I’ve seen people try to make healing more and more rules-light in their OSR games. No rolling of hit die. No “1HP per night”. No “well you need to have had at least an hour for your Short Rest”1. Just heal, or die already.
Into The Odd has “five minutes and a glass of water” for healing temporary effects. And Wombat (among others) has proposed “eat/drink/rest makes you heal”. And I wondered how to make eating more interesting, without making it more complicated. How can we add some roleplay, rather than some roll-play?
So I was thinking about this idea this morning, in retrospect I probably had too small a breakfast. I like thinking about food! I like talking about food, and what happens if I get my players to talk about food too? In 5e, your reward for RP is Inspiration, granting advantage on a single roll. Let’s give inspiration for some food.
This isn’t the most complex of ideas - if the players describe their food engagingly, and have reason to believe they can prepare or buy good food that evening, they do so. They then get Inspiration on one stat-based skill-check that day, based on the food. For non-5e games this can be any mechanical advantage on a die-roll, or even reminding the GM that they ate this food. Maybe now no skill roll is necessary?
Actually, you ate so well yesterday, you can put on that extra burst of speed and catch the pickpocket running from you
So, how would this work?
Well, you could get your Strength boosted from a protein-heavy meal. You can have your favourite meat or perhaps a good lentil stew or dahl. Dexterity makes me think of “low-GI” foods that are easily digestible. A platter of greasy eggs would not help you ride the wind.! Constitution is served by all the carbohydrates, in all forms. Carbs, carbs, carbs: baked, roasted, boiled, fried.
I started having to stretch here, but Intelligence could need a brain food, like oily fish? Not my 🫖 personally but you don’t necessarily have to like the food you’re eating. Wisdom could be from smoking a pipe2, or from a sophisticated dessert. Charisma can go a few ways, there’s the foods that make you amorous, or liquid courage. A bit of confidence to brazen out your conversations. Or maybe you could use this for advantage on Fear saves, go right into it!!
First of all, what would you get in the traditional western medieval euro-fantasy staple of the town pub? Simple hearty food, that’s what. Doesn’t have to be a black pudding3, but you’d be missing out.
|STR||A hearty couple of carved slices off today’s spit-roast 🍖|
|DEX||A well-made porridge in the morning will have you up and out in a hurry|
|CON||Delicious carby stodge. A well-seasoned turnip stew 🍲. Flatbreads from a street vendor|
|INT||Fish chowder from today’s catch 🎣|
|WIS||🍻 Slightly less than two drinks of beer|
|CHA||The secret, good, bottle of spirits the bartender will offer you “considering you’re well-regarded”|
Now, what if you were in the town, and were spending your well-earned money 💰 on the finest treats in the eateries available? You could get a bit carried away, and I’d kind of want to hear that. In UVG, treasure has the idea that its worth comes from how many adjectives in front of it. I can’t really link this in here, I just want people to talk about food! 😋
|STR||The most decadent meat 🥩 you can think of, stuffed with the second-most decadent|
|DEX||Roasted vegetables, drizzled in truffle oil|
|CON||Your favourite ragù. Mine is beef 🐮|
|INT||Cajun halibut on a bed of steamed greens|
|WIS||A selection of cheeses 🧀 and port. Makes you look smart, anyway. 🧐|
|CHA||Lobster thermidor 🦞|
Finally, what would you actually eat on campaign? What foods could be prepared sumptuously over an open fire? I’m not suggesting collecting entheogenic plants (or animals 🐸) for this part. There are typically established Herbalism rules that I’m not trying to interfere with.
But you could harvest something that would just relax you and prepare you for tomorrow. 😪
|STR||Fresh venison, burnt on the outside, pink in the middle|
|DEX||Fruit straight from the trees or bushes, juicy and bright as jewels 🍓|
|CON||🥔 🥔 PO-TAY-TOES! 🥔 🥔|
|INT||Wrap that fish you caught in mud, slow bake it in the embers of the fire!|
|WIS||Mushrooms; picked carefully for the right sort 🍄|
|CHA||Fermenting coconuts? 🥥|
Damn. I mean damn, I’m hungry now.