Welcome to the 19th day of dice-ember. Today we will be looking at, well what is on my mind right now to be honest, but something that anyone would hope to find at any marketplace or gathering of stalls. Food.
Now food isn’t something that you would traditionally find in a D&D campaign but I would find it a hard to argue point that characters have to eat, NPCs sell food and that even your bad guys will find some way to interact with food, the NPCs and thus the party. Now it could be just me but at this time of the year when I picture food its a wide variety of cuisines, quality, quantities and price points so let’s have a look at some of what the great market has to offer.
The great food bazar
Despite the bitter cold that had set down across the Merchants Glen the exotic smells from the great food bazar had Grant’s mouth watering as he made his way back from the warehouse which was, so far, a dead-end in the wagon heist case. As he walked past the brightly decorated stalls he could not keep his eyes from wandering from the platters of meat that had been roasted, barbequed, fried or seared over a fire. Every stall a different cascade of flavours, colours, smells and sounds for his senses and the more he walked the more aware of his hunger he became.
“Grant, captain Grant!” a voice called from one such stall, this one selling a mixture of meat, vegetable and a wide variety of spices wrapped in a wheat dough that was wrapped into a log before being fried in a pan with butter, a lot of butter.
“Yousef, what can I assist you with?” Grant asked as he approached the man. Most people knew him and the reason he patrolled the streets alone, he was a one man force and even the street gangs feared him.
“I wanted to thank you for finding where my stolen spices had gotten to. Without you finding them I would not have been able to make this batch of bon-goblins” Yousef smiled and to emphasise his point he clacked the metal tongs together twice. “If its ok with you I’d like you to have the first of the batch” he said with a smile, reaching onto the plate with the bon-goblins and picking one of the golden fried parcels.
“I really can’t, not while on duty Youssef” Grant said raising his hands and backing away trying to dismiss the offer.
“You can’t always be on duty. Besides I can hear your tummy growling my friend. Go, take it. It’s the least I can do for Merchants Glen’s best watch captain.” he said with a knowing smile as he raised a single eyebrow. Youssef was a good man, honest and hard working. Grant didn’t doubt his character but didn’t want to be seen playing favourites or anything with one of market stall owners.
Sighing Grant stepped forward “Just one Youssef, I can’t take more than one” he said extending his hand.
*Clack clack* the metal tongs went as Youssef practically shook with giddy excitement “I have just the one” he said with more glee than what was appropriate as he swooped his hand down and plucked a single fat bon-goblin and placed it in Grants open hand.
Carefully taking a bit as the parcel was still hot Grant watched as Youssef looked onward with great interest. The wrapping was crunchy and rich yet light and airy, as the hot innards of the parcel entered his mouth the sweetness of the meat mixed with the blend of bitter and tangy spices while the extreme aromatics and chilli overtook his senses. The spices, sweet meat and the mix of vegetables created something that was truly delicious.
“This is great Youssef, you have outdone yourself” Grant said as he was finally able to swallow the hot mouthful he had taken. The man in front of him beamed with pride and bowed low, nearly setting his beard in the hot pan.
“Your praise is truly humbling. Are you sure you don’t want another?” he asked, clacking tongs already diving towards another parcel.
“No, no. The one will do. Next time I am off duty I will come get more” Grant promised, yet unsure if or when he would be actually off duty. Smiling and waving as he walked off he inhaled the last of the savoury spiced meal before moving to the next. It wasn’t long until Grant stumbled upon one the stalls he actually normally sought out. This one specialised in rolls, slightly stale just to be clear, that were laden with roast meats, a few vegetables and then smothered in a thick, rich gravy that seemed to soak into the bread to make it meal in its own right.
“The usual Grant” A pretty young woman asked, smiling as she finished with another customer, there were always customers here.
“Good afternoon Whitney, no thanks. Already had a bit to eat so will pass today..” he had barely got the words out of his mouth before Sparrow roused from his hood and all but jumped on the table. Several people around him looked with a mix of awe and fear at the odd scaled bird that he held in his hands. “Quit it Sparrow, damnit you choose the worst times to wake up from your nap” he exclaimed as he tried to grab an control the little creature.
“Good afternoon to you too Sparrow. Mean Grant doesn’t want any today so I am sorry little one” Whitney said in mock apology.
“Alright alright the usual!” Grant called as tiny little claws started to scratch his skip as Sparrow desperately tried to get to the food.
Within a minute or so Sparrow had half a role clutched in the claws on his short wings and was eagerly hunting for his favourite bits before he picked the bread apart piece by piece.
“Such an odd creature” Whitney mused leaning on the bench as the last of the customers left.
“Tell me about it, he seems to be having a rough day to. I think he is slipping” Grant mused as he bit into the roll, his stomach urging him to reconsider any more rich, dense food.
“That’s not like Sparrow. Nothing gets past his smell or his keen eyes. Maybe you just need to see it from his perspective?” Whitney said with a giggle as Sparrow finished his part of the roll and looked hungrily at Grants portion. Not wanting to end up with other cuts and scratches he resigned his roll to the bird-thing, to it and his stomach’s delight.
“Yeah well, it must be the cold. He always goes a bit sluggish and off his game when it’s cold.” Grant said with a sigh. Thanking Whitney he scooped up his companion and walked the last few blocks towards the Watch tower, where he and the other city guards spent most of their time when not out on patrol or responding to an incident.
As he walked through the door to his room he pondered what Whitney could have meant as he sat down to a mountain of unorganised notes and resigned himself to his fate.
Well that’s it for tonight. I wanted to try and get through several different foods that could be found but didn’t quite feel like writing a book on a made up villages street food, at least not tonight when I am dealing with my own food coma.
Don’t forget to come back tomorrow for more Dice-ember content and as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe