General Gaming

Roasted Boar's Head

Pig-Faced Orc:
The Other White Meat

An army travels on its stomach. As I am a former soldier, I can attest to this truth. But what about an adventuring party? With just a few heroes and maybe a handful of hirelings, the logistics of chow are much simpler. So simple, in fact, that they are generally just hand-waved away. And that’s fine. Unless the party is in an extreme environment, or some other hardship has been presented (e.g. escaping from the slave pens), there’s no reason for players to closely manage their party’s food-based resources.

Unless you give them one.

Skyrim Sugar Cookie

This is why I eat so many cookies in real life.

After reading George R.R. Martin and playing Skyrim (and to a lesser extent World of Warcraft), I’ve come to embrace cooking in Dungeons & Dragons. Much like it is in Skyrim, cooking needn’t be a trained skill. It’s not too far-fetched to assume that most folks in their teens during the medieval era were competent cooks. Not royal chefs, mind you, but good enough to keep their families hale and hearty. So let’s assume our PCs fit this mold. And let’s also assume that the adventuring party has basic traveling cookware and utensils with them (similar to modern-day campers).

Now, the PCs just need recipes and ingredients to start reaping some delicious benefits–oh, wait, yeah, what about benefits? Well, that’s where an inventive DM can help out the party in a slightly indirect manner. Treat recipes like you would spell scrolls and treat ingredients like you would potions. When you’re ready for the party magic-user to have a particular spell, you might drop that spell onto a scroll and add it to some loot. Same with dropping some healing potions in a chest when the party is pretty badly battered and bruised.

Medieval Cookbook

You may need to borrow a cup of flour from the Beholder next door.

Next time the party is exploring a library or a long-abandoned mead-hall, why not drop a special recipe into a cookbook? Maybe a Hearty Lamb and Leek Stew that doubles the healing rate for one night’s rest. Or a Fermented Mare’s Milk that gets you drunk but gives a +1 bonus to saves versus mind-affecting spells and abilities until you sober up. As for ingredients, consider adding some preserved meats to the larder in a bandit hideout or orc lair. Stock a necromancer’s laboratory with rare spices and dried herbs.

Gode Cookery

Click me for inspirational recipes

Think about using recipes and ingredients as a convenient way to introduce side quests. Give the party hints to the location of an ancient recipe for Charred Winter Wolf Steaks (that provide protection from dragon’s fire). Now, watch the PCs set out for the frozen North to hunt down both the recipe and a pack of winter wolves. Then, in a few more levels, when they face off against a Red Dragon, they’ll have a nice protective buff that they worked hard to earn.

Bon appetit!



One Page Dungeon logoIt’s that time of year again — time to build a one page dungeon!

This contest is great for the hobby, as it gets a lot of really good free content into gamers’ hands. It’s also great for you as a creator, as it gives you the motivation to create something specifically intended to be shared with other gamers.

I’m hoping to crank out a pair of one pagers (so I can submit my favorite of the two), but we’ll see how much time I actually have over the next several weeks. Of course, my main concern is getting at least one finished. I’ll be sure to post progress updates here.

The Submission deadline is April 30. Winners will be announced June 1.

Good luck, gamers!

Foster Drew at Park Chess TableI’ve been away from this blog for awhile, busily raising an up-and-coming gamer. I haven’t played on either side of a DM screen for about 2 years. But that has recently come to an end, thanks to a very cool virtual tabletop.

I’m in the midst of not just one but TWO games, both of them being played online via EpicTable. I grew up with the developer of EpicTable (John), and we’ve gamed together on and off for about 25 years, so it’s nice to be gaming together again…even though I’m in Oregon and he’s in New Hampshire!EpicTable Quick Start Dialog Box

John’s running a Thursday night Pathfinder game, the Legacy of Fire adventure path. Plus, John is also running a Spirit of the Century game on Saturday nights, enticingly titled Temple of the Yeti.

In addition to both games being a total blast, we’re all able to help John fine-tune EpicTable’s usability, test new functionality and so forth. As a tech writer with some usability experience, this is both work and play for me!

Now that my son requires less constant attention, I’m finding a bit more time to devote to gaming, so I plan on adding more content here soon. I have ideas brewing for some one-shot scenarios optimized for virtual tabletops (mainly EpicTable, naturally).


So, it seems I wrote up this post but allowed it to languish in draft limbo for quite some time. Foster Howard Drew was born on August 10, 2009, and I’ve been a stay-at-home dad. You’d think that would leave me time to post. It has not. However, the little man is getting better at hanging by himself, so I may have more time in the near future to devote to this blog again.

So, I’ve quite obviously been away for quite some time. My wife and I are about six weeks away from the arrival of our Little Gamer. Nearly all of my available time has been spent prepping for this arrival (our first), which leaves little time for postings.

The good news is that it looks like I’ll be running that one-shot Labyrinth Lord adventure next month (hopefully the baby isn’t too early).

I’ll post details…and perhaps photos (if I remember to snap any shots, that is).

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