Blog Carnival: Food & Fantasy

Welcome to the Food & Fantasy Blog Carnival! For the next two weeks (Jan 8th – Jan 21st), Cirsova invites you to share your stories about food and gaming. What? Cheetos and Mountain Dew? No! That’s not what we’re talking about! We’re here to explore the exotic cuisines of your fantasy worlds and the opportunities to bring them out of the game world and into reality, adding a unique touch to your game.

One of the things that makes fantasy games appealing is the diversity of peoples and cultures that inhabit the fantasy world. These worlds can be just as diverse or even moreso than our own world. And in our own real world, one of the most common ways to experience a different culture is through its cuisine! Most Americans have never been to Mexico, China, Japan, Italy, etc., but most have eaten Mexican, Chinese, Japanese, Italian food or some synthesized American facsimilie thereof. Similarly, gamers have never been to kingdoms of dwarves, elves, orcs or halflings, but perhaps they can experience it through their cuisine or some synthesized gaming-table facsimilie thereof.

The food of a culture will reflect a lot about their tastes, the sort of livestock and produce they have access to, cooking technology, as well as any cultural or religious mores they may have about foods and eating. Perhaps a group of dwarves might have some equivalent to kosher or halaal dietary requirements?

In a game that a friend of mine ran, one of the towns had a signature snack that was served in all of the inns and taverns. The snack was a toasted bagel with pico de gayo and smothered with melted cheese (one party member was playing a Rabbi cleric so the spreads were a kosher snack). The session after these were first introduced, the DM brought the fixings, baked them up and let everyone have the real thing! It wasn’t fancy, and upon reflection was basically a variant on a bagel pizza, but it was something that was brought out of the game world into reality in a very tangible (and tasty!) way.

In Cirsova, the Marshfolk of Illi have a stew called “Gullodana”, which is a huge pot of slow-cooked fish and fowl and other things. Something like that might present an opportunity to toss some things into a crockpot, hope for the best, and serve to the players. If it’s weird and not particularly great? It’s a cultural thing, an acquired taste. “Man those Marshfolk eat gross stew!”

There are lots of things you can do! Do your players like to drink alcoholic beverages? Make homebrews that are world specific! Do dwarves like dark stout ales and elves like hoppy lagers? You can find handy guides online on how to make mead for your vikings.

For this carnival, share your stories about how food was worked into your games, ideas for developing fictitious cultures through their cuisine, any anything else food and gaming related you can think of (even if it is Cheetos & Mountain Dew)!