Six PCs Walk into a Bar...
The city of Caerleon (aka Saerloon) is a bustling but rather disorderly Sembian center of trade (disorderly relative to the rest of Sembia, that is). (I wish I knew how to make maps online. If I figure that out I will make a map of the city and put it up.) Places of interest include the following:
1. Dolphin Market. In the southeast of the city, near the docks. Mostly full of fish and aquatic food products; you can smell it a mile off. But sometimes interesting curios turn up, usually flaunted by some sailor who’d either care to brag or pick up some extra coin. Worth a look around, certainly.
2. North Market. What it sounds like. A really big open market in the middle of the northern part of the city. Find anything from spices to jewelry to rare and exotic alchemical plants here. Hanging out here is a good way to people-watch in town, and sometimes caravans come through here.
3. The Blustering Badger. Located essentially smack-dab in the center of Saerloon, this tavern is considered iconic of the town. It serves hearty food and good ale, for a fairly high but reasonable price. This tavern is never empty, but hits spikes in capacity around breakfast, midday, sunset and continues to be pretty full well into the night. However, since it isn’t an inn, only a tavern, patrons do have to remember that they’ll need to have enough of their wits about them to find their way back to their lodgings- no easy feat with the wide selection of spirits offered.
Grom: Earthsoul genasi, owner. Tends to frequent the place in the afternoons. Quiet but winning man. Always willing to lend a hand to those down on their luck; despises racial prejudice.
Whitta: Windsoul genasi, proprietor and barkeep, Grom’s daughter. Quick with a joke, sly and savvy about gossip around town, mostly regarding the wealthy but non-noble merchant class. Likes to style her elemental “hair” into amusing shapes. Nobody’s really sure how she does it.
Raz: Firesoul genasi, head chef, occasionally makes his way out to the tables to receive a compliment from a diner, but tends to avoid patrons, alcohol-sodden and flammable as they tend to be. Bright, but not flashy. Loves the peaceful life; supports the Netherese regime for the prosperity they have brought the town.
4.The Giggling Pixie: exhorbitantly priced inn right across the street from the Blustering Badger. Though they do milk their late-night inebriated clientele for all they’re worth, the atmosphere is not unkind; it’s a common inn for a duke’s ransom, though. Very few people actively plan to stay here. Around midnight, there are usually a few brawls; the inn hires a permanent repair staff to clean up guest-induced messes and damage. But some people say interesting things when they’re hammered…
Minnez: Pert halfling female who can drag even half-conscious orcs out of the foyer to their rooms if she must. Friendly to everyone, but knows that most won’t stay for long, and that those who do are either drunkards or schemers.
5. The Penumbra: Large temple to Shar (under construction) on the fashionable west end of town.Patrolled by Netherese guards and often supervised by several clerics. The town’s Lord Governor is immensely proud of this edifice, and demands proper deference to it.
6: The Blue Cow Inn and Tavern is near the Northwest Gate. It’s been around for centuries, and is one of the only prominent buildings in town that was not claimed, investigated or demolished by the Netherese in the 1380s. It’s a bit of a threadbare place, and most of the clientele are old Saerloonians, regulars who want a taste of the days before the Shadar-Kai and the Spellplague in their lives. As a result, the place is becoming less and less human in composition. Perhaps one day it will serve only the eladrin; it’s certainly stood the test of time thus far. The exterior of the building is bright blue brick, with a reddish-brown shingled roof and a life-size blue cow statue outside the door. It certainly stands out to the traveler’s eye- though to the locals, it’s just another permanent part of the landscape.
Barkeep: Drazell Moonshine, eladrin sorceress L3. Very flirtatious woman. Wife of the owner, who keeps very much to himself.
Regular: Durget Truesteel, dwarf swordmage L6. Has a glass eye and lots of scars on his arms. Likes to say, “By the forge of the primordials!”
Regular: Wendrel Barge, elf rogue L2. Likes to tell stories of his time sailing on the Sea of Fallen Stars. Likes to cast dice.
Regular: Gola Striel, elf NPC aristocrat L4. Drops by every Eightday to trade gossip, and sometimes sell objects of interest.
Regular: Azura, shardmind psion L1. One of the newer customers here, Azura likes eating rocks and pretending to be inanimate. She’s become attached to Saerloon as a city, and feels she really belongs here.
7. Westend Apothecaries. As the name would have it, it’s on the west side of town. Sells spell focuses, some material components, and occasionally potions and residuum. Curious shop full of adventuring trophies- ogre-tooth necklaces, a young red dragon head on the wall, things of that nature.
Arl, half-orc barbarian L12. Proprietor. Fastidiously clean, has an Oghma stone (pale blue rhomboid) orbiting his head at all times. Very short for a half-orc, but pure muscle- looks almost dwarfish by virtue of his sheer width.
Brist Silverstar, human wizard L5. Takes inventory and manages transactions of rare items in the shop. Arl’s main advisor when it comes to purchasing items in or out of demand. Wears midnight-blue silk robes and a white cloak with silver piping and embroidery, regardless of weather. Prematurely gray hair.
8. Northwest Gate. Always patrolled by no less than 50 armed guards, with four or five standing as sentries in the Northwest Tower. They wear the livery of the Netherese Protectorate and confiscate any and all visible holy symbols worn by entrants. Weapons are permitted, but documented, and the guards ask that weapons and implements be sheathed and concealed as much and as often as possible, for the sake of public safety. Several squads of warriors (with the occasional watch-wizard or divine worshiper of Shar) patrol the major streets at all hours, on guard for all sorts of suspicious activity, from sedition to public drunkenness to petty theft.
9. Northeast Gate. Same as above, pretty much. Except, it’s on the northeast side of town, clearly.
10. Dras’s Wondrous Items. West side of town, about halfway between the Northwest Gate and the docks. For many spellcasters, divine and arcane alike, this large, prosperous, fashionable marble-fronted shop is THE reason to make a voyage to Saerloon. Scrolls, rings, staffs, and enchanted odds and ends of all sorts are up for sale… if you have the coin. Paid security forces stand watch over the establishment at all times, and follow suspicious-looking shoppers during the daytime, when the ones with the sticky fingers have least trouble entering the establishment.
Dras: Half-elf rogue L11. (Had to start his collection somehow. It’s common knowledge that the man has long since retired and “turned respectable.”) Only shows up every Threeday, Fiveday, Sevenday and Nineday. As the notoriously wealthy owner of the establishment (which he will incessantly refer to as “this esteemed establishment”), he has more important things to do on all the other days, it would seem. But he does often patrol the store to inform the clientele of all the features and properties of his marvelous wares (but other than that, he’s not much for small talk).
Ilkin: Messenger boy. Will run and fetch Dras (who leaves notes of his whereabouts at any given daytime hour, which he painstakingly schedules) if a customer is interested in purchasing (selling?) any item or set of items totaling over 25,000 gp in value.
Bavelie: human bard L3. Well-trained in appraisal and able to charm, fascinate or otherwise engage any customer who enters the store. She has the quality of making absolutely anyone feel as if he or she is infinitely fascinating. Excellent haggler (Arcana, Religion, Diplomacy, Bluff, and perhaps even Thievery checks might help buyers and sellers haggle. An attempt to intimidate Bavelie, however, will most quickly result in a free escort off the premises).
11. The Watery Mug, a rowdy and threadbare (but cheap) inn and tavern. East Side. Great place to get into a brawl or overhear some shady dealings. If anyone’s a regular here, nobody knows or admits it.
Vray Onyxbeak, kenku commoner L2. Barkeep. Very hoarse voice. Clacks his beak when upset.
Marg, half-orc fighter L1. Keeps to herself for the most part. Gruff but motherly.
12. Svalla’s Place. Smithy and forge, makes weapons of enchantable (masterwork) quality. Patrons can bring in weapons for repair here as well. Enchanted weapons themselves are never bought or sold here; Svalla dislikes magic.
Svalla: half-dwarf warlord L4. Svalla is always good for a story, but clams up around people she thinks look like magic-users. Perfectly content to work at her bellows and anvil all day and every day. The shop is rarely closed, sometimes even staying open well into the night, and usually open on weekends.
Henrik, human artisan L3. Svalla’s nephew; a bit dwarvish and bearded, but more human than dwarf, certainly. Works the bellows when Svalla needs extra hands. Has strong opinions about the Empire, and will not hesitate to voice them in seemingly sympathetic company. So far, people have shrugged this off, but Svalla wonders how long his complacency will last…
Mari, human artisan L2. Henrik’s wife. Fronts the shop, diagnoses weapon issues and gives both price quotes and time estimates for repair and construction. Stunning eyes, blue enough to almost be indigo. Visibly pregnant, and having some troubles with staying on her feet all day, but in very good spirits, edema notwithstanding.
13. Southwest Docks. The docks on the fashionable end of town; captains of lucrative merchant ships ply their wares in the surrounding area, informally known as “Dockmarket.” Though not consistently patrolled by more than a couple dozen guards on most days, there is still a weapon registration process here. In the meantime, ships often unload cargo like dragon turtle shells, large pearls, and other valuable artifacts of the Sea of Fallen Stars. It’s even rumored that there’s a flying ship here.
14. Southeast Docks. Very different from the Southwest Docks. Deals in more practical trade like Aglarondian lumber and Theskan fruits. Not as rough-and-tumble as most of the East Side, the area around the Southeast Docks is mostly working-class and artisan middle-class residential area. The people here are reasonably prosperous and quite friendly in comparison with most of the city… though they also tend to support the realm and wear symbols of Shar. There is, as with the Southwest Docks, a weapon registration checkpoint.
15. Griffon’s Perch. Upper-crust residential district on the far west side, away from the bustle and noise of the docks, the gates and the markets. Wealthy merchants and important governmental officials alike make their homes here. Gardens line the walkways, and a few peacocks roam around elegantly fenced front yards. The Saerloonian wealthy are, in polite terms, proud.
16. Shadow’s Rest. Very large tombyard that holds thousands of graves; nearly every resident of this city has a family member interred here (and certainly, members of the shorter-lived races often have several). The wealthy may purchase private plots, but the cemetery as a whole is kept in very good condition. (Though holy symbols on older graves irritate the new leader, she respects the dead enough not to take them down. New tombstones, however, are not allowed to be engraved with a symbol, by statute. People often get around this by placing holy symbols on coffins or next to graves, rather than having them carved in. Being caught in the act of doing so, however, is punishable by two months in prison.)
17. Nightmistress’s Keep. Jail and barracks, near the Northeast Gate. Though most lands of the Realms grant offenders “speedy and public trial,” Sembia is essentially under martial law, and only those who can afford sky-high bail sums avoid immediate sentencing. Walled and gated within this walled and gated city, the Keep is patrolled by the highest-ranking officers of the city, in as large number as are available to do so.
18. The Twinkling Blade. West Side inn and tavern. Plush and not rowdy, but full of intrigue and secrets, likely as not. It is said that Drizzt and his party once stayed here, hence the name of the inn.
19. Gloaming Forge. Another West Side establishment, this is where the magic happens- for enchanted weapons, that is. Magic weapons, arms and armor may be found in abundance here.
Orietur Palandia, owner and proprietor. Elf artisan L7. Dearly loves his shop, bargains hard. Wears very fine and fashionable clothing.
20. Ord’s General. Rations, rope, tack, mirrors and other useful adventuring items (useful to townsfolk as well, no doubt) are sold here. Ord doesn’t buy used items, and like most stores in this lawful town, he won’t buy what he suspects is stolen. Near the North Market, for the customers’ shopping convenience.
21. Madam Vis’s Treasures. Magic item shop just starting out, near the North Market also; the location and her competitive pricing may have helped her business survive thus far, in spite of Dras’s near-monopoly on wondrous items. Sometimes she has potions, scrolls, weapons and more; it depends on what’s been brought in lately. Vis also enchants items herself, so she cuts her costs in that fashion. However, she has suffered some losses due to thievery of late. She can’t afford to employ the kind of security Dras has.
Vistra (“Vis”) Indram, human warlock L8. Black, twinkling eyes; very diminutive and fond of minstrel songs about the Dalereckoning Years.