Friday, August 27, 2010

Blogging Breakfast

It must be payday somewhere, because the slim sales of the last couple days are starting to pick up all of a sudden.

I haven't had a day withOUT sales yet, which is good, but I'm still waiting to hear from folks in Canada. I mean, how far IS Calgary from Seattle anyway?

Right now, I am at the Four Spoons eating their "English Breakfast" which is close-to-but-not-quite the traditional English breakfasts I've eaten in England. I substituted "English muffins" for toast because, let's face it, if you can't have real English toast, why bother?

I am totally least the places I visited in England, they have toast down to a science. I have never seen toast toasted so consistently to perfection as in England (admittedly, the only part of the UK I've spent time in). Maybe they've just been making it for a thousand years or something? When did the English start drinking tea? Marco Polo?

You may think I'm being silly but traveling to other countries I've found it's absolutely imperative to sample as much of the local cuisine as possible. When I was 17, I lived in Japan for close to a month, and I spent several weeks eating teriyaki burgers at McDonalds as often as I could. I was a total coward, and I mentally kick myself every time I look back on those days. Now when I travel, I refuse to eat anything even vaguely American unless I have no other choice.

By the way, the worst toast in the world? Italy. I was staying at a bed-and-breakfast in Venice..."and-breakfast" for God's sake!...and the "toast" came packaged in plastic like a Hostess Twinkie! Fresh from the factory, I guess. It was tasteless and terrible to boot. I discovered later that Italy wasn't much of a "breakfasty" country...and fortunately they have plenty of great cuisine available at other times of the day (other very specific times, but that's another story).

Now what the hell does this have to do with role-playing? Very little, in truth...I'm just writing as I eat and read other peoples' Friday morning musings. However, the cuisine of a culture IS a consideration when writing a book designed to provide a campaign setting.

Well, at least if it's for a role-playing game. I mean REAL role-playing. If all you use your game for is running encounters with monsters, then you probably won't give a shit about what's on the menu. Me, I think this kind of thing enriches the role-playing experience helping players get into the feel of the world.

Oh, JB, you're just saying that 'cause you're trying to justify posting something about toast. No, dude, I'm not. Or maybe I am, but there is value to be mined here, dammit!

Remember this post from a while back regarding X4:Master of the Desert Nomads? This is what I'm talking about...using food to not only tell you something about the world (for the DM), and in actual scenes that provide the players an "in" or "window" INTO the game world.

This is one of the reasons I absolutely LOVE running Gygax's B2:Keep on the Borderlands for new players. It does so much to put players into the minds and mood of the game with its design. Sure there's the opportunity for players to announce who they are at the gate, right off the bat...but this is generally pretty ham-fisted as many first time players have difficulty even coming up with names, and announcing them makes them feel silly.

What doesn't make them feel silly is ordering food off the menu at the tavern. Every first time player gets this...we've all gone to a restaurant and ordered food in the past. Even young kids whose parents' have ordered for them know how to do this. It instantly connects their real world self with their game world self and causes an immediate transformation, helping to identify with their characters in a way that did NOT happen at the Keep's gates.

[ha! just reading back over those old game reports are fun stuff...I've got a new one I'll put up later today]

All right...breakfast over save for a singed tomato that I just can't bring myself to eat (I AM in the U.S. right now, not the U.K.) and the thoroughly American coffee that I drink far too much. I'll check back in later, folks. Have a good day!


  1. If you're ever over here again, and you make it down to Brighton, I'll treat you to the best breakfast I have ever had. It's not quite "traditional", as it's vegetarian, but by gosh it's good.

    They also do a more traditional meaty one, which I'm told is also excellent, but not as good as the veggie one.

    Both have toast. ;)

  2. @ Kelvin: I knew I could count on you to throw your "two pence" into the mix on this one.
    ; )

  3. I agree heartily that food connects us with settings in and out of role-play. Evil temple fare: roast snake and monkey brains of course. Corn-flakes and lite-beer a low class bachelor pad. Greasy hamburgers, undercooked french fries and a milkshake we're in a 50's diner. Bowl of blueberry muffin-top cereal and a cup of coffee with honey, my place on a weekday morning. Food really helps set the mood.

  4. If you're referring to myself or a certain other B/X fan in Calgary, I can confirm that my copy had not arrived as of 5:45 last night, and i'm checking my mail every day!

    Rest assured i'll be mentioning its arrival once it shows up in my mailbox.


  5. Chello!

    And not just B2...let's not forget the bill f fare for the Inn of the Welcome Wench in T1. Gary must've loved good food. :)

  6. @JDJ: We're on the same page, man.

    @ Pal: Man, I hope you folks get the book sometime soon! The first Canada copies went out last Friday and Saturday!

    @ Anthony: Doesn't everyone? Bring it to the (imagined) table!
    : )