Gastronomy in D&D: The Truly Non-Standard Rations


Of relevance:



Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Ever since I read (IIRC) Galaxy Guide 9 by West End Games, I've loved the idea of fleshing out the food, drink, music, and art of different cultures in a game world. As a player I'm always asking about those elements of any new culture, and I work that stuff out about my own culture with the DM.

As a DM, I always give some description of those elements, rather than just "you get some food and drink, and there's a lute player in the corner."

In the world I'm building for a new game, the Dwarves have odd cuisine due to their lack of dietary restrictions compared to humans. They can eat nearly any organic matter and gain sustenance, including stuff like lichen, and they are nearly immune to poisons that require ingestion. They prefer foods they can grow and harvest in relative low light, since they have never lost their physical discomfort in direct sunlight. Root vegetables are favored, as are the greens which come with them. They also tend to keep animals that can be largely left to their own devices during the day, like goats. In some worlds, Dwarven trained wargoats are a common sight in many armies.

Alfar, meanwhile, have a strong need for fresh food, and a preference for less well cooked ingredients. They cook a wonderful steak, if you're into really rare steak. Most Alfar societies, even the more urban ones, live closer to nature than humans tend to, being born animists who can speak with the local spirits who are their "cousins". They are pragmatic hunters, generally, though they do often share a hunt with local predatory creatures like wolves, bears, and foxes, and they usually leave choice bits for birds like corvids, as they are known to be messengers between worlds. Alfar hunters often eat certain prized organs raw, or will bring such a prize to someone to honor them, who will then eat it raw.

Gnomes are an odd bunch in many ways, but possibly the most "human" in their dietary habits. One exception is their connection to cats, and their ability to eat raw meat with few health issues arising from it. Gnomes love to hunt, and do so almost exclusively using ambush hunter tactics and melee weaponry. The less urban Gnomish societies develop complex rules and competitive rituals surrounding leaping off of things onto their prey to take them down. Also like cats, Gnomes tend to come across as lazy, and require deep naps after periods of strenuous activity.

Shifters (this worlds general term for lycanthropes) are generally the same as their parent race (mostly human, with some small populations of most other mortal races), but they are also capable of hunting and eating in their animal form, and their human form is unperturbed by the food they eat in this way. Hunting is acommon way for shifter youths to learn to move, hone their senses, etc, in their animal form.

Trolls vary, but nearly all are primarily carnivorous. Oddly, they are also usually capable of subsisting on literal rocks.

Giants have an even greater love than humans for charred food, though they can eat nearly anything. Their bodies require a bit more energy than most other mortals, however, and so they benefit greatly from well processed foods.


Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Aesthetics: Wild caught game is not nice and sweet and tender. We romanticize, but there's a reason why those who catch wild game hang it out to age for a while before cooking. Them's protein, but them's not really good eats. Wild game is generally tough and more gamey than a Monopoly Convention, because the animal has to actually work for a living, and you're typically getting older specimens. So - it is stews and soups, not tender roasts.
This is a great point to remember, but also a lot of people really enjoy their venison jerky and stew, and game hens and rabbit is pretty damn good.

Also, broadly speaking... carnivores taste bad to human palates, and herbivores are not rarely aggressive enough to be something adventurers have to kill.
This is...sometimes true. Lots of cultures like canid meat, and many wild birds taste great.

Health: you realize that wild animals that are not given what we'd call health care, even today, have massive loads of parasites, right? That giant toad has been living in fetid muck. And gods only knows where the wild boar the goblin was riding has been wallowing!
Wild boar is still delicious, however, and people love eating them. Also, its DnD, just make sure the Paladin and the Druid are at the cookout. :D

Yeah, but... sentients man. You don't eat things you can carry on a conversation with.
I mean...what is sentience if not modern speech for "it has a soul, a conscious spirit"? It's not like any RL animist culture I've ever heard of were vegetarians.


Had this posted in the Gore thread also, last session my players were under the guise of a high level illusion, infiltrating a big orc lair. To not pull attention their were - to their dismal - forced to partake on the cooked Halfling served there.