Date: Wed, May 07, 2003
Topic: Campaign Articles
What's a festival without hearty food and drink? The traditions of the Flan people in celebrating the spring fest week are truly ancient, but still widespread in the Flanaess of 570 cy. Take a peek into the journals of connoisseur (and archmage) Otto and discover some of the enchanted delicacies served up during the Growfest holidays.
In AD&D2e format, pre-wars era setting.
Author: Rich Trickey
By Rich Trickey (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Used with permission. Do not repost or redistribute by any means without the express permission of the author
In the traditions of the ancient Flan people, and the so called Old Faith druids, Growfest is the high festival of spring, celebrating the melting of the snows and return of animals from hibernation. Rituals are often held during this time to honor the nature gods and ensure that the crops planted in the coming weeks will provide a bountiful harvest when autumn comes.
In these rituals and ceremonies, it is tradition among the more traditional worshippers to do no hunting during this time, instead using up the last of what was stored over the winter and whatever new berries and nuts can be found. This honors the animals who share the Flanaess as a home, and is aimed at ensuring productive hunts throughout the coming year. The lack of long term storage options for food products among the people of the Flanaess in 570 cy however means that there is little meat to be had, and breads, vegetable stews and jellies made from the previous autumn's fruits are the primary fare during the spring festival. The variations and local favorites are myriad, but two common and interesting products are worthy of a more detailed mention.
Growfest Biscuits (Also known as Atroa's cakes)
These small, somewhat flavorless biscuits, made from a base of ground oats and whatever local grains are available, are the primary fare during many of the celebrations during Growfest, since they are easy to make in large quantities and require no expensive or uncommon ingredients. The taste is somewhat akin to an unsweetened oatmeal cookie, and the biscuits are often adorned with bits of chopped fruits or drizzled in honey or jellies to sweeten them up.
Only the most desperate or isolationist of communities would charge travellers for these edibles, but in those situations, a day's worth (providing a full ration equivalent for the day) can be had for 2 coppers.
In areas where an Old Faith druidic circle is present, the preparing of ceremonial biscuits is a serious and involved process, involving ritual prayers to the nature gods and offerings to the beastlords of the various animals native to the area. The result are Growfest Biscuits with a slight enchantment upon them. They have two uses, which are detailed below:
1. If a character consumes 3 whole biscuits (a day's portion), he will be blesses with a +1 bonus to any Non-Weapon Proficiency checks involving Animal Empathy or Animal Handling. Characters without access to those NWPs recieve a simple +1 reaction bonus when dealing with natural animals. This effect lasts until dawn of the following day.
2. If a biscuit is tossed to an oncoming animal and eaten by that animal (non-hostile animals will consume the treat on a roll of 1-5 on a d6, hostile animals are entitled to a reaction check, with a hostile result meaning it ignores the treat and continues its attack), it is affected as if an animal friendship spell had been cast upon successfully by the character who offered the treat. Treat this effect as per the priest spell (AD&D Player's Handbook).
Flannae Honey Mead
The Flan people long ago mastered the techniques of fermenting honey from beehives into a potent and tasty beverage that is popular across the Flanaess even today. Though the meads vary a little from region to region, the general theme is the same. Honey is harvested and prepared in the autumn and allowed to ferment over the winter, reaching maturity in early spring and brought out as part of the Growfest festivals. For most creatures drinking this beverage, it is simply a thirst quenching and slightly intoxicating elixir.
For the faithful of Bralm, however, there is a potent effect to be gained by drinking these meads during Growfest as part of their festivities. In game terms, any character who raises a toast to the Hive Goddess before consuming their mug of ale will be healed as if they had imbibed a lessened strength Potion of Healing, recovering 1d4 points of damage. This benefit may only be gained once per day, and may only be used during relatively calm, quiet moments of introspect and piety, thus the drinking of honey mead during battle will have no beneficial effects.
It is important to point out that although the faithful of Bralm know of this blessing from their matron, they do not explain it to persons buying or trading the mead from them. They prefer that people discover Bralm's gift through an honest and sincere display of faith and respect, which in many cultures of the Flanaess is expressed in the form of a toast or dedication of libations to the nobles and deities important to the local people.