I suppose you could say I’m a foodie. I love trying new cuisine and flavors. Helping my girlfriend, a national food publication editor, in the kitchen is a lot of fun and I frequently make cooking analogies to help explain lots of things. So when I saw an announcement for Dragon Stew: a 5th Edition Cooking Supplemental I started counting the days until the Kickstarter went live. No joke! You can check out the tweet for yourself. I wasn’t the only one looking forward to Dragon Stew with great anticipation either. The project funded in 45 minutes and it’s nearly 500% funded at the moment. Any time I see new content for 5E D&D with unusual twists like this I become very intrigued and with cooking and culinary skills taking the forefront in this project I am absolutely thrilled. So let’s get into it and see what Dragon Stew brings to the table when it comes to cooking in 5E D&D.
Dragon Stew creator’s recipe for 5E D&D cooking
I had a chance to do a Q&A with the creator of Dragon Stew, Antonio Demico. Originally from Madrid, Spain, Antonio resides in France where he is a video game concept artist, writer, tabletop roleplaying game content creator and (of course) cooking aficionado. Antonio’s work has been featured at Marvel and D&D Beyond to name a few, and I love his whimsical style and the color palette used in the Dragon Stew art you can he shares on social media and the Kickstarter page.
I’m especially thankful to Antonio for taking some time to answer a few questions about his work and the Dragon Stew project. I know how busy things get after a Kickstarter launches and I’m sure he has a ton of things to keep an eye on, work on and coordinate. So big thanks to Antonio for his time.
Since you are a successful Kickstarter creator now, how does it feel?
“It feels absolutely surreal. I know this is what people always say, and I really can’t find the words to make it sound unique, but I had no clue it would go this well this fast. If you had spoken to me a day before launch I would tell you that I’d be happy if we reached 10K at the end of the 30 days. We reached it in three and a half hours. I truly have no words other than thank you to everyone that believes in the project enough to back it.”
I am one of those people! And I’m not the only one. There’s a ton of 5E D&D players out there who love cooking both inside and out of the game. I ran a culinary campaign myself over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel, the Ingest Quest Spelljammer 5E D&D campaign. I know the folx at Web DM are enamored of culinary adventures, and in our Nerdarchy team game the characters organized a shortbread cookie baking contest during their first session. And obviously there’s hundreds of others out there who’ve already backed Dragon Stew, which illustrates the appeal of this concept.
Is the art and the writing done by you? How did the project come together, were these ideas you used in your games and what made you decide to bring it to life this way?
“All writing and art is done by me, yes! Although I’m now speaking with other well known community artists to have guest art pieces, which is super exciting. The project came together when I decided to DM my first long “serious” campaign. I wanted to do a cooking competition campaign for so long, and I actually thought I would do that in video game form, since that’s the field I work in. When the campaign took off, I started refining all the cooking rules and classes for my players, and the idea of making this a product other people could use was born there. Then it was just a ton of work on the side to make it a reality, since I wanted to have everything written before launching on Kickstarter!”
I love this answer for several reasons. First off, knowing Antonio had the writing and rules worked out before launching the Kickstarter is really encouraging. That was our own Nerdarchy experience too and it made a huge difference. On our own production side it meant we had the lion’s share of work done writing, editing and playtesting the content. So we were confident in our ability to deliver the material on time. After the launch and funding were complete, we had the time to put extra care into going over the written material again and making sure all the other components knock it out of the park.
Also I understand how the scope of a project can broaden through a Kickstarter when a project exceeds a funding goal, and it is really cool to hear Antonio plans to include artists from the 5E D&D community to contribute to the project.
Lastly as a longtime game and content creator myself it is super rewarding to take an idea from your experiences at the game table and turn them into a product to share with other players. We love hearing stories from groups who had fun using our own products and I’m sure Antonio looks forward to hearing tales of 5E D&D cooking adventures with the Dragon Stew content too.
What is the most exciting thing about the Kickstarter so far, after funding in 45 minutes?
“Once again this sounds like a cliché, but the community response definitely is the most exciting part of it. Seeing people be so into my weird little idea is completely unbelievable and exciting for me. People on Twitter would notice before I did that we had reached a stretch goal and would tweet at me, and they were so incredibly excited themselves! It truly made launch day an amazing experience.”
What’s the coolest part of thinking about players from all over using Dragon Stew content in their games?
“Anything that involves the player’s creativity. Cooking rules for any monster is fun, but I can’t wait to see what kind of characters people make with the cooking classes, or their own interpretation of the dessert familiars. Just the fact of people taking something I made and then in turn making it their own with their own ideas and concepts makes me so happy.”
What is Dragon Stew?
It’s hard to say this is my favorite thing about Dragon Stew, because there’s a lot of things I’ve fallen in love with already, but what I really dig is how the content adds to and enhances a 5E D&D game, but doesn’t replace anything. Cooking classes, like the presenter, baker, seasoner and tracker beautifully illustrated above do not replace existing classes. Instead, characters can include these cooking classes right along with their character’s race, class and background.
I love this sort of stuff! When 5E D&D first came out, backgrounds were one of the new elements I dug the most because they added a new dimension to characters and Dragon Stew looks to achieve the same scenario. Cooking classes aren’t as powerful as your class but they do offer both combat utility and features to use while adventuring. And give you different ways to cook delicious meals made of monsters. This kind of content really speaks to my affection for slice-of-life style campaigns where well rounded characters explore what it’s like to live in a fantasy world.
“There are several different rulesets included in the book, like Cooking Classes, Dessert Familiars, and Cooking Rules. Feel free to mix and match in order to create the experience you want at your table.” — from the Dragon Stew Kickstarter page
And Dragon Stew comes with an adventure! Naturally the adventure showcases the new rules and options in the book. When I think of all the people I play 5E D&D with regularly, I’m certain all of them would enjoy an adventure or campaign featuring these cooking classes, dessert familiars, cooking rules and culinary adventures. The Cooking Trial adventure developed right from Antonio’s own campaign too, and I believe playing it will be a neat way to connect with the content and creator.
At the time of finishing up writing this, Dragon Stew is well over funded and several stretch goals already unlocked including a hand drawn character sheet in Dragon Stew style, with cooking classes taken into account; a new Divine Domain for clerics — the Pleasure Domain; new magical cooking items; and a new cooking class — the butcher. Next up is the War Cook, a Martial Archetype for fighters, new backgrounds with cooking flair and a new Bard College — College of Hosting.
Certainly if you’re a 5E D&D player with an interest in cooking, go check out Dragon Stew and discover the pledge level that works best for you. At the higher tier levels you can work with Antonio to create a culinary adventurer, which will be illustrated and included in the book. Other levels include different ways to contribute to the project or get custom illustrations too. To me Dragon Stew is a very special sort of project. I love interesting takes on 5E D&D to begin with and cooking and culinary stuff holds a special place in my heart too. But if I’m honest it’s Antonio’s colorful and playful art and illustrations that really captured my imagination. I’m very excited to get the Dragon Stew book in my hands and go on some culinary adventures with the 5E D&D players in my group.
Check out Dragon Stew: a 5th Edition Cooking Supplemental here.