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Inns and taverns in Mystaraby Jesper Andersen
The Book and Cauldron
This inn is located in Principality of Alhambra in Glantri and is the home of a retired wizardess, Isabel de Barbimar, who is secretly a member of the 2nd circle of Witchcraft. Isabel still makes potions, scrolls and wands for a price and many locals consult her for advice and medicine.
The Cheap Book Bar
Located not very far from the Great School of Magic in Glantri City, this is a combination coffee shop, restaurant and bookshop. The owner is a jovial man named Nildkim Candlesticks - or 'sticks' as his friends know him - who used to be a student at the GSoM but never graduated. He now runs this place and most of his customers are poor freshmen GSoM students, who come looking for cheap copies of old books sold to Nildkim by senior students that have either dropped out of the school or need the money to buy other books or perform magical research. Nildkim also owns a private collection of books on various topics, which acts as a public reading room where his guests can drink a cup of tea of coffee or enjoy a goblet of New Averoigne wine.
The Saloon of Butchers
This drinking pit in the River District of Darokin City is the favoured haunt of the majority of the city's butchers working in the many slaughterhouses where cattle raised on the Streel plain are transformed to beef for the Elite and Gold people of the city. It is a rough place where the brew is strong and the fights are frequent.
The Wonderful Elixir
This inn is located in the village of Rennydale in Darokin right across from another inn, the Magical Potion. The owner of The Wonderful Elixir, a man named Ezequiel Mosley, has a feud with the owner of The Magical Potion, a woman named Adele Sicard, that goes back several generations. When orcs sacked Ardelphia and utterly destroyed it in AC 846 a number of refugees gathered at where Rennydale was later built. A priest was with them and legend tells that he tapped a rock with his staff and forth sprang an enchanted fountain, which brought the refugees healing and comfort. The fountain sprang for years until it finally dried out. In the middle of Ezequiel's taproom is a large, weatherworn rock, which he claims is the original rock from which the fountain sprang. Of course, in the middle of the Magical Potion Adele has another old worn rock, which she claims is the source of the magical waters. Ezequiel and Adele's families have been feuding for so long because not even sages remember the site of the original fountain anymore. Both Ezequiel and Adele are constantly spreading rumours about the other. If Ezequiel says Adele is watering down her ale, Adele says Ezequiel has vermin in the beds in his rooms. Most villagers prefer one or the other inn and both places have enough customers to survive. But Ezequiel and Adele would probably both pay a hefty sum to the one who could finally prove that their inn is at the original site!
The Magical Potion
See The Wonderful Elixir above.
The Dragon and Duke
The Dragon and the Duke is located in Kelvin in Karameikos and is a fairly new establishment. A common mistake by visitors to Kelvin is that the name of the tavern has anything to do with the Duke of Kelvin, but the owner of the tavern, Milosh Tricerale, just liked the sound of it. The locals have quickly developed a nickname for the tavern - "the double D's".
The Militiaman and the Princess
This inn in Akesoli is popular with caravan guards travelling to and from the Sind desert. In fact, the inn is owned by a retired guard named Qunash Angrynlor. The name comes from an old Sindhi legend of a beautiful princess and a poor militiaman who fell deeply in love with one another and eloped together disguised as passengers in a caravan. Most patrons in the inn knows this legend and, most will nod knowingly, where the princess and the militiaman finally ended up living...
The Narwhal and the Priest
This tavern is located in the city of Soderfjord in the Soderfjord Jarldoms in the Northern Reaches. It is named after a tale about a godar (priest) of the Spuming Nooga (a local name for the immortal Protius) whose longship sank in a storm. According to the tale, a narwhal rose up from the violent waters and carried the priest to the shore on its back. The tavern is frequented by all types of northerners: traders, mercenaries, berserkers, craftsmen, whalers and raiders. It is a rough place where non-northerners should mind their tongue but also one of the best places in all of Soderfjord to find a captain and a ship to take you across the sea.
The Paladin and Lion
This inn in Kantridae in Thyatis takes its name from a legend of a paladin who walked into a cave system full of lions to retrieve a child that had wandered in there. The legend says that when the lions smelled the paladin they leaped forth to eat him but when he just stood there, sword drawn, ready to meet them, they realised that his courage was greater and more regal than theirs and they bowed to his will. From that day on the lions were his loyal allies and they were often seen following him around as guards.
The Paladin and the Lion is a luxurious establishment with only the finest foods and wines. It has a distinct Alasiyan touch, the guests sit on silk cushions on the floor and smoke water pipes when they are not eating exotic foods and drinking wine made from dates.
The Never-Empty Flagon Bar
This bar in Selenica is owned by the dwarf Dombur Deephill from Rockhome. Dombur was the son of a farmer in Rockhome - the lowest social class in the realm. To escape a future growing lettuce and watching the pigs, Dombur wandered out into the world. He eventually settled in Selenica and opened the Never-Empty Flagon. It is a very popular bar with both elves, humans and dwarves, for Dombur treats all with respect and an open mind. He is a great source of information.
The Destitute Monkey's Bar
Probably the worst named bar in all of the Known World, the Destitute Monkey's Bar is located on the waterfront next to the harbour in the town of Bayville in Thyatis west of Julinius. The owner, Yaroth Agenal, is a former pirate who lost both his legs to a falling ship's mast. When serving in the bar, he sits in a special basket that hangs from the ceiling in metal chains and he moves back and forth along the bar, serving his guests, via a set of sliding mechanisms in the ceiling. If trouble arises a couple of old shipmates step in.
Never known for being particularly bright, Yaroth settled in Bayville six years ago when he lost his legs at sea. Before then he was a crewman on one of the most notorious pirate ships ever to sail out of the port of Crossbones - the Barbarossa. His old shipmates still come to Bayville once in a while to visit and listen to news about valuable cargo ships coming out of the Vanya Girdle from Thyatis City.
The Destitute Monkey's Bar is dirty, smelly and smoky, the ale is strong and the customers prefer it that way. Anyone who comes snooping around is likely to get bashed on the head with a club and dumped in the harbour.
Occasionally, Yaroth dreams of getting back to sea. He might sign on as a ship's cook if anyone will have him. Unfortunately, his tendency to talk when he drinks means that his former shipmates will surely know it if he is going along on some treasure-hunting expedition, and are more than likely to follow...
The Leaky Barrel Bar
The Leaky Barrel Bar is a popular watering hole for all the caravan guards and merchants passing through Penhaligon between the Duke's Road Keep and Kelvin in Karameikos. It is not because it is a quality establishment but rather because it almost never closes. The owner, Dmitri Stephanovitch, suffers from insomnia. A few years ago he was a soldier in the Duke's army and his patrol came across a group of massacred villagers - evidence of an orc warparty. Although they tracked the humanoids and slaughtered them, Dmitri kept having nightmares and was eventually dismissed from his commission. He opened the Leaky Barrel and has to some extent found peace of mind, but he still has trouble sleeping.
The New Bottle Tavern
This tavern in the town of Machetos in Thyatis is owned by the halfling Jeremia Newbottle of Highshire, who emigrated there fourteen years ago. The humans couldn't understand the Newbottle last name and the tavern quickly became the 'New Bottle Tavern', which Jeremia accepted with a shrug of his shoulders. It is a nice place, large enough for visiting humans and elves, and famous for the owner's pancakes with his special blueberry/whisky jam.
The Retired Club
The Retired Club in Retebius is a high-class establishment exclusively for former members of the Retebius Air Fleet. Most of the patrons are now members of the Knights of the Air. It is a meeting place for flying enthusiasts of all manner of beasts and many nights are spent telling the wonderful tales of the exploits and victories of the RAF and Knights of the Air.
The Bawd and Minister
Besides being a famous inn this building is also a 'house of ill repute'. Well, the ill part depends on you point of view. It is located in the part of the Old Quarter that borders the Merchant District in Specularum. It takes its name from a scandal from many years ago when one of Duke Stefan's first ministers was revealed as a regular client of the harlots working there. The local barkeep, Ising Perpalp, is the husband of the madam of the brothel, a woman named Estella.
The Joyous Rogue Inn
The Joyous Rogue Inn was built to make a profit from selling beer to the thirsty soldiers of Darokin's Fifth Army at Fort Anselbury. It is located in the permanent camp of soldiers' families and support personnel outside the fort, which lies on the southern edge of Lake Amsorak near the Atruaghin border. The soldiers of the Fifth are eager customers because duty at Ft. Anselbury is so dull, in fact it is mostly training. On a recent raid against a minor army of lizardmen, however, one of the soldiers brought back a strange talisman taken from a dead lizardman shaman. He sold it to the inn-keeper at the Joyous Rogue, a man named Heriberto Cesar, for a keg of beer to celebrate his own and his comrades' safe return from the raid.
Heriberto, a former soldier himself, studied the talisman and even tried it on. As soon as he did, though, he felt a pain surge through his body. Despite the discomfort he had no desire to remove it. A few days later, he spotted a greenish, scaly spot on his left leg and his nails had grown over night at an alarming rate. Now, two weeks later, he has several scaly areas on his body and his spine has begun to grow into spikes out of his back. So far he has been able to conceal it with loose clothes but he realises that he might soon have to flee into the wilderness.
Heriberto has taken to stalking the camp at night and has, in fits of bloodlust, so far killed three innocent people. The guards are investigating it but has no clue Heriberto is doing it.
The Unicorn's Mane
Dolos in Darokin is widely reputed as one of the most hospitable places in all of the Republic and the inns and taverns play no small part in that. One the inns is The Unicorn's Mane, run by the elf Eherudail, originally from Alfheim. His name is elvish for Willowwand and Eherudail is an accomplished sorceror as is many of his kin. He settled in Darokin to stay in touch with the many non-elven friends he got during his adventurous years.
The Unicorn's Mane is a quality establishment. Only the finest elven wines and the best beer of the Shires is served here, alongside extravagant meals that are almost small banquets. Even in Dolos, where service is cheap and fine everywhere, the Unicorn's Mane outdoes most places to eat and drink.
The Screaming Harpy Inn
The Inn of the Screaming Harpy is located in Luln in Karameikos. To its customers it seems a perfectly ordinary place. They have all known the inn-keeper Yugosh and his wife Darya for more than two decades. They know the couple has a son, a young man named Sergei, who went away to join the Duke's army a little less than a year ago. Sometimes he sends his parents letters, which Darya reads aloud in the taproom for their friends. In truth, Sergei is not in the army. His parents has kept him locked in a powerful steel cage in their cellar for eleven months. They are afraid of him, so even though they love him they only go down there to feed him. Sergei contracted lycanthropy a year ago while hunting in the forest. He asked his parents for help and they put him in the cellar. Fearful that the church might want to burn Sergei, Yugosh has turned to an old Traladaran crone to cure him with a potion, but the witch just keeps asking for more money - for her alchemy experiments she says. In the meantime, Yugosh and Darya keep up the pretence, while Sergei has gone all but insane in his isolation in the cellar...
The Toll-Keeper's Bottle
One of the most popular inns in Darokin's largest port, Athenos, is the Toll-Keeper's Bottle. It is a cheerful place with a varied cuisine that caters to the many different cultures that visit the port and at night merry songs in a dozen different languages fill the air. The inn-keeper, Alfonso Savagé, is happy with his lot in life. He is blessed with a beautiful wife and smart children. Unfortunately, his brother is a reckless gambler who owes a lot of money to the nephew of the House of Linton. The head merchant, Lucius Linton, has let Alfonso know that whether he likes it or not, Lucius will take over the Toll-Keeper's Bottle in two months' time unless Alfonso can come up with the money...
The Foul Ogre Bar
The Foul Ogre is a moderately decent tavern in Akorros on the shore of Lake Amsorak. Most of its customers are peasants coming to town to sell their crop or caravan guards resting between jobs. However, there is more to the Foul Ogre than meets the eye. It is a front for one of the entrances to the secret lair of the city's notorious thieves' guild. In the cellar beneath the tavern is a number of huge barrels holding wines, ale and beer and one of them is a secret door leading to a tunnel to the guild headquarters. The tunnel is guarded by armed men as well as traps and it is next to impossible to sneak in.
The Dancing Highwaymen
The Dancing Highwaymen is the only inn in the tiny village of Wrasseldown in the southeast of the Streel Plain in Darokin. It is an idyllic place of "country living" and the locals enjoy playing jokes on unknowing city folk visiting for a bit of fresh air. Martha Rutledge, the owner of the Dancing Highwaymen, is particularly notorious for her pranks, which include making a famous merchant from Darokin city pull the heavy gears of the village well himself because, as she explained, "Soladain is the oxens' day off".
The Mad Trader
Located in the tiny out-of-the-way village of Mar near the Darokin border with the Five Shires, the Mad Trader is one of the only three local taverns. Like most of Mar, the Mad Trader is a quiet place where the customers mind their own business. One of the regulars, sitting in the corner with his back to the wall, is a man the locals know as Cod. Most suspect that he is a fugitive, like quite a few other people in town, hiding from the law. In fact, he is quite the opposite. Cod is one of the best bounty hunters in all of the Republic. His name is actually short for his motto: "Cash On Delivery" and he is as cold about his grim profession as bounty hunters get. He is never without at least a number of knives and his trusted bola, which he can use to incapacitate a man 40 feet away.
The Coachman is one of the largest inns in all of Corunglain located right next to the caravan outfitting compound. The Coachman has four floors. Along the outer walls are the guest rooms connected via a corridor and in the centre of the building is the main room for drinking and dining, which runs through all four floors all the way to the ceiling. People sit on the top three floors with a balcony view of the main room, where there is often entertainment such as music or wrestling. It is a bustling place that seats more than 300 people when it is full and has more than 80 guest rooms.
One of the Coachman's most famous patrons is Thoin Orcslayer, probably one of the most seasoned caravan leaders in all the north. Originally a legionnaire in the army of Thyatis, Thoin Orcslayer pioneered the introduction of war elephants to guard the caravans - a nasty surprise for the humanoid warbands.
Thoin is pushing 46 but he is still a tough fighter, even if he is not as fast as he used to be. And his years of experience makes him invaluable to any caravan attempting to cross to Glantri or Ethengar via the Broken Lands.
The King and Dragon
The King and Dragon is an inn in Norrvik - the capital city of Vestland. It is gathering place for many adventurers and off-duty members of the Home Guard. It has a board on the wall where announcements and requests can be posted and many employers go here if they need adventurous types for a quest.
The Swaggering Emperor
The Swaggering Emperor is a tavern i the city of Hattias on the island of Hattias in Thyatis. Many of its customers are sheepherders, fishermen and farmers who produce wine. But there are also a number of Storm Soldiers who frequent the place trying to attract new recruits.
The Robber and the Giant
This inn is located in the middle class part of Thyatis City. In all respects it appears to be just another inn and the owner prefers it that way. In fact, it is a safe house for Alphatian agents who are in need of some urgent assistance if a mission goes wrong. The two top floors of the building are protected by numerous anti-scrying features such as lead-coated walls and magical wards and every window and door has a number of ordinary and magical locks. It is probably the most theft-proof building in most of Thyatis save for the Imperial Treasury and the Palace. And that is understandable enough. A secret vault contains more than twenty fully charged magical wands, fifty potions of various kinds, a dozen or so useful rings for all manner of spy and/or assassination missions, magical hats, cloaks and capes for disguise and even three Carpets of Flying. If the imperial counter-espionage division were ever to stumble upon this little secret the resulting fire fight would surely leave a city block or two in ruins.
The Centaur's Tail
The Centaur's Tail is another inn located in Thyatis City near the waterfront. Most of the customers are seamen and traders from various nations in the city to buy or sell cargo. One of the guests, however, is not there to do business. His name is Asuriol Longtouch and he is an elf from Minrothad Guilds. He is secretly in Thyatis City to free his brother, Varglo, from Blackrock Prison. Varglo was captured as a spy five weeks ago when he was trying to steal some documents from the Thyatian Ministry of Trade and thrown in a deep and dark cell. The Minrothad ambassador denied any knowledge of his actions and Varglo was left to rot. But his brother intends otherwise. He is trying to recruit allies from the Shadow-Hand but has so far been unsuccessful.
The Good Phoenix Inn
This inn is located in Kerendas in Thyatis. It is built on pillars twenty feet above the Greendale River, which flows through the city and has a magnificent view of the river and the waterfront on the other side. On the back of the inn, facing the river, there is a small terrace where guest sit in the summer and enjoy the meals and drinks in the sun.
Under the common room is a small pier where boats can dock and a door leading into a cellar underneath the inn's kitchen.
The Shady Dragon Inn
"In Darokin City, where Third Street crosses a small stream over a bridge, lies a beautiful, century-old white half-timbered house. Rose bushes grow up the facade around little windows with smoke-coloured glass and brown shudders. Above the door hangs an old purple sign with golden letters spelling "The Shady Dragon Inn".
The room inside is large and warm, packed with a variety of tables, chairs and benches. There are several large hearts with fires blazing and candles on the tables. Along the walls are arms and armour and various trophies put on display - a testimony to decades of adventuring.
This is the Shady Dragon, home-between-adventures to dozens of wandering wizards, priests, warriors and rogues seeking fame and fortune across the Known World.
The innkeeper's name is Riffian and he is the fourth-generation owner of the Shady Dragon. His great grandfather built it back in 914 AC and passed it on to his grandfather in 933 AC. Riffian's father took over the reins in 957 and finally Riffian became the manager and owner in 989 AC.
Apart from Riffian, his wife Allyson also works there and three serving-wenches named Roxie, Frida and Tricia. Riffian and Allyson's son Elwood handles the horses in the stable next to the inn and their daughter Felicia helps in the kitchen.
In charge of cooking is the halfling Basil 'Stormtoes' Baird and his wife Mabel Baird. An old and dear friend of Riffian, the dwarven fighter Hegor Hardfist, is in charge of showing troublemakers the door, though that is rarely necessary. Most patrons of the Shady Dragon Inn are regulars who take serious offence to anyone coming around and stirring up a fight.
Above the main room of the inn are three stories of rooms with soft, comfortable beds. Some face the stream to the left of the inn, some face the small garden behind the inn where Basil grows many of the herbs he uses for his delicious roast potatoes and some face Third Street and the shop of the water clock manufacturer, Samuel Hyde, across it.
The Shady Dragon Inn has been a favourite haunt of adventurers coming to Darokin City for the better part of a century and that is by no small means because of the food and drink.
Riffian has contacts with most of the merchant houses in the city and is usually able to get even rare and expensive items for his guests. His menu of wines and beverages include wines from New Averoigne, Marlinev, Thyatis and Alfheim, beer from the Five Shires and Rockhome, mead from Soderfjord and the home brew of the house: Dragon Breath - a strong and frothing dark ale that is very popular with the regular guests.
Riffian also has Boldavian spirits, Klantyre whisky, New Averoigne cognac and Rockhome "rot guts" - a strong drink with a very distinct taste that only appeals to dwarves and the most seasoned drinkers of other races.
Basil's menu of kitchen specialities include roast lamb with garlic and potatoes in cream sauce, various servings of deer and boar, fish from the Streel River cooked with lemon and the season's vegetables and numerous cakes, cheeses and deserts. His most famous creation, however, is the Shady Dragon Omelet. It is so large that people staying at the inn usually joke that it is made from dragon's eggs.
To most of the inn's patrons, the Shady Dragon is their home in a world of violent adventure and dangerous deeds. It is not uncommon for a guest to return from a long and epic quest with the news of comrades and drinking-friends, who failed to return. On such nights, the mood in the main room is marked with respect as the patrons gather to tell tall tales and sing of old adventures, honouring the deceased in words and song.
Most of the weapons, armour and other trophies that adorn the walls of the Shady Dragon Inn belonged to such fallen guests and Riffian knows the story connected to each one of these items. He will gladly tell a tale or two and such things more often than not lead to new adventurers picking up where others have failed".
This next one is actually adapted to Mystara from the Dungeon scenario "By the Wayside" by Tim Villademoros (issue # 19, 1989)
The Gallows Tree Inn and Tavern
On a swampy bit of road between Athenos and Mar next to the Malpheggi lies this ramshackle, one-story establishment. The rotting wooden roof seems ready to come down on the heads of those within at any time, and the outside walls are in desperate need of a whitewash. Over the entrance hangs a burnished black woodcut sign depicting a corpse hanging from an equally dead tree while several bystanders look on. Below the scene is a legend that reads "The Gallows Tree".
The inn is owned by a man named Penard, who looks to be little more than a collection of skin and bones hiding behind a greasy and obsequious ear-to-ear grin. Penard was once a smuggler who funnelled goods into Darokin past the toll officers on the road and the Athenos canal. He quit when his age and his enemies began to bear down on him. Using his remaining capital, he opened this inn as a place where he could take it easy in his remaining years and swindle people in a more legitimate fashion.
Penard does little of the real work here; he regards the inn as more of a retirement home than a business. Most of the dirty chores are done by three bruised and haggard local girls in their late teens. Penard's duties consist of greeting guests and keeping his books in good order as an insurance against theft by his underlings. The serving wenches do steal from him, since they are grossly underpaid. He keeps any substantial amounts of cash with "Captain" Turisad - a long-time associate who lives permanently in one of the back rooms.
The Snake is a three-story tavern in Hillfork, Thyatis. It is owned and run by a former bandit-chief named Andura, who recently earned a pardon for past crimes because she and her gang exposed an Alphatian spy ring working in the Barony of Buhrohur. It is only the ground floor that acts as a tavern, while the two upper stories belong to Andura and her men. (several of the bandits from her former group now work for her).
In her day, Andura hijacked several imperial gold transports from Markrast and the gold was never found. Although she and her men have been pardoned, the Imperial Treasury still wants the gold back. Thus, they have several agents spying on the Snake, observing every move her and her men make. Some of the Alphatians who managed to escape in Buhrohur are also watching them, because the gold was what they were also after in the first place. And finally, several members of the Shadow-Hand, Thyatis' infamous thieves' guild, are also observing Andura's tavern, hoping that she will lead them to the gold once the heat dies down.
So far, Andura is playing it cool...
This one is adapted from TSR's old "Deserts of Desolation" series; the "Oasis of the White Palm" adventure.
Happy Hogan's Desert Igloo
Happy Hogan's Desert Igloo is a popular watering hole in the White Palm Oasis in the middle of the Alasiyan desert's Great Salt Basin - otherwise known as the Desert of Desolation. The oasis is controlled by an Alasiyan sheik and his warriors, who are in a constant skirmish with the Nithian tribes living to the north, who still worship Osiris and other immortals of old.
Happy Hogan's lies in the Traders' Compound in the south end of the oasis. It is a small walled stone fort in which lies the Sandvoyagers' Guild, a guesthouse, a ruined temple, a horse merchant and a bazaar with numerous peddlers of various goods.
Happy Hogan's Desert Igloo does, indeed, look like a giant white igloo made of snow and ice. It is of course made of stone painted white. Inside it is nice and chill compared to the scorching sun outside. Hogan, the owner, is a jolly halfling who wandered far and wide in his day. Eventually he married a halfling lass and settled down in the oasis. He has a gnome friend who helps him out in the kitchen, while he tends the bar.
Happy Hogan's Desert Igloo is a big round building with a wall going through the middle, separating the kitchen and private rooms from the tap-room. Travellers are advised to seek out the guesthouse down the street if they are looking for a place to stay.
The Bloody Knuckles Bar
The Bloody Knuckles Bar is located in the town of Julinius in the empire of Thyatis due west of the capital.
Its manager, Skez Rezni, was taken slave in one of the empire's many wars and sold to a merchant in Thyatis City. Skez was forced to fight for entertainment and developed a skill as a pugilist. When he finally earned his freedom and a small sum of money he moved to Julinius and opened a tavern. But he quickly found that he missed the dust and blood of the boxing arena and so he started a gambling hall in his cellar where customers can bet on fistfights he arranges.
Under no circumstances will Skez allow slaves to fight in his cellar, only free men. He has been making a nice additional profit from the fights and the local thieves' guild has begun taking an interest. Soon he might be forced to share some of his good fortune with them unless valiant adventurers step up to help him.
Skez Rezni bears the scars and marks of his many fights with pride. His nose has been broken so many times he now speaks with a very distinctive voice because he has trouble breathing through it. His mind is still sharp, however, and rowdy customers had better watch their step unless they want to find themselves tossed into the muddy streets.
The Fiery Grog Cellar
Located in the city of Evemur in Rockhome, the Fiery Grog Cellar is a rough place where soldiers, miners and metalworkers come to relax at the end of a long day. Foreigners are tolerated if they are humans, gnomes or halflings but elves will be given a cold reception at best. The cellar is run and owned by a dwarf named Flint Firebrew, one of the finest brewers in all of Rockhome. His near-legendary grog is a secret recipe handed down from brewer to brewer for generations and the Firebrew family is held in high regard by all dwarves.
The Elder Serpent Inn
The Elder Serpent Inn in the town of Soderfjord in the Soderfjord Jarldoms is a place frequented by the berserkers of the brigades of Ragnar the Stout. They are a loud and violent bunch and so there are a lot of bar fights at the Elder Serpent.
The inn is run by Gerrik Ufarson, a man in his late forties who likes to pinch his serving wenches. Hif wife, Karolina Ingasdottir, also works at the inn. Because of her husband's lack of attention she flirts intensively with the customers. Karolina is in her early thirties and is still quite beautiful. What nobody knows is that she is the head of a Vestland spy ring and she uses her position to eavesdrop on the conversation of the brigade officers. So far, she has been able to report to the king of Vestland, that Ragnar's brigades are still not 100% battle ready and that internal conflicts between the various jarls undermines the support for Ragnar.
The Imperial Arms
In the city of Port Lucinius in Thyatis lies the tavern The Imperial Arms. It is run by an ex-legionnaire named Pertio Augustus, who is a veteran from campaigns in the Hinterlands. He came back from the wars with a nice pension and a young Hinterland bride, who has since born him three children, all of them boys.
The Imperial Arms is frequented by off-duty soldiers, sailors, marines and city guards. As such, it can be a rough place at times but respect for Pertio keeps brawling to a minimum.
Pertio has recently begun working together with the recruitment officers of Port Lucinius. He has always disliked imperial press gangs conning young men into service, but he doesn't mind them joining up if all they need is a few encouraging tales of the glorious campaigns of the legions and navy. And the Imperial Arms is always full of such tales, which is why the recruitment officers almost run half of their business from Pertio's tavern instead of their official office.
The Eastern Palace Inn
The Eastern Palace Inn is a two-story building located near the market in Darokin City. It is owned by the Ochalean Wang Tzei and his Darokin wife, Betty. The Eastern Palace Inn is a traditional Ochalean restaurant that also features a small number of rooms upstairs for weary travellers. The food served consists mainly of rice, vegetables, birds and fish. It is very heavy with spices and soy sauce, so most people avoid the inn unless they have acquired the taste for such food. Wang Tzei imports rice wine from Ochalea, which is sold at a modest price.
The guests at the Eastern Palace Inn (which by the way is bright red and features a number of small "towers" on the roof) can often be found discussing eastern philosophy, playing strategic board games or reading any of the numerous scrolls that Wang Tzei keeps on a system of shelves on the eastern wall in the main room. The scrolls are a collection of oriental thinking and stories created to teach Man wisdom and humility.
The Gilded Blade
The Gilded Blade is a tavern in Actius on the Thyatian island of the same name. It is owned by Briomen Dusselthorn, a retired adventurer and sailor in the Thyatian Navy. The tavern takes its name from a golden sword that hangs on the wall behind the bar for all to see. Locals say that Briomen found the sword while adventuring and used it to kill a powerful undead, before returning home. What actually happened was, that the undead creature transferred its spirit to the blade itself, becoming a Possession (see the Creature Catalogue for details). Using a telepathic power, the Possession recently allied with a doppelganger named Thirdust Kasselnor. Thirdust has been stealing the golden sword at night and using it to kill innocent people, thereby increasing the Possession's power, replacing it on the wall before dawn.
Eventually, Thirdust plans to kill Briomen and take his place and then present the Gilded Blade as a present to Count Geraldan Actavius (see Thyatis Gaz, DM guide p. 9). The possession will then posses the count and rule the county, initiating a campaign of piracy and mayhem...
The Thinsilver Seat
The Thinsilver Seat is a tavern in Shireton (see Gaz 8, page 27-28 + 52) owned by Sintyr Bulorno, the leader of the notorious thieves' guild The Fingers. It has a reputation as somewhat of a rough place, though not as rough as the waterfront taverns.
Sintyr established it as a cover for his stronghold but has also managed to actually turn it into a profitable venture. The cook, an alcoholic dwarf named Loric Bottombrew, makes fairly eatable food at reasonable prices and Sintyr also makes a few coins from the harlots who hang out at the bar.
If real trouble should ever arise, Sintyr and his gang can retreat into the underground tunnels and use a scroll of Wall of Stone to seal the entrance seamlessly.
The Rogues' Den
At the docks in Specularum lies a large old vessel called "The Wind Chaser". She used to be a proud ship that roamed the seas between Sind and the Isle of Dawn with the most vicious crew ever to sail the Sea of Dread. Their captain was the Pirate Lord Balthros Bloodeyes and the mere mentioning of his name would scare children to crawl up to their mothers and cry!
For years the Wind Chaser eluded naval patrols of all nations around the Sea of Dread - not because she was fast, but because of her captain's devilish luck! It was whispered in taverns and the living quarters of junior naval officers that Captain Balthros was in league with a horrible monster - a creature as large as a sea dragon and capable of putting out banks of fog and mists to cloak old Bloodeyes and let him escape. Few were the captains that dared follow The Wind Chaser into such a mysterious mist.
Eventually, Bloodeyes got old and sick. Pirate tales claim that he grew paranoid and secretly buried all of his treasure on a small remote island. When he died, supposedly of poison in his food by the hand of his own ambitious lieutenant, the crew fell into bickering and arguing about how to get the treasure back. They turned on one another and many men were killed before a new captain was elected. He wasn't any good however, and a few months later the Wind Chaser was finally ambushed by several ships from the Ierendi navy in a small cove. The crew was captured and hung in the nearest port and after a thorough search of the ship's hull, the Wind Chaser was auctioned off to a wealthy merchant in Specularum. This was in the year AC 989.
The merchant wanted to start trading with foreign lands without having to pay Minrothad merchants as go-betweens but he soon fell into economic difficulties and had to abandon his ideas. The Wind Chaser fell into disrepair, her hull started to rot and leak, and nobody wanted to buy her at the price the greedy merchant demanded.
Eventually, in AC 996, he did sell her - to a young elven lady named Silvariel Stormstrider from Minrothad Guilds. She put a crew of able-bodied men to restore the hull to water-tight conditions and pump the bills so she would stay afloat. Then Silvariel arranged for a long-term lease at the docks and a permission to run a food-and-drink-serving establishment and opened the Rogues' Den Inn aboard the proud, old ship.
The main room for dining, drinking and gambling is below deck where the crew and cargo used to be. At the front of the ship where sails, rope and supplies used to be stored there now is a food store for the kitchen right next to it. Silvariel and a few of her employees have their living quarters above deck in the old cabins that used to belong to Balthros Bloodeyes and his lieutenants.
The inn itself serves decent food and drink at reasonable prices but nothing exceptional. A lot of customers come here for the special atmosphere and because it is somewhat of a tourist attraction. Retired naval personnel come aboard to take in with their own eyes the ship that so often eluded them in the past. Children climb the lower parts of the rigging, pretending to be pirates or naval heroes and sailors from all over the world enjoy the slightly rolling feeling of a ship's deck beneath their feet - even while they are in port.
On the surface there is nothing suspicious about the conversion of the Wind Chaser into the Rogues' Den Inn. But secretly, a lot of things are going on. First of all, an unknown number of pirates frequent the inn, hoping to learn something about Bloodeyes' treasure. Old die-hard tales insist that Balthros hid his treasure map somewhere onboard the ship in a secret compartment and these men are trying their best to search the vessel without acting suspiciously.
Also onboard, working as bouncer and kitchen-help, is a man named Stavros. He is a secret agent working for the government of the Minrothad Guilds. His job is to spy on Silvariel because they suspect that she (being a long-lived elf) might have been part of Bloodeyes' crew in the past and therefore has some knowledge of where to look for it or for the map.
Furthermore, some of the people living along the waterfront claim to have seen the ghost of Balthros walking around on the deck or sitting in the rigging on dark, moonless nights. They say that the ghost of the pirate lord has come back to get his revenge on the crew that poisoned him and is more than likely to take out his anger on anyone he finds aboard the ship!
Whether any of this is true is for the DM to know - and your PC's to find out!!
Sinbad's Return is the name of a very high, steep cliff north-northeast of Ierendi city from where the locals have scouted out across the blue ocean for centuries, waiting for loved-ones to return safely.
In time a magnificent light-house was built there to guide the ships home and around the light-house a small community evolved.
At the centre of the village (which houses no more than a mere 150 people) lies the only local inn and guesthouse, also named Sinbad's Return. It is run by a grizzled old man named Jafar and his two sons; Benji and Rashosh. Jafar's wife died years ago in a fire and now his sons take care of most of the chores, allowing Jafar to sit by the fireplace and entertain guests and locals with his fantastic tales of ocean voyages and battles with terrible sea-monsters.
Most of the locals are fishermen and keep their boats on the sandy beaches north of the cliffs. Larger, ocean-going vessels rarely stop by the cove at Sinbad's Return because Ierendi City is so close by. The ones that do usually have something to hide from the authorities.
In his youth Jafar was quite the adventurer and both his sons and some of the locals speculate that he is much richer than he pretends...
THE FISH 'N FORK TAVERN
The Fish 'n Fork is located in Kobos on Safari Island. This is the place where most adventuresome souls first set foot on the island that offers the Known World's greatest monster hunts (note that some Alfheimers will probably disagree here).
In Kobos the tourism/monster hunting industry is BIG - and getting bigger. Everywhere are armouries and weaponsmiths, expedition outfitters, trappers, vendors, con-men, taxidermists, tax officials, export and customs officers, innkeepers, brewers, tailors, shoemakers and bootmakers - all trying to make a living off the wealthy adventurers and rich elitist snobs who come to Safari Island to hunt big game.
And in the middle of this treacherous Eldorado lies the Fish 'n Fork, run by Picarre and his wife Hismine. Now, to a stranger who has just landed in Kobos, the Fish 'n Fork seems like a friendly and honest place, run by 'good folk'. Nothing could be further from the truth.
In truth, Picarre is a dirty, rotten scoundrel and his wife Hismine is greedier than a gold-sick dwarf and as crooked as a pirate's hook! They are very careful not to be too openly dishonest, however, and most guests simply consider the Fish 'n Fork a low quality establishment with poor food when they leave. Picarre doesn't care. He knows that there will be another boatload of stupid tourists in from the mainland the next day that he can pick clean.
Picarre has many ways of turning a profit. He fills the sausages with meat from horses, cats and even worse creatures and calls it beef. He waters down the ale and the wine. He charges extra for a lot of little things that are normally included in the service. He fixes the scales when weighing out food for the guests and whenever someone has had too much to drink, he is not above picking the occasional purse or pocket.
Only strangers in Kobos get the full extend of Picarre's "service" - most locals find him very entertaining and consider him a "nice fellow". He can often be found amidst a crowd of drinking chums in the tavern, singing his praises, while Picarre brags about his adventures at sea.
Picarre wears an old and worn boatswains uniform of the Ierendi Royal navy and he likes to tell the tale of how he saved the day aboard the Invincible many years ago by taking charge of a group of sailors and putting out a dangerous fire while the ship was engaged in fierce battle against three pirate ships.
Such a thing never happened. Picarre is actually a deserter from the army who stowed away on a ship, landed on Safari Island and stole the uniform from a drunken bosun. He met Hismine and they fell in love - well, sort of. They recognised greed and a dislike for hard work in each other and that was sufficient.
They have been married for neigh on 10 years and have prospered quite nicely, skimming the cream of the elite that comes to Kobos on business.
[NOTE: This tavern and Picarre and Hismine were inspired by the 'Master of the House' Thenardier and his wife from the musical 'Les Miserablés'. If you can, check it out. They are awfully funny and lovable scoundrels].