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This resource features the general description of a tavern/inn in the outsides of a big city. It includes adventure ideas that are appropriate for low-to-mid level (Levels 1 to 10) adventuring parties. Challenge Rating (CR) is calculated using a party of four as the model.
The DM is free to change or modify any or all the information found here. NPC names and settlement names are the first the DM should consider changing to accommodate any homebrew world lore.
The Jumping Trout is a two-story stone building a few minutes from the city walls. Travelers can reach it by following a short branch of the road that connects to the well-traveled Kings Road. The Jumping Trout features a small courtyard, the small building attached to it is the stables. Not many are aware of it, but there is a basement under the tavern, it is used for storage and as a cellar.
The Jumping Trout was originally the family home of Lortan, a wealthy merchant of horses and cattle. Lortan passed away a few years back, he was the father of Daneru, the current owner of the place. Lortan made a good living selling cattle until a few rich politicians from the city took over the market and choked his profits to the ground. Lortan saw no future in trying to fight against the city’s aristocracy and decided to retire and transform his home into a tavern and inn. Daneru, his son, is now the owner of The Jumping Trout. Daneru is a strong looking man, middle-aged, balding but with a heavy beard, and always alert. His wife Gerannia is usually taking care of table-service and the kitchen. They have a young son, Rubius. Rubius is twelve and is usually around playing. Rubius is usually conversing with minstrels and bards, he owns a lute he’s learning to play.
The tavern is usually packed with clients from all over the province. A few of them come from the city, others are passing travelers, and others live in nearby settlements and farms. The common room of the tavern is always a lively place. People play dice and card games, patrons drink ale and wine, traveling minstrels play songs and tell legends for a silver coin, Daneru runs all over the place trying to make everything work, the smell of warm food, ale, exotic perfumes, and human farmers fills the air. The tavern is a very popular gathering place, Daneru was lucky like that. It is easily more popular than other taverns inside the city. Because of this, it is the perfect place to be looking for work, rumors, gossip, and general information about the city and the people therein.
Daneru owns the place and often has too little time to be spent on conversations, but the man at the bar, Harmin, is a very informed person. Harmin works in The Jumping Trout full-time and sleeps in one of the small rooms upstairs for free. Harmin hears all kinds of tales and gossip from the city. He is the go-to man for work and rumors and a very effective one at that. No one knows that Harmin is also a member of the Dark Guild, a secretive organization in the city that claims the loyalty of most rogues, thieves and other low-lives of the city. That is the reason why The Jumping Trout is safe from wrongdoers. Daneru believes no one bothers them because they run a clean business, but it is the very presence of the Dark Guild that keeps the place safe.
Daneru and his wife sleep in the master bedroom right next to the kitchen. The is connected to the kitchen and the outside, both doors are always locked, only they have keys for those doors. The room next to theirs is Rubius room. In the second story, there are seven small rooms, four regular rooms, and one suite. Harmin sleeps in one of the small rooms permanently. About half of the rentable rooms are occupied at any given time by traveling merchants and performers. The suite is almost always empty. There is a door on the west side that leads to the second story of the stables. It is a kind of U-shaped balcony that overlooks the stables below. This is storage space, there are a few crates and hay bales in here.
Rumors, Plots, and Gossip
If the adventurers spend some time in The Jumping Trout and ask around, they may hear any or all of the information below, depending on who they ask. The intention of these ideas is to spring new adventures. Some of them may lead to dead-ends, other might be the beginning of a campaign arch. Only the DM and players can determine that. The following plot ideas are written in the first person.
Daneru – Innkeeper
You see, there is one of them politicians in the senate that owns two taverns in the city. Apparently, he is angry that we’re “stealing customers” from him. That’s bullocks, we’re running a fair business here. But if he wants to play dirty, I’m sure Harmin can help me hire some muscle.
The thing is, one of our specialty ales is running low. We brew it right here, you know? My wife Gerannia named it “Geran Ale”. I know that’s a cheap name. Anyway, the key ingredient is a type of apple that only grows in the next province to the south. The problem is that the shipment is two weeks late. I need some lads to go down there and find out where my shipment is, or bring another if it’s lost.
There’s a renowned member of the king’s guard who retired a few months ago. He is old but still healthy. The king gave him a parcel of land a few miles west and he’s been farming since then. I want him to train Rubius with the sword. Rubius is a strong boy and I want him to be a great swordsman if he is to inherit this place. Not like me, I can barely swing a hammer. But that old knight is so stubborn, or lazy… I want to convince him somehow, but I still haven’t found what might entice him to accept.
Harmin – Bartender
Are you looking for work? If you’re up to it, I heard from a friend that there is a shipment of spices arriving at the docks tomorrow. The shipment belongs to a foreign dignitary who won’t come ask questions for a few months. My friend wishes to buy that shipment but someone has to relocate it first. It will be heavily guarded because it’s worth quite a bit of gold. But it’s no use to anyone if you can’t sell it. Well, my friend is buying it so…
Miranda Twarthes is a middle-aged woman who is in charge of updating the message board in the city square. Her handwriting is very delicate and intricate. It is quite the goal of many forgers to reproduce a good copy of her style. I have not heard of anyone capable of it in the city. But I know a guy who would pay two-hundred pieces of gold to anyone capable of it. This guy wishes to send a very sensitive message through the message board but it has to go unnoticed. Do you know anyone with such skills?
So, if you’re looking for a quick coin I know something that will interest you. There’s a gathering of two senators and three corrupt members of the city guard going on right now at an undisclosed location outside the city. My boss… no, not Daneru, a different person. My boss wants those people to be caught. One of them betrayed him but I know not the details. Well, if someone were to interrupt that meeting, hold the subjects captive there and tip off the guard’s captain to cause an arrest, my boss would greatly appreciate it. He’s offering a few rubies and sapphires as a reward. But if it all goes as planned, I might be able to arrange a meeting with him after. What say you?
Gerannia – Daneru’s Wife
Have you heard of Saint Dannes? He is not very known, is he? Well, there’s a church named after him in the city. I visit the church every Sunday with my boy, Rubius. Well, yesterday something odd happened. I went there with Rubius but they did not let us in. They didn’t let anyone in. The church is closed and the priest gave a fake excuse for it. Strangest of all, there was a bluish smoke coming out of the bell tower. I swear I felt the floor tremble once or twice too.
Can you help me? Fair travelers. It is my son Rubius, he’s gone. I just saw him a few minutes ago talking with a pair of lumberjacks from a nearby settlement. I went to the kitchens and when I was out I could not see him or the men. The three of them are gone. I and Harmin looked for him around the tavern but could not find him. I fear for my young boy, please help me find him and bring him back safe. This is Tornels, my son’s bloodhound. The dog apparently caught his scent in the path that leads to the nearby woods. I fear the worst, but please take Tornels and follow my kid’s tracks.
Rubius – Daneru’s Son
Hello, sir. I’m the innkeeper’s son. I think I found something you might like. If it happens to be interesting after all, I’ll be glad if you pay me with a few coins. One of our guests is a very strange man. I’ve been spying on him for two weeks now. He looks grim. Well, he goes out every afternoon but he never comes back! However, he is always there the next afternoon and goes out again. I thought it was very strange but my parents will not believe me. So I went out one night and camped in the stables’ roof. It overlooks the man’s window. From the outside of the building. I discovered that he leaves the window open, so I thought he comes back in secret during the night. To my surprise, just before sunrise, a big lizard climbed the tavern’s walls and entered through the open window. This happens almost every day! The man goes out on foot, but returns in the form of a huge lizard.
Hello, sirs and ladies. Let me play my lute for you. But do not tell my father because he hates when I play in the tavern instead of practicing with that wooden sword. This song is about a nearby mountain that hides a secret vault of secrets. The vault was built by dwarves in the early days of this kingdom. Dwarves abandoned this lands centuries ago, but they left behind riches beyond your imagination. A city minstrel named Raun Fargo taught me the song. But he did not tell me the vault’s secret password.
Tallevar – Local Minstrel
Will you hear the tale of “the city and the city”? It’s a silver coin, thank you. Well, few know that in the early days of the great city, there was another settlement underground. Right beneath the city, there was a great cavity in the earth where people from the underground realms lived. The peoples of both realms had a peaceful existence and traded items. One day there was a war and the people from the surface city caused the underground tunnels to collapse. No one from below was seen again but there are rumors of secret passages and underground temples still intact. This pendant I wear, my grandfather inherited it to me. It was crafted by an artist from the underground city centuries ago.
Will you hear the legend of “the maiden on the hill”? It’s a silver coin, thank you. If you came here from the northern Kings Road. You probably saw a big jagged hill with the vague shape of a woman’s face looking down. Her name was Diaranella, and she was an elven princess thousands of years ago. Legend has it that in the olden days, Princess Diaranella was promised to an elven lord who had to leave to battle against the dragons. Dianarella was in love with the elven lord and waited for him for centuries. Elves are long-lived but not always that patient. It was so long since the elven lord left that no one held much hope for his return. Princess Diaranella decided to wait for eternity. She removed her own heart and transformed it into a beautiful blue pendant. Her heartless body placed the pendant in the insides of a hill and wasted away. Some say the pendant is still on that hill. I believe so. But no one believes it enough to go looking for it.
Will you hear the tale of “Lord Dante”? It’s a silver coin, thank you. See, Lord Dante is alive and lives in the city next door. His mansion is probably the biggest in the province. But no one I have heard of has since Lord Dante in years. He lives in his mansion but never goes out anymore, only a few servants are allowed to see him. The most loyal, and they do not say much if questioned. Well, rumor has it that Lord Dante is sick. The disease deformed him and he is now a monstrous being. I have no way of knowing if this is true but most people in town believe it. Regardless, if it is true, he would be able to pay anything to be returned to normal.