Now don’t get me wrong. I am a geek of many stripes. So I mean no disrespect to my (possibly) geekier brethren who play online games in MMORPGs (which stands for Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games), the most popular of which are probably World of Warcraft, Second Life, Civilization IV and Runescape, to name but a few of the literally hundreds of them. I confess I’m no stranger to D&D, but it’s been nearly 30 years since I picked up an 8-sided die. When such games went online, they left me behind. It wasn’t that they weren’t without interest, but I recognized that I needed another time suck like a hole in the head, and simply stayed away. These online worlds have since increased exponentially in terms of detail, sophistication and complexity.
Which brings me to Asheron’s Call, a ten-year old MMORPG. Originally created by Microsoft, since 2004 it’s been maintained and expanded by Turbine that takes place in the land of Dereth and its surrounding islands. In addition to the “official” game site, there are several fansites that add additional dimensions to the game. One of these is called Asheron’s Call Vault. Like all of these games, your character (or Avatar) needs some kind of nourishment to survive so there’s food you can find or make to eat. But Asheron’s Call added another way to nourish yourself: brewing beer. Here’s an overview:
Serious Beer Drinking
(Brews that can make you stronger)
Break out the beer mugs, open up the pubs 24 hours a day, and get ready to drink some brew that can make you smarter, healthier, more coordinated, or more focused!
Up until the invention of these brews, tinker characters relied on those brave Olthoi Queen slayers, to bring them back eggs to bake up tasty treats that increased their attributes. The downsides to these were that first, the eggs were not terribly abundant, they were heavy, and the resulting effects only lasted 15 minutes. There did not seem to be recipes for all attributes, either.
Then an intrepid hunter found some Tusker Spit one day, and brought it to his cook, who went to Sanamar to shop for goods, and happened upon some wonderful recipes for brewing! Some time later, Moarsmuck was discovered, and cooks had additional recipes at their disposal.
The advantages to these brews over Olthoi Food is obvious. They are longer lasting, which means hunters can take them into the field and use them while hunting. The core ingredients of Tusker Spit and Moarsmuck are far easier to come by, and more abundant than Olthoi Eggs, so one needn’t save the brew for “Special Occasions”.
So, whether you prefer the hearty tangy bite of the saliva from a Tusker, or the more mellow, slightly slimy taste of the Moarsman’s remains, below you will find recipes for all six of the wonderful brews that you can take along with you on a daily basis, and shower on your favorite tinker character without reservation.
To brew beer, you need to go on a Quest for the Brewmaster’s Bible, pieces of which are hidden in four separate places. Once you acquire the Brewmaster’s Bible, you can learn “the arcane secrets of that most magical craft known to all Isparian-kind as Brewing!”
Here’s an excerpt from the beginning of the bible:
There are four main ingredients in any good brew: barley, yeast, hops, and water. The color of your barley controls the color of your brew. Amber barley nets you an amber brew, dark barley gets you a nice stout, and plain barley will give you a clear lager.
Yeast is used to ferment your beer. The higher the quality of the yeast the better. Dried yeast tends to get you a much higher quality brew than liquid yeast.
As for hops, the greener the better! Hops provide that bitter taste that makes beer so deliciously delicious. But some beers can be too bitter – bordering on undrinkable (though no beer is truly undrinkable, truth be told). These beers are usually crafted from yellowish, nasty hops. Discerning beer drinkers prize only those beers made from the greenest of hops.
And the final ingredient – the one that ties it all together – is water. Many people ignore the importance that water plays in the brewing process, but those of us who have spent our lives mastering this craft truly understand that without this life-giving liquid, we would have no beer at all!
The basic process for brewing is simple: First you fill your Brew Kettle with Water. Then you add Barley to create a Wort. Once that is done, you add Hops to finish your Wort. Once the Wort is finished, you add your Yeast. At this point, you have a Fermented Brew.
Now, you can do one of two things with a Fermented Brew. You can keg it or you can add an additive. Kegging a Fermented Brew will get you a nice, tasty beer of which you can be very proud. But the truly spectacular beers obtain their unique flavors from those additives which set them apart from the rest of the pack. On Ispar, I had any number of additives in my possession that allowed me to create those beers which made my family so famous. So far, the harsh climate of these wintry islands has not allowed me to find many additives worthy of the great craft of brewing.
The process itself is nicely complex and reasonably accurate, for a RPG. Here’s a visual overview:
First, get yourself a brew kettle:
Fill it with (water) + (barley) = A Full Kettle.
There are even different kinds of barley you can use, including plain, amber and roasted. If you have a baking pan, you can even roast your own barley.
Then add (ultra green hops) + (yeast).
And depending on the recipe, you also add something called a “monster component” such as Moarsmuck or Tusker Spit:
There appear to be literally dozens, easily more than a hundred, different beers one could brew, such as Amber Ape Brew, Angree’s Angry Ale, Apothecary Zongo’s Stout, Distasteful Dark Wort, Duke Raoul’s Distillation, Glorious Lager or Putrid Tusker Spit Ale. Depending on the kind of beer, it can add to your character’s coordination, endurance, focus, quickness or strength; just like in real life.
These can either be put in a (keg) or (bottles) to create the final product = (beer).
And that’s just one infinitesimal piece of the world of Asheron’s Call. I have enough trouble keeping up in the real world, but I can’t help but be impressed by the beer in Asheron’s Call. I have to wonder, though, just what does Tusker spit taste like?