Expanding Little Spaces: Fancy Meals to Create Encounters

The Little Spaces series of products has been quite popular. These short inspiration generators offer a quick way to shake up the creative spirit and quickly come up with a few ideas in a specific context to write about. Though a few examples are provided in each product, I wanted to come up with a few more examples on how you might be able to use them.

Little Spaces: Fancy Meals CoverIn the Little Spaces: Fancy Meals space, for example, I can come up with a few more details around the words and ideas that will already come up. Let’s say for example that you are looking for the location of a food-based encounter. Using the One Spot series for ideas, I may generate a table something like this:

Encounter Location

  1. The Painted Man Tavern
  2. The Gilded Stag Tavern
  3. A Town Hall Meeting
  4. A Market Stall
  5. The Mayor’s House
  6. Roll again.

This table will change over time as more locations are added to my world, but this offers a good start if nothing else.

Type of Encounter – Good/Bad

Let’s add a second table to indicate whether this event is good or bad. A simple coin flip or die roll. Heads or odd, the event is good. Tails or even, the event isn’t.

Combining it All

Using these two tables we get a little more information to flavor a particular occurrence.

If I roll a 3 (d6) and a 1 (d4), we have a “good” event at a Town Hall meeting. Then I go to the random generator and get: “Sight: Stove/Grill- Stale”. So let’s see what I can come up with from this collection of thoughts…

The spouses of all the town council members have organized a dinner to coincide with the most recent meeting concerning the Reeve and his continued fall from grace. Though each of these spouses *can* cook, none of them are particularly talented in the culinary arts. So while their significant others are indisposed in a closed-door meeting of the minds, these “chefs du jour” are creating what they think of as culinary masterpieces.

During the council meeting, the PCs are invited to share their impressions of the Reeve and any new information they may be able to bring to light. Afterwards they are asked to participate in the meal prepared for them. Unfortunately, though the spouses tried valiantly to create a tasty meal, they have only succeeded in creating a bland and burned offering that looks like something that the cat might have brought in.

If the PCs can exercise restraint in sharing their disappointment with the meal, they may curry favor with these lords and ladies of the town. If not, the PCs may leave a lasting negative impression upon the upper crust of local society that may haunt them in future encounters.

Let’s take another example… If it’s a positive event at a local market stall using the ideas – “Smell: Main Course (Beef)- Fresh / Taste: Pot/Pan- Crumbly”… what can I come up with?

As the PCs are walking through the weekly market, they are enticed to a particular stall by the smell of a freshly baked Shepherd’s Pie. As they speak to the proprietor, a pleasant elderly lady named Breeann, they learn about all the special care that went into each pie she has for sale today. One of her favorite cows was butchered recently and she and her husband took their time making sure each cut of meat was carefully trimmed, cured, and seasoned for maximum flavor. Even the carrots, potatoes, and fresh herbs came from their very own garden. And the pie crust was made of locally ground flour from the wheat fields not far from town.

Though their mouths were already watering just hearing Breeann speak of the loving care that went into each pie pan, if they purchase one or more from her they are really in for a treat. Every fork full is covered in juicy, tender meat, vegetables, and gravy – and the crust might as well have been made by a pastry chef in the capital. It is unlikely they will come across anything quite this tasty again… unless they come by the next time Breeann has more delectable morsels to sell at the open market…

beer_mug_foam-237x300

Lastly, let’s see what happens if it’s a negative event at the Gilded Stag – an establishment not known for its culinary productions. Apparently the dice even offer a few surprises… a strange collection of ideas – “Taste: Alcoholic Beverage (Poultry)- Chewy.”

The PCs may have come to the Gilded Stag looking for some information or gambling action, but as outsiders they are viewed with barely concealed contempt from the moment they walk in the door. The bartender, a huge brute of a man named Skree, waves them over to a table and insists that they have the special of a day. “It’s a new concoction from our cook in back… He calls it a ‘meal in a glass.’”

If the PCs agree and pay the exorbitant fee for each of them to have one of these “specials”, eventually Skree brings over a large mug for each of them. Before any can taste this strange brew, the cook himself comes out of the back to observe the fun.

Each mug is filled with some sort of noxious combination of chicken guts and overcooked bread soaked in stale ale… Not only does it smell bad, but anyone attempting to choke it down will have to chew their way through every horrific bite.

Should the PCs manage to get it down without tossing their cookies, they will gain some credibility in the eyes of the bar staff and patrons. If not, they will find themselves tossed out themselves.

As you can see, there are plenty of ways to take these random ideas, give them a bit more context, and let your brain go wild.

For more about the Little Spaces series…

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