Player: “This must be the odd group of adventurers the Mayor was talking about! By the way, what is the name of this bar…”
DM: “Ummmm… (Looks at “Where To Go? A Quick Reference Tavern Directory For Any Fantasy Setting (Part 1)”) The Bloated Beholder”
Player: “Really? That’s an awesome…”
I was really lucky growing up. I had a great DM with a great imagination, and he was never at a loss for a tavern name when he was put on the spot. Albeit, some of them were so far out in left field, that when we heard them we would become hysterical with laughter. It didn’t matter; we were in high school and we were young. Sigh!
Now that most of us are all grown up now and no longer dim-witted and silly (yeah, right), some of still come up with the most horrible names for anything pertaining to our game. Be a little creative; use that schooling to make names that are interesting and punny! Have fun with them!
Taverns, in my opinion, happen to be one of the most memorable parts of my gaming. You get good names, and you get bad ones. You get funny ones and offensive ones. Most times though, the tavern is memorable for a few reasons: either the name of the tavern, the NPC associated with the establishment, or the memorable role-playing moment in these joints.
Regardless of how we remember them, in the course of the two parts of this article, I will be giving you a description of twenty-three 23 possible tavern names that can be integrated and used for your current or future campaigns. In the first part I included eleven (11) tavern names for you to use at your leisure. I now present the second part of this two part article with the remaining twelve (12) tavern names.
Each name will have three parts to it: the name of the tavern, an explanation of how the tavern got its name and a possible NPC associated with these taverns. (click on each tavern sign to see a larger image)
The Weary Traveller
If your adventurers are weary and are in need of an extended rest – Presto! you have a tavern at your fingertips, ready with all the amenities the adventurers may need on their road to defeating all evil in the world. This inn can be placed on the road to the adventurers’ goal. This tavern could be used for an encounter as a side trek or even just a base of operations for the characters during their current adventure. This tavern is not only equipped for eating and sleeping, but the innkeeper has all the basics needed for adventuring. Sorry, no magic items – unless you (the DM) wants to add them.
The tavern is owned and operated by the Ridel family. It has been in their family for three generations now. The inn has a solid reputation, good food and comfortable beds for the adventurers and their horses. Therid keeps the inn in working order while Anna (wife), Belinda and Amanda run the hotel and restaurant. Timmy keeps the horse fed and the stable clean.
House of Princesses
Might be found in a well established city. “If there are any girls there I want to do them!!” – and you can. The building is three stories tall and contain who knows how many rooms. This establishment offers high class “escorts”. Women of all shapes and sizes are available here. From halflings to dragonborn women, this place offers anything imaginable…for a price – and the price is steep. Adventurers can blow some of their gold here and R&R after a tough adventure. You can indulge in anything from a simple massage to a full domination session(up to the DM to figure out details). This establishment can be used as a starting point for any new adventure whether it is political defamation, to spies in the cat house. In actuality, all the women who work here are changelings, an advantage to satisfy any client.
The House of Princess is owned and operated by Lady Aratranna Shadowskin. Her name has a double meaning. She is named shadowskin for her dark dominatrix side, and her natural skin colour and she is currently spying for whatever government your town is against. A great place to do some role-playing or to use some general trickery against your party.
Creeping Brambles Pub
The tavern is gorgeous. It is a circular edifice with a courtyard in the middle of the establishment. This tavern boasts the most beautiful and oldest willow tree in the whole continent. Once a year the willow blooms beautiful flowers that are cultivated and brewed into potions for the local healing guild, providing healing for a minor fee (locals only) and healing for a steep fee (for strangers). The fruit is cultivated and made into some of the best wine you could find anywhere. Creeping Brambles is the name of the wine. The wine is expensive, but worth it. Only around for about 2 months of the year.
The tavern and winery is owned and operated by Cruthinen the Shaman (for his “magic” with the fruits of the tree). He is a heartbroken gnome, with a tale to tell. His mood is elegant yet somber, just like the willow tree. The mood in the tavern however, tend to be jovial and upbeat, with many bards, jesters, and actors active throughout most evenings.
The Coat Hanger
This popular inn is well known for its multitude of coat hangers pretty much placed all over the tavern. on a busy night patrons can expect to see a hundred or more coats, cloaks, shields etc. hung all over the bar. The coat hanger always has an “open mike” competition every night and the person who performs the best story, wins their consumed items for free that evening. Players going into the place can try their luck and win an evening of drunkenness from the patron of the tavern. Many rooms are available for the night. The rooms are cozy, fairly large and have all amenities.
The inn is owned and operated by Thersaadi Songsteel, a human (no one knows what gender). Think Albert Goldman from the movie “The Birdcage”. No one has bee able to figure out the person’s origins. No one really cares; the atmosphere of the establishment is jovial and feel good. Thersaadi has Halfling “shoppers” in the bar all evening to prevent pick-pocketing.
The Chamber Pot
Known for its extreme cleanliness, the Chamber Pot offers the cleanest ‘facilities’ in town. The chamber pots in every room and the outhouses in the courtyard are emptied and cleaned three times per day. Walking into the kitchen is extreme, you would think you are walking into a newly fitted restaurant. Everything in here is sparkling. The floors are spic-and-span and linens are done after every client. For those who have an extended stay at this tavern, linens are changed every three days. Baths ore offered and even encouraged. The owners of this tavern are picky about their clientele and so the patrons are somewhat clean and respectful. The tavern part of the establishment is usually frequented by the business types of people, known for their cleanliness.
The inn is owned and operated by Raemmarr the ‘Pigkeeper’, a very neurotic dwarven female. Her need for cleanliness is known throughout the town, which makes her establishment extremely popular place to stay.
The Keg Stekehouse
This inn smell of cooking meat all day everyday. The Keg Stekehouse(pronounced stek-ee), know for the freshness of its meats, boasts the best beef in town. Located on the outskirts of the city or town, the livestock where they get their meats from is literally in their backyard.
Curgar Bittergrim, a tiefling male, owns and operates this family business. Sick of having to worship a demon, he is one of the only tieflings to break his pact without being snuffed. He is so confident in his product that he thinks his business will be around for thousands of years(and he is right)
The Past Pub
The inn boasts many “theme” rooms of varying time periods of the current world you are playing in. The decor can be a desert, a cave of Mezzoberranzan, a grand royal room of times past, an Asian setting or even a famous dungeon. The sky is the limit for this one. This hotel is owned and operated by a sophisticated hobgoblin named Rawk Aramil. Having been thrown out of his tribe for his pacifist ways, traveled long and far looking for acceptance in some other society, experiencing adventures that most would never see in their lives.
In the main foyer, Rawk has set up some displays of the evolution of certain species. Showing some of the changes of the elves and eladrin bloodline, the goblinoid race evolving from pure savagery, to organized bands etc.
The Clockwork Orange
Located in the less desirable parts of town, this establishment is a cesspool of addicts and ruffians. The bar is known for its plethora of available drugs, especially the highball mead, a concoction of “insert potion here”. The bar is actually owned by a noble by the name of Alex Drac. This establishment makes a lot of profit by luring the dredges of society, getting them addicted to the drugs. Once they are addicted, the noble has easy hands for hire, to do his bidding for that next hit. They would commit and “ultra-violence” without connecting anything to the noble.
This bar could be a good adventure spin off where characters could become addicted to one of the many drugs available. The noble could have his eye on the characters and have his ‘barkeep’ drug the ale of one of the adventurers with an unknown substance, which instantly causes addiction. Then the noble attempt to hire him in exchange for more of the drug, or the character does a small favour for the noble in the future. The possibilities are endless with the seedy establishment.
The Oath Breaker
Passed up for many positions and quests for her deity, this cleric eventually lost her faith. She always tried hard to please the clergy, yet, despite her wisdom before her time and her stong-arm with a blade, the males of the faith did not want to send her out to do the work of her God, fearing that she would embarass the Church. Later, she was instrumental in uncovering a plot within her organization to assassinate someone of importance to her personally. This act of treason left her out in the rain.
having saved enough money in the years of service with the church she was able to purchase this quaint establishment. This establishment is located on a crossroads of some type and Elayna Sunstride likes nothing more than to sit with adventurers during the evening and chat with them about their exploits. One thing she is adamant about, is that there is no riff-raff, or evil looking people allowed in her bar.
The Bakers Dozen
Bakery by day, tavern owner by night, Dravis Woe understand the need for diversity. He is famous for the bread he makes fresh daily, and for the drink he serves nightly. Having grown up somewhat nomadic, it has given him the ingredients to make his place one of the most visited in the realm. His travels have given him time to collect various recipes to satisfy any race you can image. The same thing goes for any drink you could imagine.
Dravis also owns a farm where he grows all the necessary ingredients for his clientèle. Using magic and elbow grease, this man is able to grow anything in his field using weather changing magic. The rest of his family actively helps him keep his high level of standards, which allows him to be the best. Any tampering with his crop could mean the end of this hard working individual.
The Sewer Rat
Lycanthropes are not your common free roaming folk in the city, but for some reason, this were-rat has flourished…well, done well for a monster anyways. His tavern lies on the outskirts of town, in one of the seediest areas. He is also located in the sewer. Even though the area he located is filthy and undesirable, his establishment is relatively clean and inviting.
Serrat the ‘tailess’ Ardune is not the most accommodating individual. He is gruff and aloof, but stays “strait and narrow” because he know his livelihood is precarious at best. Not everyone is comfortable with his presence in the city, but he has not caused any disturbances and is only tolerated in the city. This tavern could be a good source of information to the underdark or to the sewers of some large city. He does give some information…for a price.
The Shield Maiden
Avid followers of Pelor the Kerily family could not have been more proud of their daughter when she aspired to the rank of knighthood within the ranks of the Church of Pelor. This family grew up with little more than the shirts on their back, and with hard work and a dedication seldom seen to the God, he managed to buy a little niche in the town and build themselves a little haven for travelers and adventurers alike.
There is no cozier inn for miles, the food is good and the company is even better. Constant entertainment provided by travelers make this a nice place to relax after having defeated the Lich-king.
Hope this list has provided you with some much-needed creative juice.
Take these names! Use them, abuse them, modify them, enjoy them, and then tell me what you think of them, I would like to know.
Have a blast!!