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TengYt
2009-06-13, 02:08 PM
Taverns are essential for most campaigns. Many start off in inns and pubs. Others use taverns as a place for PCs to rest after an adventure or to gather information. What do you think are the most important aspects for a quintessential D&D Tavern? The more cliched and over the top the better.

My ideas so far:

1) Multiple races mingling with each other even if normally they would be mortal enemies. Kobolds sharing a drink with dwarves, and elves discussing politics with orcs, that sort of thing.

2) Barstools and tables made to suit different sized races. There can be smaller seats for gnomes, and huge tables for any giants that have popped in for a pint.

3) There should always be a small group of halflings hanging around trying to convince the staff they are in fact NOT underage human children.

4) A hardy, ex-adventurer for an owner with high levels a +5 crossbow above the bar in case anyone tries to leave without paying for their drink.

5) "Regulars". These are (mostly) old, local men from the surrounding houses they seem to spend their entire day in the pub. Have their own seat next to the bar and get cranky anytime anyone else tries to sit on them. Know all the barstaff by name, and have a "usual" drink.

6) A quiet, very weak and weedy looking guy who drinks alone on a table neat the bar. No one speaks to him and everyone avoids eyecontact. Drinks nothing but fruitjuice, nothing alcoholic. Occasionally, tough and rude travellers make fun of this man. None have survived. Turns out he happens to be a Level 20 Barbarian who doesn't take crap off anybody.

7) Dark corners occupied by solitary men in equally dark clothing. Mumble to themselves, and exist only to offer plothooks to low level adventurers. Each one of these men holds a "darkest secret that threatens the fate of the entire world", and under their cloaks are countless MacGuffins. For bonus points, the tavern is designed in a way to create as many dark corners as possible, each with it;s own "mysterious stranger with a black cloak".

8) Busty barmaids/wenches who are very open and friendly. Many of them exist only to get seduced by wandering bards and other adventurers. One barmaid is younger than the rest, and is newly hired. She is clumsy and inexperienced, and doesn't seem to fit in. She is actually a runaway, rebellious princess in disguise.

9) A plothook involved "rats in the wine cellar". No matter how many times these rats are killed, they seem to return every time a new level 1 party enters the tavern.

10) Speaking of new parties, every single day the tavern is occupied by new parties gathered around their tables discussing their first adventure. These are usually made up of individuals who don't seem to know how they got together in the first place and certainly don't fit in with each other. Regardless, they all seem to have unfathomable loyalty for each other and will all happily leap in when the CN Rogue of their group sets fire to the table and picks a fight with the toughest guys in the pub.

11) The pub's kitchen is off limits to everyone, including the bar staff. Woe betide a cocky traveller who wanders in...

12) A captain of the town guard who seems to be permenantly drunk, head over the bar, day and night. Is very willing to tell complete strangers secrets about the local baron, provided they buy him a drink.

13) Secret passageways. In actuality, the bar has so many secret passageways they're hard to keep track of and are not secret at all. Most lead to nowhere.

14) A toothy, crooked looking merchant who sells junk at high prices to any gullible adventurers that walk in.


So, any suggestions/additions? :smallbiggrin:

Signmaker
2009-06-13, 02:17 PM
Perhaps some form of shapechanging informant a la Get Smart? Since they never use the same disguise twice, the PCs are liable to think of 'that' person as a multitude of random drifters who just want a good drink.

Devils_Advocate
2009-06-13, 08:51 PM
I like the idea that one tavern in particular is the local Adventurers' Tavern, whether officially or unofficially. The one place where itinerant mercenaries and treasure hunters of assorted races go to hang out, drink, form parties, and meet with potential employers. Probably with a bulletin board advertising various quests, openings in parties, and resumes. ("Human wizard looking for group. Limited adventuring experience. Unfold to read completed quests and contact info. Please replace when finished.")

Make it a combination tavern and inn with lodging on the top floor. Those are good. All sorts of opportunities for trysts, nighttime robberies and assassinations, etc. And the adventurers need someplace to sleep while they're in town.

Of course, it needs a traditional fantasy establishment name (http://www.paper-dragon.com/fantasyland/tavernnamegen.html).

Teron
2009-06-14, 01:56 AM
The barmaids should all be rogues of a level proportionate to their attractiveness. Whenever a deadly fight breaks out and an adventurer finds himself at the mercy of an enemy, a barmaid will sneak attack the bad guy with a platter to the head and thereafter act as the adventurer's de facto cohort.

kjones
2009-06-14, 02:01 AM
My tavern had pegs with dark cloaks that one could borrow in order to sit in a dark corner... Problem was, people kept making off with them, so they eventually painted neon stripes onto them.

Chrono22
2009-06-14, 02:23 AM
Innkeeper College (http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=1200590)

Deth Muncher
2009-06-14, 02:30 AM
Innkeeper College (http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=1200590)

You know what makes me mad? My computer hates Gleemax. Internet Explorer, Firefox, doesn't matter. The best I'll get it the page will flash up for a sec, then vanish.

Harperfan7
2009-06-14, 02:55 AM
A circular tavern where the shady guy continually walks along the wall trying to look mysterious.

All barkeepers have irish accents. No exceptions.

mostlyharmful
2009-06-14, 04:23 AM
A back room with a big honking signs - No adventuring topics or desperate quests to be discussed on pain of pain! - above the door.

Inside it'd be filled with the high levellers who just want a drink in peace without fairy princesses, desperate barons, mad wizards apprentices or crazed prophets of doom bothering them.

Oh, and a pool table.

Hawriel
2009-06-14, 04:30 AM
Take any tavern or bar from any American or spaghetti western. remove cowboys. Insert D&D characters. Your done.

Dagren
2009-06-14, 04:31 AM
I take it you're going for a very cosmopolitan city, huh? Personally I prefer a more isolated setting. Think the Hobbits in the Prancing Pony from the Lord of the Rings film, they were the only non-humans there if I remember rightly. I can't remember if they had to make do with human furniture or not though.

Hawriel
2009-06-14, 04:35 AM
Frodo and friends where the only hobbits there that night. Bree town is for the most part on the border between human and hobbit lands. They get afew hobbits in town from time to time.

Kami2awa
2009-06-14, 04:40 AM
7) Dark corners occupied by solitary men in equally dark clothing. Mumble to themselves, and exist only to offer plothooks to low level adventurers. Each one of these men holds a "darkest secret that threatens the fate of the entire world", and under their cloaks are countless MacGuffins. For bonus points, the tavern is designed in a way to create as many dark corners as possible, each with it;s own "mysterious stranger with a black cloak".


There are so many dark corners that the place is called 'The Dodecahedron'. Recently it started actually employing people in regulation dark cloaks just to keep up with demand.

Kris Strife
2009-06-14, 04:57 AM
Frodo and friends where the only hobbits there that night. Bree town is for the most part on the border between human and hobbit lands. They get afew hobbits in town from time to time.

And in the books, IIRC, (its been a few years) the inn had a few hobbits from in town who were regulars, and had special underground rooms, specifically for hobbits.

bosssmiley
2009-06-14, 09:31 AM
No mention of the table map (http://arsludi.lamemage.com/index.php/79/grand-experiments-west-marches-part-2-sharing-info/) yet?


...when other adventurers had tried their luck exploring the West Marches, they had sat in the taproom of the Axe & Thistle to compare notes. While trying to describe an area of the wilds, a few thirsty patrons had scratched out a simple map on the top of the table (an X here, a line here). Over time others started adding bits, cleaning it up, and before long it had grown from some scratches to a detailed map carved into most of the surface of the table showing forests, creeks, caves, ominous warnings, etc. Where was that table now? Gone, but no one was sure where maybe carried off as a souvenir, smashed in a brawl and used for kindling, or perhaps just thrown out after it was too scratched to rest a drink flatly.

On hearing this story the PCs immediately decided to revive the tradition (just as I hoped they would) and started to carve their own crude map on a large table in the taproom of the Axe & Thistle. As the campaign went on all the PCs would gather around it, quaff an ale, and plan adventures. In the real world it was a single sheet of graph paper with the town and the neighboring areas drawn in pretty well, and then about four or five more pieces of graph paper taped on haphazardly whenever someone wandered off the edge or explored just a little bit farther. Because the map was in a public place and any PC could get to it, I brought it to every game session for the PCs to add to or edit and kept a reasonably up-to-date scanned copy on the web for reference between games. In the end maybe half a dozen different players had put their hand to it.

Was the table map accurate? Not really, but having a common reference point, a shared sense of what they thought the region looked like kept everyone feeling like they were playing in the same world.

Faleldir
2009-06-14, 11:16 AM
Make sure there's one person in the party whose kind the tavern doesn't serve.

Hat-Trick
2009-06-14, 11:30 AM
Tax anything usually meant as a monster. Troll? Taxed. Full Orc? Taxed. Drow? Fiends? Dragons of any purity? Taxed. And don't let anyone cast spells in your inn unless they buy a permit to do so.

TheThan
2009-06-14, 12:15 PM
1: Busty barmaids/wenches who are very open and friendly. Many of them exist only to get seduced by wandering bards and other adventurers. One barmaid is younger than the rest, and is newly hired. She is clumsy and inexperienced, and doesn't seem to fit in. She is actually a runaway, rebellious princess in disguise.

2: Beer, mead, ale or any other related drink

Cicciograna
2009-06-14, 02:06 PM
Dwarven ale, requiring a (high) Fort save not to lose senses.

Pickpockets.

chiasaur11
2009-06-14, 02:41 PM
A professional barfight team, complete with a fight song.

A small Kobold who comes in, gets a drink on the house, and leaves, treated with the utmost terrified courtesy by the barkeep. If asked, the barkeep just shudders and mentions "Sarruhks".

Flickerdart
2009-06-14, 02:51 PM
Poor lighting. Taverns are always dimly lit, at least in the places where the mysterious strangers are.

Spies. There has to be at least one, a travelling bard who's "stopped by to raise money to continue his journey" but has been there for months.

TheCountAlucard
2009-06-14, 03:04 PM
Thought this was fairly relevant. (http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=613)

snoopy13a
2009-06-14, 04:53 PM
Frodo and friends where the only hobbits there that night. Bree town is for the most part on the border between human and hobbit lands. They get afew hobbits in town from time to time.

Nope, hobbits live in Bree along with humans and there were several hobbits at the Prancing Pony that night. They were very inquistive about the shire hobbits (Frodo's cover story was that he was researching a book). Additionally, one of the hobbits there was an Underhill (Frodo's code last name) who asked probing questions about Underhills in the Shire.

There were also some traveling dwarves staying at the Prancing Pony that night. There may have even been a half-orc (depending on one's interpretation of his description) who was traveling with a group of refugee types who came from the south. The "half-orc" and local jerk Bill Ferny were spies for the Nazgul.