Wednesday, 16 April 2014

N is for the Northern Garden

The Street of a Hundred Taverns, by some citizens, stretches well past the Konigsplatz and ends only at the North Gate. And the Northern Garden1 takes it name from both is best feature and its location—and named as unimaginatively as the owner, Hannus Essen, is unimaginative.

Hannus' wife is an herb grower and the Northern Garden started when a piece of land on the Konigstrasse became available after a small fire that gutted the shop and hostel at the location. Hannus' wife is rumored to have plied the landlord with aromatic herbs and soon renovations began and the Northern Garden was open soon after.

The garden dominates the entrance and Frau Essen sells the flowers and herbs that grow there and the fair-to-middling cook in the tavern uses them. Hannus is generally grumpy and watches the garden for rodents, pests, and thieves (usually students from the University after flowers for courting or herbs for whatever "ruinous practices they teach in those ivory towers!" (as Hannus can be quoted as saying and saying often).

Hannus acts not only as garden guard, but also as the bouncer. A burly man that is used to hard work watches the tavern for trouble makers and quickly ejects them at the first sign of trouble.

Frau Essen recently provided herbs to a Priestess of Valaya, the Dwarf goddess of Home and Hearth, for a tincture that was said to relieve headaches. The priestess was so thankful that she commissioned a new lintel and sign for the Northern Garden. Together the new features provide an air of upper class sensibility that has indeed raised the clientele that visits.

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Posted by caffeinated at 11:12 PM in d10

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

M is for the Merry Resthouse

The Merry Resthouse1 offers little in the way of "amenities" one might expect in a cosmopolitan city like Altdorf. No overnight companionship and no baths—all the better that no one is pairing up without a bath.

The Merry Resthouse has a lot of rooms, and a large, comfortable dormitory, at reasonable prices. It is also well known for its varied wines in an Empire that prides itself on beers and ales. While the inn and tavern does not provide a croupier there is Tilean gaming in the tavern that is has a reputation of being fair to all comers if slightly favoring the house.

The well used, not "cheap," furnishings only suggest that new furnishings would be a waste of money where sturdy, if scuffed, scratched, and carved, chairs, tables and tankards work fine. 

The shingle out front may look worse for wear, but the welcoming staff, fair gaming, and good pricing keep the tavern and the rooms full.

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Posted by caffeinated at 9:58 PM in d10

Monday, 14 April 2014

L is for the Leaning Goblet

The Leaning Goblet1 doesn't lie on the Street of a Hundred Taverns proper, but hangs its shingle at the last building next to the north end drawbridge of the Three Toll Bridge. It takes its name from the drawbridge betting game of setting a goblet of ale or wine at the tip and betting on the first to pour and the last to fall.

The namesake game was reportedly started by the jolly and rarely seen sober Halfling proprietor of the Leaning Goblet as a bet regarding the balance of the pewter ware made in the Moot versus similar made in Altdorf. The game is held every evening, often with dwarves bring family heirlooms to the event to prove craftsmanship. 

Bercbelly Fastbuck, the proprietor, has turned the game into the single greatest reason to cross the bridge and pay the toll from his tavern. He often hosts the game from his balcony at the tavern overlooking the bridge with many guests drinking, eating, and carousing with the working women in his tavern. 

A large dormitory and several large and nicely furnished rooms are for rent and kept clean by the madam of the house. 

Fastbuck has a modest stable in the alley for overnight guests.

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Posted by caffeinated at 10:42 PM in d10

Saturday, 12 April 2014

K is for The Knife's Edge

Walking North along the Street of a Hundred Tavern's is a study in contrasts as stark as black and white. The east side of the street is dominated by the working classes of the Docklands, the west by academics and merchants. Many taverns on one side or the other are decided by the typical customer. And an evening at The Knife's Edge1 may be decidedly contrasted by the sobriety of its customers.

A working man's tavern that serves overstuffed meat pies, strong cider, and watered down brandy, the Knife's Edge otherwise offers little in the way of amenities save two rooms and a floor to sober up on overnight. Most customers complain about the small privy and often, especially on crowded evenings, doubling and tripling up.

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Posted by caffeinated at 11:36 AM in d10

Friday, 11 April 2014

J is for Johann's Cap

As many taverns come and go on the Street of a Hundred Taverns, as many simply change their name and continue operations. Johann's Cap was The Six Crowns last year.

It's the same tavern, same owners, same of most but name. Why the name change? The owner, offering nothing to differentiate his operation from the other 99 taverns capitalizes on rumors or news in Altdorf to draw customers.

Johann Esmer, recent and fast former Grand Theologian of the Cult of Sigmar, ran to supporters in Marienburg after being ejected from the post and cult proper and running away.

The name of the tavern is an inside joke with the owner, a supporter of Volkar the Grim. He simply likes to tell folks that ask, "Johann forgot his cap on the way out of town."

No amenities of any kind are offered at Johann's Cap save a croupier/bouncer. This lack of features is part of what forces the owner to change names. New name, new bar goes the logic.

Posted by caffeinated at 10:55 PM in d10

Thursday, 10 April 2014

I is for the Inequitable Life

The Inequitable Life1 is tucked just off the Street of a Hundred Taverns on Ulmen Strasse in the Docklands. Founded by a Bretonnian merchant, the Inequitable Life seems to play on common stereotypes of immigrants from Bretonnia, and few Imperials visit the tavern. Those that do come usually are there to deal with the Bretonnian labor stewards that hold court in the tavern or the snug.

The waitresses of the Inequitable Life seem very eager to please all customers and go to great lengths to assure no request is ignored, especially if the customer seeks a private room and a companion. It is said the waitresses are free women from Bretonnia, but none are seen outside the tavern. A recent body of a woman known to be employed at the Inequitable Life was found in alley and the Altdorf watch has taken an interest in the tavern. But its "off the path" location on the Street of a Hundred Taverns, its foreign "air," and no pattern of crime rarely finds the watch at its door. 

Whispers that the owner trades in slaves and narcotics have not recently been repeated after a broadsheet circulated stating the misbehavior of Bretonnian boatmen from Marienburg were the source of the scandalous rumors. Three of these "reported Bretonnian boatmen" were later found floating in the Altdorf Pool.

The wines of the Inequitable Life do carry something of a reputation with connoisseurs of fermented grapes, especially in the upper classes. Those same upper classes would never deign to step foot in the tavern, but will often hire someone to buy bottles from the owner. The owner is quite happy to sell some of his stock, at three times the table price of course.

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Posted by caffeinated at 12:43 AM in d10

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

H is for the Half Mansion

The Half Mansion's1 original name is lost to this local name. The Half Mansion is a gaudy, pillared, four-story tavern and eatery on the Konigsplatz's corner of the Bank District.

The Half Mansion was started as a complete private home of some forgotten merchant that went bankrupt in the Great Fire of 2431. Tightly crammed into the once narrow alley between two sections of respectable homes and business fronts, the structure gets its name from being half as wide as its neighbors. Four stories of narrow balconies belie the mansion's depth. Since being purchased by mysterious restauranteur, the mansion has become a well known bar, eatery, and hostel

The Half Mansion has a large number of private rooms (though for the price many will tell one to find better for cheaper), a large dormitory, and really good food (for not having a Halfling chef). The excellent baths are decorated with the most boastful, jingoistic depictions—to the point of groans—of the Empire, the Emperor, and Sigmar.

The spirits, wines and ales are said to be some of the best, if expensive, on the Konigsplatz.

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Posted by caffeinated at 12:00 AM in d10

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

G is for the Gilded Dog

Alley taverns come in all shapes and sizes, some with four walls and a roof and some not. Those that are nothing more than oil cloth nailed high enough for the "owner" to enter and allow customers to sit down are many and the Gilded Dog1 is such a tavern.

A tavern is a stretch. A place to drink in an alley with barrels for tables, discarded stools for chairs, and a collection of make-shift shelves for a bar is a more apt description. But one does not come to the Gilded Dog out of desperation, one comes to seek an audience with the sole regular and drink the ale made by the "proprietor," Fritz Delb.

No rooms to rent, no door to close and barely enough space for Fritz's cart, horse and establishment, the Gilded Dog is simply one of hundreds of pocket taverns on the Docklands side of the Street of a Hundred Taverns. Like all the others, Fritz's in an unnamed alley.

His one regular is rather infamous and provides a sort of protection from the watch, bailiffs, and other thugs of the Docklands. Reverend Brother, and  Master Sergeant, Otto von Essing of the Fist Brothers, a private company of volunteers and Sigmar fanatics that muster with the Imperial Army on expeditions. Otto is quite pious in his own mind and doesn't shy from drink or food. Otto is heavier after the Storm of Chaos and privately stews over his company's shame at Middenheim a year ago: routed at the Faustschlag.

Otto drinks at Fritz's and retires only to eat somewhere in the Docklands or return to his company's "barracks" outside of Altdorf, often carrying a barrel of Fritz's ale for the men.

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Posted by caffeinated at 1:26 PM in d10

Monday, 7 April 2014

F is for The Folly

On the Street of a Hundred Taverns, finding "Five Fingers" Folly1 is not a simple task. The foremost reason is most drinkers look for taverns where the likely hood of being rolled by the owners and regulars is not an expected risk.

The Folly is a thieves' den. The shingle under the lone lantern is marked simply enough, but the mark of Ranald is a warning and a sign of fellowship for cat burglars and cut purses.

This dive, like many alley taverns in Altdorf, is lucky to have four walls, a door, and a roof. Tables, chairs (or stools) and a bar lend only the barest sense that it is intended to be a tavern at all. 

One simply does not walk into the Folly for a drink (or a meal) a new comer. One is invited (as a mark), desperate for a drink (becoming a mark), or is returning to spend his or her haul on drinks (looking for a mark). The grotesquely fat owner is a fence and will take pretty much anything in trade for a meal or drink. 

The bouncer is a spirit-sodden Halfling, never sober enough to bounce anyone, but will cut the heel of anyone causing trouble without remorse. He always expects someone else to drag the injured to the alley.

The Folly offers no services of any kind and one is lucky (or blessed by Ranald) to find the floor clean enough to sleep on in desperate need.

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Posted by caffeinated at 12:44 AM in d10

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Of taverns, Altdorf, and A-to-Z

The first five days are behind us in the 2014 Blogging A-to-Z challenge and I'm already dreaming, literally nocturnal fantasies, of the next entry. And as I visit other blogs and approve comments, I'm compelled to address what might not be obvious, save the mention of Dwaves, Halflings, and Ogres: these taverns are not real. They may be indeed great places to visit if Altdorf was a place to go, but sadly, the Street of a Hundred Taverns, is not.

Funny enough Altdorf, the "old village," turns out to be the name of real places, there's even a University of Altdorf! And herein lies some of the confusion I think. At the outset of this year's A-to-Z I hoped to set expectations. Yet what I'm most excited about are the number of writers visiting the blog.

If you are a writer and have not experienced the social story telling play of Table Top Roleplaying Games a la Dungeons & Dragons or Warhammer Fantasy Role Play, go out and learn more. Ignore the stereotypes (especially any moral panic legends of the 1980s).

From causal "beer (or wine) and pretzel" games to serious years long campaigns, the seeds of setting and system provide incredible imaginative fodder for writing science-ficiton and fantasy. Not to mention a huge market that seeks writers. 

The successes of the Lord of the Rings to the hit HBO series Game of Thrones (of whom George R. R. Martin is known to be a tabletop role player of GURPS) are testament to the fantasy market. Dan Harmon, creator of Community runs a regular Dungeons & Dragons game. WFRP is my favorite.

And if you're a first time visitor and fantasy writer now wondering just what RPGs might offer you in creativity, I run a fortnightly game of Warhammer Fantasy Role Play for several friends over G+. Contact me to learn about watching the game online live or listening to a past "actual play."

Posted by caffeinated at 12:48 PM in d10