I recently ran a Dungeons&Dragons game for my friends, and I wanted to cook them something nice for dinner as well. I made Spanish-inspired stuffed peppers with vegan mince on the evening before the game, and put them in the oven on the day. My omni friends were really impressed – if I may say so myself – and the harshest judge (me) approved as well. Give it a go!
Stuffing oil (I used coconut) 1 onion 3 garlic cloves 3-4 bay leaves pack of meatless mince (I used the Meatless Farm Co.) 1.5 heaped tbsp of tomato puree 2 tbsp maple syrup 1/3 of 500 g passata di pomodori 70g sultanas salt, pepper [optional] Maggi liquid seasoning*
Tomato Sauce 2/3 of 500 g passata di pomodori 1.5 heaped tsp brown sugar (or other sugar) 1 tbsp red wine vinegar salt
Obviously Potted grilled or pickled peppers**
Prepare the stuffing Finely chop onion and garlic. Put your favourite frying pan on a medium heat and add some oil. Fry the onions and bay leaves for a minute or so, then add the garlic. Fry the meatless mince separately in a non-stick pan^ (instructions on packaging). Mix the onoins, garlic and bay leaves back in, along with the tomato puree and maple syrup. Add 1/3 of your total passata di pomodori, stir, and add salt and pepper (and maggi) to taste. Mix in the sultanas and the stuffing is done!
Make the tomato sauce^^ Heat up the rest of your passata di pomodori in a pan, then mix in the rest of the ingredients. Add salt to taste.
Stuff and grill the peppers Pre-heat the oven to 175 °C fan oven). Grease a roasting dish with olive oil. Take your peppers out of the pot and rinse of any brine, seeds and skin (if it peels off). Stuff the peppers one at a time with a spoon and lay them in the roasting dish. If you have leftover stuffing and room left in your dish, you can make separate heaps of stuffing that will just have to do without pepper. Cover the peppers and any loose stuffing with the tomato sauce. Covering it well makes sure the peppers and stuffing don’t dry out in the oven. Put in the oven for 15 minutes, then turn the heat down to 160 °C for another 15 minutes°°.
Traditionally served with rice (I think).
*Traditional Dutch cuisine is well-known for it’s complete lack of any interesting flavourings, which is why Dutch people like to add a few drops of Maggi to basically anything. It deepends the flavour, so I reckon it could be replaced by vegan Worcester sauce or some soy sauce (add less salt if using soy). If you do find Maggi, only use a few drops! It’s a really strong flavour and unlike garlic, too much really is too much.
**Grilled peppers have a bit more flavour than pickled ones and are de-skinned, but tend to be more expensive. The main thing is that you want them to be soft; with raw peppers there is a risk of them not being cooked enough when they come out of the oven. You can probably make your own grilled peppers but I haven’t tried.
^I found the meatless mince is a bit trickier to fry than actual meat, from what I remember. Frying it separately form the onions makes it easier. When they say a non-stick pan on the packaging they really mean it. I used more oil than the packaging recommended though.
^^The original recipe used “tomato frito”, a tomato sauce from grilled tomatoes that had added sugar. I couldn’t find it here so I decided to make my own sweetened tomato sauce.
°° These very specific oven instructions are courtesy of my mum.
I’ve played a fair bit on Dungeons&Dragons (all 5th edition), but I’d never taken on the role of DM before. (The DM is the Dungeon Master, i.e. the person running the game.) An opportunity presented itself for me to run a one-off game for a group of friends. I had already worked out a possible basis for a story a while back, so we decided to plan a date which forced me to work towards that deadline. Of course, I then postponed it, but only once :p I managed to finish all important preparations on time – plus drawing some cardboard monster mini’s such as a giant octopus. Friends arrived, we played the game, nothing went horribly wrong and we all had a fun time. But I don’t think I’m going to do this again anytime soon. My main take-away: it was a huge amount of work to prepare.
Now I’m not saying you shouldn’t bother DM’ing a D&D game. It’s a very personal statement. First of all, many people would probably tell me at this point that I should have just taken a pre-made adventure to run. True, that would have been a lot less work, but I really wanted to make something of my own. I think I was less interested in running a game as I was in making one. Being a bit of a perfectionist, I obviously tried my very best to make something good. It’s not necessarily a problem, but it is a commitment. Secondly, I’m a preparer, not an improviser. I spent a lot of time going through parts of the story in my head, and making sure that events had a plausible cause, and people had plausible reasons to do things. I went through possibilities of what the players could do, and figured out ways to respond to those things in advance. Maybe I’m not actually a bad improviser and I’m just worried about it. But I think it’s just not my strong suit: I enjoy a good puzzel or a challenge most of the time, but not under time pressure. By the way, consider that this was a one-off game, a linear adventure. There were different possibilities depending on the player’s choices (and die rolls) on a small scale, but overall main events were fixed. It’s pretty impressive for DMs to manage an open-ended, long-term D&D campaing. If you want to work on your lateral and quick thinking skills, maybe that’s a good way to do it.
It’s quite fun to be on the side of the monsters and watch your players fear for their in-game lives.
I tried out using hex-maps instead of the traditional squares. I’ve never liked the clunkyness of the movement on a grid (even with a rule like alternating 1 and 2 steps for diagonal movement) and hexes solve that very elegantly. Large monsters took up three hexes instead of four squares, and a cone was drawn at an angle somewhat smaller than 90 degrees. I didn’t come across any problems so I recommend giving it a try.
Fighting a group of undead pirates that outnumber the players was much easier for them than finding a set of keys. That would probably be different with newer players who haven’t done many D&D fights yet.
Google translate. Part of the game was set in an Arabic-like culture and I used a lot of horribly butchered google translated Arabic to name countries, cities, ships, characters etc. Sounded convincing, and it was fun knowing that there were secret meanings behind some names. Also a shout-out to fantasynamegenerators for other names.
D&D wiki’s like Roll 20, both for preparing and quickly looking things up during the game (I used my laptop).
The actual player’s handbook, DM Guide or Monster Manual surprisingly little or not at all. I just searched for everything online, which was easy enough. Maybe there’s something in the DMG or Monster Manual that I should have known, but I didn’t feel like I was missing anything.
Lastly, it wouldn’t be an event hosted by me if there wasn’t any food provided. I do really enjoy cooking for people. To be honest, it’s also because I want to dissuade people form bringing in food with animal products, which makes me want to provide them with an easy alternative. I’m very glad I made dinner in advane though! The Spanish-inspired stuffed peppers were incredibly well received. From lunch we can also conclude that omnivores like tofurky slices as much as vegans do (which – to be clear – is a lot).
Next time, I’m just going to invite people over for board games or an MTG draft, make dinner, and in all likelihood have a comparable amount of fun for a fraction of the prep work!