Workshop Codename: Cooklock

The idea for today’s workshop is not my own. I honestly forget if it was a Tweet or a retweet of a Tumblr post but when I saw it I had to write down the concept:

what about a warlock who earned their patron when they were trying to learn a recipe but incidentally summoned a demon


Oops!

I really loved that whole idea and its bounced around in my brain a few times since I read it and wrote it down. The best thing about this concept is it works in so many ways. I can imagine a young apprentice looking for help on a culinary test, a young alchemist who has no idea what they are doing, or a up-and-coming chef who really, really has no idea what they are doing. Any of these could lead to a scenario where you summon some powerful fiend and in a moment of absolute frustration accept whatever aid the being offers.

While the fiend grants you the knowledge / skill / recipes you need to succeed you must, of course, give something in return. In this case you become a warlock, forced to do work and sling spells in service to a dark entity of the Hells or Abyss. But there are worse days, right?


Culinary Patronage

It is important here to consider what kind of fiend would answer a summons like this. Maybe the creature is not powerful enough to have any idea why they are being summoned or maybe they are. Or, maybe, the poor cook is so bad at it they let the demon know on accident! Either way it might be a pretty reasonable assumption that most mortals getting stuck in this predicament would be doomed. Either they would be tricked into unleashing the fiend or otherwise overpowered and killed.

But what kind of story does that leave us with? A short one, funny perhaps, but that’s not the point. Let’s consider that the outcome is different. This fiend not only knows of mortal culinary arts but it is some kind of guilty pleasure for the creature. It’s something the fiend has knowledge of but always seeks out more. And here a young chef presents an unexpected opportunity! The diabolic chef gains a patron who needs the skills to cook and someone to trade recipes with.

By enterryon DeviantArt

This relationship could further develop in all kinds of ways. Does the warlock want the magic powers? Do they make the best of them? What recipes does the patron seek out through its new minion? What kind of trouble does the warlock get themselves, and their party, into along the way?? What strange ingredients get used and what benefits do they have to those who eat the warlock’s fiendish meals?


A New Type of Warlock

Your standard warlock would not necessarily work in this case, but I think we can work around that. First off, we need not build a whole new warlock. Let’s just flavor it (pun intended) for the situation. Me? I would take an imp familiar and that little dude would help get spices and ingredients and chop veggies and lug around my cookbook. It could become the perfect sous chef!

Second, I would 100% allow any player that wanted to play this character to have different bonus spells, plus some extra choices. Things like purify food and water sound terribly un-fiendish. But consider, a true chef (like your patron aspires to be) would never use ruined ingredients! Things like good berry and create food and water would also be potential options, but consider if your arrogant patron would allow such cheating spells. Maybe they’d just mock you every time you need to use them. Locate spells would also work really well for finding creatures and things that would be necessary for various recipes.

By Nikola Odic

Other than that your warlock needs to be designed based around the problems at hand. One, we must seek more ingredients and recipes to improve the art. Two, working for a powerful fiend is dangerous. Cooking is a hobby for them, not a full time job, so it can’t be the only thing you do either. Three, money is hard to come by when you travel but luckily you have a lot of spells to use to do odd-jobs. Those spells probably come in handy when haggling for ingredients or hunting down food sources. Build yourself as you adapt to the obstacles of your unique lifestyle.


Exotic Ingredients For The Fiendish Chef

d10 Ingredient
1 The sap from a hangman’s tree.
2 Honey made from the flowers of a shambling mound.
3 Peppers grown on the Plane of Fire.
4 Spices aged in a black dragon’s hoard.
5 Pixie dust, freely given.
6 The spores of a myconid sovereign.
7 Smoke produced by a smoke mephit.
8 An apple grown in Elysium.
9 Boiled chuul claws.
10 Slow roasted cockatrice meat.

What’s your cooklock like? How accidental was this relationship? What new recipes have you discovered with your patron? What do-gooders have gotten in the way of culinary masterpieces? Let’s hear your ideas and stories in the comments below!

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