CotMA: Castle of the Mad Archmage
Azure Drake Inn
A notorious saloon, inn and brothel, the Azure Drake Inn is filled at all hours with lowlifes, foreigners and especially Freebooters – would be adventurers who seem to have adopted the place as their unofficial headquarters.
Located on the corner of Bilge-water and Freight Streets, the Drake lies in the heart of the Riverside District of Greyhawk City, not far from the commercial and entertainment corridor known as the Strip.
A dilapidated four-story structure, the entire edifice leans somewhat alarmingly to the left. An alleyway leads from the street to behind the bar, where one can find a locked service entrance, a midden heap and a rickety stable.
The main entrance is a crooked doorway, covered by several strips of greasy leather. Past this portal is single large tavern room, occupying a central “well.” 20 or so long tables with benches are haphazardly arranged facing a raised wooden stage, where minstrels, fools and dancers perform nightly. 15 cast-iron chandeliers descend from the rafters illuminating the dim and smoky room.
The upper floors are ringed with balconies and promenades, permitting one to look down into the common room. Three unsteady and narrow staircases link the common room to the floors above.
Behind the stage is older stone construction, where the kitchens and pantries are located. A trapdoor in the kitchen leads to a cramped warren where the common staff dwells.
The 2nd floor is composed of 8 large salons – dingy and stained with decades of grease and grime. These shabbily furnished and crudely painted chambers are where Freebooters are most often found charting expeditions.
The 3rd floor is divided into 18 small rental rooms, 4 communal jakes, and 2 locked storage closets. Conditions are squalid and dangerous. The 4th floor is accessible by a staircase on the 3rd floor, but it is blocked by an iron gate.
A pockmarked and obese half-orc and 2 bouncers linger near the gate, only admitting those who are escorted by one of the Drake’s courtesans. It is said that the women of the Drake make up for their average looks with their above average skills. The girls may be found mingling in the common room – recognizable by the brass keys worn on chains around their necks.
For more than 20 years, the Azure Drake has been a favorite of adventurers. With so many converging in once place, the Drake is a hotbed of rumors and travelers’ tales – tales of taming dragons, of hewing liches and devils limb from limb, and withstanding the hurled magic of warlocks or beholders.
But more importantly than that, listening quietly and perhaps enjoying a game of Chatranj, are usually one or more of those who have come to hire (or hire on with) adventurers. They sit and listen, take their measure of the speaker, and may lay down sword or coin for service.
Another amenity afforded by the Drake’s oddball clientele, is the relative welcome afforded to demi-humans. The inn is truly one of the few places outside of the Asylum where such persons may relax without fear of reprisal.
A wide variety of drinkables can be had here, from golden Keoghish Amber Ales to the many fine vintages of Velunese Wines. Even rarer fare is available for a price – including such rarities as Pomarj Black Brandy and six varieties of Goodmead’s Beers from Verbobonc. The common board at the inn is a bowl of chunky grey gruel, garnished with fish-heads and served with course dry-bread. Wealthier patrons might spring for fresh bread and boiled greens, served with skewers of roast fowl or platters of fresh venison and smoked fish.
Common Room (Tavern Floor), 1 night – 1sp
Common Room, 1 week – 5sp
Private Room (3rd Floor), 1 night – 5sp
Private Room, week – 25sp
Ragout (boiled bone broth w/mealy bread) – 1cp
Slumgullion “Pauper’s Stew” (rancid stew w/bread) – 3cp
Saltfish and Barley Gruel w/bread – 5cp
Skewered Hens and Boiled Greens – 1 sp
Ale, pint –1cp
Beer, pint – 5cp
Wine, goblet – 1sp
Brandy, cup – 5sp
Bath – 3sp
Brothel – 10sp/hour + Tip
Runner – 1sp/hour
Stabling (w/feed) – 2sp
For the last 20 years, the Drake has been owned by Saud el’Rashid Bilarro, a grizzled ex-sea captain and sometime pirate. Saud is an elderly gentleman, tall and swarthy, tracing his linage to the Baklunish tribes of Ket.
Saud is nearly always present at night, trading jests and tall tales with his guests. On the rare occasion that he becomes inebriated, Saud is known to regale the crowd with stories of maritime savagery upon the black waters of the Nyr Dyv.
Saud’s most trusted lieutenants are Hrolf the barman, and Grubert the cook. Hrolf is an enormous pale Seuloise, crisscrossed with a multitude of scars and old wounds. He almost never speaks, and communicates primarily with the two-handed club at his side. Grubert is a rotund lecher, who only emerges from the heat of the kitchen to ogle dancing girls or beat down troublemakers.
Saud’s prized companion is the dusky Rhenee beauty Belissandra. She is the chief domestic servant, as well as Saud’s whore-master. The ugly half-orc Garl is her enforcer. Occasionally, Saud will command Belissandra to entertain patrons with exotic songs and dancing, little seen outside of the gatherings of her reclusive people.
Saud’s other staff include 25 servants, acting as serving wenches, scullions, cooks, bouncers, and courtesans.
The inevitable side effect of any such business, the Drake has a number of communally raised children roaming the premises. When they are old enough, they are given the choice to become employed at the tavern or to seek their fortunes elsewhere. Because of this, many of Saud’s servants are related. Patrons should remember that there is nothing more frightening than a brother who believes you have mistreated one of his sisters!
Part of the Drake’s appeal is its anything goes atmosphere, but most regulars know when to stop. Behaviors not tolerated include casting spells, stealing from the house, not paying up, and proselytizing. Serious violations garner an armed response, and more than a few patrons have been killed outright