Investing In: Zelda Inspired Expanded Cooking Rules

“Yes, the spikes were incredibly painful! But once I was able to transcend the pain, there was magic awaiting me…” – Cleff the Zora

Can you cook? I can. I can bake too. I enjoy sushi too, though I’ve never made any personally. So I’m all for fresh seafood, but eating a whole crab shell and all? Does Cleff worship Zon-Kuthon? I know the Zora were desperately hungry but… Okay I won’t spoil anymore there. If you know, you know. At some point, someone was hungry enough to try eating something whether they cooked it or not. I had that conversation about lobster just a couple weeks ago. Who picked that up and went ‘oh maybe this will taste good.’ Spoilers on that: it is, though I know not everyone enjoys it.

Traveling around The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom you’ll find a lot of fruits, veggies, monster parts, and other random what you might call ingredients to try putting into your cooking. And let’s be frank, some of it is downright alchemy, especially where the monsters parts and other random stuff comes in. Meanwhile in Kingmaker there’s a hint of that, more than a hint if you utilize the Cooking activity that’s part of the Camping Activities introduced in the Kingmaker Companion Guide. My group is, and they get a little kick out of how much haggis they’re eating right now. But the basic and special ingredients kept in a bag of holding can get a little… bland. And like I said, there’s a hint of the cooking (ahem alchemy) in the main path. It’s so early on and relatively minor that I wouldn’t call it a spoiler, but suffice to say there’s a chance to find some moon radishes and one of the NPCs will cook you Moon Radish Soup. Only problem is, it’s not really just cooking. Or it is, but mechanically it’s alchemy and thus the Craft Alchemy feat is required.

Later on there’s special meals that are rare and are practically you cooking monster parts. Hearty Purple Soup is cooked purple worm meat! Technically though it doesn’t require purple worm meat, but 6 basic and 3 special ingredients you pick up from foraging during other camping activities. A single serving of haggis is 2 basic ingredients, so you’re really chopping up that purple worm (and adding carrots it looks like?) to make that hearty soup. Cooking a basic or special meal requires Survival or Cooking Lore (not Crafting like Alchemy) and I’m sitting here in Zelda thinking Link got way more than the benefits of Free Archetype. How many skill feats? I’m going to have to make his stats too…

Anyway, I’ve since decided on a few special rules for our Kingmaker game.

Cooking Rule Variant 1: You can use Crafting or Cooking Lore to produce alchemical recipes like Moon Radish Soup.

It felt right to allow it to be Crafting or Cooking Lore for the more alchemically beneficial meals, though I’ll note the success, critical success, and favorite meal benefits of those recipes can feel like alchemy.

Additionally I wanted to expand some of what the heroes might pick up. It’s noted in the Ingredients section of Camping Activities that a GM can allow the PCs to harvest special ingredients after encounters with appropriate creatures. However, 1 special ingredient for a success and 2 for a critical seems too little. A Purple Worm is gargantuan. You’re telling me you can only get 1, maybe 2 special ingredients if you’re lucky or well-skilled? Nah.

Cooking Rule Variant 2: When harvesting ingredients you get special ingredients on a successful check based on its size or double that if a critical success. Medium 1; Large 2; Huge 4; Gargantuan 8. 

Remember it takes 3 special ingredients to make Hearty Purple Soup. So a successful check harvesting from it will only net you the ability to make 2 servings. Guess you better critical if you want to feed the whole party, or find more purple worms. I am not responsible for the farm/food industry that develops in your Kingmaker games but when the heroes start worrying about how to feed their growing Kingdom well… You’ve been warned. Of course you might also want to leverage something like the Monster Parts system from Battlezoo Bestiary. I’d suggest a 1 to 1 for special ingredients.

I also wanted to provide more herbs, plants, fruits, veggies, etc. to be found and harvested for alchemical or other uses. The Gremlin Brothers I mentioned in my Low Level Additions blog post first made me think to do this with their Restov Hinterlands & the Greenbelt offering. They now have five expansions to buy for Kingmaker including the Narlmarches and Selen Hills. More encounters, more hex-grid options to find, updates maps. No sponsor here; I just bought them and love the additional and great work they’re doing. I def encourage Investing In there! My players were rather excited to find the bright blooming flower Dordoran’s Fire and know they could brew it into tea. They haven’t yet (Stag Lord first) but soon enough. You might recall Pathfinder 1E had introduced herbs in Ultimate Wilderness. I wove a few into our Strange Aeons game because the Life Oracle was an Herbalist. Thus I wanted more of that! Things to find, collect, cook or brew into alchemy/recipes…

Cooking Rule Variant 3: All the following ingredients are considered Level 2 alchemical items once created and the denoted effects last for 10 minutes unless otherwise listed.  Once you eat/consume a serving, you gain temporary immunity to its effects for 24 hours.  For ingredients that can be used in other magical or alchemical item creation, they are considered to be 20% of the item’s crafting cost.

Herbs and Spices:

  1. Moonbloom: A luminescent flower that grants a +1 item bonus to Perception checks and darkvision.
  2. Serpentleaf: A rare herb that provides a +1 item bonus to resistance against poison and toxins.
  3. Kelpweed: A nutritious seaweed that grants a swimming speed equal to your base speed and grants resistance to cold 5.
  4. Honeycomb: Sweet honeycomb that provides a +1 item bonus to charisma-based skill checks and saves against effects that have the Emotion trait.

Animal Meats:

  1. Manta Ray Fin: The fin of a manta ray that, when consumed, provides a +1 item bonus to Reflex saves and grants a swim speed equal to your base speed.
  2. Stag Venison: A lean and nutritious meat that provides 2 temporary hp / character level or can be used for healing potions.
  3. Dire Boar Bacon: Thick, savory bacon that grants a +1 item bonus to strength-based skill checks and strength-based damage rolls.
  4. Owlbear Drumstick: A large, flavorful drumstick that enhances dexterity-based skill checks with a +1 item bonus and increases base movement speed by 5 feet.
  5. River Shrimp: Freshwater shrimp that can be used to create a potion that grants water breathing or a swim speed.

Rare Mushrooms:

  1. Shimmercap: A bioluminescent mushroom that grants invisibility for 1 minute and a +1 item bonus to Stealth checks in dark environments.
  2. Bloodcap: A crimson-colored mushroom that enhances combat prowess, providing a +1 status bonus to attack rolls and damage.
  3. Dreamspore: A hallucinogenic mushroom that induces vivid dreams, granting a +1 item bonus to Will saves or the results of one augury if taken right before sleep.
  4. Feywild Mushroom: A rare mushroom with transformative properties, allowing characters to assume an Animal Form at 2nd level for 1 minute as per the spell.

Exotic Fruits:

  1. Spiceberry: A pungent berry that enhances the flavor of cooked meals, increasing the level of the item to 4 and duration of their effects to one hour.
  2. Forest Berries: A mix of vibrant berries that grant a temporary increase of 1 hp / character level to the character’s maximum Hit Points. The maximum remains over the 10 minutes, so if lost from damage they can be healed.
  3. Sunfruit: A rare fruit that can be used for magic items that grant resistance to fire damage, or cooked for a +1 item bonus to fire and heat-based effects.
  4. Starberry: A small, glowing fruit that enhances magical abilities and grants a +1 item bonus to spell attack rolls.
  5. Thundermelon: A large melon that, when eaten, grants a +1 item bonus to strength-based skill checks and lightning resistance 5.

Monster Parts:

  1. Wyvern Scale: A tough scale that can be used to craft armor or potions that grant resistance to acid damage.
  2. Troll Heart: A pulsating organ that, when consumed, grants fast healing equal to character level for 1 minute.
  3. Basilisk Gland: The gland of a basilisk that can be used to create a potion that grants temporary petrification immunity, or cooked for a +2 item bonus to any effect that has the transmutation trait and causes the slowed or petrified condition.
  4. Siren’s Scale: A shimmering scale from a siren that can be used to create a potion that grants water breathing. When cooked into a recipe, it grants a +2 item bonus to Performance checks.
  5. Pixie Dust: A shimmering powder that can be used to create potions of levitation or temporary flight.

Alchemical Ingredients:

  1. Essence of Nightshade: A potent extract that can be added to meals to grant darkvision, bonuses to Stealth checks, or invisibility. The meal’s effects double in duration.
  2. Elixir of Elemental Resistance: A vial of alchemical concoction that, when added to meals, grants resistance to one specific energy type for the meal’s normal duration.
  3. Draught of Focus: Used for alchemical items or potions that enhance mental acuity or grant bonuses to Intelligence-based skill checks.

Elemental Residues:

  1. Elemental Essence: After cooking into a syrup or inhaled vapor, this vial of elemental essence grants resistance 5 to a specific energy type.
  2. Ember Shard: A fragment infused with fire energy that, when added to meals, grants fire resistance 5 and a +1 item bonus to damage equal to the spell’s level for spells with the fire trait. If eaten after cooking it lasts 1 minute. If eaten as part of another meal, the 1 minute duration begins at the player’s discretion with a bit of heartburn.
  3. Frost Essence: A crystalline substance imbued with cold energy, granting cold resistance 5 and +1 item bonus to damage equal to the spell’s level for spells with the cold trait. If eaten after cooking it lasts 1 minute. If eaten as part of another meal, the 1 minute duration begins at the player’s discretion with a sudden chill and goosebumps.
  4. Gale Feather: A feather infused with the essence of wind that, when used in cooking, increases movement speed by 5 feet and grants the ability to cast the Feather Fall spell once.

Presently there are 30 and while grouped, I listed them numerically in case I want to do a random roll for what might be found in an area/hex/treasure listing. I’ve not yet gotten to the next stage of formally listing what happens with certain ingredient mixes. My plan is to consider what might happen and go through the experimental “cooking” that the players do. I’ll document it and assign a related level/duration with the effect. Predominantly I suggest comparing against other Alchemical items. For example, combining Stag Venison and Moonbloom may create a meal that grants temporary hit points, Perception, and darkvision as well as the ability to get a sense of others health when you look at them like a Status effect?

I hope you’re enjoying my continued inspirations from The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom for Kingmaker. Obviously you can use these in any campaign, not only Kingmaker. All the camping activities can be used in any campaign after all! Until then, I’ll be investing more time in Zelda and my Kingmaker game. Again, Happy Pride and if you’ve any custom rules you’re creating for your game I want to know about them! And remember a lot of great cultural traditions or means of connecting people stems from cooking, so be sure to invite your fellow koroks for a fine meal but maybe best to save the experimenting with ingredients for another time.

Investing In:

I wasn’t quite sure what to name my article series when I first started but the idea of showcasing or discussing things that make me excited, that I find new and interesting, or maybe I’m otherwise passionate about seemed to fit with the idea of Investing In something like the Pathfinder 2E mechanic. To use some magic items you have to give that little bit of yourself, which helps make these things even better. I like the metaphor of the community growing and being strengthened in the same way!

I also want to hear what you’re Investing In! Leave me a comment below about what games, modules, systems, products, people, live streams, etc you enjoy! You can also hit me up on social media as silentinfinity. I want to hear what excites you and what you’re passionate about. There’s so much wonderful content, people, groups (I could go on) in this community of ours that the more we invest in and share, the better it becomes!


Banner – The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, Link cooking, Nintendo

  1. Cooking A Meal, Pathfinder Kingmaker Companion Guide, Paizo
  2. Hearty Purple Soup, Pathfinder Kingmaker Companion Guide, Paizo
  3. Link & some koroks cooking, Creative Commons Attribution, miyabau

Rob Pontious

You may know Rob Pontious from Order of the Amber Die or Gehenna Gaming's first series of Monster Hearts 2. He currently writes Know Direction's Investing In blog as well as a player for the Valiant podcast and Roll for Combat's Three Ring Adventure. He's been a lover of TTRPGs for over three decades, as a gamer, and a GAYMER. You can find him on social media as @silentinfinity.