The Black Coach
Positioned on the main east-west route through the Upper Underdark, which directly connects the major trading cityFrax with the Drow polis, Kar-Marrontal, the Black Coach is an inn that has become one of the major rest points for those undertaking the journey across the western Upper Underdark. This means that the majority of the time it is well patronised, with merchants and travellers of all kith and kin to be found within its walls, making it the perfect place to rest one’s weary feet after a hard day of travelling, or to hide oneself amongst the crowd for those wishing to remain anonymous whilst travelling the highways of the Underdark.
There is only one official entrance into the Black Coach, and that is the main roadside entrance, which is also what lends the inn its name. When approaching the establishment from either the east or the west the first thing that one sees is a large, ornate, black painted stage coach, seemingly parked by the roadside. On closer inspection, it is revealed that the north facing side of the stage coach contains a set of double doors, which then lead to a staircase heading straight down into the cavern system within which makes up the Inn. As the main fabric of the establishment is not geared up for anything other than pedestrians, directly behind the Black Coach’s entrance, is a set of gates, built into the fabric of the tunnel’s wall, which leads beyond to a large corral where beasts of burden can be left, under the watchful eye of the Black Coach’s guards and stable hands whilst they rest in the inn below. These gates are left open, though under guard at all times, unless the Black Coach is under attack, so that it is obvious where patrons can stable their animals. There is another entrance to the Black Coach within the stable area, though this entrance leads directly down into the inn’s kitchens and is really only used as a service entrance.
Apart from its black stagecoach entrance and its stable corral, the Black Coach is entirely situated within a cave network that exists beneath the layer of the Upper Underdark, but above the Middle Underdark. This does not constrain the establishment in any way, as the caves it occupies are so large that they can easily act as required, with the main taproom, the largest bunk room and the inn’s kitchen both being contained in enormous caverns, with smaller spaces being housed in the more confined tunnels and caves branching off of these main spaces. Despite its subterranean location, a great deal of expense has gone into making the Black Coach feel less cave like and more tavern like. The caves themselves have had their walls chiselled smooth and their ceilings vaulted and many of the rooms have been panelled with Black Bog Oak to give them a more luxurious feel. Arcane lights have also been fitted throughout the establishment to ensure that there is plenty of light, but at a level that won’t make Underdark native species feel uncomfortable.
Provided ServicesThe Black Coach provides food, drink and entertainment to travellers on the road and they also have a large amount of guest bedrooms, both private rooms and even suites, as well as bunkhouse style rooms, which can accommodate several hundred people if all were brought into service. The Inn also has a variety of meeting and function rooms which can be hired at additional expense for patrons wishing to relax or discuss business in a more private setting.
Despite it being located in a part of the Underdark that is deemed to be ‘safe’ safety is always a relative term in the region, which means that the Black Coach maintains a small defence force to ensure that the establishment and its residents are kept safe from the various threats that the Underdark presents. The inn’s guards are for the most part retired mercenaries, who have traded a steady, but lower wage, room and board in exchange for a relatively quiet and untaxing posting.