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  • Tides Will Tell, Part 1: The Wake ‘n’ Waves – Seaside Bar Location
Part 2: The Drowned Attack →
Tides Will Tell, Part 1 - The Wake ‘n’ Waves - Seaside Bar Location - Banner - Large

A system-agnostic beach tavern setting and a set of staff and customer characters to fill it.

Shining blue waves wash against a golden shore and splash at the foundations of the Wake ‘n’ Waves Tavern. The scene is idyllic, a calming yet captivating vista punctuated by the smell of fresh seafood and the aromatic stain of alcohol on furniture and patrons alike. Most days, it is the perfect place for travelers to relax and while away any time they can spare on their journey.

The area was not always so peaceful, as is often the case. The waters were once populated not by holiday-makers but by sailors. Merchant ships, pirates, and privateers would risk the shallow waters to shorten their journeys, often overestimating the depth or underestimating the reefs and rocks below. And now, just as the waves’ aquamarine hue obscures the scattered wrecks of these broken ships, so too do the stories of these vessels make light of the many bodies that still fill the sundered hulls. The tales have become nothing more than colorful advertisements and entertainment for the Wake ‘n’ Waves’ customers.

And entertain they do. Even in colder months, customers find themselves trapped by the barman’s masterful tales of the area’s history that always speak of what unmissable sights might be seen in the next days or weeks. Those who fall prey to the owner’s acumen and the staff’s affability quickly find themselves enraptured by incredulous anecdotes, purchasing overpriced souvenirs, and even swimming through questionable tours of the closest wrecks. And while they may leave with lighter coin purses, patrons are fortunately unthreatened by sea monsters or anything else that might crawl from the depths. At least, they usually are.

The Wake ‘n’ Waves and its characters are only part 1 of 2. The second part is on its way and will see the tavern come under attack by memories of the drowned sailors, forcing the party and the tavern’s inhabitants to defend themselves from the horde!

Seaside Bar - Tropical - Night - 22x16 - Preview
Download the Seaside Bar map below…

The Wake ‘n’ Waves Tavern

Ocean waves splash against the rickety deck of an old wooden tavern. It is perched on the beach, held over the sand and water by stained, encrusted foundations that betray its age behind the veneer of more recent repairs and refurbishments. The building is a smaller central barroom surrounded by decking with scattered tables and stools and only sparse, appropriately nautical decorations. Every surface smells of alcohol and fish, intermittently dulled by the ocean spray yet never quite leaving your nostrils. And yet, despite the unpleasant aroma and a noticeable, hastily patched hole in the outside deck, the view of the crystalline waves, glistening beach, and vibrant foliage remains a gently captivating sight.

The seaside tavern has stood for as long as any locals can remember. It has been overhauled numerous times throughout its lifespan, trading owners and adopting new appearances but maintaining its identity through its name. The name ‘Wake ‘n’ Waves’ was chosen as a simple advertisement of what the tavern offers; the chance to drink oneself into unconsciousness and awaken to the calming sounds of the morning tide. This meaning was expanded several decades ago when its then-proprietor had a small handful of cabins built along the beach beside the tavern, offering accommodation to travelers and holiday-makers.

Now more than ever, the Wake ‘n’ Waves serves as a popular checkpoint for anyone traveling the coast. Despite its frequent disrepair, the tavern’s luxurious views, competent seafood, and abundant alcohol have ensured its success since its founding. This varies by season but the constant march of travelers means that the tavern’s business never truly stops.

This is further aided by stories and legends of the area. The deceptively shallow waters and its hidden reefs claimed countless ships, giving rise to equally numerous tales of ghosts and gargantuan, crew-devouring monsters. These stories have helped to attract additional tourists and adventurers as well as to simply entertain patrons through colorful retellings by the tavern’s barman and waiters.

Seaside accommodation. The Wake ‘n’ Waves offers four small cabins spread along the nearby beach. The cabins are comfortable accommodations, costing 2 gp per night, which includes both dinner and the following breakfast at the tavern. Each cabin has two beds and all the expected amenities. One cabin is currently occupied by Marco Pryor and Priscilla Nightingale.

Diving the decks. The tavern’s barman and owner, Reginald Porinn, offers diving tours of the nearest shipwrecks on days when the waves are calm. A tour costs 1 gp per person and sets out just after breakfast, taking the tavern’s wooden rowboat and spending 4 hours at sea.

The wrecks are broken but stable, having settled into the seabed and been overcome by ocean life. They have been picked clean of anything of great value, though divers may find small handfuls of coins that remain.

Though the wrecks have long since been looted, whoever scoured them may have missed something. They are a good place to hide secrets for the party to find, whether that be magic items, story hooks, or even an additional combat encounter. Perhaps one ship had crashed against the reef while pursuing a fabled treasure, and the map they were following is still hidden in its captain’s quarters?

Map & Asset Downloads

The Wake ‘n’ Waves is modeled after our recent Seaside Bar map. We also have a wide variety of other beach and ocean assets that can be used alongside the bar, whether for the encounter in part 2, a diving tour, or any other seaside encounter you could imagine. We even have a set of ocean encounter ideas, with tips and tricks for running them…

Characters of the Wake ‘n’ Waves

The Wake ‘n’ Waves sees many people come and go, both as customers and employees, as they travel to and from the area. It is currently manned by a trio of senior staff led by Reginald Porinn, the tavern’s owner and barman, who is assisted by his waitress and chef, Rose Graidolm and Lorok, respectively. One of its cabins is also occupied by a couple who recently met at the tavern and now spend their days there together, Marco Pryor and Priscilla Nightingale.

In addition to the listed characters, the bar also has space for other patrons and temporary workers. This allows you to populate it with other characters you might wish to include, whether it be for the coming encounter or the party’s story. Just be sure to keep their combat abilities in mind, as they are likely to factor into the encounter in part 2.

Reginald ‘Reggie’ Porinn

(N dwarf male thug)

A dwarven man stands behind the bar, clearly on a raised section of flooring, and smiles widely at your entrance. He wipes his hands on a cloth and adjusts his hair, the curls of his mustache, and the violet vest that stands out from his otherwise plain clothing.

The current proprietor of the Wake ‘n’ Waves is Reginald Porinn, a lifelong merchant who purchased the tavern as a place to spend his later years. He is a loudly affable man who insists that friends and newcomers alike refer to him as ‘Reggie’ and whose passion is the entertainment of his patrons, whether through drink or a regaling of local stories. This friendliness helps instill a sense of camaraderie in the tavern. It is not only good for business but has also reduced the number of times that Reggie has needed to call upon what he refers to as the ‘secondary skillset’ from his time as a trader, a term referring to both his fighting ability and the loaded crossbow he keeps under the bar counter.

Rose Graidolm

(CG human female commoner)

The waitress’s blonde hair is tied back, shining gold like the beach’s sand above a dress of the same turquoise as the ocean water, a stained apron tied over top. She moves through the barroom with a skip in her step, yet the tray she carries remains perfectly level even as she spins to smile and greet you.

The Wake ‘n’ Waves sees many staff members come and go as travelers take temporary residence in the area. Rose Graidolm is one of the few who never left, remaining as a waitress in the tavern for the last several years and becoming close friends with its workers. Rose has become an integral part of the tavern trusted to handle its operations when Reggie must leave for business or to guide a diving tour. She shares her employer’s friendliness but with exaggerated excitement, often bombarding customers with familiarity and only relenting when either they or Reggie call direct attention to her behavior. 

Lorok

(NG dragonborn male bandit captain)

In the kitchen behind the bar is a dragonborn man with silver scales. He pays no mind to your appearance, not once glancing up from his work, and is clad not in an apron or uniform but in a closed leather coat. You would believe him to be out of place or even an intruder were it not for the barman speaking to him, which he responds to with little more than acknowledgment and single words.

Lorok is the current chef of the Wake ‘n’ Waves. He has worked there for nearly a year but has not adopted the same openness as his coworkers, rarely speaking with them or anyone else outside of what is necessary. He likewise does not expound his past, his full name, or any details of himself, keeping particularly private about the many scars that mark his scales and the origins of his skill with a knife. Reggie and Rose both accommodate this, only occasionally jabbing him with affectionate greetings and unsolicited recountings of their day.

Marco Pryor

(LG human male scout)

A young man sits, his face glowing with easygoing joy. He is dressed modestly and in inexpensive clothing, yet there is effort put into his appearance, his hair well-groomed and his clothing clean. You see only his side profile, however, as he eschews noticing your entry in favor of staring into the eyes of the woman he sits with.

The son of humble farmers with aspirations of greatness, Marco Pryor is currently on a journey to find the fortune that his parents never achieved. He is driven by hopeful naivete that is matched by his determination and exuberance. Marco traveled for several months before finding himself at the tavern, where he met and became entwined with Priscilla Nightingale. The pair have been inseparable in the weeks since, spending their days openly flirting and dreamily planning a future that marries Marco’s inevitable riches with Priscilla’s ideas of freedom.

Priscilla Nightingale

(LE elf female cult fanatic)

An elven woman with porcelain skin and raven hair snaps to look at you before relaxing and returning to her conversation. She is dressed somewhat strangely for the environment, with a white traveling dress beneath a green cloak. And though her clothes have been cleaned, you spy the telltale signs of wear from a lengthy journey.

One of the Wake ‘n’ Waves’ cabins has been occupied for almost a month by Priscilla Nightingale. She met Marco Pryor shortly after her arrival and the two quickly became infatuated with each other, rarely taking the time to speak to anyone else. As a result, few people can say much about who Priscilla is aside from her carefully tended appearance, polite but quiet demeanor, and her desire to freely travel the world. If she or Marco is questioned, they add only that Priscilla came from an aggressively insular community and is happy to be free of it. Lorok has been the only person to see through Priscilla’s facade and notice the simmering anger and spiteful resolve that truly drive her to be rid of wherever it is that she came from.

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About the author

Troy McConnell

Part-time DM and author of 2-Minute Tabletop's encounters, map lore, and characters. Basically, I write about all the campaign ideas that I don't have time to run. All with the assistance of my feline familiar, Wink.

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