Dead End Inn Building / Landmark in When Darkness Craves | World Anvil

Dead End Inn

Wandering Inn

Dead End Inn is one of the few known locations in the Dark Halls that are known to change their location by temporarily replacing the content of the Hall. As its name suggests, it only shows up at Dead Ends, the Halls with only one entrance leading inside and out of them. Normally, Dead Ends end up as nests of the creatures living in the dark or places where they ambush people who don't know, they've just entered a trap with no way out. Instead, this time one can discover a place where they can rest without the fear of the horrible effects of the darkness.  

The replaced Hall

Whenever the Inn visits a Hall, it replaces everything that was inside it but not the properties of the Hall itself. Whatever the darkness inside of it consumes, how much light is needed to prevent such a bite, the archivist that resides there, all stay the same. It is unknown what happens to the content itself, it's as if it stopped existing for some time. Or maybe it slips into the spaces between the Halls.  

The entrance

The first noticeable change is right at the gate to the changed Hall. While it is customary to cover the entrance walls with drawings explaining what one can expect in the Hall, when the Inn shows up, new markings appear, welcoming the potential guests. Just beyond the gate, one will notice a stone pathway, as wide as the entrance, leading to the center of the Hall. On each side of the path, spaced regularly, there are candles or lanterns, strong enough, that anyone walking on the pathway is safe from the darkness of the Hall.  

The building

The inn always shows up right in the middle of the Hall. It is an old, but well-kept two-story building with wood log walls and the stone foundaments. Just above the main entrance is a small roofed area with a wooden sign with the inn's name at the front. Two chimneys are coming out of the roof of the building. The building has another roofed area on its side intended for the mounts and vehicles. There are troughs for water and food should any animal rest there. The whole area around the inn is well-lit with multiple lights that seem to come from different eras.  


The first thing anyone will see when entering the inn is a corridor at the end of which there is a counter behind which the Innkeeper almost always stands. There are three doorways leading out of the corridor, two on each side and one behind the Innkeeper's back. Someone more observant might notice a trapdoor right behind the counter. The one to the left leads to the main room of the inn. There are tables for both smaller and bigger groups, some sectioned-off areas for those who want some privacy, a bar, and an open area intended as a dance floor and a space for other kinds of entertainment. Behind a bar, there's an entrance to the kitchen and the pantry which is also connected to the doors behind the Innkeeper's counter. The last doors on the ground floor lead to the common room. Here, one can find storage lockers, bunk beds, and a lot of space for sleeping bags. There are also stairs leading to the second floor where the rooms intended for couples or single people can be found.  


Dead End Inn offers a few services that don't require any pay. Some guests still decide to pay in some way, just in case it turns out the payment is something more immaterial. As it often is in the Dark Halls.  


While it isn't necessary to eat in the Dark Halls, the inn offers many different meals, some pretty exotic to this realm, as they come from the normal world. But while anything made out of the meats and produces of the Dark Halls is free, things from the outside can get really pricey.  


As long as there is space left in the inn, one can use it to rest. There are a few sleeping rooms and there is nothing stopping guests from sleeping in the common room.  


Once someone enters the Hall where the inn has shown up, they are under the protection of the innkeeper from any monsters or hostile people that may follow them there. Almost no creature is brave enough to enter the territory of the inn and the ones that do are never heard from again. While the Inhabitants would probably be able to crush anyone who enters there and even destroy the building itself, they respect its rules, staying away from it. Any guests hostile towards another guest will be politely but firmly warned to keep any aggressive actions down until they leave, but only once.  


Since the Dead End Inn moves once in a while, it is possible to use it to escape pursuit by entering its territory and waiting until it changes its location. The new whereabouts could be a completely unknown place or be located only a few Halls away from the starting point. Still, it might be worthwhile when no other option of escape is available. Additionally, by paying a certain "fee" to the innkeeper, it is possible to request two jumps in a row, the second one just after one leaves the territory of the inn, so if the ones chasing someone are already in the inn, the client has the chance to lose them. One just needs to be wary as this service might be quite pricey, and the forms of payment tend to be very personalized.  

Rumors and events

  • The rumbling sound of something very large can be heard from the outside. The rarely moving innkeeper stands up from behind their counter and leaves through the front door. Sounds of slaughter can be heard. A moment later, they come back and add another dish to the menu.
  • There are many rumors about the voice of the maid. Some think she is mute, some say she has a monstrous voice, while others say she probably sounds angelic. One day, when all of the patrons were asleep, one of them woke up. They heard the conversation downstairs. One of the voices was that of the innkeeper. The other was unknown. Whatever they said or however it sounded, it terrified the patron to the point they were only able to say singular words.
Alternative Names
The Wandering Inn
Parent Location


The innkeeper

The first to welcome guests and the first to creep them out, the innkeeper is a mysterious "person". Or rather being, since most of the inn's guests can agree that its owner most probably isn't a human being. It is hard to describe the innkeeper. Some swear they are a man, others that they are a woman. Those who manage to find the Dead End Inn regularly say that their appearance changes every time. Still, no one could tell what they looked like. That is because the only thing they ever really remember about them is their freakish wide grin. Many guests wonder how such a nice, calm voice can come out of a mouth that looks like this. When not spoken to, the innkeeper will mostly stay behind the counter, simply observing their patrons. But when asked about anything, they'll reveal their great knowledge about almost any topic. When asked about their sources, they always answer the same - they "just listen".

Innkeeper placeholder by Revyera


The maid

Aside from the innkeeper, only one other worker resides at the Dead End Inn, their trusty maid. Compared to them, people remember that she has a feminine form, but no other details ever stay in their minds. They also remember her eyes. Big, unblinking, cat-like eyes that stare at the people as if they were prey. Even if asked about anything, she never responds, but if any help is needed, she'll act immediately. She serves as a maid, cook, and waiter.

Waiter placeholder by Revyera


Finding the inn

While some try to visit the inn just out of curiosity, not many manage to find it when looking for it. Instead, it seems that the less one tries to find it or the more one needs it to survive, the higher the chance to actually find it. There have been many situations when a group chased off someone into what they fought would be a den of beasts, only to discover later that they are still alive, somewhere else in the Dark Halls.


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Dec 28, 2023 22:00 by Aster Blackwell

I love love love love love this. The Innkeeper and Maid are so so intriguing! Such a mysterious, spooky, and fascinating place!

Dec 29, 2023 23:07

Thanks! I'm happy to hear you liked it so much!

Jan 5, 2024 05:59 by Absinthe

Is this for a rpg?

Jan 5, 2024 08:35

It could be at some point, but for now, I think about this world as a game that doesn't exist.

Jan 11, 2024 04:17 by Aaron Burr

I enjoy the tone, and design of the article! I love the impermanence of the inn and I am interested in hearing about what kind of "personalized payments" there would be.

“Almost dead yesterday, maybe dead tomorrow, but alive, gloriously alive, today.” — Robert Jordan, Lord of Chaos   My current project: Elturia
Jan 18, 2024 22:36

Thank you very much! I'm glad to hear you liked my article!