I have a player who's character wants to preserve and enhance the dwarven culture by learning new cooking techniques and ingredients. As such she has taken Profession (Cooking) as a skill (she's a 1st-lvl Dwarven Cleric, her "cause" is the dwarven culture)

I've previously ruled that she could Search the camp site for anything edible and rewarded her with some herbs she recognises and some edible tubers. However, I can't help but think this is more of a Survival skill (finding edible food).

How can I use the rules to allow my player to:

  • Find edible food
  • Cook this food

I've already thought about her rolling a Profession check to see how good her cooking is. A 20 would give anyone who eats it some bonuses for the next day etc. It's the scavenging of food, recognition of what's edible etc. I would prefer RAW, but fully expect it maybe doesn't cover this.

I really want to go above and beyond for this player for coming up with such a unique idea.

  • 6
    \$\begingroup\$ It looks like you already have the answers to your question, finding edible food is indeed survival and Profession Cooking is valid for cooking it. What else did you want to know? \$\endgroup\$
    – Josh
    Apr 25, 2019 at 6:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Josh cooking poisonous fish to make it edible would still be profession (cook), right? \$\endgroup\$
    – Mołot
    Apr 25, 2019 at 8:22
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Mołot yes I'd say so, that's a skill that certain professional chefs have after all. If she wanted to distil the poison from the fish that'd be the poisoners kit proficiency. \$\endgroup\$
    – Josh
    Apr 25, 2019 at 10:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ You may also be interested in this question and this question. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 25, 2019 at 13:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ What outcomes of the process are interesting to your group? Do you want to decide if they all go hungry that night? If they get food poisoning? If others are impressed by the cook's skill? \$\endgroup\$
    – Mark Wells
    Apr 25, 2019 at 15:54

1 Answer 1


You want to go above and beyond in support of a specific character concept. That means that you want to give the player a payoff, rather than necessarily giving it to the character. To do that properly, you need to know what the player wants, and what they would find satisfying.

As a guess, "buffs the next day if you do really well" might do it for some players, but in this case, it probably won't. That's not the sort of thing that people are generally seeking when they try to preserve and enhance dwarven culture. Instead they generally want to... preserve and enhance dwarven culture. They want to see their character having a clear impact in that field. They (probably) want to discover ancient lost recipes (or merely ones so secret that they were nearly lost) and revitalize dwarven communities and share dwarven culture with outsiders in ways that earn respect. They'll want to see some adversaries who despise dwarven culture and who can either be won over or shamed by grand feats of cooking. They'll want to see the occasional dwarven ally come out of the woodwork to help out in some small way in deference to their role as a dwarven cultural hero... and so forth.

For this, your best bet for mechanical effects is probably to treat it like a performance skill - a social-affecting skill that affects those that partake in it. Then fit in the appropriate "the state of dwarven culture is important to the narrative" bits in and around the edges of your plotlines. That's not to say that you should give this player too much of the spotlight, but they've basically told you what they want their spotlight moments to be about. Use it.

Of course, I could be wrong. That's only intuition on my part. It might be worthwhile to have a conversation with them about what sorts of things they want, just to be sure. Still, my guess is that it'll be something like that.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I am imagining a Dwarven teppanyaki chef now - Perform (Teppanyaki) is the key skill there, right? \$\endgroup\$
    – lostgrail
    Apr 25, 2019 at 19:32

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