This category covers all manner of perishables and common items consumed by the people of Rym. Most are widely available and inexpensive, though there are exceptions whenever the gorgs are involved. These items are presented here to enrich the various cultures and reflect their wide diversity, without going into excessive detail. Some, such as the mind-numbing chith, are quite important, given their impact on the world. Others are just a little extra story color. Variations in cost are relatively minor, and tend to reflect overall quality.
Just about everyone needs to eat, with the possible exception of Machines, and the life-sucking minions of the Eater. Each culture has its own solutions to the perpetual problem of hunger, whether it's hunting down and combining dozens of exotic ingredients, or ripping a fallen enemy limb from limb. Most small towns serve only local food, while larger cities will have greater varieties (2-5). The cost listed is for average meals. Fancy meals cost double, and exotic meals triple.
Humans: Renouned picky eaters, most humans insist on cooking and seasoning the vast majority of their food. They consume a wide variety of produce and game, and are quite creative in its preparation. Popular dishes include stews, soups, breads of all kinds, cooked vegetables, and common fowl, though in a pinch, any skewered meat thrust into an open fire will do. Their food is also most commonly available, even in remote areas. Most humans eat three meals a day. Average Meal: 1d4 coin
Elves: Far more natural in their cullinary approach, elves are partial to small, light meals throughout their waking hours. Fruit and nuts are common, as well as small game roasted and dusted with flower petals. Many elves are vegetarian, tending exotic gardens of vegetables and herbs, often from generation to generation. Their professional preparation is highly artistic and particularly colorful, though the portions are almost laughably small. Average Meal: 2d4 coin
Skoles: While many southerners believe the skoles to be barbaric eaters of raw flesh, this is not always an accurate portrayal. Skoles are almost entirely carnivorous, which is not surprising given their natural habitat, and thus their entire cullinary range revolves around meat. Whether dried, smoked, or jerked, most is specially prepared to last, as lean times are frequent among the nomads. Though somewhat crude, their dishes are meant to provive a lot of energy and internal warmth. Skoles eat when they're hungry, usually once every two days. Average Meal: 1d4 Coin
Lapix: Though entirely vegetarian, the lapix manage to produce a fantastic variety of simple-yet-hearty meals. Spiced vegetable creole, flavored bread, clover cheese, fruit pies, candied flower petals, and countless other variations thereof make up the bulk of the lapix diet, though they will chew twigs in a pinch. Lapix seem to prefer periods of lean snacking followed by sporadic, belt-loosening binges. They tend to avoid meat of all kinds, though they rarely preach their own eating habits to carnivores. Average Meal: 1d6 Coin
Lutrai: Not surprisingly, the lutrai integrate a wide variety of seafood into their local cuisine. Fish of every kind are most common, but also crabs, lobster, oysters, and scallops. Sliced morsels are combined and wrapped in kelp, occasionally boiled, but usually eaten raw. They also make use of coconuts and many types of tropical fruit to supplement their diet. Lutrai eat whenever they feel like it, which is fairly often, given their metabolism. They also have a penchant for huge feast-parties whenever the excuse can be found. Average Meal: Free (go get it)
Cepn: Few cepn allow themselves the luxury of eating what might be poisoned food. Instead, they prey upon the blood of the living, often keeping slaves to this effect. These 'blood prey' are drugged to create a variety of flavors and effects, and usually hidden away when not in use. Feasts are ghoulish affairs, to say the least, and one of the many reasons the cepn are reviled by the surface races. Those cepn who cannot afford slaves are usually the lower class, forced to prepare their own food, using a variety of cave-dwelling fish and insects. Average Meal: 1d4 Coin (Non-slave)
Koba: Simply put, koba eat almost everything. They don't need a local cuisine, because for them, cuisine is on location just about everywhere. They'll eat any green plant in a pinch, but favor aquatic varieties such as bullrushes and water lotus. They will also eat bark, small twigs, and wooden furniture that isn't lacquered. Koba are opportunistic eaters, and always hungry enough to nibble on something they shouldn't. They find the complex ritual of preparing one's food mind-boggling, but will quickly succumb to anything that smells good. Average Meal: N/A
Hoomiku: The ultimate paranoid diners, most hoomiku dread the thought of having to eat anything other than their own hydroponic stock or freeze-dried rations. To them, everything organic is likely to be swarming with deadly alien bacteria. Most hoomiku food is well-prepared, almost artistic, but bland and somehow artificial in taste. Supplemented by capsules of processed nutrients, these meals are taken twice a day, and might explain why hoomiku are so thin. The most common are variations of tofu and boiled udon. Average Meal: 3 Coin
Gorgs: The ultimate, undisputed grand champion diners of the known world are the gorgs. Their enormous appetites and decadant tastes call for an astounding array of dishes, all of which are prepared by slaves, and the resulting ethnic combinations can provide a completely different meal for each day of the year. They waste about half of what they have prepared, which is wastefully prepared to begin with, giving the rest to their slaves, or anyone they're fattening up. Like the czath, they consume other sentient species on a regular basis, though they insist on special recipes and preparation for each. Average Meal: 20 Coin
DRINK (Ale, Wines, and Spirits)
It seems that just about every culture the world over has been introduced to some measure of the fermentation process. From the classic human products of distillation and vinting, to the unimaginable swill sucked down by the czath, everyone seems to enjoy a good drink. Even the Spiral Order renders down organic life energy into a vile black ooze that their ageless bodies use to maintain flexibility. There are far too many varieties to fully explain, though the following list details some of the more popular and/or common brews found throughout the civilized lands, and a few of the really exotic oddities from the jagged edge of nowhere. In general, alcohol tends to bolster courage, impair judgement, and loosen the tongue. Its effects are slightly different on the various species, however. Elves often become wild and fae, whereas skoles only seem to loosen up a little. Hoomiku completely lose their phenomenal intelligence, koba become more resistant to cold, and lutrai try to eat everything in sight. The listed prices may go up or down slightly, depending on location or occasionally prejudice.
Juggernaut Ale: The most popular, most massively-marketed ale in history is the gorg-backed Juggernaut brand. The name fits; their opperation is simply so enormous that the lowered production costs alone allow them to crush their better-tasting competition. Juggernaut is far from foul, however, and delivers a bitter, strong kick that is quite reasonable for the price and availability. There are several styles of this particular brand, but the most common is the pale amber ale variety, which is offered at nearly every tavern throughout Erdanis and the Tamaran Empire. Mug: 1 Coin Barrel (30 Gallon): 20 Coin
Mad Angus Ale: First brewed by a retired bounty hunter of obviously questionable sanity, this dark, heavy ale has become popular among the arena crowds of the Tamaran interior. Even the gladiators seem to enjoy it. Of course, the gorgs bought the recipe as soon as it began affecting sales of Juggernaut, and Mad Angus no longer has anything to do with it. If he's even alive. Notably stronger than the average ale, this bitter drink is laced with small quantities of a pain-reducing substance. which may explain to some extent why it's such a hit with the gladiators. Mug: 3 Coin Barrel (30 Gallon): 50 Coin
Clover Ale: This lapix brew is secretly consumed in large quantities throughout central Erdanis, where trade with Arcada is strictly illegal. Thus, it must be smuggled into any establishment willing to risk the fines, often in barrels stamped with another brew's logo. Many consider the risk worthwhile, however, as the lapix are quite masterful brewers, and this is their particular flagship. The light, effervescent ale has an almost ethereal quality to it, and is best consumed with slices of cheese, which hold the taste just a little longer. Even the elves import it. Mug: 5 Coin Barrel (30 Gallon): 100 Coin
Skolish Ice Lager: Skoles are especially well-known for their fondness of good, strong beer. They trade with some of the northern Arcadan colonies just to acquire the necessary ingredients, and have discovered a cold-brewing technique which yields a dark, exceptionally bold and highly potent lager. Traditionally, the ice of Freiluin glaciers is used in the creation of this brew, which seem to give it a very crisp, chilly taste. It is rarely exported, though Tamaran pirates may occasionally bring back stocks raided from less sophisticated skolish navy. It is found commonly throughout Freilu and Arcada. Mug: 4 Coin Barrel (30 Gallon): 60 Coin
Bilefroth Bitter: This hideous mixture could hardly be called an ale, though it does bubble. The czath demonstrate a certain amount of talent in concocting something that can work on their immense frames, though the substance is toxic enough to kill weaker beings. Made from fermented swamp plants and the blood of mammals (including the sentient variety), the resulting black sludge is laced with natural toxins and packs a brutal wallop (Fortitude save DC 10 to keep it down). Those that endure are made stronger (Damage Reduction 1 for 1d4 hours). Mug: 1 Coin Barrel (30 Gallon): 20 Coin
Elven Wine: Elves arrogantly believe that their vintages are vastly superior to those of the shorter-lived races, and they're absolutely right. With that much time, how could they not be? Elven wine is found throughout Arthandur and Arcada, but rarely elsewhere, due to the trade ban between Tamara and the elven nation. Most elven wines are light and sweet, with rich, complex accents that evaporate completely without aftertaste. The drink of kings. Most come in white, pale rose, or pale blue bottles, to match the color of the liquid. The average elven wine cellar will contain bottles that are centuries-old (average 4d100+100). Glass: 15 Coin Barrel (30 Gallon): 400 Coin
Arcadan Ice Wine: A lapix desert wine available only in Arcada. That's because it's absolutely deadly to anyone other than lapix (Poison Type: Injested / DC 26 / Death) who basically grew up eating the poisonous blue berries that go into its fermentation. To them, its just a fantastic aphrodesiac, and is only legal one day a year. Non-lapix who make their saves get the same endorphin rush after a mild chest pain. Glass: 5 Coin Barrel (30 Gallon): 200 Coin
Coconut Mead: Only the lutrai could concoct a mixture of such paralyzing sweetness. Combined with the extracts of giant carnivorous plants, the milk-like substance aquires a slight pearl hue, and a psychotropic effect that makes just about everything seem quite amusing (Mind Fogged for 1d4 hours). The lutraic name for this mixture is Oau (Oh-wow), and some of the Pleasure Beach resorts have been trying to copy it for years, but lack the necessary plants. Thus it's available by looting only. Mug: 10 Coin Barrel (30 Gallon): 250 Coin
Gorgish Mead: This thick, drug-laced soup is consumed in massive quantities by the pleasure-addicted gorgs, and occasionally fed to slaves when the gorgs want to see an amusing show. Any number of narcotic substances may be added during the fermentation process, and by its completion the stuff has fully reached its saturation point. Gorgish mead is usually a semi-opaque amber or peach, and is traditionally drunk from ornamental bowls. Effects include hallucinations, a sense of weightlessness, and an immense, unquenchable hunger. Mug: 20 Coin Barrel (30 Gallon): 400 Coin
Coffin Varnish: Cepn occasionally partake in this dark amber liquid, said to rival even the strongest of spirits distilled on the surface. Laced with chith, it deadens emotions and calms the mind, and is occasionally used by surface-dwellers as a cure for insanity. So-called 'coffin varnish' is the most common surface name for what the cepn call 'nepenthe', or elixir. It is frequently fed to blood-prey living among the cepn. One glass generates a Calm Emotions effect for 2d4 hours. Glass: 10 Coin Barrel (20 Gallon): 200 Coin
QUEST-ADE (Mass-Market Potions)
The gorgs are masters of marketing; this is but one example. One of the latest Tamaran crazes is so-called 'adventuring'. Small groups of wealthy private citizens will band together with the best weapons and armor money can buy, and blunder out into the Tamaran wilderness looking for 'adventure'. Most are a combination of big game hunters, treasure-seekers, and good old fashioned fools, and this is their trademark drink. When adventurers need that little extra boost, they drink Quest-Ade, the choice of gladiators throughout the empire. Sold in elaborate, stylized bottles, Quest-Ade comes in three common varieties (though variations exist). Each provides a surge of some kind, usually narcotic in nature. This makes Quest-Ade rather addictive, and gives it a wide variety of long-term side-effects.
Binary Boost: This potent tonic is actually composed of two seperate liquids which combine during consumption, creating a strong stimulant effect. The violet nectar is syrupy and mildly psychotropic, with a slender spout that creates a 1/2 ratio when poured. The milky base solution contains alcohol and mineral sugars, serving to dilute the intense effects of the nectar without watering down the taste. When combined and quaffed, Binary Boost increases intelligence and charisma by 1d4+1 points each. The effect lasts three hours, characterized by blazing fits of intellect and inspiration, followed by a deep funk. Cost: 30 Coin
Pep-Back: Some Tamarans don't have time to sleep, and with Pep-Back, they don't have to. Not only does it provide the weary mind with the benefits of a full night's rest, but it also relieves a full day's worth of physical fatigue and brings about a state of full alertness. The thin, tea-like mixture does have a few side effects, of course, such as aging the drinker's internal organs and accumulating in the brain, but the gorgs aren't telling anyone. Cost: 20 Coin
Quench: This is a mild healing tonic which has the added benefit of wiping out minor fevers and infections. The ice blue elixir packs a stimulating punch, which is no surprise considering its harsh ingrediants. Quench restores 1d8+3 hit points and increases awareness for 3 hours (+2 to listen and spot checks). It also reduces pain, much like morphine, for the same duration (and with many of the same withdrawls). Cost: 20 Coin
CHITH (The Black Dust)
In order to pacify the vast numbers of slaves controlled by the Tamaran Empire, the gorgs developed a special breed of orchid whose polyn could be made into a powerful, will-stripping narcotic. The barbed epiphyte grows only in dark, moist woodland, and is harvested primarily from the bayou town of Nol. The spines are highly toxic, enough to kill any small animal that might brush against it, or cripple a harvester with nerve-rattling hallucinations. The flowers, once collected, are then dried and separated. The petals can be mixed into hot water to produce a soothing tea with effects similar to valium. The stamen and polyn are ground down into a coarse black powder, the most common form of the drug. This powder is then mixed into slave rations, rapidly causing addiction. It can also be combined with resin and rolled into waxy spheres, for the purpose of force-feeding.
Chith (kye-th) has several effects, which grow more severe as the active chemicals build up in the slave's bloodstream. Passions are slowly numbed, replaced by a creeping apathy and lack of articulation. Physical sensations are reduced as well, including those of fatigue, pain, and hunger, allowing slaves to work longer hours at less cost. Addicts become docile, weak-willed, and untalkative - perfect slaves, in most cases. The drawback, however, is the long-term burnout caused by the constant dosing, with slaves dying from massive organ failure after only a few years. Withdrawl is painful and slow, wracked with fits of pain and hysteria as nerves are slowly 'thawed' out,
VAPORS (Potion Alternative)
After thousands of years co-existing with the natural world, the lutrai have perfected many schools of herbalism. Rather than brewing potions and elixirs, lutrai shamans favor instead the use of incense, often inhaled instead of simply burned. This is the ritual of the peace pipe, a tradition generally shared by the tribal elders during lengthly periods of discussion. Typically, the ingredients are crushed and dried, then mixed with a mildly flammable resin to give them shape. The burning block of herbs is them placed in the bowl of an ornate carved pipe of wood and soapstone, and the fumes are inhaled and kept in the lungs. As lutrai are able to hold their breath for several minutesat a time, these rituals can go on for the better part of a day or night. The three most common forms of incense are listed below.
Mist Lotus (Meditation): The petals of the pearl-hued mist lotus are used in the creation of white incense, which focuses perception for the purposes of casting spells. It stimulates the portion of the brain used to process magical incantations. Side-effects include reduced reaction time, mild dizziness, and philosophical rambling. White incense is by far the most common form used in rituals, especially those involving astrology and clairvoyance.
Shadowcap (Divination): Made from the powdered spores of the shadowcap mushroom, this tan-colored incense has strong hallucinogenic qualities that prepare a shaman's mind for mystic visions. Shadowcap creates a state of half-dreams, opening the blockade between conscious and subconscious and causing an abstraction of thoughts that make 'Dreamers' difficult to understand. Other side effects include drowsiness, perpetual fantasy, and a heightened sense of touch.
Frostflower Seed (Purification): This rich herbal aromatic is used in rituals of cleansing. It is a powerful antidote, fortified with minor magical properties that allow it to pass easily into the bloodstream. It attacks infection and poison alike - the healer typically exhales the sweet-smelling smoke over the body of the stricken individual while chanting. The frostflower grows only in the highest rainforest slopes, where snow collects to produce the high-intesity reflectiveness that allows the plant sufficient sunlight to endure the cold.