The Magic of Food

1. Intro
2. Magically Created Foods
3. Preparation
4. Presentation
5. The School of Culinancy
6. A Selection of Related Items
7. Odd recipes and Spectacles
Appendix A: Long Term Effects of consuming magically created foods

1. Introduction

Food has been the focus of most of Man’s efforts for much of our history. Should magic be available, it doubtless would be applied to the realm of food.

This submission is intended to both present some of my ideas on the subject, and as a place to gather others.

Magic can easily be directed to many aspects of food - production, preparation, preservation, etc. It can open up new ways of preparing otherwise unedible materials and can in fact create foods directly.

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2. Magically Created Foods

Many game systems provide magic that allows for the creation of food, though unless your intent is to eliminate this type of logistics from your campaign, there should be a serious catch. True enough that if only one person in your group can create food magically, you are one arrow1 away from having to think about it again, and so it can be a calculated risk, but I still believe there must be a tradeoff.

The food should either come at some kind of price - physical or metaphysical. For food created via divine magics, the recipients had best be at the very least, openly grateful for the boon, lest the food turn to ash in their mouths. Food created by other sources should have some form of danger - odd magical effects, perhaps increasing the consumer's sensitivity to magic, or other effects which would discourage long-term use of this food source. See further down for a table for potential side effects of magically created food.

1Well, the number of arrows might vary, but you get the idea...

3. Magic and Food Preparation & Production

With access to elemental forces, transformations and shaping spells, the opportunities to apply to food preparation are limitless.

In addition to the simple preparation of food, magic can impart additional qualities to the food, perhaps functioning as potions. Spells can provide much better control over cooking (constant heat levels) than medieval technology generally could provide, allowing for more delicate pastries and baked goods.

Magical servants could sculpt and process food in such ways that human chefs would take days to accomplish. They could produce foodstuffs that in the real world can only be produced economically by machines. Perhaps spells could be used to sculpt forms from food that even modern technology does not allow!

Spells of cold and ice can be used for the same purposes as refrigeration now, again widening the range of available foodstuffs - frozen foods for example. Do not underestimate the impact of true food preservation on a middle-ages type economy. With the ability to preserve foods longer, trade in foodstuffs becomes more viable and regions can become more specialized since less food needs to be produced locally. Throw in magically enhanced transport and the effect can be revolutionary.

Magic can have the same impact on food production as does technology, which could easily allow for transformation of society. Even minor improvements in productivity can cause amazing changes in society. With less manpower required to produce food, additional persons for specialized roles (including magicians) become available. Perhaps standing armies become the norm. This is a self-accelerating loop, as more magicians means more availability of magic and further improving production. Clearly if one wants a stable fantasy campaign, there must be some counter-force to this development.

Some ideas:

1. Magically assisted food production is unpredictable and has dangers.

2. Magic is very rare, or is carefully horded by the powers that be.

3. Spellcasters are not simply a given % of the population. There is some factor in the universe decoupling access to spellcasters from simple population count. Perhaps the number of magic capable persons is limited.

4. Simply ignore this possibility. Status Quo simple remains stable in the face of changes. Unrealistic, but the easiest approach.

4. Magic and Presentation

Perhaps the most spectacular application, and certainly the most visible, the application of magic to the presentation of food can turn an already sumptuous feast into a spectacle worthy of an emperor!

Here follows a list of ideas of magical food presentation:

-Fruit, pastries, or other small food items sprout delicate, fairy-like wings and fly to the diner's plates or open mouths.
-Dancing cooked poultry
-Floating globs of wine to be drunk without use of cups.
-Temporary invisibility - plate is brought empty, but fades into view after a phrase is spoken by the host.

-Foodstuffs shift colors from brilliant hue to brilliant hue, avoiding color choices which would appear unappetizing (i.e. Green meats..)

-Animated meat-stuffed pastries made to appear as knights 'attack' the diners, to be grasped and devoured, all the while hollering battle cries and giving death screams.
-Animated fully cooked fish swimming in scalding water and caught by the diner:

'For the 3rd course, servants came out bearing massive clay jars filled with near-scalding water. One was placed between each pair of guests. Each guest was then given a short, ivory fishing rod, complete with hook and line.

Intrigued, I dropped my line into the steaming water and was shocked when something actually bit! I pulled back on the rod and out from the water popped a small fish, thrashing around. One of the servants came forward with a silver platter and a knife. The moment the fish touched the platter, it ceased moving. The servant then gingerly cut the line, removed the hook and deboned the fish. It was already poached and gutted! To finish the preparation, the servant added a sprinkle of fine pepper and sea salt.'

5. The School of Culinancy

This school of magic concerns itself with the art of food preparation, from mundane daily meals, to lavish feasts showcasing the finest of their art.

Virtually all of the Culinancer spells are highly dependant upon mundane skill, the magic used to amplify the skill of the culinancer and to save time. Some spells provide abilities no mundane chef could hope to achieve.

Those that might think a mere sorcer-cook would be harmless had best remember that the only thing keeping them off the menu is morality. Many of the tools of the cook are dangerous, and this is true also for a Culinancer!

Spells of the Culinancer

Animate Food - Provides 'life' to foodstuffs. The magic is quite strong, allowing quite sophisticated behaviors on the part of the foodstuff.

Boil Water - Water comes to a nice rolling boil at the snap of a finger, and will remain there for a short interval.
Casual Preparation - Caster can appear to perform complicated and lengthy food preparation steps with a mere gesture. The task is still just as difficult as it would normally be, and the acceleration does take a toll in the caster's endurance. Each casting of this spell will add 1 hour to the caster's sleep requirement.
Dancing Knives - Spell allows the caster to animate multiple knives, normally for food preparation. The blades inherit the caster's skill with the knife, but are somewhat less effective when used offensively.
Dress Carcass - Guts and cleans target of spell. Not normally applicable to living creatures. If targeted against live creatures, spell is very easily resisted by the target.
Firesteady - A cooking fire is held to a precise temperature by use of this spell, though fuel consumption is doubled for the duration.
Forcecauldron - Creates a cauldron of force which can be used as a normal cauldron for cooking. Generally lasts for 12 hours.
Frostkeeping - Preserves foodstuffs by freezing. Length of time preserved and quantity affected depend on caster's skill. Can also be used to cool liquids and create ice.
Heatsight - Not quite infravision, the caster can see heated objects and judge its temperature. Useful for avoiding burns, and monitoring cooking.
Multiply preparation - Causes whatever process the caster is performing on a food item to be replicated on other selected foodstuff. For example, while peeling one potato, four others are also peeled. Any errors made by the caster are also replicated. Targeted food items need not be identical in shape or size.
Remove Contaminant - This spell is used to remove one material from a quantity of food, often to remove accidental additions of too much salt, for example.
Polymorph Food - Causes foodstuffs to be changed in form to some other foodstuff. The original foodstuff must be edible and at least double the mass of the targeted form. Spices are not considered food for this spell.

Speed Preparation - Foodstuff will cook twice as fast as normal, requiring a heat-source putting out double the heat. Food is protected from burning by the spell.

6.)A Selection of Related Items

Food Golems

A staple of the Spectacles created by culinancers, these golems are very weak and temporary in nature. Made of typical foodstuffs, they are animated by magic and can actually carry out fairly complex routines on command. They have no 'center' and generally remain animated so long as some portion remains uneaten and the food is still edible, at the discretion of the Culinancer.

Unlike other golem types, there is no requirement that they consist entirely of one material and some could consider these as constructs as opposed to golems.

The Golems can also be provided with other enchantments to add to the presentation. Spells imparting flight, illusion production, flaming breath, etc can be employed to further dazzle the diners.


Lesser Magespice

Weight for weight, same cost as silver. Will take up the flavour and properties of a sample of spice introduced to it. It will keep the introduced properties for years. It will not take up the flavour and properties of salt.

Greater Magespice

More expensive then gold, this material becomes any spice or seasoning upon command. Each pinch can be a different spice, including salt.

Endless Goblets/Tankards

Not truly endless, these drinking vessels have been enchanted to contain significantly more liquid then their size might indicate. At the beginning of the evening, on can charge the vessel with sufficient beverage to see one through the night. The maximum capacity of such vessels is generally two gallons, though smaller and larger versions exist. They may appear as any type of drinking vessel.

Note, if broken, the entire content of the goblet will burst forth suddenly, making these good, if rather expensive, water bombs.

Linked Goblets

Much less common then the Endless Goblets, primarily due to risks of someone poisoning the source, these Goblets are linked to a larger repository of beverage and will stay full so long as the remote supply holds out. The distance between the Goblet and source varied depending upon the quality of the goblet. These have seen some use as travellers tools - one can drop the supplying casque into a well or other water source and have essentially an endless supply of water.

GM Note: The risk of having an unseen source which could be open to tampering should be considered a good balancing factor. Precautions can be taken to protect the source of course.

Platter of Preserving

An obvious need, this enchanted silver platter will keep food laid upon it from spoiling many hours longer then normal. Optionally it can also prevent the introduction of poisons as well.

Pitcher of the Geyser

This magical pitcher, upon command, will cause its contents to burst upwards as a geyser, where it will split into several streams to fill any drinking vessel within 10' of the pitcher. Volume of fluid held in the pitcher varies and so is the number of drinking vessels served. Not a drop is spilled unless someone moves one of the targeted vessels.

Mirichromite Cutlery

These are actually non-magic utensils, but they change color or even glow in the presence of magic. These are intended to let the diner know if there is magic used in the food they are about to consume.

7. Odd recipes and Spectacles

Roast Unicorn

Actually a normal horse with a hand-crafted ivory horn fused to its head, this beast has been roasted nearly whole and through the use of metal pins has been posed Rampant. Only the front half of the beast is present on the enormous platter. To further the illusion, the horn is enchanted to radiate light and the horse's flesh has been heavily spiced.

Sausage-Stuffed Boar

More grotesque then magical, this large roast boar has had its abdominal cavity filled with linked-sausage and resealed. When carved, the sausages will hang out like surrogate internal organs.

Midgaard Serpent

Prior to cooking, a great number of snakes have been merged1 to produce a single snake many dozens of feet long. Optionally, the snake might have any number of additional heads merged on to form a hydra-like construct.

Gingerbread Castle

A large, gingerbread castle heavily decorated and quite realistic in appearance. It is defended by a full company of Gingerbread Food Golems who use small wooden catapults to fire fruit at 'attackers'.

Edible Fire

This enchanted fire - usually applied to foodstuffs like meatballs, chilies or other traditionally 'hot' foods does not radiate any actual heat. It flickers and generates pleasant smelling smoke and otherwise appears as normal flame. It does not consume any fuel and will impart a hot and spicy flavour to whatever it is burning.

Frost Storm

This frozen dessert, consisting of frozen fruit juice, is served by creating a tiny storm cloud, tinted to match the juice used.

1 Using the Zoimorphisits School of Magic.

Appendix A: Long Term Effects of Consuming Magically Created Foods

Color Change. Consumer's skin tone will gradually shift towards another color not considered normal for the being's race. Effect will reverse, but at a rate slower then acquired. Note: Eating too many carrots in real-life can make you turn orange. I know from experience!
Aura Acquisition - Consumer begins to radiate magic, getting stronger over time. Eventually the person may begin to glow slightly.
Magic VulnerabilityConsumer becomes more readily impacted by magic, both beneficial and hostile.
Magic Allergy - roll on this subtable

1Consumer develops hiccups which produce tiny, multi-colored bubbles emitted from the nose and mouth.
2Glowing Eyes! The subject's eyes begin to glow in the presence of magic, including spells upon their person.
3Temporal Instability - Subject becomes somewhat out of sync with reality and time. This manifests as difficulty with tasks involving timing, but also makes the subject less predictable to beings acting upon the subject. For example, someone attempting to hit the subject would find it more difficult - but similarly, the subject would have more difficulty hitting others. This would also manifest itself on such things as 'initiative' rolls.
4 Sound Amplification - Any sound made by the subject becomes magnified - the degree depending on the intensity of the reaction. Subject's hearing is unaffected and perceives sound at the same volume as others.
5Spontaneous Illusion - Small illusions begin appearing at random about the subject, appearing real to both subject and others unless seen through. The illusions vary from innocuous to downright terrifying.
6Mageburst - A type of magic sneeze, a blast of undirected magic energy bursts from the subject, causing fluctuations in the power of active spells nearby. Subject is temporarily depleted of magic for a short interval.

5.) Consumer develops one of the odd Allergy effects (as per 4.1 .. 4.6 above) but the effect is constant, rather then in the presence of magic.

6.) Subject begins to grow slightly - adding a small amount to the weight and height each week. Effect should top out at 25% greater then normal for their species and age. 7.) Subject acquires an animal-like body part, such as a tail or horns. Alternately, they could begin to grow fur or have their legs change towards animal-like forms. If the foods were of a darker nature, then possibly demonic forms may be appropriate. 8.) Subject smells strongly of a random foodstuff - this effect cannot be removed except by magical means, or by overpowering it with a different scent.

Placeholder (Appendix C ?)

Some Culinancers are more powerful than others, and thus a few 'animate food' and 'create food golem' spells, have over the years yielded some truly bizarre, unique, and unforeseen results...