This week’s Wandering Monsters lead us to a fantasy staple: the quaint inn. Not all is at it appears at this inn, however. The cozy walls house great secrets. This inn is the perfect stop for PCs after a long stint of adventuring. Even if you don’t decide to use the inn as another encounter area, the map for this place still works great for any generic inn needs.
As always, many thanks to the Pyromancers dungeon painter tool for helping me create this week’s map.
This large inn is quite welcoming and homely. The creaking wooden floors and sturdy brick walls bear a contemporary yet rustic appearance. A large bar and fireplace adorn the main room.
The mysterious inn is actually a front for a number of possible nefarious groups. Depending on the encounter, the inn is the headquarters of a thieves’ guild, a secret society, or a diabolist cell. The inn is well known among the locals and none suspect the despicable goings on within and beneath the inn.
Mysterious Inn Features
Although it is a front for shady dealings and vile rites, the inn still runs as a legitimate business. The inn is rather upscale and weary travelers are free to buy food and drink or book a room. Drinks vary from local simple brews that run 5 cp per mug, to local wines at 1 sp a glass, and even fancier fare running up to 1 gp for very fine wines and ales. Meals include delicious soups at 5 cp per bowl and hearty roasts and pies at 2 sp each. Those wishing to book a room can do so at a nightly rate of 1 sp for a basic room or 5 sp for a suite. The inn is open to ordinary patrons from sunrise until midnight. The inn’s ceiling is 12 feet high and the interiors are continually lit with bright light by sconces during open hours.
1. Main Room
The main room of the inn serves as dining area for guests. The small room facing into the main room serves as a latrine for guests and patrons. The large bar is always manned by either the inn keeper or an assistant. The various wines and spirits behind the bar are worth a total of 1,200 gp. Comfortable chairs surround a small fireplace in the corner. After hours, this main room becomes a meeting place for the hidden inhabitants. PCs who stumble or break into the inn after midnight will find an additional 2d10 members of varying levels in this room, which can lead to a quick capture or demise!
The kitchen houses a large oven used in the preparation of the inn’s meals. Two assistants toil during the morning hours cooking the day’s meals. In the late afternoon and evening, only one assistant remains here, preparing ingredients for the next day.
Two different storage rooms contain the majority of the inn’s food and drink. One room is filled with casks of ale and wine. The other room stores spices, flour, and vegetables used for the inn’s food. Behind the stores of food is a hidden trapdoor that leads to a complex beneath the inn used by the secretive owners. Locating the trapdoor requires a successful DC 26 Perception check. The trapdoor is obvious if the crates and barrels are moved aside.
The inn contains seven simple rooms. Each of the rooms has a bed, a shelf with a candle, and a chest. The simple chests are intentionally of poor design and a successful DC 15 Disable Device check is enough to undo the lock. The four suites each contain a large bed, a wardrobe, a simple desk, and a sturdy chest with a simple lock. Every guest is given a key to their chest and the inn keeper has a ring of keys for every chest.
The doors for each of the simple rooms is designed in such a way that it can open in and collapse onto anyone sleeping on the bed. This collapse requires a full-round action. Anyone hit by the collapse takes 2d8 points of bludgeoning damage and is considered entangled, requiring a standard action to break free. The owners use these collapsing doors to aid in the capture of guests. Spotting this feature of the doors requires a successful DC 28 Perception check and a successful DC 30 Disable Device check disable this functionality of the doors.
5. Inn Keeper’s Room
This room contains an elegant bed, a small night stand, a fine oak desk, a wardrobe, and a strong chest with an average lock. The door to the room is also locked with an average lock. The inn keeper and the assistants all have a copy of the room key. The inn keeper follows a strange sleep schedule to better permit the tending of the inn. The keeper maintains of schedule of naps every four hours, sleeping for only 20 minutes at a time. At any given time, there is an 8% chance that the keeper is asleep here.
The chest contains the keeper’s valuables as well as a few valuables taken from previous guests. The encounter treasure is found within the chest. The desk also contains a simple journal detailing the basic traditions and actions within the inn, at least in vague terms. This journal can help PCs piece together the true nature of the inn.
The following encounters can take place here.
|Thieves’ Guild||CR 3||2 cutpursesNPC, skilled sniperNPC||5 pp, 167 gp, 530 sp, 450 cp, 80 gp in gems and jewels, masterwork spear, oil of magic weapon, scroll of shield, scroll of mage armor|
|Secret Society||CR 5||Local celebrityNPC, 2 superstitious mercenariesNPC, whiteclaw sorcererNPC||10 pp, 35 gp, elixir of truth, pipes of sounding|
|Diabolist Cell||CR 7||2 acolytesNPC, bloodfire sorcererNPC, traitorous brigandNPC||83 gp, +1 morningstar, necklace of fireballs type II,|
This week’s Encounter Table makes use of the NPC Codex.
THIEVES’ GUILD (CR 3)
The Cantor’s Ballad is the front for a theives’ guild. This establishment is not the first location taken up by the guild. This guild sets up establishments across the countryside including taverns, smiths, general stores, and fighter academies. The inn is the latest excursion into theft and larceny. The guild watches for nobles, adventurers, and anyone else that could have a number of riches. The skilled sniper acts as the inn keeper, putting on a jovial and friendly persona. The keeper attempts to win over guests with extra food and drink, making sure to look over any visitors to determine if they may make a good target. Suitable targets are offered the special house wine, “Kiss of the Nymph.” During the night, the keeper and the two assistants, the cutpurses, attempt to capture the visitors in hopes of selling them in to slavery.
If the guild members are found out, they attempt to bring all confrontation to the main room. The sniper attempts to keep a distance, waiting for an opening to flee to the storage rooms when the PCs are distracted. The cutpurses work in tandem to flank a target. If flanking proves difficult, they lead the PCs on a chase through the inn, vaulting from tables and the bar as best they can to avoid the PCs.
SECRET SOCIETY (CR 5)
The Watcher’s Lamp is the crown jewel of the local secret society. The inn rests on the edge of a fine village. From here, the society tends to needs of the village, keeping an eye out for undesirables and troublemakers. The whiteclaw sorcerer is this inn’s keeper, putting on airs and a façade of sophistication. This act is the first tool to weeding out the riffraff as those that can’t keep up with the sorcerer’s antics are deemed unsuitable. The local celebrity keeps to the main room, singing songs and telling tales to win over any visitors in hopes of learning their intent for visiting the village. The celebrity’s songs give clues to the superstitious mercenaries, who serve as the keeper’s assistants, as to the nature of the visitors. Those deemed unfitting for the village are taken in their sleep and left miles away from the village. Returning visitors soon find early graves.
Discovery of the secret society eventually leads to the entire village turning on the PCs. In the immediate, however, the members in the inn do their best to end the PCs immediately. The mercenaries rush the PCs, blocking their access to the sorcerer. The celebrity bolsters the mercenaries with bardic performance and attempts to charm other PCs. The sorcerer slings spells from a distance, making sure to keep an open line to the inn’s entrance. If any of the other members fall, the sorcerer flees the inn, hoping to convince the villagers that the PCs were the instigators of the brawl.
DIABOLIST CELL (CR 7)
The Dancing Devil houses a horrible diabolist cult beneath its floor. The cult works to kidnap travelers for use in hellish rituals, usually as living sacrifices. The bloodfire sorcerer serves as the inn keeper, known locally as a redeemed half-orc wishing to change her path on life. Her younger brother, the traitorous brigand acts as the barkeep for the inn. The two acolytes handle all the assistant work. The sorcerer is gentle and soft-spoken with her patrons, giving genuinely exceptional service to all who visit. The cult believes that the great shock from comfort and happiness to terror and anguish prepares the soul best for sacrifice. The cultists have no preference for sacrifice, kidnapping every last patron to the inn.
When the jig is up, the acolytes are quick to rush the PCs to protect their masters. The two half-orcs fight side by side in melee at first, but as the battle progresses, the sorcerer slips back, slinging spells as best she can. If the battle seems to be against her favor, she rushes to the storage. There, she makes a last stand, intending to ignite the casks of alcohol with her magic if the battle is clearly lost.
That’s it for this week! Please let me know if you would like see some more fantasy tropes mapped out. If you use the mysterious inn in your game, let me know! If you have any request for a future Wandering Monsters, please drop me a line at KnowDirection@hotmail.com.