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!

North Texas RPG ConSo, I’m going to this old-school D&D convention this weekend here in Irving, TX. My wife’s sick, so I can’t play tonight…but I’ll be able to join in a couple of games over the weekend. So, yeah, I’m geeking out like an old man!

Tonight’s game that I had to drop out of (6pm till midnight):
Ruins of Lindoran Short description : Centuries ago a civil war tore apart the Kingdom of the Elves. Before dying in battle the last King sealed artifacts of kingship in a Vault in the doomed capital city. The Elves are now in need of those artifacts, and have sent for hardy Adventurers to recover them…but who or what now lurks in the ruins of once-fair Lindoran? This adventure combines an above-ground section of the ruined city with a complex three-level dungeon featuring tricks and traps aplenty. This is a real thinking-Elf’s dungeon, not just hack-and-slash through it. This is an updated and expanded version of the 1981 JG module. Character levels are 4-7; some background and prep material will be provided prior to the game session. I still own the original 1981 Judge’s Guild version of this adventure module, so I was plenty stoked to revisist this one!

Friday night’s game (6pm till midnight):
Polar Expedition Short description : Your party was hired by a sage who was investigating conditions along the polar coastline. Although you were hired to serve as guards, there has not been much for you to do, and the sage’s research has now been concluded. You have been assured of your payment as guards. The ship is returning along the coast through a sea thick with chunks of ice. The Captain is quite concerned with the safety of the ship, and does not want to remain in these hazardous conditions any longer than possible. I’m looking forward to this one because of the hazards presented by the environment. Plus…there might be Yetis!

Saturday night’s game (6pm till midnight):
Keep of the Chaos Lord Short description: Your people have lived in the shadow of the ruined keep on the hill since time immemorial. But something has stirred the ancient mysteries, awakening aberrations that should never grace the sight of man. Now villages tremble in their homes fearing the night, and every new dawn reveals a new horror – victims of the keep’s ancient curse. Armed with only your wits, can you and your companions end this reign of terror, or will you become the latest victims of the Keep of the Chaos Lord? This is actually playtesting for a new old-school D&D retro-clone gaming system, so I HAD to get into this session!

Or S&W? Or LL?

Upon learning of WotC’s addlepated decision to pull sales of all their PDF products, I couldn’t help but come to the same conclusion as many other RPG bloggers:

Who needs ’em?

Why buy WotC, anyway?

If you’re currently enjoying the old-school revival, you’ve most likely already discovered the non-WotC magic that is OSRIC, Swords & Wizardry, and Labryinth Lord.

The New Holy Trinity

My New Holy Trinity

However, if you’re NOT currently enjoying the old-school revival, you’ve got no one to blame now if you don’t check out these excellent retro-clones.

Labyrinth Lord alone has reawakened a creativity monster deep within me that I hadn’t fully realized 4E had killed off.