Sunday, September 29, 2013

Feeding Forsbury

A stream of consciousness blog entry: So I was trying to figure out what they eat in Forsbury - the main city for my main, currently running campaign. The easy answer is “beef”. The plains around the city are filled with cattle herds. Not only are there a lot of them, but they grow ‘em big in Forsbury; steers are generally 20% heavier than steers found elsewhere. But what else? Forsbury is a depot town - the caravans roll in, dump their cargos in warehouses, pick up different loads, and head back where they came from. So with that much trade and that many foreigners, there need to be a lot of different types of food around. The problem is, this is the plains. Not the worst farmland in the world, but not the best. And nobody is wasting good pastureland on an orchard. So what are they growing? Well, mainly feed for the livestock. Some snow falls in Forsbury during the winter, so there is definitely a need to have feed stored for the coldest months. With all those caravans rolling into and out of town, food is imported, which works for all the foreigners in town. But is there any fresh? Not really. There would be a small amount of fresh fruit available (seasonally - blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries, both wild and domesticated), but almost all fruits would be preserved in some manner. This is both because locally produced is still several days away from the end user (without any means of refrigeration), and because of the caravan culture that expects everyone is constantly traveling. Think raisins, prunes and dried apricots. So do they have any fruits? Sure, but mainly as preserves and jams. They also drink their fruits in apple cider and wine. They do have vegetables, but again, the kinds that are “built to last”. Potatoes, carrots, turnips; root vegetables that will keep if stored properly. There will also be several styles of pickled vegetables. To be honest, I’m thinking I don’t know if I want to eat there, so let’s liven it up a bit. Protein - Here they know what they’re doing! Fresh beef is available, and possibly even to the upper lower classes. Now the poorer folks are probably buying beef bones for soups and stews, but the middle class folks should be able to have corned beef or beef sausage. One of the largest producers of pork sausages is in town, so all manner of those will be available as well, including fresh, dried, pickled and smoked. Walnuts and pecans are grown in the region, both wild and domesticated, so there will be a mess of nut recipes. (Sorry for any of you peanut fans, but peanuts are considered slave food and probably not sold to free people.) Just north of Forsbury, they have wheat fields as far as the eye can see, and breads (really rolls) are easily found. Just to the south, though not as prolific, are the fields of pasta wheat, and dried pastas would be easy to come by. No one really trusts tomatoes, so don’t think of a tomato sauce - more likely a cheese sauce over that pasta. This is just a start, and I can hear the gold farmers out there asking why it even matters. OK, They probably stopped reading before this point. It matters to the roleplaying. You cannot sit down in an inn and expect a fresh salad, especially not in January. It also matters for when the players go off-road. If they are chasing bandits through the “wilds” of Forsbury, what’s out there? Well, cattle and plains. Do they need to worry about riding through an irrigated field that might have hidden canals? Nope, just plains. Will the bandits have forests to hide in - not many. Not every region is built the same way, and now you as a GM know what this region is like, and can far better run your campaign through it. But no, none of this adds to the damage modifier on your sword.

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