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April 29, 2011, 10:00 am

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Inns, Taverns, and Pubs


"Whosoever shall brew ale in the town with intention of selling it must hang out a sign, otherwise he shall forfeit his ale."

King Richard II, 1393

Inns, Taverns, and Pubs
Almost any establishment can call itself a Tavern, so long as it sells beverages of some sort, and the differnce between a tavern, bar, or pub is often a matter of local tradition or licensing. The term tavern has an archaic feel to it and has been popularly used since the 19th century and is most commonly represented in the gaming genre.

Pub is short for Public House, an establishment created for drinking and sometimes eating in a comfortable and casual atmosphere. Pubs are most common in the British Isles, but this is by no means exclusive. In modern context, many restaurants that have extensive drink menus and a ‘vibrant atmosphere’ such as TGI Fridays or Applebees would be the modern equivalent of a Pub.

An Inn differs from a tavern and pub by one significant fact. Taverns and pubs can offer rooms for rent and not be considered an inn. The deciding factor is that the establishment has facilities for the boarding of horses as well as fodder for feeding them.

A brothel is only distinct from a tavern or inn by the fact that the establishment exists for the primary function of providing prostitutes. A brothel will very likely have rooms for rent as well as a supply of alcohol for consumption. The chances of there being a dedicated kitchen or stables are rather poor.

1. The Crook and Hammer
Currently the only Inn in a growing community, the Crook and Hammer is the dream of Belath the carpenter. As a man with a vision, Belath built most of the inn with his own hands, employing his three sons and several itenerant workers. Situated in a country area settled by herders of sheep and goats and a tin mine, he drew his sign from those two professions. The Inn is a bit on the small side, having only six rooms for rent and a rather cramped common room, it is a very busy place. Locals flock to the inn on the days of rest where they consume large amounts of ale and the copious pots of poultry stew Belath’s wife cooks. Most of the room customers tend to be guildsmen from the towns that buy the ore, wool, leather, and other goods produced in the area. The stables behind the tavern are more than adequate, able to accomodate two dozen horses and covered areas for two wagons or carriages.

2. The Green Wench
The namesake green wench is none other than Eingyolda, the proprietess of the of the popular tavern and part-time brothel. The tavern was named after her and a particularly scandalous green silk dress that she wore when she was a younger and more buxom woman. After running the tavern for nearly four decades, she is now comfortably wealthy and is slowy transferring the day to day running of the tavern to her god-daughter. While not the cheapest alehouse, or the best furnished brothel, there is not that can’t be purchased at the Wench, and through money paid to the thieve’s guild, the tavern is surprisingly respectable.

3. The Black Coachman
A dusty and easily overlooked Inn, the Black Coachman is named after a certain style of cloak worn by coach and wagon drivers. The inn itself is no-nonsense and utilitarian, with more than 20 rooms available and stables for a great number of horses. The fare offered is very cheap and there is no variety, the is one kind of dark porter lager, one kind of meat and vegetable stew, and crusty rolls. The only travelers who stay at the Coachman are generally coachmen themselves, and men who work with the wagoneers and coachmen.

4. The Broken Mug
The Broken Mug is a down and out tavern looking to make a better name for itself. Up until a few years ago, the Broken Mug was actually known as the Golden Pint and had a reputation for being one of the most dangerous and ugly pubs in the city. It was no small wonder considering that the thieve’s guild had long called the pub their home, and more than a few cutpurses, assassins, trouble makers and rabble rouses laid low there. Eventually the city had enough and the City guard came down hard on the guild, putting most of the leadership on the gallows and a good number of the guildsmen in the king’s levy. Without the criminals, the Golding Pint took down it’s old facade and reopened, hoping to attract some new customers as most of the old were put in their graves.

5. The Harlot’s Kiss
Despite it’s name, the Kiss is devoid of painted ladies and prostitutes. The pub is situated in a very conservative area and drinking is looked down upon and the pub is considered a necessary evil. With such an attitude, the license to open the pub was granted to the Honorable Constable Wheataugh. As a long time defender of the community, it was considered to be a good idea to put the gruff and stern man in charge of running the pub. The beer prices are on the high side, and the clientele is the tight-lipped sort who drink their brew and then retreat back into the outside. All of the servers in the ‘Kiss are teenage or young adult boys, as the community considered letting women work in the pub to be inviting trouble.

6. The Mace and Whore
Tucked into the corner of a busy market, the Mace and Whore is an insular tavern that caters to the city guardsmen, constables, and other authority figures. Set up nearly a decade ago by a retired guardsman captain, the Mace and Whore had two effects. The most important thing was that it gave the men of the guard a place to rest their bones and drain a mug or two without worrying about local rowdies starting a fight with off-duty guards. Secondly, it served to bring the guard together as a group, as they had a place and a way to socialize outside of policing the city and the plazas. The food is good if a bit bland, and the ale is strong and usually donated by local breweries to the tavern. Non-guardsmen generally dont patronage the Mace and Whore as they tend to find more of the mace, and much less of the whore.

Free and Tied Houses
Many inns and pubs are tied to a specific brewer. In a fantasy setting this would most likely be whomever is the local brewers guild. These establishments are generally refered to as Tied Houses and are rather limited in the sort of suds that they sell. Tied houses have the advantage of a regular supply of beer and other beverages, but usually lack variety unless the brewers in question happen to have a large portfolio of brews they produce.

Some pubs and taverns are not tied to a specific brewery. Some of these are either unaffiliated with the general system of brewers and hostelers guilds, others are simply in a location where there isnt a brewery to hold a monopoly over them. These so called Free Houses have the advantage of variety, but there is no telling what they will have in inventory, or even if they will have anything not brewed in the back room.

7. Rugot’s Public House
Rugot’s is a rather non-descript pub situated in the city’s main marketplace. Bracketed in by large vendors on both sides, the pub does a steady stream of good business. This has made the city Brewers Guild a good deal of coin, though Rugot himself wouldn’t mind seeing a bit more of it. A few years back, Rugot decided to start up his own pub, and after a year or so had to take out a large loan, which was underwritten by the locals Brewers guild. He kept his pub, but until the terms of his loan are paid, Old Rugot’s only selling the City Ale, and at the price that they set.

8. Jagh’s Head
Named after the brewmeister who owns the local brewery and is head of the local brewers guild, Jagh’s is contractually obligated to only sell Jagh’s brew, a pale pilsner type beer. The pub has been dealing exclusively with the brewery for two generations, and what none of the locals suspect is that the pub’s owner, Asold, absolutely hates Jagh and the fact that not only does he have to buy the beer from the brewery, that he also has to pay dues to the brewmeister for being involved with the thieves guild, the brewers guild, and the hostlers guild. While the pub itself is rather non-descript, tensions run high among the staff and the suppliers. One of these days Asold is just going to torch the place and leave for greener pastures.
9. Shandygraff’s
Named for it’s owner, Shandygraffs is a popular pub in Vandergraff. Some years ago it was attached to the Vandergraff Brewer’s Association, but since clearing it’s note, it has since become a Free House. The owner, Jamison Shandygraff, was raised on an orchard, and had fruit juice mixed with many of his beverages growing up. His pub recreates this by selling beer cocktails, the most common being half and half mixes of lager and fruit juice. He has recently started experimenting with mixing small amounts of hard spirits with his assortment of lagers. Shandygraff’s is a constantly busy establishment, and some merchants will travel a good deal out of their way to see what old Shandy’s cooked up since the last time they were there.

10. Tinpol Roadhouse
Named for the Tinpol road, this pub has seen better days. Traffic on the road isn’t what it used to be since the collapse of the Low Tinpollister mines. With less traffic and less income, the beer at Tinpols started to go sour before it was all sold. Rather than continually waste beer or be forced to buy it back, the regional brewery cut it’s contract with the pub, leaving the owners to find their own brew to sell. While the traditional Tinpol ale can still be bought, it isn’t always in stock. 20% of the time, the pub lacks for lager or beer, and about 10% of the time, the pub doesnt have food to sell either. A few die hard miners still come to the pub, but their numbers are getting thinner and thinner as more of them move on to places where the earth is still giving up her wealth.

While most contemporary fantasy has an inn, a brothel, and a tavern in even the most podunk of communities, that is rather far from the truth. Some small communities never gain any of these establishments. Other communities, which are currently small but rapidly growing will find themselves host to a saloon. The saloon is a centerpiece of a growing community, most often beginning as a common room attached to a sundry or general store. It is a mix of beer joint, brothel, and civic center.

As the community grows, so does the saloon. It is usually the pinnacle of wealth, with the best materials being present, and the best food and drinks being imported from afar as the local ecomony grows. When whatever boom was driving the growth of the community levels out, these saloons often become the dominant inns. Should the cause of the boom turn into a bust, the Saloon is the bulwark of the hard liners and those who don’t give up even when they really should. These saloons are left as relics of what might have been and quickly fade into obscurity

11. The Black Judicator
Situated in the heart of a thriving mining community, the Black Judicator is part saloon, bustling with music, smoke, and a river of barely aged lager, and part court. The regional magistrate has since made the saloon his court for when he passes through to arbitrate disputes and clean up the bandits and criminals captured by the local guards. It is guessed that soon as the veins of copper and green quartz play out, the township will just as quickly collapse. Until then, the magistrate can frequently be found sitting next to the rowdy playing the piano with a painted lady bouncing on his knee.

12. Lorroth’s Saloon
Trade has been flowing through the Lorroth valley in volumes not seen in generations. The current saloon has doubled in size twice in the last year and it looks like a new addition is in order. With the new trade route opened, it looks like the boom isn’t going to be a quick flash in the pan. As such, the new additions are being chalked out for stone foundations, and a second floor for more rooms. Already the owner of the saloon has been wondering about putting his head together with the fellow who is running the ale house south of town, and the madam of the Purloined Primrose.

13. The Ghost’s Saloon
The mines closed down close to a decade ago, and the township shrank down to a small village. The old sign was torn down by some rowdies, and now the locals refer to the saloon as the Ghost. Most see it only as a painful reminder of the boom and the bust that almost destroyed their community. A handful of patrons haunt the ghost, most of them prospectors who still pick through the debris from the mines. Most believe that even when they and the owner of the Ghost die, they will keep coming back to the run down and faded saloon.


A staple of westerns, the Cantina properly is a men only establishment that serves alcohol, light food along the lines of snacks or appetizers and is a place where men come together after working hours to unwind before heading home. Most cantinas are not going to have wenches or whores, nor are they going to be serving stew, or anything along those lines.

14. Fasool's Cantina

Situated on the edge of the Fasool township, this cantina is the common house for the forestals and woodcutters to rest at for a while once their day's working felling and cutting trees and lumber is done. It is a large building, made from the leftovers and scraps from their combined woodcutting. The furniture is likewise roughly hewn from sub-par wood. The place has a very natural and unfinished feel to it. It is heavily scented from the sap still oozing from much of the unfinished wood used in the building, and from many years of pipe smoke, sweat, and ale. The cantina usually requires some sort of repair, the sort that the locals are willing to do in exchange for free ale. Many local wives strongly dislike the cantina because their spouses and husbands spend a great deal of time there and they themselves are quite expressly forbidden from entering. 

15. The Broken Lance

An upscale Cantina, the Broken Lance is situated between an inn and a brothel. The patrons of the Lance are squires, knights, and other men of a martial bent who participate in tournaments and jousts. The air is relaxed, pipeweed is complements of the house, and the drinks that are served are top shelf only. Poor and beggers are not generally allowed inside the Broken Lance. The proprietor of the Lance was a jousting man who lost an eye and had his arm and shoulder shattered in a jousting accident. He has since maintained his love of the sport by running the cantina. The Lance is a good place to find errant knights, unlanded warriors, and other men who would be willing to lend their arms and armor to a cause. Mercenaries and women are never allowed inside the Lance. The tables are waited by boys who have a hope of becoming squires, and many knights looking for a new squire will on occasion scout out at the Broken Lance.


Cigar Bar
typical tavern or pub that caters to cigar smokers, could use Pipe Pub instead.

An illegal establishment for drinking, a place of ill repute, often located in a basement or cellar, caters to a lower income bracket.

A very discrete bar where someone who doesnt want to be seen drinking can drink, such as ladies, priests, head police, or trysting lovers. Higher cost, less visibility

Jook Joint/Joog Joint
Ethnic tavern, emphasis on music and dance over food and drink, whitey calls his a honky-tonk

Hostess Club
Japanese drinkery that caters to single men by having an all female staff, moderately higher prices and more one on one interaction with female staff.

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Comments ( 9 )
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April 29, 2011, 10:00
Update: After some discussion, it has been determined that there is no shortage of such locales and businesses in the Citadel and further endeavors in this submission have been indefinitely canceled.
Voted Dozus
April 29, 2011, 11:33

Even so, I like the variety presented here. They work very well as color background, something to flavor the "The party finds themselves at an inn..." sort of events. The names alone are worth a vote for me - how could I not include a place called "The Mace and Whore" in a plot?

Voted Murometz
April 29, 2011, 11:46

This monster scroll comes to mind... http://strolen.com//viewing/The_Tired_Travelers_Tavern_Guide

But as Dozus says, nice variety, names, and quirks here, as well as a break-up of types of establishment.  So the more the merrrier!

Voted Cheka Man
April 29, 2011, 14:02

Nice, someone should add more to make this into a 30.

Voted valadaar
April 29, 2011, 22:04

A great selection of places to lift a pint!

Voted MysticMoon
May 4, 2011, 23:29

A useful selection of places.

Voted RGTraynor
May 9, 2011, 14:01
Only voted
Voted Kassy
June 7, 2012, 11:45
A flagon of your finest, barkeep!

Other than the writing in the text boxes being slightly difficult to read because of their colour and size I found it to be a good submission.

Voted Ted
February 27, 2013, 4:42
Only voted

Random Idea Seed View All Idea Seeds

The Silent Mage

       By: Wulfhere

A powerful wizard that the PCs encounter is completely silent. He does not speak and cannot be heard as he moves. Even his spells are silent, but his magic is just as potent.

He has a tendency to summon invisible chairs, place foes in invisible boxes of force, and other "mime tricks".

Ideas  ( NPCs ) | March 8, 2007 | View | UpVote 4xp

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