of money, especially since he occasionally needs to acquire components for spells to banish ghosts and other spectres.
To raise this money, Darian utilizes his necromantic powers to speak with the dead who reside in the catacombs. Among the first spirit whom he conversed with was an ancient chef for the royal family. It is from this individual that Darian gained the ability to give his foods such quality.
And yet, the bar alone cannot raise the amounts of money Darian needs. And this is why Darian offers his services after the closure of his tavern. Anyone who knows of what he offers (and is willing to pay a moderately large sum of gold) can ask him to let them speak with any of the corpses in the catacombs. Among these illustrious dead are any number of adventurers, politicians, and scholars, as well as the more numerous pieces of street-scum. This is how Darian makes the majority of the wealth he needs, even though he has a client only once every few weeks.
Adjusting The Mausoleum
In another setting, where necromancy is inherently evil, where cemeteries no longer exist, or where, for some reason, the current form of the Mausoleum is unacceptable, I recommend substituting a library for the graveyard. Alus can become a librarian, Taryne one of the government official who previously maintained the library, Darian an accomplished scholar, who may have written some books of his own, and Dranus an exterminator who frequently requires the blueprints for buildings he purges.
The Mausoleum is really intended more as a resource for the players, and a place to recuperate, than as a major adventure hook. Nonetheless, some ideas are mentioned below:
1. Something Nasty in the Catacombs:
Some sort of undead or carrion eater has made a home in the catacombs below the cemetery. Darian needs it exterminated, because it’s too powerful for his modest talent. Perhaps Alus has been captured by it, if you want to increase the tension.
This is a possible way for the PC’s to be informed of Darian’s alternate services.
2. Something Rotten in the City:
An officer other than Dranus has found out about Darian’s alternate services, and launches a discrete investigation. Dranus, unwilling to lose his contact, warns Darian. If the PCs don’t want to lose their contact, they’ll need to convince numerous local lawmakers to edit the grave-robbing definition, and they’ll have to do it before this officer can make an arrest.
Sergeant Dranus Breilan
A city watchman who frequents the Mausoleum, finding its services an enormous benefit.
The gravedigger in charge of the cemetary just outside the tavern, Alus is a regular, as well as a close friend and aid of Darian.
Essentially the Mausoleum’s bouncer, Taryne is the last remnant of what was once a fine temple.
EDIT: Changed most of the people to stubs.