Themed Fantasy Tavern Week: Titan’s Keg
Legend has it that the Titan’s Keg is partially built out of an actual keg of mead once owned by a titan, or at least a very large giant. This idea is reinforced by the fact the Meadhall section of the tavern has a deep, pleasant honey-mead scent permeating its wooden exterior and, of course, the barrel-like appearance of that section of the building.
The truth is more prosaic, though arguable interesting in its own right. The Titan’s Keg sits in a section of town reserved for residential shops and guild offices–places where people both live and work as crafters or representatives for crafters. The only enforcement mechanism for this vague zoning law is that shop signs must be approved by local crafter guilds, and to discourage public houses they don’t allow signs for inns or taverns. To get around this, the owner of the Titan’s Keg bought scrap wood from a shipyard wrecker, and used it to add a room to his home that had a keg-like appearance. The fact the wood came from a ship that had be damaged in a storm and hundreds of mead barrels had broken in its hold and soaked into the wood was a happy coincidence, though now the owner stains the interior wood every year with alchemical compounds that reinforce and restore the honey scent.
In addition to being a tavern and home, the Titan’s Keg is also the guild-independent shop of Ruvald Hain, an alchemist who specializes in food and flavoring. because his arts could be used to mask the taste of poisons (which he never works with), the Alchemist’s Guild and Herbalist’s Guild both insist he should pay them vast sums of money to oversee (and in his opinion, spy on and copy) his work. In defiance he refuses to join or work with either guild, and thus is only allowed to work in, sell from, and buy materials in his own building. The Titan’s Keg brings in most of his revenue (his experiments in flavors often leading to popular, often limited-time, drink flavors such as cheery mead, orange-blossom red wine, and the startlingly popular lime beer), which Ruvald spends convincing customers to bring him alchemical reagents for him to buy without doing business outside his building.
The Meadhall of the Titan’s Keg is kept clean and brightly-painted. A cauldron is always on the fire, though patrons have learned to confirm it’s cooking food before dipping themselves a mug of its contents. The interior arches are lined with shelves that have serving plats and steins, but also various alchemical agents Ruvald doesn’t have room to keep in his residence. In fact, Ruvald’s personal possessions often end up scattered about, and regulars keep an eye on them to make sure no one makes off with anything important. Often, the unmarked bottles simply have flavor essences and preservatives but not always, and only Ruvald knows which is which.
Ruvald has a small, but dedicated staff of halfling and gnome cooks, bartenders, and servers who keep the place running smoothly more in spite of him that with his help. They also double as his alchemy assistants, housekeepers, and bookkeepers. He pays them well, but most work for him as a kind of informal apprenticeship, picking up culinary and alchemical knowledge by observing and assisting him. They keep the Meadhall open most hours, but if Ruvald is sick or sleeping after several days of work, they may insist everyone “keep it down” so he can recover.
If you enjoy any of my various thoughts, ideas, and posts, please consider adding a drop of support through my Patreon campaign!, or dropping a cup of coffee worth of support at my Ko-Fi (which is also filled with pics of my roommate’s cat).