Variant taverns


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So in another thread the OP was asking why all adventures seem to start in a tavern. Whether they do or not, every settlement I've ever designed/run/played from had one. But that got me thinking - are they ALWAYS just a bar with rooms for rent?

I don't know how many hits this thread will get or even if its all that interesting, but I'm looking for variants to the "standard" tavern. For the purposes of this thread, the "standard" will be defined as a single common room, separate rooms for rent for PCs to sleep in and some kind of cellar area for storing extra alcohol/foodstuffs.

Here are my two right off the bat:

Auntie Mymm's Pies: this eatery is merely the parlor, dining room and kitchen of Old Widow Mymm. She is a kindly human, pleasant to the regulars and generous with the gravies in her pies. She serves kidney, beef and mutton pies for lunch, dinner and supper. She also has an arrangement with the Brewhammer Brewery, serving their pales and lagers with her savories. Seating is limited but turns quickly and there are always a few who know to ask for "Auntie's Precious;" a robust confection infused with the widow's own witchcraft. Although only the highest merchants and nobles can afford these pies (50 GP) they swear that once consumed all their aches and pains are gone! (note: "Auntie's Precious" is a Cure Light Wounds potion; GM may add other level 1 potions as desired)

Croak and Whistle Teahouse: this rather unique establishment is built into the hollow and boughs of an ancient, gnarled willow. A flight of steps rises through the taproots to a small-sized door while the wafting aroma of dozens of heady brews hangs upon the lintel like a worn old coat. Inside are a handful of modest tables fit only for a party of four. Each features a ceramic plate in the center. A staircase exits out the side of the hollow to ring its way around the girth of the tree to the decking above.

The Croak and Whistle, established and run by a grippli ranger and his associate - a Halfling cleric of Gozreh, serves only teas alongside a host of sweets, cakes and other pastries with which to pair the steeped beverages. They boast no less than at least 99 varieties; some are classic teas found throughout the region, others are hybrids created by the dual proprietors, and some more unique flavors they claim to have discovered on their adventures through this world and others.

With the nature of the fare served at the Teahouse customers tend to linger for hours. Attending either the breakfast or high tea at the Croak and Whistle is always a social affair as patrons tend to wander through one anothers' conversations like so many wisps of steam from a rattling teapot. (Note: if PCs make a point to be on hand for either the Breakfast or High Tea service at this establishment they gain a +1 Circumstance bonus to any Gather Information roll made)

Good ideas. If I can get my thoughts focused I'll add one from my long running campaign later on.

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This obviously varies by time and culture, but mediaeval "taverns" were basically in 4 categories:

1) Alewife. Someone homebrews beer as a sideline. People might buy it and stay around to drink it, either inside the house or outside. But it's not the brewer's core job and she only sells it when convenient or to her friends. This is most likely in a small village that doesn't merit a real tavern. Or if the brewer is good at it and has a reputation.

2) Alehouse. As above, but more reliable and established, so anyone can expect to get a drink at normal times of day. But it's still not her real job. She's a seamstress or farmer or fishwife.

3) Tavern. Like a modern pub. Food, drink, roaring fire, serving wenches, rowdy fights on Fireday night, sign over the door. Where locals come to drink and brawl.

4) Inn. A hotel. Probably with stables and stableboys, somewhere safe to park your coach, one day's ride from the next inn.

A small village might well have no established place for visitors to stay, even if there's a tavern. Visitors might just kip down on someone's floor or in the barn for a modest consideration.

There are other variants like pop-up beer stalls in the market, breweries which supply other places, wine shops, restaurants and so on but those are the main types of drinking establishment.

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In my homebrew, there is a tavern that takes up an entire city block and spills over into neighboring areas. It's called the Inn of Two Brothers, and has been in existence almost 800 years (I based it on an actual noodle shop in China that has been in the same family that long).

It contains multiple taverns, two large inns, livery stables for mounts, farriers, urban druids for healing wounded mounts, bathouses, and other amenities.

It grew from humble beginnings and over the centuries to its present state. They are famous for a signature dish called babuq, a savory, smokey method of cooking a variety of meats and many different recipes for sauces to accompany it. ;)

The Temple of Acidalia and Dendrites: Dedicated to the goddess and god of fertility, wine, love, and beauty. It is mostly worked by minor clergy or novitiates to the two deities - male and female alike. They work as inns as well as temples and are located in most major cities that will allow them. They are often located between cities as well. They do charge for their services (and there are lots of rumors about what exactly some of those services are), but also are a good source for holy waters, wines, ointments, and so on.

The Temple of Hodios: Dedicated to the god of travel, commerce, messengers, trade, prosperity, and merchants. These temples are generally set about one day's journey from one another. The novitiates and minor clergy are not just responsible for the upkeep of the temple but of the road near it, about half a day in either direction (in fact there are markers for half way points between temples). Besides food and drink, they also will provide many clerical services (healing spells). While they do charge for their services, payment can also be made in service to Hodios. There are numerous protections within and around each of these inns against thieves and vandals.

Shrine of Aniha: Dedicated to the goddess of travel, healing, peace, and protection, the clerics and novitiates take a vow of poverty, though they may accept any payments freely offered. They will offer free healing and protection spells, however, it is considered courteous to offer some service to the shrine. Around the shrine grow bushes that bear fruits with similar effects to the goodberry spell. Meals in the shrine tend to be simple and the shrines themselves tend to be small - fitting no more than 1d4+8 medium humanoids (this includes any clerics or novitiates).

Nik's Nook: A small but well run tavern and inn in a coastal or lakeside. The owner and proprietor is a gnome named Nik, with a barmaid named Marlee and a cook in the back. The place is down on it's luck due to a sailor or lakefarer gang taking the establishment over as their watering hole. This has driven out the regular customers and their antics drive new guests away from staying.

Nik offers good food and all manner of alcohol (whiskey, wine, brandy, even elf wines and dwarven spirits), but also water or goats milk for paladins, clerics, and others who choose to abstain from alcohol. Ordering goats milk is a good little hook for the heroes/players to get into a brawl with the gang leader. If the gang is defeated, the tavern returns to its previous prosperity and locals comeback, newcomers start returning as well.

If the heroes have cash, Nik is willing to partner up to get his place going again, resulting in a good monthly return to the investors once the gang is removed. Investors may even choose to fund additional hires (more barmaids, assistant cook, good bouncers, etc) which will also increase the place's prosperity and reputation.

The Hammer and Nail
Sister shop of Hammer and Nail Smiths. The perfect place for working men and adventures alike to get hammered or for women to get... well you get the point.

Pym's Steakhouse: Serves traditional (Englishoid) if boring food, steaks, beer, pies etc. Which is fairly expensive due to the town being in a desert, non-Englishoid culture. Exactly how it makes enough to keep going is a source of wonder and speculation to the locals; those with money on it being a meetingplace for spies are correct. The owner will sigh and run up an even more inflated bill for hidden exits, replacement horses, discreet healers or other such services.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

The Gates of Valhalla have Einheriar and Valkyries serving mead and ale. Many drunken rages erupt in fisticuffs every night, but deaths are prevented by sacred magics that convert fatal wounds into incapacitating non-lethal damage. Hey, where does that big giant tree lead to...

The Beer Garden has druids that will get you drunk! And fruits and vegetables and flowers, oh my!

The Hive and Honeycomb also features mead and sweet treats. The innkeeper is a queen bee, and guests get can stay in tiny hexagonal cells.

So is this a 101 thread or a 1001 thread?

Magical Rest: This is a small building, once an orphanage. The orphanage closed decades ago due to the neighborhood getting too violent. Once the area was cleaned up by adventurers, the mage of the group took over the place. Now you can come in and get good food, cooked by the retired mage himself. He loves to try out new dishes using all sorts of exotic ingredients. The bill is cut in half if you try out a new dish. The waitstaff are some of his daughters and apprentices. Another way to cut your bill is to let them practice new spells they've researched on you. Not for the faint of heart, but so far nothing irreversible has happened. Those staying the night find the quarters cozy, the rooms refurbished from the orphanage's early days. The beds are spelled to make sure the sleeper gets a good night's rest. It doesn't hurt the premises are warded against nightmares, night hags, dream spells and the like either. Locals suggest the eggs (often from creatures like owlbears, cockatrices, or rarer creatures) with the local tea for breakfast.

I think it's an "As Many As Can Be Created by Players" thread.

On a back alley in the city's infamous red light district, you find a set of stairs which lead down to a basement doorway. After using the secret knock given to you by your informant, the door creaks open and a pair of sunken eyes in a bloated face loom you up and down before letting you in. The place is lowly lit by random candelabras, but vibrant colored and patterned silked hang from the ceilings and walls, and decorative ornately woven rugs cover the floor. You are quick to notice an overpowering, sickly-sweet smell pervading the dark room, and slower to notice the patrons of the place, seated and reclining on the large pillows in the deeper shadows along the wall, people vacantly puff on a variety of pipes and hookahs, staring up at you with a sort of listless suspicion, all in varying stages of addiction and waste. The host, though, knows why you are here and leads you to the back, through a beaded curtain and down a long corridor which seems to twist and turn at random intervals. Finally, upon reaching a heavy wooden door, he coughs and clears his throat of thick phlegm, and in a guttaral voice rasps, "The master will see you now."

What about a "tavern" based around the wild abandon of fey revels or bacchanals?

It could be a druid's grove or even just a public park or something. Patronage is by invitation only, the evening's festivities would be preternaturally fun and exciting with the most amazing liquors and foods in seemingly never-ending abundance. It might be a good way to intro otherworldly elements or magic while inflicting consequences minutes, hours or even months later on the PCs.

Also, what's the difference between an "Inn" and a "Hall?" Like in some Scandinavian settlements in the dark and middle ages you had a longhouse where people gathered for public meetings, but then they also had like shelves or ledges on the walls for people to bed down after they ate/drank. Maybe the only difference was doors/privacy?

Hmm...I never thought about that.

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No mention of the truly traditional "public house", that is: someone's private home that's made available to come visit and have a drink?

In one campaign I was in a PC merchant established a chain called The Roaring Lion Inn. There was one in every major town. They were fairly high class establishments serving quality wine, ale, and roasted fowl.

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Razzla's Roaming Respite. Actually a merchant caravan. The caravan travels around the River Lands setting up camp just outside each town for a few days before moving on. At the centre of the caravan is a gigantic palatial ornate tent that acts as a mobile tavern. Razzla's Roaming Respite is an excellent place to gather adventuring rumours and exchange mundane goods.

The Hard Korr Inn and Tavern: Used in some old campaigns, and included in a novel I'm working on, the Hard Korr Inn and Tavern is located in a corrupt large town called "Little Sin" (CN); a community created as a center for criminal to flee to where they are essentially left alone by the law, unless they cross beyond its boarders. The Hard Korr Inn and Tavern, located in a dangerous warren of the town, is a welcoming place for all races and types to get a good drink, great food for all tastes, and rest. Owned by its proprietor, a Rusty brown furred Minotaur named Korr (LN), he uses quicklings (part of the family business for 4 generations) as servers who wear strength belts to able to do their job. Bouncers are tough and unrelenting, even Korr gets involved in ejecting ruffians from his establishment.

In addition to the Tavern and Inn, Korr has established a band of law enforcers (LG/LN) who protect the warren the Tavern is in. Called the Konstabulls, its a group of Minotaurs who patrol and protect a 12 block area around the Tavern from criminals, extortionists, gangs, etc. Most lucrative part of the city, so other businesses are eager to relocate into the warren.


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So when I was a kid there was a D&D coloring book I got for a birthday. In said book was a tavern scene with a sign that reads The Green Dragon but somehow me and my brothers confused it with the griffon on a later page and started calling it the Green Gryphon Inn.

The name stuck.

Since I was 9 years old and started running my own games there has been an iteration of the Green Gryphon in every world I've made. Generally these are 2-3 stories and the amenities vary with the region, however they always feature the following:

1. A Halfling with an alliterated name: Bindul Bosnystock, Ungla Underfoot, Igor Iverbottle, etc.

2. Dwarven ale: normally I stay away from clichés but this is literally ALWAYS there!

3. Bath services: I think in 30+ years of games I've only had folks use the bath at the Green Gryphon like, a dozen times maybe, but they're always offered.

The best campaign was a 1e/2e game when a buddy of mine convinced me to let him play a goblin with Popeye arms. He and the Halfling homesteader in the group set out to earn enough cash to keep the local Green Gryphon in business. They did so well they bought the place, then they hijacked the campaign in order to franchise the inn.

For a while in my lands there was a Green Gryphon Inn scattered every 30 miles from horizon to horizon. The pair of PCs went about seeking recipes of legend, talented bartenders, establishing huge plantations for food and hops, and even at one point took over a pocket dimension to enhance logistics. It was... kinda ridiculous, but great fun!

Awesome. For years we had an inn called "The Sandy Jackboot" somewhere in every game we played, from AD&D to TORG.

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Mark Hoover wrote:

2. Dwarven ale: normally I stay away from clichés but this is literally ALWAYS there!

The mark of a true gamer is experiencing Dwarven ale. It's like falling in a pit trap or participating in a tavern brawl. It just has to be done.

Yeah, true. In a 2e campaign there was one tavern, and only one (they had an exclusive deal with a local Dwarven community to sell their ale) that was called "Tuja". In Common it meant "Mule Piss". Non Dwarves had to make a saving throw vs poison the first time they drank it to not get totally drunk off their gourds.

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almost any place can be a place of adventure:
-Kahlee's Krispy Kabobs: is a pushcart "if you have the right questions; then Kahlee has the answers." If you don't mind to stand while you eat.
-The Card Sharks': coffee, soft drinks allowed. A place where non-gambling card games are played and talk, info, strategies are passed over a friendly game of cards.
-The Map Room: a room where you come to trade your old maps for new charts where you can be debriefed and sound advice can be had.
-It's In the Air Tonight: a smoker's lounge and billiards/ conversation/ parlor a laid-back place to talk.

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The roadhouse is cultural experience bar none. Located just out of town on the turnpike or near a crossroads. The Makework roadhouse the music is profound and at center stage and beer to boot.
The best performer at the Makework Roadhouse was the 11th level bard Blind Lemon Jello not blind himself he always wears black glasses that leave him blind. If he doesn't have the glasses on his sight comes back but goes into spasms of agony. He is a Blues singer. The roadhouse is only a musical showcase, not an inn or hotel.

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The Pit

Centuries ago a prosperous open cut dwarf mine was raided by dozens of orc tribes in a rare display of orc solidarity. Once the dwarves had fled the orcs took over, but their skill at mining was lacking and the mine became practically worthless. But the mine wasn't a total loss, an enterprising orc named Gurlah discovered the secret of fermentation from records left by the dwarves. She converted an old iron smelter into a huge brewery and tavern in the middle of the open cut mine which had become known simply as: The Pit. Gurlah passed the secrets of dwarven fermentation to her daughter who passed it onto her daughter and so on through the generations through to the current owner: Allesklah. This rare patch of stability within the orc nation has become a kind of sacred neutral ground where opposing orc tribes can sit and parley over a few ales in relative peace. Indeed The Pit has become so famous that it has become known outside of the orc nation and is regarded as the only safe place for adventurers to sleep within the orc nation.

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Scholar's Retreat.

This is an inn run by a retired elven archmage who wanted to combine his two most favourite pastimes: reading and wine appreciation.

The inn is located in beautiful hidden valley but is connected by magic portals to several major cities and possibly other worlds. The inn boasts a magnificent library of books, scrolls, paintings, maps etc. collected over the centuries. The inn is strictly members only and becoming a member requires the donation of a new and original piece of work. A task that becomes increasingly difficult as the library grows. The inn is managed by a goblin alchemist who is also the chef and wine aficionado with an exquisite palate. The alchemist has many contacts throughout the civilised world that he uses to source the best wines available. He has an extensive staff of unseen servants and golems that he uses to maintain the inn. Many famous wizards, including some from other worlds frequent the inn making it a dangerous place to try and cause trouble. The Mecane often conduct business at the inn making it the ideal place to source magical items.

Boomerang Nebula wrote:

Scholar's Retreat.

This is an inn run by a retired elven archmage who wanted to combine his two most favourite pastimes: reading and wine appreciation.

The inn is located in beautiful hidden valley but is connected by magic portals to several major cities and possibly other worlds. The inn boasts a magnificent library of books, scrolls, paintings, maps etc. collected over the centuries. The inn is strictly members only and becoming a member requires the donation of a new and original piece of work. A task that becomes increasingly difficult as the library grows. The inn is managed by a goblin alchemist who is also the chef and wine aficionado with an exquisite palate. The alchemist has many contacts throughout the civilised world that he uses to source the best wines available. He has an extensive staff of unseen servants and golems that he uses to maintain the inn. Many famous wizards, including some from other worlds frequent the inn making it a dangerous place to try and cause trouble. The Mecane often conduct business at the inn making it the ideal place to source magical items.

Talk to your GM about dropping random 100 books found in the strange library. into dungeons and ruins. Do they provide remove curse to transfer ownership?

@ Goth Guru

I like the link you posted. I haven't put that much thought into the idea, what I wrote is just meant as a teaser for other GMs to draw inspiration from, so not really sure how to answer your question.

The Basement.

This is a trendy well furnished bar in Absalom (or other large city). As the name suggests it is located in an inner city basement. It's claim to fame is that it only accepts the right kind of fashionable, well to do people, and that once a location becomes stale and no longer regarded as trendy it moves to another location in another basement. Whenever the bar reopens it is laid out with entirely new decor reflecting whatever is fashionable at the time.

The real story is that the bar is a front for the local thieves guild and is used as a place where the senior members of the guild can mix with the less than upright members of the merchant guilds and the aristocracy. It is an ideal place to entertain and do business privately in comfortable surrounds. The location of the basement moves whenever the thieves guild suspects that the legitimate authorities are getting too close to discovering its secret.

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The Dive
Located in a half sunk ship on the waterfront, it has a real wet bar. Waist deep, the bar is the best place to meet merpeople, selkies, fish people, and others. Drinks include potions of water breathing.

The War Room.

This building used to be a large tavern in Mendev. During the first Mendevian crusade the army took control of it and used it as a combined headquarters and officers mess. By the end of the second crusade, after a number of military setbacks, morale was low so the decision was made to reopen as a tavern for the soldiers while the headquarters was relocated. In order to maintain troop morale the commanders created a fund to attract the best bards in the land to perform for the crusaders. The tavern became known as the war room due to its recent history and militaristic decor and was an instant hit with the troops. Performers are always guaranteed a large crowd and over time a certain prestige has become associated with being invited to perform for the troops which means the quality of the acts rivals the major cities like Absalom despite the relatively remote and inhospitable location.


This is a fairly small tavern that is more well known for its smoking culture than for drinks and accommodation. The actual name of the establishment is Drax's Smokehouse but the locals have come to call it Dizzy's due to the thick smoke haze which is known to make newcomers feel nauseated when inside. Drax is a half orc herbalist and alchemist who has used his expertise to grow the most exotic types of smoking leaf with all kinds of unusual and magical properties.

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The Alley

Due to a fire, a the ruins of a pair of houses came to be a twisted shortcut. The destitute, but ever opportunist, owner charges a nominal fee to 'trespass' for bit, but soon customers came to inquire about his cooking and he started selling his stew and hard bread for enough to stop thinking about the Trespassing fee. The setup has a number of twists and turns that open onto shops and more run by his extended family.

Prices are low and portions small, but a tip gets a refill. About mealtime, the place is so crowded with workmen that it is not a shortcut.
The grandson now runs the place, though his older sister seems the real power. Barter is common and it's cash on the barrelhead, no credit. Beggars get the days leavings for free after the main kitchen closes and return the favor by advertising.

Although this is no more than remnants of two houses, the 'path' is not easy due to the stairs (5) and dead ends. If a local is along, it takes a minute tops. Not having the guide, 2D6 minutes, assuming you don't get caught by the hot meat pies.

I ran this one for a bit, but the party moved on and another GM took over and he put a nasty twist on it. Think Sweeney Todd.

Grand Hotel.

This is a huge elaborately furnished tavern with hundreds of rooms and a dozen large ball rooms. The Grand Hotel has existed for centuries with ownership always staying with the same family, or so the story goes.

The awful truth is that there really has been only one owner, an ancient and powerful vampire queen who preys upon the guests in the dead of night. The vampire is very careful to never drain her victims entirely and risk killing them, however it is common for guests to wake feeling strangely drained despite a long rest.

Dragon's Brew Hill.

This establishment is owned and operated by an unusually enterprising bronze dragon named: Teknarturn. It consists of a huge distillery and common room with about two dozen adjoining dragon sized sleeping quarters built into a large hill. Nobody knows who built the massive structure but observers have noted that the high quality craftsmanship implies ancient dwarven construction.

The hill acts as a tavern specifically for dragon clientele, mainly copper and bronze dragons but other creatures like storm giants have been known to visit occasionally over the centuries. The hill is famous for its namesake beverage Dragon's Brew, a kind of whiskey, which legend has it one large flagon is enough to put a dragon to sleep. This claim is clearly an exaggeration but it is recommended that humans and other mere mortals drink Dragon's Brew with caution.

There is also Callahan's Crosstime Saloon.

Which has a gurps source book:

*Apologies but being my first post, I wasn't able to quote this poster directly for some reason....hence the copy/paste function. It was posted by E. Lightfoot, I think the third entry in this thread.*

"Nik's Nook: If the heroes have cash, Nik is willing to partner up to get his place going again, resulting in a good monthly return to the investors once the gang is removed. Investors may even choose to fund additional hires (more barmaids, assistant cook, good bouncers, etc) which will also increase the place's prosperity and reputation."

In the Council of Thieves adventure, the module, "Mother of Flies" there is a short article about the ecology of Thieves Councils. There was a map of a generic thieves council hide-out.

I remember two things - there was a black ooze pit (for disposing of bodies) and thinking that a tavern would make a good base of operations for a thief/assassin character who also has a (silent or public) controlling interest in the tavern.

Lots of people coming and going so easy for people to disappear. Also...drunk people always lose things and forget things so it could make it easy for items to "walk off" from their owners.

A home base that your character can retire to when resting from adventuring as well as storing treasures and exotic items s/he hasn't found a need for yet.

A place to "store" your money. After a few adventures, you're (hopefully!!) going to have a large pile of gold to haul around....gets tiresome. Better to put your money somewhere "safe" such as in a money making establishment.

You could have a few secrets in a place you own - hidden escape routes, treasure rooms - one public as a target for thieves and one or more hidden with your power items and riches, perhaps even a prison for those times when you need to keep a prisoner on ice til you can get information you need from him/her or arrange for a ransom.

And of course, with enough ale in them, tongues wag. Opportunities to swoop in and take advantage of opportunities to earn money, blackmail, and hire people you need for adventure X or Y.

I am not certain how it would work, but could such an establishment also function as a bank and make loans at exorbitant rates to struggling merchants? There has to be some use we can get out of all this treasure we've gathered!!

So...with all that in mind, I submit this:

(This concept is based on the Pink Dragon Inns from the Leo Frankowski series, "The Cross Time Engineer")

Name: The Pink Dragon Inn
Owner: Mr. Money Bags (Public) and Dirk Dagger (Silent partner)
Hook: Featuring scantily clad servers clothed in high heels, fishnet stockings and bunny ears - think of the Playboy Bunny for an image of this server.
Clientele: Primarily humans, elves and halflings.
Serving ales and vittles, offering rooms to rent.

Public: Serves ales and vittles, offers rooms to rent (12 in total but one is reserved for staff so 11 available), stabling for mounts (feed and grooming), bard nights (bards drink and eat for free), other events as desired (weddings perhaps?).

Secret: There is a large cavern beneath the inn which is accessed via two secret passages. One from the interior of the inn, the hearthstone of the fireplace is removable and leads to steps leading into the subterranean tunnels. The other entrance is located in the rear of a cave occupied by a hibernating mother bear. (Think of Bruce Wayne's underground liar for the Batman.)

(Adjust at will. Both entrances as described above rely on secrecy for defense rather than other methods such as magical guardians or traps.)

Within the cavern complex there are several tunnels leading to other smaller caves which function as storerooms for exotic items, money, and a magical library.

One particular tunnel leads to a hole of no bottom down which victims of the assassin(s) are disposed of, never to be seen again. A DM/GM might eventually reveal that there is some type of monster at the bottom of this pit that feeds on the corpse of the unfortunate victim, perhaps granting magical bonuses to the assassin in exchange for all the offerings over the years.

When I started to write the above, I was thinking "out loud" (that's why it's so long! - I don't know when to stop...) and it strikes me that this place is going to become very, very successful. It might eventually earn the owner(s) more money than adventuring! Loaning money, renting rooms, selling food/drinks, stealing, taking advantage of investment opportunities, and disposing of corpses for a fee from others....

Anyways....I'll stop here. Thoughts?

@ Mr Money Bags

I like the body disposal idea. You could have an otherwise normal tavern with a sinister twist.

Some governments like undead.
It's a way for the sick and dieing to go meet their ancestors.

The Tipsy Ghoul
This tavern is directly underneath another tavern. Undesirables are always coming down the chute from above, some of them still living, but not for long. There are convenient exits for when a party of murder hobos try to raid the place. Some adventurers come here with "sacrifices" to trade for information.

@ Boomerang Nebula:

Thanks! I can't take credit for the idea though - it was suggested in PathFinder Adventure Path, part 5 of ^, Council of Thieves: Mother of Flies in the article "Ecology of the Thieves' Guild" by Kevin Carter.

He included a map of a typical Thieves' Guild hide-out and #22 on the map was "Black Ooze Pits (for disposing of bodies)"

I thought it was a bit unusual for a Thieves' Guild to have a place specifically for body/corpse disposal. Maybe one of the guild masters moonlights as an assassin? Or the guild charges the assassins for a body removal service and makes the corpses the assassins leave behind disappear?

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