6. The Jolly Dwarf Tavern

Well located, The Jolly Dwarf Tavern is very popular with the students of Heshog's Gladitorial School of the Stout Hearts (see keyed area 5 for details), when they are let out in the evenings, when the atmosphere can become very raucous. It is also popular - perhaps not surprisingly - with the dwarves of Blackfen, who often come here from The Stone Quarter (see keyed area 45), preferring the lively atmosphere and dwarven qualities to those of most taverns located nearer to their homes.

A single story, well built structure with small windows and a high vaulted roof, which fills with smoke during busy evenings, it is much as you'd expect any dwarven building to be, with broad and sturdy furniture that is much to the liking of the dwarves that come here, a wide hearth and roaring fire and heavy stone tables.

It is not uncommon to see impromptu wrestling bouts taking place in the center of the main bar, when a ring of drinkers will form a temporary arena. Bouts are usually between over-zealous students of Heshog's Gladiatorial School, but also occasionally between drunken or aggrieved (and probably both) locals. Whoever the contestants may be or whatever their reasons, bets are always placed on the outcome of the bouts and it has become a very popular pastime in its own right.

Although only basic food is served here, it is cheap and decent enough. The ale, beer and cider, which flow all too freely, are well priced and tend to be on the strong side, and the tavern is kept well stocked with local dwarven ale, which only those of the hardiest constitutions dare brave. Drinking challenges are common, usually between those seeking to settle a score, or simply to claim bragging rights. The winner is always the last man - or, more likely, dwarf - standing.

Syrus Sturdylegs, the proprietor of The Jolly Dwarf Tavern, is a fat, jolly dwarf who purchased the land some years back and had the building constructed to strict dwarven standards. He lives with his wife, Crilis, and three young sons, Syrus the Second, Heshog (named in honor of Heshog of the Gladiatorial School), and Norak, the youngest of the three, in their own quarters at the rear of the tavern.

Having trained at Heshog's Gladitorial School, he wears his armor and warhammer for effect and turns out for the Dwarven Defenders of the Wild Downs when called upon to do his duty. His wife helps him run the bar and prepares and cooks much of the food.

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