View Full Version : [TAVERN] Mephibosheth's Mess Hall

2006-02-27, 10:16 PM
Mephibosheth’s Mess hall

DM’s Text
As you walk into Mephibosheth’s Mess hall, you are struck first by the sound of conversation and the smell of hearty food that dominate the large common room. An immense diversity of individuals are enjoying their meals on the long, rough-hewn wooden benches. A woman says to you, “Welcome to Mephibosheth’s! Please follow the line to the left into the serving area. If you need any assistance, feel free to ask one of the volunteers.”

General Description
Mephibosheth’s Mess hall is a charity kitchen devoted to tending the needs and dealing with the problems of the city’s poor and destitute. It serves simple, hearty, and healthy fare and gives patrons the option of adding several enhancements to alter the flavor or increase the health benefits of their food. Some of these enhancements can cure minor ailments and wounds, others improve the consumer’s physical well-being for a short period of time, and still others increase the immune system of the consumer.

Mephibosheth’s also offers limited job-placement services for the down-on-their-luck (making liberal use of Mephibosheth’s contacts throughout the city) and a free dormitory where people can spend the night. The Mess Hall is funded mostly by donations from the well-to-do, but Mephibosheth does supplement this income with his substantial reserves (a combination of his inheritance and money he makes from his hobby/side-job of crafting culinary magic items).

The Mess Hall is staffed largely by volunteers, with the exceptions of Mephibosheth himself (who supervises the administrative side of the kitchen, ensures that patrons remain safe and sound, and helps run the kitchen staff, being himself an accomplished chef), Pravi (who assists Mephibosheth in his administrative duties, coordinates volunteers, greets patrons at the door, and occasionally treats the patrons and their children to an entertaining story), and Rasoya (the head cook, affectionately known as “Ovens” by repeat volunteers). Pravi is Mephibosheth’s wife and lives with him in the rooms above the Mess Hall, as does Rasoya (obviously, in his own private quarters). Additionally, the three friends keep a small magic laboratory on the 4th floor of the building where they make their magic items and experiment with new magical recipes and spells.

Mephibosheth’s Mess Hall is frequented mostly by the poor and the downtrodden, who go there for a bit of fun and a good meal. For many of the city’s poorest residents, Mephibosheth’s is their main source of nourishment. However, the food at Mephibosheth’s is far and away superior to other charity kitchens, and many members of higher social classes stop by when they are in the neighborhood. Additionally, Mephibosheth is well-known amongst the higher classes, and many of his friends and acquaintances come to visit and eat his food. People of all backgrounds tend to eat in peace at Mephibosheth’s, regardless of their normal animosities. The city guard frequents the establishment to ensure that this remains the case, and Mephibosheth and his friends frequently make use of calming magic to keep the mood even.

Finally, Mephibosheth views himself as something of an advocate for the downtrodden residents of the city, often lobbying the rulers to enact changes to help those on the bottom rung of society. He has amassed a significant network of contacts among the politically powerful within the city, using these friends to obtain donations and to pressure for political action.

Description (External)
Mephibosheth’s Mess Hall takes up the first floor of a well-made, four-story building made largely of brick with a wooden frame. Its front door is made of sturdy hardwood and its windows are made of thick, translucent glass. It located in the lower-class district of the city, where it is easily the largest and most well-constructed building around. A simple wrought-iron sign proclaiming the name of the establishment swings above the front door of the establishment, and the sounds of talking, laughing, music, and the general bustle of a busy cafeteria can be heard. Above the door and around the windows, you see intricate carvings in the wood, depicting scenes of generosity and bounty. Figures distributing food and water to the destitute are common, as well as scenes of individuals healing and helping the less fortunate. If you arrive on the premises early in the morning, around noon, or around the dinner hour, a sizeable line can be seen forming outside the front door and down the street. This line moves slowly but unceasingly into the kitchen.

Description (Internal, 1st floor)
Stepping through the door into the single large, well-lit common room, you are greeted by the heat from the kitchen, the sound of people eating and talking, and the smell of the food that seems to be everywhere. It appears that patrons wait in line to receive a plate and a glass and move through a serving line where they are given liberal portions of whatever’s on the menu. You look for a list of prices, only to realize that all food in Mephibosheth’s Mess Hall is free. Going through the line, you pick up a plain wooden platter and a sturdy, well-made but undecorated mug and get your food from the servers, almost all of whom greet you with a smile. Behind the serving line, you can see a large open window leading into the kitchen, were several cooks are busy preparing large quantities of the hardy, plain fare the Mess Hall serves. Having received your fare, you are confronted with a cheery woman asking if you would like any special additives for your meal. Your inquiry into the possible additives results in a list of curative and enhancing properties that can be added into the food in the form of seasonings or condiments. Finally, at the end of the line, you see a booth occupied by a man seated on a high stool. He introduces himself as Mephibosheth, the proprietor of the Mess Hall, and asks if you would like to sign up to stay in the dormitory for the evening, or if you would like to make a donation to the continuation of his charitable work, gesturing to a sturdy box with a slot in the lid. Finally, having passed through the line, you make your way to one of the many rough-hewn benches that stand in rows throughout the majority of the common room, where individuals of all shapes, sizes, races, and cultures are enjoying their hearty (and free) meals. You see large quantities of people who look like residents of the slums and poor districts of the city, but also a fair number of what appear to be adventuring groups (obviously looking to save on room and board) and some people who appear to be slightly more prosperous residents of the city.

Description (Internal, 2nd floor)
The second floor of the structure is also one single large room, this time dominated by a large quantity of sturdy two-layer bunk beds. At the foot of each bed are two small footlockers with padlocks (obviously, for visitors to store their belongings). The room is lit by the flickering glow of many torches (likely the result of a casting of Continual Flame) and heated by a large fire at the far end of the room. There are three rows of bunk beds, each containing around 10 beds, spaced about 5 feet apart.

2006-02-27, 10:20 PM

Mephibosheth began his life as the grandson of a wealthy but shady nobleman. As a young man, he was drawn into his grandfather’s (not entirely legal) business. He was placed at the head of an illicit slave trading business run by his family that searched the slums and lower-class districts of major cities and sold the indigent and downtrodden to the highest bidder at secret auctions. Over time, Mephibosheth became quite savvy and adept at running all aspects of this business, and he grew to delight in the prosperity that it brought him and in his power over the people he sold as slaves. Eventually, Mephibosheth’s grandfather was killed in a duel and Mephibosheth’s father was left to salvage what was left of their family fortune. Unfortunately, Mephibosheth’s father passed away of a debilitating disease soon after, leaving Mephibosheth the sole survivor of his house, and making his success in the slave trade all the more important. He redoubled his efforts and became the predominant slaver in the city.

For years, Mephibosheth was able to make huge sums of money on the back of the poorest members of society, capturing them from their homes (or from the public dormitories and street corners where the homeless found their beds). His talent for secrecy was substantial, and stories of entire families who vanished overnight were long a matter of much fear and confusion throughout the lower-class districts. Rumors flew of evil experimentation, of demonic possession, and of serial murderers. The City Guard was unable to discover the explanation for the disappearances, and Mephibosheth used judiciously-offered bribes to ensure that this remained the case.

An operation of the magnitude and complexity of Mephibosheth’s kidnappings is ultimately doomed to failure, as one small leak can cause the entire plan to unravel. Eventually, one of the slaves captured by Mephibosheth, an adventurer named Dasara, was able to buy his freedom from his master, and became a successful merchant in his own right. Dasara used his new influence to conduct his own investigations and discovered Mephibosheth’s role in the disappearances. He began to covertly undermine Mephibosheth’s business, planting spies in Mephibosheth’s organization and disrupting his kidnapping operations, gradually demolishing Mephibosheth’s business piece by piece, leaving Mephibosheth in abject poverty.

However, Dasara had mercy on Mephibosheth and took him into his household, making him the administrator of a large portion of his businesses. Mephibosheth, gratified by this generosity, gradually realized the substantial harm his previous exploitation had caused and, in his guilt and shame, decided to turn Dasara’s magnanimity around and used what money he had left to construct and open Mephibosheth’s Mess Hall. He was able to channel his substantial business acumen and his magical knowledge into his charity, and has since operated one of the finest charitable operations in the kingdom. During the process of establishing the Mess Hall, Mephibosheth became acquainted with his future wife as well as the head chef, Rasoya. Since then, Mephibosheth and his friends and family have developed their signature recipes and have worked to publicize their venture and ensure patronage and sponsorship.

Knowledge (Local)/Gather Information DC’s – Note: these are all pretty easy DC’s as Mephibosheth tries to get the word out as widely as possible about his establishment.

DC 3 – The PC knows/finds out the location of Mephibosheth’s Mess Hall and that the meals are free and of high quality.
DC 5 – The PC knows/finds out that Mephibosheth’s Mess Hall also boasts a dormitory and job-placement services and may know the names of the regular employees (DM’s call).
DC 10 – The PC knows/finds out about the special spices the Mess Hall uses, and that it is possible to purchase culinary items from Mephibosheth.
DC 15 – The PC knows/finds out the basics of Mephibosheth’s life story.

2006-03-05, 02:41 PM
Important NPC’s

Mephibosheth – NG Human Rogue 5/Wizard 5

Mephibosheth is a middle-aged human who appears spry and energetic. He has a happy, honest face, an easy laugh that seems to rumble up from his belly. He commonly wears a simple white shirt woven of rough-spun linen and sturdy brown trousers, over which he wears a gray apron. His hair is brown but with hints of grey above his ears and cropped fairly short, and his eyes are a mottled mix of green and grey. When he rises form his accustomed stool, you see that he walks with a limp and leans heavily on a worn cane carved with a similar motif to the doors and windows. He tends to go on about any random subject that comes up, but is especially interested in foods from around the globe and in the politics and economics of the city. You sense that, underneath his charming exterior is a shrewd and calculating mind. He is also quite manipulative, a trait left over from his years as a slaver. While his manipulation has decreased in recent years and is of a much more benign nature, old habits die hard. He’s always looking for ways to make amends for his past cruelty.

Abilities – Str 10, Dex 10, Con 12, Int 18, Wis 16, Cha 14
Notable Skills – Profession (cook) +13, Profession (Business) +13, Bluff + 15, Gather Information +10, Diplomacy +15, Knowledge (Arcana) +17, Knowledge (Local) +12, Spellcraft +17, Sense Motive +13
Common Spells Prepared – Prestidigitation, Mage Hand, Unseen Servant, Locate Object, Flaming Sphere, Continual Flame

Pravi – NG Human Bard 10

Pravi also appears middle-aged, though slightly younger than Mephibosheth. She has blond hair which she keeps about shoulder-length and light blue eyes. She wears comfortable trousers and shirts similar in make to Mephibosheth’s, though often of brighter colors than his. She can often be heard singing slightly inane songs under her breath with lyrics like, “I like jelly beans, yes I do/I like jelly beans, how ‘bout you?” She delights in children of all ages and often becomes distracted when one runs about her feet. Pravi’s level-headedness, openness, and her simple kindness and enthusiasm prove an important balancing factor for Mephibosheth’s manipulative nature and practiced deceptiveness.

Abilities – Str 8, Dex 14, Con 10, Int, 15, Wis 13, Cha 18
Notable Skills – Bluff +13, Diplomacy +13, Knowledge (Local) +10, Knowledge (Nature) +10, Perform (Oratory) +13, Perform (Stringed Instruments) +13, Use Magic Device +13, Sense Motive +9
Spells Known – Light, Mage Hand, Lullaby, Mending, Prestidigitation, Read Magic, Cure Light Wounds, Charm Person, Sleep, Unseen Servant, Calm Emotions, Eagle’s Splendor, Enthrall, Tongues, Cure Serious Wounds, Charm Monster, Glibness, Daylight, Neutralize Poison, Dimension Door

Rasoya – NG Half-Elf Expert 5/Cleric 5

Rasoya is more taciturn than either Mephibosheth or Pravi, but appears to delight in their work every bit as much as his friends. He has black hair and gray eyes and a face that was once angular but has been padded by years of fine eating (most often, food of his own creation). He wears plain brown clothes (which he claims don’t show soup stains as much) and a white apron. He is intensely interested in all things related to cooking, and is always looking for new recipes.

Abilities – Str 10, Dex 14, Con 12, Int 14, Wis 18, Cha 12
Notable Skills – Profession (Cook) +13, Knowledge (Arcana) +13, Spellcraft +13, Knowledge (Nature) +13
Common Spells Prepared – Create Water, Detect Magic, Detect Poison (x2), Purify Food and Drink, Sanctuary (x2), Comprehend Languages, Calm Emotions (x2), Create Food and Water

Dasara – NG Whisper Gnome Rogue 10

Dasara, the adventurer-turned-merchant whose machinations resulted in Mephibosheth’s downfall, has since become a good friend and major patron of Mephibosheth. It was Dasara who provided the business opportunities that allowed Mephibosheth to accumulate the starting capital for the Mess Hall, and Dasara’s businesses continue to be major contributors. Dasara likes to remain involved in the day-to-day of his businesses (often falling back on old adventuring skills when necessary) and can often be seen stopping by the Mess Hall on his lunch breaks for a bite to eat and a swallow of Lucidity Liqueur. He has become extremely well-connected and can often be turned to for information on goings-on throughout the city. He even likes to stay connected to the criminal underworld (though he himself stays away from that sort of business), just to be sure that he has all aspects of his businesses under control.

Abilities – Str 10, Dex 14, Con 10, Int 18, Wis 14, Cha 14
Notable Skills – Diplomacy +15, Gather Information +15, Sense Motive +15, Bluff +15, Slight of Hand +15, Knowledge (Local) +17, Profession (Business) +13, Hide +15, Move Silently +15, Forgery +13, Disguise +15, Appraise +10

Adventure Hooks
1. Rasoya and Mephibosheth need some rare ingredients for a new recipe/magic item and hire out the PC’s to go and find it for them.
2. Mephibosheth and Pravi have noticed that someone has been stealing from the donation box and ask the PC’s to find out who it was.
3. A powerful merchant faction has become angry at Mephibosheth for undercutting their prices on culinary items. They have decided to take it out on Mephibosheth and Pravi personally. The PC’s must protect Mephibosheth and Pravi.
4. A man claiming to be Mephibosheth’s long-lost brother has arrived in the city intent on reviving the slaving business, starting by recapturing Dasara. Dasara, fearing for his life, has come to Mephibosheth looking for help.
5. Something inhuman has apparently been raiding the supply rooms at the Mess Hall through the city sewers. Mephibosheth hires the PC’s to stop it.
6. Mephibosheth and company want more business and hire the PC’s to drum some up for them (a test of the players creative advertising skills).
7. Any number of patrons of the Mess Hall may have jobs for the PC’s, from helping deal with rival crime factions to looking for long-lost family heirlooms, to bodyguard duty, to mere pleas for help from the down-trodden.
8. A conflict between local drow and elf gangs threatens to spill over into the Mess Hall. Already there have been a few scuffles put down by the City Guard. The PC's are asked to try and resolve the dispute.
9. One of Mephibosheth and Rasoya's magical experiments has gone horribly wrong (perhaps resulting in a Living Spell or some sort of food-related construct), and the resulting terrifying creature has escaped into the city. The PC's need to track it down and eliminate it.
10. While doing the books one night, Mephibosheth realizes that the Mess Hall is dangerously low on funds. Mephibosheth asks the PC's to drum up some more support for the Mess Hall.
11. During his political machinations on behalf of the poor, Mephibosheth has made quite a few enemies. One of them has framed Mephibosheth of a heinous crime, and Mephibosheth hires the PC’s to find out the truth of the matter.
12. While staying in the dormitory, the PC’s overhear a plot to undermine the current rulers of the city, but are unable to determine what exactly they heard. Further investigations reveal…
13. Some former slaves are set free, intent on vengeance. Mephibosheth asks the PC’s for protection.
14. Someone has begun kidnapping families from the poor district, and Mephibosheth is an immediate suspect (at least, to the few people in the know). The PC’s need to find out the truth of the matter.

Signature Items

Mephibosheth’s Culinary Enhancements
Patrons of Mephibosheth’s Mess Hall have the option of selecting up to two special enhancements from the following menu:
1. Curative Curry – Acts as a Cure Minor Wounds spell (CL 1) and gives the dish an exotic, spicy flavor
2. Workman’s Worcestershire – Grants the consumer a +1 alchemical bonus to strength checks and strength-based skill checks for 10 minutes and gives the dish a tomato-y flavor
3. Tumbler’s Turmeric – Grants the consumer a +1 alchemical bonus to dexterity checks and dexiterity-based skill checks for 10 minutes and gives the dish a distinct flavor of (you guessed it) turmeric.
4. Pepper of Perseverance - Grants the consumer a +1 alchemical bonus to constitution checks and constitution-based skill checks for 10 minutes and brings out the spicy flavors of the dish.
5. Panacea Parsley – Grants the consumer a +1 alchemical bonus on Fortitude Saves against diseases for the next day.
6. Cloves of Clear-headedness – Grant the consumer a +1 alchemical bonus on Will Saves against spells with the Charm descriptor for the next day.
7. Garlic of Greatness - Grants the consumer a +1 alchemical bonus on charisma checks and charisma-based skill checks for 10 minutes and gives the dish a mild Italian flavor.
8. Lucidity Liqueur - Grants the consumer a +1 alchemical bonus on intelligence checks and intelligence-based skill checks for 10 minutes and tastes a bit like brandy.

“Mephibosheth’s Mess Hall: Because Free Food is Great No Matter How Rich You Are!” Badge
In a not-so-subtle nod to the students who frequent Mephibosheth’s establishment, patrons who donate to the Mess Hall are given a small badge inscribed with the above slogan as proof of their donation. The subtleties of the design change periodically. People who present this badge are granted a 5% discount at any store run by Dasara’s family. Patrons of the Mess Hall proudly wear their badges, and some have established collections of the different designs.