Magical Merriment: The Stein of Stillgar the Stumbler

Wether it is due to their social nature, poison resistance, or some other factor, Dwarves are known throughout the land as heavy drinkers and revelers whoo imbibe in the finest of alcohols whenever the opportunity arises. Stillgar Thunderbeard, also know as Stillgar the Stumbler was now exception. From the anals of Dwarven legend Stilgars tale is still told, a story of adventure, of song, and of beer. Stilgar himself was stout even for a dwarf and he loved to both drink and fight in equal measure a fact that often got him into trouble and kicked out of many a tavern. In his travels the dwarf was said to have accquired many treasures but the greatest of them all was his magical stein. Legend has that Stillgar’s stien was granted to him when he freed a genie princess from the clutches of an evil wizard intent on using her wish magic to conquer nations. In the battle his favorite mug was broken and when the genie princess offered him a wish as thanks for rescuing her he wished that never again would he be without drink and so she bestowed upon him an elaborate and magnificent stein. Legend says that the stein would never run dry and from it flowed rivers of the finest dwarvesn beer, crystal clear water, and anythgin the imbiber desired. Sadly the stein itself, along with its owner, has been lost to time. No one knows where Stillgar’s magic stein now resides and every story places it in a different location, be that the hoard of a dragon, the dining table of a giant chieftain, or simply on a dusty shelf in a long forgotten tavern. Wherever the vessel’s final resting place, glory to the hero that reclaims it.

The Stein of Stillgar the Stumbler

This stone drinking vessel holds up to a litre of liquid and is intricatly carved with the exploits of a dwarven hero and inlaid with gold and jewels, a metal cap sits hinged over the vessels mouth.

The vessel itself is a magic item that once attuned functions as either a decanter of endless water (except it produces fine dwarven ale instead of water) or an alchemy jug and the attuned must choose at the dawn of each day which item the stein functions as. In addition, the attuned aslo gains the Dwarven Resilience trait. If the attuned is a dwarf he or she need not choose each morning as the stein functions as both a decanter of endless water (still producing dwarven ale instead of water) and an alchemy jug.



  • Long ago a red dragon stormed the dwarven fortress of Hammerpeak with an army of kobolds and other foul creatures The dragon is said to abhor dwarves and jealously guards their prized treasures including, according to legend, Stillgar’s famous stein.
  • A frost giant cheiftain throws incredible feasts for his subjects in his fortress set into the side of an icy mountain, those hwo have attended (and returned to tell the tale) speak of a stein from which endless beer flows for all to enjoy.
  • Far to the east is the city of Tarr. Once a magnificent and bustling city it is now host to shambling dessicated undead who all mysteriously died of thirst decades ago, cursed to walk the city streets unable to slake their thirst. Perhaps ironically, legend claims that Stillgar was last seen in one of its many taverns, perhaps his undead self still roams the city in search of his stein to quench his unholy thirst.




It has been a while….

It has been some time since I posted last and I apologize for that, things have been nothing short of hectic. That said, get ready for the return of Taverns and Tankards! The blog will be taking a slightly different direction form here on out and you can expect more content and more frequent updates! I will endeavor to post twice a week, a larger post on Teusdays and a smaller one on Fridays. In the past my posts have either been system agnostic or skewed towards one or another and this too is changing. Going forward I will be refering to the Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition ruleset in my posts and while I may make some system agnostic posts I do not plan on delving back into Pathfinder or any other systems. You can still expect write ups on mythical creatures and gods, boozy magical items, sample taverns and so much more! so stay tuned and get ready for some more fun, some more laughs, and another round on the house!

Magical Merryment: Dragon’s Brew


Drank by kings in their gilded halls, prized as the cornerstone of a dragon’s hoard, sought by adventurers the world over the mythic Dragon’s Brew is a beer few have seen and even fewer have tasted. Descriptions of this ale, by those who have claimed to have seen or tasted it, paint it with a bright golden hue, an almost gold like shine, frothy white head that never settles, an aroma of pine and roasted nuts, with a heavy body and a rich nutty sweetness that provides a long lasting warmth. Said to have been brewed by the finest dwarven brewmaster of the 4th age after his capture at the hands of a powerful dragon lord, this brew was cultivated for nearly a decade in magical casks to preserve its flavor over the dragons immense lifespan so he might enjoy it for centuries to come. After the dragon’s death at the hand of a usurper his casks ended up scattered, placed in holds and drank by his enemies until only a few remained. After centuries the casks retain a certain mythic reputation that drives the desire for their reclamation by kings and heroes who wish to drink from these casks and brag about the wealth and status they represent. The legend says that drinking from a cask of Dragon’s Brew grants the imbiber great fortitude, insurmountable courage, and heals wounds.

Dragon’s Brew is a different kind of magical item or reward for your game in that most adventuring parties will not be able to transport an entire cask of it. To satiate a dragon these casks must be suitably large and are likely a Pipe (128 gallons) or a Tun (256 gallons) and are often encrusted with jewels and inlaid with gold. With 10 minutes of careful work you can pry 2d6 gems and 30gp off of the cask, you may do this three times, drinking beer from the cask should have a suitably invigorating effect on the individual granting bonuses against fear providing at least a 3rd level healing spell and a temporary bonus to strength or constitution, at GM discretion the beer may additional extraordinary effects. If the beer inside is removed it will go flat and warm within 24 hours, while not as delicious as it is straight from the cask the beer is still superb though it loses all its magic.

Plot Hooks:

  • Hocket Bramblethumb a halfling brewmaster is seeking a sample of Dragon’s Brew because he believes that he can reproduce the recipe.
  • Daurim Stonecask claims to be the descendant of the original brewer and has discovered a cask in the possession of a younger dragon in the mountains, he promises the players gold and a drink from the cask if they help him reclaim it.
  • A Priest/Priestess of the church of light is displeased with the local lord’s acquiring of a cask, believing the brew to be a source of corruption and greed and asks the players to sneak into his estate and destroy the cask.
  • In the nearby woods a runt of an ogre has claimed dominion over his brethren and a small tribe of goblins, he and his subordinates claim he is immortal, in fact he has acquired a cask and frequent imbibing grants him courage and regenerative properties.
  • The major draw of a local gambling hall is a flagon of Dragon’s Brew offered as a grand prize, unfortunately the cask is about to run dry and the proprietors need another tasking the players with obtaining one from an old dragon hoard protected by a tribe of troglodytes.
  • Deep in the halls of Glimmerhold a cask sat dormant for nearly a century after an ooze infestation wiped out the inhabitants. A black pudding that squeezed its way into the cask has gained magical fortitude and a shred of malign sentience.

Gods of Myth and Merriment: Simple Jack

The Drunken Host, The Stumbling Fairy, Grower of Grapes and Grain, are just a few names attributed to Simple Jack a minor fey deity and patron of vitners, brewers, and publicans the world over.


Simple Jack is a mystery to many, even those who worship or have met the capricious imp know little of his background and how he rose to such status and Simple Jack isn’t fond of telling, at least not telling the truth. Many stories circulate on his origin but the most prominent is that Simple Jack was a brownie who lived on a vineyard for generations, assisting the vintners and their families with the harvest, keeping rodents at bay and drinking plenty of wine. After a particularly bad season the vineyard was in danger of closing, the family grew distraught and wondered what to do about their predicament and simple Jack lent a greater hand than he had before and used his fey magic to help their grapes grow and ferment overnight producing delicious wine that saved the vineyard. Soon the family began venerating whatever spirit had aided them by leaving gifts and singing songs of praise and it was not long before other vintners and even brewers sought the blessing of fabled spirit of spirits. Simple Jack blessed them all and with each blessing the venerations grew and so did his power, but it was not long before Simple Jack grew bored of his newfound admiration and responsibilities. Simple Jack abandoned the vintners and brewers to seek out joy and merriment elsewhere, offering blessing to those he passed as he went; travelers found their wineskins full, taverns kegs never ran dry, vineyards bore fruit like never before, and songs danced on the lips of every drunk as he fluttered by. Today Simple Jack wanders the prime material plane visiting festivals and taverns, spreading joy and merriment where he goes.


As he holds no true home and has no realm to call his own Simple Jack wanders the prime material plane sleeping in hay lofts, Tavern beds, upon grain sacks, or in a vineyard’s fields. It is rumored that Simple Jack runs a tavern that has no true location, it simply appears along desolate roads to offer weary travelers respite, good food, and fine drink.


There are many who call him friend and few who call him enemy, still even more are unaware he exists at all. Simple Jack is aligned with any deity who appreciates feasts, festivals, drunkenness, song, and trickery. Simple Jack views those who preach temperance and sobriety as stuck ups unwilling to have fun and delights pulling pranks on them by getting them unwittingly drunk or embarrassing them in public, often earning him the ire of their patron deity. Many Fey call simple Jack friend, and he is popular with brownies, sprites, and many more of the lesser fey, whilst the likes of dryads and nymphs find him to tolerable if not annoying.


When depicted Simple Jack is often illustrated as a small fey with delicate wings and a flushed face, holding  a mug spilling over with beer or wine. On the rare occasion Simple Jack makes an appearance he often takes the guise of a halfling or some other some other creature of small stature, though on occasion he has taken the guise of a dwarf or an elderly human. Simple Jack can be spotted at festivals, feasts, and in taverns wherever he is passing through, he will buy rounds of drinks and encourage patrons to drink to excess, challenge them to drinking games, sing songs, and generally encourage them to embarrass themselves but he does work to ensure that no harm is done and that everyone has a good time. Those who drink with Simple Jack find that they are filled with vim and vigor the next morning and any damage caused in the wake of their revelry has been repaired, though often times their coin purses may be a little lighter.



When communicating with his followers, or those upon which he decides to impart his wisdom Simple jack will often whisper in their ears whilst they drink, send them dreams after nights of heavy drinking, or leave small notes and gifts in their fields. If need be Simple jack will send brownies, sprites, and even leprechauns to aid his followers or assist him in his endeavours.


There is no formal clergy or center of worship for those who revere Simple Jack, instead his followers often erect small shrines to him in their storehouses or taprooms and leave offerings of food, wine, and ale for Simple Jack of his minions to enjoy. Those clerics that choose to devote themselves to Simple Jack are rare indeed but a blessing to the communities they live in. It is a priest’s job to ensure proper cultivation of crops like barley, hops, and grapes and they must work to ensure that the needs of their vintners and brewers are met. Some of his priests travel the land bestowing blessings on vineyards and taverns they visit along the way often aiding in minor repairs or helping with the harvest. Since there is no major church associated with him Simple Jack’s priests often hold services in taprooms and taverns, curing hangovers and leading patrons in drinking songs while extolling the benefits of helping one another and the joys of song and merriment. Those who become adventurers often seek out new and exciting cultures whose feasts and traditions to bring home with them or to spread to new lands, they often assist tavern owners in their travels and provide nourishment and entertainment to their companions.

Game Details

Simple Jack is a chaotic good minor deity who is associated with the domains of chaos,  community, good, growth, travel, and trickery in the pathfinder roleplaying game and trickery in D&d 5e

Simple Jack’s favored weapon is the club

His holy symbol is a crude mug filled to the brim with grapes

His sacred colors are brown green and purple


Sample Tavern: Satyr’s Rest

Satyr’s Rest works best as a tavern in a small farming or trapping community located in or near a forested area along a route to a major town, but could easily be adapted to fit anywhere in your campaign.

The Tavern

A sign of wood inlaid with an image of reclining satyr and the words Satyr’s Rest hangs above a heavy oak door set into the stump of a massive petrified tree. Beyond the stout oak door is a cozy sitting room an owlbear skin splayed upon the floor directly in front of a hardwood bar. To the right a depressed area features several comfortable chairs around a hearth and to the left a series of tables provide seating for larger groups. Behind the bar are several casks of beer, bottles of wine and distilled spirits, and an array of tankards and goblets. The walls are of petrified wood aside from the back of the tavern which has been dug into the hill against which the tree sits. Hanging from the walls are several taxidermy monster heads collected by the publican over the years. Above the main bar hangs a fine greatsword of elven make, etched with elven script along the blade that reads, “The wind shall sing in the heart of those true and just”. The blade detects as magic and functions as a +2 greatsword. Knowledge checks may reveal the phrase to be the motto of an ancient elven noble house.

The Publican  

The owner of Satyr’s Rest is a Male Half-Elf who goes by the name of Ell’an. An ex adventurer Ell’an is getting along in years, his temples are streaked with grey as is his short beard and a few lines have formed across his graceful features. Ell’an was once a member of a group of adventurers seeking their fortune plundering ancient elven ruins, most of them were killed when attacked by a green dragon who made a hoard in one such ruin. Ell’an used his cut of the loot to establish this tavern, decorating it with trophies he acquired in his travels.Ell’an is a middle aged half-elf 4th level fighter. He has many stories from his adventures and knows much of elven history, he enjoys stories about adventuring, treasure, and monsters and can be a valuable resource for local rumors and goings on.

Ell’an’s wife a human woman named Nissica helps him run the tavern, primarily by making food in the kitchen and aiding in serving guests. She is somewhere in her mid thirties with brown hair and good looks that are starting to fade to time.

The Menu

Satyr’s rest features a menu designed by Nissica using family recipes and local ingredients.


House Stew: A stew of venison, potatoes, carrots, turnips and spices served with bread.

Roasted vegetables: A plate of roasted leeks, potatoes, onions and carrots

Breakfast: Hearty sausage, bread, and hard cheese with some local fruit

Roast boar: Local boar roasted and served with sauce and vegetables

Dessert: Goat cheese, honey, dried fruits


Farmhouse ale with blackberries: A bright and rustic farmhouse ale with blackberries added to add a sweet tart flavor that is widely enjoyed by the locals. The beer is cloudy  and smells earthy with notes of blackberry and barnyard, it has a dry cracker like taste with notes of black pepper and a tart finish. The beer is relatively low in alcohol content and extremely refreshing.

Pale Ale: This copper colored beer has a medium body and off-white head. It smells like stale bread with light floral and vegetal notes. The beer tastes bready with bitter earthy notes and dry tea like flavors. Ell’an tends to cut the beer with water in the tankard after a patrons first mug to make it last longer, which results in a weaker flavor. Moderately alcoholic but fairly low once watered down.

Local Mead: A sweet and floral mead made from wildflower honey. Fairly alcoholic and on par with wine.

Wine: Ell’an has wine bottle purchase from a local merchant who travels through every few weeks, he claims they are from one of the finest vintners in a nearby major city, in truth they are only decent wine and Ell’lan is probably over charging for them, though he doesn’t know it, in addition there is a 10 percent chance that the bottle is soured and tastes like fruity vinegar. Above average alcohol content.

Elven wine: Ell’an has a few bottle of well aged elven wine tucked away in his cellar, they are of good quality but he only offers them to wealthy looking patrons, or ones he trusts. Above average alcohol content.

Distilled spirits: Ell’an has a few bottles of strong whiskey available, it is all of the same type, smoky, fruity, and woody. It is strong and has an acquired taste.  Strong alcohol content.


Ell’an is quick to point out that this is a tavern and not an inn and thus he has no major lodging accommodations available, but is happy to let patrons sleep in the chairs or on the floor for a few silver, so long as they are respectful. The patrons below, with the exception of Elwhyn, take this option.


Jorun and Morun: These twins stopped off in town a while back looking for work and have yet to leave, the two are tall, muscular, blonde, and quite good looking. Touting themselves as mercenaries and bodyguards looking to protect anyone who will pay these two are actually little more than backstabbing thugs running a con game. The brothers offer their services and wait until they are alone with their employer before killing them and looting their bodies before moving on to the next town. These two are currently trying to strongarm Finra into buying their services but are considering moving on to the next town if she doesn’t hire them soon. The brothers are intended to be 3rd level fighters but their level and class can be adjusted as needed.

Finra: A younger woman with a studious look about her who is often scribbling in notebooks or pouring over a thick leather bound tome. She claims that she is here to survey some nearby ruins but as she is not a capable combatant she needs protection and is looking to hire some bodyguards.  Jorun and Morun give her a bad vibe so she has put off hiring them, although she is on the verge of doing so in light of having no other options. Finra keeps her desires for surveying the ruins, and the fact that she is a spellcaster , secret only stating she works for someone with an interest in them. Finra is offering to pay her bodyguards 30 gold pieces a day for each bodyguard in addition to whatever treasure they find in the ruins with the caveat that she gets to keep any scrolls, spellbooks, texts, and half the potions they find. Finra should be a 4th level wizard with a focus on divination and abjuration, but she can be changed to meet the needs of your game, her patron can remain as ambiguous or concrete as you like.

Grundi Stonethumb: Grundi is a stereotypical dwarf; stout, loud, and a little off putting. He a mason and jeweler just passing through and is staying in town a few nights to recover his strength before heading onward to a larger town to sell his wares to the aristocracy. Grundi is willing to purchase gems, jewels, and jewelry from anyone who has some to sell. Accompanying this dwarf are two dwarven guards both, 2nd level fighters, who fight to the death to defend Grundi and his goods.

Whiftle Lightfingers: This small and unassuming halfling lives in town for a few days each month and spend the rest of his time living in the wilderness hunting to make a living and protect the town from wild animals that may get closer than the citizens would like. Whiftle is dirty and unkempt, brash, and a heavy drinker but he knows the surrounding wilderness and its inhabitants better than anyone and often sells his services as a guide or tracker to locals and adventurers alike. Whiftle knows a few local rumors about wild beasts, hidden ruins, or anything else your game might need. The halfling is a multiclassed ranger/rogue of 4th level.

Elwhyn: The local bard is a beautiful elven woman named Elwhyn who plays in the tavern almost every night performing soft songs in elven for the patrons. Elwyn is quite old, older than anyone alive in the town today, and has tendency to direct discussion away from her past and her personal life, preferring to collect stories about those she interacts with so that she may use them to create new songs and stories. Nissica is slightly jealous of Elwhyn and gets frustrated whenever she converses with Ell’an in elven, as Nissica understands very little, and worries that something might be going on between the two despite their assertion to the contrary. Elwhyn simply finds a kindred spirit in Ell’an and their friendship is nothing more than that. Elwhyn does greatly relish the opportunity to speak elven and enjoys conversing with any who can speak it often making fast friends with them. She also enjoys elven lore, songs, stories, and goods, willing to trade for them. Elwhyn is a 5th level bard.

Aside from these distinct individuals many farmers, guards and other townsfolk visit the tavern on a nightly basis, and while it is never crowded beyond capacity it can get fairly busy.

A Satyr’s Rest works best as a tavern in a small farming or trapping community located in or near a forested area along a route to a major town, but could easily be adapted to fit anywhere in your campaign.


Tavern Music

Many games begin in a tavern, a few end in them, and it is the rare game that never sees one. Taverns a great place for adventures to begin, they are often a great place to find both information regarding the local happening and individuals who may need some pesky goblins harassing his farm taken care of. These places are often the center of a small town or a district if its a larger city and are a great way to introduce players to local cultures, movers and shakers, and of course allow them to spend some of that gold burning a hole in their bag of holding. Taverns can pack a lot of character and flavor into a small room and there are many details that can be covered but one of the most important and often overlooked is tavern music. Music speaks volumes in a tavern and and adds so much character when properly utilized that it’s a shame more dungeon masters don’t use it. I understand many don’t have the right equipment or perhaps even the time to search for the right stuff but i recommend checking around amazon or newegg for a cheap speaker and seeing if you can make it work with a smart phone or laptop, it will really enhance a lot of aspects of your game, and as far as what kinds of music to use I will provide a list at the end of the article.

Tavern music can help establish a lot of things and allow your players to get a feel for the room and help immerse them in the environment, it can tell them if it’s a busy evening or a slow night, a jaunty tune livens spirits while a somber one my calm the party down. The music can also help to establish theme and location since the musicians in a dwarven beer hall will be very different from a roadside inn or a tea house in an asian influenced game. The music should reflect the patrons and location so it’s a good idea to give it some thought beforehand and cone this has been established with your players there are a lot of fun ways you can tweak the formula to pull some unexpected tricks with your music that will intrigue and hopefully excite them. Perhaps they enter a tavern in a dwarven mining town only to discover the publican is human and the music is less drums and horns like one might expect from dwarves and more lutes and flutes playing soft melodies played by his daughter and son that remind the publican of his hometown, much to the chagrin of the dwarven patrons. In a busy tavern the music suddenly shifts to something a little more upbeat and the patrons get quiet before joining in singing the national anthem or perhaps a battle song from a great victory tied the location. A floating tavern frequented by pirates make sit hard to converse in over the drunken slurring of sea shanties that never seem to end. All of these help to make a tavern a much more memorable and colorful place that will stand out far more than “the place we bought some ale and a wizard asked us to get an amulet”.

Aiding in the pacing of a session is another great way to utilize tavern music, nothing quit silences a room like raising the volume of music followed by suddenly and sharply cutting it. I used to work in a bar and for last call we would pump the sound system up a few decibels and then kill the music, what was once a noisy room was instantly silent. This makes a very effective tool for adding some drama to your game, imagine a crowded tavern after dinner full of farmers and merchants and townsfolk sharing stories and drinks as the bard’s music plays in the background, conversation fills the air when suddenly the music stops on a high note, everyone immediately begins looking around for the cause of the disturbance to find a bloodied man has entered the tavern rasping about orcs invading, or maybe the bard slumps off the stage, a knife in his back and no culprit to be found, perhaps he becomes possessed and speaks a prophetic message no one understands. These serve as great interruptions and staccatos that break a scene into a more interesting piece. Instead of interrupting the music could get louder and faster as a bar fight erupts or even get slower and softer to frame the scene as your begin negotiating with said wizard who needs an amulet recovered.

Finally, another way to utilize the music is to involve the players themselves. If there is a bar din the party who wishes to take the stage, allow him to select the playlist so long as they remain playing in the tavern, let players tip the musicians and request songs and perhaps they request a song that the patrons can’t stand or is offensive in some way, maybe the song is actually a tavern favorite and earns them a modicum of trust form the locals. All in all tavern music can serve to add a lot to a scene or even make an otherwise unremarkable one memorable for the players. Another aspect I want to get into later is drinking songs, but that is a separate topic entirely. For now here is a list of some of my favorite taverns songs for different situations.


A few reels and jigs

The official D&D soundtrack from Midnight Syndicate has some great all around stuff.

Some songs I have used in the past for various taverns. A lot are from games and several I just stumbled across but hopefully this provides a good jumping off point.


For a while now I have been kicking around the idea of starting a blog for Dungeons and Dragons, fantasy roleplaying and anything that tends to come along with that, but i wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to talk about. With over a decade of experience in roleplaying games ranging from Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 to Shadowrun 5th edition and dozens of others in between, Several a few published works, and highly polarizing opinions on the nature of gaming and the those at the table I figured I would have plenty to write about, although nothing seemed to jump out at me as a writing topic, this would change in the form of a conversation about Dwarf Fortress. Aside from Dungeons and Dragons and roleplaying in general one of my biggest passions is beer. I don’t mean that I just enjoy going to beer festivals and being part of the culture, I have studied its impact on cultures, economies, even religions the world over, I have homebrewed, and taught classes on the subject.

So while discussing the role of beer within the game dwarf fortress, an essential part of the games strategy and the survivability of your dwarves. I began thinking about the environment dwarves typically live in, what ingredients and techniques would be available to them, and how their culture might influence what they brew. I plumbed through some supplements released on dwarves by Paizo and other companies to see what they had thought on the subject and after reading a few I determined that they were sort of just throwing around beer terms without a whole lot of understanding, and who can blame them? They are writers, not brewers or beer enthusiasts so it makes sense that most of the information was lore based and focused around some common words, and what they have created is perfectly fine, but I wanted more and began thinking about what other typical fantasy cultures might produce in terms of beer. This sin’t to say that its all bad or incorrect, The Midgard campaign setting from Kobold press has a wonderful interpretation of Ninkasi and a decent amount of focus on how alcohol effects the cultures and religion of those who worship her, something I want to talk about a lot more in depth later on. So, after mulling it over I began thinking about different types of alcohol like wine and spirits, tavern etiquette, drinking songs, and so much more that could be expanded upon within a fantasy universe. This is what led to my decision to start the blog  “Taverns and Tankards” and explore alcohol and merry-making in fantasy roleplaying games.

Through this blog I hope to bring some new life (and some realism) to the brews of the fantasy worlds by focusing on how different cultures, religions, and races enjoy everyone’s favorite alcoholic beverage. Expect beer styles, festivals, drinking songs, sample taverns and publicans, dungeons, encounters, and much more centered around alcohol and whatever else happens to spring to mind.