Please note that only Ryde has been near R’gate, and that it was more than 15 years ago. So the currency of this data is mainly known to Llwyd. He may have frequented these establishments with varying degrees of success.
A Brief Visit in Ramsgate and the environs that concern Mages.
The outer bits: Westgate
Outside of the city, on its western edges, is a large conglomeration of Inns, taverns, gambling halls, odd swampy bits of land, temporary camping areas for merchants, pilgrims and others not staying in the city, and one pretty seriously good wooden prescenium stage. The playbill there is quite good at times, and boy is the crowd rowdy too. It is known as Blodges Folly, or simply the Follies. The building has changed hands several times in the last decade, and there isn’t much to recommend it, as it reflects various efforts to reform its appearance and contents, and suffered some fire damage three years ago (critics?) when an act got more out of hand than normal. It features a quite active selection of bawds that frequent the unpaved tracks and ways there, some excellent strippers, dancing animals, a very weird rendition of “The Life and Times of A Merchant”, a few mystery plays (replete with actual illusions!), and of course professional fighting bouts, usually between a challenger and all comers, more rarely between some real pros, who get paid very well.
There is another Fortelet (the small castle-like tower on the small hill there) which is referred to as Reefer Dick, although no one knows why. It has only been completed nine years ago and the City Militia take care of it. They manage to keep the walls free of graffiti, and also evict anyone setting up shop too close to it. There are several tanneries and a stockyard/butchers market near it. As you can see, Westgate isn’t an organizational entity, it is something which happened to the city, sort of. It is a very colorful and interesting place. It is also where a fair amount of bodies happen too. There ain’t no watch here, although the larger taverns have bouncers, and most of the crowds seem rather armed. There aren’t any officials, like the Lord Mayor the City has, although the bigger establishments seem to collude a bit.
There are no buildings within a longbow shot of the High Road, which leads west. The King’s Law says no buildings there, so there aren’t. So, in the midst of all of this chaos is an arrow straight road leading west. Now there are vendors on the road mind you, but that is all OK by the Lizzies (also known as the Black Dragons).
Anyone who wishes to complain about life’s unfairness can present themselves to the Day Commander of the Black Dragons. They are the King’s Own troops, and are handpicked men who get paid very, very well. So don’t try and bribe them, you’ll just get stretched. Oh they are in that big rambling building that is part of the North Wall. It has a big crazy looking dragon banner over the doors. They are mercenaries, I think.
As to any mage specific places, well they don’t advertise much. Usually there is a rune or a sign that has some extra life to it, if you can see magic, that is.
The inner bits: Ramsgate
The Four Cardinals (four stars, expensive)
Shrew Street and Bridge Lane (look for the sigil)
All coinages accepted. Familiars welcome.
North End, The Waters
The Four Cardinals is one such place. It is a courtyard off of a row of the same, high walls, a no-nonsense iron nailed door, and quite unremarkable except for this bit of magical writing that crawls around a bit while you watch it. Eventually it spells out a word, “Ecas” which is indeed the only way to open the door, since no one else will open it. It is in the old city, where the streets are smaller, more varied and navigation is difficult.
Within is a large, cobblestone courtyard, which looks across a rather elaborate water sculpture into a colonnaded portico of a yellow tiled two-story building. It is made of green-hued stone. It has real honest-to-god windows too.
The bartender is an invisible servant, Floss, who has an exhaustive knowledge of people’s drinks. The type of drinks available range from innocent to seriously dangerous. This is a bar for Real Grownups. If you want distilled fugu fish venom over shaved apple ice and a side of your favorite mushroom—go ahead and order it. Floss will tell you in his very whispery sotto voce manner that it may take a while to make. The cost may be prohibitive in more ways than one though; you could easily spend a gold piece on a drink here, and die before you finished it. They employ a few gatherers for the bar.
Non-mages and invited guests are allowed in the hall only. Special permission for others can be obtained from Letha, the current head of operations.
The place has as many odd faces as it does drinks. It is run by the Family Marainichus. They have held these grounds for over 90 years. The rooms are expensive, small clean, dry, magically sealed in some cases, and you can even get a cat if you like. Most foods are served, although it seems that everyone eats in small groups, scattered throughout the dimly lit hall, which has glow lamps that drift around the room, randomly. Some of the alcoves are acoustically protected. The food is unbelievable, there is no menu.
The current Marainchus is Letha. She is a heart-faced brunette her middle forties, chunky, favors very colorful silk robes and soft shoes, and is nice to talk to. She always has a cat or a ferret somewhere in her arms or in one of those voluminous pockets. She has retired from “The Wandering” as she calls it, and has been running the place for two years, having learned the ropes from her Uncle for two years before that. She added the water sculpture. It is a water sprite that managed to really, really make a big mistake around her. She was a combat mage for many years, amazingly retiring intact.
Thieves avoid this place. There have been a few instances where heads have appeared by the gate.
Thunder House (two stars, moderate)
Snaffle Close and Bury Lord Vain Street
All coinages accepted. Rates vary. Familiars welcome.
East Hall, Cloth Square
Thunder House used to be a regular Inn, but it was eventually taken over by a company of mages after it became allegedly haunted. It is on a nice corner plot of green lawn, which has a seriously nasty thorn hedge and roses set around it. At some time in the past, it was a mill, which became no longer profitable when the stream went away. So it is large, has three floors, and a rather nice garden too. It backs onto a section of the Old City wall, and there are some very fine shade trees scattered across its pristine, rolled and manicured lawns. There are some remarkable flower beds, and several private grottos scattered throughout the garden. The remnants of the former stream can be seen in the fishpond which curls alongside the building. The building is pale fieldstone with a steeply pitched lead roof. There is a small tower at one end. It is near the River Gate, off of the Cloth Hall square.
This is run by a consortium; there are guestrooms, and there are some permanent quarters for mages and whatnot. Rates flex with the season, the population and whatever mysterious influences affect the Master of Halls that day. There are communal meals, in a common room, everyone pays a flat rate for food, which is prepared by the staff. The staff is competent, if unimaginative. The upper floors are a warren of small hallways and small rooms. Some of the rooms have shuttered windows, and there are two small balconies on the north and south sides of the house. A later addition sits nearby, which houses staff and kitchen. Against the old city wall is a small stable and an apiary.
Admittance is by sponsorship, although mages can stay there pro tem until sponsored for membership (cheaper rates) by eight members, or expelled by eight. Eight is the number of magic. There is a sign by the front gate which proclaims the Thunder House as a Mages Free House and Inn.
The Termagant and Manticore (three stars, moderate)
Bitch Hall and the Snaffles
All coinages accepted. Egos and weapons checked at the door.
South Gables, South Gate
Under the incredibly well-painted sign of this tavern depicting the unlikely union of a termagant and a manticore, tucked away off High Street, a very eclectic and reckless crowd meets. Despite being centrally located in the new city, this business manages to look like one of the old city structures, being a narrow three story building of half timber and stone, with a steeply pitched roof complete with thieftrippers. All located a stone’s throw from the Great South Market space, near the Street of the Fortune Tellers.
A known haven for gamblers, thief takers, ne’er do wells and those of the unemployed-adventurer persuasion, for all of its outward tackiness, this is actually a pretty decent place to stay. Mages tend to drop by here, or stay a bit, as often times there are folks who have actually returned from the mountains, points south/east/west/north or other places (?) with actual useful and saleable magic items. There is a certain amount of larceny involved, but the patrons tend to regulate any outrageous acts. The kitchen is run by Bullroarer Finch, or Bulldog as he is known.
Bulldog is a butterball-proportioned, retired halfing “gentleman adventurer” who keeps a damn good kitchen. The tavern proper belongs to his partner, Elle. She manages to keep things running despite the good natured rowdiness and infrequent brawls that pass for socializing here. Elle is a very shrewd judge of character, and isn’t to be trifled with—not because of any powerful friends (although she has some) or moneyed bodyguards (some patrons would brawl for free anyway), but because she is a big, powerful, half-orc that throws a wicked left hook. There is a story about this zany partnership, but no one is talking about it. Rumor has it that she ran afoul of a gender spell in the past while somewhere with Bulldog. He isn’t saying either, but he has a whole raft of stories about how he got those scars in his hairline, or why he is missing a ring finger. Regardless, this is a known hangout for those folk whose skills do not fall into the agrarian/city life-style. It is a good place to hire individuals of various skills, if they will admit to any, or stop eating some of Bulldog’s Hobbit Surprise long enough to answer you. Bulldog talks a lot. He says he did the sign too.