The Dancing Halfling
Purpose / Function
The Dancing Halfing is a traveling tavern founded and owned Zahira, a militia deserter, that travels along the Hool Marsh coastline. Thieves, and highwaymen hiding in the Hool Marshes often visit the tavern for information, supplies, and entertainment.
Zahira built the tavern on the back of a giant turtle's shell. The tavern structure is attached to a faux turtle shell that her giant turtle familiar, Hondru, wears, much like a sweater. The top of both Hondru's shell and the removable cast have been sanded down to create a flat stable surface for the sheets of slate which support the tavern structure and provide necessary structural support for the cast when it rests on the uneven and slippery shores of the Hool Marshes. Small channels for water currents exist between the slatted sheets to allow for smooth travel along the water. The tavern itself is fashioned out of the remains of an old shipwreck. Holes in the rotted-out keel of the ship have been patched with wood planks and moss. Despite having the nick-name 'The Red Door', the tavern door is a rather unremarkable natural brown cypress with a large round door knocker, painted green. Large plumes of bearded moss drape over the once-decorative bow, giving the tavern an abandoned appearance that Zahira has used to hide the tavern from prying eyes. A floor hatch connects a backroom in the tavern to the area within removable faux-shell structure. Four rows of collapsible risers line the raised sides of the bottom shell frame an oval wallow pit used for illegal crocodile fights. Stacked crocodile cages line the back walls. A larger hidden hatch is used to raise the crocodile cages from the pit arena up to the tavern, allowing safe crocodile transport when moving locations. When the Dancing Halfling has to unexpectedly change locations the house crocodiles are released into the wild and it takes about a week for new crocodiles to be captured.
Zahira discovered the remains of a ship, Dancing Halfling, while hiding in the Hool Marshes with her giant turtle familiar, Hondru. Under her care, the shipwreck slowly became a local haven for other marsh-dwelling individuals wanting a warm meal or seeking news of the local communities. News of the tavern and its clientele eventually caught the attention of local authorities, who attempted to track down the tavern. After several near discoveries, Zahira fashioned a casing designed to fit around Hondru's shell and allow the great turtle to move the tavern to different locations within the Hool Marshes.
While the Dancing Halfling is known for decent stew and well-crafted ales, dedicated patrons order a Cooler on the Rocks. Not because the drink is particularly memorable, in fact most orders are rarely delivered. Trusted patrons who order a cooler on the rocks are lead into the faux-shell basement to bet on high-stakes crocodile fights. Zahira pays local adventurers and highwaymen to capture wild crocodiles for the house supply. Captured crocodiles are kept in cramped conditions, each with their own gated-off section the same of wallow, thus keeping the beasts in fighting conditions. On fight nights non-fighting house crocodiles are drugged, while the evening fighting crocs are guided into side cages. The crocodile keeper prods two crocs into the center arena where a bottle of pheromones is dropped. House crocodile fights usually take 10 minutes tossing between tense tactile stares and aggressive head bashing and gnashing of teeth. Loss of crocodile limbs is common, but the croc keeper is responsible for tranquilizing the crocs with a Drow-based sleep potion before the killing blow in an effort to keep keep the crocs alive for one more fight. Patrons are allowed to bring their own fighting crocodiles. Unlike house fights, these fights are usually to the death. The fights usually last 15 minutes and bring in high stakes betting. On a good night a lucky patron may win over 2,000 GP. Because the tavern may shift location with little to no notice, patrons have learned to keep an eye out for will-o-wisps that emit a pale red glow. These wisps feed off of the crocodiles' hunger, fear, and confusion, and are only found in a three-mile radius around the tavern. This method of navigation has given the Dancing Halfling its nickname: the red door.
MenuMushroom Porridge: 1 SP
Vegetable Soup with laver bread: 1 SP
Sausage with fried onion & apple chunks: 3 SP
Wild Rice: Plum Barley Water: 2 SP Crocodile Kebabs: Crocodile Steaks Gumbo Croc Curry with Potatoes Croc and Prawn Laska Croc Etouffe Peat Beets