An Out-of-the-Way Tavern

"Tavern" by Leo Amaral

Session 1 of Greenhaven

After a six-week hiatus, our gaming group came back together to begin a new D&D 5e campaign set 150 years after the end of our last session. During our hiatus, we worked together on character creation and backstories. Below is the write-up I gave them as an introduction:

Before she died in battle during the “War of the Returning Gods,” the goddess Mithliel (minor diety associated with protection) summoned her remaining energy to create a barrier over the city of Greenhaven that was the home of her high priestess, whom history has christened Majeel the Savior. The high priestess pulled the city together in the time of crisis during the war and after the descent of the platinum dome, reestablished order when everyone believed it was the time of a cataclysm that was to end all sentient life. 150 years have passed since the Great Descent (the people of Greenhaven’s name for when their protective shield arrived). The people have no knowledge of the world outside their dome. The scholars believe it is an empty wasteland with Greenhaven and her population of 75,000 souls the last surviving remnant of civilization in a world destroyed by the “War of the Returning Gods.” The few histories that recount the calamitous period tell that with the Great Descent, the final gift of Mithliel, her power disappeared from her clerics, and soon thereafter the foreign clerics lost their powers as well; supposedly the result of the gods destroying themselves and this world.  The teachings of Majeel the Savior and her descendants as the Grand Protectors of Greenhaven was that the returning gods flooded the land with magic: beasts, artifacts, and imbuing their magic into goblinoids that grotesquely mutated their bodies – horrid monsters who scavenge among the ruins of the outside world. As a result, magic was outlawed in Greenhaven and all magical artifacts and books were confiscated then destroyed. Sorcerers and Sorceresses are known to be occasionally born; families must turn these children over to the Protectors when their malady is manifested for the protection of Greenhaven lest their sanctuary be ravaged like the outside world. Some families have attempted to hide these children, but if discovered they risk losing everything. The Head of their House is executed publicly, and the remainder are banished. No one knows what banishment entails for there is no way to leave the protective, platinum barrier of the city, but these outcasts are never seen or heard from again. Recently, small groups of denizens gather in the dark of night and in hidden parts of the city, to speak of the need to change their people’s belief in magic, believing it may hold the ke0y to returning life to the outside world.  Over the last year, 5 such cells have been discovered and their members banished.


Our story begins in Doc’s, a tavern in the ghettos of Greenhaven known for its loud music, watered-down-drinks, and a place where no questions are asked about your business. The main hall is empty as Pockets, our happy-go-lucky, street kid, is looking for an easy mark to relieve them of their excess coin. She is a regular at Doc’s, and her pick-pocketing is tolerated as long as she stays away from certain clients. He’d never admit it, but Doc has a fondness for the young elf, and enjoys seeing her perform with the house bard, Gerund Basso.


As the lunch crowd begins to trickle in, one of their number includes Perceival, a dashing young man who is already a champion of the games but dreams of becoming a real hero. In the story books, one of which he usually has with him, he learned that many a good tale begins in a tavern. And so he spends his time going from tavern to tavern hoping to stumble upon an adventure. His luck may be about to change. And no, it wasn’t because of the lunchtime drunk who made fun of Perceival for reading.


Later in the evening as the night time crowd begins to drift into Doc’s, the final two members of our erstwhile adventuring party show up. The small figure of Zurk, fresh off his duties as a stable boy (the only job a kobold without any connections is able to find) and heads to the bar for a pint. He’s heard that Doc’s is a place where people don’t care about your race as long as you have the coin. He orders a drink from Doc, who waits until he sees the copper hit the bar top but then promptly plops a full mug in front of Zurk. A keen-eyed observer might notice the many scars Zurk has concealed under his cloak.


Nêriel enters into Doc’s and spots Pockets finishing up a set with Gerund and heads over to her table. He orders hot water to make his own tea, which the barmaid isn’t to thrilled about. She looked over the down-on-his-luck elf and doesn’t expect a good tip from him anyway. Nêriel’s tea is a concoction of his own making to help him keep focused during the long nights of searching for potion components in the sewers of Greenhaven to sell to apothecarists of the city, of which his family used to be a prominent member. When his water is finally brought over it has gone tepid.

Soon Sly, a half-elf fixer for a local crime boss named Mac, arrives at Pockets’ and Nêriel’s table. Nêriel catches the hint and heads over to the bar to fetch a new cup of water and sits next to Zurk. Sly tells Pockets that he’s heard good things about her and that Mac needs a little extra help guarding some of his warehouses. If she can pull together a crew for tonight, she is to meet him at Black Jack’s Warehouse at midnight; he offers her 5 gold for a night of work. Despite his condescending attitude towards her, Pockets was able to get in a few good jabs herself. She agrees to meet him at the specified time. It doesn’t take too much convincing to get Nêriel and their new companion Zurk on board. Underestimating their new kobold friend, they decide they might want to have a little bit of muscle with them as well; and offer Perceival an opportunity for a “quest” … that was the magic word, so he was in.

They have some time to kill, and so they sit back to enjoy the music in Doc’s before heading out for their evening work. Gerund Basso plays one of the more popular songs in his repertoire, “The Duchess and the Seamen,” a bawdy song about a liaison between a sailor and a former Duchess of the Kingdom of Lasoon in a time prior to the Great Descent. While Gerund bouts out the chorus, several portals split open in the floor and stage of Doc’s emanating a purple and reddish light. 5 large eggs emerge from these slits. As the portals close, the eggs begin to hatch, each contain a large black feline. The cats begin to mutate, growing additional limbs and opening their hinged jaws revealing rows of razor-sharp teeth. The stunned crowd begins to flee as the cats attack.

The Dreamland Cats are able to get in a few shots as they apparat around the tavern to coordinate their attacks, but are ultimately killed by our heroes. As they kill each beast, the creature dissolve into the aether leaving no trace behind. There is little time to reflect as 6 city guards, known as the Protectors, bust into Doc’s and with halberds drawn accuse the quartet of sorcery. Clearly outnumbered and with the Protectors refusing any entreaties of their innocence, they flee out the backdoor of Doc’s and escape into the night.

Dreamland Cat from Sandy Petersen’s Cthulhu Mythos (p. 288)

They regroup at Nêriel’s family’s old apothecary shop, Leaf It To Me, that is also their home. He prepares some concoctions for the evening’s work but is interrupted by his mother calling for him from upstairs. She is in great pain from a long-running ailment but is calmed by one of Nêriel’s tinctures. As prepared as they can be, they arrive at Black Jack’s where Sly meets them. He tells them he will return at 7:00am with their relief. Black Jack’s, at least from outward appearances, is a run-down or abandoned warehouse. Thick layers of dust cover everything and insipid water barrels stand open, no longer used for quenching thirst but homes to insects and algae. The party fans out around the building to keep watch, especially near the main door and windows. Zurk, because of his small size, is able to climb up into the rickety rafters to keep overwatch.

Medieval Warehouse by timowes (

Around 3 in the morning, the party hears noises outside a window on the northern side of the building, which gives them some time to prepare. Two bandits make their way through a window of the warehouse, but the party is able to get the jump on them. One of the two was knocked unconscious, but the other took off to hide among the crates in the warehouse. Before the game of cat-and-mouse is able to go too far, the front entrance bursts open and stepping into the warehouse is another bandit and a giant of a man with a contraption strapped to his back that connects to a hose in his hand with a small flame burning at the end! The team is forced to divide its attention between the two groups of bandits.

The bandits do not cause too much trouble for our adventuring party, but the larger man seems to have a sturdier constitution. One of the arrows fired at him misses his body but does puncture the sack he’s carrying on his back and the gelatinous material inside begins to leak out. The onslaught of 4 adventurers does overwhelm him finally, and as he falls to the ground, the flame on the end of his mechanism ignites the spilt fuel. The resulting explosion starts a fire in the warehouse as well as gravely injuring Percival, who had charged into the fray. Nêriel rushes to his friend’s aid and stealthily casts a spell to stabilize Perceival while the others work to put out the blaze. (The encounter was inspired from “Burning Down the (Ware)house!” scenario from Guard Duty by EBrun.)

One of the bandits survived their injuries and was trussed up to present him to Sly when he arrives later in the morning. Their prisoner is known to a couple members of the party as a low-level street thug named Pinkie. Perhaps a live prisoner might bring them a bonus for their evening’s work … one can always hope! Sly is slightly surprised at the attack on the warehouse that night but is pleased with the work of the group. After a little fast talk and the presentation of their prisoner to question, they convince Sly to go ahead and give them a requested bonus, and he adds the possibility of more work from Mac in the future.

It’s time to rest up, heal their wounds, and to see what level of trouble they might be in because of the disturbance at Doc’s …

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