20 Pieces of Taproom Dressing

Taprooms are not dull, bland places devoid of interesting features. Sometimes, the inn keep decorates the room with rare, esoteric or just downright odd items while other times prior events leave their mark on the area.


Use the table below, to add minor features of interest to the taproom:

  1. A ragged banner hangs from a beam running all the way across the taproom. Heavily smoke-stained and dusty the banner has been in situ for many years. It depicts the battle flag of a nearby kingdom or barony. (Perhaps one of the staff—or the owner—once served in that kingdom’s army).
  2. The ceiling is unusually low—too low for hanging lanterns. Thus, at night, light comes from candles on the tables and the taproom’s fire. During the day and early evening, the room’s windows are thrown wide open to admit light.
  3. The tables and chairs are a hodgepodge of styles and finishes. Many show signs of repeated repairs. A polite customer would call the collection eclectic. A snob might call it dilapidated.
  4. Smoke stains the brickwork around the taproom’s chimney. Firewood fills a nearby nook in the wall, and a long, black wrought iron poker hangs over the fire.
  5. Dusty shelves—filled with all manner of curiosities—line one wall. Several discarded tankards and an empty wineskin lie in the shelves’ shadowy reaches.
  6. The shards of a broken pewter tankard lie under a chair. The surrounding floorboards yet have a faint beer stain.
  7. The names of several customers are carved into the PCs’ table top. The carvings while deep are old; they are worn and stained with the slop from uncountable mugs of beer.
  8. Beams run across the ceiling. Nails affix various squashed, dented or otherwise unusable pewter tankards to the rafters, as decoration. Dust and cobwebs fill most of the tankards; but one or more of the tankards could be an unusual hiding place for some forgotten treasure or trinket.
  9. The taproom has several tables and chairs sized for halflings, gnomes and the like. The furniture is not always laid out, but if such a diminutive customer appears the staff rush to bring them out. Sometimes, they use the furniture for the children of their normal-sized customers.
  10. Heavy duty shelves run along the wall behind the bar. Barrels of ale rest on the rack, and it is from these the staff dispense drinks. Expensive drinks—wine, hard spirits and on—fill a locked cabinet.
  11. A beautifully carved and stained wooden sign emblazoned with the inn’s name hangs behind the bar. The sign is the inn-keeps pride and joy; if anyone damages it, they are the target of his—and his regulars’—ire.
  12. The taproom’s wooden tables and benches are unusually heavy. Sometimes, the tables are pushed together to form an impromptu stage for visiting bards, performing troupes and the like.
  13. Various stuffed animals—foxes, rabbits, stoats and so on— gaze down at the taproom from shelves along the walls. Many of the stuffed animals are dusty and threadbare suggesting they have been here for a long time. One wolf’s head, though, appears freshly stuffed; late in the evening, its eyes seem to shine unnaturally; some PCs may also experience the sensation of being watched.
  14. A threadbare, singed rug of indeterminate colour covers the floor in front of the taproom’s fireplace. Here, three dogs—the innkeeper’s beloved pets—sprawl. They eagerly accept any leftover food or drink. Some nights, the dogs get positively tipsy.
  15. Barrel lids nailed to the wall behind the bar record all the different kinds of ale served (past and present) at the inn. Most have maker’s marks burnt into the wood; a few are nothing more than plain lids with names of the ale written in chalk.
  16. The taproom features an ornately carved fireplace. A breathtaking work of art, the old stonework depicts coiled and writhing dragons; the level of craftsmanship is entirely out of place for the locale. The fireplace and the chimney are all that remains of a much older building that once stood on the site; the current inn was built in and on the ruins. (Ancient—and perhaps some unknown—cellars lurk deep beneath the inn).
  17. A line of small round tables along one wall comprises nothing more than upturned barrels repurposed for the job. All have much staining from the leavings of decades of drinking; several have inventive graffiti, along with the names of countless travellers, carved into their sides.
  18. Many bags and sacks hang from rafters via short lengths of rope. Within, the inn-keep stores all manner of things; customers may also hang their possessions here to keep them safe. For a fee, the inn-keep stores items thusly while customers are away doing other things. He also runs a service whereby patrons can leave bags and suchlike for friends or customers to pick up at a later date.
  19. A suit of scale mail on an armour stand dominates a raised plinth in one corner behind the bar. A slender spear leans against the armour; the spear’s tip is yet sharp. The gear belonged to a customer who could not pay his bill—the items were his payment. They are for sale.
  20. Several tapestries hang from the taproom’s walls. All are old, faded and stained with smoke. One depicts a woodland scene while another is merely a series of concentric rings. The final tapesty shows a floundering ship under sail in a heavy sea.

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3 thoughts on “20 Pieces of Taproom Dressing

  1. This is most timely. I’ve just been inspired to decorate many inns as my party insist that they are going to drink in every establishment in the city in one day.

    • All the PCs in my party are lushes, too. They insist on spending so much time in taverns that I’ve started to make the taverns more interesting and plot-relevant, so this article is great.