Yes, I know. It’s a cliche. But it works and does make a little sense. So hear me out.
The tavern of a village is going to be social and political hub of the place. It’s where the locals hang out, gossip, and bitch about the local lord or the weather. It’s where travelers like the player characters hang out. So it’s where things are happening and everyone is talking about things that already happened and things that might happen.
Whole books have written on making taverns and inns for your campaign and such detail is beyond the scope of this post but I do want to lay the seeds for some inspiration and throw an example from my current campaign.
First, what makes a tavern cool? It’s the people and off the top it should the proprietor and staff. These are folks that the PC’s will probably interact with most. So the party feels about them and vice versa is going to foretell what happens in the future. After that there’s the regulars who most locals and they’ll be other contacts for the player characters. And there’s the random rabble and hirelings. Secondly, you need a cool name. Because if you don’t the players will give it a silly nickname. Trust me. So let’s make this tavern.
Name: Pinky’s Fingers.
Proprietor: Pinky. A retired adventurer. He’s missing an eye and a few fingers. But he keeps those fingers in a pickle jar on the bar. The jar has a large label reading “DON”T EAT THE FINGERS!” Rumor is that if eat a finger in drunken bout of the munchies then you’ll have to contribute one to the jar. He displays a won long sword over the bar (It may or may not be magical) and keeps a club under the bar for less lethal solutions to drunken brawls.
Pinky: Level 5 Human Fighter (+3 Atk, SV: 10 AC: 12, HP: 15)
Primary Staff: Rosie (Pinky’s adopted daughter). Sure she wants a more exciting life than waiting on tables and working in the kitchen but she’s seen too many adventurers seek fame and fortune never to return.
Locals: Agatha: The local apothecary and healer. Close friends with Pinky.
Hirelings: Merle The Dwarf: Lean, mean and looking for a fight and to earn some gold. (0 Level Fighter).
Yes, I know these are the bares bones of characters but wait there’s two more things that you need in a tavern.
The Quest Board: It’s another staple so you might as well let it do some of the heavy lifting. Farmer is missing sheep. A bounty on bandits. Missing children. Whatever kind of trouble that you as the GM have up your sleeve.
Rumors: While the quest board is sort of the “official” adventure hooks. Rumors are adventure bait. A way to find out what interests the players. Lay the ground work for future adventures. And maybe give the players an idea about the general attitudes of the local villagers.
Like I said, it’s beyond the scope of a single post but here’s hopefully some inspiration for you.
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