Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Five Random & Unusual Spicy Finds Table For Dark Albion & Your Old School Campaigns

In Dark Albion's setting gold isn't the only precious commodity. The rich & elite not only prepare for war out in the open but flaunt their wealth in other ways. Sugars and spices are a major treasures and the occasional sugar party would play a vital role in upper strata social circles.

As the War of the Roses brews in Albion a raider sights an unusual ship of the French frogmen bound for the ports of their demonic home. The battle is fierce, bloody, & brilliantly fast as they take the ship quickly before the dire magicks of the demon frogs come down on the captain & his crew's heads. The safron, ginger, & mace would bring an incredible price in the ports of Albion but it was the Moroccan sugar that made this lightning raid worth the blood & murder of his crew.

We think of treasure in terms of gold, silver, the relics of the Elves, & other easily identifiable finds in original Dungeons & Dragons as well as Advanced Dungeons & Dragons first edition. But in historical campaigns especially ones like Dark Albion set during the War of the Roses there is a far greater set of treasures that gets over looked by dungeon masters. I'm speaking of spices especially sugar which the Albionian palette just can't get enough of especially the time of the War of the Roses between 1455 and 1487.
According to the 'History of Spices' from the McCormick Science Institute;"
Marco Polo mentioned spices frequently in his travel memoirs (about 1298). He described the flavor of the sesame oil of Afghanistan and the plants of ginger and cassia of Kain-du (the city of Peking), where people drank a flavorful wine of rice and spices. He reported that the wealthy in Karazan ate meat pickled in salt and flavored with spices, while the poor had to be content with hash steeped in garlic. He mentioned in Hangchow, 10,000 pounds of pepper were brought into that heavily populated city every day. Polo also described vast plantings of pepper, nutmegs, cloves, and other, valuable spices he had seen growing in Java and in the islands of the China Sea, and the abundance of cinnamon, pepper, and ginger on the Malabar Coast of India. Some anecdotal evidence suggests that Polo’s accounts led to an increased international spice trade during the 13th and early 14th centuries.
When Christopher Columbus set out on his second voyage (1493), he brought the Spanish physician Diego Chanca, who helped to discover the spices capsaicin (red pepper) and allspice for Spanish cuisine.
King Manual had a large influence on bringing spices to Portugal. Several sea voyages helped establish a trade route to India. In 1501, the port of Lisbon, Portugal had large quantities of Indian spices such as cinnamon, cassia, ginger, pepper, nutmeg, mace, and cloves. King Manuel sent trade missions to develop new markets for his spices throughout Europe, especially in Germany. As the spice wealth poured into Lisbon, the Portuguese crown monopolized the lucrative but risky pepper trade. Cargoes of East Indian vessels were sold at high prices by the king of Portugal to large European syndicates. As in medieval times, the price of pepper served as a barometer for European business in general."

Photo of Sugar loaf by Petr Adam Dohnálek

Sugar was/is the plaything of the rich and elite especially in Albion where its a valued & very well looked after commodity of the wealthy. According to Wiki;' The earliest record to date appears to be 12th century in Jordan,[2] though reference to a cone of sugar is found in al-Zubayr ibn Bakkar's 9th century Arabic Al-Akhbar al-Muwaffaqiyyat. In Europe, they were made in Italy from 1470, Belgium 1508, England 1544, Holland 1566, Germany 1573 and France 1613.[3] When refining from sugar beet began in mainland Europe in 1799, loaves were produced in the same way and are still common in some parts, especially in Germany, where small loaves are a required ingredient for the Christmas season drink Feuerzangenbowle.'

So this means that adventurers might stumble into some very valuable and highly prized spice cargos during adventures in the world of Albion. Here are five unusual spice themed finds. Remember that the elite of Albion are more then happy to murder for the chance for a higher profit margin. Taxes are going to be collected and smuggling is a crime.

The frogmen of France could be using the spice markets of the world to help finance their small brush fire wars that lead to their impending invasion of England. The PC's are going to have to contend with this and the circumstances around the War of the Roses in Albion.

Five Random Unusual Spicy Finds Table
  1. Forty pounds of the very best quality Saffron worth 600 shillings 
  2. Three  hundred pounds of sugar cones worth 300 shillings,the sugar must be brought to a confectioner to bring out its best qualities. 
  3.  Six hundred pounds of pepper corns from the East will bring 800 shillings on the open market. 
  4. three hundred pounds of exotic spices worth 900 shillings once again it must be brought to professionals to bring out their best qualities
  5. 60 pounds of  a slightly higher quality Elven Safron has been grown and not seen in three hundred years worth 800 shillings. Whose producing it & where is it coming from? This development could destabilize the market!?

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