5 The Indecipherable Scroll

One of the most notable places in the Cluster is the Indecipherable Scroll, a small tavern that specializes in poetry readings, bardic performances, and amateur plays. This is considered the seat of cutting- edge culture in town, which perhaps says more about Freeport than the quality of the culture in question.

Not every mage enjoys the ivory tower atmosphere of the Wizards’ Guild or the dry discussions of the learned professors of the Freeport Institute. Bored by her fellows in both institutions, Professor Wilmina Gertz decided that running a tavern would be both a challenge and a chance to interact with a more interesting cross-section of Freeport’s populace. For more than ten years, the Indecipherable Scroll has been a haven for the students of both the Wizards’ Guild and the Freeport Institute. Both groups see the Scroll as a place to freely exchange ideas—and a place to escape the boorish thugs that inhabit the rest of Freeport.

(The boorish thugs, for their part, cooperate by avoiding the Scroll. The students might seem like easy pickings, but even the roughest goons aren’t dumb enough to mess with a wizard of the Professor’s caliber.)

Like many other buildings within the Cluster, the Indecipherable Scroll is an old building located in an alley somewhere within the maze of the neighborhood. Regulars and locals know where to find it, but visitors may wander lost for some time before finding the unassuming tavern. The exterior boasts a placard with a scroll covered with squiggles, sigils, and scribbles—scribble that some say changes when no one’s watching.

The tavern’s interior is comfortable, well lit, and generally quiet (except when there’s a performance in progress, or when the odd case of “artistic differences” or “clash of thaumaturgic theories” flares up). Musicians, actors, and performance poets use a low stage at the back of the main room, and a small reading room and library lie further inside the building.

Prominent NPCs
Professor Wilmina Gertz: Crouching over books to decipher ancient text is no way to spend your days, let alone your nights. For all her considerable magical talent and academic knowledge, Professor Wilmina Gertz prefers a life with a bit more variety—not to mention more music, more conversation, and more drinking—than do her colleagues. Managing the Scroll (while teaching both scholars and mages a few nights a week) keeps her spirits up and her mind sharp. It’s a busy job, but her magical gifts make it easier—and while no one’s quite sure whether she’s capable of making good on her threats to turn troublemakers (and lackluster performers) into toads or weasels, no one’s interested in finding out first-hand.

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