Pop Culture Catalog: Restaurants (SFRPG) (Priority Review)
This installment of the amazing Pop Culture Catalog-series clocks in at 33 pages, 1 page front cover,1 page editorial, 4 pages of SRD, leaving us with 27 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
This review was moved up in my reviewing queue at the request of my patreon supporters.
All right, as you know by now, the Pop Culture Catalog-series has the robust fandom-engine that makes being a fan of something actually matter mechanically; I’ve explained that engine a couple of times, so let’s get right to the main course, shall we?
Now, it should be noted that, while I am pretty deeply immersed in US culture, me being German, I probably won’t get all of the allusions featured herein, so please do bear that in mind – you might consider some of these funnier than I do. The first chapter begins with showing us the respective (chains of) restaurants that you can find in the Xa-Osoro system – these note the type of restaurant it is, the locations, price modifiers and a tagline. A total of 19 such restaurants are presented, with 4 associated brands added for good measure – and yes, all of these do get their own logos, which is damn cool! Speaking of which: Each of these entries notes not one, but several signature dishes! “I’ll have the Lance-A-Lot!” Awesome.
Now, as for the restaurants: We have “Anything on a stick”, a kobold-owned diner chain that focuses, well, on putting food on sticks, and there have been some scandals and social media wars lately, with their competitors Raptor Shack! Brattigans (awesome name!) is a chain focusing on the youthful “palette”[sic!] (should be “palate” – that’s a consistent hiccup here; pretty sure that’s an autocorrect glitch), with attractions allowing beleaguered parents to have some peace of mind – it’s the number 1 birthday destination for kids. And it has animatronics from 1010 Robotics. Five Nights at Freddy’s, anyone? Awesome: The fandom lets you better filter out background noise, which got a huge chuckle out of me.
Do you want a cold one and some hearty fare? Brotara’s Table is a great chain of pubs ran by a retired asteroid miner and his husband. The hearty fare can enhance your Fortitude saves, but as usual, the more powerful fandom perks require brief resting and Resolve expenditure to use again. The Dancing Helix is also a place I’d visit: Molecular gastronomy, with awesome flavors in delicate crystalline structures, balls of foam, etc. – unsurprisingly, the fandom here helps with Physical Science.
The Famished Isopod (with an amazing logo!) caters to the tastes of insectoid races – including bug shots, worm steaks, etc. – and know what? I’d eat there. All edible insects that I’ve had, including the insect burgers around here, have been really delicious. If they’d be slightly less expensive, I’d use them as a full-blown replacement for traditional meats, so as a futuristic vision, I can picture how delicious that fare could be. Insectoids frequently dining here can look forward to a fortified biochemistry. Je Tessir is a high-class, expensive bakery/candy shop, and Krusak’s Steakhouse is a vesk steakhouse that made me so want to dine there. Mama Cecile’s has a very homely, old-school style that is very much appreciated, and excellent ingredients and numerous executives frequenting the place will be a great way to motivate PCs to go there. Nuggets!!! (only original with 3 exclamation marks) is all about, you guessed it, nuggets. And this is where I start moaning about the fact that KFC has the best nuggets around where I live. I don’t do McD or BK.) Not even kidding you. I wished we had more such cuisine here. Anyhow, in the Xa-Osoro system, the company has turned Nuggets McCheesy into the Nuggysoki super-success – pretty much all ysoki love these! The fandom perk nets you a bonus to saves vs. starvation, because you’re accustomed to sub-standard nutrition. That got a chuckle out of me.
Planet Infosphere is essentially the Xa-Osoro Planet Hollywood version, and Prawns! Prawns! Prawns! Made me flash back to my brief trip to New Orleans – what I’d give for good seafood right now. This pdf is making me seriously hungry with its logos and succulent descriptions. This restaurant is also manned exclusively by skittermander workers, which makes total sense, considering these amazing beings. Seriously, skittermanders should be core.
The Protean Repast is a place I would not frequent – it’s a buffet chain, and I’m too allergy-riddled and germophobe to go that route. Plus, the Ai-and holo-system that shows you each plate you’re billed may be accurate, but also super creepy. Whole Biome Buffet is a bit more expensive, but also more wholesome. The Quantum Gourmet, as the name suggests, is a super high-class restaurant (x4 price modifier!) that provides culinary synaesthesia, which allows for literally impossible tastes to be enjoyed. I’m glad I can’t go to this place – with my luck, I’d get hooked on all of them… Anyhow, the holographic food consumed here does help you deal with illusions and holographs in particular. For fine dining, you may also wish to check out the Radiant pool that caters to dining for aquatic races, with open air tables included as well.
Red Mithral is also a nice idea: Here, you can listen to abyssmetal played exclusively by daemons, devils, demons, or some combination thereof, with waiters presenting the illusion of tormented souls – being a regular here makes you more comfortable with evil outsiders. The gas giant Ulo’s only outdoor restaurant Serenity makes for a great place to visit when there, with bubble rooms lazily floating on semi-solid clouds. Just picture that and Ulo’s storms – this is some seriously fantastic imagery here. I’d also be super excited about Yoishi’s teppanyaki, run by the swashbuckling kitsune hibachi chef Hirokyu…
Cornucopia provides the best high-class food-synthesizers; food trek (XD) is the prime mover of food, and K&K Chef’s Gear and Nine Tail Delivery further add to the material here.
After all of these, we go through all the races of the Xa-Osoro system, including the ones from the Starfarer’s Companion and the Star Log.EM-series, and learn about their diet and cooking, dining traditions if applicable, and traditional dishes. Catfolk are, for example, into Ch’rowl, which is catnip wine! (And yes, it is statted as a proper drug, and uses the excellent scaling drug rules from Pop Culture Catalog: Vice Dens) Nashi have baked sunkiss sprinkled with chocolate covered ants and served with dried kelp toast and an assortment of jellies. Come on, that sounds delicious! Beyond the vast details presented here, we also have a sidebar for advice regarding the description of alien food.
And the pdf classifies restaurants: Frequency and category are properly classified, and prices for celebrity chefs, culinary synthesizers, delivery (neighborhood to system-wide), chef gear, costs for personal chefs – all included. Want your own arthropod boiling rig? A beverage fountain? Proper grub tongs? Yep. Love this.
Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level, apart from a few typo-level glitches, I found nothing to complain about. Layout adheres to the series’ two-column full-color standard, and the pdf comes with plenty of nice full-color artworks. The pdf comes with detailed, nested bookmarks for your convenience.
Alexander Augunas and George “Loki” Williams deliver a true, massive winner here: The pdf is not only detailed, it really inspired me; it made me long for these places, these foods. Beyond providing inspiration for adventuring galore, and adding a ton of flavor (haha!9 to the game, this book further cements something we really need: An optimistic vision for the future. In an age where even Star Trek has become depressing and anti-science, this is a glimpse at a future that I’d love to live in. The booklet managed to make me think of a LOT of unique angles of how to use these restaurants in my game. In short, this is a fantastic offering. 5 stars + seal of approval.
You can get this fantastic pdf here on OBS!
The installment on vice dens I mentioned can be found here!
Pop Culture Catalog and Occult Skill Guide are two of the best series out there for SFRPG – and there currently is a huge kickstarter running for massive Occult book, the Advanced Occult Guide – please consider supporting it here!
Alexander Augunas has also been crafting his own RPG, the Eversaga RPG – and what I’ve seen so far is amazing! You can help make it come to pass and get early looks at it, etc. here on patreon!
If you’re enjoying my reviews, please consider leaving a donation, or joining my patreon. Thank you!