Game: Inn and Tavern Floorplans
Review Dated: 6th, August 2002
Reviewer’s Rating: 8/10 [ Really good ]
Total Score: 13
Average Score: 6.50
Inn and Tavern Floorplans is an electronic product and it is an electronic product unlike any other currently reviewed on GameWyrd. Inn and Tavern Floorplans is not a PDF, its actually presented to you in HTML format. This worried me and I can only imagine that other people might worry too but as it turns out the HTML format is a bonus rather than a bane. Inn and Tavern is a collection of floor plans, in other words, it is a collection of graphics. The clever use of HTML and frames means that the reader only has open up one image at a time whereas with a PDF (even with the proxy design pattern – note to geeks) you have to open more than you need just to access the one floor plan you want to look at. The result is that Inns and Taverns is refreshingly fast and easy to use. It doesn’t take a huge bite out of your computer’s runtime memory either. You only need an internet browser to view the download. I’ve tested Internet Explorer (6), Opera (6.1) and Netscape (6.2) and they all work fine; this means that the HTML code used to hold the floor plans to discover is solid and correct. The only slight issue is that with Opera is that there is no gap between the list of “bookmarks” on the left-hand side of the screen and the right-hand side of the floor plan.
There are twenty inns and fifteen taverns, each inn or tavern have between one and four floors (and buildings with only a single floor are rare) and each floor has an entire page all to itself.
The floorplans are high quality. Darkfuries has a number of products out in this style and I doubt this would have been possible if the company was trying to sell anything less than high quality plans. In the vast majority of cases the floorplans are simply better than you can do and given that they’re inexpensive, easy to use and quick to get they become a practical product. The quality is evident in the artwork, the detail and even the architecture of the buildings. There are windows were you would expect windows. Stairs offer access or egress where you would expect them to and there are no stupid mistakes in which stairs up appear on ground level but fail to appear as stairs down on the first floor. This reviewer is European; buildings have a ground floor, the first floor above ground level, the second floor above ground level, etc. Inns and Taverns follows the American view; buildings have a first floor at ground level and then a second floor above that.
Another slight issue (and these issues really are so small as to worry the insignificant) with the floor plans might also be entirely biased by my European view on things. The inns and the taverns all have many little tables that seat a few people (4 or 6) simply packed into the building. I don’t think there would be very much in the way of dramatic leaps up from your chair because you simply wouldn’t be able to push it back and away from your table without clashing into the person sitting behind you. I would also imagine any serving girls would have to be very slim in order to wend their way between tables. It might seem strange in this day and age but rather than having lots of little tables taverns often have a few really long tables which you and your friends (on in this case; adventuring party) would invariably end up sharing with other people. Mind you, perhaps Inns and Taverns performs better by designing floor plans with the expectations of most gamers in mind and leaving this sort of hair splitting out of the equation.
The floor plans in Inn and Tavern are black and white (thus easy to print out) and a good size. They’re big enough to be used as miniature maps and not just a GM’s reference. I’m looking forward to being able to slide a print out of one of these floor plans out during a game and taking only a second to do it rather than spend too long faffing around by trying to decorate a generic squared background piece with chair, table and doorway tokens (which always get knocked out of alignment when the minis fall over anyway).
Actually, there’s a good deal more than chairs, tables and doorways to decorate the floor plans from this download. There’s such a wealth of detail there’s even a legend. There’s everything through beds, fire-pits, casks, dressers, rocks, chests, secret doors and oh… let’s not forget some of the traps which are marked.
The greatest strength of Inn and Tavern is not the ease of use but the range of different inns and taverns it includes. There are more than simply different sizes of buildings (although most are). Inn #17 is called “In the Trees” and that’s really what it is – an inn that is inside several trees! Not only will you impress your players by including such an inn in your game, you’ll then impress them again by having the floor plan (all three levels of it) handy. The floor plan for the tavern by the roadside actually spills outside the building and includes the tables and chairs out in the open, then there’s an inn inside an old lighthouse and another one on a pier.
I was pleased with Inn and Tavern. I think its one of those purchases which sees a little money going a long way and its one of those RPG supplements that’ll see use time and time again.