Three Pearls Nightclub

pears1.jpgAlmost every evening, crowds stream up Pearl Alley to the Three Pearls in the the Rookery neighborhood. Pearls, as it is commonly called, is a popular evening destination for Waterdhavians, offering punch comedy shows, trained animal acts, bawdy plays, and exotic dancing. Its name comes from its purchase price.

When the previous owner of the tavern that once stood there decided sourly he’d lost his last gold piece pouring ale down parched throats, he offered to sell the place to anyone who’d give him the price of a meal. One of his own dancers stepped up on the stage, tore off three black pearls—nearly all she was wearing—and threw them to him, claiming the place as her own. That dancer, Mother Haldra is still the festhall’s owner.

On the stage of Pearls, men have raised armies, women have raised eyebrows, and everything from yeti through trolls have made jaws drop, bellies shake with helpless laughter, and hands itch to hurl things. On a typical night, comics alternate with dancers, musicians, and acting troupes —often presenting satirical ballads or sketches related to recent city events. More than once a lord or lady has been portrayed as a buffoon, to the audience’s great amusement.

The Three Pearls has a low ceiling and is usually hot and smoky. Stout low-backed wooden benches radiate outwards from the raised central stage, which is lit from above and has a ramp entrance up into its center via a trapdoor from below. The central stage has a conical raised ceiling above it, complete with a retractable circular staircase and drop ropes for dramatic entrances.

Cover Charge. There is a 1 sp cover charge at the door (up to 5 sp on special nights), and everything inside costs extra.


Drinks. Beer goes for 5 cp/ cup, house wine (very bad) for 5 cp/ cup, good wine for 2 sp/tallglass, and zzar for 4 sp/tallglass. A tallglass is a very tall, thin glass made by sealing a bone tube at the bottom with curved, fired clay. It is hard to spill and easy to carry in the crowd.

Finger Food. 5 cp. The Three Pearls offers finger food (hot sausages inside crisp-fried buns, pickles, and cream-coated fruit, all at 5 cp/serving), and drink—lots and lots of drink. Drinks are served in light clay cups that can’t be thrown too far or do much damage.

Feast of Beasts. 1 gp+. A special, advertised attraction shouted out by boys at the door and on nearby streets, when available, is monster fare, such as baked stirge on toast, roast manticore, or wyvern steaks. These rarities command high prices, sometimes going for up to 7 gp/serving. Folk buy them mainly so that they can casually claim the feat for the rest of their lives.

Adventurers are paid well for fresh kills, and even more for live. The more fearsome reputation a monster has, the better price it fetches. Eggs fetch a lower price, and undead, poisonous, and petrifying beasts, or humanlike creatures such as trolls and ogres, are not wanted at all. Recently, the Company of the Flaming Boot sold a nearly intact, dead hatchling white dragon to the Pearls for 500 gp—a price the nightclub made back several times over by selling sizzling white dragon steaks for 10 to 20 gp each, depending on size.


Patrons can also buy peering glasses, which are curved glass lenses that magnify things for those far from the action, for 20 gp each.

Hurl birds are also for sale for 2 cp/each to throw at the stage to register disapproval or pleasure. These small hollow clay spheres are weighted with dried beans for good throwing and are covered with glued-on feather scraps gathered from nearby fowl-pluckers. They are too light to damage more than the dignity of performers.

Patrons also tend to spend coins by throwing them at the stage.

Private Boxes. There are three private boxes. These look down through windows in the ceiling at its edge where the conical central roof peak begins to rise. These small rooms can each hold up to 10 people crammed together, and can be rented for 10 gp/evening. These have long waiting lists.

A fourth private box is reserved by the nightclub for its own use, and is often offered to dignitaries if they show up to take in an evening’s fare.

Escorts. The Three Pearls Nightclub does not usually feature the highly-sought-after courtesans that frequent the high-end festhalls. However, Pearls does permit ladies of the coin to enter the establishment, to provide dancing partners and solicit those whom they dance with.

On rare occasions such as special events, or citywide festivals, courtesans grace the nightclub’s halls, and provide elegant, flirtatious company. These courtesans of course must be wooed in the usual way, rather than the any-with-the-coin attitude of coin-lasses.

Private Events. Guilds, nobles, and other large parties rent rent out the nightclub for meetings or for private entertainment. Typically it rents out at prices ranging from 50 gp for the space to 100 gp for the space and shows thrown in, cash up front.

The People

Too many performers of note have trod the stage at Pearls to list them here, from the fabled bard Mintiper to the orator Phaeros “Forktongue” of Baldur’s Gate.

The owner of the Pearls seldom visits her gold mine these days, but meets daily with the manager to book acts and plan publicity.

The manager, Alexi Orlando, is a dapper, strutting little popinjay of a man, pompous and comical—but deeply committed to entertaining, and with a keen sense of humor and a reading for what the public will go for. He oversees a staff of 14 bouncers, 16 run-and- shout street boys, 12 dancers, and a house bard (currently Zalanthess, an accomplished singer and harpist from Neverwinter).

The Adders

It’s well-known among the criminal element of the city that Pearls, like most of the Rookery neighborhood, is under the protection of the Adders street gang. It’s rumored that The Hole, the Adders’ infamous hideout, is hidden nearby. Gang members with their snake tattoos can be found loitering in the nightclub at all hours of the day and night, and many of the dancers and performers are linked to the street gang.

Travelers’ Lore

Some say the Pearls is haunted by the phantoms of a running, weeping woman pursued by a man with a drawn sword—but no one could recall any details of this rumor, or that the haunting had been seen recently.

The Rookery

Three Pearls Nightclub

City of Splendors. Dungeon of Madness. sethwhite