Artisanal

UPDATE: The partial background found in this article is a preview. It is fully available as a Pay What You Want product on the DMs Guild in a pretty PDF with art and 14 other ready to roll backgrounds.

Artisanal is a word you hear a lot these days and it’s almost always applied to food. It used to be that the word was applied to handmade signs you would buy at a craft fair that you’d proudly display on your front porch or blown glass ornaments you’d hang upon a holiday tree. Now we hear about artisanal cheeses, breads, salad dressings, and all sorts of food. You need not travel far to view this word applied to edibles. Just walk into the closest supermarket or deli and I’ll bet you see the word brandished about in full force.

How’d we get here? Well I bet all the cheese, bread, and salad dressing makers realized they were putting in just as many hours to make just as little money as the glass blowers. Why shouldn’t they also get to advertise their products as artisanal?

When you hear that word, it conjures up a quality product made by an artist with a passion for the craft. This product wasn’t made by machines on an assembly line. Nay! It was lovingly formed by the hands of a master. It wasn’t mass-produced for just any old person, but rather made specifically for those who appreciate the art of the particular product as much as the crafter.

All this is to say that I can see why the word gets applied to our eats so often these days. As a big time lover of food living with an amazing woman who has a food blog of her own I have grown to appreciate quality ingredients and meals. That doesn’t mean I’m above eating some Cheetos with a can of Sprite, but I understand the appeal.

My Compliments to the Chef

When I looked at the Guild Artisan background and artisan’s tools in the Player’s Handbook, it was fun to see the cook’s utensils and the brewmaster’s supplies getting a piece of the action. It made me think of Samwise fighting with his pots and pans in the Fellowship of the Ring. It got me thinking about all the cooks and brewmasters who weren’t actually part of a guild out there. Why would the tavern cook or personal chef belong to a guild? Does the street vendor go to meetings or travel as a merchant or do they stay in one place? Selling pies and cheese is a little different from selling armor or barrels and so I figured I’d create a background to go along with that idea.

So it is without further adieu that I present the Cook background and a few new tools for your PCs to use.

Cook

To you food is more than just sustenance and pleasure. A great meal is great art which brings people together for consumption. You might have worked in a tavern, a bakery, as a personal chef to a family or noble, or within a military unit as they marched or set sail. Decide what kind of cook job you had or roll on the table below.

Something has called you away from full-time cooking and into the world of adventuring, but you still take pleasure in the craft. Preparing and cooking food is a big part of who you are and how you communicate with others.

d10 Cook Job
1 Tavern cook
2 Fancy restaurant chef
3 Baker
4 Street vendor
5 Personal chef
6 Candy maker
7 Military cook
8 Caterer
9 Cheesemaker
10 Brewmaster or vitner


Tool proficiencies:
Any food-related set of artisans tools

Skill proficiencies: Deception, Persuasion

Languages: One language of your choice spoken by another civilized race

Starting Equipment: A set of common clothes, a set of artisan’s tools related to your craft, an iron pot, a book of recipes  you’ve gathered over the years, and a belt pouch with 10 gp.

Tools of the Trade

So this background called for a few additional artisan’s tools. Use the table below to help you out!

Item Cost Weight
Baker’s supplies 5 gp 9 lb.
Candy making supplies 5 gp 5 lb.
Cheesemaking supplies 2 gp 4 lb.
Vitner’s supplies 25 gp 8 lb.

What do you think of the cook background? Let me know in the comments below before I add it to the Free Resources section of this site.

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