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Chapter One: The Town of Clearspring (3)

Ground Floor

The inn’s 10 by 8 yards large (cf. map), the ground floor consists almost exclusively of the commons room for the patrons of the tavern to enjoy their drinks and meals. A tiny area has been cut off for the kitchen, containing the barest of necessities (which doesn’t include any room to move, really).

The walls are covered by wooden panels, bright birchwood. Every now and then there’s a painting, depicting one or the other quaint scene of rural life, be it a hunt or an old man playing with a dog. The paintings aren’t exactly masterworks, but they certainly suffice the needs of a well-stocked inn.

A counter is right in front of the secluded kitchen, a dim mirror on the wall in its back. Under the counter, Jerasp keeps the drinking mugs as well as a number of wine bottles. The ale barrels are in the cellars, connected to taps on the counter. (It should be noted that the wine bottles under the counter are not of the very best variety; Jerasp has a better selection on the shelves between the kitchen and the staircase. The wines he reserves for special occasions and/or special guests are in the basement.)

Like all the wooden furniture in The Drunken Badger, the counter is made from solid oak that has only barely begun to darken in the smoke-filled room. It was only cut a month or two ago, and if one looks closely at the floor, one can see the marks left by the previous furniture.

The tables and benches are of the same solid build, equally new – there are barely any stains from spilled ale on them. (Any visitor early to the inn would surmise that this won’t change in the next couple of years, for both Jerasp and Dwyhaney spent quite a bit of time cleansing and polishing the tables.)

The open fireplace in the middle is always well-stoked and burning merrily, its smoke gently drifting up through the chimney. Its base is made of rounded red bricks that look rather rough at first, but when the evening continues, and the fire burning above is the main source of light, they make a very nice counterpoint to the flames. Over the fire, leading into the chimney, is a metal cone. Into the shining cone, runes have been chiseled in. (Some might take these runes for mystical signs, perhaps a spell that protects the inn from going up in flames. Jerasp has occasionally been asked this, and the innkeeper usually has the hardest of times to keep from laughing out loud. “They’re just decoration, is all what they’re,” he commonly replies.) An apron surrounds the cone, on which the Shelfts have arranged some memorabilia like a mug with a special signature, a few small sculptures and woodcuts from local artists; again pursuing very much the quaint rural image – to great success.


GM Tips

If there is a wizard in your party, she might get the idea to decipher the runes. After all, it’s nice of Jerasp to claim they have no meaning, but… well, wizards ought to be able to find out whether they are actual magical runes. There is only one language of magic.

What the wizards discovers, though, is that some of the runes on the cone are magical symbols while others – superficially the same style – have no meaning whatsoever. Everything taken together doesn’t make any sense that the wizard can detect. Maybe, you can suggest to the player, the smith who created the cone had seen some magical runes and incorporated them into the cone, without having any idea what they meant. So, after all, they are just decoration.

Steer the wizard away from the cone, certainly for now. You can very well use it as a hook in later adventures. What you just told the player is that her character hasn’t been able to make sense of the runes, you did not tell her that the runes don’t make sense at all, or that they are just decoration.

They could be a sort of code; only every second or third symbol is a magical rune, and those are jumbled around. Taken together they make up a spell which might be a hidden message (encoded in the spell) and causes a projection of words or a voice; that could launch your party on a new adventure.

How to handle the code?

Unfortunately we haven’t designed any magical symbols, and it would be very boring if you just told that wizard character upon her return to the inn: “Now the runes make sense and you understand them.” Instead, gently nudge her back to the runes every now and then, and offer her a note of what the runes look like. Use ordinary letters, and encode a riddle into them, e.g. a message.

Now the player might not figure out that there’s a riddle in the non-sensical text you’ve just given her. You should give her time, maybe head off into another adventure, but mention the runes every now and then. At some point, either the player herself or one of her companions will realize that there’s something hidden in there, and they’ll get to cracking it.

Of course, you might just as well decide that the runes are only decorative.


Right next to the kitchen area, a small staircase leads up to the top floor.

Of some interest to visitors – and great source of pride of Jerasp’s – is the trophy collection in the corner opposite the entrance. As mentioned before, Jerasp has traveled quite a bit around the Wild Coast and brought home a number of memorabilia. He always feels that these add to the image of his inn, but it could just as well be said he likes to show off all his accomplishments. (And it also should be noted that not all the trophies are as valuable as the dragon tooth – displayed in a glass case, on a golden base -, some are rather mundane, such as a piece of wood from the – supposedly – only elftree in Trebonshire Forest.) Jerasp put a lot of effort into his collection corner, adding bronze plaques to every item in stock.

GM Tips

The trophy collection could serve you as a hook for a new adventure, in quite a number of possible ways. One of the items could be of mysterious origin, awakening the characters’ curiosity.

For instance there could be a simple plaque with ancient elven writing. If there is an elf in your party, she should be able to decipher the writing: “Beware ye the might of the Lord of Kelvenkaz!” You can then inform the elf that she remembers that Kelvenkaz used to be a small elven realm, but nobody remembers where exactly it was. There are rumors of treasures – as there are usually connected with lost cities or realms.

Plant further clues for the adventure with the innkeeper. Jerasp probably has no idea what the writing on the plaque says – but he found it somewhere, and it might be that he inadvertently stumbled upon that lost kingdom. And your party might be the ones to re-discover it!

Another hook would be that one of the characters in your group picks up an item from the collection – and Jerasp hurries over to rip the item from the character’s hands. “Don’t touch this!” the ordinarily jovial innkeeper cries nervously. Carefully he checks the item, brushes it off and replaces it. Now what might be the story behind this item? Why is it so important to Jerasp?



Food, Drink and Lodging (Prices)

What would an inn be if it did not offer some sustenance – as well as a place to rest – to the visitor? The Drunken Badger has a small but rather good selection, which you can see below:


Light ale (half pint)

4 sp

  Light ale (pint) 7 sp  
  Dark ale (half pint) 4 sp  
  Dark ale (pint) 7 sp  
  White wine (glass) 5 sp  
  White wine (bottle) 30 sp  
  Red wine (glass) 6 sp  
  Red wine (bottle) 34 sp  
  Fresh soup 10 sp  
  Rabbit stew 15 sp  
  Meatpie 30 sp  
  Vegetable pie 10 sp  
  Lodging (per night)  
  Guest room 1 15 sp  
  Guest room 2 & 3 10 sp  
  Guest room 4 & 5 20 sp  
  Lodging (per week)  
  Guest room 1 90 sp  
  Guest room 2 & 3 60 sp  
  Guest room 4 & 5 120 sp  

Table 1: Prices at The Drunken Badger

A few notes are in order now: As you can see, there are only alcoholic beverages on the list. In medieval times, people drank mostly wine or ale – generously watered down, for the most part. It was common practice, not the least because the water itself often had an unwelcome taste; in cities you rarely had access to fresh spring water, after all. So the wine or the ale provided the pleasant taste, while the drinker was more interested in the water than the alcoholic effect.

So don’t be disconcerted by this: Alter the prices downward to reflect a watered down drink. You can go so far as to say there’s only a sip of wine or ale in the water; that would fit the common practice of the Middle Ages.

On the other hand, it would be ridiculous to claim that those people were so pious that they never wanted the alcoholic effect. They were people just like we are today, and therefore some of them enjoyed their full glasses of wine or ale.

You may also have noted that I referred to “better” vintages that Jerasp has in stock. If your characters are connoiseurs de vin and interested in the higher class of wines, why don’t you make up a few names – such as Springborn Castle or Elberter’s -, put a suitable price tag on it and present it to your party?


GM Tips

You can have a fun at the gaming table with these drinks, too. Associate a type of soda with each of the drinks on the menu – e.g. the dark ale represents a coke, the red wine a Dr. Pepper’s, and so on. When a character places an order in the inn, her player will get the respective soda.

(Oh, make sure to tell them beforehand what they’re getting into. There might be some arguments if the player doesn’t like that particular drink…)



NPCs at The Drunken Badger

Please note that detailed descriptions of the NPCs are to be found at the end of this chapter. The party might encounter some of the NPCs in other locations as well, such as the shops of the city. Feel free to change the roster of the people in the inn (except for those marked with an asterisk *; they are vital to the plot here). The NPCs have various pieces of information that may pertain to the story, read the information at the end for further detail.

Aside from those listed here, you can add a few non-descript NPCs. Make sure to steer your players away from them; these are only extras that exist for the single purpose of filling up the background – and taking part in the bar brawl later on. (For that event, there should be between two and three times the number of players in your party present.)

*Jerasp Shelft, innkeeper

The jovial owner of The Drunken Badger, a paunchy man in his late thirties. There’s always a smile on his lips, and a dreamy gaze in his eyes.

Jerasp is behind the counter, waiting to take any orders or strike up a conversation.


*Dwyhaney Shelft, his wife

Dwyhaney is in her late thirties, a friendly woman of enormous girth – proof of her cooking abilities, if the smell from the kitchen were not enough.

She spends most of the time in the kitchen, looking out often enough for the occasional chat with her husband or one of the patrons.


*Koyson Seabourne, dwarf

(cf. “Ruins and Hopes”)

Four feet of trouble, the black-bearded dwarf is seated on a stool at the counter, nursing a pint of dark ale. Every now and then his gaze sweeps the room, a challenging notion in his eyes.


*Vobul, furrag

(cf. “Ruins and Hopes”)

Eight feet of patience, the white-furred furrag looks like a nightmare monster – but unlike the rest of his species, he does not enjoy violence. Which is a rather well-hidden fact, considering that right now he is sitting in a far away corner of the inn, crunching raw meat and bones, splattering blood all over his fur.


*Taurall Nemchek, courier

A middle-aged, haggard man with an unremarkable face, one would ordinarily overlook Nemchek easily. Here though, he is immediately noticeable, for he has thick casts on both his legs, and his chest is bandaged.


Estebin Morhawk

A fiftyish man with gray hair and a permanent look of worry in his eyes. His left leg limps, he stoops over slightly – but still one can see that he used to be a handsome man in his youth.


Zevia Habarme, seamstress

The owner of the Tailor’s Shop is a young blonde woman who eats most of her meals at the inn, sharing a conversation with Dwyhaney.

Cravit Daig, miner

On his day off from the mines, the powerfully built Daig likes to make it an easy day at the inn, drinking keg after keg of the strong ale. He isn’t the worst sort of person, but there’s something about him that just waits for entertainment, the “right” kind.

*Eilig, alreu

The tiny manling darts from table to table, listening to the stories and trying to find some sort of amusement – that is, someone who needs Eilig’s services to repair something.

Table 2: NPCs at The Drunken Badger


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