I'll be posting this on the wiki in a few days, but in the meantime I'm going to preview it here on the blog. Poke holes in it if you can (with purpose, please) ~ it will make the wiki post better for it.
In addition to the amount of food that characters must consume, another consideration is the nutritional value of that food. Characters cannot simply live on bread and water, but should eat the best of possible foods. This isn’t always easy when adventuring, particularly when we consider how this food is to be prepared and cooked.
Each ½-day period follows the meal prior, either the breakfast/early day meal and the evening/late day meal. Bonuses and penalties therefore apply to either the day or the night, following the early or late meals.
Foods are rated in “quality” according to their durability and nature of ingredients. There are five standards of quality: durables, staples, fresh, selective and premium:
Durables include preserved meats such as jerky, dry sausage, salt-pork, sauerkraut and dried fish; potable plant products such as polished rice and dried pulses; and durable forage such as dried mushrooms, grains, wild nuts, seeds and dried fruits. Food that is foraged falls into this category. These are products that have a shelf-life of months, even years.
Fresh foods include leafy vegetables, fresh fruits, fresh meats, milk and cream ~ products with a shelf-life of 2-12 days. Longer shelf-life products include common herbs such as basil, chamomile, cumin, dill, rosemary, parsley and sage are included, as are dried tea leaves and roasted coffee beans.
Selective foods include fresh foods that have been collected in the last 24 hours, including butchered meats ~ all of which are of the highest standard, lacking bruised fruits, discoloured vegetables or meats that have been improperly butchered. Selective quality reduces to fresh after a day (unless somehow preserved).
Premium foods include items that are of the most distinct imaginable: caviar, foie gras, bird’s nest soup, eels, turtle, cabrito, suckling pig, unusual distilled spirits or wine, kumiss, cicitt and so on. These are of variable shelf life, and are often transported great distance (magically or otherwise).
There are six “standards” of preparation, requiring utensils and space that varies from nothing but the cook’s hands to a fully equipped kitchen. How foods are readied, cooked or blended can adjust the experience of eating, which subsequently affects the diners’ health and mood.
Cold camp fare describes eating in the outdoors, effectively cooking in one’s lap. This allows cleaning with water, peeling, the use of a knife or a scraping rock, mashing, pounding and mincing, but the food cannot be safely blanched or boiled, nor can it be browned and sweetened. Durables and staples are designed for cold camp rations. Fresh vegetables, fruits, beverages and spices can be used, but fresh meat would need to be eaten raw. Selective food is slightly better. Most premium foods are somewhat processed and can be eaten in a cold camp (caviar, for example), but without other viands it can be a dreadful waste.
Campfire fare describes the benefits of an open fire, the use of the open flame, boiling water, various means of wrapping foods to be cooked in coals and as much variety as a fire will allow. Most preparation is done on a rock or upon a board on the ground, cleaned with boiled water.
Scullery fare describes food from a typical home kitchen, with small fireplace and chimney, counters, a large washbasin, bins for flour, grains and seeds, bottles, cold storage, a variety of utensils and space for large cooking pots. Typically a cook’s knife and a few cook’s tools would be all that a small house could afford. Many larger mansions include a scullery for secondary work, in addition to a guestkitchen.
Guestkitchen fare describes food that is cooked in a spacious and clean environment with excellent tools and good ventilation. A guestkitchen is designed to cook multiple meals at once for scores of people at one time. Typically the room has been seasoned by years of operation. A wide assortment of knives and other tools is available. Guestkitchens often have one or more sculleries attached, which may be used for baking or for washing up dishes.
Lord’s kitchen fare describes food that is typically prepared as a feast for hundreds of people at a time, from a massive stone building with a score of preparers working together and giving much attention to specific dishes. The knives are kept sharpened, the plates used for the elite diners are of high quality and even the barracks that are served from the kitchen gain the benefit of food grown on the property and stored in large amounts inside the kitchen. Resources to maintain the kitchen are plentiful. Enormous pots and continuous fires allow for long-term preparation that may stretch out over days.
Together, the food quality and preparation combine to produce an eating experience, as shown on the table.
In order, grub describes food that is hardly palatable but is choked down because it keeps us alive; chow is hardly better, but the diner can remain indifferent to the taste, enough that eating isn’t a chore; nosh is agreeable, encouraging the diner to scrape the remains from the plate; savory has a sharper taste gives a feeling of being content and wholesomely satisfied; tasty is distinctly pleasurable and almost always calls for seconds; flavorful causes the diner to cease conversation and actively enjoy the taste of the food; delicious calls for the diner to share aloud the eating experience, declaring its noteworthiness; piquant is distinct and memorable, the sort of meal that one would certainly recall weeks later; mouthwatering cries for the food to be gobbled, even protected from others, as the diner cannot get enough; and ambrosia is simply ecstasy, eaten with eyes closed and at one with one’s pleasure.
Depending on the taste of the food (coupled with its substantive healthiness), the effect upon the diner is organized on the included table below. Each result describes the health (mental and physical) of the character during the ½-day following either the breakfast or the evening meal.
Some of these effects will be severe if the character is already on half-rations or is somehow afflicted. The DM should treat such circumstances as increasing the effects of either half-rations or the disease accordingly.
Affliction: the character acquires an gastro-intestinal affliction, as described under disease.
Diarrhea: late in the ½-day period, the character will be struck with a round of violent bowel movements that will dehydrate the victim and force bed rest. They will receive a -3 penalty to strength and will have no appetite to eat the next meal, so that the penalty will last throughout the next ½-day.
Elated: the character is in such a fine frame of mind that they will display generosity (giving away gold coins to commoners and others, granting freedom to slaves, releasing persons from commitments) and uncommon bravery (a willingness to enter a joust or other combat, perform an act of risk for the pleasure of it). Treat them as if they are a full age younger with regards to their ability stats for the ½-day following the meal.
Grumpy: receive a -1 penalty to charisma and therefore to charisma checks as well. Lower the morale of hirelings when within two hexes of the character.
Happy: the character is in unusually good spirits, gaining a +1 saving throw generally, and a +2 save against charm and other mentally affecting attacks.
Misery: receive a -1 penalty to strength and dexterity, and therefore to checks as well. The character will be bad-tempered and moody; during the day, the character will demand a halt after half-a-day’s travel or labour, sullenly refusing to continue.
Sated: the character will rest especially well at night, gaining +1 hit point in healing without the need of a full day’s rest.
Tired: receive a -1 penalty to both intelligence and wisdom, and therefore to checks as well. The character will complain a great deal and be unable to push themselves to forced movement. Reduce daily movement by 10%.
Vomit: halfway through the ½-day period, the character will throw up a good portion of their dinner. They will receive a -1 penalty to constitution and will have little appetite until the next meal. Treat as being on half-rations (see food) until then.