I put out a survey about running games for kids a while ago to help with the creation of Adventure Hour!. When asking about tools and resources, one response asked for:
Tables, locations, names, plug and play encounters, hooks/quests.
Plug and play encounters. I knew what they meant immediately because I’ve been working on scenes and scene-based adventures that could be used in a similar way. Like you can drop Gardens of Ynn into your campaign at pretty much any time, what about scenes that could make for good gameplay that could easily fit into any style of game. It’s not something that made it into the Adventure Hour! booklet itself as it’s a little too specific. But it’s excellent blog material.
So “plug n’ play scenes”: a series of scenes that could easily find their way into your game. They rely on few setting concessions outside of “fantasy” to be implemented. They’re fantastically anachronistic. They’re also incredibly practical and suggest alterations that could be made for your table.
Without further ado…
There’s a ghost chef named Choppy. He wants some fun in the afterlife, so he offers to host a cooking challenge among the players. “It’s the IRON BONES COOKING CHALLENGE!” The winner will receive a golden ladle that can transform 1 gallon of liquid into hot soup, cold soda, or deadly poison.
The rules are simple: use at least two of the following ingredients and anything else you have in your inventory to create a culinary masterpiece.
- Jar of jam
- Withered carrots
- Stale fortune cookies
Remember, Choppy is a ghost. He doesn’t have great food on him. Make the best of it.
Cut directly to the finished masterpieces with each player explaining the dish they have constructed.
The categories of judgement are taste, presentation, and story. Choppy always enjoys the story that goes with the food. “What inspired you?”
To taste the food, Choppy picks up the plate and passes the dish through his face. It’s as close as he can get to tasting anymore…
The twist: unknown to the players, it’s simply whichever dish that has the STRONGEST taste that will win because of Choppy’s weak, weak ghost taste buds. It gives him the most pleasure and is therefore the best. He awards the ladle in greatest ceremony.
-Placement can be really fun for this: in a haunted mansion? At the bottom of a dungeon? In an alley in Bastion? Yep, yep, yep.
-Alter the ingredients as you choose. I just think adding odd foods to make things out of is fun. But stale fortune cookies is a must.
-Choppy is also a pirate? Pirate chefs are cool, like this guy:
-Choppy doesn’t just run the contest for fun; it’s the only way he can be put to rest. He cheated in a similar competition in life and now the contest is part of his “unfinished business.” Maybe this is the last item on that list, maybe it’s the first.
-Here’s some other items on Choppy’s “unfinished business” bucket list:
Host the “Iron Bones Cooking Challenge!”
- See Dragon Island… and ride myself a dragon.
- Tell Amelia my feelings… this is the hardest one.
- Wipe that smug grin off Dusty’s face.
- Walk the dog.
- Get my mate Scrappy, framed for murder, outta prison.
-Maybe you want a different way to decide the winner. Roll dice after each explanation of the player’s masterpiece. Highest wins. Another way is to actually score each player on the different categories and tally the points.
-If a player sits out, not feeling too creative, have them be the judge alongside Choppy. Have him ask their opinion on the taste, presentation, and story of each dish.
-Change the reward. Make it a magic sword or a different Oddity.