Guardians of the Past
The Yawning Portal inn, built in 1306 DR by Durnan the Wanderer on the ruins of Halaster Blackcloak’s old tower, has gained most of its renown for being the primary open route to the dungeon under the city known as Undermountain. A well within the inn’s walls leads down into the first dungeon level of Undermountain. The Yawning Portal is located on Rainrun Street in Waterdeep’s Castle Ward between Waterdeep Castle and Snail Street. A signboard that simply reads “The Yawning Portal”, hanging on chains from a black iron pole above the front door, announces the entry to the inn.
The clientele consists mostly of adventurers eager to enter Undermountain who pay one gold coin each to enter and another to be hoisted back out of the depths. Gamblers like to also frequent the taproom to place wagers on the delvers who risk life and limb for a chance at great wealth. The neophyte adventurers are sometimes known to ply the older quiet men who come to drink or visit with the innkeeper. It is known that if one listens to the veteran Waterdhavians, who are only too keen on sharing rumours and stories about the dungeon that one might learn some of the secrets of the deadly dungeon. As Durnan is still a brawny man, who keeps his old sword among the racks and asks any troublemakers to leave the inn, the Yawning Portal remains safe from toughs and brawlers.
Architecture and Decor
A stone building with a slate roof, the Yawning Portal offers guest rooms on the three upper floors. Well-worn boards cover the floor, but the main impression is of comfort. Rich blue tapestries decorate the wood panelled walls of the common room consisting of a bar and tables of stout wood.
The taproom is dominated by the Entry Well, measuring 40 feet in diameter and descending 140 feet underground, the access to Undermountain.
The kitchen of the yawning portal is known to provide simple fare that is very good. Seafood dishes are common, along with meat pies, stews, and roasted fowl.
Management and Staff
The Yawning Portal is run by its builder, Durnan, and his wife Mhaere Dryndilstann with the aid of their daughter Tamsil Dryndilstann. The staff consists of the waitresses and kitchen maids Luranla Dreer and Marrauda Belaskurth. Jarandur Tallstand and Parth Melander are the senior and junior cook respectively. The rest of the staff is made up of Tarlgarth Vathar, the stablemaster, his two hostlers and four hard-working chambermaids.