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Do your rations need an upgrade?
While Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) players have sought out inns and taverns for a hot tasty meal since the game's inception, that doesn't mean those public houses are the only place for a good stew or a refreshing ale. One way a game master can make their towns feel more immersive and unique is to diversify the food and associated vendors available to the players. Jerky, dried fruit, hardtack, and nuts might be fantastic for some, but why not choose to bring excitement to what might otherwise be mundane and uninspired?
A straightforward approach might be to create establishments specializing in specific recipes, food categories, or cultures. This kind of diversity not only provides the players with more attractive options but can give players another avenue to explore the many civilizations of their D&D world. These new and exciting gourmand opportunities present additional and more immersive interactions with townsfolk that can lead to rewarding roleplay.
Creating bakeries, delis, meat markets, grocery stores, or various food stands can be a fun and refreshing way to liven up your cities or local towns. However, an eatery's usefulness can go beyond simple transactions for more interesting sustenance. Clever GMs and quick-thinking players may find creative ways to incorporate these new goods into their sessions. Adventurers may appease an otherwise irrational monster by exchanging rare meats. They could persuade a particularly demanding person of import with decadent hand-made pastries. A finicky God might even request a specific culinary offering to satiate a divine craving. There may be no limit to the opportunities for imaginative storytelling when good food is involved.
What else does an eatery sell?
Eateries may also be an excellent place for players to learn specific skills or find unique and valuable tools associated with a trade they already know. New players may be unaware that many chosen backgrounds provide tools and the proficiency to use them, allowing them to craft and sell goods to make money during campaign downtime. However, depending on where you find yourselves in Faerûn, your specific trade may come with stiff competition or not be in demand by the local townspeople. Brewers in a major city may be at odds with the local guild artisans. At the same time, it may seem silly for a butcher to set up shop in a town of religiously devoted vegetarians. Situations like these, providing the party has the time and the GM allows it, could be the perfect opportunity to learn something new and fatten up that coin pouch.
Local delicatessens may also sell tools or implements associated with their relative professions. Brewers, bakers, and cooks may be the most apparent artisans to benefit from these resources, as their line of work aligns more closely with the industry. However, other tradespeople who may have misplaced or broken a necessary tool may find new opportunities if willing to think beyond the norm. A paring knife, usually reserved for peeling vegetables, could make a tremendous whittling tool. A tenderizer, used to soften tough cuts of meat, could substitute for a passable hammer in a pinch. Even an alchemist might find a helpful glass vessel, rare spice, or irregular herb at the correct establishment.