I’m anticipating that 2018 is going to be a big year for me. The last couple years have been spent in the dark toil of behind-the-scenes writing and development on several big projects, and—if all goes well—several of those will finally see the light of day over the next 12 months or so.
The Book of Feasts, the first of these publications and the latest supplement for the King Arthur Pendragon RPG, also happens to be the first supplement for that storied game line to feature my name on the cover. I have Stewart Wieck to thank for that.
Back in 2014, I lucked my way into working with Greg Stafford’s “Household,” the talented cadre of writers, designers, editors, and layout artists who have maintained the steady stream of KAP material coming out of Nocturnal Media over the past few years. Although my name has appeared in the credits of a couple other products, it was on Stew’s initiative that this particular project came to be. A modest entry in the KAP family, perhaps, but one I’m extremely proud of.
The “book” is actually a dual product, consisting of the manuscript itself and an accompanying Feast Deck. Those of you who have listened to my actual-play of The Great Pendragon Campaign will be familiar with the draft version of the deck and its rules. Together with James Knevitt, I polished up the rules; we added a nifty little competitive element (Geniality) that tracks one’s overall social performance at a given feast and awards Glory at the end to the most genial guest. Thanks to the brilliant layout work of Clay Gardner, the deck itself is absolutely gorgeous.
The book consists of three parts. The first part lays out the rules for the “mini-game” of feasting, putting it on equal standing with tourneys and hunting as an important scenario in its own right.
The second part goes into detail on the customs and foodways of medieval nobles, providing Gamemasters plenty of creative grist they can use to make any feast come alive. (My favorite part of this section has to be the “Let’s Sup” table, which presents 60 random medieval delicacies to place upon the groaning boards of your feasts, guaranteed to alternately tantalize and disgust your players. It was great fun filling in that table. Porpoise and peas, anyone?)
The third part is primarily taken up with a scenario, inspired by a particularly feast-heavy ancient Welsh Arthurian tale. Also featured in this section is a table of “marvels” to toss into any feast, from the Pentecost on down. Combine this table with the Feast Deck and you pretty much have an evening's worth of gaming at your fingertips.
Lastly, a couple appendices present a glossary of feasting terminology and three authentic medieval recipes, updated for the modern kitchen; now ambitious groups can put on a feast of their very own!
As mentioned at the top of this post, this book would not exist without Stewart Wieck, and it is only fitting that it is dedicated to his memory. When Stew passed away so unexpectedly and tragically last year, many of the eulogies posted about him from long-time peers and colleagues attested to his remarkable generosity of spirit. Ever since his days at White Wolf, he used his standing in the industry to help out the up-and-comers, the aspiring writers and designers. I was among those he lent a hand to, not just for Feasts but also for the recently-released Prince Valiant RPG, for which I contributed a short scenario as part of the Episodes companion volume.
Both of these opportunities were extended to me by Stewart, completely of his own accord. Though I did not know him as well as many of those who spoke in his memory so eloquently last year, I can testify to the truth of all that was said.
You are missed, Stewart. Thank you.