Thursday, July 27, 2017

Houses of Ill Repute

(Pssst. These were stolen from formed in collaboration with Chris over at

Beneath the streets of the City is the first floor of the Underworld—a section of caverns called the Catacombs.  The Catacombs blend the forces of civilization and the forces of the dungeon together. It was cleared out long ago, so is the closest thing you have to “safe” while in the Underworld (it is, however, not very safe). It is, de facto, where player heroes go to rest and resupply when they’re not ready to make the haul back to the City.   
There are no real comforts anywhere in the Underworld, but there are four taverns in the Catacombs that provide succor to the adventuring community. Forgot to get torches while in the City? At the taverns, you can barter for what you need without paying the guilder tax. Need a safe place to set up camp? The taverns will charge you nominal fee to have the comfort of sleeping with adventurers and not imps (though, it’s not necessarily better).   
The taverns are institutions. Each guild has “their” tavern. Taverns offer jobs and sponsorship to guilds. If you’re cheap and efficient, they might even comp your drinks.  
Taverns are social clubs. When you frequent one of the taverns, you’re making a statement to the other guilds about what you prioritize, what sort of guild you are, what sort of jobs you’ll take, what sort of company you keep.   
Stopping at a tavern is basically a fancy Camp phase. You draw on a different random events table. You roleplay a bit differently. But it’s not going back to the City.   
Here are the taverns:  
The Accords  
The Accords looks like a hut of hay and twigs and sticks, which is a very conspicuous and out-of-place sight in an ossuary. But there it is. An oil lamp sits on a post outside the hut which reads “The Accords.”   

Inside the green-painted round door is a cozy and comfortable pub that, you could swear, is bigger inside than outside. It’s full of mushrooms big enough to sit on, and a long bar with thirteen stools. The bar is banded with beautiful ironwork.   

Private bedrooms are at a premium. They’re found in the cellar, tunneled back into the stone. They’re fine.   

Aunt Alice (sometimes called Aunt Malice) runs The Accords with about a dozen of her children. If you ever think you have a solid count of the children and a handle on who’s who, your efforts are thwarted by a sudden influx of visiting cousins and nephews that make you lose count.   
There is also Maera, the best dog in the world.   

Aunt Alice doesn’t allow nonsense at The Accords. Everybody plays fair or they can leave. She doesn’t mind some rowdiness if you take it outside. Sometimes she’ll join in and whip a new adventurer at leg wrestling.   

No one is sure which accords the inn is named after.  

Drink: Plentiful, good, homemade beer  Food: Will make you fat  Rumors:   
  • Bring Aunt Alice ingredients from the Underworld and she'll make you a meal. These meals always have good alchemical properties.   
  • Maera the Hound is immortal.   
  • Aunt Alice used to have a husband with whom she adventured. He met an unfortunate end, so she retired from delving.   
  • Aunt Alice can turn into a troll at will.   
  • Some treasure from Alice's adventuring days remains buried inside a secret cave inside The Accords.   
The Manse   
When the Catacombs were being conquered by the templars, Saint Celia drove her spear into the ground and created a holy spring to quench the thirst of the parched athleta mythri. The templars thereafter used the site as a semi-permanent encampment; a toe-hold in the Underworld. When the Church ended the Crusades, the holy site became known as the Manse.   

The Manse is a tavern, but not really. I mean, you can buy food and drink there. You can even sleep there. But its proprietor calls it a shrine, not a tavern. Whatever.  

The Manse is found in a circular cavern, the walls lined with bones (like all the Catacombs). Because of a trick of the airflow or some residual magic, the skulls embedded in the walls seem to be always softly singing and harmonizing with each other. There are seven-hundred and seventy-seven butter candles burning atop the skulls, kept continually lit by the proprietor.   

The keeper of the shrine is a monstrance golem. Inside his frame are several important relics, including the teeth of Saint Celia herself. The proprietor’s name is a Chivalric phrase (which is the norm for Church-golems), Salus Populi Suprema Lex Esto. Suprema Lex is the short form of this name.    

Long tables within the main chamber foster a sense of community among those who frequent the Manse. War stories, boasts, and frequent contests color the conversation around the communal seating. There are no private rooms, but a chamber set off of the main room serves as a general dormitory where you can sleep for a suggested donation.   

Drink: Serves many types of wine  Food: Hearty, but Suprema Lex doesn't have taste buds and sometimes forgets to put seasoning on things  
  • White sorcerers get good luck when making pacts while in the Manse.  
  • Dreams you have while in the Manse always come true.   
  • Drinking the water of the pool has healthful properties. Bathing in it is even better.   
  • The ghost of Saint Celia sometimes appears in the Manse.   
  • The Manse is sometimes frequented by the Watch. If they get used to seeing you at the Manse, they'll give you a break while in the City.   
The Lord's Arms  
Once, the Catacombs were guarded by a bloody skeleton of gigantic size. This was called the Crypt Titan. The legend of how he was felled has become adventurer legend—but nobody can really agree on how it happened. Regardless, the giant is now dead, and his skeleton is a tavern.  

The Lord's Arms is the finest and most genteel of all the taverns within the Catacombs. Its entrance is the calcium-pocked skull, mouth agape and large enough to allow even a troll entry without stooping. 
It looks like this
The main chamber of the Lord's Arms is located within the titan's ribcage (all mortared over and closed up, for privacy, aesthetics, and warmth). The heart of the titan is a blazing fire in the center of the room. The fire never needs to be tended and never goes out.   

The staff of the Lord's Arms shroud their faces in black masks. Nobody knows exactly who they are, but each customer rests assured knowing that the staff are bound to the highest oaths of secrecy. Your secrets are their secrets.   

For a membership fee, you can become a patron of the Lord's Arms. Patrons are afforded the right to enter the Inner Room, a library buried further within the recesses of the tavern. Speech of any kind is forbidden within the Inner Room, and patrons value the ability to rest and meditate without interruption. There are several rare and interesting codices within the Inner Room. Patrons also have the exclusive right to purchase some of the well-furnished but very expensive boarding rooms.   Nobody knows who the owner of the Lord's Arms actually is. The staff sometimes refer to the "Senior Patrons." It's not known what it takes to join the ranks of these illustrious elites, or who ranks among their number.   

The giant's sword is driven to the hilt into the ground outside the tavern, and is a historic place for duels  ("Meet me at the Titan's Sword at dawn for satisfaction!").   

Drink: The finest!  Food: The best!  
  • The heart of the titan is a fire elemental. Usually pretty quiet, it can wake up and give cryptic advice or defend the tavern.   
  • The staff of the Lord's Arms are all monsters. That's why they hide their faces.   
  • The boarding rooms each have their own silver summoning circle within them.   
  • To become a patron, you have to mark your name down in a huge tome bound in human skin.   
  • The senior patrons sacrifice customers of low birth. They even serve them up in the meals afterwards! That three-course dinner you just ate? It used to be people!  
The Rat Cellar  
A foul stank hole of a place, built into an abandoned prison. The Rat Cellar is full of the bawdy and burlesque, but also the gross and grotesque.   

There's almost no wait staff to speak of. You serve yourself. When you come in, you deposit your coins to purchase your seat and your cup. It's made out of clay and called a "coddle cup." Nobody is quite sure why. You throw the coddle cup to the ground when you leave, shattering it. You'll buy a new one next time.   

The main drink on tap is a primitive liquor called rat's milk. It's awful, but potent.   

Since the Rat Cellar was built out of a former prison, the sleeping rooms are cells. You put your coin in a lockbox and take a key from the wall, if you want to stay. Sleeping in a prison cell is just about the safest you can get in the dungeon--if you're the one with the key.   

There's another locked area called "The Vault." You can store your shit in there.  For a fee, you can get it back. It's considered to be a pretty good place to store your valuables without going to the Church Bank in the City.   

The proprietor of the Rat Cellar is a man named "Deep Delving" Dickie. He was once a pirate. In one of his eye sockets is a rare and beautiful sapphire. Don't ask him about it.   

Drink: Cheap, hard, shit  
Food: Rats, rats, and more rats. Rats on a stick. Rat bisque. Fried baby rat poppers. It's an Underfolk delicacy, you know.   
  • If you die from a barfight, you're dumped into a "bottomless" pit in the back.   
  • It's not really bottomless. There's a lot of undead at the bottom of it.   
  • The kitchens are run by a gaggle of goblins.   
  • If you go into the kitchens, you can see Loose Eustace, Deep Diving Dickie's pet heron. He's drunk on rum.   
  • The Rat Cellar has lots of hidden passages and chambers. The main tavern room has at least seven hidden escape routes.   
  • The Thieves Guild's headquarters is somewhere in these passages.   
  • Deep Delving Dickie's sapphire eye is magical and all-seeing. Whenever you fail to pay for a cup or a key or whatever, he fucking knows it.   
  • Dickie is said to have once ventured to the bottom of the Boundless Moat, deep in the Underworld.