Since both Lazare’s and the Emporium charge a small fee for entry, Diamond Lake’s poorest laborers must turn to a collection of run-down ale halls with more sullied reputations. The busiest by far is the Feral Dog, a sleazy tavern on the Vein’s central square. Every night and especially when the workforces of several local mines let out at the same time, cheering laborers within the bar scream obscenities and wave betting vouchers over two dogs in a lethal pit fight. No one savors the tinny ale, but the place is more about camaraderie, bravado, and desperation than about expecting exemplary quality or service.
A gang of criminals indentured to the corrupt mine manager Balabar Smenk casts a broad shadow over the Feral Dog’s squalid taproom. The patrons know from experience to respect the word of Kullen, the silently seething albino half-orc who leads the motley band with little tolerance for insolence and a powerful backhand. Arguments commonly erupt at the Feral Dog, especially during the dog ﬁghts, when betting often grows contentious and even violent. About once a month, a drunk miner falls or is pushed into the thrashing dog pit, with predictably tragic results. During the worst brawls, someone usually gets knifed. A festering garbage pit in the sharp crags behind the building is said to hold the corpses of as many humans as dogs.
In addition to a rotating cast of criminals and oblivious visitors from out of town, the Feral Dog draws its share of thrill-seekers and scrappers, honest folk who thrive on danger and excitement. Among them is a sleek, self-assured elf named Tirra who flirts confidently with handsome patrons and who dominates all takers in the bar’s contentious dagger tossing contest. Tirra makes pleasant conversation with anyone who approaches her, but she takes a real interest only in men who ask to join in one of her games.