1. CMastah
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    CMastah Active Member

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    The inside of a tavern?

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by CMastah, Jan 9, 2015.

    Need help describing the inside of a tavern as seen by a teenager for the first time in her life (think fantasy, not modern day or anything). I'll try researching the sights and sounds from other novels, but just in case there's anything I ought to consider for a teenager's first experience in such a place, I would certainly be very grateful for the info.

    I was personally thinking loud with lots of chatter, perhaps some folks singing in a corner, the smell of....well I have no clue, possibly dimly lit.....old...oak....tables....? Drawing blanks here :p
     
  2. SwampDog
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    SwampDog Contributing Member

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    Fantasy tavern? Can you clarify? And then you start describing a pub.
     
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  3. CMastah
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    CMastah Active Member

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    Yep, fantasy tavern, think LotR (pub, tavern, inn, there's a difference? I've never been in one so....)
     
  4. Glasswindows
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    Glasswindows Member

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    "Tavern" can be any of those, regardless which one it is, I think the answer would depend on what kind of tavern, where and at what time. So really, you can choose, what you want to highlight there.
     
  5. plothog
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    plothog Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    As others have mentioned, it depends on the tavern.
    If people are allowed to smoke anything in there, it'll smell of that.
    Other possible smells include stale ale (spillages that haven't been cleaned up promptly) or if it's hot and crowded it'll smell of body odour. If they serve food it might smell of that, especially at mealtimes.
    It's up to you if it's busy or quiet.
    The state of inebriation of the clientele probably depends on how late in the day it is and how prone your culture is to heavy drinking.
    Singing is more likely with more drunkness, but also depends on the culture. I get the impression the Irish are more inclined to sing in pubs than us English. If there are musicians in the pub, people are more likely to sing, or even dance.
    Things also depends on how rough an area the tavern is located in. Nastier areas might be prone to fights.

    Depending on the culture your teen may or may not be allowed in there, so his main concern could be worrying about that. Or he could be worried about rowdy drunks.
    Some taverns will have mostly regular clientele and take notice of strangers, others will be used to large numbers of people passing through.
    Decor is entirely up to you. Dimly lit with oak tables is fairly safe and normal, but they do vary quite a lot, and people aren't usually going to question unusual decor in fantasy.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2015
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  6. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I feel the need to ask, with regard to the teenager and the first time seeing a tavern--are you assuming that there's a drinking age in this fantasy world, and effective law enforcement to ensure that underage kids don't enter taverns? Because I'd find that fairly unlikely.

    If the kid's never been to a town/village large enough to have a tavern, or is of a social class that would never enter one, that's quite different.
     
  7. plothog
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    plothog Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Many people in Britain have had a drink in a pub before they're legally allowed. I certainly did and I consider myself relatively law abiding. At seventeen I was probably one of the last of my classmates to have ordered a beer in a pub. So we still don't have effective law enforcement to stop it. It doesn't stop the law from existing.
    You're right that it's more likely that they don't have the law at all, but I can imagine fantasy societies where they'd give it a go.
     
  8. CMastah
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    CMastah Active Member

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    The girl is about 14 but she's tall and built like a guy, she's from a more tribal culture but is being raised in a human city (and being segregated almost entirely). She saw some drunks one day and got curious about what made them act so 'funny'. On drinking age, it shouldn't come up as a concern because by appearance alone she looks big enough to be of age.

    Would one of these pubs have bouncers back in the day?
     
  9. plothog
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    plothog Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I don't think the typical pub would have a bouncer, but there's nothing to stop you writing an establishment which has one if you need too.
     
  10. theoriginalmonsterman
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    theoriginalmonsterman Pickle Contest Administrator Contributor

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    Dimly lit, a bar with a polished oak countertop, round tables with stools, the scent of cigarette smoke... yeah... I have no clue ._.
     
  11. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I would guess that in most fantasy-medievalesque societies, not only would the bouncers not blink at the presence of children, but there'd probably be children doing the lower-skill work at the tavern.
     
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  12. Duchess-Yukine-Suoh
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    Duchess-Yukine-Suoh Girl #21 Contributor

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    I'd say: (going off 1700s taverns)
    -dimly lit, but have lanterns hung and candles
    -serving meals in addition to drinks
    -long wood tables and benches
    -people talking, but also gambling or playing cards
    -maybe a singer or musician?
     
  13. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Apart from dimly-lit, this sound like a 1940s pub...
    Medieval, I think that service would be by catching the landlord's eye, and would be ordered and delivered at your table - no bar! Long tables of fairly rough-hewn wood - just about flat enough not to spill your drink TOO easily. Benches, rather than stools.
    Cigarettes wouldn't have been common in medieval Europe before the mid 1800s (although they were used in Spain from about 1550), they really took off with WWI, when soldiers were issued them in their rations. Prior to that, they were something of a luxury good, nothing like as cheap and common as for the last century.
    From a mediaeval perspective, luxury crops such as drugs (and tobacco is a drug, although not as powerful as, say, heroin or cocaine) were just that - luxuries. They wouldn't have been taken recreationally by the common man. Opium was known then, but only used for it's medicinal properties. It's too expensive to just trip out on it!
     
  14. Gawler
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    Gawler Contributing Member

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    For fantasy purposes think of a dimly lit room with splinter laden wooden tables and benches. People drinking from tankards full of ale, gruit (ale made from herbs or plants other than hops), cider or mead. Drinks brought to the tables. Rustic food. The barman acting as the bouncer. A brewery out the back and a cellar for storage.
     
  15. tonguetied
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    tonguetied Contributing Member Contributor

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    What she "sees" may depend on how she appears. If she was attractive she would see a lot of men eyeing her, the women may see her as a threat and show that to her. If the environment makes her uncomfortable the d├ęcor probably won't be memorable. Often taverns will have things on display that are common for the area or lifestyle, maybe even semi-historic artifacts such as weapons and shields, for example. And I think what anyone "sees" is largely influenced on what they are familiar with, you might not even notice something that you have not seen before, it might blend in with the general surroundings. If the bartender is unusual looking, scar on cheek, peg-leg, etc. that might be the primary thing she focuses on.
     
  16. Keitsumah
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    Keitsumah The Dream-Walker Contributor

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    Round tables and simple chairs made of whatever kind of wood is predominant in the area. (Say, pine, Oak, Rowan, willow...) Log walls made of the same wood. And loud. Taverns are very, very, loud. Straw or wool-stuffed pillows along the walls in case there isn't enough rooms at the tables to sit, as well as the odd unsavory character keeping his distance from those more obviously able to pound him into mincemeat should he start something. Glasses might shatter against the wall if a drunk gets too excited and throws one. Big, burly men familiar with the harshness of the land around them. Women who are tough, headstrong, and capable of holding their own usually. A Tavern also has its regulars, and its workers are often a well-knit unit who will fight to protect one another. The bartender has the final say, and if he's a bit old he might have a few young men hired to keep things from getting out of control. Maybe there's even a girl clever enough to trick/beat any man who displeases the boss.

    If your character is entering for the first time, but is known by the people, then they will most likely be welcomed. If they are new, depending on what kind of society your character lives in (be it suspicious or open) then they may be greeted with curious glances or downright hostile glares. My character has grown up in a village no larger than a hundred, and in the tavern owned by a man who was familliar with her parents before the accident. She's familiar with everyone, can hold her own, but the tavern is also one of the few bright, friendly places in the story. A tavern can be loud, dirty, even a bit rough around the edges, but maybe it's still a good place to be. Unless your character is in a bad part of town, then maybe you might go with the cliche, but then even in a bad part of town people might still act a bit friendly.
     

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