When war ravages the land and thousands of men fight for the interests of their lords, fortified outposts and blockhouses form part of the usual landscape. These serve as strategic vantage points due to their location. There are usually built near main roads, to block or monitor all travelers. Some others are placed beside riverbeds, at a specific spot where all commerce can be intercepted.
So was the case of the River Fort many years ago, called like this back then. The military made great efforts to build this fort in the middle of the river. The water flow surrounds the structure, forming a natural moat. The drawbridge access made the fort almost impenetrable. These fortified outposts served their purpose and played their part in the war. But with the conflicts far behind in the past, many of these military buildings rest abandoned and empty. Others suffered the passage of time and crumbled. But a few fortuitous locations were repurposed as homes or even businesses. Such is the case of the River Fort, which turned into an inn less than a decade ago.
Art Vandelay, a successful merchant, decided it was time to put a stop to his import and export business. He gathered a small fortune and bought the fort from the military. The building did not cost much, but he spent a lot of gold in materials for architects, builders, and masons. The fort was deteriorated and many rooms required remodeling. The tower-shaped fort’s basement had seen better days too. Art had a team of masons remodel it so it could be used as part of the new business too. After some arduous months of work, he felt delighted to open the doors of his new business and home: Innfort-Exfort.
Art Vandelay works with a bard named Franco. The musician lives in a small town nearby but stays at Art’s whenever the place is packed with customers and guests. He eats and sleeps in the fort for free. Art doesn’t mind him since the bard doesn’t eat much, and the clientele is more than happy and entertained with him.
Neutral good human (age 51)
He is a medium-height balding man and chubbier than most. He has a funny way to walk because of his large belly. He wears fancy formal clothes and loves ale and making conversation.
Personality Trait. “Hard work always pays off. Failure is for lazy bums.”
Ideal. “My inn’s reputation is a reflection of my success.”
Bond. “Every client is a good client. Gold is a universal language.”
Flaw. “Too much ale erases my verbal filter. I say what I think.”
Franco, the Bard
Chaotic neutral gnome (age 135)
Franco is a friendly gnome who plays the lute and has a beautiful voice as well. He wears a purple and pink vest that matches his shoes; each of a different color. His songs are always merry and cheerful. He only plays melancholic songs on special music nights at the top of the tower.
Personality Trait. “Anything is good material for a song”.
Ideal. “Ale and good food can pay for my talents as well”.
Bond. “I shall perform for the best courts and royalty one day”.
Flaw. “I tend to exaggerate everything I’ve done to make me look more important”.
Innfort-Exfort used to be a military outpost. It is made of hard blocks of stone and cement. The first level’s circumference is larger than both the superior ones’.
1. Entrance and Moat
A small deviation from the main road leads to the fort in the middle of the river. A healthy meadow with high pasture and large leafy bushes with edible berries that dance with the breeze on windy days. The drawbridge is usually down. Art raises it at night. It is a strict Innfort-Exfort policy that the drawbridge is lowered again at dawn, with no exceptions. He does this to guarantee his clients’ safety and comfort, as well as his own.
2. Dining Room
The first thing that visitors and clients see as they step in is the huge long table west of the room. It is always crowded with jerkies and a few pieces of fruit. There are always clean dishes and silverware on it as well. A smaller table by the east wall and four fancy wooden chairs denote Art’s intentions to have middle-class accommodations.
Art employs two cooks. They live in a small town nearby and come to work every day. They are two hobbits with amazing cooking skills and strong arms. Sometimes, when the demand requires it, Art pays them extra to stay for longer. They also take care of the stock and inventory.
3. Spiral Stairs
The fort has a central set of stairs to move around the first three levels and basement. Art commissioned expensive wooden flooring for each step of the stairs to replace the old stone blocks. He also invested in decoration. Beautiful landscapes and paintings fill the walls of the stairs. Going up the stairs leads to area 5. Going down leads to the basement, area 12.
The cooks usually go to and fro serving food to guests. When no one is dining, the door remains locked. Only the main chef and Art have the kitchen key. Kegs of ale and more meat and jerkies take up most of the wooden table. There are three barrels with dry fruit and other durable and long-shelf-life foods. Two wooden crates store sophisticated spices, flowers, and salts to season special dishes. A large pot for broth by the crates gives off a homely smell.
Going up the stairs leads to the guests’ area. Franco’s music can still be heard in this area. The smell of broth also reaches guests approaching the stairs. There are five wooden doors that correspond to the guests’ rooms. More paintings and decorative art are placed beside each of the chambers.
6. Living Room
The door to this area is always unlocked. Guests can spend time in here playing cards or drinking in peace. A large desk with a chair lay still by the flickering light of an oil lamp. This is the only source of light in the room, which gives the place a calm and quiet atmosphere. The square table and chairs in the room are of poorer quality than the ones in area 2.
7. and 8. Bedrooms
The inn has four bedrooms. Two larger bedrooms feature two single beds and a small night table with an oil lamp. The other two are individual bedrooms. Pictures on the walls with scenes of battle and warriors in glorious postures decorate all four bedrooms. All beds have good quality sheets, however, they are all different. Art kept some of the sophisticated merchandise he sold in the past. Among them, various sets of sheets made of different materials. This gives a nice and different touch to each of the rooms. On purpose, Art didn’t place any desk or chairs in the bedrooms. He intends that guests only make use of them whenever they wish to sleep or rest, so they spend most of their stay downstairs, paying for food and ale.
The central stairs end at this level of the fort. Art doesn’t allow guests to come up to this area. A small wooden desk and a large working table rest by the south wall. There is a large bookshelf where Art keeps unimportant documents and popular books. There is a ladder next to the working table that leads to the roof (area 11).
10. Art’s Bedroom
This is the largest room in the tower. The door to Art’s room is always locked and he owns the only key. Art didn’t spare any expense in the furnishings and decorations of his room. He replaced the stone tiles with fancy wooden flooring. It is always neat and clean. The large bed has linens of the finest quality. There is a small table with four green velvet ottomans. There is a bookshelf in the room where Art keeps a small safe box with his profits. A large number of client tabs and a record of the inn’s sales are stored in here.
The roof of the fort looks exactly as it was years ago. The stone battlements were restored to make them look anew. Two large braziers burn on opposite sides of the tower top after twilight. Once a week, Art and Franco organize music nights at the top of the fort.
There is a large sofa by the west wall and a couple of barrels in this room. There is not much use for this area of the fort. This is where Franco sleeps if he stays for the night. He crashes on the sofa.
13. Meeting Room
When a large number of guests don’t fit in the dining room, Art employs this area as an annex to it. There are a large sofa and another set of chairs with a square table.
14. Private Conference Room
When guests wish to have a more private room to talk or drink, they can pay an extra fee to use this room. Art also uses this room when he needs to see someone in private as well. The room has two red velvet sofas and a small coffee table in the center.
The door to the cellar is always locked. Only the main chef and Art have the pantry key. Several wooden crates of stored goods and food fill up the place. There is a single barrel with materials, tools, torches, and the usual inn paraphernalia.
There are broken furniture and other objects or tools that need repairing. Art Vandelay is strict with the inn’s maintenance so objects stored in here don’t last long.
Terrain. Innfort-Exfort is made of stone blocks. Art and his employees keep the place clean at all times. The fort is warm and cozy.
Doors. All doors are made of timber wood. A character using thieves’ tools can pick locked doors with a successful DC 14 Dexterity check.
Light. Torches on sconces light some areas of the fort. Art replaces them often. There are a couple of oil lamps in the bedrooms and two braziers on top of the fort.
Smells and Sounds. The fort has a permanent smell of broth and salted dried meat. Art sometimes burns bars of incense to make the dining room smell better. Franco is often present and he plays merry melodies to entertain guests.