Welcome to Midgard Monday! Each week, we’ll visit some little corner of the big, wide world of Midgard. Look for standalone content every Monday that you can drop into your own campaign—whether it’s in Midgard or your own homebrew. Find new inspiration for your game, each Midgard Monday!
Three’s a Lunch Crowd
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.
The Red Pig is the sole eating establishment in Crown Square, home to wealthiest, most established households in the city. A small, exclusive establishment, the Red Pig caters to the most discerning palates.
Only a handful of chefs have worked in this kitchen—and not all have stayed. After learning their craft, three of them pursued different paths to running their own eateries in Zobeck.
Creuset, Upper Zobeck
Opulent homes built of painted bricks line the streets of Upper Zobeck, where the upper crust live, work, and lounge. Old, powerful families own properties here that predate the Great Revolt, while wealthy merchants, traders, and a retired adventurer or two bid small fortunes to buy the legitimacy that comes with living near Crown Square.
The elfmarked chef, Endrich Picarin, first trained at The Red Pig, rising to the lofty rank of sous chef. After five years awaiting a promotion, Endrich left to open his own restaurant in Upper Zobeck.
Making a grand reputation catering parties throughout Upper Zobeck, Endich earned enough coin to pay for a first floor restaurant in Upper Zobeck that he named Creuset. Now, he cooks in the shadow of his former employer, drawing customers away with his unique recipes.
At Creuset, you can find all manner of delicacies from Zobeck and abroad. Endrich imports the finest honey in Bjoernheim to grill glazed chicken skewers. The chef rubs his lamb ribs with sumac and sesame imported from the far reaches of the Mharoti Empire. And he serves kale and escarole grown in the deepest, most dangerous parts of the Margreve—or so he claims.
- Dark rumors swirl that Endich imports goods using the Shadow Roads portal in his basement. A local woman asks the PCs to investigate her husband’s disappearance while working at Creuset.
- Creuset is “closed for repairs” just weeks after its grand opening. The assistant chef approaches the PCs, who explains that a half dozen alabroza (see Tome of Beasts 3) are roosting in the basement.
Helybeli, Lower Zobeck
Down the hill from Upper Zobeck lies Ashmill, unflatteringly referred to as Lower Zobeck. Its residents are the workers, miners, and servants that make Zobeck work.
Emrys Maplemere first worked in The Red Pig as a dishwasher. After demonstrating her aptitude, she began working as a saucier, rising to junior chef. She might have stayed, but opportunity knocked one fine Springmelt day. A free company of dwarven warriors from the Ironcrags came through Zobeck in search of supplies before continuing south to the Seven Cities. Despite being human, her beef and broccoli hand pies so impressed the venture captain that he invited her to join as the company’s chef.
Seizing the opportunity, Emrys spent the next three years cooking for the dwarves, minotaurs, and humans of the company. She learned how to stretch a meal and how to source ingredients from the immediate area—all excellent lessons for Helybeli, the restaurant she opened upon returning home.
Unlike Endrich, Emrys can’t import exotic goods. Her customers rely on her to provide robust meals for modest prices—and any spoilage cuts into her bottom line. Everything is local, from fresh greens from the Pastures to grain ground in Altbach, even to the balsamic vinegar barreled in Neurradel.
- Emrys takes immense pride in knowing her suppliers. One morning, she is visibly distraught after learning that her salmon supplier has been captured by angry otterfolk (see Tome of Beasts 2) and their wereotter leader, Keif (see Tome of Beasts 3).
- With recent chicken shortages, Emrys’ competitors can’t understand how she hasn’t raised prices on her famous hand pies—unless she’s supplementing the chicken with even more foul flesh, like rats or trolls.
Qartofil’s, Kobold Ghetto
East of Ashmill is the only district walled off from the rest of Zobeck. Its buildings are rotten hovels, and its streets are dim and narrow. Its residents guard the gated entrances, forbidding entrance to the Bigs, Too Talls, or other interlopers who live beyond its walls.
This city within a city is, of course, Zobeck’s infamous Kobold Ghetto.
Few would suspect that the kobold chef Qartofil ever worked for an establishment like The Red Pig. However, Qartofil is no average kobold.
Qartofil toiled at The Red Pig for nearly a decade, rising to station chef. One fateful night, the shadow fey ambassador Glaninin Thelamandrine dined at the restaurant and begged Qartofil to prepare his favorite dessert—peach meringues. Qartofil erroneously used nectarines, and the meringues failed to rise.
Glaninin was so insulted that he uttered a curse upon Quartofil. The chef, who by all accounts was tuberkith (see Tome of Beasts 3), transformed into a copper-scaled kobold over the course of the evening. This change appears permanent.
Following his unceremonious sacking from The Red Pig , Qartofil fled to the Kobold Ghetto. He gathered his meager savings to purchase a pushcart, which he now pushes around the ghetto’s wider streets.
Qartofil tries to fuse the haute cuisine of The Red Pig with the utilitarian nourishment of the ghetto. He can even prepare food the Too Talls will eat! However, his customer base is kobolds who can’t fathom why he won’t serve proper kobold fare.
To avoid food waste, Qartofil began serving the ghetto’s unhoused populace at the day’s end. Listening to the kobolds, he realized that they were a source of valued information he could sell to the kings and queens in the ghetto. Qartofil now makes a meager living as an information broker while he garners favors to end his curse and restore his station in Zobeck society.
- Qartofil earns enough coin that local toughs have taken notice. He would be indebted to anyone who could give these four swolbolds (see Creature Codex) a taste of their own medicine.
- No mere remove curse will lift the ambassador’s curse—one must use the feather from the hat the ambassador wore while uttering the curse as the arcane focus. Qartofil has learned this hat is gathering dust in a coat closet at the embassy. He’s willing to part with critical information if the PCs can nick the hat.
What is the Free City of Zobeck? When was the Great Revolt? Answers to all your burning Midgard questions are found 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!