The Tavern. The Inn, the meadhouse, the common house. Whatever you call it, it’s one of the most iconic parts of any Dungeons and Dragons campaign. It’s that home away from home for you players. Nothing is worse than having a place you’re players visit regularly that’s just boring. Here are some ways to make that trip to the inn more than just an extended rest:
-A great name. A memorable and topical name for your tavern will turn it into a great part of your ongoing story. When I say topical I mean a name that fits the setting. If you’re running a game where dragons are extinct, and the average person isn’t familiar with dragons, The Sleeping Dragon is probably not the best name for your inn. A story behind the name will add that much more.
-A great cast of characters. Most bars have their weird group of regulars and taverns are no different. From the one eyed dwarf who runs the bar to the orc who nurses his drink and never speaks, a well populated bar gives you a lot to work with. It gives you characters that can lead to new adventures, it makes changes (new people, weird behaviors, etc.) stand out, and it gives you a great way to give your players information (or misinformation) on current quests from trusted sources.
-The little touches. Don’t be afraid to describe those little things, they give the players a view of the area they’re currently in. Is the food decadent or questionable? Are the rooms posh or dingy? Is the place safe or should they sleep in shifts? Those details and more will show the players if they’re in a nice part of town, if they’re in a country that accepts their kind, really anything you want.
The tavern is more than just an incidental location. Eventually you’re going to have to put your players in one, so why not put them in one you’re proud of?