The Diving Dragon Inn is a favourite with the locals of Rockport. Rockport is a small town situated on the eastern edge of Irongate territory near the border with Naerie. Tasty food, flowing ale, good stories and adventure awaits...
The Diving Dragon Inn
Anyone who has ever stayed overnight in the small town of Rockport knows the legendary Diving Dragon Inn. Thanks to Rockport’s recent prosperity, the Inn looks very different to its humble beginnings as a small inn serving mostly local fisherman and occasional traveller. However its enviable reputation for good food, friendly faces and comfortable beds has stayed with it throughout its many transformations.
The Diving Dragon is located in small town of Rockport about one days march east of Irongate. Rockport is situated at the junction where the Ahlissan road (leading up through the Baraktors and into the Iron Hills and Ahlissa) meets the eastern coast road. As such Rockport is a favourite rest stop for many travellers.
The Inn is easily the largest in the town, with three floors and a basement. It is constructed largely of stone, like much of the recently prosperous town. Rockport is located within territory claimed by the Free City of Irongate and comes under the dominion of the Lord Protector of the Coastal Dales, who is a noble vassal of Irongate.
Rockport is only a day’s ride from Naerie and recently received an influx of refugees from the former County of Idee. Some former-Ideeans who preferred not to live under the rule of Ahlissa fled westward towards Irongate. The relative freedom and prosperity of Rockport convinced some to stay rather than to proceed on to Irongate.
The original Diving Dragon was built shortly after the village was established by Oeridian fishermen in CY 532. It was named for the local legend about a bronze dragon that used to perch on a nearby hilltop (now known as Dragon’s Rest) and then launch into flight and dive down into the Azure Sea – presumably in search of pearls or prey. The Inn quickly gained a reputation for generous sized meals and comfortable beds, which it has maintained to this day.
In CY 582 the Inn expanded and changed ownership to an adventuring wizard. Local mines had developed and were beginning to produce small quantities of gems and some reliable seams of silver.
In CY590 the inn expanded to its current size. The inn is three stories tall and has a large basement area. The ground floor is taken up by the kitchen spaces and the common room. Many stone fireplaces keep the inn warm when cool sea breezes come in off the Azure Sea. The first floor has a large number of rooms for sleeping.
The Inn is currently owned by the Lord Protector, and while some attribute the success of the Inn to being owned by the local authority, the assertion is unfair. The Innkeeper is a shrewd businessman and has been able to tap into the town’s recent prosperity, through clever marketing and keeping prices fair. While the Lord Protector insists that the Inn make a sound profit, coin is not the key driver for the Inn’s owner and this does give the Inn advantages over others.
The three story stone building sits on the corner of Rockport’s main square, directly facing the main road in from the main gate. It has a balcony that overlooks the square and on warm nights it is standing room only on the balcony.
The ground floor has the main room with benches, booths and a large bar. The kitchen and some stores rooms are located at the rear of the ground floor.
There are several private dining rooms of various sizes on both the ground and first floor. Some of these abut a secret passageway where someone could listen to supposedly private conversations. While some of the senior staff may suspect the existence of such a place, only the Innkeeper knows how to get in there (it is both secret and locked).
Accommodation of various sizes can be found on the second and third floors. The rooms are well cleaned, the beds are comfortable and security is relatively good.
The large common room on the ground floor is a hive of activity every evening – the Inn being the most popular in town and times being relatively good. Roaring fires and local minstrels provide a convivial atmosphere that helps keep the drinks flowing. Smaller meeting rooms provide privacy for guests who value discretion and a large number of guest rooms cater for travellers on almost any budget.
Food & Drink
The head cook is a relatively new addition to the staff and put a good deal of effort into creating dishes with a local flavour. Lamb from nearby farms is roasted and stewed. Generous portions of spiced potatoes sourced from Naerie are a hit. Local seafood is in abundance sourced from Rockport fisherman and the spiced Lobster platter is one of the Inn’s signature dishes. Exotic spices are imported to create some unusual flavours and these have helped create the Inn’s popularity amongst the middle classes.
The locally brewed amber ale is produced exclusively for the Inn by a local brewer to an old family recipe. Strong dwarven ale made from Ahlissan grain is imported from the Iron Hills Dwur. Dwarf spirits are sourced from local dwarven settlements in the Baraktors. There are white wines from Naerie and Celene, along with some strong reds from a number of regions which are available to those with deep pockets.
The Innkeeper is a middle-aged Oeridian human with a friendly smile and a quick-wit. Well liked by his regular patrons he is also a very shrewd businessman, being prepared to spend money in order to make money (as seen in his regular refurbishments). He treats his staff well and lives with his small family in a room on the third floor.
The cook, senior bar tender and senior bouncer also live in rooms on the third floor. All other staff live locally. The Inn employs a number of waitresses, two cleaners, a stable boy and several bouncers (usually off-duty local soldiers).
The senior bouncer is highly regarded by local soldiers being a retired soldier from the military forces in Irongate. Serious fights are rare and are usually ended very quickly before they can get out of hand.
The cook is relatively new and her creative dishes have helped her achieve local celebrity status.
The Innkeeper books regular entertainment to keep his customers happy. Musicians, singers and story-tellers can usually get a week long booking for a short demonstration of their talent.
The current local favourite is a dwarven timber merchant who possesses a powerful baritone voice. His eclectic mix of dwarven drinking songs, Oeridian folk songs and sea shanties usually gets the crowd going and the drink flowing.
Part of what makes the Diving Dragon a special place is the clientele, or rather the mix of clientele.
The majority are of course locals including Oeridian fisherman, miners, agricultural workers, merchants, craftsmen and soldiers. On any given evening, many of the local townsfolk visit the Inn seeking entertainment and nourishment.
The Inn welcomes anyone not obviously displaying tokens of evil deities. In recent years, humans of pure-blood Suel appearance find their welcome from locals in less friendly – a left over from when the forces of the Scarlet Brotherhood attacked.
Being a small port, fisherman and sailors from distant lands are occasional visitors to the Inn. Such exotic visitors are gladly welcomed as they add colour and interest to the Inn. The same applies to good number of travellers making their way East or West along the Coast Road.
There is also regular patronage from displaced Ideeans. Rumours suggest of local group of former Ideeans meet regularly in the Inn to plot attacks in nearby Naerie against the Ahlissan rulership.
There has also been increased contact and trade with Naerie and Naerese officials and merchants regularly stay at the Inn. This has at times created some tension and the Innkeeper works hard to smooth over any issues, as it can be difficult to tell the allegiance of those sitting within earshot.
Communities of Halflings and gnomes reside in the secluded valleys deeper into the Baraktors and the Inn is occasionally visited by such folk. This usually creates something of a stir, for while Rockport has residents of both races, large groups of them socialising is a more uncommon site.
Most nights there will be at least one band of dwarves visiting from the dwarven settlements deeper into the Baraktors. Mostly these dwarves keep to themselves, though several engage with local dwarves and humans to gets news from other lands.
As in the town itself, patrons of the Inn are permitted to carry small unobtrusive weapons as long as they are sheathed or otherwise not readily accessible. Larger weapons are kept in racks in a storeroom with a token provided for their safe return. Drawing of a weapon will result in summoning of a squad of soldiers to the Inn (often backed up by off-duty soldiers already in the Inn).
Adventurers of various kinds are also regular visitors to the Inn. Some arrive by sea, but most arrive from either Irongate or Naerie. The local coastal dales as well as the nearby Iron Hills provide a multitude of unexplored places to adventure, and Rockport makes an ideal base given its proximity and ability to provide equipment, transport and accommodation.
A small clique of former Ideeans has been using the Inn to meet to plot attacks in Naerie. They are short on muscle and need a few good swords...
Local guides meet travellers here before venturing through the valleys into the Baraktors. There has been a noticeable increase of late in attacks on travellers. Some say it is bandits, some say humanoids, yet others claim a wild story about a former Scarlet Brotherhood general who now leads a band of his ex-soldiers as bandits, trying to find their way home...
Fishermen tell stories of increasing encounters with strange creatures at sea. The ships of the Scarlet Sign and allied vessels still frequent the Azure Sea and those handy with a blade might find a berth in exchange for their skill...
Reports of band so of scarlet forces hiding out in the Baraktors and the Iron Hills still persist. Rumour has it the local Lord may hire adventurers to assist his own troops in seeking them out...
A charismatic Hobgoblin (there’s no such animal?) has been marshalling previously antagonistic tribes together and making fortifications within the Baraktors in readiness to stage a siege of local dwarven mines. The dwarves require adventures to seek out and destroy these forces before they can become too organised...
A local merchant is looking to expand his trade into nearby Naerie but fears for his safety. He requires a group of disciplined and politically savvy adventurers to accompany him...
Naerie military forces claims bandits are launching attacks from inside Irongate territory. They have asked for and received permission from House Heshun nobles to pursue bandits over the border. The Lord Protectors forces have a limited ability to repel such incursions and in any case the matter is delicate as neither side wants to harm trade. Perhaps a skilled band of adventurers can find a solution...
A local miner is having trouble with miners being slain in one of his newer mines. No-one seems to survive the attacks, but a poisoned hand crossbow bolt was found at the site of one attack...