Validar approaches the group with a sheaf of handwritten notes and sketches. The first sketch he brings forth is a simple, unadorned floorplan. A second, geographical sketch seems to locate the multi-room, ramshackle tavern or inn at the northeastern corner of the crossroads — in the field where the group initially encountered the Lantern King. He goes on to describe a pleasant inn for travelers that would be erected at the designated spot (see artist’s concept above).
“This would serve as our wealth-building center in this realm,” he says. “Initially, we provide a way station for those petitioning the Jack of Bones for vengeance, or whatever. I imagine, as well, there are plenty of other travelers passing through the Thrice-Tenth Kingdom looking for a comfortable place to stay for a night or two.
“Of course, to start out, we might have to take on a few of our . . . ‘regular jobs’ . . . to pull together enough gold to actually build the place. If we’re diligent about it, though, that shouldn’t take more than a few months.”
“The best part is that once we have a going concern with the Inn, we can expand the business, as it were. We use our various talents and abilities to identify guests in possession of gold — or other interesting items — but no real way to protect themselves from us. We can liberate them of their belongings and send them on their way. I see no reason why there would have to be many killings. Just the fools who resist.
“In this way, we can eventually accumulate quite a pile. With time, we can hire a staff of seductive serving wenches and experienced, reliable toughs to collect the extra loot for us!
And that brings me to Stage Two of my plan.”
Validar unfolds a map of the surrounding area of the Realm. (It is not clear where he could have acquired such a thing.) He points to a few areas he has circled with a broad-tipped pencil. “Once we have the inn up and running we can leave it in the hands of the staff from time to time.” He indicates the circled features on the map. “These are reputed to be the locations of underground labyrinths filled with easy pickings. Orcs, bugbears, trolls, and a few liches maybe. All holding onto hoards of gold, gems and magic items. We go in, kill them, and take their stuff.” He beams at the cleverness of his plan. “We’ll be rich as kings. The Inn will be a going business to fall back on while we work out some of the details — or plan our raids on the dungeons. What could be simpler?
“So. What do you think? Are you guys in, or what?”