Earl’s Embrace Stew (Beef And Barley Stew)

Part 1 of “The Ebon Shroud”

The Burly Earl, situated in Neverwinter’s shadowed recesses, wasn’t just a haven for ale-seekers. It was where stories were birthed and died; some whispered in dread, others proclaimed with conviction.

Beef and barley stew.

This evening, a silence, thick and palpable, clung to the tavern, punctuated by sporadic murmurs.

At the heart of the establishment was Asmund, his gaze fixed on Elandor, a bard from the tumultuous city of Luskan. Elandor’s reputation preceded him; tales from the city of sails, with its treacherous waters and even more unpredictable denizens, often clung to travelers.

But tonight, he brought a story that sent shivers down the spines of even the most battle-hardened warriors.

Drawing a deep breath, Elandor began, “In the heart of Luskan’s alleys, I heard whispers of ‘The Ebon Shroud,’ an ancient relic. Legend speaks of its origin from the early days of Faerûn, a time of darkness and despair.”

His voice, though steady, betrayed an underlying tremor. “The relic is said to possess a malevolent power, granting its wielder dominion over shadows, bending them to their will.”

The tavern’s patrons leaned in, drawn to Elandor’s tale. “In ages past, it was wielded by a sorcerer, so cruel and vile that even mentioning his name was forbidden. Entire villages vanished overnight, swallowed by the shadows he commanded. The land was suffocated in perpetual twilight, hope becoming a distant memory.”

As Elandor continued, the weight of his words pressed heavily on the listeners. “The relic was lost to time, but now, its resurgence threatens to plunge Faerûn into an era of darkness once more.”

As the bard’s tale unfolded, a comforting aroma wafted through the tavern, countering the chill of the story.

Asmund’s signature dish, the “Earl’s Embrace Stew,” was simmering in the kitchen. A robust blend of beef and barley, cooked to perfection with a medley of root vegetables, herbs, and a generous pour of red wine. The scent was a promise of solace and warmth against the cold tendrils of the tale.

Bowls of the stew found their way to the tables, the rich broth and the nutty barley providing a momentary reprieve from Elandor’s haunting words.

As the last echoes of Elandor’s voice faded into the night, a deep silence enveloped The Burly Earl. Patrons exchanged uneasy glances, the weight of the bard’s tale evident in their eyes.

Amidst the hushed crowd, Asmund stood motionless, the storm within him evident only to those who truly knew him. The tale of “The Ebon Shroud” wasn’t just a story to him; it was a haunting echo from his past, a reminder of the battles and sacrifices of his earlier life as Murgen.

Memories of darkness, of enemies that seemed insurmountable, threatened to resurface. But Asmund’s resolve, hardened by years of combat and strategy, was not easily broken. He knew that he couldn’t stand by idly.

While he had left the frontlines of battle, he still had a role to play in the shadows. The safety of Neverwinter and possibly all of Faerûn might depend on the actions taken in the coming days.

While the direct confrontation was a path he had long abandoned, Asmund’s influence, his vast network, would be vital in gathering more information and preparing for the looming threat.

The Burly Earl might be a sanctuary for many, but for Asmund, it was now the epicenter of a gathering storm, a place where the next chapter of his life would be written in shadows and whispers.

Earl’s Embrace Stew

Discover the dark tale of 'The Ebon Shroud' at The Burly Earl. Dive into Asmund's world and savor the comforting 'Earl's Embrace Stew'. Join us
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword barley, Beef, stew
Servings 6


  • 1.5 lbs beef chuck cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 cup pearl barley rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 carrots diced
  • 2 parsnips diced
  • 1 turnip diced
  • 3-4 small red potatoes diced
  • 2 celery stalks chopped
  • 1/2 cup red wine preferably a robust variety like Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 4 cups beef broth or enough to cover the ingredients
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh parsley chopped (for garnish)


  • Season the beef cubes with salt and pepper.
  • In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the beef cubes in batches, ensuring they are not overcrowded. Sear until browned on all sides, then remove and set aside.
  • In the same pot, add a bit more oil if needed. Sauté the onions until translucent. Add garlic, carrots, parsnips, turnip, potatoes, and celery. Cook for about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Pour in the red wine, scraping the bottom of the pot to lift any browned bits. Allow the wine to reduce by half.
  • Return the seared beef to the pot. Add in the barley, bay leaves, rosemary, and thyme. Pour in the beef broth, ensuring all ingredients are covered.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for about 1.5 to 2 hours, or until the beef is tender and the barley is cooked.
  • Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
  • Discard the bay leaves. Ladle the stew into bowls and garnish with fresh parsley.

Character Information

Elandor- Male Human Bard


Copy the text below to import this monster (NPC, etc) into Foundry VTT.

Medium humanoid, any alignment
Armor Class 16 (leather armor)
Hit Points 26 (4d8 + 8)
Speed 30 ft.
10 (+0) 16 (+3) 14 (+2) 12 (+1) 10 (+0) 16 (+3)
Saving Throws DEX +5, CHA +5
Skills Deception +5, Performance +5, Sleight of Hand +5
Damage Resistances Fire
Senses Passive Perception 10
Languages Any four languages
Challenge 1/4 (50 XP)
Spellcasting. Elandor is a 1st-level spellcaster. His spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 13, +5 to hit with spell attacks). Elandor knows the following bard spells:
Cantrips (at will): Vicious Mockery, Minor Illusion
1st level (2 slots): Cure Wounds, Dissonant Whispers
Nimble Escape. Elandor can take the Disengage or Hide action as a bonus action on each of his turns.
Bardic Inspiration (1/Short Rest). As a bonus action, Elandor can inspire a creature he can see within 60 feet of him, adding a 1d6 to the creature’s ability check, attack roll, or saving throw. The creature can choose to use the Bardic Inspiration die before or after making the roll, but before the DM determines if it succeeds or fails.
Jack of All Trades. Elandor adds half his proficiency bonus, rounded down, to any ability check he makes that doesn’t already include his proficiency bonus.
Charm Person. Elandor casts Charm Person on a creature within 30 feet of him. The creature must succeed on a DC 13 Wisdom saving throw or be charmed by Elandor until the spell ends or Elandor or his companions do anything harmful to it. The charmed creature regards Elandor as a friendly acquaintance. When the spell ends, the creature becomes aware of the charm and may become hostile towards Elandor.
Rapier. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d8 + 3) piercing damage.
Vicious Mockery. Ranged Spell Attack: +5 to hit, range 60 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d4 + 3) psychic damage. Additionally, the target must succeed on a DC 13 Wisdom saving throw or have disadvantage on its next attack roll.
Dissonant Whispers. Elandor utters discordant melodies, targeting one creature he can see within range. The target must make a DC 13 Wisdom saving throw, taking 9 (2d6 + 3) psychic damage on a failed save or half as much damage on a successful one. Additionally, the target must immediately use its reaction, if available, to move as far away as its speed allows from Elandor.

Foundry VTT import directions

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