Inns along main trade roads go back at least to Achaemenid Persia, probably older. For example, Herodotus writes concerning the Persian Royal Road:
“Now the true account of the road in question is the following:- Royal stations exist along its whole length, and excellent caravanserais; and throughout, it traverses an inhabited tract, and is free from danger.”
Somewhat similar were the shukuba post stations of the Edo Five Routes in Japan or the roadside stationes, tabernae, and mutationes, where travelers could rest and their animals taken care of.
When we think of Sartarite inns, that’s what they are – caravanserais more than pubs. Travelers are welcome there, they usually have places to store goods and watch animals, or arrangements with local stables to do the same.
On the big map of Sartar we have some 16 roadside inns between Whitewall and Alda-Chur, plus another 10 or so inns along less routes. That’s not including the urban caravanserai, tabernae, and inns that outnumber all of these put together.
Like a lot of things Geo’s is both comical and deadly serious. They were originally established as caravanserai which were ALSO places where any friend or supporter of Sartar could find a safe bed, friends, and a warm meal. Most of the cult’s income is generated from paying, non-member customers who stay the night and otherwise avail of the services provided by the inn, such as stabling and fodder, food and drinks, entertainment, and warehousing of goods.
During the heyday of the Principality, Geo’s inns were typically supported by the Prince, which made them very desirable to travelers. Well-maintained, steady food, and protected by the Prince.
So a Sartarite inn – rather than being a place that caters to the locals – is going to be a place where foreigners, adventurers, mercenaries, etc. can get food, drink, and sleep. Some are going to cater to genteel travelers, others will be unruly places.
Is there a map of the inns along the royal roads? If not, how far apart would they be? There is and once the Dragon Pass guide is out, you will have that map!
Would there be similar establishments at the larger oasis in Prax? Days Rest, Moonbroth, and the Paps are all places that caravans regularly stop at. But the volume of trade across Prax is much much smaller than the trade that goes between Peloria and Kethaela.