The group that I DM for met to continue their adventures in Phandalin. If you are currently running the D&D Starter Set, beware possible spoilers ahead.
I was born and raised in small town Texas, so a large amount of my experience is steeped in southern style cooking. Some southern cooking basics include: cooking with butter, making enough for an army – no matter how many people are coming over, and making sure you say “like my mama makes it” at least four times while cooking.
One of my absolute favorite cooks is Pioneer Woman. She is an amazing cook, hilariously entertaining blogger, and definitely takes southern cooking to another level. Today’s delicious roasted dark meat chicken is based on her recipe here. I added chicken thighs into the mix and tweaked a few things here and there, but this recipe is super easy and leaves you with a tasty chicken dish. The recipe with my added tweaks can be found below.
I was serious though when I said cooking with butter.
Before you roast the chicken, you basically bathe it in a pan full of butter and spices. I seasoned the butter with seasoned salt, garlic power, and red pepper for a little kick. After thoroughly drowning the chicken limbs in a pool of seasoned butter, I set them on roasting racks and proceeded to brush them with more butter. Seriously, butter on top of butter. I added some black pepper and paprika on top of the butter baste to give the skin some extra flavor.
Speaking of butter, this is the only butter I will ever use now.
My husband and I went to Ireland last year and were introduced to the joy that is Irish butter. It costs a little more here in the states, but man oh man is it worth the extra coin. I cook and bake with this butter alone now. The taste is way more clean and rich than any processed yellow paste from America. No lie, my chocolate chip cookies became ten times more addictive once I switched to Kerrygold. Dear people of Ireland, thank you for your beautiful country and this heaven in a gold package butter.
So with the power of Irish butter and Pioneer Woman recipes, we ended up with some quite tasty chicken for our heroes’ feast.
Now in our house, you can’t have a feast without bread. I basically married a viking, so meat, potatoes, and bread are a staple for our meals. I have not fully mastered the art of scratch-made yeast rolls yet, so I cheated and bought “Kroger original yeast dinner roll dough”. They make fantastic rolls, so don’t be scared to buy frozen dough. Seriously, all you need is a muffin pan, cooking spray, time enough for the dough to rise, and you guessed it – melted butter for the tops.
Pro tip of the day: If you are ever find your house is just not warm enough to get the dough to rise (yes Texas is cold every great once in a while), a heating pad on a low setting will get those little dough balls on track for dinner.
Another thing about southern cooking is that feasts are always better when you go potluck. You don’t have to shoulder the burden of the whole meal on your own, and you get a nice variety of dishes.
Two of my wonderful adventures brought the best cornbread casserole ever, and some quite tasty (and gorgeous to look at) green beans.
All in all, it made for a great country style heroes’ feast.
We only use the finest of paper china of course.
Last but not least, never forget the desserts. Maybe it is my inner (and outer) big gal, but you just need something sweet to finish things off. Now I LOVE to bake. My KitchenAid mixer is well loved and definitely well used, but this session my awesome adventures brought the baked goods.
Whole Foods bakery has some fantastic varieties of cookies and treats. They have made many an appearance at our games. And homemade banana bread, be still my heart. That is one of my favorites, and someone almost earned their way to a DM inspiration die with this delicious loaf of yum.
Of course when you marry a viking, this is what his “dessert” looks like.
Beast companion Sooba was all to willing to inspect the quality of all food served.
Once we stuffed ourselves to proper fullness, the adventure began. Since we are all new to this group, let me give you some introductions.
The “Beast” Barbarian
Male Dwarf Barbarian
played by John
Source: Penny Arcade Forums
The “Trickster” Wizard
Male Gnome Wizard
played by Dan
Source: Dungeons & Dragons Wiki
The “Divine” Paladin
Male Half-Orc Paladin
played by Ross
Source: Chris Seaman Illustration Studio
The “Lost” Ranger
Female Halfling Ranger
played by Delphine
Source: RPG Wizzard
The “Bookworm” Druid
Female Dragonborn Druid
played by Shannon
Down with the Redbrands
We started this session immediately after the group had dealt with the Redbrands, the criminal element in Phandalin. They had ventured to the Redbrand hideout to find the leader and run the group out of town.
A little extra back story on our previous session; the last session presented a unique situation for me as a DM. We had two members that needed to step away from our games for a while and two new players that wanted to join the game. It stinks to lose players, but I wanted make sure they could come back one day if they chose to. So my conundrum, hiatus two characters and bring in two new ones all at once. Our bard and monk were mysteriously captured by a magical trap in the hideout, and the group were barred from entering the leader’s study. While looking for another way in, they happened upon our two new characters Mung and Sky in the Redbrand’s dungeon. When they found the leader GlassStaff, instead of fighting the group, he teleported away with the adventurers he had captured, so our players’ characters are still alive but out of game until they group can find them again. Our two new players have also now joined in after being rescued by the group. Problem solved…for now.
After clearing the hideout, freeing our two newest adventurers from the dungeon, and encountering the leader GlassStaff, our team had to decide what to do next. Sky being new to the area asked if this hideout was all the criminal gang had. The Redbrands actually operate out of a tavern at the edge of town as well, so of course Varel suggested they go and finish the gang off and burn their tavern to the ground. Varel is not afraid of some mischief and loves a chance use his fire spells. Varel had managed to take the leader’s glass staff from him before he teleported away, so he suggested he and Mordecai walk through the front door declaring their leader defeated while Sky sneaked in from the second floor balcony and the rest of the group flank from the back of the tavern. In true grand Varel fashion, he walks in the front door with the glass staff in hand proclaiming their wizard leader bested, and Mordecai was in his fully intimidating hybrid weretiger form. Unique quality of Mordecai, he comes from a line of dwarves that have the ability to shift into a large cat form and humanoid weretiger form. It makes for quite an entrance when they are heading into a fight.
Source: Deviant Art
They definitely surprised the Redbrands in the tavern and took them all out without too much trouble. Mung did have a great moment that had us all laughing. He walks in the backdoor of the tavern and rather than attack, he used the spell Command speaking “repent” to attempt to make one of the thieves turn from his evil ways. Mung is a paladin that actually believes he is the son of The Morning Lord Lathander. He is a half-orc that literally thinks his mother was impregnated by a god. Mung is pretty special. So when the thief succeeded on his constitution save and told Mung to piss off rather than repent, Mung took offense to that. John was about to have Mordecai attack that thief, and Ross asked him to let Mung have that one. He then had Mung punish the Redbrand for his heretical words by way of a morningstar to the head. Don’t blaspheme to Mung, man.
With the Redbands fully wiped out, the group took a cask of ale from the tavern, set the place on fire, and proceeded back to town to celebrate. Picture a dwarf, gnome, dragonborn, half-orc, and halfling walking away from a building on fire all badass style with epic music in the background. They were met by the townsfolk with great appreciation for clearing out the troublesome Redbrands. A night of partying was in order. Varel of course told stories of how he single-handedly took out the Redbands and their leader and showed off his new staff to the ladies. Varel loves any chance to gloat about his triumphs. Mung took this time to speak to the folk in the tavern about the greatness that is Lathander. He wants the world to know about the grace of dear old “dad”. Kava, being the quiet sort, sat back enjoying the sight of it all. The children of the town have been fascinated with her in the past as they had never seen a dragonborn, so before she knew it, she was surrounded by curious kids looking at her in awed reverence. Also, dragonborn tails are apparently the best jungle gym in town.
After a night of well earned revelry, the party rested and immediately set out on the next leg of their journey. GlassStaff after all was just a small fish in the big pond, and they wanted to find out who was orchestrating the woes of Phandalin. The whole adventure started with goblin attacks outside of the town and is culminating to large plot of an unseen evil wishing to claim the long lost mines that once made the town a thriving center. Through intel gathering and a partnership with Sildar Hallwinter, a member of the Lord’s Alliance, the party found their only real lead with in the Cragmaw castle. A long forgotten ruined castle that had become an outpost for goblins, hobgoblins, and other nefarious sort. They hoped here they would find Sildar’s traveling companion Gundren Rockseeker. Gundren is believed to be the last link to finding the Wave Echo Caves and the lost mines.
The group found the castle with no problem and were able to scout an inconspicuous side entrance they felt would give them quiet entrance to the castle. Little did they know that they would face their mightiest foe before they even set foot inside the castle. In true Critical Role like fashion, the group were almost undone by…a locked door. The first approach was to quietly pick the lock. Mordecai is even proficient in lock picking and has the tools. Sadly John rolled pretty low, so Mordecai just could not get the damn thing to open. Sky wanted to try her hand at it, but one low roll and unfamiliarity with how lock picks work led to a broken pick. I am starting to feel bad for them and thinking about lowering the DC on this lock, but then Varel walks up Mr Cocky and says let him try. Low rolls continue and another pick is almost broken. Mordecai has had enough at this point and said screw the stealth and swung his great axe at the door. Unfortunately this is a strong outer door and another low roll…the door was barely nicked. Mung stepped up and took a swing with an axe that deals full damage to wood based creatures. Since the door is not living though, that bonus does not count, and you guessed it, low roll again. The door stands mocking them. Varel gets tired of this all and shoots a fire bolt at the door. Low damage roll leaves the door only lightly weakened, BUT it is on fire now. Mordecai in a fit of rage slams the now lower DC door with his great axe and huzzah they are through. FINALLY IN THE CASTLE.
An artist I am not, so please know the maps are not very impressive.
Now I know what you are thinking, that much noise to get through the door; something is waiting for them on the other side right? Nope. I rolled perception for every single enemy in the next room every single time they made noise. I kid you not, all 5s and 6s. The MOST unperceptive bunch of goblins you have ever encountered. So the group is expecting their cover to be blown and just waltz into the next room. There are eight, EIGHT, goblins having a meal totally unknowing they are there until that door opened to the dining hall.
OH, hey guys. How’s it going?
Unfortunately we ran out of time and had to end the adventure at this point. I had an entire castle worth of bad guys ready for the session, and they beat up a door. Gotta love some D&D.
Next time fellas. Next time.
Now to plan the rest of the castle incursion. This group keeps me on my toes, so I am sure it will be thrilling and require some epic treats.
Until the next adventure, Bon Dungeon Eats!
Recipe: Roasted Dark Meat Chicken
- 10 chicken legs with skin
- 8 chicken thighs with skin
- 2 sticks butter
- 1 tablespoon seasoned salt
- 2-3 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper (or spicy seasoning of your choice)
- 1/4 cup lemon juice (or to taste)
Preheat your oven to 400-degrees. Melt your butter in a saucepan and add the lemon juice, seasoned salt, garlic powder, and red pepper. Stir until combined. You can taste the mixture to make sure you have the right garlic/lemon ratio and heat. Add more seasoning as you need to get this mixture the way you like it.
Rinse and pat dry your chicken legs and thighs. With metal tongs, transfer them one by one into the butter mixture and then to a rack over a baking sheet. Once all of the chicken pieces are coated and on the rack, take a pastry brush and coat the chicken pieces one more time. Sprinkle with seasonings of your choice. I used black pepper and a light amount of paprika.
Roast in the oven for 30 minutes, and then check the thigh temperature (165°F is suggested for safely cooked chicken temp). Once the temperature is close to done, turn your broiler on to give them a nice golden color on the skin. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn though. Pull the chicken out of the oven once you are happy with the color and enjoy!