Taverns

INNS, TAVERNS, AND ALEHOUSES
Where do the people go when not at home? To
the inns, taverns, gambling halls, and alehouses,
of course. These are the living rooms and
theatres of the city, where life is lived on a public stage.
The city of Zobeck has 14,000 thirsty, hard-working souls
who depend on 24 breweries and 7 vintners. Its dwarven
brewmasters vie with the import of Rothenian and
Morganic wines, and everyone has a favorite drink. Even
the kobolds brew up something called Dog’s Breath Ale,
which no one else can stomach but which kobolds covet.
The city’s taverns are as unusual as its guilds and its gods.

THE BROKEN SEAL__
Deep in the Gullet, the section of warehouses near the
docks that are a stronghold of the city’s gangs by night,
stands one tavern where all the city’s scum seems to settle:
the Broken Seal, headquarters of the Cloven Nine, the
infernalist tieflings who until recently were the city’s
premiere gang for extortion, gambling, and—most of
all—diabolism. e recent death of their leader Akad has
shaken them, but the gang seems to have found its footing
again, and tiefling lieutenants and foot soldiers alike
gather at the Broken Seal to drink cheap wine and tell
whopping lies about their debaucheries and plundering
of barge shipments.
The bar itself is largely below ground. A half flight of
stairs leads down to a cellar well-stocked with barmaids
and thugs. The primary modes of entertainment are
gambling and wenching, with occasional dog fights for
variety. The Broken Seal is also among the more arcane
sites in the city, although its reputation for black magic
and necromancy makes it unpopular with the masters
of the Collegium. So far, nothing resembling an arcane
crime can be proven to have been committed there.

THE DANCING BEAR (§58)
The dockworkers and bargemen all drink here, and it’s a
rough place: they even serve kobold gangs, though not
with any good cheer. Brawls, gambling, and whoring are
all part of the expected entertainment in the common
room and the bunks upstairs, but the whole place
applauds when Masha the dancing bear performs. She
dances, bows, counts, and knows a dozen other tricks.
Her favorites get a big bearish kiss.
The dancing bear is also the inn’s bouncer. When she
growls, all but the most drunken bargemen remember
to take the brawls out into the courtyard. For a dockside
place, the Dancing Bears loses remarkably few tables and
chairs. On the other hand, the bills for mead and honey
are huge, and Masha is a hopeless scrounger for treats and
attention.

THE GREY FRIAR (§5)__
Near the temple district and popular with the followers
of the Gear Goddess, this place is one of scholars and
learning. It has both a scribe and a gear kobold on staff
to handle communications and repairs. The owner is a
gearforged named Abrostar, and she is one of the few
gearforged who seem to have a deep love of learning.
She is said to remember the entire contents of every
conversation she has ever had, every book she has ever
read, and every face she has ever seen. Her memory means
that she is o en asked to assist the Watch in enquiries
about travelers.
The Grey Friar’s wait staff consists of two gearforged
and three young students. The food is terrible but cheap,
the ale is average and also cheap. The priests of Rava bless
the tavern and its patrons each day at noon and the place
is always packed after services at the goddess’s temple.

THE HEDGEHOG (§39)__
This is the unofficial tavern of the Arcane Collegium. It
is extremely popular with apprentices and some of the
masters there, as it stands just outside the Collegium’s
grounds on Arcane Square (§44) (which is, of course, a
trapezoid, as any student points out with a smile to the less
geometrically-inclined). e Hedgehog is kept clean by
magic, all drinks are served by unseen servants, and dishes
cleared by the same invisible hands.
Its owner is a retired mage, named Radomir Schlenk,
who seems to have been cast out of the Collegium long
ago. Since that time, he has befriended many of the
apprentices and even some of the masters, but his crime
was diabolism and he has not been forgiven.

THE KINGS HEAD (§53)__
From the outside, the King’s Head is just one of many
taverns around the city. Its roof is made of heavy slate
tiles and its walls are half-timbered on a field stone
foundation. The sign over the door shows a golden crown
and the white-haired head of a bearded man, resembling
the last king before the Revolt. It has its share of secrets,
but it is also notoriously difficult to get into. Outside the
door stands Peppercorn, a trollwife and the inn’s bouncer.
As a rule, she hates strangers and makes entry difficult.
Once inside, the place is warm and smells good.
Brewmistress Hazel and Chef Jako are part of the staff ,
the wine cellar is excellent, and the food first-rate (blood
pudding is a specialty, as is a stinky cheese). The King’s
Head bard is very talented, but snide and easy to anger;
his music is clearly magical but also haunted and even
dissonant. Dragoons, halberdiers, and Hussars seem to
form a large part of the clientele, and the place even has
a small dog-door leading into the common room, which
the staff calls “the King’s Door.”

THE MOON AND OWL (§59)__
This kobold tavern is the only one of its kind outside the
Ghetto and stands near the Pung Bridge, close to where
mine gangs enter the city when they return from the pits.
Humans and dwarves are distinctly unwelcome here,
as the language of the tavern is Draconic and the menu
caters only to kobold tastes. Indeed, it is open only from
sundown to sunup.
Kobolds themselves are seated at tables or benches by
tribe or work-gang affiliations. An enormous, grizzled
dire weasel serves as the Moon and Owl’s mascot. Rumor
claims that she can detect the smell of elf or gnome, and
has dragged more than one such visitor into her burrow,
screaming.

THE SEVEN BELLS (§30)__
By far the most important trade tavern, the Seven Bells is
more trade center than alehouse. e tavern stands just
o Crown Square and employs a full-time staff including
the usual potboys and serving wenches, but also a scribe,
a moneychanger, a notary, and a shipping clerk with
connections to the barge trade and the caravan masters.
Drinking to excess is frowned on, and attempts to duel,
brawl, or gamble result in summary ejection from the
premises by the Blue Giant’s nimblewight or gearforged
guards.
THE WHEATSHEAF (§31)__
A favorite smuggler’s tavern and second home of the
human minions of merchant lords, the Cloven Nine,
and others who need a thug now and again. Assassins,
tieflings, and even various gear kobolds might hide under
a heavy cloak here, and the Wheatsheaf is an excellent
source of information from the Red Cloak and Cloven
Nine gangs. e collection of rogues, sharpers, cultists,
and fences who drink at the Wheatsheaf is ever-changing
but always dangerous. Fights are common. Bodies tend to
disappear into the cellar and not return.
The Wheatsheaf is known for its smuggling and
infernal connections, but it is a remarkably non-violent
place most of the time. e odds are, if a flight starts at
the Wheatsheaf, it won’t be a friendly brawl—it will
be a murder. Whoever does the killing annoys all the
most powerful gangsters in Zobeck, who prefer that the
Wheatsheaf operate under a flag of truce for all major
factions.

THE WHITE ROSE (§54)*
A knightly tavern for the paladins and priests of the Sun
God and the War God; features bouts of combat each
night and prayer services each morning and at the noon
hour. It’s not a place to everyone’s tastes, with a shrines
and statues to the patron gods as well as St. Charon and
St. Ariadne. Candles and incense are available for sale for
a modest sum, as are cantors who intone the verses of the
Sun God’s mass and the War God’s liturgy for a fee of 20
gp/hour. A number of merchants who are not especially
devout use this service frequently when negotiating
particularly delicate or secret contracts

Taverns

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