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Beer's On Me

Sometimes, it's fun to play with the basics. That's what I did recently in re-imagining the standard seedy adventuring tavern. In the process I got a little carried away: nine statted NPCs (including a gutter mage, bandit, and shadowsworn), seven adventure hooks, three floors of room descriptions, and a complete set of full-color maps. The whole thing topped out at 15 pages, and yes, it's free. Rogues don't pay for stuff, why should you?

I know who to blame for this obsession with the underworld: Robert Lynn Aspirin and Lynn Abbey, the fine folks who brought us the Vulgar Unicorn and the terrific Thieves' World shared world anthologies and novels. I loved those books, and they became permanently imprinted on my brain as the perfect fantasy tavern. I still keep the first couple volumes on my "ratty paperbacks I can't bear to part with" shelf, right next to Jack Vance's Dying Earth books. I imagine a number of older gamers will remember the Unicorn fondly. I know I'm looking forward to the Green Ronin release of goodies such as "Murder at the Vulgar Unicorn".

In any case, that was the ambience of roguish sleaze and underworld grime I was trying to recreate. The Green Griffon Tavern is not your local brewpub or winebar. It's a rougher sort of place, an establishment that the city watch visits only when it absolutely must. The Green Griffon PDF covers all the basics:
  • drinking, gambling and a pit for bloodsports,
  • a bitter owner with a past,
  • sleazy staff with secrets,
  • guild connections,
  • back rooms for brokering deals,
  • and a complete menu (note I don't vouch for its quality, merely its completeness).

There's a few other little secrets that I'll leave to you to discover; the point is, the Griffon can easily be a recurring location in any urban or rogue-centric game. The remarkable Edward Albert drew the maps, full-color beauties which are also available as a separate download, and they include details down to the cards on the tables. The write-up references spells, items, and classes from the Book of Roguish Luck, so...
You don't need a copy of BoRL to use the Griffon, but it sure wouldn't hurt. The d20 Magazine Rack review of Roguish Luck says "There are other character books on the market that cater to rogues, but in this reviewer’s opinion, this is simply the best of the bunch."

So visit the Green Griffin, say "Hello" to Glorinda for me, and tell the barkeep that the next round's on me. While you order, I'll just slip out the back. What are rogues for?



( 4 sutras — Your wisdom )
Jun. 3rd, 2005 06:53 am (UTC)
It's been fun reading the Thieves' World RPG stuff as it comes in. Since I've spent the last 18 months working on Warhammer, I was totally hands off on the Thieves' World line, leaving it in Rob Schwalb's capable hands. I can thus be all fannish when I read things over and say, "Cool, I want to play!"
Jun. 3rd, 2005 07:01 am (UTC)
Thieves' World rocked. I really should take a stab at picking up some stuff from that line and finding some players to run through it.
Jun. 3rd, 2005 01:26 pm (UTC)
I'md definitely looking forward to seeing these in print. There's no dates in the online catalog, just "coming soon". Which I'm sure is true, but makes the fan in me go "I want it now!"
Jun. 3rd, 2005 04:41 pm (UTC)
The Thieves' World Player's Manual is out in July and then the Murder at the Vulgar Unicorn adventure is out in August. Two other books follow this Fall.
( 4 sutras — Your wisdom )

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