Another day slaving over a hot stove, and another day of rude customers. Landrig’s diner always was a pain to run. Low on staff, high on turnover, and stuck in a remarkably undesirable neighborhood. There wasn’t much money, so he couldn’t afford good ingredients, so he didn’t get much business, so there was never much money.
But all of that changed on one fateful day. It was the dinner rush, or at least the handful of regulars made it feel like a rush when he had to work solo for most of the evening. Bouncing between taking orders and checking the stove and preparing stew and remembering which tables to serve always ran him ragged, and the sounds of raucous shouting reminded him that he also had to play bouncer from time to time.
But when he stuck his head out of the kitchen, he was caught completely off guard. His patrons were cheering, feasting with abandon, and banging their mugs on the table as they called for a second helping of the beef stew. As he wondered what could have caused them to suddenly fall in love with the diner’s least popular item, he was distracted by a sense of pain. A dull, throbbing ache from his twitching finger. It seemed that he had an accident in the kitchen earlier that day, and gave himself a deep cut while rushing to prepare the stew.
Landrig’s eyes followed drops of blood as they fell from his digit and pattered at his feet. And it was then he noticed a trail of it, leading back into the kitchen and all the way to the stew pot. And in that moment, his life changed forever…
Hello and welcome to Eldritch Excursion, the blog where I normally explore the intersections of flavor and mechanics, but this time we’re going to be all about the flavor. Like, all about the flavor. It’s going to focus on the flavor so much that even the mechanics are going to be specifically about flavor. In particular, we’re going to be speculating on the flavor of the Ghoran race from Pathfinder first edition and Starfinder.
I’m not usually one to add content warnings to my work, since they integrate into the text about as smoothly as a tire blowout into a road trip, but I understand that my writing can be a little on the dark side and not everyone is looking for that. So, I’d like you to take a good look at the ghoran’s player stats and the delicious trait in particular. Now think about the kind of content I make and consider this your vibe check.
Delicious is one of those funny little abilities that has a clear, concise ruling with flavor and lore implications that seem more insane the longer you think about it. A person’s preference for food is entirely personal and subjective. They could prefer sweet treats, hearty meats, or the flavor of boiled shoe leather for all it matters, but every single one of them will, objectively, without exception, have the desire to feast on the ghoran race. A desire so powerful it grants them a mechanical benefit to devouring that ghoran alive.
The idea that ghoran make for the most coveted of Lunchables isn’t in and of itself the biggest mind-blower of their lore. In fact, it’s already the central thrust of their story and probably the one trait you remember when they come to mind. But have you really imagined just how far it can go? Think of the ways a ghoran can market their unique services. Consider that ghoran need sunlight but can still eat if they want to, so the term “epidemic of cannibalism” is both a likely and repeatable occurrence in their history. Imagine how an age of advanced medical technology or readily available healing magic means that a ghoran can serve themselves up on their own terms. Dedicate your mind palace to conjuring the image of an aggressively growing industry of whole ghoran groves that leverage the full capacity of production and distribution of the only product with an objectively guaranteed rate of one hundred percent customer satisfaction.
With that in mind, I’m fairly certain that the ghoran’s reduced rate of reproduction is the only reason that you don’t see them being served up at gourmet restaurants all across the pact worlds. And I know some of you would expect to see people campaigning for ghoran rights and compassionate leaders passing legislation to ensure their fair treatment. But I guarantee that the majority of those politicians would still be dining on ghoran rinds (fresh from their suppliers) during private parties with their public rivals.
But how can you, the player, cash in on this succulent suffering? Allow me to offer an alternate racial trait for Starfinder as well as two feats for either system to really spice up the culinary catastrophe that is your ghoran’s existence. And while they’re intended for one particular race, you’re free to implement them with similar creatures.
Alternate Racial Trait: Addictive
While most ghoran have a flavor with universal appeal, yours is exceptionally compelling. Any creature who deals hit point damage to you with a bite attack or ingests a portion of your body must succeed at a Fortitude save with a DC equal to 10 + 1/2 your level + your Constitution modifier. If they fail, they become addicted as though your flesh was an ingestible drug on the Wisdom track. Having one serving of a ghoran with the addictive trait counts as indulging their addiction, while partaking of normal ghoran flesh grants a +2 bonus to rolls against this addiction for 24 hours. This replaces delicious.
I Shall Provide
Through great resolve and careful harvesting, you sustain your companions.
Prerequisites: Ghoran with the delicious or addictive trait
Benefit: You may use Heal instead of Survival to get along in the wild (Pathfinder) or Medicine instead of Survival to Live Off the Land (Starfinder) to feed your allies. If you fail the roll, you are still able to provide sustenance for your allies, but take 1d6 damage per ally from a combination of careless harvesting and overeager feeding.
Special: A large creature counts as four allies for the purpose of this feat, and a small creature counts as one half (rounded up) of an ally. Anything Tiny or smaller can be fed at a negligible cost, and anything Huge or larger cannot be satiated by this feat alone.
Leaving nothing to waste, you offer your remains as the perfect feast.
Prerequisites: Ghoran with the delicious or addictive trait, the seed trait (Pathfinder only), character level 14th.
Benefits: Whether through death or the leftovers from duplication, you know how to convert ghoran bodies into a culinary masterpiece. You may spend one hour of work on a fresh ghoran body and use 400 gold worth of rare herbs and spices to prepare a banquet that duplicates the effects of heroes’ feast when consumed. Alternatively, you may spend one hour of work to prepare a fresh ghoran body and 2,000 credit’s worth of ingredients to create a banquet that grants the effects of remove affliction and a 2nd level mystic cure to each creature that participates in the feast. Each of these effects uses the ghoran’s character level as the caster level.
Special: You know your own body well enough to prepare it without requiring extra ingredients. You may also leave instructions with your allies on how to prepare your remains as normal, effectively granting them this feat without prerequisites for the purpose of consuming you specifically.
And with that knowledge, you should be able to prepare the finest of cuisines for close friends and honored guests alike! Come back next time and I’ll introduce you to my political philosophy of Alignment Chart Absolutism.