It’s Midgard Monday! Each week, we visit a corner of the wide world of Midgard. Look for standalone content you can drop into your campaign—whether it’s in Midgard or your own homebrew. Find new inspiration for your game, each Midgard Monday!
While the crossroads city of Zobeck is best known for its clockwork magic, there is a particular magic in the city’s chefs, cooks, and street peddlers.
This dispatch highlights chefs who answer to a higher authority than the stomach when cooking for the faithful.
The Sacred Flame
The smith-god of Midgard is known as Volund to the dwarves. They also claim him as the craftsman of their homes and families. Humans call him Svarog and often worship him as an occupational hazard, although this young race includes mastery of horse riding to his domains. While viewed as a lesser god in most regions, Volund is widely worshiped among the skilled laborers in Zobeck.
The majestic Temple of Volund is in Zobeck’s Temple District, adorned with statues and stained glass murals that depict forging of iconic weapons as well as mounted warriors. Inside, adherents work at an everburning forge, creating masterpieces for the Master of Fire and Anvil, their hammers striking in unison like a monk’s plainchant.
Around the corner from the temple is a smokehouse called The Sacred Flame. Here, Begalia Valtrahn maintains her own everburning forge, fueled by oak, cherry, and alder woods. On giant, tallow-greased grates, the dwarven pitmistress cooks her menu low and slow, offering smoky scents up to the god of smiths and marriage.
Begalia has connections with the finest butcheries in Zobeck, and she is known for her cherry-smoked mutton belly. Her meats are so tender that teeth aren’t needed to eat it—something dwarves often take for granted in their youth. She makes and smokes her own scamorza, a cheese native to the Septime Cities, and her smoked trout is divine when paired with cheese on slender flat breads.
Understandably, the Sacred Flame generates a fair bit of local pollution, making Begalia some enemies in the Temple District. However, this pales in comparison to the mighty forests that the Temple of Volund topples to fuel its forge, meaning that the Free City Council has other concerns.
- During the autumnal celebration of Volund’s Festival, every priest, smith, and geargrinder in Zobeck brings their anvils for a blessing. And they all come to the Sacred Flame afterwards. Begalia hires the PCs to help her run the restaurant—and keep the peace.
- Begalia hires the PCs to bring gifts to Alvust Hoppenbauer, a dwarf she’s wooing. Alvust has returned home to the Canton of Kubourg, whose residents have a healthy, wealthy distrust of outsiders.
Dwarves across Midgard, from the Northland halls of Stannasgard to thirteen settled cantons of the Ironcrags. to the Southland river cities of Nuria Natal, worship Ninkash, the Mother of Beer. Whether as farmers, brewers, or revelers, humans have long venerated this dwarven goddess, raising tankards for her many blessings.
Currently, Ninkash has no temple in the Free City of Zobeck. However, the faithful would point to an Ashmill tavern that lacks only a priest to rise to this level. At Prosit, you can find almost any brew in the Free City, be it the creamy pilsners from Cronepisht to the hearty stouts brewed in the Free Cantons to the local barleywine fermented by the Brewer’s Sisterhood. The tavern remains open all hours of the day, so long as there’s a customer with thirst to quench.
To support late night merriment, Prosit also sports an extensive kitchen. Here, the head chef Renna Kilderkin bakes, boils, and braises a whole menu built around Ninkash’s blessed brews. For the morning shift, this cheerful halfling bakes cheesy beer bread, sliced and smeared with apple butter. For the lunchtime rush, she serves up a beefy, beer-braised stew dolloped out into bread bowls. For the dinner crowd, she fries up flaky beer-battered fish served in a crusty bun. For the dwarves who stop by before carousing, she grills buttery bratwurst that has spent the day marinating in brown ales.
- While preparing for the naming celebration of Lord Mayor Constantia Olleck’s niece, Renna ordered a keg of Corremel-in-Lights’s rarest spiced ale (see Book of Ebon Tides for details on Corremel-in-Light). During delivery along the Shadow Road, the caravan was raided and the barrel was lost. Renna recently learned that the keg is on tap at 40 Lashes, a shadow goblin social hall in Corremel-in-Shadow (see Warlock Lair #51: Casting the Longest Shadow). The halfling asks the PCs to meet Calv, a blink dog gifted with the ability to speak Common and Umbral, to recover any remaining dregs.
- Renna and her staff have all come down with the Dornitian flu and cannot work today. Ordinarily, she would close, but tomorrow is Hrovitz’s Rise, the holiday celebrating the Great Revolt, and the brew must flow. As a favor to Ninkash, she asks the PCs to run the tavern for the busiest night of the year.
Saints are venerated across Midgard. While they often lack formal temples or powerful priests, the faithful maintain shrines to the saints where they offer worship (or sacrifices). Some surmise that saints are gods of new faiths that lack following, while others posit that saints are new masks for gods that mortals have yet to recognize.
St. Piran, patron saint of caves, is one of Zobeck’s most beloved saints, encouraging followers to dig deeper and hoard wealth. Known to many folk, including dwarves and humans, as the True Vein, the Free City’s many kobold miners worship him with such fervor that he’s known as the King of the Kobolds—lesser kings be damned.
It seems strange then that one would find a shrine to St. Piran in the Merchant District, and stranger still that it would be a cheesemaker’s store. Caseicultura is a darkened, disheveled shop lit with red wicked candles where one can buy almost any cheese on the flattened face of Midgard. In a side room, they serve sliced cheese with wheat crackers, pickled vegetables, and mulled cider.
By all appearances, Caseicultura’s proprietor is Tadlen Glyslass, an alleged illegitimate son of one of House Slyglass’s scions. In truth, he serves as a front for the Alti Peynirci, a family name for four kobolds from the Dragoncoils. These immigrants make and age blocks of cheese in the Cartways, supporting other worshipers of the True Vein.
- The Alti Peynircis’ faith in St. Piran could not coexist with the worship of the Mharoti’s draconic pantheon. When they fled, these kobolds stole the only recipe for haloumi—the dread sultan’s favorite fry cheese. Assassins have come to Zobeck to punish these thieves and recover the recipe.
- This stinky little shop is generally tolerated by its neighbors. On All Kobold’s Eve, scalyfolk congregate here to eat cheese and drink strong ciders throughout the early evening before wassailing the district with traditional kobold carols. This year, the neighbors hire the PCs to peacefully intercept boisterous kobolds, redirecting them to other neighborhoods to sleep off their hangovers more quietly.
What is the Free City of Zobeck? What is this clockwork business? Find answers to all your burning questions in Zobeck Clockwork City Collector’s Edition! Ten years of secrets and gears between two fine covers! And discover the wider world of Midgard in the Midgard Worldbook!