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Who brings food? The GM or the Players?


I've seen it run both ways, with GMs sometimes taking on hosting duties ("Thank you so much for coming to my home! Have some pulled pork.") and other times expecting snacks to be heaped upon their GM throne ("If you're going to come to my house, you're going to contribute to the snack fund.") Those are two very different attitudes, and it can lead to etiquette confusion when you move between groups.

My question to the board: How does your group play it? And more importantly, how do you convey that information to the rest of the group? Do you make a formal point of it in Session Zero, or just assume that everyone will pick up on subtext?

Comic related.


Lover of things you hate
In one of my games, the couple that hosts the game usually makes dinner (the wife likes to cook), and everyone else brings various snacks.

In another, the host usually volunteers to pick up food from various restaurants, and we all pay him. Occasionally someone else will volunteer to stop at one of their local spots and bring food. We organize it via text and email chains. It's been working fine for the past 10 years.


I suppose I'll start with the most obvious question to ask about this: where are you playing?

Let's assume you're meeting at the GM's house, or one of the other players' homes. In this situation, who brings food depends on agreement, or simply if the host wants to cook, order out, or provide snacks.

If you're gaming in public, bring your own, unless the venue is a restaurant with its own food in which case order food at the restaurant.


When I was a kid, the DM didn't pay for the food. The other players chipped in and fed him. Hence the saying, "Any DM worth his pizza..."

But that was like 30 years ago. In my current group we just take turns bringing the food.

But if you are a player, and the DM not only provides the game, but feeds you, then you are IMO indebted. At least buy the guy some nice stuff for GM's day.


Well, that was fun
Staff member
Everyone, including both GM and host, provides something small. We don’t eat much while gaming. Most of us have dinner at home beforehand.


I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
The players bring the food.

The proper (and only) way to do this is for the players to bring all of the food to the DM. Then the DM chooses which of the offerings the DM shall partake of.

After the DM has taken the most desirable snacks and victuals, the players may divvy up the rest.

Also? Never, ever look the DM in the eye, for that is the way of madness.


Our games are at 7:30pm on a weeknight at my home (as DM). I usually never provide food or snacks unless we had some stuff left over we're trying to get rid of (like extra pies around the holidays). The players usually bring the snacks and the drinks they want to have and share.


The players bring the food.

The proper (and only) way to do this is for the players to bring all of the food to the DM. Then the DM chooses which of the offerings the DM shall partake of.

After the DM has taken the most desirable snacks and victuals, the players may divvy up the rest.

Also? Never, ever look the DM in the eye, for that is the way of madness.
I shudder to think of what liberties your DMs get on your player's wedding nights... ;)


I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
I shudder to think of what liberties your DMs get on your player's wedding nights... ;)
...I was going for more of a Cthulhu vibe than a Braveheart one. ;)

After all, if the offerings aren't up to par, you can always eat the players.


Slayer of Keraptis
We don't get to play often, so when we do, it's a 6 hours or so. Usually I'm the DM (or one of my other players) and we typically either play at my house or his (depending on who's DMing). Both of us as DMs also make a full spread of a meal that we take in the middle of our session. And I mean a full meal like a main meat (turkey, ribs, ribeye, etc) with homemade dinner rolls/bread and a few veggie dishes, and a homemade dessert. I like to cook, so it helps lol. I provide several beverage options as well: many types of wine or beer or non alcoholic juice (I also brew and make my own juices and cider) and of course coffee. And then everyone else brings their own individual snacks if they want.

Ralif Redhammer

For my home group, I host and DM. I’ll generally have a baseline of chips and guacamole. Anything fancier is on the players. More often than not, finding room on the table for gaming stuff is made difficult by all the food!

As for drinks, I always offer my mixology skills. If people want beer, though, they have to bring it; unless they want some gross gluten-free beer (spoiler alert, they do not).


Rotten DM
I generally play at a game store. You buy your own snacks from the store or you can bring in your own food. Some people do share their food. Occasionally we hold a pot luck at the store. In the past I have provided a lot of snacks until that snack budget got too big. So it was decided people brought their own snacks or threw in for pizza. I was nice and provided sweet tea and popcorn.


Hobbit on Quest
For our Thursday Night game, we usually order for delivery - everyone pitches in for what they're getting. If it's an individual dish like when we order from the Thai place or burritos, everyone pays for their own + a portion of the delivery charge + tip. If it's a shared item like a pizza, everyone partaking is expected to chip in an appropriate fraction.

On Sundays, we used to rotate cooking duties among the 5 players (though for 2 of us, our wives pretty much always had us cooking in their turn as well as our own :rolleyes:). We always had a few food restrictions due to allergies (pineapple, pork) and other intolerances (lactose), then they got worse due to changing health issues over time (heart disease, stomach acid issues, type 2 diabetes), so now it's just too difficult to manage. People now bring their own food and we take a little time out to prep it. Makes for a bit of a crowded kitchen at times, but that's OK. And it's easier.

Flexor the Mighty!

18/100 Strength!
I host and referee most of the time but I get off work an hour before game time so I lack time to cook for a group and I don't eat the garbage they do so. Usually I eat my dinner before arrival then they order pizza when they all get at my house.

On the odd nights we game at another friends house he will often make something but he's got time and enjoys cooking.

Usually a few bags of chips and snacks and bottles of whiskey are brought by various players as well.
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Steeliest of the dragons
Ideally, ou would hope that multiple people re contributing in some fashion. If they're not bringing snacks, they're bringing beverages. If they're not bringing beverages, they're making something at home. it's kinda a group by group thing.

I've had groups who rotate, session to session, who is 'in charge" of snacks. That way people that like to cook or bake can do their thing, but its not necessary all of the time. People who just want to order a pizza or some wings can do that on their turn. People who just want chips and pretzels, they get that.

I've had groups that were "pot luck". Everyone just brings something...and generally, other than water, most folks handle their own beverages. Of course if there is a 12 pack of soda (or beer) or whatever, grown adults are going to share with their friends.

I've had groups that were a "pony up" situation. Everyone just threw in, like $5, per week (session). And that money was used to purchase the following week's table food/snacks.

If you have someone who enjoys hosting and/or cooking then you're a lucky GM or player. But that person shouldn't be responsible for footing the bill for all food/ingredients, at all times. Everyone should have a couple of bucks to contribute or spend on a bag of chips or cookies or something the whole table can enjoy. Even just throwing in a $20 every so long is helpful/appreciated.


This one really should be pretty simple, at least with the common manners that I was raised with...
If I'm going to someone's else at dinner time or for a party, I ask them what I can bring, and suggest something. You know, like "Thanks for having me join in, can I bring some snacks or drinks for everyone?"

Now, as for groups, a lot of times I know GMs host, and a lot of times they also feel like they should entertain. Personally, I feel the GM already does enough and shouldn't be expected to provide food etc. I mean they already spend all that prep time, and often buy the adventures and everything else. They should not also be expected to provide food or drinks.


Orcus on a bad hair day
Let's see. Games almost always happen after work. We all are employed.

One game I ran but do not host. Players (can) all kick in for pizza which is for everyone including DM, but I think the host doesn't bother to collect for it unless someone gives him money. Some players bring personal drinks or healthier food. Occasional/rare someone brings snacks, but those are shared. One player always brings a 6-pack of hard cider and the like for everyone. That game ended, the host is now running, and continuing to supply pizza.

Two games I play in a common space for an apartment. People either have eaten dinner or bring it with them. People commonly bring snacks, always to share. No "rotation" or anything - some never bring, still welcomed to enjoy. Common space has coffee and water available; when those were sometimes missing some players started bringing cases of bottled water and k-cups for the coffee machine.

Sumamry - we're emplyed and don't worry about it too much. Dinner outside pizza seems to be player responsibility, otherwise people bring snacks/drinks as they want for all to share.