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Dr.Bedlam

The Little Touches That Make It Great

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I was reading this thread today in reference to another question someone asked, and thought about how buying a cool miniature led not only to a fun NPC but a hilarious running gag in my campaign a few years back: http://forum.reapermini.com/index.php?/topic/53734-personalities-npcs-and-miniatures/?hl=heckelmeyer

 

It led me to think about some of the other things I've done in the interest of versimilitude. I will list the first ones that spring to mind:

1. POTIONS

What does a potion taste like? Look like? How does it manage? RPG characters slam potions between swings of sword and twitch of somatic gesture, no trouble at all. I got an idea when I saw these fancy glass perfume bottles (empty) for sale, and decided to see what would happen. So one day, upon finding a treasure hoard, I put several glass bottles full of ... who knows what... before the players. On the table. And let them try to figure out what the potions were...

You never saw such consternation. Having your character sip a potion to figure it out, no big deal. Putting a weird colored liquid in front of a human and having him try to figure it out, you'd think you were asking him to sample fricaseed turd in arsenic sauce. It was great fun. Still remember the one potion that made Big Dave go "AAAAGH! POISON! THIS IS HORRIBLE!" It was coffee, with a spoonful of strawberry ice cream melted into it, and a dab of green food coloring, just for giggles...

2. DROOLOK CHIPS

The players had never encountered a droolok, and so were most interested when the village was all in a tizzy because a droolok had been sighted nearby. It had to be hunted down and killed before it slaughtered us all! The players even signed up for a hunting party, but did not find the droolok; Gaston, the mighty hunter, an NPC who lived nearby, brought it down with his mighty bow. The players never got to see it. However, a day or so later, at the inn, they saw a special on the chalkboard: DROOLOK CHIPS 2 GP WHYLE THEY LASST

Well, this piqued their interest. Bar food in Docworld generally consists of potato chips, fried shieldmoss, or sausages, and is generally counted in copper as opposed to gold. So they ordered a bowl of droolok chips, out of curiosity.

I promptly got up from the table, went to a cupboard, and brought them a bowl of irregularly shaped thick brown... chip things.

They stared at them for quite some time. Hobbes picked one up and examined it. It was a few inches by a few inches, fairly thick for a chip, and appeared to be some kind of thinly sliced crispy fried meat. He carefully put it back in the bowl.

"You're not going to at least TASTE it?" someone said.

"F&%#, no," said Hobbes.

Everyone looked at me. I took the chip Hobbes had touched, and ate it. It crunched.

Everyone looked at the bowl. Eventually, Nathan worked up the courage to select a chip, and eat it. He crunched it thoughtfully. "Tastes kinda like bacon, except not quite. Kinda salty, but not bad."

Hobbes looked at me. "I'm a ranger. I should know what a droolok is. What's a droolok?"

I replied, "A droolok is not a normal woodland creature for your selected area of ecological knowledge; you don't know what a droolok is for the same reason you've never seen a panda or a polar bear. For you, a droolok is a monster, and one you have never encountered."

They ate the chips. Even Hobbes, who can't even eat shrimp, because they look too much like bugs...*

3. TROLL PIE

In the course of the party's travels, they settled into an inn one night, and asked the innkeeper's daughter what they had for supper. Their options were the usual mulligan stew, something off the menu, or troll pie, which was being served for free.

Well, this piqued the party's interest. Troll pie? And it's free?

It was explained: Apparently, another party had encountered a troll nearby, and had slain the beast, only to find that an evil wizard had cast fire resistance on the dratted thing. They couldn't burn the parts! The best they could do was to build a large bonfire and keep the dratted thing IN it; roasted troll doesn't regenerate. Yet. Cooked troll wouldn't start regenerating for a good 24 hours after being cooked, so they'd done the best they could: field dressed the monster and cut him into niblets. The local inn had been serving him up in pies for the past month, and twice in the night since then, they'd had a pitched battle in the kitchen as they'd mistimed things, and a troll began to hatch from a pie that hadn't been served in time... please, good sirs, there are only a few pies left... won't you help to rid us of this horror? It's free!

"Do we get XP if we do?" said Hobbes.

And so the party ordered the few remaining troll pies, and some fine ale to wash them down. And I got up and headed for the stove. And the players uttered a collective "Oh, $%&@." They'd played this game before. And from the oven, I drew five small pies, about the size of chicken pot pies you buy at the store... but irregular, obviously homemade. And the crusts... were green. And had warts.

"Oh, @$&%."

I put the pies before the players. Hobbes said, brightly, "I eat the pie. Yum, yum, yum. How many XP do I get?" His hands did not move, nor did he touch his fork.

"Man, I only got an eight wisdom, and even I know that isn't going to work," said Justin. He picked up his fork and broke the crust. Rich, creamy green stuff waited inside. The pie was still hot, and steamed slightly.

Scott shrugged and dug in. "It's not bad," he said. "I'm not sure if it tastes weird because it's weird... or if it just tastes weird because it's green."

Everyone cautiously began to eat. Except Hobbes, who sat there and looked at his green little pie and looked mournful.

"You going to eat that?" asked Justin, finishing his own pie.**

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*Required: frying pan, a couple cans of Spam, a tablespoon or so of butter, a dash of rosemary, a dash of garlic.

Melt the butter and spices in the frying pan. Slice the Spam thin but thick enough that each slice won't fall apart before you cook it. Trim each slice into a large leaf shape. Fry until crispy. Drain. Repeat until you run out of Spam. Drain it all well on a pile of paper towels, and store; refrigerate if you're not going to be serving today.

The players have gone droolok hunting, as they feel that droolok is good eating. They have heard many stories about the fierceness of the droolok, and how a mated pair, seized with the rutting rage, can devastate villages and entire hunting parties of trained men. So far, they have never actually encountered a droolok, except in a bowl, fried.

 

** Required: a decent recipe for meat pie crust. You'll have to make the crust from scratch.

Meat type is unimportant; boneless pork chops are good. You CAN use beef, but a white meat like chicken or pork is better... for the green. 

Cube the meat into small chunks. Cook it. Dice up some carrots and potatoes. Fry or cook them. 

Prepare about three cups of cream gravy; drop a bouillon cube, preferably chicken or vegetable, into the water and dissolve ... and then... add about six or eight drops of green food coloring. Mix in the gravy mix. When you have a fine rich green gravy, put the meat and veg in and blend well.

Make the pie crust, but add about five or six drops of green food coloring when you're making the dough. Save a few scraps of dough and roll into little balls. When you've made the pies, carefully smoosh the little balls into the top crust. After all, trolls have warts.

Bake.

Serve...

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The party actually asked me, at one point, to never do the potion thing again. Their reasoning was something akin to "Look, not a one of us would go toe to toe with a death knight in real life. In fact, if any of us saw Chuck Norris, we'd run away for fear that he would eat us. This is a FANTASY world. And in a FANTASY world, not only are we brave enough to slay dragons and face horrors... we're okay with slamming down a potion. We look FORWARD to the taste of a Potion Of Healing, and you're kinda spoiling that by making us drink these weird and horrible things."

I think it was the blue tinted potion I made out of orange juice and food coloring, put in a blender with half a tube of toothpaste, that finally did them in. They spent more time agonizing over drinking potions around the table than they did on anything else...

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That's genius, I just paint for display and play on the PC, but that is absolutely brilliant.

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You're an Evil Genius. :lol:

 

That being said, I'm not sure I'd want to be one of your subjects players.

 

Yer not the first to say so, but I thank you anyway.

 

Funny thing? Droolok chips and troll pie are quite good... if you know what you're eating, and you can handle green gravy.

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The party actually asked me, at one point, to never do the potion thing again. Their reasoning was something akin to "Look, not a one of us would go toe to toe with a death knight in real life. In fact, if any of us saw Chuck Norris, we'd run away for fear that he would eat us. This is a FANTASY world. And in a FANTASY world, not only are we brave enough to slay dragons and face horrors... we're okay with slamming down a potion. We look FORWARD to the taste of a Potion Of Healing, and you're kinda spoiling that by making us drink these weird and horrible things."

 

I think it was the blue tinted potion I made out of orange juice and food coloring, put in a blender with half a tube of toothpaste, that finally did them in. They spent more time agonizing over drinking potions around the table than they did on anything else...

Wouldn't the toothpaste cause stomach problems? Fluoride and all that.

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The party actually asked me, at one point, to never do the potion thing again. Their reasoning was something akin to "Look, not a one of us would go toe to toe with a death knight in real life. In fact, if any of us saw Chuck Norris, we'd run away for fear that he would eat us. This is a FANTASY world. And in a FANTASY world, not only are we brave enough to slay dragons and face horrors... we're okay with slamming down a potion. We look FORWARD to the taste of a Potion Of Healing, and you're kinda spoiling that by making us drink these weird and horrible things."

 

I think it was the blue tinted potion I made out of orange juice and food coloring, put in a blender with half a tube of toothpaste, that finally did them in. They spent more time agonizing over drinking potions around the table than they did on anything else...

Wouldn't the toothpaste cause stomach problems? Fluoride and all that.

 

 

You ever brush your teeth and then try drinking orange juice? They couldn't have gagged down enough of the stuff to do any harm. That was kind of the point.

 

And it's a good reason why a good DM should be open to input from the group; that was kind of needlessly sadistic on my part...

 

(a thing you learn in Docworld is that healing potions are generally pink and opaque. When they appeared on the table, they were made with milk, a drop of red food coloring, and a little mint oil. One of my players was quite sure I was feeding them Pepto Bismol. But he drank the stuff anyway...)

Edited by Dr.Bedlam
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You're an Evil Genius. :lol:

 

That being said, I'm not sure I'd want to be one of your subjects players.

 

Yer not the first to say so, but I thank you anyway.

 

Funny thing? Droolok chips and troll pie are quite good... if you know what you're eating, and you can handle green gravy.

 

Wouldn't phase me in the slightest. I've been to enough countries in the Navy where I couldn't speak the language, I've eaten stuff that I had no clue about.

No guts, no glory!

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Wul, actually, droolok chips, thinly sliced and fried, have a distinctly bacony note, but are far less fatty. Absolute best way to prepare Spam, unless you're goin' Hawaiian. Those Hawaiians have thought of things to do with Spam that absolutely beggar the imagination.

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Another awful idea involved blue corn tortilla chips, chicken soup, and sausage casings.

Pulverize the chips into a fine mess of crumbs. Add the chicken soup gradually until what you have is a thick blue mash. Fill the sausage casings with them.

Never seen a table of roleplayers who could keep a straight face upon being served blue sausage.

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