So if you are looking at this page you most likely did a search for Zapperburger. Thinking WHY are people talking about Zappperburger when it's not a real food joint?
Zapperburger is the fictional fast food restaurant in the RPG Star-Fall. It serves as the setting for Norkek and Hedda two aliens who talk about human mating habits (Social commentary with a funny twist).
Why Spend so much time working on a fast food joint in an RPG?
One of the many things I have learned I the SCA (sca.org) is that the peasants, not the nobles determine the food of a culture. WHAT? Well, think about it. A Peasant needs to eat whatever they can. And will spice up using whatever they can afford or what they can grow.. The wealthy can eat whatever they want, whenever they want from wherever they want. So most of the time that is going to be ANYTHING that the peasants are not able to have. The Nobles like to think they control culture but not when it comes to food.
In my case, its all about Sci-Fi but the same could be said in your D&D game. What kind of Grog would they have? Is there anything other than stew to eat? What strange food is available here? What would someone pay for "Dragon Stake"? Or is Dragon Stake Forbidden?
The same goes for modern/future society
Where the rich are going about their business the people need to eat. Fast food is the cornerstone of that. So thinking of what kind of items an intergalactic fast food chain might have.
- What would the menu be like?
- What would the target audience be?
- Would they have a Drive through?
- Do Robots serve the food?
- Do the health standards in fast food improve after 500 years?
- Can you find a store in a space station?
- Are the drink cups usable in Zero-G?
These are all questions I have asked myself. and those questions helped me fill out the world of Star-Fall. Norkek and Hedda are not human and they are always eating there. So with their non-human diets. What would be on the menu? Elome (Norkek) are like big iguana people. So they would mostly eat fruit but would have a taste for rodents and other live food if it just happens to be easy to access. from what I understand Iguana see cockroaches and other bugs like candy and will have health issues if they have too much. So an Elome would be the same way. Life food would be very healthy for them in balance with the fruit. Whereas a Glippan (Hedda) are omnivores like a human would eat about the same kind of stuff that I might order .. Big Zapper with no mayo
This also makes me think that a company like that might want to market to all of the various sentient species all at the same time. Maybe the company would try to find a way where an Elome could eat live food in front of his friends without grossing them out.
So from here, we have figured out
- Elome like live food
- Glipans have similar diets to like humans
- Society tends to have mixed groups of species
And All I did was think about the menu.
A safe place to Roleplay
Not every place the party meets has to be a bar. One of my favorite things to do in Star-Fall Actual Play Podcast is to plop the player characters down in a place o eat or drink and tell hem to interact. They go nuts!! I can already see Reza complain that there is nothing alcoholic to drink. Gerry is going to order a big zapper and some Rats. Arkady will most likely order an order of Pinky Poppers then get grossed out they are life food. Gerry, of course, will want to eat that for her.
One of the mistakes I made as a GM was assuming that the players would always need some kind of battle. Having a place where they can interact and know that its safe to do so opens up all kinds of role play opportunities. One of the things that I do to help this is to tell the players a few rules before they start.
- Tell the thief too many cameras to get into trouble
- No NPCs they know and it's rude to bother someone while eating
- Tell the players to think of topics beforehand (few days before game night)
- Tell the players they do not need to be on their guard so they can focus on the conversation.
- Make it about the player's interaction, not the NPCs
- Try to avoid mission talk
Having this kind of scene in a fast food restaurant has the possibilities to have this kind of interaction anywhere.
Making a Menu
Those of you who have seen me gamemaster know that I love to use Keynote/Powerpoint displays that run in the background. This time around I created a ZapperBurger Menu. The slideshow would run the entire time the characters were in the restaurant. We even had Gerry use a Role Vs Roll card and pick an argument with the person behind the counter because the Rats were not "Fresh" . This sort of thing is Character Development GOLD
It adds to the feel
I always try to add to the feel of my Roleplaying games. my podcasts are no different. One of the things I love about some of the TV shows I watch is that they will often have a restaurant in the bar that the characters will often visit. it almost becomes its own character. Having something like this makes the world feel lived in. Makes the characters seem more alive. The idea that Arkady does have carrots on her big zapper burger makes her feel more real.
So in your Roleplaying game .. think of how food or a restaurant might help flesh out your world for the players.
My only regret is that did not add Vegimite to the menu. We are an Austrilian Scifi podcast after all .