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Players' Guide: The Yawning Portal & The Entry Well

PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2015 2:47 pm
by FiendishXairren
The Yawning Portal Inn
Expedition To Undermountain wrote:The Yawning Portal Inn stands on Rainrun Street in the city’s Castle Ward, two doors west of The Empty Keg Tavern. Right next to the inn, between it and the Keg, stands Mother Salinka’s House of Pleasure, a shabby, low-coin festhall.

The Yawning Portal Inn is built of stone, with a slate roof and an upper floor of guest rooms. Like both of its neighboring businesses, the inn announces itself to the watching world by means of a hanging signboard. The sign reads simply, “The Yawning Portal.” The words are deeply carved in a board weathered to a silvery hue that hangs by two short loops of chain from a black-painted iron pole above the front door.

Durnan, a human, built the inn atop the foundations of the long-vanished tower and fortified warehouses of Halaster Blackcloak. Inside, the place is rambling and dingy, but it gives the impression of being comfortable rather than dirty and forbidding. Well-worn boards cover the floor. Wood paneling adorns the walls, with an elbow rail usually crowded with not-yet-empty tankards. Rich blue tapestries hang at intervals along the paneled walls. Guests entering from the street step right into the inn’s common room, which is mostly used for dining and drinking. The Entry Well that leads down into the Dungeon Level of Undermountain dominates the area.

Some of the tables in the common room can’t be moved; they’re built around wooden pillars that hold up the ceiling. All the furniture is heavy, stout wood. Lighting is provided by candle-wheels (chandeliers made of horizontal wagon wheels hung from the ceiling by chains and filled with thick, lit candles).

Unruly drunkards are usually handled by adding a powerful sleeping powder to their drinks, but Durnan has been known to lift men into the air and toss them bodily through the front door to see how far they fly before landing.

There are three floors of guest rooms, reached by steep wooden stairs opening off the common room. In winter, the rooms are heated by warm stones (barrel-ends with rope handles, filled with rocks warmed at the fireplaces at the east end of every floor’s central hall).

The Ground Floor
The Upper Levels

The Entry Well
Expedition To Undermountain wrote:The infamous Entry Well is an open-topped stone ring 40 feet in diameter. A 1-foot-thick rampart wall rises waist-high, encircling air that drifts straight up from Undermountain. The outside of the well wall is studded at intervals with iron torch brackets, and a block-and-tackle hoist is chained to a stone lintel in the ceiling directly over the well. The well’s dry shaft descends 140 feet from the lip of the rampart to the sand-strewn stone floor of the Dungeon Level of Undermountain. The shaft tapers as it descends, from 40 feet across at the top to 30 feet across at the bottom.

Using The Entry Well
Expedition To Undermountain wrote:Those desiring to enter Undermountain are expected to provide their own weapons, gear, and light sources. Simple torches and belt flasks of water can be bought from the inn (1cp each).

A fee of 1gp per person must be paid to Durnan to use the well. You can climb on your own or get lowered by the hoist, as long as you pay the fee. Upon return, the same fee is required to get lifted out of the well. The fee (or its equivalent or better in another currency, such as gems) must be put in the hoist’s bucket, brought up, examined, and then accepted before the hoist is used to retrieve returning adventurers. The 200-foot-long rope of the hoist is as thick as a human’s wrist and stout enough to hold the weight of ten armored and heavily laden humans. It ends in a metal hook that usually has a stout wooden bucket affixed to it. Tied through the eye of the hook, as well as the hoist-rope, are two stout leather loops that can be wrapped around a body or clung to, and above the hook, at 2-foot intervals, wooden crossbars have been woven through the rope, to serve as ladder rungs.

Durnan normally works the hoist alone. Not much strength is required to operate it, since the pulleys do the work and the hoist-winch has cogs to prevent the rope from slipping back down the shaft. A release lever can be deliberately pulled to send any weight on the rope plummeting to the bottom of the well, should Durnan decide that whatever is rising should not be allowed to reach the top. If Durnan’s absent, any other member of the inn’s staff can work the hoist.

The patrons of the Portal customarily watch, toast, taunt, and/or bet on adventurers entering Undermountain. The patrons always include at least one priest from the Tower of Luck. These priests never enter Undermountain and expect on-the-spot payment for casting healing spells on anyone. The two priests who perform most of this duty are described below.

Adama Miiralin: (Male Human) Adama is a naive, kindly young priest with aspirations of rising up in the temple hierarchy. He keeps records of which Undermountain delvers use the Entry Well on his watch. Despite his normally wise demeanor, Adama trusts in luck implicitly and takes wild risks as a matter of course.

Orbrin Baerent: (Male Human) Orbrin is a grizzled old man who has become very cynical about peoples’ foibles and the general state of human nature over the years. He still believes devoutly in his god; he just thinks that far too many people are blind to real power, and too fearful or mistrustful of change to take the chances they should. He loves the camaraderie of the inn and the food that comes out of its kitchen, and is happy to sit in the common room for long stretches of time. Duty priests always offer to chant blessings over any adventurers descending into Undermountain for no charge, but they won’t do so and they won’t be offended if adventurers refuse.

Durnan, however, always says wryly as he collects the 1gp fee, “The gods’ good luck be with you. Ye’ll surely need it.”

See also: Players' Guide: Undermountain