One could don an apron and grab a washcloth and become a barkeep on Gymalle, but only the Historical Order of Barkeeps is capable of delivering accurate rumors of adventure to would-be heroes who put down good coin for a mug of brew. By necessity, all Barkeeps are barkeeps; but not all barkeeps are a member of this ancient and venerated organization. Barkeeps may be of any race or sex.
The method by which Barkeeps are chosen for their positions is likewise mysterious, but what is certainly known is that the positions are not hereditary; there has never been a record of a Barkeep marrying or having children. When someone joins the Order he or she breaks all personal ties with friends and family and interacts with everyone else through an equal, professional, business relationship. They remain firmly neutral on all matters, including (and especially) of religion, politics, and war.
Barkeeps only relate news when the listener specifically seeks out the Barkeep’s guidance, and any news given is specific to that individual. Skeptics claim this to be coincidence, but others believe Barkeeps have a secret method of communication that allows news in one part of the world to be instantly relayed to all other Barkeeps on Gymalle. However, Barkeeps could easily dominate the planet should this network actually exist and those who adhere to this wild theory are derided. Furthermore, wizards the world over claim that no such conduit exists, for they should have detected something that massive in scope.
It is equally likely that a barkeep in a small, out of the way place like Tinder or a large city like Portsport is a member of the Order; there is no way to tell who is or is not an official Barkeep, and Barkeeps do not mention their affiliation. Indeed, many tavernowners act as if they are Barkeeps but give misinformation or outright lies in response to questions asked of them.
As Barkeeps are for the most part ordinary men and women (though it is not unknown for retired adventurers to take up this mantle, to provide aid the younger generation in their quests), they can be slain by unscrupulous individuals or groups. However, the Order frowns deeply upon anyone making a preemptive attack on one of their own, responding proportionately to any assault. Most famously, a Tumish prince named Vala slew a tavernkeeper in Tuma after claiming he had been shortchanged on a drink. Within a short time, the once-proud city of Tuma was reduced to rubble by Clensaba forces and its residents had been forced to flee into the Tumish Steppes and adopt a nomadic life. The Tumish are convinced a Barkeep had been killed and to this day refuse the sale of alcoholic beverages within and among the clans.
The only Barkeep known to be such by Tinder’s Champions is the operator of the single, nameless tavern in Tinder. His given name is unknown, though he always answers to “Barkeep,” as they all do.
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