How do you end an epic adventuring career? At the end of your adventures, what do you retire too? After Orcus has been pushed back into the depths of hell, the undead hordes have been repelled and the various forces of evil have been destroyed, what does an adventurer do?
They take on the biggest challenge imaginable, they settle down and open a tavern.
It seems every tavern in fantasy gaming is run by a retired adventurer. An old axe or sword hangs above the mantle, reminding all of the tavern owners exploits. When the hour grows late the proprietor can be found sharing tales of past adventures to eager patrons. The twinkle in the owners eyes isn’t just from the joy his audience is getting from the story, it’s also from the extra gold that is flowing into the tavern.
Of course the real question is why would a retired adventurer, rich beyond all imagining, more powerful than most living beings want to be a tavern owner?
The answer is surprisingly simpler than you might think.
With their adventuring days behind them these heroes seek one final challenge. To create an environment where the heroes of tomorrow will have the opportunity to begin their careers. Everyone knows that all adventurers worth their salt begin their adventuring career in taverns. Whether it’s the old wizard telling tales by the fire, the stranger in the corner or the dwarf who talks too loudly while drunk. All are common ways for an adventure to begin. Looking back over a lifetime of adventure it is easy to see why running a tavern might be attractive to certain adventurers.
So what does a tavern run by a retired adventurer look like? What surprises are in store?
- The weapon over the mantle. This weapon might be the reason many a would-be adventurer seeks out the tavern. Tales of the weapon are as much a part of legend as the retired hero. Some come to look at the blade, others come hoping to steal it. Still others hope that they might see the fabled blade in action. Of course the truth is that the weapon above the mantle, while a deadly weapon, is not the fabled blade of legend. No, that weapon rests safely behind the bar where it can be drawn quickly when trouble comes looking.
- The portal in the cellar. The adventurer might run a tavern, but they certainly don’t live there. An arcane portal has been built in the cellar, allowing the adventurer to travel to any number of locations. Of course the room in the cellar that houses the portal is under lock, key and spell. Still, if the unwary were to stumble upon it who knows what mischief might result.
- The attic is haunted. This might seem a surprise, shouldn’t the adventurer just call in his Cleric friend to turn the ghost and vanquish it? Unfortunately, this ghost is tied to the adventurers past. Over a 30 level career in adventuring everyone develops a few skeletons in the closet and everyone has at least one event that haunts them.
- A kitchen full of oddities. Regular pub fair doesn’t cut it when you’ve traveled the multiverse. As a result the kitchen puts out some exotic dishes, some of which can have some unintended side effects. On more than one occasion the Gelatinous Cube’s have caused problems during preparation.
- Just who is the Wizard? The Wizard that tells tales nightly by the fire, he tells a lot of stories but what is his? Is he a former party member of the tavern owner? An old man who has read one too many history books? Just where does he go after a night of story telling, once he crosses the threshold of the tavern no one can recall seeing where he goes.
The idea of a high level retired adventurer opening a tavern is a novel one. It’s also not likely to happen, however it does provide for some interesting role playing and adventure hooks. Have you ever given thought to what your character does after they lay down their weapons and seek a quieter life?
- 118 Tavern Names
- Adventure Hooks: Welcome to the Sun & Moon Tavern (part 1)
- Riding Off into the Sunset: How to Retire a PC
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