In this fourth and final installment, we visit a turnkey business opportunity for a character who has always wanted to run a tavern. Free beer! Please see Part One for background on this series.
Building D - Defunct Tavern with Apartment
This two-story building features a small tavern on the ground floor and a spacious apartment upstairs. Because of the building’s size and usefulness as a tavern, the rent is rather high at 25 gp/month. The building is rumored to be owned by one of Baldur's Gate wealthy families. They have a hands-off approach and care little about the daily affairs of the tavern as long as the rent is paid on time.
The tavern, called the Ox and Cart, was last run by a couple named Gillian and Arnold. It was a favorite spot in the neighborhood, but not always well-managed. Arnold was prone to letting regulars run up tabs that Gillian could never hope to collect. These regulars also included local members of Thieves Guild, who are known as Hargor's Men. Gillian and Arnold feuded frequently as a result.
The marital strife came to a head one night when Gillian caught Arnold romancing a serving maiden on the bar. Gillian took an iron from the fireplace and crushed both of their skulls. (Gillian is a large, strong woman.) Gillian was taken to prison and the tavern closed soon after.
Locals will still drop by the tavern, peer in the windows, test the door and hope that it will open for business once again.
Running the Tavern
If a character wishes to open the tavern for business, a rather simple method can be used to adjudicate the process. The PC should take a Nonweapon Proficiency called "Tavern Keeper" with Intelligence as the relevant ability. Once per month, the character will make their proficiency check. If he succeeds, all expenses were met and he earned a modest salary of 5 gp. If he fails, money was lost and no salary was made. Three consecutive failures results in the tavern going out of business. DMs and PCs should feel free to complicate or simplify this mechanic further.
Encounter at the Tavern
Arnold’s spirit haunts the tavern. Because he died with such violence and quite recently, his spirit (technically a poltergeist) is rather confused by its current state. Presently, it manifests in the wee hours of morning as it crashes about on the ground floor, knocking over mugs and chairs. Such a clamor might cause a player character to believe that the tavern is being burgled. While there are no clues to suggest this, nothing in the early stages of the haunting points to a poltergeist, either.
When Arnold's spirit becomes more self-aware and focused, it will make its presence felt as a chill that runs down the spine of those in its presence. It will also emit haunting moans. It will take many months before Arnold’s poltergeist will gain its full power. When it does, it will have the statistics found on page 296 of the Monstrous Manual. It will not rest or depart peacefully. It will grow increasingly aggressive, resenting the presence of the character. The poltergeist will not rest until Gillian also meets her end, either in prison or from the hangman’s noose.
When/if Arnold’s poltergeist is destroyed or departs on its own accord, the PC will become aware that there is a second presence in the house, a ghost belonging to the serving maiden also killed by Gillian. The maiden, whose name was Coriander, has a rather timid spirit spirit and will not be so maddening to deal with as Arnold’s. Given time, the spirit will carry on in death as it did in life. For example, it might manifest at midnight as a pale, glowing figure that sweeps the floor, wipes the tables and tidies up the place.
Further Developments at the Tavern
Late in the evening, there is a frantic banging on the tavern's door. A young man begins to yell, “Let me in! By the gods! Help!” When the player opens the door, he can hardly process what is happening on the doorstep.
All he can see is a a terrified young man holding a lantern and a massive set of wings attached to something large and black. The wings are beating like mad and the lad is screaming, “Bats! Aiiieee!” Please see page 15 of the Monstrous Manual for details of the Large Bat.
In recent months, large bats have flown into the city and have been nesting in abandoned buildings. They are becoming quite the menace and have taken to assaulting people who are out at night alone.
The young man’s name is Tanner and he works as a linkboy. He will be grateful for any assistance.