Adventure Hooks: Warrior Needs Food, Badly!

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on April 7, 2014

a-to-z-2014-fVery few games I’ve ever played in or run spend much time worrying about what PCs eat, how frequently they eat, or where they get the food that sustains them. It’s not usually an interesting part of the game so we gloss over it. Obviously every living creature eats, but we just assume that meals happen behind the scenes. Food is not usually an important part of D&D. But it can be if we make it so.

Throughout April Dungeon’s Master is participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. The challenge is to write a new article ever day in April, excluding Sundays. That’s 26 articles over the course of the month. To make things even more interesting the title of each article will begin with a different letter of the alphabet. This year we’ve decided that every article will provide our readers with new adventure hooks. Today “F” is for Food as we share some adventure hooks to satisfy your hunger for ideas.

I gave up trying to track rations back in AD&D 2e. We just assume PCs have what they need to survive or buy it or hunt for it. Yet, whenever the DM presents the party with a chance to have a meal in-game most players have their characters participate. They recognize that life on the road likely means terrible food for their PC. When the party finally arrives in town they usually look for a soft bed and a good meal. It’s during these times that the DM can make food fun.

Today we share new adventure hooks to inspire DMs. They all revolve around food in some way. If everyone eats then anything that threatens the food supply will be seen as a big deal by most. It shouldn’t be too difficult to get PCs to bit on these hooks and then bite on some delicious food.

Adventure Hooks: Warrior Needs Food, Badly!

1. Just can’t get enough

The PCs are hired by a retired adventurer with exotic tastes. During his days on the road he acquired a taste for Dragon steaks. His adventuring party specialized in Dragon slaying so he always had plenty of meat. When he retired he had lots of meat and sufficient gold pieces to feed his hunger. However, his personal supply of Dragon steaks has dwindled and he must resort to hiring adventurers to get him more.

2. Exotic tastes

Visiting diplomats from all across the land are coming to a special banquet. The lord hosting the event wants to present dishes from each dignitary’s home land. Unfortunately many of the items are only available in those lands. The PCs are hired to find everything on the chef’s list in time to serve it at the feast. There’s not enough time to travel to each location so the PCs will need to improvise and find creative solutions.

3. Mystery meat

In a large city a new restaurant is all the rave. All dishes contain a special meat that people can’t get enough of. It’s become so popular that people are travelling to this restaurant from other towns and villages just to try the food – few are disappointed. Other restaurateurs in the city are frustrated and curious. They’re losing considerable business. If they can’t figure out how to compete with this new restaurant their business could fail. The PCs are hired to find out what’s in the stew.

[Two Trolls are chained in the basement. Each day the chef carves away sections of the creature’s bodies and serves the meat to his customers. The Trolls regenerate quickly giving the chef and unlimited supply of meat. There’s nothing harmful about eating properly cooked Troll flesh, but the customers would likely be disgusted to identify the mystery mat and identify the supplier.]

4. A dish best served cold

Word of the PCs’ heroics has spread far and wide and they’ve gained a reputation throughout the land. To mark the one year anniversary of the time they did that awesome thing, they are invited to a banquet in their honour. While in town they are treated like royalty and don’t have to pay for anything. The banquet is an all you can eat feast where select townsfolk get a chance to dine with the heroes. As the night progresses some of the PCs start to get a bad feeling.

[This set up can go in any number of directions depending on what best suits your campaign. In all scenarios the banquet was set up by someone who wants to see the PCs harmed. The food served to the PCs is laced with hallucinogenic drugs. Once ingested the drug distorts their perception. When something happens during the banquet that requires the PCs to act they think they’re attacking monsters when in fact they’re harming innocent people. Only when the drugs effects wear off do they realize their mistake. Alternatively the banquet is an elaborate trap to have the PCs killed (think Red Wedding). Mid-way through the feast the PCs may notice that the servers now have weapons at their sides and are wearing armor under their uniforms. Likewise most guests are wearing armor. The PCs are not.]

5. Where’s the beef?

The PCs are hired by a local rancher to find and stop some local cattle rustlers.

[I’ll admit that this is a pretty straight forward adventure hook, so let’s give it a D&D spin to make it more interesting. The rustlers were hired by a large figure shrouded in shadows. He pays well so they don’t ask too many questions. The mystery man is a Minotaur who is appalled by those who eat the flesh of his brethren. When he gets the cattle from the rustlers he purifies the animals in a ritual to Baphomet. The animals are unharmed but their flesh is rendered inedible in the process and they are branded with Baphomet’s mark as a warning not to eat them.]

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1 Joe April 7, 2014 at 11:03 am

Just watched an episode of Elementary last night wherein Sherlock had some very rare moose cheese that was only created 3 times a year. Watson asks him why only 3 times/year, and he responds, “Well, I’ve never milked a moose myself, but I’d imagine you have to wait till it’s in the right mood.”

Immediately my mind went to D&D applications. Replace Moose with Owlbear or Minotaur or Manticore, and you’ve got yourself one heck of a challenge.

2 charlotte April 7, 2014 at 12:24 pm

I really enjoyed your post. Nice to connect and follow

3 Ryan of Nerdarchy April 7, 2014 at 9:47 pm

This was a really fun read! One big issue with RPGs in general is that when the Game Master gives details about ANYTHING it raises the PCs “Encounter Sense”. If a NPC gives the players wine or food, about half of them assume that it’s drugged or poisoned- there’s always an insidious motive ascribed to any interaction. As a GM, I love to give innocuous details that are just that- sometimes the rustling in the bushes is just a rabbit, sometimes a seemingly tasty bowl of stew is just a tasty bowl of stew. Giving these sensory details makes the world more real to the players and let’s them drop their guard so that when you do spring an encounter that starts with “the wine you’ve been drinking has been drugged”, it’s that much more impactful.

This is also timely as I’m getting ready to run a Dark Sun game and if you don’t run some sessions where having food and water is an issue, you’re not doing the setting right in my opinion.

4 dcdnd April 7, 2014 at 10:35 pm

Doesn’t point 1 contradict your Save the Dragons post?

5 Ameron (Derek Myers) April 8, 2014 at 10:24 am

It does. I’m busted.

Thanks for clicking through and reading both articles. When I used this hook in my game I didn’t actually use “Dragon steaks” I used another monster, Purple Worm if I remember correctly. However, saying Dragon steaks gets the DM’s mind moving in the right direction immediately. What creature they choose to use it up to them.

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