Location #1 on the map of the Town of Cross Tree is the Cross Tree Inn. I will list the pertinent information about the inn and the people who work there below. As previously mentioned, I’m trying to keep this as system neutral as possible. There won’t be any in-game stats for the inhabitants of the town. Instead, I will focus on their personalities and what you would need to know to run them as NPCs.
#1 The Cross Tree Inn
The inn is both the geographical and social center of the village. Especially during the evening, it is likely some of the other residents will be found in the common room, enjoying a meal or tankard of ale.
The proprietor is a stout man named Killian Merric. At 50 years of age, Killian was raised in a large city but relocated to Cross Tree and inherited the Inn from his uncle Tobyn. That was 20 years ago and Killian has been running the place ever since.
Killian stands 6’2” tall and weighs roughly 280lbs. His dark hair, beard, and bushy eyebrows. are starting to give way to a good deal of gray. The large man dresses simply, wearing cotton breeches and a simple tunic, On most days he’ll also be wearing an apron, adorned with splashes and dashes of whatever happens to be on the menu that day.
Nearly always sporting a grin, the innkeeper is nothing if not hospitable. Killian will greet guests warmly and take an interest in their adventures. He knows a fair bit about the local area and is generally willing to share information with travelers, if he feels that they have good intentions. For information he may lack, Killian is certainly well acquainted with the citizens of Cross Tree and able to suggest someone else who may be able to help.
The innkeeper loves a good tune. Any customer who happens to break out in song or play an instrument while visiting the inn is likely to be rewarded with a complimentary meal. If it’s particularly good, it wouldn’t be unheard of for Killian to take off his apron and dance a little jig in the middle of the dining room.
Despite being a fairly large fellow, Killian has no practical combat experience.
Killian keeps a simple room for himself at the inn. While he has had various employees over the years, his niece Karia is currently his only employee.
Karia Merric is a young woman of 25. After the passing of her mother, two years ago, she relocated to Cross Tree and has been helping her uncle Killian manage the inn.
A no-nonsense woman, Karia usually keeps her blonde hair pulled back and wears simple, woolen dresses.
While she adores her uncle, Karia was also interested in relocated to Cross Tree due to it being nestled in the wilderness. She has been studying herbalism for a number of years and her move has allowed her to pursue this passion. When not serving drinks or helping out at the inn, Karia spends her time collecting specimens in the forest and furthering her studies.
Like her uncle, Karia is quite friendly. However, her mind is often occupied, thinking about different tinctures and ointments. She may not be outwardly chatty, though if any travelers come by with obvious wounds or ailments, she will immediately offer to help. Depending on the rules system you are using, I would allow Karia to at least provide some basic healing to injured party members.
If any travelers happen to come through town and mention having a background in herbalism or another similar skill, Karia will be fascinated and try to gain as much knowledge from them as possible.
Food, Drink, & Lodging
You can assume that pricing for food, drink, and lodging will run on the lower end of what is typical in your game system. Killian is a wonderful cook and accommodating host but this is a modest operation.
Highlights of the inn’s menu include flapjacks with locally made maple syrup, a fabulous “restoring” stew, and roasted potato wedges.
Killian has 4 modest rooms for rent. Three of these have a single bed, while one has two. However, a simple sleeping cot can be added to any of the single rooms if it becomes necessary to house more guests. While he wouldn’t rent out his own 2nd floor room, on occasion Killian will allow cots in the common areas upstairs, to accommodate extra guests. Obviously, this would be offered at a reduced rate.
As the Cross Tree Inn is the first stop for weary travelers, Killian will often be asked about the name of the town. On such occasions, he will be more than happy to pull up a chair and share the tale.
Whether there is anything to this legend or whether it is a simple folktale is up to you. Go with what works for your game. However, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to drop in little bits to keep your players on edge. The inn is an old building, so there will certainly be strange creaks from the floorboards or the occasional cold draft.
*See location #2 once I have posted it
Plot Hooks & Encounters
If you already have plans for future adventures, it should be easy enough to drop in any plot hooks while the PCs are visiting the Cross Tree Inn. There is a message board in the common room and Killian, Karia, or any of the other townsfolk could be used to reach out to the party and ask for their assistance.
Left to their own, both Killian & Karia have a few tasks that they might approach a party of travelers for help with.
- Killian might offer the party a fair price to go on a hunt for a day and try to bring back a stag or wild boar.
- Karia might hire the party to help her locate certain herbs or mushrooms, only available in the deepest part of the forest.
- It’s rare that the innkeeper the ability to make the trip to a city. If Killian gets to know the party well or they stop at the inn frequently, he may hire them to bring back certain spices or ingredients.
Thanks for taking the time to stop by. If you’re taking the time to read this, I hope you have a good week.