Sunday, August 25, 2013
What Kind of Sandwiches Do They Eat?
“a nice MLT: a mutton, lettuce and tomato sandwich, where the mutton is nice and lean and the tomato is ripe. They're so perky, I love that.” What kind of sandwiches do they eat in your fantasy city? Do they eat sandwiches at all? Mine don’t. There is one culture, the Angles, where they split rolls and put meat in them. But it’s considered cowboy food. After all, a slice of roast beef inside a roll wrapped in a napkin is a great lunch for a cowboy who needs to carry the food with him and eat while in the saddle. Nobody else does that, in fact it’s considered incredibly rude. “Greatest thing since sliced bread” - There is no sliced bread in my world. In fact there aren’t even loaves of bread in my world. It’s either flat bread or rolls. And it’s eaten on the side, or perhaps dipped in the soup. I was going to write a book called 100 Bar Foods, a companion to 100 Bar Drinks, but I don’t think it will sell, at least not on its own. I don’t think there are enough GMs out there who actually think about stuff like this. What do they make the bread out of here? What types of meat are available? What’s common and what’s upper crust (no bread pun intended)? How do they eat? I like Rome. I like the history. I like the lessons we should learn about what happens when you have too few people controlling too much governmental power. Rome had a lot of fast food. They had to; their apartments didn’t have kitchens. They had hamburgers. I don’t know what they called them, but there is documented evidence of something that you might call a meatball sandwich using a flattened meatball. They probably did that because you could buy it at the counter and eat it while walking away. No plate necessary. I needed something like that, so I made the waurglars, but they’re a lot closer to a stromboli. It shouldn’t be hard to figure it out, but GMs seldom take the time to do it. Maybe that’s better for me, because quite a few of them seem content to pay me to do it for them. You know what the climate is, so it doesn’t take too much to figure out what grains grow best there. You know the terrain, so you should know what kind of animals will work there, domestically or wild game. You put the two together. Admittedly, I add some culture: Do they bake, boil or broil? Do they use salt, spices, sauces or pretty much plain? How does it affect your game? Well, when the characters hit the tavern during or after a mission, they probably don’t have a choice of what to eat. They ask for a meal and a beer and they eat what the tavern has cooked. As GM, wouldn’t it be better to add a little flavor (this pun was intended) to the game. In the Rhoric Hills, they sit down to a plate of goulash with spatzle, red cabbage and a rye roll. In Brinston, they’re served fish stew with wheat rolls and salted wheat toast. In Scaret, they get a pile of “earthmeat” (mashed potatoes, turnips and carrots) with boiled cabbage and some roast mutton. Maybe you think your players don’t care. Then again, maybe they would if they only had the chance to experience it.