April Showers Bring Spring Meatballs

It's finally Spring, a time for flowers, showers, and the dwarven meal, Delzoun "Tide-Me-Overs" from Heroes' Feast.


A Spring Tradition​

Like a few other curious dishes accredited to dwarves, dwarven meatballs are now canon in both Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance. They’re listed on the menu of The Inn of the Last Home at 3 stl, but the description firmly positions the meal as hailing from the Forgotten Realms:
Beef, pork, onions, and a smattering of dwarven seasoning are all rolled up into delicious little balls that are ideal for snacking or as a main banquet course. These "meatballs," as they are known to many in the multiverse, are sometimes served with a side of freshly crushed tart berries for dwarves on the go, but they are best when drenched in sweet, dark dwarven gravy made with chicken broth and enlivened with brown sugar, lemon, and soy sauce. While these are customary consumables at Hornmoot, the traditional human-dwarven trading festival that marks the dawn of Spring, there isn't a holiday on the eventful dwarven calendar that doesn't feature these scrumptious meats on the menu.
Delzoun is a fallen dwarven nation in the Forgotten Realms:
Delzoun, also known as the Northkingdom, was a great dwarven nation of the North during the Age of the Proud People, reigning over the north for almost 4,000 years, from −3900 DR to −100 DR.
Delzoun fell to an invasion of phaerimm, but its traditions live on in surface settlements. One of those traditions is Hornmoot:
Hornmoot was the traditional trading festival between the dwarves and humans of the Vast. It took place on the 14th of Kythorn each year, with lesser hornmoots on the 14th of each month until Eleint.
As an Italian-American, I was curious to see how this metaball dish held up.


The Meal​

Given these meatballs are in a brown gravy, the closest equivalent is probably Swedish meatballs. It pairs well with rice and mashed potatoes as a result.

Like so many of the recipes in Heroes' Feast., there’s a lot taking the dish in and out of the oven to distill the juices for gravy. We condensed some of these steps to make the meal easier to cook and it worked well.

The recipe mentions that the meatballs are sweet and that’s definitely true. My daughter wasn’t thrilled about them, but I found them delicious. The brown sugar is certainly part of that.

One point of note is that baking meatballs at 475° was hot enough to raise the temperature in our little kitchen. Although it’s listed as a Spring tradition in the Forgotten Realms, preparation in the real world might be better for the end of winter. Or you could just grill them outside.


Rites of Spring​

In typical adventuring games, weather tends to be mild or extreme: a pleasant Spring breeze or a snowstorm. There’s reason for this, because those are two states that either don’t affect the narrative (and can thus be easily ignored) or severely affect it, thereby becoming a major factor to be taken into account in the campaign.

Narratively, weather can constrain game masters a bit in the stories they tell. Not worrying about the weather means playing whatever adventure fits the setting as needed, without placing it in a particular climate or time. But there’s a level of immersion that comes from a world with internal consistency. Changing seasons has significant implications, from worsening weather (depending on the region) to more aggressive animals in mating season. Spring is a great opportunity to have normally docile monsters turn into an adventuring opportunity.

You can keep track of weather in the Forgotten Realms with this helpful tool. There’s one for Greyhawk too. And if you prefer to create your own, you can use Fantasy Calendar—this tool has calendars for Ravenloft, Golarion, and Eberron too. Whatever you choose, a change in season can be an opportunity to disrupt PC’s travel plans … or just an excuse to eat meatballs.

You Turn: Do you keep track of seasons in your campaign?
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Michael Tresca

Michael Tresca

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