This is from the campaign Stephen is currently running. While this article won’t do the scenario justice, I felt is was just too good not to share.
One of the side plots in our current campaign revolves around the Tipsy Mouse. The Tipsy Mouse is a tavern that was purchased by members of our party in the city of Nedur. Our gnome wizard, Win, was obsessed with buying a tavern and she was finally able to buy one a few sessions ago. (Our dwarven barbarian Cursed actually bought it gave it to her) The others really got behind the idea, especially our resident elven ranger, Oryx.
What was the driving force behind buying the bar? I’m not entirely sure. I think that her plan is to retire, (we are getting close to level 20, at which point we all agreed to start with new characters) run the bar, and share her adventures with her patrons as she got them drunk. It was a bar she wanted, and after some trials and tribulations, it was a bar she got.
I have to give Stephen credit where credit is due. This started off as a silly little footnote in our adventures, but as it grew in size and importance (at least in the mind of WIn), Stephen let us run with it and did a masterful job of incorporating it into the storyline. Once the bar was acquired, he developed the current storyline to involve the bar, and it suddenly seemed like The Tipsy Mouse had taken on a life of its own.
The Tipsy Mouse became our primary focus for the next session. The party members found themselves Mist, who became the bartender/manager. Mist was working at another bar we had visited earlier and they loved her gruff exterior and vast knowledge of the city. So they stole her from that bar and installed her as the manager of the Tipsy. A cook was found. Cookie is extremely talented chef, but a little homicidal. Oryx puts himself in charge of making a specialty ale. Plans were made for a grand opening. There was talk of finding an opening band and handing out flyers to promote the bar. (This didn’t happen, cause we had to go kill some monsters, you know, like you do every so often in D&D) Everyone was getting super excited.
Here’s the problem…I hated all of this.
Don’t get me wrong. I was happy that the other members of the party were having such a good time doing this. I just wasn't into it and found it a colossal waste of time. Maybe it was the fact that we had a long list of things we were supposed to do for our current campaign. Or it could be the fact that I worked in restaurants and bar for 25 years and I don’t want to roleplay that crap. Or maybe I just thought it was stupid. (It’s actually a combination of all of them). But everyone else was having fun with it, so I begrudgingly went along with it and only made a few shitty comments every so often.
So the bar has been purchased, staff is in place, decor is going up, (don’t even ask what the decor was…we’ll get to that later) and everyone is getting ready for the grand opening. Oryx has been inviting everyone he meets, Win is beside herself with excitement, and the rest of the party is doing what they can to help get ready. Everyone is getting super excited except me. We decide to end for the night and pick up with the grand opening next time we get together. It was then that Stephen had an absolutely amazing idea.
After I sold my restaurant, I wrote a Food blog for a while with a focus on restaurant reviews. Stephen asked me to write a review of the Tipsy Mouse, and to make it brutal. He promised that he won’t give me up. I, of course, relish the thought of writing it. I spent a couple days writing and editing and then, after getting it just right, send it off. Stephen creates a restaurant reviewer, Nigel St. Nigel, food critic for the Nedur Times. Here’s the review.
A Review of the Tipsy Mouse
Where to start? The Tipsy Mouse used to be a drug front for some of Nedur’s more notorious people. The city probably should have just torn the building down, because the Tipsy Mouse isn’t much of an improvement. In fact, it may be even worse.
The new owner is a gnome new to our wonderful city. I wish she had never come to Nedur. A self proclaimed “magic user”, she should definitely stick to magic and not tavern ownership. The word is she also has a silent partner, a dwarf, who I’m having a hard time is really a dwarf. How many 5 foot dwarves are there out there? Probably just another short human. Embrace your humanity my friend. Don’t insult yourself, and the entire human race, by calling yourself a dwarf.
Saying the decor is awful is an understatement. The table and chairs are of mediocre quality at best, cramping the small space and limiting space at the bar. And who thinks that putting the decaying heads of who knows what on the walls is a good idea? At least have the common sense to preserve the heads somehow.
Maybe the heads are a distraction, as the smell of the rancid flesh helps cover up the taste of what they are passing off as food. The chef, an individual know as Cookie, has some talent, but is obviously being held back by the owners. Let the man create! Give him the ability to order what he needs to do this. The stew I had tasted like they had gotten the meat from some dead creature far away, tossed into a bag and brought back later to be cooked. Cookie’s talents are being wasted. If I were him, I’d move on...fast.
And don’t get me started about the bartender. A vile woman, she has the people skills on the same level of the gnome in charge of decorating. The ale is nothing to write home about. The swill they are passing off as wine is absolute garbage, one step above vinegar. It’s almost like they put an elf in charge of its creation.
Overall, don’t walk, run away from the Tipsy Mouse. There are plenty of things in this world that can kill you. Add the Tipsy Mouse to that list.
Nigel St. Nigel
Food Critic - Nedur Times
A note about the decor. Cursed likes to cut the heads off of the monsters we kill and has been carrying them around in his bag of holding. The group decides to hang them on the walls as a show of our victories. The problem was no one did anything with the heads to preserve them, so they ended up hanging these rotting monster heads. Not the best idea when you are serving food.
We walk in the next day to the tavern, ready for the grand opening that night. We find Mist pissed off, throwing knives at something hanging on the wall. Cookie comes out from the kitchen, wielding his own knives, saying he will kill the son of a bitch. Mist is cursing up a storm and she just points at the wall. So, we go over to wall and it turns out she has been throwing knives at a copy of the review. Stephen hands out a copy of the review to everyone, and we all go about reading it.
That’s when all hell broke loose.
Win and Oryx completely lose it. They start screaming they are going to hunt down Nigel St. Nigel and confront him. (They were debating on murdering him, but I wouldn’t have let that happen…damn Good alignment characters.) I think waterboarding may have been brought up but I don’t remember. Win becomes so upset that she stops speaking and you can practically see the anger radiating off of her. Oryx is still yelling and plotting all the horrible things we are going to do to him. It gets real ugly.
They find out where the Nedur Times is located, march in the offices, find Nigel and threaten to kill him unless he writes a retraction. They then go after his editor and threaten him also unless said retraction is written and published immediately. Stephen, in a stroke of genius, adds a plot twist that Nigel was bribed to write the review, which leads us to start hunting down the person that put him up to it. The whole thing goes on for a while, but in the end they have a great grand opening and find out who bribed Nigel. (That's a whole different story) And the whole time, I am trying not laugh and Stephen lives up to his deal and doesn’t tell them I wrote it.
Until I left, at which point he rats me out to Win.
I still haven’t been forgiven, and I’m working on the actual written retraction.
Correction - Cursed was incorrectly defined as a Dwarf barbarian. He is actually a Duergar barbarian