Sunday, March 18, 2012

So, you're sitting in a tavern...

Why do so many adventures start out this way?  Because, after a few pints (okay gallons, we are adventurers, who do we think we are kidding?) what sounds better than that tale about dragons that old drunkard with the beard always tells every night?  I mean, that guy had great adventurs back in his day.  We could do better than him, right?  Plus, after that many dwarven ales (one) he kinda reminds us of Gandalf and we really need that gold in Smaug's cave. We don't really but how else do you get the attention of a fair princess besides slaying a great and evil dragon and becoming richer than the king? I can't think of a better way.
But why a tevern?  Because this is the quintessential meeting place of the masses in a medieval setting. They met here in the evenings after toiling about their fields and shops and forges all day long and they unwound, telling stories of adventure, of dragons, of heroism. So what better place for those stories to begin than in the place where so many are told?

You have mead, grog, and ale to bolster your courage. You have friends (and strangers) to encourage you.  They are usually dark and smokey places where grand tales are told and fear is the shadow in the corner spurring you to drink and investigate.

So in short, a tavern is the perfect place to begin a life altering, world changing adventure.  So now, what makes this tavern unique?  Every tavern should have something no other tavern has. A signature drink or dish.  An interesting theme. A memorable tavern-keep.  Something special.

While Thom's Pub down the street is a nice enough establishment, there is nothing special or unique about Thom or his pub.  It has four booths, two on each the left and right side of the pub, five tables in the center and a bar in the back. While that gives us a layout it tells us nothing about the pub or its feel.

The Smoking Gnome however is much more interesting.  This tavern is owned by a jovial (and almost dwavenly stout) gnome Girmah Spinstool, who lights it with red paper lanterns that also burn a light incense that fills the tavern with pleasant smelling smoke.  Girmah and his lanterns give the tavern its name.  The rotund gnome works the bar in the back welcoming each patron individually even if it means stopping in the middle of a sentence.

Girmah serves traditional Gnomish meals with a human twist to make them more palatable to his clientele. He has his famous Acorn salad to which he added lettuce and his human customers love (his gnomish customers find it repulsive that he would ruin a perfectly good acorn salad).  Girmah welcomes all into his tavern, but insists that weapons are checked at the door. Not even the Captain of the Guard gets past the door with a sword at his waist.

Thom is going out of business.

Tell me about some of the taverns you have been to in your adventuring days.


  1. My players once stopped off at a pub called "Peggy's" It was run by an Ahab-esque dwarf who had lost his leg in a battle with a giant crab. He managed to take the crab's claw in vengeance. The problem was, he then learned that crabs can grow back their claws, so he occasionally has to venture out to "re-seek" vengeance. The walls of the bar are decorated with the many regrown claws of that same crab.

  2. that is awesome. how did you come up with that?

  3. It was a pretty simple process of asking myself questions. I knew I wanted a seedy bar option. Where should it be? Waterfront districts are seedy! Who should run it? Dwarves make good tavern keepers and a peg leg fits the feel of the docks! Well, how'd he lose the leg? In a fight with a giant sea creature!...but not a whale... how about a crab!? How did that make him feel? He could be like Ahab, but angry about crustaceans. What did he do about it? Maybe he decorates his bar with crab legs! Maybe one is from the same crab that got him! Don't crabs re-grow lost legs? They do! How would a stubborn dwarf respond to this? He'd make a point to keep retaking the leg!