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Postfest XVII(Richfest 2012): The Braided Beard
Posted on Sat, July 21, 2012 by Ullmaster
Phalastar writes "The Braided Beard is an Inn located under the Forge Quarter in the Free City of Irongate. If you need to find the right dwarf to talk to, the Braided Beard is always your best option. Just be sure not to upset the bouncers...

The Braided Beard Inn

Introduction

The Braided Beard is an Inn located in the Free City of Irongate.


Irongate has many inns, and the most famous of these are located above ground for all to see.  However a number of local favourites (especially Dwarven inns) are located in Irongate’s immense undercity. The Braided Beard is different from other dwarven-favoured inns mainly because it is not aligned with any particular dwarven clan. Many of the dwarven inns are a “regular” for a particular clan (e.g. the powerful Grummild clan or the ancient but small Khul-Ak clan) and act as a de facto meeting place for informal clan business.  The Braided Beard is regarded as clan-neutral, something that has been deliberately fostered by its owner. Thus the inn often hosts meetings regarding clan or trade disputes, debates of dwarven lore and other inter-clan issues (such as the annual dwarven inter-clan arm wrestling competition, and the legendary inter-clan drinking competition) are sometimes held at the inn.


Furthermore, the inn is frequented by those not allied with any particular dwarven clan. This is attractive to more than a few dwarf adventurers who have cut ties with their clan. There are usually one or two beardless dwarves visiting the inn during its busy periods – a sure sign of a non-traditional dwarf.


Iron Hills dwur (typically from the Dorgrimm Clan) are known to stay at the Braided Beard when visiting Irongate.


The owner reinforces tolerance amongst his patrons, at times with a sharp jab in the ribs from his club.


So the Braided Beard will never be known for the camaraderie, boisterous laughter and drinking songs of other dwarven inns. But if you ever want to spread word amongst the dwarves, or find contacts in the wider dwarven community, no inn can provide the same opportunities as the Braided Beard.


That assumes, of course, that you can find it...

Location

Irongate is an impregnable walled city located on Samryn Bay on the coast of the Azure Sea. Formerly part of, and originally built by the Great Kingdom, the city has been a Free City for many years and is a founding member of the Iron League.


The human and dwarf population of Irongate get along very well, each having admired the strengths of the other race during years of siege. Indeed some suggest the very strength of the city stems from the synergy achieved between these two races.


Irongate is rightly referred to as the City of Stairs. Aside from the massive dwarven staircase that serves as the breath-taking eastern entrance, the city itself is riddled with staircases – from the tiered levels of the above-ground level city – to the darker stairs in the city’s many underground levels. It is here that the Braided Beard can be found – but you may need to ask for directions...


The inn is located underground in the forge quarter. There is a small painted sign on a post standing on ground level. These sign posts act to guide people travelling at ground level, what businesses and places may be found underneath the ground they are currently standing on. A grinning helmed dwarven face with an intricately braided beard is a sign you are standing on top of the inn, or at least near it.

Physical Description

The inn is located on three levels, all of them located underground. There are two main entrances and one secret entrance. One main entrance is located on the topmost level (one level below ground) and the other entrance is on the lowest level.


Accommodation is located mainly on the middle level, which also contains the owner’s suite which includes a secret entrance that leads to a secluded passageway leading deeper underground. The uppermost entrance is the one most often used and it fronts onto a busy underground thoroughfare where workers in the Forge Quarter pass through every day.


The interior walls are made of stone with some dark stained wood finishes. There air is usually warm but reasonably fresh despite being underground. A number of the walls feature large murals of epics battles throughout the history of Irongate. These murals were specially commissioned by the owner at considerable expense. They are rightly regarded as masterpieces and have become very popular with all races wishing to see something of Irongate’s history.


The main drinking room is on the top floor, where most of the murals are hung. There are numerous chunky wooden tables and stools in the centre, as well as wooden stools along the impressively carved marble bar (reportedly made from the same Iron Hills marble as the famed dwarven staircase). In pride of place above the centre of the bar is the military insignia of the Irongate’s Elite Dwarven Infantry – posted as a symbol of unity for Irongate’s dwarves. Several cabinets throughout the main drinking room contain numerous military artefacts and items from famous battles throughout Irongate’s history. The most recent edition being a blood stained steel breastplate bearing the symbol of the Scarlet Sign.

Accommodation

The inn has two rooms that sleep eight, a dozen rooms that sleep four and ten rooms that sleep two. There is also a large overflow room that is used for storage but it can be made to squeeze in another 20 people for rough sleeping.


The rooms are basic but functional and quite clean. The beds are slightly short for humans but the few humans that do stay have never complained.

History

There has always been an inn at this location for as long as any Irongate dwarf can remember. But these were under numerous different owners, with many different names. The most recent owner that created the Inn of the Braided Beard is a dwarf of mysterious origins. He claims no affiliation with any Irongate clan or the Iron Hills dwur; however his accent is decidedly that of a local dwarf. No-one has come forward to attest to knowing the owner, but his name is listed on the Irongate residential scrolls. He deflects all questions of his origin with good humour and vague statements about travelling a lot.

Some say he has done this deliberately to create interest and intrigue and that in reality his is just a local dwarf who was quite forgettable.  

Food & Drink

There is nothing particularly noteworthy about the food and beverage served at the Braided Beard. It is of good quality with ample dwarf sized servings and represents fair value. Dwarven ales and spirits are by far the most popular drinks, though a selection of non-dwarf ales and a few wines are also kept on hand.


The food served can be split into two types, traditional dwarven fair (mushroom soup, crusty dwarf bread, roast boar) and an eclectic mix of dishes from across the Flanaess. The owner claims to have specially selected these dishes during travels in his younger days.

Staff

The owner employs three other bar tenders working in shifts, along with half a dozen bar maids. All bar tenders and bar maids are dwarven, apart from one female human and one female gnome bar maid. The bar maids double as cleaners for the rooms. There is one female dwarven cook. Work is share evenly amongst the staff and they are expected to lend a hand wherever needed. They get along well with the customers and the owner, but the favour is returned in tips and generous pay respectively.


By arrangement with the Irongate military, the inn employs a handful of elite dwarven infantry as bouncers. The wear full uniform and work at the inn on a volunteer basis for extra money. It is very rare indeed that they are required to act on any serious event in the inn, and some jest that they are really here to protect the expensive collection of military antiques and paintings. All local dwarves revere the elite infantry and would hesitate to test their fighting skills against them. By and large, while loud and boisterous, the mostly dwarven clientele are a law-abiding bunch and there are very few security issues at the inn. Some people have drawn a connection between the elite infantry bouncers, the collection of military artefacts on display and the military crest hanging over the bar. Exactly what that connection means depends on the gossip-monger to which you talk and how much drink they have imbibed.


As additional security, since the inn that is regarded as ‘clan-neutral’, no clan leader would be happy to hear about clan members behaving in a manner that brings dishonour to the clan.

Clientele

The inn stays open til late, usually closing whenever the crowd thins down or stops buying drinks, which usually a few hours after midnight. It then stays closed until just before lunch.


The inn tends to get most popular in the evenings when younger dwarves are in search of company, and also at the end of shifts in the nearby smiths. Many of the dwarves are smiths, apprentices, tradesmen and soldiers. While the inn’s previous incarnations were always popular with local smiths, popularity with soldiers has increased particularly since the Braided Beard was opened on the site.


During busy times there is usually a smattering of humans, gnome and Halflings visiting the inn, usually to interact with some of their dwarven contacts.


The inn is often used by humans wishing to be put in contact with the ‘right’ dwarf. Of the dwarven inns in Irongate, the Braided Beard is the least intimidating to non-dwarves, and the right one to go to when you not sure which clan you need to deal with.


As a clan-neutral inn, the Braided Beard is often a riot of inter-clan intrigue and politics. Many vigorous debates and more than a few plots can be heard forming within the inn.

Adventure Hooks

The inn is often used as a meeting place for travellers wishing to make contact with Iron Hills dwur prior to heading to the Iron Hills. Guides and guards for the journey can be found here.

Adventurers could find themselves engaged to do business for a particular dwarven clan, only to find themselves in the middle of a clan feud.

There are a great many rumours about the origins of the owner. However he is like most innkeepers very friendly and a peddler of information. He can certainly put people in contact with the right dwarf, regardless of what is required.

A local dwarven weaponsmith claims he is being intimidated by dwarves of another claim. He engages adventurers to stop the intimidation and they head to the Braided Beard to find some answers.

Rumours abound of a discovery of Oerthblood in the hills between the Baraktors and the Iron Hills. Adventurers have been engaged by a mysterious benefactor to find the source. The Braided Beard provides some initial contacts.

Sources:
Dragon 351 "City of Stairs"
Living Greyhawk Gazetteer
WoG Boxed Set

"
 
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Re: Postfest XVII(Richfest 2012): The Braided Beard (Score: 1)
by SirXaris on Sun, July 22, 2012
(User Info | Send a Message) http://https://www.facebook.com/SirXaris?ref=hl
Not bad, Phalastar.  I'd like to see more information on the owner and other NPCs, but the triple military connection is a very specific quality that makes this inn uniquely interesting.

SirXaris



Re: Postfest XVII(Richfest 2012): The Braided Beard (Score: 1)
by Argon on Sun, July 22, 2012
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Phalastar,

Another quality Inn. You ham had to go for two! The lack of owner and staff data does not distract from the quality of the article. I enjoyed it!

I think the fact that an air of suspense was built around the owner means that a lack of info on him is purposely done. Now many people can add their personal touch to those characters and I would be interested in seeing what other people have done with this, once they insert it into their campaign.



Re: Postfest XVII(Richfest 2012): The Braided Beard (Score: 1)
by Mystic-Scholar on Fri, July 27, 2012
(User Info | Send a Message) http://mysticscholar.blogspot.com/
An intentional omission? Bah! Hum-bug! But it does add to the mystery. ;)

The Braided Beard sounds like a "must see" for anyone visiting Irongate. Nicely done, Phalastar. Look forward to "seeing" more.

Mystic-Scholar




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