This codex starts off with a compilation of Tavern names, which is a list of around a hundred names of good, average, and bad taverns to add to cities or quests as you like. After that is a series of tavern descriptions, with histories, stories, patrons, and building descriptions, should you need a fleshed-out setting for your characters or world. As I add more tavern descriptions to the list, I’ll take their names off of the Tavern Name Compilation, to avoid repeats. Hopefully, in a few weeks I’ll end up with a good variety for the community!
Note that the Compendium of Tavern Names is a scroll, and must be clicked on to view the list.
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CodexA Compendium of Tavern Names By: Spark ( Locations ) Establishment - Any
Taverns are the love of my life. This post is a compendium of around 100 tavern names, from fine dining to coarse fighting, to use in your campaign or world.
Taverns in a medieval world are a purely fantastical notion - they didn’t have them then, and they don’t even have that many now! Still, taverns remain some of the most fun places to write about in a campaign setting or fantasy world. Each tavern has its own story, its own patrons, its own atmosphere. From a richly decorated tavern in the center of a merchant city to a soot-blackened dice house in the slums of a ghetto, a tavern represents a great starting point for quests, or simply a place to rest for adventurers on the move. Here is a list of around one hundred tavern names to use in your campaign. Some of them have been written about, others are a blank canvas. Whatever your campaign, I think you’ll find some use for this bunch of grog-holes.
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Bogmoors By: MoonHunter ( Locations ) Establishment - Swamp
Bogmoors has been here for 721 years. It started with an ale stop for the Imperial invaders. From there it has been a similar stop for every wave of invaders since then, as well as every local for a good walk’s distance.
The building was at one time between The Bog and the Moors. The Bog is mostly gone now. The other buildings near it have grown up around it and the path to and from Bogmoors.
From the outside it looks somewhat dingy and disreputable. It is a medium size for a tavern in these parts. it is not any better inside. Though there are many lanterns, it is fairly dark. The walls, though freshly painted, still look dingy. The ceiling is a bit low. The woodwork is dark, worn, and well polished. The floors are the same dark, worn, and beer stained polish the rest of the wood is. The floors often have sawdust spread on them, to help in the cleaning. The brewery is out back, in an equally dingy and disreputable barn.
Bogmoors has been here for 721 years. It started with an ale stop for the Imperial invaders. From there it has been a similar stop for every wave of invaders since then, as well as every local for a good walk’s distance. It has had its share of famous and important. Those that the BarKeep has though were important have carved their name on the back wall. Kings (back when they were princes), generals, and the occasional rebel leader have all been here at one time or another.
note: The graffitii on the inside of the stone outhouse walls goes back several centuries as well. If you can read the langauge, they are really pretty funny… for potty humor.
The Brown Beer is above average, the Ales, Stouts, and other brews are merely average. They serve a locally made malt liquor and wines from a ways away (which is hugely expensive). They serve pub food as well: Boggies (beef stuffed in a roll), potato mush, cheese, and crisps. In fact the food they serve is what “set the expectation” for what is Pub food in this region.
The Staff is nice enough. Nobody stands out. In most cases, their families have served here at one time or another for as far back as anyone can remember.
The place has it share of ghosts. In fact, if you fall asleep in the common room (heck really the private rooms are really large booths with a curtain across them) you will sometimes dream that you are in it a few hundred years ago… being served by people who look like the people who have been serving you now… and you will be talking to the ghosts (and sometimes some historical folks).
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DiCarrigan's Den By: MoonHunter ( Locations ) Establishment - Any
DiCarrigan’s Den has the appearance of a “common house”, but it is actually a club. Only those who are members (having paid their dues to the house. Their they gamble, drink, and socialize in proper splender.
While this appears to be a well maintained “common house”/ tavern/ inn, it is actually a club. Only those who are members (having paid their dues to the house… i.e. set up their credit here) or those brought with a member can enter. (The door is guarded by two armed men in the foyer.) Inside, it is a very nice tavern of the noble level with a variety of food and drink. The serving girls are pretty, but not here for other types of enjoyment. There are a number of hexagonal and octagonal tables topped in felt where gambling games using cards are played. The chairs at these tables are quite comfortable. The various members can check out chips from the house (using their credit). Members can even draw off their credit to generate cash.
The Membership is a number of nobles who enjoy gambling, lesser nobles and city officials who utilize their connections to get in and use their skills to generate cash, and richer merchant types. Many a deal has been made over a friendly game of cards here.
There is a small squad of private soldiers here that act as security, guarding the members, the doors, and the cash in the building. They are well paid and quite elite in their skills. Some of them are moonlighting here from the jobs as The King’s Hand - the spy organization for the kingdom… though nobody knows that.
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Dragon Eye Tavern By: The Phantom Queen ( Locations ) Establishment - Any
The most expensive tavern in town boasts the finest of fare, entertainment, and more importantly, decor.
When the mage, Argigore Knightsfell, followed his companions into the rocky crag he never thought this find would be the end of a long adventuring career. The Dragon’s hoard was enough to buy titles for all of them across the land. Too bad that he was a little slow pouring the healing potion down his comrade’s throat. Ah well, more for him.
With the profits from the hoard and the skin from the slain dragon he set himself up as the proprietor of the Dragon Eye Tavern. Tables, chairs, and the bar top are all covered with dragonscale. A huge mirror, it’s size unmatched in the known world, covers the wall behind the bar but the key point of interest is the enormous dragon eye that floats, disembodied, in a glass jar at the end of the counter.
Some patrons love the eye, toasting it’s bleary stare. Some avoid looking at it, positioning their backs so not to have to look while dining. Regardless of how revolting they find it, the patrons always stay long enough to say they enjoyed the fine dining at "The Dragon Eye".
Despite it’s continued popularity, the quality of the food and drink has diminished since Argigore died. His daughter, Liliaz, cares little for the quality of the fare so long as people continue to patron the establishment. She is more interested in following the local gossip and holds to the adage "Knowledge is Power". Having been raised with riches and pampering, Liliaz wants what money can’t always buy…knowledge of everything that is going on in her city and the ability to subtly manipulate people. She can be a powerful ally or devious enemy and her loyalty is as fickle as spring weather. People deal with her at their own peril with mixed results.
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Earlobe´s Tavern By: Ouroboros ( Locations ) Establishment - Any
A quintessential seedy dive, catering to the lowest of the low, but harbouring a few nasty secrets
Earlobe´s Tavern is a low, sagging building, located at the intersection of Low Street and Rose Alley, near the heart of the Lower Maul. The intersection, an irregularly shaped expanse of mud and weeds, surrounds the burned-out, stump-like ruins of the tower of a warlock of the Old Blood that was killed and burned in the Great Fire of the Maul. Here and there across the square the mortared remains of other buildings poke through the treacherous slurry of ash-mixed mud that coats the ground.
The earthen plaza (if such a grand name is applicable) is surrounded by high, haphazard buildings, constructed from driftwood and scavenged materials, and criss-crossed by wooden walkways and pier-like structures that serve to keep pedestrians out of the worst mud. The architecture is twisted and crooked, the houses lean drunkenly on each other, and a myriad small alleys and stairs radiate off in every direction. At night, it is lighted by hundreds of smoky torches and dented, rusted carbide lamps, mounted on the buildings, the ruins and stand-alone poles. Underlying the prevalent odors of rotting garbage and unwashed bodies is the more subtle, acrid stink of old, wet ashes.
In the lawlessness of the Lower Maul, this nameless square is an oasis of (relative) peace. The shop owners, whose small businesses fill the ground floors of the surrounding buildings, communally employ a huge Moloch half-blood to keep the peace around the square. The junkies, crazies and even the many street-gangs keep their distance from this bestial, club-wielding sentinel, who has shown his worth more than once. However, for as long as Earlobe´s Tavern has been here, even wild riots and gang wars seems, inexplicably, to take a detour around the square.
At the eastern end of the square, sits Earlobe´s Tavern, a squat, two-story barrack-like building, its corrugated sheet-metal roof sagging and rusted, and its half-brick, half-planking walls bulging and uneven. Its windows have long been boarded over, and the whole structure has, in some distant past, been slathered in slate-grey ship-tar, the bitumen giving it a half-melted, disturbingly organic look.
The Tavern now looks scabbed, salt-encrusted and mummified, the settling of its insecure foundation giving it a hunched-over look, like a massive, brooding beast, half-hidden in the shadow. Even the ever-present ivy that clings to the building like heaps of rusted barb-wire seems diseased and straggly.
The structure sits in a small pool of shadow, away from the street lights and on windy nights, the draft whistles eerily through the many gaps in the walls. The Tavern, built separate from the compacted mess of buildings around it, stands in the middle of a small, weedy yard, dotted with small, stagnant, reed-choked ponds, and riddled with half-buried blocks of masonry and sunken flagstones, relics of the Old Maul. The house stands in the middle of a large rectangle of old, mortared stone that appears to map out the plan of a much larger building that once stood here. A fine mist seems to cling to the yard, especially at night, making the building appear ghostly and insubstantial, and an uneven, flagstoned path leads up to its low entrance.
No one can remember the origin of the name; Earlobe´s, but the establishment has been a fixture of the Lower Maul for close to twenty-five years, and one of the first to be built after the Great Fire of 179. The ground on which the Tavern is built, is, as far as anyone can determine, the same location as where the Old Maul´s Hall of Warlocks, the centre of the magic of the Old Blood, once stood. Here, the fires that consumed the Old Maul and its inhabitants burned the hottest, and very little was ever found in the ash-choked mud afterwards.
Inside the Tavern
The interior of the tavern is low, cramped and dimly lit by a few scattered carbide lamps and candles. The floor sags in the middle, forming a central pit in which the refuse of ages has collected, and the air stinks of stale beer, vomit, soot, tar and unwashed bodies. Here and there across the floor rise odd lumps and plinths of the same ancient masonry that litters the yard outside, and in the middle of the room a massive, crumbling pillar of the same origin rises from the floor to penetrate the low roof overhead.
The wall to the left is taken up by a long bar, amateurishly built from long, unevenly trimmed planks. Several benches and tables, all with the look of pews, perhaps looted from some unknown chapel, is scattered haphazardly around the area. The serving room takes up the entire ground floor, with an oddly narrow back door opposite the front entrance, and a staircase leading to the second floor rising behind the bar. In the middle of the room, next to the mysterious pillar of ancient brick, an old pot-belly peat-stove burns, vainly trying to drive the damp chill away.
The second floor is a maze of small, cramped rooms that Torodak, the proprietor, rents out at a penny a night to the various crooks, vagrants, junkies and cheap prostitutes that frequent his establishment.
Below the Tavern, accessible through a trapdoor behind the bar, is a damp, rat-infested cellar that Torodak use as a storage area, and a brewery in which he produce the horrible, sour beer that is the only item on his bar menu. Oddly enough, the cellar seems to be constructed in finely dressed, tightly fitted stone, indicating that it is a part of a much older structure.
Torodak Deal, the unsavory-looking proprietor, spends most of his time behind the bar, cleaning mugs and entertaining his clientele with his impressive collection of tics and involuntary twitches. He constantly mutters to himself and his odd, wall-eyed stare twitch incessantly from one spot to another. He never, ever looks anyone in the eye, and hunches over as if dodging a blow whenever he´s spoken to. He built this tavern with his own hands back in the old days, and the common consensus of his customers is that he is quite, quite mad. They are right, of course, but there is more to Torodak Deal than what meets the eye.
The clientele is the regular, rag-clad, rough and hard-drinking types one would expect from the environment, with one or two oddities. In one corner, their great, matted manes brushing the low ceiling, sits Tawl and Moke, two Molochii brothers. While they currently work as bouncers or bodyguards on a day-to-day basis, they are in the Maul to find their sister, Ama, who came to Locastus a year ago. They are using the Tavern as their base of operations, renting one of the small, cramped rooms on the second floor. Tawl, an apprentice spirit-talker shaman of the Fire and Salt Sept, is using his scrying arts to find her, but has so far had little success. Both brothers are in a constantly foul mood, and the other customers avoid them carefully.
Standing out among the human clientele is a small group of people that, while also renting rooms above, meet in the common room every evening, conversing in low voices in a dimly lit corner. While they certainly are dressed as the locals and use the same Maul slang, something in their bearing and manners suggest that everything is not as it seems. They have the hard-eyed stare and nonchalantly intimidating presence of something far deadlier than a common Maul thug.
All is not what it seems..
Torodak Deal, Warlock of the Old Blood
Beneath the Tavern, their bones and ashes buried in strata´s of gelatinous mud, the spirits of the Old Blood Warlocks live on. They are angry, pain-filled entities, fuelled by the need for revenge and destruction, and would, if freed, rise in the forms of great clouds of cinders, ashes and bone fragments to lay waste to the Maul, and possibly all of Locastus.
Torodak, one of the few surviving people of the Old Blood, and - at the time of the Great Fire - an apprentice Warlock, has for the last 25 years been using his shamanic Arts to appease the Warlock spirits, and kept them from rising. He was quite young, then, when he came upon the spirits trapped beneath the grounds of the razed Hall of Warlocks, and, initially, began his life of servitude out of a true sense of duty and altruism. It is a sacrifice that has cost him his sanity, his health and his decency, but there have also been certain rewards.
Tutored by the whisperings of the malign spirits, Torodak has been able to complete his training as an Old Blood Warlock, and is now possibly one of the most powerful in the history of his race. Torodak, however, for all his power, can no longer comprehend a life without the perverse, ever-present rage of the spirits and the humiliating, painful rituals he must go through to ease their pain. Should he perish, the warlock spirits would rise within a matter of weeks or months and begin to extract their revenge on the living.
Torodak regularly performs human sacrifices in the chamber beneath the Tavern, temporarily slaking the blood-thirst of the spirits. He chooses his victims from the ones among his clientele he knows will not be missed, and there are many of those. Should he be found out, or attacked, Torodak will respond with an extensive repertoire of Old Blood magicks. He will let nothing get in his way in his duty to the spirits, even though it is no longer the altruistic, honorable act it once was.
Name: Torodak Deal
Location: Earlobe´s Tavern, Lower Maul
Descripition: Torodak is a small, scrawny fellow with sallow skin and huge, blackened horse teeth. His dark, blood-shot eyes look off in opposite directions, and his beard is sparse and straggly. His many tics, twitches and obsessive-compulsive habits make him seem on the edge of a nervous breakdown. He mumbles incessantly under his breath, and constantly wrings his hands. He is never seen without his small, silly fur hat, and spends most of his time behind the bar, nervously cleaning mugs with a greasy rag. Beneath his threadbare, high-necked coat, his body is horribly scarred and riven by the many perverse self-mutilations he has inflicted upon himself to appease the angry Warlock spirits.
Deal is, in reality, one of the few fully trained Old Blood Warlocks left alive. Should he or his Tavern come under threat, he has an impressive arsenal of spells and cantrips at his disposal. His animistic magic can play havoc with people´s minds, turn their own muscles against their bones or make them spontaneously burst into flame. In a truly desperate situation, he can also raise the spirits of the dead Warlocks that rest in the ground beneath the Tavern, and set them loose on his enemies. This is something he has never had to do, and even Torodak himself is not sure he could control one of the vengeful spirits, once its freed.
Torodak usually plays the part of mad, inoffensive barkeep well, but can, in his frequent bouts of absentmindedness, let slip a hint or two about his true nature. Customers has sometimes seen him light the lamps in the common room with a nonchalant wave of his hand, or stop an aggressive customer dead in his tracks with a bare glance. So far, Torodak has been able to convince these eyewitnesses that they are hallucinating, or that they need their eyes examined.
The few in the city that knows his secret considers him too powerful (and at the same time too worthless) to act upon. Besides, he performs a valuable service keeping those angry spirits from rampaging through the Maul if they were all to be raised at once, even the Bloated Moon herself would have her hands full.
The Rats in the System
Using Earlobe´s Tavern as their base of operations is a squad of the infamous Maul Rats, working undercover to further the agenda of their commander, Cyrus Brennan, who has, after a political defeat, been banished along with their Regiment to a humiliating, politically removed post in the Nascogiban colonies. The squad, following Brennan´s orders, has spent six months preparing the removal of his political enemies, foremost among them the sorceress and Duchess Isardi Kain and her sycophant Lord Finiteus, current Head of Cabinet.
During his years of exile, Brennan, following the agenda of his mentor General Titus Hinge, has devised a strategy to come back to Locastus in force and overthrow the sitting government. To achieve this he plans to reinforce his troops with Nascogiban natives (not an easy feat considering their hostility to the invaders of their homeland), but also by effecting the pre-emptive removal of his political (and personal) adversaries.
The Rat squad in the Tavern, hand-picked by Brennan himself, is commanded by the infamous lieutenant Squeak, accompanied by a group of six veteran Rats, namely: Daunt, Cord, Knot, Wisp, Pearl and Heach; all of which grew up in the Lower Maul, and has no problem blending in with the rough, desperate population.
The squad has chosen their hideout carefully. They are aware of Torodak´s clandestine activities, and know that the Tavern is one of the few places in Locastus they will be free of government spies and agents. Torodak, in an uneasy truce with the Rats, has agreed to use his Warlock powers to shield them from scrying and arcane interference. Only time will tell how long this unholy alliance will hold up.
The timing is not yet right for Brennan´s return, but until that time comes, the Rats will bide their time.
Status: Squad Leader, Maul Rat
Description: A fiery, freckled redhead, Squeak, at first glance, looks too pretty to be a soldier. She has a hard, set glint in her eyes and a temper to match her complexion. She has, over the years, earned a reputation of mixed respect and pants-wetting terror within the ranks of the Maul Rats. While short-tempered, Squeak is a very competent officer, hand-picked by Brennan himself to lead this crucial mission, and she rules this little squad with an iron fist.
Status: Maul Rat
Description: Cord is a tall, lean man with wiry, curly hair, a walrus moustache and a pronounced lantern jaw. Next to Switch, he is the best sniper in the Maul Rats, and has brought with him his immensely complex (and ridiculously oversized) long-distance breech-loader, hidden together with all their weapons and martial gear in a cache buried in the back yard of the Tavern.
Status: Maul Rat
Description: A short man of medium build, but with a head oversized for his frame. His receding hair is a nondescript mousy brown, matching his mud-colored eyes. An indifferent shot and melee combatant, Knot is a master at throwing things like coins, nails, pebbles and blades with great accuracy, an ability that is a minor Talent in its own right.
Status: Maul Rat
Description: A large, burly man with the tell-tale signs of Molochii blood, Daunt is the muscles of the Rats of the Tavern. He looks out at the world with small, amber piggy eyes from under a great overhanging brow, features that make him look significantly more stupid than he really is, a notion accentuated by his burlap vest and stained leather pants.
Daunt, one of nature´s brawlers, carry numerous blades, clubs, jacks, whips, chains and knuckledusters on his person at any given time. Anyone who´s seen him fight cannot believe that such a large, ungainly man can move so fast.
Status: Witch, Maul Rat
Description: Pearl is a short, dark-skinned woman with long, raven hair and stunning, epicantal eyes. Her heritage is unknown, but possibly includes blood from the Autumn Kingdoms, way to the west of Locastus. Her Talents, while mostly minor, include a peculiar form of scrying called cartomancy, which means that she, in effect, can locate a person or an object by use of a map of the area where the target is thought to be. Her role in the current mission is to chart the movements of Brennan´s adversaries in the City, in preparation for the upcoming strike.
Status: Maul Rat
Description: A tall, slightly fox-faced woman with spiky, short blonde hair and currently dressed in the revealing outfit of an upper-end prostitute, Wisp is charged with managing connections between the Tavern Rats and Brennan´s various supporters around the City. Her disguise allows her to move unchallenged in most parts of Locastus, from the residences of the rich to the squalor of the slums. In addition, she also possesses good lock-picking and cat-burglar capabilities, skills earned during a hard childhood on the streets of the Lower Maul.
Status: Maul Rat
Description: A short, stocky man, youngish-looking despite his 40-something years, with sandy blonde hair, dark eyes and a golden, tanned complexion, Heach is a pure-blooded ancestor of the Old Blood. He claims to be the first son of the last Chief of the Old Blood tribes, although evidence suggests that this might be confabulation.
Heach´s field of expertise lies in the use of poisons and other intricate methods of assassination. He carries with him an extensive supply of various alchemical concoctions, for use later on.
This is one of my favourite locations in my Locastus setting, a place I keep coming back to over and over again. While all the stuff in here makes perfect sense to ME, I realize that it might not be all that clear to someone who doesn´t share my chaotic brain. As I add more posts, some of the loose yarns in this one will be gathered up, but at this point, I just needed to get it out of my system so I can move on to other things. It helps if you´ve read my other Locastus posts, primarily the Maul and the Maul Rats submissions. It is my hope that I now may move on to other parts of Locastus, but you never know, the Maul might demand more write-ups. I swear, this setting has a mind of its own….
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Inn Ye' Go By: Murometz ( Locations ) Establishment - Any
Got a good joke to tell?
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"
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Inns and Taverns of Antioch By: MoonHunter ( Locations ) City - Any
In Antioch, the Inn and Tavern is an institution. You hit the corner or neighborhood tavern a couple of nights a week, if not every night. You go, eat, drink, socialize.
An Arth Post
In Antioch, the Inn and Tavern is an institution. You hit the corner or neighborhood tavern a couple of nights a week, if not every night. You go, eat, drink, socialize. There are no Bars here or Restaurants that are open MUCH after dark… every public house provides some degree of food, drink, and lodging. Many people head home within the hour (that 2 hour block) of sundown. Some bundle together in groups and escort each other down the blocks quickly to their homes. No one travels far at night in Antioch.
The streets are not that dangerous from what you expect. You see, the city was built on a StarStone mine. StarStone is a crystal that holds and actually generates and holds mana, that which empowers spells. It is highly prized by the Elventi (who all are magic users) and spell casters of all natures, worshiped by the Dwarventi, and eaten by Trolls and other mystic creatures. The mines are mostly played out. Going any deeper is dangerous because of the spontaneous magics generated by StarStones.
So the soil in Antioch and the biome about, is filled with StarStone dust. Most of the time, nothing happens. Every now and again, an elemental appears within the city limits. It manifests for a few marks and dissipates. Since this can only normally happen in abandoned or quiet places, the quieter or more out of the way the streets, the more likely it is that you will encounter one.
Now to hear the natives talk of it, this happens all the time… like the spotting of Elvis or some famous person. Everyone says they have seen one and “it happened not that long ago”. To hear the Watch or their opposition tell it, it happens maybe once a week somewhere in the city. The elemental does some minor damage and goes. People are involved maybe once every year or two. No matter how good the story, the threat is actually minimal. (Though the later in the night, the more of a chance you might have.) However, the stories have shaped the nocturnal behaviors of all the good people.
So if you live close, you might scurry home if it is not too late. Most people go to their “local” inn and tavern. Every tavern is minimally an inn. It is only polite to accommodate the people who don’t want to encounter elementals on their way home. Every tavern has a room or three. They also can convert sections of the “serving rooms” into sleeping spaces.
This has been the bane of travellers who see a ton of inn and taverns and discover that they have “emergency rooms” only. Most real inns are on the second floor of several adjacent buildings (with linked hallways), over several businesses.
The Blue Dragon: This is notable because it is NOT a local hang out. It is in the Makers Ward where few live. Here Strangers, Travellers, and other odd folk can stay with little fuss. The food and drink are “okay” It actually has a dozen or so rooms. They are small, but they are private.
Beer and Beef: Don’t the people of Antioch have a way with names? This inn and tavern sells this common food item, as well as an above average brew. It is a rowdy place in the North Ward. In some ways it is quite typical of Antioch.
Gears: A new place in the Quiet Ward, it is frequented by Impressors and other young intellectual rebels.
The Corner Inn and Tavern: There are two dozen Corner Inns and Tavern in Antioch. They are each on a corner in a neighborhood. Each of them are Green Diamond Tied Houses. Each serves the same beer and spirits as the others, and servers the same basic fare. The Green Diamond Guild has one brewery outside the city proper that provides all their alcohol. They run kitchens for their carts out of the various Corner Inns and Taverns, which then convert over to serving the patrons of the Inn and Taverns after noon.
Note: This is as close to a McDonald’s as you can get in Antioch, SecondLand and ThirdLand.
Emperor’s Place: His image adorns all the wall, and there are several statues of him, though no Elventi has every graced these halls.
Gordonus’s: This is a klah house that serves alcohol and more hardy food after hours (late afternoon on). It is a popular place in the Quiet Ward.
Some other named places
BrightStar Inn and Tavern: in the ArchStreet Ward
ClearEyes Inn and Tavern: in the ArchStreet Ward
Gold Arch Inn and Tavern: in the ArchStreet Ward
Blue Rose Inn and Tavern: in North Ward
Food and Brew Inn and Tavern: Several of them in the Dock Ward
Antioch Inn and Tavern: Two in the city - ArchStreet and North Wards. The two compete with each other in various silly contests every few months for the bragging rights.
Full Sails Inn and Tavern:
Kevinus’s Place: This is the same as John’s or Max’s, a very common name in Antioch. Thus it is a common name for “places”. So often it is Kevinus’s place AT street name.
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Madam Pernouds Alehouse By: Scrasamax ( Locations ) Establishment - Any
Located in the lower part of the community, Pernouds is the epitome of sleazey establishments. The floors are dirty and smell of excretement, urine, and worse. The chairs are ramshackle built, and the tables are all in poor shape.
Located in the lower part of the community, Pernouds is the epitome of sleazey establishments. The floors are dirty and smell of excretement, urine, and worse. The chairs are ramshackle built, and the tables are all in poor shape.
The selection at the bar is worse than poor. Watered down Orc-Piss ale, old grog, and soured wine are the only drinks available. There are a good number of whores at the alehouse, most are bored, hooked on potions, and drugs. There is a single room upstairs that the whores will use for some clients, but goin’upstaars costs extra. Most would prefer to handle their…ahem…affairs down at the bar.
The establishment is frequented by the pariahs, beggars and lowest of city dwellers. Thieves and criminals ply their trades in secrecy, using Pernouds as a front to launder money, set up meetings, and as a safe house. Informants also frequent the place, passing on their information unnoticed.
After leaving Pernouds, PCs should feel dirty, even if they didnt even sit down. If they sampled the ladies of the house, seeing a healer or apothecary wouldnt be a bad idea. Nothing at Pernouds is clean.
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Outsiders Inn By: Scrasamax ( Locations ) Establishment - Any
Maybe you should go find Outsiders, your kind isn’t welcome around here…
From the outside, Outsiders looks like pretty much any other inn or tavern on the less traveled side of the marketplace. It has a brick foundation, and the upper floor is clad in plaster and slatboard. A plain tile roof keeps the occupants inside dry while they drown their sorrows or their lusts. The windows are shuttered, and the sign over the door shows a man leading a horse.
Outsiders at one point was just another inn on an avenue of taverns, brothels, and other inns. During that time nothing of great importance particularly happened other than the occassional brawl, or lovers tryst gone sour. It wasn’t until 20 years ago when the bar was purchased by Davor Evincan, an Ankaran merchant and expatriate.
Davor found few places that had anything like the food he ate at home, or the dark beer he was accustomed to drinking. On top of that, he found many of the local taverns and alehouses to be less than friendly to who they called outsiders. Davor found himself constantly in brawls since so many of the Ozian youths wanted to test the supposed martial nature of the Ankaran people. Exasperated he found an Inn for sale. Within a year, he had Outsider’s Inn operating.
The kitchen makes Ankaran cuisine, which unlike the spice and stir fry of Falhathian food, favors seasonings of nutmeg, marjoram, and saffron over steamed rice. Poultry is ever present in the meals, boiled in spices and dark beer, or fried on a hot pan with butter and sliced vegetables. Evincan started a joint effort with another Ankaran, a brewer by trade. A basement was dug, and barrels made for the brewing of Ankaran type black beers, contrary to the light and pale ales favored by the Falhathians.
Now some assume that Outsider’s is an Ankaran establishment, and while for the most part it is, it is more of a refuge for travelers and merchants to rest. Within Outsider’s plastered walls, everyone is equal, no one is on their home turf, they are all strangers and outsiders. Few places will have as diverse a clientele as Outsiders as half-orc furriers and trackers are just as likely to be found as the exasperated half-elfin herbalist tired of being hit on by short brown Falhathians.
Outsider’s Inn Today
The Inn does good business, both in terms of selling its unique black Ankaran beer, and in terms of filling the rooms on a nightly basis. Rates are a bit higher than most taverns and inns in the area, but few of its patrons are nursing their last silver piece. Sometimes brawls break out, but this is generally only when a band of locals decide to go bar-diving and attempt to invade Outsiders. The fights can be legendary, only broken up when the guard arrives with clubs and hook-sticks.
As with most Inns, Outsider’s has its share of working girls, most of whom are foreigners, or the half-blooded bastards of foreigners. The racial variety presented on the staircase has led to many a decision being reduced to a quick game of eenie-meenie-minie-mo to pick a lady to ‘spend the evening’ with.
The bar dominates a quarter of the ground floor, the kitchens located behind it. A seated area has tables for those who are taking meals, making deals, or listening to whatever entertainment there is for the time of day or night. A central area is simple open space often used for dances, and sports not supported by local policies. Many an Ankaran style cock fight has been held after hours on the dance floor.
Into the Mix - The PCs are outsiders, and are faced with the constant barrage of strange meals, strange customs, and sometimes not so friendly locals. Outsider’s offers a place of refuge and maybe even a taste of home. Replace Ankara with the PCs original homeland and they have a safe place to go to, or keep it as Ankaran, and the PCs find an oasis that has a hint of home to it, and a sense of camaraderie to be found with the other foreigners.
Slumming! - The PCs are locals, and their current antagonist is a foreigner, and he’s been shacked up at Outsiders, and to get him the PCs are going to have to go slumming with the foreigners and tourists. Can they start a brawl and take him down in the process, or do they set something up with the guard…to look the other way for a bit?
Closing Shop - The owner of Outsiders has a Dingus…not an all-powerful dingus, but a dingus none the less. Do the PCs try to haggle for it, buy it, or do they break and enter to steal it from the Inn? How do you break into a place that really doesn’t close?
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The Closed Fist and Open Palm Tavern By: Spark ( Locations ) Establishment - Any
A closed fist and an open palm can solve all problems, at least according to the Jack of Irons. If you walk into this tavern, you might just receive both.
The city of Emperor’s Port could easily hold the place of being the worst city on the land, if it weren’t for the fact that it has a working bureaucracy to sort out problems. Trouble is, the bureaucracy is corrupt to the bone. It lies on the southernmost tip of the southernmost country, built in a sweltering summer heat around the ruins of a forgotten city. Once a thriving trade hub, the cancer of corruption pumping through its veins has long since killed the city, and only a rotting husk remains. The city is truly ruled by the Jack of Irons, the sole leader of the Iron Fist, a thieves guild turned political entity that rules the city with, well, an iron fist. And at the center of it all stands the Closed Fist and Open Palm Tavern, the birth and death of the city.
Over a hundred years ago, a nameless city boy climbed aboard a caravan and jumped off at Emperor’s Port, the hub of the southern wheel. He soon found that, amid the bustle of merchants and clerks, there was a good deal of coin to be loosed from pockets and sacks. Caught up with a band of vagrants and cutpurse leaders, he rose quickly, and grew in strength. He began to see that the good people were powerless to stop what was killing the city, and that a new order would need to step, in to take the place of trust and security. A night fell upon the city, and the nameless boy took into his hands a chain, and waited in the shadows until a good man of the city, a baker, appeared, coming home to his family. And with the chains he took the life of the man, and took his own soul as well, and became the Jack of Irons. The Jack now commands a league of followers spanning all types, from rag-tag pickpockets and cutthroats to city clerks and governers. His rule over Emperor’s Port is both untraceable and absolute. His name is not on any paper, for he has no name. All that is known is that he resides in the Closed Fist and Open Palm Tavern, and that no man enters there who has not business with him.
The tavern is a true extension of the Jack’s character. It resides not in the center of the city, but in the eastern trade district, on an unmarked street in a shadowed sector. However, it does stand out from its surroundings, a solid tavern of polished dark woods among a line of nondescript stores and warehouses. On the front is a sign, on one side a closed fist, on the other, an open palm with a coin in the center. No words are marked, but all know the name. Several vagabonds can be seen lurking in the shadows of a nearby alley, keeping constant vigil. When one opens the door, an eerie silence as well as an uncomfortable smell, of blood and moldering wood, enters the nostrils. No music can be heard, although low conversation can be heard over tables as wisps of black smoke drift from table-candles. A hearth with no fire sits to the left, and dark wooden tables are spread around, some seats taken by hooded figures hunched over pewter goblets, others by hard-faced men with swords across their laps. There is no laughter or revelry here, only fear and business. The innkeeper greets you with a burning stare, a ghost of a man, with a pointed beard and embers for eyes. One will know if one belongs in the tavern if one survives the first two steps, for on each side of the door are two robed figures, well trained in the arts of dispersal. Five coins are placed on the counter, gold, and a goblet is placed into your hands. You sit until the Jack calls you.
What goes on inside the rooms one is led into is never discussed. Oftentimes one enters, but does not return. Rumors say the Jack is an ordinary man, with an iron mask for a face to hide a disfigured countenance. Others say the mask hides the crumbled skin of a dead that speaks, one who has lived beyond the bonds of death. And yet others say that the Jack is but a rotting corpse, pinned to the wall while one speaks to an underling. His chambers have been described as everything from a neat, lacquered office to the pits of hell itself. All that is known as truth is that all who deal with the Jack do not return as they entered, and that some have succumbed to madness shortly after. The mantra, a closed fist and an open palm, refers to the two parts of the Jack’s deal. The open palm refers to the price. You place five coins on the counter, and a thousand into the Jack’s hand, and the closed fist, the Iron Fist, will fall upon whomever you wish. It is a deal that has lasted for longer than many have lived, and will most likely continue to last until long after this day.
The tavern is not simply a building or establishment, it is a symbol of the death of a city, and the triumph of darkness. Every day it stands is a day the Jack’s Fist tightens around the Port. What the future holds for the tavern, be it a death in flames or a new coat of polish, none but the Gods can tell.
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The Dead Dragon By: Scrasamax ( Locations ) Establishment - Any
A den of mercenaries, murderers, bounty hunters and thieves…
Sitting three blocks from the waterfront, the Dead Dragon is possibly one of the best known and most famous locales in the city of Nyir. Formerly a military barracks, the building was stripped out after a fire ravaged most of it. While the stone walls survived, the wood inside was consumed in the blaze. Lord Bagoly of the Stone Bow decided to rebuilt a newer, larger barracks and left the old building to the city to deal with. The building was summarily purchased from the city council at a low rate, since it was still mostly smoldering ruin.
Enter the Dragon-Slayer
Teomin Nyirese served in the Black Wings, the Praxian contingent of Dragon riders for nearly a decade. He was most famous for facing and killing a rogue dragon in single combat during that term of service, which earned him the title of Dragon-Slayer, lamed him for the rest of his life, and gained him a discharge from the Black Wings and the Praxian army in general. Through a mixture of his service pension, loot taken in battle, and savvy loans from various backers he bought the barracks and worked to rebuild it.
It took a little over a year, but the old barracks was opened as The Dead Dragon. The new establishment was a mix of the standard brothel/inn/tavern affair, but it had large amounts of room as well as a large courtyard in the back and training grounds. Nyirese intended his bar to become a haven for the type of men he worked with in the military, namely mercenaries.
The Notice Boards
Seeing the number of mercenaries and bounty hunters who were drawn to the new bar, the local authorities petitioned Nyirese to put up a notice board. Here the locals could place their bounties in an area where they would be seen. Now there are a number of notice boards, some of which cost money to post on, others are free so long as you can find a place to hang your notice. Bounties range from finding missing people for rewards to hunting violent criminals who have eluded conventional persuit.
Sometimes You Want to Go…
It was not long before the Dead Dragon gained a solid following of bounty hunters, mercenaries and dragon-riders and slayers alike. Not only was the place a decent tavern and the whores were at least clean if not always friendly, but it was a good place to do business. Teomin didn’t ask too many questions and as long as he got a bit of loot from placing things on the notice board he turned a blind eye to the other things that went on in the bar.
Once it became general knowledge that the Dead Dragon was the place to find the best mercenaries and bounty hunters, it was only logical for the people looking for those services started coming to the Dead Dragon as well. Lords, merchants, councils, and even things that were less than human have come to the Dragon to formalize contracts. Some whisper that even Sidious Praxingdrell herself has entered the bar incognito to place a contract with a known assassin. This is not whispered too loudly, or too often.
When in Need - The PCs have discovered that their ability to face a certain foe is lacking, but they have money. They might have the novel idea of hiring mercenaries, henchmen, or bounty hunters to aid them in their quest to defeat their foes. The best place to go and find this sort of help is the Dead Dragon.
Silent Assassin - Following several murders, the PCs have been tasked with finding the indentity of the Silent Assassin and either defeating them, or turning their identity over to those in power. It is known that the Assassin frequents the Dead Dragon, but other than that the PCs are on their own to find the killer before he kills them.
Hounds of War - Strapped for cash, the PCs can in turn offer their services as henchmen to other NPCs, and find themselves using the notice board to find a employer in need of guards, hired muscle, and the like.
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The Dog Pit Public House By: Dozus ( Locations ) Establishment - Any
"Bristlebane ale. Tall."
Mathus looked up. He didn't recognize the man ordering, but he seemed the type: muscles beneath a layer of fat, a snarling expression with most of his teeth missing, fists like summer hams. "You want it in a bottle?"
"From the tap."
Mathus nodded. "This way," he said, stepping from behind the bar and into the back room, the "customer" following.
A fresh-faced young man sitting at the bar looked around, confused. "Bristlebane? Sounds adventurous."
"You couldn't handle it, son," an older man said from across the plank bar with a hint of derision. "It'd right kick your ass."
The Dog Pit is in the seediest part of the city, and well looks the part. The building is a squat wooden hovel, jammed between two larger ones; it looks like there should be an alley, with the pub growing up like an obnoxious weed to block progress. The wall boards are worn and rough cut, showing a variety of ages and woods from the presumably many times it has been patched. There is a single swinging hinge door that looks like it was salvaged from an even poorer building, not quite fitting the frame. Two small windows are on either side, little more than holes in the wall. On the door is painted the head of a growling mastiff - surprisingly well done given the rest of the bar's workmanship.
At first glance, the inside appears to be what the outside would suggest. The single main room is a wide quadrangle, the corners not quite at right angles which gives the room a lopsided appearance. A crude hearth made from salvaged earthen bricks is built into the left wall, the fire casting a glow across the usually dim establishment. Tables and chairs are crowded about, simple and unadorned. Along the back wall is the long plank bar, covering three quarters of the rear, beside a small wooden door with a latch. An array of barrels, kegs, and bottles are stacked against the wall, mugs hanging from hooks and nails above. At night, the room is lit dimly by a few lanterns hanging from iron chains and a huge wax candle standing on the bar. There are usually at least a few patrons, though some nights the pub is unusually packed, every chair and table full with some standing room besides.
While the place seems crude, a trained eye will notice usually good appointments juxtaposed to the overall environment. Most of the mugs are pewter rather than cheap tin or wood. The tables and chairs, while simply designed, are made of finer wood than most, and are not the rickety things common to similar bars. Ask for your favorite booze and it's likely in stock, even rare and expensive liquors and beers. And the small door beside the bar - a store room? - has a stately locking iron knob with several bolts besides.
Behind the bar is Diamond Mathus, a man of perhaps fifty. His moniker comes from the large diamond stud he wears prominently wears in his right ear. With a muscular build, shaved head, and practical dark wool clothes, he looks more like a bodyguard than a barkeep. Everyone knows Mathus owns the place and that he's been on the wrong side of the law before, but no one seems to know much else about the man, even his proper name. He is a good host, quickly dishing our orders and mixing the occasional drink, but it's hard to get more than a few words out of him, and certainly never a laugh.
While Mathus may look like a bouncer, that role is actually filled by Urs, a stout dwarf who is nearly as wide as he is tall. Urs wears a thick red tunic and woolen breeches, the dwarven version of a handaxe hanging at his side by a leather baldric (a non-dwarf would easily mistake it for a tool used to fell great trees). His leathery face is entirely free free from hair, save a dark brown queue sprouting from the top of his head, a stump of a goatee braided and tied to form a solid shaft of hair, and a hardy unibrow. He is ever posted next to the back door, standing arms crossed next to a seldom used stool. The dwarf eyes the room menacingly, and anyone who dares to test him will find themselves quickly flying out of the rickety front door.
When the room is busy, it's surprising to see the whole host of guest tended by only two barmaids, the sisters Nelle and Zote. They're little more than girls, buxom lasses scant older than twenty, Nelle with her cascade of yellow hair tied into a braid and the slightly younger Zote with dirty blond locks done up into a bun. While friendly and flirty as any barmaids, dressed in low-cut chemises and short skirts, they also sport something most maidens do not carry: an elegant knife in a leather sheathe tied to the hip. They have no problem getting friendly or even intimate with the customers they favor, but unwanted advances get only one warning; more than a few newcomers have left with less blood, fingers, or other valuable organs than they entered with.
While all this makes the Dog Pit only slightly more notable than others pubs in the neighborhood, those in the know are familiar with its greater attraction. Behind the locked store room door, through the pantry beneath a hidden plank floorboards is a ladder to a large cellar, bigger even than the tavern proper. This is the eponymous pit, an fighting ring that takes any and all comers. The room is a large circle, the ceiling and walls supported by rough planks with an enormous tin lantern hanging overhead. In the center is a deeper dugout, a ring twenty some feet in diameter.
After giving Mathus the proper passwords - which changes month to month - gamblers and pugilists are taken down to this room for dangerous fighting bouts. The fights are loosely refereed by a few select men, and a greasy looking man named Ingram handles the gambling. Matches are staged on a weekly basis, Mathus personally seeing applicants throughout the week and setting up bouts to achieve maximum entertainment. Like a gladiatorial patron, he tries to pit the biggest names against one another, staging the more unusual fights like those between women or gnomes as opening acts. Rules for the fights are loose and ill-defined, agreed to by the competitors before hand. The most common fights end in knockouts or submissions, with no limitations on kicks, bites, gouges, etc. The bloodsport aspect of the bouts is one of the main attractions to the Dog Pit's patrons, who cheer wildly at the sight of blood sprays. Mathus himself rarely watches the event fights, busy tending bar and keeping an eye out for authorities (if the fighting itself isn't illegal in the city, the gambling is, especially when he keeps all the winnings under the table). He's likely to pop in to make sure things are running smoothly, leaving Urs to watch the door. A few strongmen are posted in the cellar to make sure things stay civil, and a second doorway opens to a tunnel leading into a back alley where too rowdy guests can be "escorted".
Being illegal, the fights are not publicly advertised, but neither are they the city's best kept secret. Mathus sends the bookie Ingram to scout for pugilists in other taverns nightly, giving them that month's password and instructions to see Mathus to enter. Nelle and Zote have a good eye for fighting themselves and bring competitors in during off hours. While a few of the city authorities grumble at the rumored fighting house, more than a few nobles are patrons, and Mathus greases enough constabulary palms to keep things running smoothly. His contacts in the crime world let him know about investigators who try to infiltrate the Pit to bust it; he makes sure they are fed a false password so when they ask for a "shot of mudwater, dry" or some other nonexistent booze, he can feed them a loaded drink and let Urs toss them out when the sedation-inducing drug takes effect.
The Boxer - After knocking out some thugs in the city streets, the party is approached by a lithe greaseball of a man. He tells one or more of the players that they have just the place for someone like them, if they're interested. With a password and instructions, they come to the Dog Pit and interview with Mathus, who has them spar and shadowbox a bit. They're offered a cut if they fight a bout tomorrow evening. The kicker: when the PCs arrive to fight in the main event, they're pitted against one another.
Fight Club - The PCs are hired by the local constabulary to catch a libertine aristocrat who has been giving a bad name to the crown. Said nobleman also is believed to have a valuable piece of information, important artifact, or some other prize for the party. Rumor has it that he frequents a covert boxing arena of some sort. The party will need to investigate, discover the Dog Pit, and figure out a way to get the proper password. On the night of the big fight, they're surprised to see that the aristocrat is indeed in attendance - under a pseudonym as the headlining bout. The bouncers, led by Urs, will certainly not let the PCs drag their big act off in chains, even worse if they use the authority of the constabulary. How can they get the aristocrat out without too much attention to themselves - and with him alive, given the size of his brutal-looking opponent?
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The Foolish Mage and Drunked Wizard Tavern By: Spark ( Locations ) Establishment - Any
Which is worse - a foolish mage or a drunken wizard? When halfmage Rolan Haraweir settled down to found a tavern in the Jewel City, this question became the basis for its name. The answer is still hotly debated over steaming mugs of spice-wine to this day.
Travelers in the Jewel City will most likely wander in awe of its gleaming shard-towers and majestic temples, but such wonders soon lose their luster for the haughty magi that stroll its streets. Those who have made the city their home will soon find that its greatest treasures can be found in its farthest reaches.
Turn a corner off of the East Temple District, and you’ll find yourself in Ebonstone Alley, Menethor’s secret treasure. A great rush of color and sound rushes to you, as vendors hawk everything from self-sweeping brooms and crystal scepters to frothing potions and glowing toads, all accompanied by the thrum and beat of the street-bards. Lining the street are dozens of shops - enchanters, sages, alchemists, diviners, clothiers, and everything else in between. And in the center, the crowning hub of the entire menagerie, stands the Foolish Mage and Drunken Wizard Tavern.
But first, a little history. Rolan Harawier first came to the Jewel City when his spark was discovered by a visiting mage-consort, but after several years in the academy, it was quickly discovered that he was not half so strong in the power as the academy would need. After a hearing, it was decided that he should be let off from the academy to seek his own way in the world, and so it was that Rolan Haraweir became Rolan Haraweir, half-mage. For years he traveled the lands, putting his small talents with the power to work among others, but ever did the call of the Jewel City tug at his heart. And he did return to the city, and take up a job as apprentice to an alchemist. But he was not satisfied with his post, and soon moved on from job to job, never staying more than a year, until he fell into Ebonstone Alley. It seemed as much alive as it does on this day, yet at its center stood a burnt carcass of a building, a skeleton of charred timbers and ash. With coin from patrons of the Alley, Rolan set about rebuilding the timbers, repainting the walls, and furnishing its rooms, until at last stood a magnificent tavern, as tall and wide as the nearest merchant-hall, and adorned in gold and worked wood painted in the brightest colors. Yet it had no name, and Rolan did pace the stones of the alley many a week in search of a title for his tavern, until one morn, he tripped upon a stranger’s cane and fell upon the stones, where he did find a scrap of parchment before him. And upon the parchment were written ten words - “Which is worse - a foolish mage or a drunken wizard?”
When one enters the tavern, a curtain of warm air, thick with the scents of smoked meats and strong ales rushes to greet you. An immense fire can be seen roaring in a stone hearth across the room, emblazoned with the crests of the ten merchant-lords. The chairs are thick and sturdy yet gleam with the dark polish of southern woods, and the tables are decked with rich cloths of woven reds and golds. Under the din and clamor of its patrons, the strains of a sweet melody of the harp and fife can be heard drifting across the room. To your left is Rolan himself, a great bear of a man, with a rounded ale-stomach and a short beard, yet quick on his feet for a man of his age. He stands before a great rack hung with a dozen meats, breads and cheeses, and stacked with a score of vintages and ales, attending to his patrons with a fervor as great as the day he first opened his doors.
The patrons of the Foolish Mage and Drunken Wizard tavern are as varied as the streets they come from. A wizard with a beard as long as his flowing, sea-blue robes pores over his cup of wine as a boistrous young mage entertains his female companions as he waves about a baked drumstick as if it were the sword he claims to have held. The regular patrons include such esteemed individuals as the city’s chief architect (a half-mage himself), several high members of the jewel academy, the head of the east watch, and a multitude of high priests from the East Temple district. Among those respected persons mix individuals held in equal regard in Ebonstone, such as Barandar, the bard with but one name, who regals any who wish to listen with tales from across the lands, and Goadric Ironhand, an immense yet gentle guard, who firmly helps those whose business has interfered with the tavern to find their way to the street. Both receive free boarding and meals for their services.
Rolan himself is an immensely satisfied individual, and thanks the gods for his current situation with every free minute. Although unmarried, he has a great fondness for children, and still hopes to find a woman for himself, although he does not believe it to be possible at his age. He is one of the most reliable source of news in the city, as he retains each patron’s tale to pass on to another. However, no matter how profitable his tavern, he is still greatly in debt to the merchant-lords who founded his tavern, and each crest upon the mantle is a burden he wishes to cast off. While he is not desperate, he has made a recent habit out of gambling after-hours, which, although it has won him more gold than he has lost, is a regrettable practice he fears may do him in. He also has a weakness for magic items and gimmicks, and the song you hear is made by a flute that plays itself, and a harp that plucks itself, both costing a considerable amount of coin. Around twenty years ago, a wealthy mage paid Rolan several bags of gold to change the name of his tavern to the “Drunken Mage and Foolish Wizard”, as the mage found it insulting that magi should be foolish and wizards only intoxicated. However, due to the fact that several patrons left the tavern in indignance, upon the mage’s death several years later, the sign was promptly switched back to its original form.
As of now, the tavern remains the most popular frequenting spot of any who wish to enjoy good food, good ale, and good company in Menethor. Knowing a few spells won’t hurt either.
Footnotes and Sidenotes - To avoid confusion, the city in which the tavern is found is Menethor, although in most cases (and often in this post) it is called the Jewel City. To put it simply, Menethor and the Jewel City are one and the same. Secondly, a half-mage is a term used by magi to denote a person with magical powers who left training early, usually because of lack of strength in magic. However, to the common folk, any man who can weave a spell is a mage, as full and proper as any other.
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The Full Goblet By: esaquam ( Locations ) Establishment - Other
The Full Goblet is a modest-sized, working-class tavern (public house), run by Hilgar. Hilgar is a bit over the hill and shabby, as is the general establishment. However, good solid fare at a decent value, and a regular and noisy clientele, keep the place in business, and the bar is also well-situated to bring in travellers.
The Full Goblet is a modest-sized, working-class tavern (public house), run by Hilgar. Hilgar is a bit over the hill and shabby, as is the general establishment. However, good solid fare at a decent value, and a regular and noisy clientele, keep the place in business, and the bar is also well-situated to bring in travellers.
The Full Goblet’s singlular claim to fame is its namesake, a magically-enhanced Pewter Goblet that automatically refills itself with wine. Hilgar will happily regale any travellers who ask (and also any who don’t) with the tale:
“It was in me younger days - now, don’t go there! - when I was an adventurer and treasure seeker (like the party?). We’d cornered a very bad wizard, after three days of blue bolts and gluey nets, d’mented henchmen and pet spiders, and worse. There was he, beaten with nowhere to run, and he starts barg’nin for his wuthless life.”
“‘See ‘ere’, says he, ‘I have a stash, both magickal and moon-dane, locked away where you cannot get them without m’ help. Let me go, and I’ll give them to you!’ Well, as we had precious little for our troubles so far, we said if he showed us the treasure, and it were worth enough, we’d let ‘im live. An he made us swear to ‘t, which we did, and lo, sure ‘nough, he revealed an invisible door we’d like never found, and there was several things, though not so much as he’d wanted us to believe.”
“Yay, an’ this here ever-filling Goblet was the best part of my share. Strange magic on it, though. While it refills forever, far as I know, ya can only drink from the goblet isself; pour it into something else, and it goes away”. He will demonstrate; wine poured from the goblet into another glass will evaporate on contact, etc.
‘And so, to honor my good fortune, I grant every new patron one free drink, as much and as long as they wish - well, til I close for th’ night, anyway!”
At this point, several random patrons will laugh, or sigh, and others will beg for another freebie, to which Hilgar will respond with dramatic gesture: “Now, now, there, I have a ‘stablishment to run and canna make a livin’ handin out free drinks. We’ll all share a drink on Solstice next (to general cheering) - And not afore!”
“But you, new friends, are entitled - Please, drink as much as ye wish, an I’ll finish me tale.” At which point he will offer the Goblet and wait for a PC to drink.
The wine will smell fine, and a first taste will be good, but any deeper draught will turn to the most unpalatable taste the individual PC can imagine - for each PC, that might be anything from swamp water to a fine Bordeaux, because the goblet is indeed magical and can determine exactly the worst possible flavor. The wine is harmless (in fact, it would keep somebody alive if they had no other water), but unimaginably vile. A very strong-willed (or severely taste-impaired) PC may actually be able to choke it down and hand off the Goblet to the next victim, but most will immediately spit the foul wine over the bar - to the great amusement of all other patrons and Hilgar.
But Hilgar is not a bad man, and after a hearty laugh, will say “Ay, and that was me answer to the wizard, sure ‘nough. Ah, friends, ‘tis but a harmless prank. Water will clear yer palate, and let me give you a wine or ale - of the best quality to be found, I assure you! - on the house.” The other patrons will prove more than a match for any ‘victim’ that cannot be cajoled into accepting a practical joke with a laugh instead of a fight.
After that, the food is hearty and good, the drink is above average, the prices are not unreasonable, and the patrons are much more than typically friendly and full of useful information. Of course, all are encouraged to spread the fame of The Full Goblet far and wide - but not the nature of the wine, of course.
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The Golden Frog By: Spark ( Locations ) Establishment - Any
This tavern is the place-to-be establishment of Shorenar Vas, a bustling riverside trade town of Veldea. Each night the tavern packs full of practically every man with a heavy pocket and a round stomach in the town. Should you be in the area, there’s no place better for some good slop and a quick flop than the Golden Frog.
Shorenor Vas remained a small farming settlement for over a century, a riverside town with more pigs than people. However, with the lifting of the fur trade embargo and the construction of a trade outpost, the town has transformed over the past forty years into one of the largest and productive trade hubs of Veldea. The town is split into two sections; the upper river heights and the under water downs. The heights are home to most residential buildings and small field farms, while the sprawling downs are packed full of warehouses, trade halls, and shops of all sorts, while the three painted timber bridges bring the town together at the river itself. The downs’ maze-like streets are populated by mostly thick, squatted and sun-dulled timber buildings, and the Golden Frog is no exception. Standing squarely in the center of the north trade street, not two house-blocks from the north gate itself, it somehow squeezes its bulky timbers in between two rival apothecaries. Faded gold paint adorns its facade, set with a carved emblem of a rising sun, and its sturdy sign sways in the street, beckoning travelers in. When one opens the door, one is instantly greeted by a deafening wall of sound, as the voices of what seems like half the town resound from the walls. A thick aroma of hearth and spice tugs at the nose, as do the scents of fine cheeses and pastries, freshly made or imported from local shops. What will tug at the eyes, however, stands in the back of the room - an enormous frog of gleaming gold stands on the floor, staring at all with its dull shine under the grand hearth. At around 4 feet tall and weighing in at over three thousand pounds, it dominates the room, serving as both a centerpiece and a clever traveler’s call.
The history of the Golden Frog is nearly as varied as its patrons. The building was first built as a trade-hall with the lifting of the trade embargoes; however, following a series of arsons, it was abandoned, then rebuilt as a warehouse, which remained mostly unused until the last twenty years, when a merchant, Evar Rotondrian, dissatisfied with trade and commerce, purchased and renovated it, turning it into an inn and tavern. With his small fortune he was able to purchase furniture, foods, and hired hands, and for several years carried a profitable business with the building, then known as the Northgate Tavern. However, in the Lastlights of the twelfth year, he came upon a great statue of a frog in a local market, and was so taken by its likeness that he purchased it, and hired a local smith to repair its dents and coat it in a layer of gold (at considerable cost). Whatever the cost, the frog paid for itself in weeks, as merchants and city goers flocked into the tavern to see this frog of “solid gold”. While it has never been weighed by any smith, and the original has kept an attitude of consistent quietness (no doubt due to weekly satchels of silver), the rumor is now an accepted fact. Evar prizes the frog as a good-luck charm and the key to its success, and within months of the tavern’s re-christening, it became the most popular frequenting spot of the city. Over the years, the immense profits the tavern has produced has given it an upscale air, although its atmosphere has not strayed far from its humble beginnings. Tapestries adorn the walls, lit by scores of candles, as three fires crackle in great stone hearths set about the room. The furnishings are all of the highest craft and quality offered by local artisans, and the food, while not exquisite, is a rather tasty lot of slop, with generous portions for a measly coin. A wine cellar stores all manner of northern vintages, while a meat rack, strung heavily with sausages, adorns the wall behind the front counter. Also behind the counter is Evar himself, a once-lean merchant gone fat over years of fine food and finer profit. His ruddy cheeks bounce as he partakes in the latest local gossip, and his eyes twinkle with a merry light as he pockets coin by the handful. He bellows the tavern’s tagline, “Good slop and a quick flop” at every new face he sees, which has become quite often of late, and complains of his health with mock exhaustion after each cellar run. A jovial man with customers, he has been known to be a hard man of coin, one to fight over each last copper though he pockets gold by the sack.
The three serving girls are all daughters of local craftsmen, and attend to their tables with a lightness of step when they can be dragged away from their gossip. A sisterly bunch, they bicker constantly with Evar in a good humor, and are well known for their numerous “encounters” with many male patrons. Mariel, the oldest, a raven-haired woman of 23, watches over the two twins, Seritha and Seribela, two cheeky and slightly plump girls of 17. All three are kept scurrying by the head cook, Haelin, the wife of Evar and quite a round person herself. Evar has never kept a guard in the tavern, as it is a bit of pride that he has always held his customers above that sort of behavior. The patrons of the tavern itself vary widely during the day. In mornings, the tavern is home to travelers and guests of the inn; middays bring prominent craftsmen and workers of the city in on lunch break, and evenings fill the chairs with the robes and vests of successful merchants, some local, some traveling through. Not many poor commoners frequent the tavern (or any taverns for that matter), but some personal friends of Evar who work on nearby farms receive a substantial discount on their meals - 100%. While the tavern stays filled week-round, it becomes packed to the rafters each leaveday and sendingday, as those are the official festdays of the tavern. Dancing and drinking abound as several local bands squeeze into the tavern to pound out thumping jigs, though the roar of the crowd nearly drowns out even the loudest fifes. As the evening progresses, guests are invited to join in with the music, and Evar himself has even belted out a few rough ballads, though not before several cups of good wine were tossed down. Additionally, every second month a great wheel is brought out of the cellar, filled with balls of countless numbers, and spun, spitting out balls with abandon. Any balls that land in the mouth of the frog are announced, and at this point, the coin flows as freely as the ale. While it could technically be classified as an illegal game of chance, the fact that the city magistrate is one of the most dedicated players rules out any “interruptions”.
However, all is not as well as it seems for Evar. Over three months ago, the he awoke to find that the Frog itself, the heart of the tavern and the key to his success, had been stolen. The thief had apparently taken the stories of the solid gold Frog to heart, and made off with the sculpture in the night. What became of the Frog once its true nature was discovered remains to be found. In a frenzy, the tavern was quickly closed down for “renovations”, as Evar began a frantic search for leads. Finding none, he commissioned a replica of the Frog from his original smith, which was promptly placed back in the tavern with none the wiser. However, coincidentally and to Evar’s utmost horror, profit immediately decreased. Because of this, he has been driven to drink on more than one occasion, and has lost much sleep to his precious Golden Frog. He has begun contacting local thieves guilds on the issue, and spent a considerable amount of his fortune on his quest. There is even an underground price circulating throughout northern thieves guilds on any information regarding the theft, which as of yet has remained fruitless. He greatly fears that he will either lose his tavern to the lack of luck, or lose his customers to the lie of a legend he perpetrated for over a decade.
None of that hinders the tavern’s charm, however. Should you find yourself in Shorenar Vas, take a left off of wing alley or straight from the north gate. You’ll find yourself most wecome.
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The Mausoleum By: Dragonlordmax ( Locations ) Establishment - Any
Many cemetaries have a church sitting just outside their walls. One cemetary has a bar.
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.
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The Red Rakda By: CaptainPenguin ( Locations ) Plains - Establishment
A popular roadside establishment in the verdant hills and fields of Stalimsoth, the Red Rakda is famous for it’s namesake, and also as a meeting place for the secretive Blue Cloaks.
The Highway of D’hald stretches across the kingdom of Stalimsoth, winding through forests, plains, and over the raging River To’dekan. Fourty miles west of the To’Dekan Bridge, there is a ramshackle, cone-shaped structure of rambling balconies, porches, roofs, plaster, wood and stone walls, surrounded by a low stone wall that is slowly crumbling beneath vines. The sign on the gate post reads "The Red Rakda", and is painted with it’s namesake, a goat-like desert animal. The inn is constantly bustling with activity, and the grounds swarm with herds of sheep, pigs, rakdas, and people. The main room of the Red Rakda is a large circular room, with a bar and stage, roaring fireplace, and tables for twelve travelling parties. The bartender is also the innkeeper, an energetic, bright-eyed wood-elf named Duarotangu. The staff of the inn is jovial and even-tempered, and always punctual. The bar serves a wide variety of alcohols, including mazte, grog, mead, ale, and zulzt. The food is good, though not ground-breaking. The cheapest rooms in the inn are around the kitchen and central room, on the ground floor. The rooms rise in cost and comfort with the floors, and the third floor rooms are often used by travelling dignitaries and ambassadors.
Many think that Duarotangu must devote his entire existence to running the beloved establishment, however, this is untrue. Unbeknownst to most, the wood-elf is an active agent of the Blue Cloaks, a secret organization devoted to defeating evil, and his inn is a clandestine meeting spot for other Blue Cloak operatives. Certain rooms on the second floor have secret alcoves and doors in which Blue Cloaks may stow secret messages, dossiers, and items, and with which they may access the secret meeting room beneath the Red Rakda’s storage basement. Every Third-day of the week, a human Blue Cloak operative named Tereshon deposits a pouch of gold pieces in a secret alcove behind a stone in the fireplace of the main room. Most of the staff think that Tereshon is merely a satisfied customer, but one of the waitress wenches, named Shawen, has figured out the Blue Cloaks’ secret, and will sell what she knows to a wealthy bidder…
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The Rotten Bastard By: valadaar ( Locations ) Establishment - Other
There are scummy dives, and then there is The Rotten Bastard.
"The Rotten Bastard? You sure? Well, it’s your skin. You’ll find it on Dresil’s street, across from where the Temple of Sutheric used to be…"
A dive of legendary proportions, only the stout of heart or those with nothing to lose come here. A no-go zone for law enforcement, little attention is paid to the goings on within. If a few criminals get killed or injured within, big deal. The proprietor, Myech, pays his taxes and additional ‘fees’ to keep the local law happy - or at least out of his hair.
No food is served at the Bastard, only ale and strong spirits. Asking for wine or mixed drinks here is not advised.
2. Physical Description
The Rotten Bastard is not a pretty place, looking more like a jail then a watering hole. The thick stone walls, tiny, barred windows and even an old pillory in front, complete the image. It is the pillory which is usually used to help outsiders find the place, as the tavern’s sign, portraying a black mustachioed man tormenting a pilloried prisoner, is long since gone.
The single door is heavy, iron bound, and bears numerous stains - blood and worse. It does not open easily and creaks loudly.
Once one’s eyes have adjusted to the darkness inside, one of the first things that stands out is the large jar of teeth siting on the bar. Of course, before one’s eyes adjust, one is overpowered by the smell of beer, sweat and blood in the air.
Welcome to the Bastard.
The Bastard is a dangerous place for a fight, even discounting the patrons. It has numerous ‘features’ that increase the dangers of a bar fight.
1. Large, unscreened fireplace equipped with fireplace tools. These are secured to the fireplace by 6’ long chains.
2. A ‘coat rack’ consisting of sharpened Iron spikes
protruding at an angle from the wall next to the door.
3. All of the tables are crafted out of solid stone, by Redrick the Stonewizard, who uses magic to shape the tables.
4. The floor is made of large, loosely fitted stones which can be pulled up with a little work.
5. What windows are very small, barred and covered with enough grime to block most light. They are too small for most beings to exit, even if unbarred.
Additions to this wonderful place of meyhem are appreciated, though I will be acting as editor for ideas to keep them withing the ‘spirit’ of this location.
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The Spirit's Pub By: MoonHunter ( Locations ) Establishment - Any
"You head down this back alley, and check that last door on the left. If it opens for you, you are in, one of the gang. If not, well you are not ready for the place yet. If you can’t see that door on the left, you will never be one of us. " Silverwind, aka Alex O’Tor
The Door is always in a "tucked away" place, such as down an alley or around an alcove. It is not well marked. Most people just pass right by it. When you are right upon it and if you can see the door, it has a faded complex Ouroboros painted on it.
Though the door, you head down a short, narrow and dark hallway. The hallway ends in five well worn stairs at the very end. Centuries of feet and other things have worn down quite a divot in the stairs.
You come out into what looks like an authentic Dublin Pub, because it is. The look is classic; dark wood, half timbering, white plaster, crowded booths and tables, and the stale smells of Guinness, smoke, people, and things left behind. The pub itself is nearly 350 years old. It was restored (fixed as many patrons say) about 90 years ago to look more like its original self (using most of the original products that had been covered over, rather than the mishmash of things it had become.
The crowd is a mix that nobody seems to mind. You have Old Dubliners sitting next to women in Saris, a few upscale professionals sitting at tables with bikers/ uk punks, and few new age types sprinkled in. It seem incongruous if you are just looking. And you are only just looking if you are a guest.
With the Sight, you note the "multifaceted" aspect of the crowd. It is a place where Shidhe and lesser fey who move in the Mortal Realm can refresh themselves. They wear mortal forms and gear in most places. A few magickers find their way here as well, most with a touch "Of the Blood". A few "just people" who have Fey in their bloodlines find their way here as well. The crowd is an eccletic mix, but it seems to work. There isn’t magic on the pub itself that causes this happen (though there might be some on the doors), it just does.
The Pub, is is not "home", as they Fey would say. It is physically in Dublin under a big old office building. However, it has many ties to the old way, so paths were made to it. Because it is a real place, real money changes hands here.
The odd nature of the place is an open secret for the crowd. It is kept "on the side" because an occasional random person can find The Pub, and it is a neighborhood bar for its section of Dublin.
The Current Barkeep most nights is the Owner’s Son, a late twenty something called Patrick. He keeps it light in the bar, and laments the lack of cable here, so he can’t watch The Football. "At least it has electric lights and indoor plumbing," he laments. But the take every night is fairly good.
Patrick is fairly aware of the Bar’s true nature. He is a well trained shamman of the Alquonican Indian (from Canada). Uncle (Ben) Two Trees used to come here every night for years. He brought Patrick over to teach him Shamans ways.
The Beer/ Ale/ Stout/ Guinness here is top knotch. The food is standard pub fair, heated on a broad hotplate.
There are three or so people who mind the bar. Two are humans and one is a young Shidhe changeling who finds it fun to work the place. One or two of them help Patrick on most nights.
Molly is the waitress. It seems like she is always here. That is actually the truth. Molly is a ghost. She found her way here soon after her death sixty some odd years ago. After moping around some, she began to help Patrick’s Grandfather one busy night. She has helped out ever since then. She seems to be a normal human being most of the time. It is only a rare occasion when touched by Iron or something occult happens that her nature shows up.
There are only two that need to be noted.
The Old Guy "Cassidy": He has been comming here for quite a long time. Some say since the begining. He comes in, sits at the end of the bar, and nurses his one beer. He gets one beer free every night he comes in, that is the deal. (It is written in every known bill of purchase/sale of the Pub.) He occassionally gets an extra beer or two along the way from generous patrons or a "round for the house". He never really talks to anyone and just ignores everyone, though he does keep an ear out to what everyone is talking about.
Peter O’Malley: He is a heavy set man. His hair is running thin on the top and made up for by the mutton chops on his face. He is getting a bit round in his old age. He is "the man who knows people", a Third Man. If you need something or someone, if he does not know the exact person to send you to, he knows the one that does. While many of his dealings are shady, he never gets his hands dirty. You pay him a bit and he makes introductions, gives you a phone number, or tells you to be at an address at a certain time. He is quite a mundane man: pragmatic and realistic. (He was IRA in the troubled days). He has no talent or blood, just a talisman he wears to find the place. When he set up shop here, he expanded his connections to include the occult and fey. This is a perfect place for a man such as he, as the police never seem to come here. If you have an invite from him, an appointment, you seem to be able to find The Pub. At least, for your appointment and often until the conclusion of your business with him.
You can only find The Door if you have The Sight (Magical/ Mystical Sight), Of the Blood (Fey), or have been Touched (Temporal Dimensional Empathy or gate shifted). You can bring guests in, but unless they are talented, they will never find the place again.
The Door opens up in Dublin, Toronto, San Francisco, Seattle, New York, Damori (a city in North India), and of course your campaign city. (I.E anyplace with a strong Fey Link). You can’t use The Tavern to Travel without "much mojo" according to the Barkeep and any mystic type. But you can "Bar express", by handing a package to someone who will be leaving by the right door.
The Bar is not neutral ground. It is an open place. However, most who find their way here are, like it fairly calm. That, plus the silver long sword on the back bar wall and the enchanted shotgun under the counter, keeps the peace.
One of the ties to the old ways is that this was once an underhill. Underhill is a fairy myth term for a fairy place, as fairies live under mounds or hills. If you enter it, you seem to enter another world with its own sky and such.
The one of the other ties was that there is a Crimson Fey Gem hidden in the woodwork under the Bar. It is an artifact of some power (insert what ever powers you might need to impress and/ or scare everyone), hidden there as an emergency measure. "Break Bar in case of Trouble" is a small wooden sign behind the bar.
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The Stinking Rose By: MoonHunter ( Locations ) Establishment - Other
This tavern and common house (restaurant) looks like any other quaint building in the area. It is a good sized common house, serving upto 50 people comfortably. The Stinking Rose gets its name by the primary ingredient for its food - Garlic.
This tavern and common house (restaurant) looks like any other quaint building in the area. It is a good sized common house, serving up to 50 people comfortably. It would be quite notable, if there was no other aromatic business nearby (like the corral and dyers). In fact nobody notices its peculiar scent except on the few holidays for the dyers.
The Stinking Rose gets its name by the primary ingredient for its food - Garlic. They serve it roasted to rub on bread, stuffing chicken, squicken, and beef, in salads, with noodles in sauce, in creme soups (house specialty), and in a variety of other recipes. The proprietor is quite mad for the stinking rose, attributing his robust health to his intake of garlic. (He owns the land that produces it locally). He has managed to make it the local fad among the gentry, so he is doing very well despite the location at the edge of town.
The beer and drink here is top notch. The local workers will come in for a pint or three and for lunch. They used to stay in mass after work, but the gentry has pushed them out. (Though a couple still stay at night for the fun of it). Garlic consumption, beer, and the occasional hand of cards, sums up a night here.
The sign of the Stinking Rose is quite large, with a bulb of garlic on a thorny rose stem. The name Stinking Rose comes from the words of a great bard who also believed in the power of Garlic.
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The Stuck Chimney By: manfred ( Locations ) Establishment - Other
Long ago it was the ‘Sleeping Bull’ or something, but everybody calls it The Chimney nowadays. All because of the atmosphere, it is thicker than the soup they serve here, as some patrons like to claim.
Oh, yes, they smoke here, and even if they wouldn’t, the smell is deep in everything, and it would take years to fade away. Some smoke simple cigarettes made of leaves, others have fine cigars, there are common pipes and more exotic smoking accessories. Not all smoke tobacco or the local equivalents, quite a few experiment, and some of the back rooms produce strange smells indeed. New guests may (after almost choking) find their tongues considerably lighter, and heads heavier, even without drinking.
The personnel cares little for the guests; they serve what is asked for, but generally shows interest for only a few select customers. They drink little, leave good tips instead.
The patrons here are mostly higher servants of the rich and noble. Weary after a long and stressing day, they spend their free time here, with ironic remarks on other guests, and their own employers. While gossip can be found, if you listen, the servants know their duty and keep the real secrets for themselves. No one wants to loose a good job, right?
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The Toads of Lichenbridge By: Murometz ( Locations ) Area - Swamp
The Jesk family inn.
The PCs find themselves approaching Lichenbridge Inn, on a particularly damp evening; the air is thick and humid and pregnant with rain. Wafting from inside the old stone building is the aroma of smoked eels infused with thyme and other swamp herbs. A swollen Moon is rising like a bubble of oil on the horizon.
Leaving their mounts in the wet, dripping stables, with a pair of pale, sullen-eyed stableboys, the PCs are ushered inside the inn, by a cigar-chomping, small, round, and rubbery fellow with an incredibly wide grin. Introducing himself as Semyon Jesk, proprietor and owner, he points at a chalk-board, upon which is scribbled the nightly menu. Smoked eels, sour-ale, bread soup, and fried mudworms. Other travelers, not keen on chatter or merryment are inside the moldy taproom as well. A waifish, big-eyed girl of indeterminate age is serving tankards and eyeing the guests. Outside a gentle drizzle ushers in the night, and a legion of frogs begin their nightly, croaking chorus
An establishment fording a stream with ambitions at being a river, Lichenbridge Inn has stood for nearly two hundred and fifty years here in the hinterlands, ever since the Half-Century War raged in these now nearly-abandoned lands, run by the family Jesk, minor landholders, millers and care-takers of the bridge, the nearby grist-mill and the inn itself.
The bridge (once named Steel-Pass Bridge) served as a river-crossing for countless soldiers, but toward the end of the war, was destroyed, and now centuries later is a mere stone post-bellum remnant; twin moss-covered arches on either side of the brownflow, fated ne’er to meet again.
Nowadays, the bridge and the inn are both nearly forgotten, the former a crumbling ruin, but the latter still open and functioning. Few folk travel these marshy lands on their way south anymore, most preferring the well-trod roads east of nameless river. The once fast-flowing waterway, is drying up, and now resembles a slovenly black-brown flow instead, its muddy, reed-filled banks, treacherous to the traveler. The Jesk family, once fecund, has dried up, or moved away over the years as well. Only Semyon Jesk remains and his mute sister Agathae, their incestuous twin-brood, a scant few servants, and their family legacy, the Lichenbridge Inn.
Semyon and Agathae are Were-Toads, the last scions of a centuries-old familial curse, descendants of such luminaries as the famously rotund Bufo Jesk, the lady Drusilla Jesk, who added the miller vocation to her family’s pursuits, and Herbolt Jesk, who it was said could swallow a man whole in one gulp, though this last of course, was said only between fellow Jesks, and never amidst outsiders.
For as long as the Jesk family has owned this plot of land, they have managed to keep the secrets of their inherited afliction from all others through the generations. Semyon Jesk and his mute sister are no different. No one yet suspects that the brother and sister inn-keepers are actually stone-cold killers, who are not above devouring the occasional guest(s).
Semyon Jesk, Proprietor of Lichenbridge Inn, Were-toad
Semyon Jesk is the proprietor of Lichenbridge inn and its environs. Keeper of the Broken Bridge, and inattentive owner of the nearly rotted grist-mill, Semyon is an odious man, but one adept at deception, well-versed in hiding both his were-curse and his intentions. Bulbous of body but spindly of limb, Semyons tallow-skin, resembles melting wax. Possessing beady, coal-black eyes, a collar of neck-fat and tiny teeth arranged inside of an abnormally wide mouth, Semyon saving grace is his predilection for blandishment and exaggerated adulation, whenever faced with strangers. In this way he attempts to ingratiate himself with his guests, playing the role of the shameless flatterer.
Semyon moves surprisingly fast considering his peculiar, rounded torso and near-skeletal limbs. He has a predilection for small baubles and his attention can be held unwaveringly with most shiny objects, his beady, black eyes boring holes almost involuntarily at said objects, even if polite decorum forbids him from staring. Likewise he has a weakness for pungent rolled tobacco, and often chews on week-old cigars, savoring the juices, long after he is done smoking them.
Agathae Jesk, mute sister of Semyon, Were-toad
Agathae Jesk is a mute, perpetually sad and lugubrious young woman, said to be of a certain temperament even while in the womb. Thinning hair the color of wilting straw, with a wide, crooked grin, and unattractive eyes, which seem ill-fit for their sockets, Agathae does not a beauty strike. Pasty-skinned and languid, she seems both harmless and revolting at once. Though like Semyon she prefers killing in toad or hybrid form, she wields a curved magical dagger as well, which causes wounds to bleed profusely and excessively. On rare occasion, she will coat the dagger with toad-venom, which she hand-milks from the highly posionous Miter-Toads of the bogs.
Tad and Poul Jesk
The unfortunate, incestuous sons of Semyon and Agathae Jesk, pimply and fat, who handle all the odd work around the inn, stables and gristmill. Agathae is only mildly interested in her offspring. Semyon for his part mostly ignores the young lads, having no interest in rearing his ill-begotten sons, anymore than Agathae does. When not working,Tad and Poul are usually off in the deep bog, frollicking in toad form. They are stupid young men, with no redeeming traits.
The Jesks purchased the dilapidated Graymilken Mill a century ago. Since that time the actual gristmill operation has been largely ignored by the disinterested Jesks, and the building is now used for the storage of decomposing corpses by Semyon and Agathae.
Occasionally, the odious pair hides their victims in the many hidden priest-holes, covered in toad-slime or salt for pickling. Both Lichenbridge Inn and the gristmill have countless "Priest-Holes" littered through its rotted stone walls. Semyon and Agathae use these passages to spy on, stalk and ambush their prey. These priest-holes were installed a century ago, before the Jesks purchased the mill, when monks and priests fleeing the One True Faiths inquisition, temporarily took refuge in the inn and gristmill. The Jesks of that time, Ligush and his wife Ziegismunda, at first harbored the pagans, allowing them stay inside the very walls for coin, but eventually betrayed them, collecting a sizable reward from the Church as well.
The cellar leads to the Jesks private quarters. The room smells both musty and musky. Buried in the earth beneath the floorboards is the Jesks strongbox, double bolted and trapped with several sets of poisoned needles. Inside the lockbox are one hundred antiquated gold coins, nearly solid gold, worth thrice as much on the market regular gold coins. In addition, twelve grass-green, peridots, each the size of a robins egg are encased in what looks like a modern egg-carton of hardened clay. Though semi-precious, they are of considerable worth due to their brilliant color and exquisite craftsmanship. These peridots are heirlooms passed on from Jesk to Jesk. A single magical, leather boot, useless without its long-lost twin, lies crumpled at the bottom of the box. Inside the boot are more goodies.
1-2 magical cigars (Random roll on Magic Cigar Challenge scroll)
1-2 magical buttons (Random roll on Button’s Magic Buttons scroll)
1 The Bachta-Toad Amulet (Jesk has no idea what this is, and no clue as to why he cannot even pick it up. Yet another inherited bauble.)
1 Egg Cup of Summoning (Agathae’s prized possession)
Finally, at the bottom of the lockbox, lies Semyons prized possession, his Whiteblade, a weapon he once stole from a passing traveler.
Toads in the Night
Besides the PCs, there are other guests present this night, a rare confluence of travelers in these lonely bog-lands. The roster of inn guests is up to the GM. The key is to present the guests as suspicious and unsavory, and the Innkeeper and his poor, mute sister as being beyond reproach.
By morning there will be one or two fewer guests, if Semyon and Agathae have their way. They will carefully select victims based on feasibility and perceived weaknesses. They prefer physically smaller victims and those that sleep one to a room. Sneaking through the walls and hidey-holes, the were-toads, sometimes in human form, while other times in hybrid humanoid-toad form, depending on their mood and plan of attack, surprise the sleeping victim and kill quickly, soon after dragging the body to the gristmill for disposal and feasting. Tad and Poul obey their motherand father unerringly, and have garnered a liking for humanoid flesh over the years as well. In all, four were-toads acting in deadly unison, inside the confines of their own inn, their ‘home environment’, should present a challenging and potentially deadly encounter for PCs, wherein they can either be the ones attacked by the Jesks in the night, or the investigators sorting out the gruesome crimes the next day.
Reagrdless, by noon or so of the next day, anyone killed by the were-toads the previous night will be completely digested by acid and gone forever.
If successful in murder, the following morning the remaining guests, the PCs among them, will have a mystery on their hands. Besides being a great actor, Semyon Jesk will help as best he can with the investigation, shocked that such deviltry would go on in his inn, suggesting among other things, that the victims are probably far away by now in the bog, having either left of their accord or lured by some sinister force.
Semyon wears a Toe-Ring of Lies, an item which prevents any magical truth-seeking or scrying from working upon his person. Agathae for her part is mute, and appears highly incapable of anything more than serving ale and staring. What the Jesk siblings have going for them most of all however is the fact the family has survived unmolested by authorities or vigilantes all these many years, due to their remote location, rarely if ever visited by anyone other than adventures, refugees, and occasional monks on pilgrimage.
*Somewhere in the muck beneath the broken arch of Lichenbridge, the remains of a troll can be found. His shriveled flesh and bones are perfectly preserved by the particular stew of tannins, peat, and bog chemicals so prevalent in these lands. This fellow seems to have starved here years ago, though neither Semyon nor Agathae are familiar with the tale. If Speak with Dead is cast, the troll will claim to know the location of a wondrous treasure hoard, but will brazenly announce that he will only agree to reveal its whereabouts if raised from the dead! Someday when they have such power and the inclination, perhaps they will come back to the troll beneath the bridge, and bargain some more.
*Halflings, gnomes, and even some underfed dwarves can be swallowed whole by Semyon in his hybrid form, though not by Agathae for she is physically smaller than her brother. The acidic digestive juices of both were-toads however, are potent enough to liquefy flesh after only a few hours of being covered in their stomach-slime.
*Though the out-of-the-way inn’s current income is nearly non-existent, since it is rarely visited by travelers anymore, the Jesks have buried many coffers of coin in the countryside over the years, and Semyon and Agathae know where these coin-hoards are buried.
*Behind an ale-cask in the cellar, is a trapdoor, a priest-hole, which leads into a damp, earthen tunnel, winding its way east and south underground for many miles, until at last coming to an impossibly wide grotto and an underground lake of great size, somewhere beneath the hapless village of Awanggis.
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Those Characters in Inns and Taverns By: MoonHunter ( NPCs ) Extras - Domestic/ Craft
This scroll is for all those hardworking people that keep our adventurer’s Inns and Taverns working.
A GM has only X amount of time and creativity to dedicate to their game. Much of that time and creativity is spent on the “big things” and the “plot lines”. However, it is those little details thrown into the games that help make them seem more real and fun to the players.
These characters are bits of creativity to relieve the GM’s burden. These are not fully fleshed out characters. These are extras, characters with one or two lines in your games and usually they are done. They add color and description to the tavern or inn.
Every now and again though, something dramatic will happen in those few moments of uptime at an inn or tavern. Then you will be very happy that you have some extras worked out, just in case you need more than just a faceless drone.
Note: The only real difference between an extra and a minor NPC is really just the amount of attention you pay to it.
Additions to this Scroll should be people who work (and sometimes live) in and around a tavern or inn. Thus we have owners, cooks, brewers, maids, stable boys, and so on. Anyone else should not be in this thread.
These NPCs follow the same section rules as other NPCs, their write ups will just be shorter and less developed. Also keep in mind that if they have a detailed or long write up, they would be Minor NPCs and deserve their own subs.
Copy and Paste this to your scroll post
(Include Race/ Gender/ Approximate Age)
History/ Life/ Explanation
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Ye Alehouse of ye Ruddye Draggon By: Wulfhere ( Plots ) Coincidence - Side-Quest
Within the Ruddye Draggon, the landlord has more than fresh ale brewing. Can this landmark tavern be saved?
The Sign of the Ruddy Dragon
Any adventurer worth his salt has heard of the famous alehouse, “Ye Ruddye Draggon” and its well-known proprietor, Gorty Brewmann. Found midway between the Old West Gate to the hinterlands and the King’s Highway, a more pleasant tavern would be hard to find. This landmark has hosted numerous noble scoundrels over the years and many a band of heroes met for the first time within the pub’s comfortable common room.
Ivy covers the stones of the ancient structure, obscuring all details but the building’s crimson shutters and the sign, a brightly painted red dragon. The smiling beast appears to be enjoying itself; with a flagon held in one claw, it breathes gilt fire into the air. A bundle of grain hanging from the sign reveals that fresh ale is available, as always. No man alive has ever seen Gorty Brewmann run short on ale!
Within the common room, crossed swords and monstrous trophy heads hang on the walls, trophies from some of the land’s greatest heroes. The roomy chamber is filled with comfortable benches and well-crafted tables, much as it has been since the tavern first opened its doors 32 years before, in the reign of King Gygax the Bald. The place is such a landmark, most folk expect it to be unchanged in another 32 years.
Unfortunately, they may be wrong.
The Draggon has a Problem
A few weeks ago, Gorty Brewmann hired a charming young barmaid that had just arrived at the city. Innocent and naïve, sweet Alysta charmed every man that saw her. Few could resist her pretty face framed by blonde hair, her gentle blue eyes or her soft voice. Unfortunately, she wasn’t what she appeared; Alysta is a succubus, a demonic evil intent on corrupting all around her. She rapidly ensnared the pub’s employees with a web of magic and has begun spreading her evil beyond its walls.
To add to the danger, her sister and rival, Damarre, has come to join her at the tavern. A vision of green eyes and blazing red hair (obviously dyed) in a tightly laced bodice, Damarre appears to be a ‘bad girl’. Quite a firebrand, she is apparently looking for adventure and rebelling against her sister’s ‘virginal’ ways.
The two succubi secretly compete to see which of them can first corrupt each of the men that they encounter: Which strategy is more successful? Sweet, innocent Alysta, or naughty, rebellious Damarre? Together they plan to drain the very lives from the men around them.
The Master of the House
Gorty Brewmann may be justly famous throughout the shire for his rich golden ale, but he is not known for his strong will. The enchantments of the wicked sisters have completely confused and bewildered the poor old brewer. Gorty still seems decisive and alert when it comes to most matters, but anything regarding his two new serving wenches leaves him distracted and unable to concentrate. Gorty doesn’t even remember what happened to their predecessors, Gelia and Samara, other than they quit and only gave him one day’s notice (The first victims of Alysta’s mind games, the girls quit suddenly to run away with a band of gypsy rogues the succubi have had as allies for quite some time).
Despite his befuddled state and advanced age, Gorty is still an imposing figure. Over six feet tall, he carries a fair amount of muscle from all those years of heaving barrels of ale up and down the steps of his tavern’s cool cellars. He greets his customers with a hearty smile under his impressive handlebar mustache.
In the Kitchen
In the kitchen, “Bully” Bolden prepares the simple fare offered by the pub. He was one of Alysta’s first victims, and his health is failing under her ‘loving’ attentions. Pale and shaking, he appears to be quite ill. Bully had been consumptive for quite some time; now that his health is weakened, the disease is asserting itself. Gorty has ordered him to stay in the kitchen when customers are around, as his constant wheezing and hacking coughs would be bad for business. Soon, he will join the ranks of Alysta’s ‘special’ victims in the cellars. If treatment is offered by some well-meaning healer, he will refuse it, claiming that there isn’t anything wrong with him, “It’s just a little irritation from the smoke in the kitchen, thank you very much.” Alysta gets perverse pleasure from convincing the poor man that it would be “womanly” to get help, even as his health falls to pieces. Bully is cadaverously pale and quite skinny; he is also completely enthralled by Alysta. If one of the girls needs a “fall guy”, he will quickly claim to be a necromancer and make menacing gestures that only vaguely resemble spellcasting. If the “guests” from the cellars stumble to the attack at the same time, however, his charade may be more convincing.
Guests of the House
The tavern’s employees all live in a few small rooms above the tavern’s common room. Although Gorty isn’t running an inn, he does occasionally rent out one of the spare rooms when he takes a liking to someone. Currently, both of these rooms are occupied. The first of the tavern’s guests is Rognvald Veissenauger, a massively muscled barbarian with long dark hair and an atrocious foreign accent. Rognvald has come to this land to seek out a band of his sworn shield-brothers that has gone missing. Not the most capable of investigators, he has run out of leads and has been forced to sell his armor to cover his debts. As most of his clothing is made of heavy furs and woolens more suitable for his sub-arctic homeland, he prefers to wear a simple loincloth while in the city. It hasn’t occurred to him that this may make him conspicuous. Rognvald has avoided the company of the tavern wenches thus far, causing them quite a bit of confusion; after he gets to know the adventurers, he may reluctantly reveal why (See below).
The second of the guests is a recent arrival, a traveling minstrel named Leigen. He claims to have Elvish blood, but this may be an affectation; he certainly doesn’t look elvish, with dark hair and bushy sideburns. Leigen is well skilled with his cittern, but he has atrocious taste in music. If there is some tune that his audience is guaranteed to detest, he will somehow get the urge to perform it. It’s not that can’t play or even compose skillfully, it’s just that he has alarmingly poor judgment. If it is conceivable, his taste in clothing is even worse, as he is fond of the gaudiest colors imaginable. It just doesn’t occur to him that other people find his taste appalling. Gorty hasn’t yet realized that Leigen’s poor performances of the last few nights were not flukes; when he does, Leigen is likely to be thrown out on his ear.
Alysta and her “sister” Damarre each have their own room. Alysta’s is cluttered with stuffed animals, drawings of rainbows and unicorns, and other such nonsense (stolen from one of her victims before she first arrived at the tavern). Damarre has let her room become a complete sty, with debris and filthy clothes flung about haphazardly. She also has several books lying about, each by a noted libertine or freethinker.
An Unfortunate Vintage
Down in the cellars, five additional “guests” are resting. A search will reveal that several barrels in the cellar have been filled with dirt. This soil is from holes that were recently dug under some of the barrels, holes that hold five rotting zombies. They are the remains of previous victims that the succubi decided wouldn’t be missed. The succubi have ordered them not to get caught, but if someone attempts to exhume them, they will attack him. The holes are packed with salt around the zombies, in a (vain) attempt to keep the smell down. The cellar smells rather unpleasant.
Things Go Wrong
The Ruddye Draggon is best used as a companion to other, more structured adventures. It can add flavor with seemingly minor encounters, until some of the main characters start dying and the succubi decide to move more directly against the heroes. There are a lot of things that can go wrong at the Ruddye Draggon, and the heroes may decide to help:
1.) The Sound of Music: Leigen, the tasteless bard, will strike up a popular song about the valiant rebels that stood up against King Gygax’s soldiery when they tried to increase taxes. Unfortunately, this occurs just a few minutes after a large group of old soldiers sit down. They’ve just been thrown out of another establishment, so they are good and drunk already and spoiling for a brawl. After the ensuing chaos, if the heroes are helpful, Leigen will no doubt want the most charming of them to become his mentor and agent. He really could use the help…
2.) A Personal Problem: Rognvald has a problem that he doesn’t dare mention. You see, a year ago he angered an old witch-crone and she cursed him that he would have no good fortune with the ladies. Since then, things go wrong whenever he’s alone with a woman. He’s awfully frustrated and is likely to pick a fight with anyone who appears to be getting anywhere with one of the serving wenches. Friendly or sympathetic characters may be enlisted for their aid in breaking the curse, but he has no idea how. He’s very attracted to Damarre, but he avoids her because he’s afraid that something will go wrong again. It’s probably the only thing preserving his life…
3.) Band of Brothers: Rognvald’s old shield brothers show up: Gundar, Hanse, Franz, and Erent. It doesn’t take long for the girls go to work on them. Alysta particularly enjoys encouraging fights, especially if she can act all upset and try ineffectually to break the fight up. Damarre prefers to suggest suicidal dares to men who are already drunk, such as, “I bet that you couldn’t get the teeth of that Cave Viper in the old quarry and return here by dawn!” It’s about even which of them will instigate the highest body count.
4.) Attack of the Necromancer: The girls need to get rid of the bodies that slowly accumulate in the cellar. The easy solution is to march them off somewhere in the middle of the night and have an impromptu “Insane Necromancer” attack. Few people will ask questions when the zombies are ordered to wander down the road, killing anyone they meet. If a “Power Mad Necromancer” is needed, Bully will be recruited to fill the role. The girls will even give him an old black robe and ceremonial dagger they have stashed with the zombies in the cellars (Aren’t they generous!).
5.) What Were We Thinking?: The previous serving wenches, Gelia and Samara, need to be rescued from the rogues that they foolishly ran off with. They send a message to Gorty, carried by a crow that one of the girls had tamed. Unfortunately, Gorty’s too befuddled to figure out what to do. Once rescued, they will be found to be completely confused about why they left the pub in the first place. The succubi will welcome them back, eager to find new humiliations for them…
6.) Hail the Conquering Hero: Gorty’s son, Gortham (Gorty, Jr.) returns home after serving in the military for several years. He’s ready to take over operation of the alehouse so that his old man can finally retire. It won’t take long for the girls to get him under control, and then dad becomes superfluous…
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