Back Alive: No Adventure is Complete without a Good Pint

art by Vladimir Krisetskiy

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 and inns can be the best part of the story. Not just 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: shields, banners, and crests of the regional houses, mounted heads of local beasts. And that bear rug by the fire might be an Oursen skin.

All of it needs a good local pint to go with it.

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? Talk up the saucy serving girl/boy?

Half the fun of a campaign is outside the dungeon: carousing, bawdy songs, bar fights, gambling, hook ups, all the good stuff of stories comes to life in the pub. And maybe you can try out your adventurer slang.

What Kind of Adventurer?
What kind of person heads out into the untamed corners of the world looking for a fight and a pile of treasure? Are you heroes pushing back against the darkness, or heartless ruffians out for profit?

Heretics looting the tombs of ancient cultures? Pilfering wealth and history with greedy hands? Penniless vagabonds desperate for fame and fortune? Young fools full of bravado looking to make a name for yourselves? Quest-driven followers of a god or militant order? Explorers? Pirates?

You may not even leave town: are you part of a crew, scoundrels in the underworld, plotting and angling for wealth and leverage? 

Maybe you're just the only people who answered the call in a time of need.

Maybe you got entangled or found yourselves at the wrong place, at a very wrong time.

Whether you're a hero, a haroon, or a filthy jackboot, the world awaits.

The tavern is 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 ogre 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 another 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.

And don't forget: holidays are often days when the Spirit World is closer, the gates to the Embers 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 major festival among the druid cults, the wolf brotherhoods, and celebrated by farming communities across the Lowlands. Also a spiritual holiday for Dremen and (oddly enough) Kerden, This is Midsummer's Day, the summer solstice. Celebrated with a bonfire, all night revelries and storytelling. A mystical time of spirits, nature, and the faie.

Gearing Up

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 LeafAshling 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 some pure silver will come in handy for werewolves.


And if you return, covered in the dust of the road and the scars of adventure, pour one out for those who didn't make it.

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