Let’s take a look at what is probably the most common building in any Dungeons & Dragons game, the Inn! If you want to learn more about the concept of my building level system, check out the first post in this series here. That post highlights how levels work in my world of Volaiya, specifically, the area north and east of the mountain range Du’roth ‘Ol known as the Northern Sanction.
We are going to use the building leveling system I developed and layer it on the inns of my world so that when you DMs out there are creating your villages, towns and cities, you can easily establish the kind of place your players are in, and what the buildings are like.
Level 1: Poor Quality, the dive
Gross. These places are gross. They are small, and typically won’t have enough room for the entire party to stay in their own rooms. To be honest the people who run these establishments are surprised to have anyone looking to stay there in the first place.
Role Play suggestion: The owner/barkeep is literally surprised the players are asking for a room. She needs to go clean the crates of junk and scrape up the spoiled food to make room for the players.
As I mentioned in the original article, Level 1 establishments are only “in business” because there is nothing else around for many miles and the owners either don’t care or are suffering a hardship.
The bars and dining areas of Level 1 inns offer beer or 1 kind of brown liquor. Potentially both but only if you’re feeling generous as a DM that day. There is one meal available and it should consist of stale bread, porridge and one type of vegetable. Rarely will the proprietor have meat and if they do they won’t part with it for less than a king’s ransom.
When your players sleeps at a Level 1 inn, they should go to bed wondering why they didn’t just set up camp outside of town.
Inn Variant: Make the “inn” the owners house. The townsfolk who pointed the players to this establishment call it an inn because the old kook who lives there lets strangers sleep there for money sometimes. The rooms are his kids old rooms and they are super creepy.
Level 2: Average Quality, the local pub
Level 2 inns are what we all think of when we think about the party meeting “at the inn.” They’ll have a long bar that sits about 10 people in a line and there are around 6 tables on the dining floor with 4-6 chairs at each.
The owner of the inn is usually the person the players will find working behind the bar but it wouldn’t be abnormal for the owner to have one or two employees. If you’re dealing with a larger party you might have to double them up. Level 2 Inns have 4-8 rooms total and we should assume some are occupied! Don’t treat the world as if it’s standing still when the PCs aren’t around.
Food and drink will hit the spot. Multiple beers and liquors are on offer. Two of each but feel free to expand if you wish.
Role Playing option: The microbrew inn. This inn is operated by a weird middle aged bartender who experiments with brewing his own beers in the basement! He offers only beer to drink. There are a lot on offer but there are some definite duds.
These inns are small and quaint but always serve as a nice reprieve from being on the road.
Level 3 Inns: Good Quality, the place to be
These inns are much nicer than what lower level players are used to. The buildings themselves are far larger than Level 2. The bars themselves should have some unique shape and be able to serve 20-30 people at capacity. There should be 10-20 tables throughout the ground floor and upstair should there be one.
There will be multiple individuals tending bar and serving staff that fill mugs and deliver food to customers at the table. The players should get a “hustle and bustle” feel to this place. The bartenders and servers don’t have much time to just sit and chat. They just want to know what the player’s want and move on to the next customer.
They should still have a rough feeling to them. There are still dangerous characters who hang out in these places so bar fights and violence can occur, but not as much as there would be with the shady individuals hanging out in the lower levels.
There will be enough vacancy for each player to get their own room should they wish. At this level I would start charging a gold piece a night for the rooms and the food and drink should be multiple silver pieces.
Food and drink offerings should start getting a little more exotic. Meats and vegetables are more readily available and they may even have different fruit juices which are more exotic than beer.
Level 3 inns will be able to afford high quality bards and other entertainment. Adjust the quality of the performance depending on the inn’s proximity to larger cities.
It should feel tough to leave places like this. If your players are sad to leave an inn to continue on their travels, you’ve pulled off a great Level 3 inn.
Level 4: High Quality, literally next level.
Level 4 inns are no larger than a level 3, but everything about them is nicer. The beer is actually cold. They have really nice wines and smooth liquors. There is a menu to order off of! Now this is living.
Level 4 inns will have stone work on the interior and the wood will be painted with bold and bright palettes. The woodwork around the bar and railings will be etched and artistic. Depending on your owner, the wait staff and bartenders are beautiful men and women because they can afford to discriminate. Either way, the owner definitely no longer gets their hands dirty. They own the place, the employees work it.
These inns will have live entertainment every night and may even have regular performers that they are the patrons of. These bards and performers live in lavish rooms at the inn and have all their meals and drink for free as long as they agree to perform each night.
Incorporate vaulted ceilings and hanging chandeliers that tower over the players as they come in. The PCs should start having a “fish out of water” feeling when they first start entering establishments like this. Violence is never tolerated in these establishments and the many, large and powerful (high level) bouncers make sure to keep the peace.
Rooms are 10 gold a night, per person. They have lavish beds and furniture. The blankets and pillows are vibrantly colored and embroidered.
Level 5 inns: Exquisite Quality, invite only
Like blacksmiths and other buildings, the quality of these establishments mean they actually shrink in size. These buildings are owned by guilds and governments and they “select” who is allowed to come into them. Members are sent invitations to join and are then expected to pay the monthly dues from then on. It’s a real problem when someone is deemed worthy of an invitation and either refuses to pay or worse, can’t afford it.
All rooms along with food and drink are “free” in these places. They all come with the monthly dues a member pays which range from hundreds to thousands of gold per month.
Only the elite members of society are found here. The staff working at these inns are trained professionals and live to serve the people who frequent them.
Role Playing option: The inn has a special ring, pin or medallion that is hand made for members when they join. Members wear them everywhere to display their prominence and acceptance among certain groups.
The only way players would get into places like this is to work for a member of one, break into one or reach a level of prominence within a particular city to get invited in.
I hope you liked the inn post! Stay tuned next week for the next installment Farms!