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The Ravenclaw

History of the Ravenclaw

  Established in 521 CY, the original Ravenclaw was owned by a Half-Elf named Meledin Foltrin who built it from exotic Bronzewood gathered from the nearby Dreadwood Forest and the Hool Marshes. Meledin had been a master carpenter before settling into the life of a tavern owner, and as such milled the wood and shaped every board in the original pub himself. Originally, Meledin had intended for The Ravenclaw to be a layover station for merchants and travelers coming in from Port Torvin and the Southern Peninsula as they traveled deeper into Keoland. However, over time, the Ravenclaw's penchant for booking talented bards, it's wide selection of fine brews and wines from all over Flanaess, and the discrete nature of its staff made it somewhat of a favorite for adventurer's heading into the Dreadwood and wealthy merchants seeking respite after a long journey at sea.   Unfortunately those good times would not last forever and in 531 the city of Burle and the surrounding good-aligned wood elves, fey, and treants of the Dreadwood would find themselves under siege by the Cult of the Dire Flame. It took the unification of the fey, elves, and treants standing together with the Knights of Keoland to drive the cultists back, but by that point the damage to Burle had been catastrophic. In the destruction, the original Ravenclaw was razed to the ground. Along with a Treant named Wander Root, Meledin had managed to usher a group of fey children to the basement, saving them from certain death. Wander Root was able to shield the children, however, Meledin was not so fortunate and was lost in the blaze.   For ten years after the signing of the Wild Flame Pact, only the burned out foundation remained until King Skotti ordered the construction of a fortified outpost on the hill overlooking the city. In 542 CY, once the outpost was finished, a Half-Elf named Desarra Shadowbringer (CG female Half-Elf Marine) was stationed to Command the outpost. When she learned of the history behind the original Ravenclaw she ordered it rebuilt as a resting station for soldiers and the farmers of Burle. In an effort to bridge the divide between the citizens of Burle (who viewed the installation of the garrison as an offense to a neutral territory) she tried to have it rebuilt as close to the original as possible. Once again, Bronzewood was gathered from the nearby Dreadwood and Hool Marshes and they went to painstaking lengths to faithfully reconstruct the tavern as best they could. Needless to say it was a success. Not only do the citizens of Burle frequent this tavern, but once again travelers are starting to trickle back into its halls.  

Construction

  The ground floor, basement, and upper floor all average around 3,750 square feet in size. Built of Bronzewood, the exterior of the building is stronger than steel and capable of withstanding even the roughest of weather. It's frequently used by citizens as a safehold during such storms. Beneath the gable roof hewn together of seasoned roughsawn Hornwood shingles, visitors are greeted with a large awning extending about 5' from the entrance supported by carved Bronzewood pillars adorned by friezes depicting history of the town. It was one of the only two alterations Desarra made when rebuilding the tavern. The floor of the taproom is made of hardy Deklo wood, and even managed to incorporate some of the original planks sawn by Meledin himself. The kitchen is constructed of stone harvested from the cliffside near Saltmarsh and contains all the trained staff and necessary ingredients to cook a seven course meal fit for a king at the drop of a hat. From the awning hangs a wooden sign depicting the silhouette of a Raven's head surrounded in a border of thorned vines. Not much is known about the creator of the brawling pit Desarra had constructed beneath the basement, but there are whispers that due to its unnaturally large size it couldn't have been built by conventional means.  

Current Owner: Desarra Shadowbringer

  Between 543 and 568 CY a human named Leonis ran the tavern from behind the bar. As one of the primary benefactors behind the Ravenclaw's reconstruction it only seemed fitting. Under Leonis' stewardship, the Ravenclaw seemed to spring back to life overnight. In 563 he approached Desarra about taking over, but at the time she declined. Then, in 566 CY, Desarra was grievously injured during an expedition into the Dreadwood and has been confined to a wheelchair ever since. In 568 CY, she took Leonis up on his offer to assume her new role.   Desarra's sister Kiara was sent to take her position as the Commander of the Outpost. Since assuming ownership, Desarra has made a few changes to the subterranean structures beneath the tavern that her sister finds "questionable". Regardless of her sister's tactics to drive patrons back to the bustling establishment, Kiara has a deep-seeded respect for her sister's passion to try and bridge the divide between the Crown Loyalists and Southern Traditionalist factions in the area by providing a neutral environment for them to gather in. Once a month she even hosts a special banquet open to the citizens of Burle, Saltmarsh, Nine Oaks and other burghs within the Viscounty of Salinmoor. She calls this banquet the "Feast of Five Fools" though she'll give a different reason every time as to why.   Desarra is a firm believer in compromise being the driving factor behind unity. She wants to see the two factions united for the good of all Flanaess and is willing to lead by example. Though the scars of time and battle have certainly left their mark on her physical appearance, they have done nothing to tamper the hopeful spirit within her. Though Kiara firmly stands behind Eliander Fireborn and the rest of the Loyalists, Desarra has been known to support both sides on different issues in the past. As a result, she is also well respected within the community. Despite being handicapped, one should not assume Desarra is helpless. Time and boredom has made her quite good at maneuvering her wheelchair while wielding a rapier. Patrons of the Ravenclaw who get too aggressive with each other could very well find themselves learning of her skill firsthand.  

Services Rendered

  The Ravenclaw is well known throughout the Viscounty of Salinmoor to cater to a wide variety of patrons and their interests. From their lavish foods to their immense range of entertainment, this stopover along the Kingfisher River has built quite a reputation for itself. Nameless bards have found themselves famous overnight following a single performance in its halls. More than one brave adventurer has taken shelter behind its walls. Gladiators have been made and unmade beneath the basement in the brawl pits. Whatever you're looking for on your way downriver, The Ravenclaw probably has you covered. If you have the coin that is.  

The Taproom

  The Ravenclaw's taproom is probably it's most legendary feature. Known for their unique selection of signature drinks, they're one of the few establishments in the region to sell specialty brews with magical effects. From their "Snowblinder" drink which provides resistance to cold, to their "Dragon's Mead" which gives fire resistance, they have an ale for anything that might soon ail you. Though unknown to the public at large, the secret lies in a mystical cauldron appropriated from the Cult of the Black Flame--and some savvy magical tampering on the part of an unknown wizard--where the drinks are mixed before being given out.   The magical properties of the cauldron mix with the various liquor and other ingredients to create an otherworldly concoction of multiple varieties. It's important that the recipes are followed to the letter however, as any deviation can have dire consequences. Desarra runs the day to day of the taproom. Anyone looking to book a room in the brothel or inn upstairs, buy a drink, or book a table in the gameroom goes through Desarra. She has two fey servers who deliver drinks and food to the patrons.  
Specialty Cocktails
  Snowblinder: Made from glacial spring water, snowberry root, and mixed with a notoriously rare spiced ice wine called Saitomachi-Kuzo that can only be found in a far off land beyond the borders of Flanaess. This speciality brew will keep someone warm even in the coldest of weather. Adventurer's heading toward the Northern mountains and barbarian lands tend to buy a bottle or three on their way through.   Hag Wine: Night Hags may be some of the most terrifying abominations the Dreadwood has to offer, but if you know how to use their remains right you can make a tonic that wards off necrotic damage for 24 hours. But don't ask how it's made. You really don't want to know.   Dragon's Mead: Turns out you can ferment anything, including the hearts and scales of Red Dragons. If prepared right, Dragon's Mead has been known to ward off the effects of minor burns until the inebriation wears off. Which is a good thing for those who drink and play with fire. Be prepared for a massive case of heartburn in the morning.  

The Kitchen

  The kitchen is staffed by the legendary chef from Furyondy, Jasper Alder (CN male Human Chef) and his apprentice Nordog Samery (CG male Satyr Chef). Jasper is world renknowned for his ability to turn seemingly ordinary and mundane ingredients into succulent dishes that draw culinary enthusiasts from all over Flanaess. While Nordog lacks the finesse and skill of his master, he's still an excellent cook in his own right. Nordog's speciality is baked goods, particularly biscuits. Together, Jasper and Nordog have pleased the palates of peasants and kings alike. Though it's never been explained what drew a famous chef to a small hamlet like Burle in the first place, no one's lining up to complain about his dishes any time soon.  

The Inn, Brothel & Baths

    The Inn upstairs consists of ten small rooms (six for the inn and four for the brothel) and a bathroom. Though the rooms are small, they have all the amenities (a warm bed, a wash sink, towel and access to the baths) that an adventurer or merchant might need. There's also a footlocker they can use if they intend to stay for multiple days. They'll need to request a key from Desarra and shell out 2sp per diem for access however. The rooms for the inn cost 10gp per night. If a tenant hasn't checked out by noon the following day they'll be charged full price for an additional day. Desarra has two halflings she employs full time, a bard and a janitor, that keep the rooms tidy and play music for the guests in the bathhouse.   For those seeking "company" for the evening, Desarra is more than willing to provide. Four rooms are staffed full time by consenting prostitutes consisting of 2 Human females, a male Drow, and a female Tabaxi. Desarra charges them a set amount per month to rent the rooms upstairs and prefers to stay out of their business. That being said, anyone who causes issues for her workers will find themselves wandering naked through the Dreadwood (something for which there is actual precedent). Prices vary for services rendered based on who the patron visits, but the average runs about 100gp an hour. Inquire within.  

The Gameroom

  Saying access to the Gameroom is an exclusive privilege puts it mildly. While sailors and farmers bite copper pieces and throw dice made of bone in the taproom above, kings become paupers beneath the floorboards of The Ravenclaw. While the existence of the Gameroom is common knowledge, the entrance fee tends to keep the riff raff out. And if that doesn't work, the 2 Heavy Centurions that guard the exterior doors should be a fair deterrent. Adventurer's with a deep purse can gain a one time entry ticket for 10,000gp, or purchase a lifetime membership for 150,000gp. Those who do have the pockets to earn a seat at the table (and find fortune in their favor) can sometimes find themselves in possession of new land, a new ship, or even an entire Barony. There is more to gamble besides money amongst the wealthy of Salinmoor.  

The Brawler's Pit

  Those who pay the entry fee to the Gameroom also get access to the front row seats in the Brawler's Pits. Every Starday night, the locals (and even many from outside of Burle) race to this magical arena hidden deep beneath The Ravenclaw. The subterranean cavern is actually not truly beneath The Ravenclaw, but rather nestled within a pocket dimension which allows for it to be as large as it is. The arena (which is really more like a coliseum) hosts gladiatorial style battles, pitting stalwart contestants against denizens and demons captured from the surrounding area. Though the best seats in the house carry a steep price, on Starday nights, the upper decks are open to anyone for 2gp.   Those willing to participate should talk to the arena master Sizzik Tsavrozz (LG male Lizardfolk Barbarian) as he frequently has need for fresh blood (no pun intended). Sizzik was a force to be reckoned with on the battlefield in his youth, but now he prefers to work a crowd over working a battle axe. When he's not in the arena, he can usually be found helping the farmers of Burle tend to their fields and shore up any labor shortages there may be. He was taken in by the villagers in his youth and he tends to view them as his tribe. Despite his advanced age, Sizzik will do anything to protect his clan, and unless someone is looking to potentially lose their head, it's highly recommended they not test him. Those seeking glory must be ready to face some of the darkest creatures the Dreadwood has to offer. And for a good performance, the pay isn't bad either.
Founding Date
521 CY
Type
Pub / Tavern / Restaurant

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Comments

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9 Mar, 2022 16:43

I love the use of maps in this article and the details put into the type fo drinks created and the services the tavern offers. I would like to know more about the staff even if just a little to get to know them ! But overall this article is good!

10 Mar, 2022 03:57

Thank you so much! I enjoyed your article as well! The fact that it could only be seen by people who have been in love was a really unique angle.   Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. I'm glad you liked it. I wish I could have expanded on the characters a bit more too (especially Nordog and Sizzik) but I wanted to keep within the 2,500 word limit for the challenge. I'll probably expand on it later after my players start roaming around the town!

17 Mar, 2022 21:19

Very nice article. My only moment of confusion was when you first mention "pits" without any context. You may want to note that they are brawling pits. :)

Actually considering doing NaNoWriMo.
31 Mar, 2022 20:52

Smart move with 'make it look like the original to win the people's hearts'!


Too low they build who build beneath the stars - Edward Young