Saturday, 2 July 2011

inns & taverns: the field of stones

The Field of Stones is a pastoral roadside tavern.  Next to it, a bit of local colour, a field filled with granite standing stones the size of an average dwarf.  While that field enjoys druidic protection, the tavern is frequented by less enigmatic people.  Local travellers extol the Field of Stones for it's generous measures and cheery warmth, even during midwinter.  Visiting merchants mock this generosity yet the Field of Stones is always busy and never desperate.

The sign is a simple slateboard with the words The Field of Stones picked out in gold and white paint.  The exterior is a two-storey barn structure of whitewashed cement.  A shuttered porch leads to a spacious lounge bar with numerous elevated nooks fitted with table and chairs.  These afford concealment privacy while creating an eavesdropper's paradise.  It is almost impossible to find a single table that allows full visibility of the tavern.  Stairs leading upwards are visible from the porch while a single corner bar and roasting spit serve the lounge.  Serving maidens flit from table to bar with brisk courtesy.  The walls are hung with preserved corn dollies and small wreaths of meadow flowers.

A golden sweet ale (Lord's Fair), eminently quaffable is sold in quantity here.  An oak-coloured heavy ale (Dark Lady) is sold to both the stout of heart and stout of waist.  Jugs of rough red and white wine are sold alongside brown clay jugs of harsh barleybree.  This last is diluted with a jug of water by bar staff to taste.  Drinking barleybree neat is a desperate move for professional drunks and most locals who take a measure do so with the water.  The spit is oft-occupied by pig or boar roasted with herbs and accompanied by roasted potato or turnip.

The landlady, Karela is a petite blonde of indeterminate age in smart working clothes.  Her grey eyes could stare down a zombie and her no-nonsense manner cuts to the chase on discussions.  Her talent at managing The Field of Stones has made her locally famous.  She has no husband and claims no need for one.  The staff at the Field are polite and youthful, all immaculately turned out.  They follow Karela's lead confident in her experience.  It's whispered Karela was an adventurer once, certainly she seems willing enough to cut deals with strangers if it benefits The Field first and herself second.

The stairs upstairs lead into a corridor and doors leading left, right and ahead.  Left takes you to a common room suitable for nine, which can hold twelve at a pinch.  Right creates a corridor leading to six private room suited to single occupancy.  There is a faint smell of brackish water at the windows but this fades when the shutters are opened and air circulates within the room.  Karela will insist that shutters are kept closed at night.  This prevents local creatures taking advantage, she claims.  It's usually explained away as midges but at least one traveller has seen a figure prowling amid the stones at night.

The stones near The Field are anointed with hot blood at seasonal festivals by itinerant druids.  These rites are attended by many locals including Karela.  It's held the prowler among the stones is one of the druids yet Karela will disagree.  When pressed she changes the subject.  Yet the stones occasionally move, seemingly by themselves.  On those nights, the prowler reappears.  Nobody has yet confronted the figure though Karela may hire some advenuturers if the figure begins to become a nuisance.


  1. So... any plans for a floor plan of The Field of Stones? I'm trying to visualize just what you mean about the elevated tables and not being able to see all of the tavern from a singe vantage point and I'm finding it difficult. Are there partitions between the tables? If the building is a big boxy barn shape, then how is the interior able to be shaped so that you can't look clearly around? I really like the mystery of the Dwarf stones & may yoink it for my campaign. I'd like to take the inn & tavern too, but it's physical description is confusing to me.

  2. There's a rough map in the Downloads page which may help. A dias and partition walls along one side of every stair helps keeps thing discreet.


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