Sunday, December 30, 2012

M is for Magical Materials

Magical materials may be manufactured, summoned out of nothingness, or mined and found in the manner of other minerals. None of them are particularly common, although only a handful of them could be considered truly rare, either. What follows is not a comprehensive list, but covers some of the more commonly known - and available (for varying levels of availability) materials - 

  • Adamant - Largely regarded as the hardest metal known to those-who-would-be-men. This is, perhaps, not strictly true, but it is correct enough for most purposes. Adamant 
  • Alkahest - The universal solvent, capable of dissolving almost any substance. Only a handful of substances can withstand its effects (mithril and diamonds among them), and those only with magical reinforcement.
  • Carmot - A blood-red stone, resembling garnet in color, but only slightly translucent. Carmot is fundamental in many advanced alchemical processes, and although naturally brittle, can be cast into a steel alloy that has its natural color, and depending on enchantment, any of several different effects - most commonly, carmot-steel blades are preternaturally sharp and hard, but also stiff, and so are normally forged into daggers, arrow-heads, and the like.
  • Cinnabryl - known more commonly as Red Steel, but this is a misnomer. Cinnabryl is the precursor to Red Steel, and is used in various alchemical and magical procedures (mostly of a defensive nature), during which its magical potency is slowly drained away, leaving Red Steel behind. Cinnabryl is known to be efficacious in warding off various magical radiations and curses, and is generally inimical to magical effects. As a result, many adventurers carry a small bit of it in a warded box or case. Red Steel is lighter than steel, and retains some small amount of its precursor's anti-magical powers, rendering it useful in weapons forged against those from Beyond, the Fair Folk, elementals, and various other conjured and magical beings. 
  • Cold Iron - one of few materials on this list whose magic - such as it is - is dependent solely on the way it is worked, and not on its makeup. Cold Iron is naturally-occurring iron that has been worked solely by impact, without the assistance of flame or heat. It therefore retains the innate anti-magical properties that iron has, and is inimical to the Fair Folk (and even elves and gnomes, though long removed from the Fae, do not like its touch overly much), and to many beings of the Outer Darkness as well. Because of the amount of work needed to create weapons of cold iron, and their lack of utility when compared to other weapons, they are rare, and armor made of cold iron is nearly non-existent. 
  • Cyrixogen - isolated and purified in alchemical vats, Cyrixogen is the crystalline essence of Water. In its native form, it is nearly impossible to work with, being so frigid that only frost elementals - or those blessed by their touch - can work with it. But when properly blended it can be used for a number of alchemical effects requiring the application of sudden amounts of cold. Cyrixogen crystals can also be alloyed, by suitably skilled (and frostbitten...) smith-mages into a metal known as Froststeel, which when properly enchanted carries the chill of its elemental heritage (and when not, can still temporarily be induced to simulate those frosty temperatures through the use of ice magics). 
  • Galvorn - the fabled dark-elven steel, flexible and lightweight as mithril, yet as hard and strong as the finest dwarven alloys. Few examples exist in the sun-lit lands - some legends say that the strange radiations of the enormous caverns where the Drow and the shadow-elves make their home somehow reinforce or purify Galvorn, and without periodic exposure to those strange rays - or enchantments to render it immune to time - it decays into powder. 
  • Mithril - the elven true-silver. Lightweight, flexible, yet surpassingly tough, mithril-alloy (sometimes called feathersteel) maile shirts and byrnies are renowned for their protection, and rapiers and long swords made of mithril or mithril-steel are highly sought after by those who prefer skill and a precise cut to raw power.
  • Oricalchum - called alternately "dwarven brass", "mountain brass", true-gold, or golden steel, Orichalcum is an alchemical alloy of gold, steel, and a secret mix of esoteric metals found in the depths of various Dwarven mining strongholds. Strong and flexible, but heavier than common steel, Orichalcum takes enchantment readily, and dwarven smiths prefer it to mithril. 
  • Phlogiston - the elemental essence of Fire - purified and rarefied in alchemical furnaces into an extremely unstable crystalline form. Normally, this crystal is then mixed with other materials to reduce its natural instability, and used in various pyrotechnic and explosive applications. Skilled smith-mages can alloy it with steel to produce Firesteel, a magical alloy that channels heat in one direction only, a trick dwarven smiths use to make forge-safe tools, and dragon-safe armor and weapons.
  • Stygian Bronze - the weapons of those who did not agree are as varied and esoteric as their own being - and in many cases are as much a part of them as their own hands. But many of those known as Demons in the common parlance wield weapons of this strange metal. Stygian Bronze is itself as inimical to the life of All-That-Is as those who wield it are - its very touch can sicken those-who-would-be-Man, and wounds dealt by them often fester and rot, and are hard to heal with mortal methods, or even divine magics. 
  • Elysian Brass - The actual provenance of Elysian Brass is debatable. It was unknown in the Old Countries, and there are differing stories of how the implements made of it - and the rare stores of unworked ingots - came to be. The most common, if least plausible, story found in deciphered and translated manuscripts is that the beings known as the Grand Titans forged their implements of Elysian Brass in the Beginnings of Time, and all of the currently existing examples of it date from their actions. Whether this is true or not is unknown. What is known is that Elysian Brass is surpassingly durable, takes a keen edge, and - despite the reputation of the Grand Titans as monstrous beings of ineffable design - naturally puissant against those who did not agree
  • Yxium - also called Etherium crystals. Yxium crystals are naturally occurring, but exceedingly rare. They have the unusual property that gravity's effect on them is reversed - instead of falling down towards Creation (as most other things naturally do, absent the action of wings, magic, or certain alchemical effects), Yxium crystals fall away from it. This obviously causes no small measure of difficulty in mining, storing, and refining it, but the substance sees some use in objects that need to be made less weighty, and in the (rare, but not unknown) skyships, particularly those of the dwarven nation of Simlatin. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

L is for Linguistics

There are dozens of different languages in use on Malaster. Some of them are mutually incomprehensible - the Thri-Kreen can use the audible parts of tradespeech only with great difficulty, and pretty much no mammalian - or most other - species can make intelligible conversation in Thri-Kreen, for example. Most, however, can be learned, and spoken - after a fashion, anyways - by most species. Many (although by no means all) languages fall into one of the following linguistic groups, although over the centuries drift has occurred in nearly all of them - even the most uptight xenophobic elven cultures from the Old Country have had enough contact with other species to pick up loan-words and concepts.
  • Fae - language of the Fair Folk. Members (if somewhat loosely) of this linguistic group include the various Elven tongues, Gnomish (more like influenced by, or possibly starting from a similar root tongue in different directions), certain Human languages, and, oddly, the original Orcish tongue (although that has long-since been subsumed into Darkspeech). The "official" language of Isderay is based off of a variant of an Elven language, and is thus (very loosely) related to the Fae tongue.
  • Malthandirin - sometimes regarded as "Human", this is actually incorrect - it is, however, the case that many of the cultures most represented in the Diaspora came from the same general area of the Old Countries, and spoke languages based roughly off of this root tongue. As a result, many of the current versions of "human" spoken in cultures throughout Malaster are related to - if not directly derived from - Malthandirin. 
  • Draconic - Draconic is one of the oldest languages, and although nearly impossible for humanoid throats and mouths to master, its great age and power has ensured that it influences nearly all languages it comes into contact with. There are a number of dialects of Draconic - perhaps as many as there are sub-species - but they are all basically comprehensible to one who knows any singular Draconic form.  
  • Dwarven - The Dwarven language family primarily includes the various dwarven tongues, of course - but also some languages spoken primarily by humans, and it has had substantial influence on a couple of gnomish and halfling languages as well. 
  • Goblinoid - called 'Gubbrik' in the root goblin language, goblin dialects are primarily spoken by goblins, hobgoblins, gnoblars, dekantar, and various other relatives of the goblin species. Goblinoid is a relatively simple language, and easy enough for humans to pick up - which may be part of what has facilitated the use of goblins by some human societies. 
  • Darkspeech - although referred here as a linguistic family, Darkspeech is really a single language with a number of variant dialects. Crafted by the unseele, and forced upon their various servitor races - in some cases wholly eliminating whatever tongues they may have had before - it is a foul tongue, and difficult even for some servitor species to understand and speak, let alone those-who-would-be-man
  • Acantar - this is the presumptive name of the human language that was primarily in use on the continent of Malaster before the last great Fall. Its forms and structure can be deduced in part from the remnants spoken by various barbarian tribes, and more can be gleaned from documents and fragments recovered from various tombs and treasure vaults. 
  • The True Language - The Language of AO. Largely unknown - and unknowable - today, except for singular words and phrases - which are spells and enchantments of great power and potency. In a way, all languages are members of this sub-group - but in reality only Draconic and perhaps Fae could really claim to be even slightly derivative of the True Language in any meaningful fashion. 
Beyond these main linguistic groups, there are dozens of independent - or semi-independant - languages as well. Some are dead, or nearly so, while others have, in fact, been "resurrected" - Palyrinthran, for example, existed only as a set of (remarkably intact) manuscripts found in a southwestern mining complex, but has since  been translated, and is taught in Palynthra Reborn (itself only a century or so old, under somewhat mysterious circumstances) as their primary tongue.

Friday, April 15, 2011

K is for Kain, Knights, and Kibble

Not, in this case, a mis-spelling of Cain, but rather a Scottish term, meaning payment in kind - a form of rent paid by tenant farmers to the land's owner, usually in the form of produce, wheat, and other goods.

More generally, kain - or cain - is services or goods rendered on a regular basis in return for some action or debt. Usually this is rent of some sort, but can be nearly any service. The distinction is that cain is not paid in coin, nor is it barter per se - barter connotes some one-time deal or action, while cain suggests a continuing - if perhaps informal - agreement.

Although uncommon in most cities and large towns, or in areas with well-developed and formal systems of exchange (which tend towards various forms of currency as arbiters of value), kain is far from uncommon in smaller villages, hommlets, etc. where coin may be sparse (and reserved for trade with wandering merchants, etc.) and reputations better known.

Knights, Orders of
Although few nations support large standing armies, it sometimes seems like you can't swing a dead goblin without hitting some new Knightly Order raised by one nation or another. There are a number of reasons for this - Knights are required (in general) to raise and support their own troops (if only a handful - but even the simple maintenance costs for a squire or two, 2-5 pages, and a dozen men-at-arms, plus horses, armor, weapons, etc. can still be substantial), and ties those knighted to the ruler who has granted the title in some semi-permanent fashion (although some Orders have long-since outlived their originators, and are to a greater or lesser extent self-sustaining).

There are many reasons why one would accept knighthood, given the costs (both social and economic) involved - above and beyond any questions of cultural conditioning, sense of honor, ego, and the like. Knighthood is generally seen as (and frequently is) a step up into the nobility (if any) of a state or culture, usually comes with some (minor) grant of land (which can offset or eliminate the costs incurred - and in some cases, even provide a tidy profit), and Knights are granted some measure of immunity, in many cases, to lesser crimes and misdemeanors - particularly involving the lands they have been granted fiefdom over, although this by no means excuses their every action (theoretically, at least).

Although knights are frequently Fighters of some sort, not all of them are. More than a handful of wizards, sorcerers, illusionists, and various other arcane spellcasters have been inducted into knightly Orders, and there are Orders that encourage - or even mandate - some manner of arcane ability. In similar fashion, the more devout Orders can count among their number not only Paladins, but Clerics as well.

Kibble, in this case, refers to the miscellany found in any dungeon. It's all the stuff that doesn't precisely count as treasure - candlestick holders, interesting crystals or river-polished stones used to hold down piles of paper, writing sets, wax sealing kits (for scrolls and letters - although the signet ring used to imprint the letter or scroll might well be valuable), trashy fiction novels, half-finished manuscripts for plays, forks, plates, eating knives and the like, serving platters, tchotchkes, and the like.

Kibble is generally - although not exclusively - valueless to anyone other than the people who accumulated it - Kazorg's collection of knucklebones is unlikely to be of much use to anyone but Kazorg, and nobody wants to know what Mulgrag keeps in that book of his, given that he can't read, but still giggles maniacally as he flips through the pages. Instead, it is useful for building character - players might come to know that an archmage really likes tiny carvings of unicorns, and seek to set him up by creating a situation in which some become available, for example.

J is for Janissary, Janitors, and Jubilee

In history, Janissaries were the slave-soldiers of the Ottoman Empire, and the personal army of the Caliph. Not-quite slaves, and not-quite free, they were, for nearly 500 years, some of the most feared soldiers in the Western world.

In Malaster, the idea of a slave-soldier is far from unknown. Although few nations field very large armies, many have need of soldiers that are loyal - that can only be loyal* - to the local potentate. While some trust in the allure of gold - and the threat of a bad reputation - to keep mercenaries in line, and others try and develop familial bloodlines where (hopefully) blood will run thicker than water, some more pragmatic (if less, strictly speaking, good in alignment), have developed janissary regiments of one sort or another.

Many species can end up in these units - although, typically, nations which use them tend to have favored targets of oppression. Goblinoid units are somewhat common in the Northlands, while southern nations often prey upon humans of differing countries and/or religious beliefs. Elves see little if any use in such units - only magic can keep an Elf who does not want to be imprisoned or enslaved alive for long (although many elves will not choose to discorporate because of simple - or even not-so-simple - slavery - preferring instead to simply outlive their master - eternal servitude in a military unit that could take centuries to finally be disbanded is another matter), and halflings and gnomes are rarely used for reasons that might be obvious.

Curiously, Dwarves are more often the instigators of such units than they are victims. While Dwarven infantry is famed throughout history as powerful shock and siege troops, none can claim they are horribly mobile - even Dwarven reconnaissance forces, while cunning and silent, are far from speedy. As a result, some Dwarven nations create janissary units to shore up their weaknesses on the battlefield - cavalry, archers and skirmishers make up the bulk of these units.
*at least theoretically....

Or, more simply, who the heck keeps these drafty dungeons clean?

Well, in large part, nobody. Abandoned dungeons, tombs, mining complexes, underground fortresses, cavern systems, and the like, are usually far from anywhere someone with a dust allergy - or even a mild case of mysophobia - should be spending any time in. Dust and detritus accumulates - especially in those areas which see some level of traffic from outside. (An exception to this would be some tombs, etc. that lack generally mobile guardians, and are sealed from external intrusion, which can be remarkably dust-free). Areas with frequent external access (whether by adventurers, creatures, or simply animals seeking shelter, etc.) can become positively filthy.

There are some things that can ameliorate this, however. Gelatinous Cubes - long believed to have been deliberately created for this very purpose - scour passageways clear of any organic material, and deposit metallic and mineral gloamings wherever they see fit - often in the corners of turns, for some reason. There are spells (similar in nature to the 6th level spell Guards and Wards) which can banish dirt, grime, and such from whole sections of a complex, while lesser spells and cantrips can be used to clear individual rooms. And there are always effects like permanent Unseen Servants, which can be used to create a perpetual - and invisible - cleaning team.

No, not this Jubilee, more like this one. The Jubilee is a celebration held every ten years, to offset precession, in the most commonly used calendar system on Malaster and Isderay. During this celebration feasts and parties are held, gifts are given between friends, special alms are given to the poor, and there is a general forgiving of debts of all sorts.

In Isderay, the Crown can be asked to intercede in any debt or bond, frequently resulting in the manumission of slaves, the freeing of Crown prisoners, and the nullifying of various debts, oaths, and promises. This forgiveness is also held to be... well, a mitzvah, essentially - by those of lesser stature than the royal houses of Isderay - so while only the Crown may be formally petitioned in these matters, many who hold slaves or tickets of debt choose to release them during Jubilee.

In Malaster, while many differing customs have arisen, and the forgiving of debts and releasing of slaves/prisoners is less common, it is by no means unknown, and many cultures do practice some form of pardon - formal or otherwise - during Jubilee.

Strangely, even some evil cultures also practice some sort of similar behavior - although the granting of mercies and indulgences may take their own forms (swift executions, banishment, etc.) they are - in their own fashion - mercies of a sort.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

J is for Justice

Although there are gods of Justice (in both Courts, actually), and a number of related gods, there is no universal, over-arching concept of justice that all cultures at least pay lip service to. There are, however, some over-arching themes, isolated largely by alignment as follows -

  • Lawful cultures tend to have well-developed systems of jurisprudence, or (for less sophisticated and/or organized societies - certain tribes and the like) codified systems of behavior and cultural mores and rules. These laws may make no sense to outsiders - "In Unknown Kadath, no man may kill a Cat" and the like - but they exist, and are (to a greater or lesser extent) enforced. 
  • Neutral (re Law/Chaos) cultures often also have developed legal systems, but they are more often either looser in structure and enforcement, or to have other purposes than their mere alignment (re good/evil) might suggest. An example might be a jurisprudence system based on balancing actions and re-actions - at it's simplest, "An Eye for an Eye" - seeking only to redress harms done directly.
  • Chaotic cultures - those few that exist - usually have at least some sort of legal system and code of law - but the system is very often either moribund, corrupt, or simply disrespected to the point of uselessness. Some chaotic systems are nearly (or are) anarchic in structure, relying on personal honor and codes of ethics to mitigate anti-social behavior. In a small handful of (mostly elven) societies on Malaster, this actually works. 
  • Good societies use their system of laws to both defend the public from abuse, and (in some cases) to level the playing field between the wealthiest and poorest to some extent - but this is only uncommonly found in larger societies. 
  • Neutral (re good/evil) societies tend to see the law as an arbiter and unaligned party in any dispute, favoring no side, and seeking only that the law be followed in its letter and spirit. 
  • Evil societies may well have very well developed legal codes - but this does not mean that they are evenly applied to all (or even any but the societies' enemies). Counting on the legal system to protect you in an Evil society can be a fool's errand. 
These points on the two axes of Alignment combine to provide an overview of culture's possible legal system - but can be swung around to favor one or the other. So one Lawful Evil society might see their legal codes as unassailable, paramount, and to be evenly applied as written in all situations - but dreadfully tilted to favor the wealthy and powerful in their formation, and harsh and cruel in all situations, while another might have an extremely sophisticated legal system - that is ignored entirely when it suits the wealthy and powerful (although such a society might be sliding into Chaos). 

The Three Falls legal system is, understandably enough, primarily concerned with matters of trade, contract law, right-of-way on the rivers and in the dam lift wells, etc. It is supposedly applied evenly to all, but those with a more discerning eye can see that while outwardly sound, peeling back the first few layers of the system reveals a fine patina of corruption that, while not omnipresent, certainly allows those in the know to sidestep many - although not all - rules, laws, and regulations, to a greater or lesser extent. 

Monday, April 11, 2011

I is for Invisibility

Only one I topic today - since today is, in fact, technically tomorrow (late night gaming, sorry, folks) - I might go back and fill in a couple of extras as I think of them.

My thoughts on magical invisibility are largely informed by a Dragon Magazine article - Seeing is Believing, by Geoffrey Meissner (Dragon #105, January 1986, available in the Dragon Magazine CD archive - my players can read this article if they like, since I have a copy of the archive).

Invisibility basically breaks down into three types - Mental (invisibility invoked by the caster in the target's mind), Illusionary (invisibility invoked through the use of illusion and misdirection), and Physical (illusion invoked by the physical bending of light around the subject in some fashion). Nearly all known forms of invisibility fall into the first two categories - only a very small handful of magical devices, and no known spells or conjurations, allow for physical invisibility.

Mental invisibility can be quite effective - but is limited to targets that have a working mind of some kind. Spells that grant invisibility of this type are usually of the Enchantment or Charm schools of magic, in whole or in part. These spells are somewhat more rare than those which grant illusionary invisibility (below).

Illusionary invisibility is much more common than the other two types, and is extremely potent - but limited in scope and aspect. Unlike mental invisibility (which often also covers other senses - it acts more as a sensory edit that wipes all evidence of the target from the victim's mind), illusionary invisibility is often limited to a single sense (sight), although Improved Invisibility at least covers some level of deception with regards to other senses, and more puissant spells can act in many ways like mental invisibility does.

Physical invisibility is by far the most potent kind, for it works completely in the "real world" - but it is also the most difficult to manifest, and the most rare form of invisibility. Like Illusionary invisibility, it only covers sight - including infravision and ultravision, among others - but unlike those arts it cannot be extended to cover other senses.  Unlike other forms of invisibility, until the duration of the effect wears off (or some other action is taken to nullify the effect), it does not degrade or fail to function - which can be both a blessing and a curse.

Invisibility is certainly a known spell in most corners of Malaster, and the general assumption is going to be - when faced with actions that are likely the result of an invisible subject - that this is, in fact, the result of an invisible prankster or assassin, rather than those of demons, delusions or madness, etc. This does not, however, mean that invisibility is worthless - quite the contrary, for defenses agains the myriad forms of invisibility are hard to arrange, expensive, and require near-constant upkeep, in most cases - but it does mean that invisibility is far from unknown, and it is an effect taken into account when dealing with strange crimes, etc. and when arranging for security, and the like.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

H is for Hell, Healing, and Hotels

Although those uneducated in such matters use the term, referring to a place of punishment and torture (and, indeed, torture chambers are often referred to as "The King's Hell"), and some mythologies may refer to a Hell of punishment, there is - as far as any sage, savant, magus can determine - no such place. Instead, there is the Outer Darkness, which exists separately from the Great Beyond (sometimes referred - erroneously - as Heaven), the Elemental Points, and all-that-is.

Although some savants believe that the Outer Darkness is the primordial Chaos from which all-that-is was wrested by AO, others - perhaps the majority - believe that that Chaos is, in fact, something else entirely. All that is known is that when those-who-did-not-agree were banished from all-that-is, they were cast out into the Outer Darkness, and have since carved out for themselves places of exile that are - if not to their liking, at least suitable to their needs and purposes.

Which, to the eyes of those-who-would-be-man look much the same as we regard Hell....

Healing magics are, if not commonplace, relatively easily attained in Malaster - priests of various gods are relatively common (and adepts who have been able to master minor orisons, etc. even moreso), and a variety of alchemical and herbal unguents, philters, potions and such are available as well.

The exact effects of a healing salve, etc. are based in part on their precise nature. Most clerical healing is direct restoration of physical prowess, as are potions of healing - the user recovers full usage of the injured area near-immediately (within a round or two at most, unless they were fatally injured), and without scarring or long-term debilitation of any kind. Alchemical (and especially) herbal remedies, on the other hand, often have some sort of side effect, take longer to come to full potency, or work merely to accelerate normal healing rates - while such healing is usually without long-term effects, it often does not prevent (and may cause) scarring.

Magical healing effects are under some level of limitations. A person can, in a 24 hour period, avail themselves of only one of each type of spell-based healing, in general (some exceptions, like Goodberry, are noted). So a character with grievous wounds might have a Cure Light, a Cure Moderate, and a Cure Serious Wounds cast upon them - but could not be spammed with a dozen Cure Light Wounds from a pair of scrolls*.

*For this reason, Wands of Spell have never been developed, because their efficacy would be strictly limited in most cases. Rings of Spell-Storing, Amulets, and the like are usually considered a better use of enchantments, and military units tend to prefer Potions of Healing (because they can be made in large batches).

Most alchemical solutions are similarly restricted (although they are most often wound-based, rather than spell-based - so an Unguent of Rapid Healing can be spread over a wound, but using two doses does not double the healing - just the cost of the preparation) - except for Potions of Healing of various sorts, which for some reason do not have this limitation. This makes them very much desired by those who go in harm's way, for obvious reasons, and it is considered fortunate indeed that there are a number of different recipes that all produce very similar effects - which helps keep the cost of these potions down.

More commonly, places where accommodations can be had for a short or medium-term stay. A wide variety of locales can be  said to provide lodging for a price - some of the more common examples can be found below -
  • Hotels are distinguished from the (usually) smaller taverns (below) in part because of their size (usually multiple floors, sometimes as many as six or seven), locale (more commonly found in cities and larger towns, while taverns can be found in nearly any community), and their clientèle (while not all hotels seek after a more affluent sort of guest, many do).
  • Private Clubs are not generally in the business of renting out room to their members - but they often have rooms that a member (or their guests) may stay in for a few nights, either while between residences, on the outs with their partner(s) (of which nothing more need be said), or simply because they have extended business in the club to take care of. Membership in such clubs is highly dependent on the exact nature - some are incredibly exclusive, while others are open to anyone who meets some basic membership requirements.
  • Guild Halls are akin in many respects to private clubs, but are usually less exclusive (any member of the Guild is afforded rights to the Hall), less posh and circumspect, and less polished in most respects (exceptions to this - to a greater or lesser extent - to exist, e.g. the Wizards Guild found in many cities).
  • Taverns are, essentially, inns that provide some level of formal accommodation in addition to food and drink. This can range from a handful of rooms above the stablehouse, to several floors or outbuildings worth of rooms, depending on the location and nature of the owner.
  • Coaching Inns, on those well-traveled roads that have them, do not generally have formal accommodations for travelers - but will usually allow those who come into the Inn after nightfall to stay the night (sleeping on benches, in booths, or wherever else they may find a place to rest) for a few silvers, so long as they look trustworthy.
  • Road Houses, on the other hand, normally will provide lodging of some sort (the difference between a Road House and a Tavern generally being the location and nature of services - a tavern's primary income source is from the food, drink, and lodging they provide, whereas like a coaching inn, those revenues are secondary to the services provided to various coaches, wagons, etc.)
In all cases, those who service the roads and those who walk/ride them tend to be circumspect in their dealings with travelers - on the one hand, one can never know that the person one is dealing with is a doppleganger, or lycanthrope. On the other hand, they could also be a powerful sorcerer, incognito godling, or member of the Fair Folk gone on walkabout - and antagonizing the latter can be as dangerous as admitting the former. Fortunately, most who seek to stay overnight merely want a place to rest, perhaps a hot bath, a filling meal, and a stout drink before making their way onto the trail again in the morning.