More Places to Stay
Here are the rest of Uthmere's inns; they improve sharply as the list goes on.
The Homehearth: 2 sp/room/night (22 rooms, stabling 5 cp/night extra), rate includes one basin of warmed wash-water; on east side of the Arrowflight, first building inside Northgate, stables attached (east); simple meals (stews, hot rolls, cheese, watered-down ale) available (prices high); rooms shabbily but comfortably furnished; halfhearted effort to chase spies away unless they're paying guests.
The Sea Cat: 6 sp/room/night (28 rooms, stabling included), rate includes one hot bath/day and morning broth, plate of smoked fish, and sauce-on-a-bun; on west side of the Arrowflight, first building south of the Dalebridge, stables a block east; all-hours cheese- and sweet-plates room service (3 sp/plate!); rooms clean, pleasant, large, and comfortably furnished; everpresent security and watchful servants.
The Captain's Loft: 2 gp/room/night (36 rooms), 8 gp/suite/night (10 suites), with stabling (6 sp/animal/night) and carriage storage (4 gp/conveyance/night, includes washing and minor repairs) extra; rate includes hot baths whenever requested; full meals available at all hours (1 gp flat charge/diner/meal), all wines extra (typical charge 12 to 14 gp/bottle); rooms are spotless, luxuriously furnished and come with a servant to keep lamps lit, rearrange furniture to guests' tastes, assist in bathing and dressing, watch over guest valuables; suites are even more so (and include complimentary fresh fruit and constantly refreshed cheese- and sweet-plates; everpresent hall security plus rental "house" bodyguards (1 gp/day, guest's choice of gender, looks, and skills, all are etiquette-trained) and errand runners (5 sp/errand); spies kept out.
Lord Uthlain's Palace
The lucky few guests who are invited to stay at the Lord's Palace can expect even greater luxuries than the Captain's Loft provides, at no charge. They'll have bodyguards regardless of their own wishes (and can expect to have their belongings discreetly searched), palace servants sleeping in the outer rooms of their suites, and invitations to a bewildering succession of meals and "tastings," some of the latter taking place in heated, scented-water bathing pools.
The Palace is adorned with some truly spectacular oval chambers, many having balcony promenade galleries, stuffed and mounted monsters as wall- and hang-above trophies -- and almost all of them having large, ornate stained-glass skylights.
It's a huge building, with a grand entrance hall flanked by audience chambers (which most Uth-folk see, since court proceedings are held there), and giving onto a throne room and grand feasting-hall. These occupy the center of the Palace, which has three wings.
The northernmost wing, which is the most luxurious, consists of the private rooms of Lord Uthlain and his family. Rumors hold that it contains secret passages and even elevators, linking to secret underground vaults where the lord keeps treasure, including some magic items and mysterious servitor constructs (the collecting of which is his dearest hobby). All most Uth-folk ever see of it is the widest stair they've ever seen, ascending by broad, shallow crimson-carpeted steps up and then, via landings, east into the royal chambers; the lord and his family sometimes progress grandly down these stairs.
The rest of the ground floor of the Palace houses the Seven Giants who personally serve the lord; their sleeping chambers are under the seaward wing of the Palace, and the rooms where they take their ease are under the landward wing. Their presence is why the entire ground floor of the Palace has soaring ceilings and large-scale furnishings.
The upper floors of the landward wing of the Palace house the lordlain who "dwell in" (most of them), above the offices where they work (and the kitchens and dining halls that feed them). These include all of the city accounts and archives.
The upper floors of the seaward wing of the Palace are where honored guests stay (with their servants), in apartments otherwise used by the lordlain for meetings. It overlooks grassy, seawind-swept gardens descending to a slick, dangerous cliff (said to be guarded against intruders or folk seeking to escape by gargoyles or similar tireless guardians).
Three other buildings are inside the Palace walls.
The largest one, southwest of the Palace, is the lord's stables and carriage-house; it has an armory beneath it and the Cudgels' main barracks above.
The smallest one, due east of the Palace, is the Lords' Crypt, where most former lords of the city, and their close kin, are entombed. It's customarily sealed.
The building to the northeast of the Palace is Lady Thale's House. Built by a long-dead lord's sister who never wed and "went funny in the head," preferring to dwell in seclusion, it's a luxurious miniature palace and is used from time to time for important trade meetings, or to house guests who don't want to stay in the Palace (or who aren't trusted there). It's said to be haunted -- by incorporeal presences that spy on guests for the lord.
There are many, many tales of vaults, workshops, wells, Underdark connections, dungeon cells, imprisoned monsters -- and even caverns connecting to the sea and containing a private escape boat for the lord! -- underlying the grassy Palace grounds.
1. The sea cat (depicted in a pose identical to its illustration in the Monster Manual, without the rock) is the heraldic badge of Uthmere, little seen today because Lord Uthlain happens to dislike it. Nevertheless, it remains graven on stone plaques above all city gates and at the midpoint of the Dalebridge, on the great iron-sheathed double doors in the Palace walls, and on old city documents.
2. Some of the palace servants seem to be accomplished courtesans spying on guests for the lord or at least his senior lordlain.
3. We real-world folks might term a Palace tasting as a "wine and cheese chat" or "a cocktail party." It usually consists of standing around chatting and sampling fine vintages and nibble-tarts, cheeses, and sweets in the company of well-dressed, haughty, "important" local folk and fellow visitors to Uthmere. It usually has a focal excuse such as "exercising my Lord Uthlain's pet lizards."
4. Correctly, Elminster insists.
5. According to Elminster, the lordlain place great stock in meetings, and many lordlain can't seem to get through a day without participating in at least three. It's hungry and thirsty work, too, so meals are always served.
6. Almost all of them true, Elminster warns. The current lord, he hints, doesn't know half of what's under his feet. Luckily for him, the Shadowmasters don't, either -- yet.
We've said little about the Lord of Uthmere thus far, but that will change in our next sampling of Realmslore.
About the Author
Ed Greenwood is the man who unleashed the Forgotten Realms on an unsuspecting world. He works in libraries, writes fantasy, science fiction, horror, mystery, and even romance stories (sometimes all in the same novel), but he is still happiest churning out Realmslore, Realmslore, and more Realmslore. There are still a few rooms in his house with space left to pile up papers in . . .