The most popular tavern in Hammerfast for adventurers and other ne’er-do-wells, the Foundation Stone plays host to mercenaries, explorers, and roughnecks. Anyone who needs to hire adventurers for a job heads to the Foundation Stone.
The Stone, as it is commonly referred to, is a large stone building that once served as a meeting hall for Hammerfast’s guards. With the rise of the town as a trade center, Hammerfast had a growing need for entertainment to distract visitors. Mercenaries hired to guard caravans had a disturbing tendency to drink themselves stupid and pick fights with one another and with town residents. To most folk of Hammerfast, the Foundation Stone is a holding pen for the undesirable elements necessary to grease the wheels of commerce.
The tavern is built from dull, brown bricks. Its first floor is a wide, open, common room filled with tables. The second floor consists of a balcony overlooking the main bar, more tables, and a few private rooms for relatively quiet discussions.
The Stone’s reputation for rowdiness is well earned. Knife-throwing contests, wrestling matches, and other competitions that become more interesting with buckets of cheap ale keep its customers busy until dawn.
Bar: The long bar seems to be crafted from a single, massive piece of stone. Most noteworthy is the graffiti that covers it. The owner encourages visitors to carve small maps of their travels into the bar. It is covered with a number of such drawings, ranging from the incomprehensible to the work of expert cartographers. Rumours persist that some of the maps lead to hidden treasure.
Tables and Chairs: These unremarkable tables and chairs are the preferred weapons of brawling guests.
Balcony: The balcony overlooking the bar is 10 feet up and, like the rest of the Foundation Stone, is carved from rock.
Chandelier: A huge iron chandelier with everburning torches casts light into the main chamber.
The Pit: The most notable feature of the Foundation Stone, the Pit emanates a stench that would gag a troll. It is 10 feet deep and filled with a foot of burbling, horrid-smelling water. Once a month, a mage is hired to scour the pit with fire. The stench clears for a day or so before the Foundation Stone’s patrons re-establish it by dumping trash, discarded food, and other waste into the hole. The Pit plays a central role in games of Giant’s Feet.
Target Dummies: Part of the first floor is set aside o for target dummies used in games of knife throwing.
Kegs: A keg is a heavy but potentially useful weapon during a brawl. Only the strongest people can pick up these kegs.
Kitchen: A small kitchen enables the Stone to serve a few simple meals, such as roasted chicken, freshly made bread, and thick slices of cheese.
Private Rooms: These rooms are set aside for folk who come to the Stone to do business. Each room features a lock. The owner has a set of keys.
Stairs: Stairs lead down to a small cellar containing spare kegs of ale. A broad set of stairs leads up to the second floor.
Fun And Games
Drink is not enough for the caravan guards and adventurers who frequent the Foundation Stone. To help pass the time until the next job, the Stone’s patrons engage in various contests and games.
Giant’s Feet: The most popular game in the Stone pits two (likely drunk) combatants against each other above the festering Pit. A wooden plank is laid across the Pit, and the two competitors have their hands tied behind their backs. They then face off upon the plank, starting at opposite ends.
The goal of the game is simple. The first one into the Pit loses. Of course, without hands the contest becomes a rather comical exchange of kicks, body checks, and foot stomps. With a few tankards of ale in each competitor, fights more often than not end with both combatants plummeting into the Pit.
If anyone is brave, foolish, or drunk enough to play Giant’s Feet, the game runs:
Each round, a competitor makes an opposed Strength check and an opposed Dexterity check. Regardless of success or failure, if either check result is less than 10, that combatant falls into the Pit and loses. A combatant who succeeds at both checks wins, and the foe plummets into the Pit. If both competitors succeed at the same number of checks, the fight is a draw and the competitors make another round of checks.
Giant’s Feet is a popular game with the Stone’s customers, and tournaments are a popular diversion. Spectators bet on matches, and an adventurer who wins a few games quickly develops a reputation that earns him or her challenges from roughnecks and invitations to tournaments.
Knife Throwing: Surprisingly, no one has ever been seriously injured by a thrown knife in the Stone. Competitors stand 10 feet from the target dummies and let fly.
The knives are normal daggers, and the target dummies have AC 10. Each competitor takes a turn making a ranged basic attack against a target dummy. A miss is worth -5 points, and a natural 20 is worth 10 points. An attack result that hits with a total of 19 or lower is worth 2 points. An attack result of20 or higher is worth 5 points. After 5 throws, the high score wins. In case of a tie, the competitors alternate attacks until the tie is broken.
As with Giant’s Feet, the Stone hosts tournaments and other competitions. The Thrower’s Cup is a small tin mug awarded at the grand tournament each winter. The winner is allowed free ale as long as it is poured into and drunk from the cup.
As a rough-and-tumble place, the Stone has attracted more than its share of colorful characters.
Milo Longfathom is the owner of the Stone. This conniving, amoral halfling waters down the ale and whiskey, demands a cut of any bets placed in the tavern, and rifles the pockets of any unconscious drunk that his bouncers toss out the front door. Yet for all his flaws, he is beloved by the toughs and rowdies he serves, precisely because they respect someone half their size who is ready, willing, and able to brawl with anyone who crosses him.
The bartender Graal is a crude half-orc who has little patience for questions or newcomers. A being of few words, he prefers to express his displeasure by spitting in the beer of anyone who annoys him.
Two big, burly humans, Krank and Gaff, serve as Milo’s bouncers. The twin brothers are skilled pugilists who have never lost a fight. Despite their great strength, they are quite friendly to strangers. They love hearing stories of distant lands, and listen to such tales with childlike wonder.
Ilara is a stunning eladrin beauty who seems out of place in a dump like the Stone. She is willing to be taught how to throw knives.
The tall, mute goliath named Kubosho currently reigns as the Giant’s Feet champion. He drinks himself into a stupor each night and competes for money to pay for the night’s ale.
A tiefling bard, Trell has an unmatched store of bawdy stories, crude jokes, and raunchy limericks. He performs at the Stone several times a week.
Tarras, an eladrin bard, performs nightly at Rondal’s Inn, as well as in the Gate Market and at the Stone.