At the end of the day, covered in the dust of a few tombs, any adventurer worth their salt makes their way to the tavern. A place to kick back, brag about the day's victories, mourn the losses, and enjoy a good pint.
A Toast to Those Who Didn't Make It
Adventuring is a dangerous gig. Sometimes you have to roll up a new character. And the bar is the perfect place for your new adventurer to meet up with the party! In TSR's Basic Dungeons & Dragons from the 1980s, 40% of the party dies in the example of play. The example! The players in my favorite gaming comic Knights of the Dinner Table have characters with names like "Knuckles the 6th"...
Pubs, bars, and inns can all be a fun part of the story. Not only home to porridge and frumenty, but mortrew (a pate dish!), and even honey from dire-hornets. The walls have the stories and history of the area: shield devices and family crests of the regional houses, mounted heads of local beasts, and that bear rug by the fire might be an Oursen skin.
And all of it needs a good local pint to go with it.
But mostly it's a great place for more storytelling and flavor for your character: what do they do when they’re not killing orcs? What kind of beer do they drink, what do they like to eat? Do they slouch and undo their top button after the meal? Do they buy the locals a round? Half the fun of a campaign is outside the dungeon: music, songs, carousing, bar fights, hooking up, all the good stuff of stories comes to life in the pub. And maybe you can try out your adventurer slang.
It's also the place to tell the tale of your adventure! Let the world know! Brag to anyone who will listen and cultivate the legend of your party. And along with some coins to the bard, get yourself a tattoo, or turn that orc tooth trophy into a necklace.
And check the calendar! Every village in the Lowlands has a holiday. Not only a time to drink and celebrate, it's an opportunity to flesh out your character. It's also a great time to take advantage of the distractions if you need to pull off a heist, pick some pockets, or make off with some horses. Lastly, holidays are often days when the Spirit World is closer, the gates to the Second World open a little wider, and the Veil parts a little and lets you peer in.
Days of the Carnutes Summer 66‑67th (Bendel/August 6-7): the key festival among the druid cults, the wolf brotherhoods, and celebrated by farming communities, dremen, and (oddly enough) kerden. This is the summer solstice (Midsummer's Day). Often celebrated with a bonfire, all night revelries and storytelling. A mystical time of spirits, nature, and the faie.
The tavern is where you hire henchmen, torchbearers, guides, and find the "old man in the corner” for your next adventure! It's also where you swap stories about the best gear to get you through the next one alive.
Everyone can tell you about the Armory of Galek in Lark-Han, but what are the other places to get that perfect blade, boots, or codpiece? Can you track down loot from the glory days of Endrik? These are a few pieces of kit to look for:
- Bolts of Azanhir, famously accurate bolts for your crossbow
- Jekha Stones! nothing can save you and the party in a pinch better than an exploding stone!
- Hot Pipes: Boradun pipes that light themselves once you tamp some decent tobacco into them
- Spirit Lamps: gas lamps that (supposedly) never lose their flame
- Mountain Dust: a flour-like powder of the Boradun that once sprinkled will (supposedly) reveal hidden or invisible people who walk through
- Bug Stones: smooth river rocks that keep bugs and mosquitos away, usually carried on a person
- Ghost Ink: magical tattoos that provide protections, either divine or magical, the ink dissipating after use
And no one should head out without some Mountain Meat in their rations, and Red Salt and Bloodvine to keep you healthy.
And of course you need some herbs: Arlan Leaf, Ashling Mushrooms, and Thurl Cloves to heal you, Vishit Grass if you're expecting werewolves, Hallas Berries to protect you from witches, and maybe some Limbus Grass if you need someone to tell you the truth.
Lastly, some raw iron can help keep away fairies, and they say pure silver will come in handy for werewolves.