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Planning a Dessert for RPG Couples

The Heroes' Feast Cookbook has so many recipes that you can mix and match as you see fit, and in this case we decided to skip ahead to a dessert perfect for Valentine's Day: Meal's End.

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Meal's End​

Found in the elven recipe section, Meal's End is not specifically part of any Dungeons & Dragon's world:
Heavy cream, foraged fruits, and a crushed dark meringue comprise a delightful combination of flavors that offer a light and colorful post-meal elven sweet. Elves aren't decadent and are resultantly not known for their culinary prowess with desserts, but this refreshing dish is quick to concoct and easy to serve by the bowlful, requiring no baking.
The recipe says it serve four, but as is typical with Heroes' Feast, it produces significantly more portions than we were willing to eat. Cut it in half if you're planning to make it a meal for two.

More important, this recipe requires 2 ounces of "packaged or homemade" coca or vanilla meringues. My wife ended up making her own meringues, which took a whopping five hours to bake. The meringues are really an important ingredient in this dessert.

This is a dessert meant to be consumed, not stored, so extras might be problematic. "Serve the Meal's End immediately after making it because time is unkind to the texture of the meringues." I'm still eating it (so far, each one of these meals have easily lasted a week), but then I'm not too picky.

Overall, we found this tasty if somewhat overpowering as a dessert. We used strawberries, but you can replace the strawberries with just about any other kind of fruit. To give it a pinker texture, you can add a berry liqueur. My wife enjoyed it, but felt it needed more fruit. My daughter didn't hate this concoction (she's not a fan of strawberries) but she didn't love it either.

Could you make this meal for that special someone? Certainly, but be sure you have access to the meringues and find out what their favorite fruit is first.

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A Brief History of Valentine's Day​

Holidays like Valentine's Day are sometimes portrayed as a cynical part of the modern age, but the celebration of Valentine's Day actually goes back in history to at least AD 270 with the Roman holiday of Lupercalia. Celebrated about the same time (February 13 through the February 15), The name contains the Latine "lupus" or "wolf," which is a hint to its possible origins as a Greek festival to Pan, also known by the Romans as Lupercus.

The festival involved a sacrifice of a goat and dog along with other food, followed by the priests (Luperci) using thongs to slap anyone they meet with the thongs, bestowing fertility and prosperity on those who were touched. Christian mythology has a different take however:
The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death. Still others insist that it was Saint Valentine of Terni, a bishop, who was the true namesake of the holiday. He, too, was beheaded by Claudius II outside Rome.
Whatever the original inspiration for the holiday, it's clear Valentine's Day doesn't have to be just about cards and flowers to that special someone. Not surprisingly, D&D's fantasy worlds have their own variants.

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Valentine's Day-Like Holidays in D&D​

The Forgotten Realms has Midsummer:
Exactly halfway through the year, there's Midsummer; Midwinter's warm counterpart that falls between Flamerule 30 and Eleasis 1. Midsummer is a festival that celebrates love and music, and it's also a day when people believe that the gods themselves intervene to ensure good weather (so, if there's bad weather on Midsummer Night, that's considered an extremely bad omen). Midsummer is an interesting combination of Valentine's Day and the Fourth of July; it's romantic and jovial, lighthearted all around.
Greyhawk's deity, Hanali Celanil, celebrates Secrets of the Heart:
Hanali's holy days are on the full moon, and beautiful objects are sacrificed to her monthly. While Hanali's clerics are given to frequent impromptu revels, their greatest celebrations are held every month beneath the bright light of the full moon. Such holy days are known as, Secrets of the Heart, for romantically involved participants are said to experience the full bloom of their affections on such nights, allowing them to evaluate the strength of their feelings. Likewise, the inner beauty of celebrants visibly manifests as a rosy glow in their cheeks and eyes for days thereafter. Offerings of objects of great beauty are made to Lady Goldheart during such holy festivals, some of which are swept into Arvandor while others are returned to be shared among Hanali's followers. It is not uncommon for artists to unveil their latest work at such holy days, nor is it rare for young lovers to either pledge their troth secretly or proclaim it to all assembled, for doing so is said to invite Hanali's favor.
Keither Baker identifies two holidays as possible candidates for Eberron:
Boldrei's Feast is a general rule. Arawai's Blessing is a harvest festival, but also a time for couples to exchange gifts. In a number of campaigns I've played in, someone has shown up in the role of the Traveler to give gifts.
Finally, there isn't a specific holiday in Ravenloft and probably doesn't need to be, as Strahd's backstory is filled with unrequited love. But I couldn't resist including this Valentine's Day card from Wizards of the Coast:

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Like Thanksgiving-style holidays, Valentine's Day-style holidays are an opportunity to flesh out a player character's backstory through role-play. Unlike feasting holidays, Valentine's Day tends to be much more personal and begs the question: is the PC in a relationship? To whom? Answering those questions can be an adventure unto itself. Happy Valentine's Day!
 
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Michael Tresca

Michael Tresca

embee

Lawyer by day. Rules lawyer by night.
Tip:

If you're going to try to make an "authentic" dessert, bear in mind it should not contain sugar. For sweetness, one should use honey. Sugar itself was extremely rare in Europe until the end of the 18th century, when sugar beet cultivation began in earnest.
 




Zardnaar

Legend
I'm biased; Eaton Mess is one of my favorite desserts.

We have something similar but call it Pavlova.
It's nice enough but opportunity cost. Its not cheesecake.

Or this.
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