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    Postfest X(Needfest 2009): The Blind Billy Goat Inn
    Posted on Fri, April 10, 2009 by LordCeb
    mortellan writes "As the main nexus of trade in Ull, Kester sees an influx of caravans from all directions. Centrally located in town, at the foot of Kester's terraces is the Caravan Circle, a wide cul-de-sac where foreign caravans stop and gather for mutual protection. Many roads and alleys radiate outward from the Circle and each lined with trading stands and weatherworn tents. In the center of this bustling yard is an old but well maintained fountain built by clerics of Geshtai. Popular superstition holds that if the fountain of Geshtai ever goes dry the town will fall into ruin forever. Among the few buildings facing Caravan Circle is Kester's only true inn, the Blind Billy Goat, a last-chance haven for merchants, pilgrims, and explorers who seek a relatively safe, quiet place indoors. The inn is also a magnet for gossip, intrigue and possible adventure.

    The Blind Billy Goat Inn
    by mortellan

    The building known throughout the Baklunish West as the Blind Billy Goat Inn has served many purposes in its long history. It was first constructed in the late centuries of the Baklunish Empire as a monastery dedicated to a forgotten religious sect that later relocated north. By the Oeridian era the building became re-inhabited by the extended family of a Yorodhi Hetman who fled with his kin from their lands in Western Oerik. During the Baklunish-Suloise Wars, raiding humanoids looted and cleared out the great building leaving it vacated along with much of Old Kester until the Invoked Devastation ended the war. In the misty years that followed the Twin Cataclysms, the slightly damaged structure took on both Baklunish and Yorodhi refugees who returned to Old Kester for shelter and safety. This grand refuge was gradually restored and expanded over the next century until the coming of the warlike Uli tribe forced its inhabitants to flee into the hills or face slavery. The Uli for all their barbarity rebuilt and occupied Kester while the large building served as a barracks and stable for the town’s garrison; until the khanate eventually slipped into lawlessness and was abandoned to beggars and street urchins. Over the next couple centuries as Kester flourished with trade, sport and new immigrants, the first foreign merchants to establish themselves in town managed to secure the complex for their own use as an inn. As local legend goes, the merchant company searched the desolate courtyard of the Inn and saw a gnarled, blind goat clumsily walking into walls. Since that point it has been called Diahd Ashar Khanshin or the Blind Billy Goat Inn in the Common tongue.

    This sturdy edifice is in a constant state of repair from centuries of war, windstorms, abrupt earthquakes, and a continual stream of patrons. The Inn is three stories tall and broad, with a gradually curving façade conforming to Caravan Circle. Through a wide archway, the Inn has a long central plaza extending back three blocks where numerous stables, storehouses and a couple old wells are found. The Blind Billy Goat is predominantly constructed out of reddish stone, matching the rest of Kester’s featured monochromatic architecture. The Inn’s roofs are flat and provide a stunning view of the surrounding terraced neighborhoods, gladiatorial pits and even the desolate Dry Steppes on the horizon.

    Despite being deep within Ull territory, the Inn is technically under the auspices of the Mouqollad Consortium. However there is a clandestine system of rotating proprietors in place to keep the locals in Kester suitably confused to the actual ownership of the old Inn. The current Grand Manager of the Blind Billy Goat Inn is Harib Kalim al-Ceshri, a jolly well dressed Baklunish man in his late 50’s with a gift for being resourceful enough to meet any guest’s needs even on the very edge of civilization. Harib has been in Kester since 585 C.Y. and has quickly gained the friendship (and thus protection) of many of Kester’s most powerful personalities such as pit masters, warlords and caravan managers. Harib al-Ceshri is such an important figure in Kester that foreign merchants and travelers are usually advised to see him when arriving in town for the first time.

    Inn Locations and Services

    Lobby and Office of the Grand Manager: To the left as one passes under the great arch of the Blind Billy Goat is the Lobby, an oasis of civilized culture among the frontier landscape. The lobby is furnished with posh benches, thick carpets, imported plants in clay pots and a variety of art from many lands. Behind a stout counter Harib al-Ceshri and his household assistants are first to greet travelers to the Inn and make arrangements for their stay. Able-bodied slave porters are always on hand to carry luggage upstairs or offer a drink to guests waiting in the lobby. Off the lobby, Harib’s own office is well appointed with a bronzewood desk and a few leather seats. This room also contains a discreet shrine to the god Mouqol in one corner that also secretly serves as a concealed safe for visitors who need small valuables stored away.

    First Floor Guest Rooms: These rooms, mainly on south wing are broken into two types, narrow single bed units and larger communal bunk-rooms. The bunk rooms are favored by merchant caravans for housing their staff and guards. The prices for these rooms are standard for most inns with discounts given to companies that stay for extended periods of time.

    Second Floor Guest Rooms: Found on both the north and south wings, these rooms range from typical communal rooms to good private rooms and a couple adjoining suites facing Caravan Circle. From sun-rise until sun-down Halfling workers and human slaves clean the halls and guest rooms as needed, moving between all three floors. The prices for these rooms are also standard with the same kind of discount given for extended stays.

    Third Floor Guest Rooms: At the highest level, all the rooms are considered private suites with the best amenities possible in all of Ull, including airy canopied beds, soft pillows and fresh Ekbiri linen. The best of these rooms also have narrow balconies overlooking Caravan Circle and other parts of Kester. The prices for the suites are triple the standard rate, sometimes higher depending on the season. Notably, Harib al-Ceshri occupies one of these apartments year-round as well.

    Plaza, Stables and Storehouses: The wide central courtyard of the Blind Billy Goat is a well traversed path that leads to the rear of the inn complex. Grooves and ruts created from years of caravan traffic lead in both directions from the great archway. Signs that the town was once more fertile are here in the form of cracked ancient pottery and a central strip of scrubby landscape that may have once held spaced out trees. Cleverly hidden halfway down the row is a shrine dedicated to both Geshtai and Istus, disguised as one of two weather-worn wells in the courtyard. An astute eye will spot the carvings of their symbols on the stonework of the well. Those that know of the shrine are said to drop coppers into the well in exchange for boons from the gods, a practice that local Uli would scoff at as a waste. The complex contains an extensive series of stables and lesser animal pens that are constantly maintained by a cadre of Paynim handlers who are loyally indentured to the service of the Inn. They know no joy but working for the inn as they have been trained since childhood by their own families enslaved long ago on the northern plains. Tucked in at the very end of the yard are three strong bronzewood doors that can be barred, chained and in times past warded. These lead into the Blind Billy Goat Inn’s storehouses, where merchant companies and successful adventurers can deposit their valuable commodities during their stay. Caravan bodyguards and private security are allowed access to the storerooms and stables at the agreement of the Grand Manager upon receipt for this additional amenity. At all other times the inn has its own detail of a dozen well trained and armed slave-soldiers who patrol all these grounds in shifts.

    Blind Billy Goat Lounge: Immediately past the great archway and to the right is a door with a bleached goat skull hanging above the lintel. This entrance leads to an inviting taproom located within the first floor of the Blind Billy Goat’s north wing. Spicy, exotic scents linger in the air as the place caters to travelers from many lands. Unlike most taverns, the clientele themselves mostly supply the inn with the best foodstuffs and liquors, thus making the Lounge second to none in Kester for quality. Meals are never too pricy and their selection of bottled drinks is decent for a frontier town though local brews are nearly non-existent here. It is not uncommon for beggars to come up to the great archway for a mere sniff of the aromatic air coming from the Lounge. Affluent locals will commonly come here to talk business, hear news from abroad or just try a cultured game not found elsewhere in town such as Dragonchess. In addition to the regular crowd, there is often a few halflings around eager to work for patrons as a guide or messenger service. These cagey demihumans know all quickest and safest directions to everywhere in Kester.

    The Lounge is maintained by a staff of respectable workers, (many of which double as cleaning staff during the day) including a retired gladiator named Uhlgark the Hammer, a freed dwarven slave from the Crystalmist Mountains named Arthen Vorinson and an expatriate cook from Tusmit named Alia bint Allamir. All three of these valued employees are loyal friends of Harib and have many contacts around Kester of their own as well.

    Den of Pleasure: In the Lounge is a dark niche concealed only by an opaque curtain. Behind it is a wide dusty staircase that leads down beneath the inn to a rough hewn chamber that has an ambiance of old Kester to it. Dimly lit by smoldering lamps set haphazardly around the place, this spacious basement is where Kester’s most hedonistic pursuits can be found. Surprisingly the Den of Pleasure, as it is called is not a secret. In fact, the employees of the Blind Billy Goat do their best to promote its use and improve its services. This is why the Den is a well-known and highly sought after place by patrons who have literally went through pain and hardship to get to the Blind Billy Goat Inn and want some sort of relief. In the center of this hazy den is an abundance of opulent pillows, benches, futons and rugs upon which patrons can relax the day away administered without inquiry by hired herbalists and several obedient slaves. For a modest fee, customers have access to a variety of pleasures to alter the mind and mood including the finest opiates and potent herbs from the region.

    A few curtained rooms built off the den find heavy use for guests who want a hot bath drawn or need a massage after a stressful day. Much like the Lounge upstairs, traffic into and out of the Den is steady all day, yet more often than naught the Inn’s private guards are called to carry away someone who has stayed past their welcome. For those who aren’t paying guests at the Blind Billy Goat Inn, this can sometimes mean waking up to an entirely new line of work.

    Hooks and Intrigues

    • The Mouqollad Consortium has hired the PCs to bodyguard an abrasive caravan master staying at the inn, while he tours all the hot spots in Kester.
    • Whispers overheard in the Den of Pleasure lead to a possible plot to kidnap someone vitality important to the PCs at the Inn later that night.
    • A slave girl working at the Inn is actually a missing Zeifan noble that the PCs have been tasked to look for, but she refuses to go home without a struggle.
    • The PCs are contacted at the Inn by a pit fight handler who is looking for adventurous talent to go on a monster trapping expedition into the Ulsprues.
    • One of the PCs has noticed a stranger dropping a valuable object down a well in the courtyard before leaving through the main archway.
    • The PCs are invited by a wealthy pit master to watch the local gladiatorial fights after impressing him with their martial skill in a recent brawl.
    • The head cook of the Inn, Alia bint Allamir fled Tusmit years ago for some reason that is now catching up to her. She implores the PCs to protect her and the place she now calls home.
    • One of the PCs heard a rumor that there is a secret room somewhere within or below the inn that contains the lost treasure of an ancient Baklunish monastery.
    • There is a very important item belonging to another guest that is kept under heavy guard in the store house and the PCs need to acquire it for their own goals without rousing the entire attention of the inn.
    • The PCs return from doing their business in town to find a dead servant in one of their beds and the inn staff there to question them. "
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    Re: Postfest X(Needfest 2009): The Blind Billy Goat Inn (Score: 1)
    by IronGolem on Thu, April 16, 2009
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    Re: Postfest X(Needfest 2009): The Blind Billy Goat Inn (Score: 1)
    by mortellan on Sun, May 10, 2009
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    Hmm, IG I think your comment got eaten by the site. Try again?

    Re: Postfest X(Needfest 2009): The Blind Billy Goat Inn (Score: 1)
    by Mystic-Scholar on Wed, September 30, 2009
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    Well written, but I've come to expect this of Mortellan. Nicely fleshed out, interesting plot hooks, anyone adventuring in Ull needs to stop in at the Blind Billy Goat Inn for rest and more adventures.

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