SETTING THESAURUS

MEDIEVAL TAVERN (SPECULATIVE)



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HELPFUL TIP:

Settings should always be chosen with care. Consider the emotion you want your viewpoint character to feel and how setting choices, weather elements, and symbolism might build a specific mood in the scene, create tension and conflict, or even raise the stakes.
SIGHTS:
A building set on the main street
A pictorial sign hung over the door (since most people couldn't read)
A common room where patrons are served; sometimes food was also prepared in this space
  • A fireplace, usually with a cauldron of stew, soup, or pottage cooking
  • Wooden tables and benches made of boards set on trestles or sawhorses that could be dismantled and moved aside
  • Narrow, overlapping cloths on the tables
  • Gaming tables with stools and barrels for seating
  • Possibly a chair for the master of the house
  • Flickering light from tallow candles and oil or grease lamps
  • A floor covered in straw or rushes
  • Shelves on the walls holding dishes
  • A glass-less window with wood shutters
  • Trenchers (squares or rectangles of stale bread) used as plates
  • Earthenware pitchers
  • Jugs made of pottery, pewter, leather, wood, or glass—one for each individual, or one for everyone at the table to share
  • Food set in the center of the table, for all to share
  • Salt cellars
  • Chickens or other small livestock roaming the room
  • A cat stalking mice
  • Dogs under the tables, catching crumbs and droppings
  • Patrons (eating at a table, standing around drinking, gambling or playing games, buying beer or ale to go, snoozing near the fire, conducting other business with the innkeeper, etc.)
  • A wedding or meeting being held at the inn
A separate kitchen (in higher-end inns) containing bread ovens, ingredients and foodstuffs, knives and cutting blocks, serving dishes, barrels and buckets of drink, and food in various stages of preparation
A stable to house the patrons' horses and the innkeeper's livestock (animals in pens and stalls, hay-scattered floors, manure piles, stable boys and grooms caring for the animals, pitchforks and other tools)
Rooms for rent (rooms with single or multiple mattresses, a candle set into a wall holder, hooks or nails in the walls for hanging clothing and cloaks, doors that likely didn't lock, personal tack—saddle, blanket, reins, etc.—piled in a corner, bags or boxes of belongings set on the floor)
The innkeeper's residential rooms either above the inn or behind it
Other additions for larger, more well-to-do inns: a larder, pantry, cellar, nicer room amenities (a basin and water pitcher, a trunk to hold clothing, a small table, beds or cots, etc.)

SOUNDS:
Wind whistling along the alley outside
Footsteps and horses' hooves on the road
A loose wooden shutter tapping or banging the exterior wall
The roar of drunken laughter and singing
Patrons chatting
Cheers from the gaming table
A poorly oiled hinge squealing as the door swings open
Ale or mead splashing into a pitcher
The fire's crackle
A metal ladle scraping the inside of a pot or cauldron
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SMELLS:
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TASTES:
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TEXTURES AND SENSATIONS:
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POSSIBLE SOURCES OF CONFLICT:
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PEOPLE COMMONLY FOUND IN THIS SETTING:
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SETTING NOTES AND TIPS:
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RELATED SETTINGS THAT MAY TIE IN WITH THIS ONE:
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SETTING DESCRIPTION EXAMPLE:
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TECHNIQUES AND DEVICES USED:
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DESCRIPTIVE EFFECTS:
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