Cooking, Yum!

It’s relatively common in MMOs.  Food Buffs!  And not people who like food or Food-buffs, those would be gourmands…never mind.

Anyway, these are rules for cooking, mostly tailored to either Pathfinder or Starfinder.

The Basics

There are three stages to preparing a meal:  Preparation, Cooking, and Presentation.  Doing each stage will earn you a plus bonus that will add to a stat.  Each stage’s bonus adds to the previous.  So, if you received a +1 on Preparation, a +2 on Cooking, and a +2 on Presentation, then you have a total of +5 to any stat that the ingredients grant a bonus to.

The other part is the ingredients.  As mentioned, ingredients grant the bonus from your Meal Stages to one or two stats.  You can have up to 3 ingredients in one meal.

There are Flavorings of which there are two types:  Spices and Preservatives.  Flavorings will give you a chance to increase the total from Meal Stages.  Preservatives do just that, preserve or make the food last longer before spoiling.

Lastly, there are meal types:  Stewed, Grilled, Fried, Dried, Steamed, and Baked.  These will add or take away from the overall preservation.  For example, baked goods tend to go stale pretty quick, but dried meat has been a way to preserve food for millennia.

Cooking Skill

In Pathfinder, the skill you’ll use is Craft: Cooking or Profession: Cook.  In Starfinder, it’s a bit different since there is no Craft skill, but there is a Profession skill, so you’ll use Profession: Cook.  Now this doesn’t mean that you’ll actually be a cook, but it will be the skill you use.  However, for this skill, you DO NOT add your ability modifier and it doesn’t count as any class skill.  Essentially, you will only use your ranks and your d20 roll.  But fear not, you’ll have other bonuses.  Still, this is like any other skill and can be raised with skill points as normal to your per level max.  Easy.

In DnD 5e, you will need to use your proficiency in Cooking Utensils.


First thing you’ll need to do is gather your ingredients.  Now, whether you hunt, scavenge, scrounge, our purchase them doesn’t matter, but you’ll need them all the same.  Each ingredient will allow the meal to grant its bonus to two stats (the exception being Magical Beasts and Abberations, they grant 3).  If you use ingredients that give bonus to the same stats, the bonus still only applies once.  So, it’s best to mix and match so there’s no overlapping.

Ingredients are pretty straightforward: it grants the bonus to a stat.  In general, Proteins will grant bonuses to your Abilities (STR, DEX, CON, INT, WIS, or CHR).  Vegetal ingredients will grant bonuses to your, Hit Points (HP), Stamina Points (SP),  saves and possibly give you resolve (for Starfinder only and if you go over your max it still counts).  Flavorings will either add to your overall total or preserve the food.  Below is the chart for Ingredients.  The Ingredients are generic enough that you can find them in any environment, planet, or plane of existence.

Ingredient Bonus Chart:  Pathfinder/Starfinder

Ingredient Str Dex Con Int Wis Chr HP SP Fort Ref Will RP
Annelid  X X
Mollusk  X X
Arachnid X X
Merostomata  X X
Myriapoda  X X
Crustacean X X
Insectoid X X
Agnathan X X
Ichthyian X X
Amphibian X X
Reptilian X X
Avian X X
Mammalian X X
Magical Beast X X X X
Abberation X X X X
Leafy X X
Fruit X X
Flowering X X
Podded X X X
Bulb-Stemmed X X
Tubers X X
Grains X X
Fungal X X

Again, you can only choose 3.

Ingredient Bonus Chart:  DnD 5e

Ingredient Str Dex Con Int Wis Chr HP Initiative
Annelid X X
Mollusk X X
Arachnid X X
Merostomata X X
Myriapoda X X
Crustacean X X
Insectoid X X
Agnathan X X
Ichthyian X X
Amphibian X X
Reptilian X X
Avian X X
Mammalian X X
Magical Beast X X X
Abberation X X X
Leafy X
Fruit X
Flowering X
Podded X X
Bulb-Stemmed X
Tubers X
Grains X
Fungal X X

Here is the chart for Flavorings.  These bonuses are added to either the total at the end or to Preservation.  You can only use 2 spices and 1 Preservative per meal.  The following chart works for all systems.

Flavorings Total Bonus Preservation Bonus
Herbal +1 -1
Shrub +1 -1
Seed +1 +1
Pepper +1 +1
Mineral +2
Artificial* -1 +5

*Obviously Artificial Preservatives are only available in Starfinder or Dark Sun Future.

Now that you have your Ingredients, time to cook!

Meal Stages

As mentioned, there are 3 meal stages.  At each stage, depending on your roll, you’ll get a bonus.  Keep track of these as they are cumulative.  Additionally, your additional knowledge will add to each roll.  Each stage has the possibility of adding the ranks from another Knowledge skill.   You’ll have 2 options, but you can only use the skill that you have higher ranks in, NOT both.

Meal Stage Pathfinder/Darksun Starfinder DnD 5e
Preparation Knowledge (Nature) Survival Life Science Survival Nature Survival
Cooking Knowledge (Engineering) Acrobatics Physical Science Athletics Cooking Utensils Cooking Utensils
Presentation Spellcraft Slight of Hand Mysticism Slight of Hand Performance Performance

Now for the bonuses per stage.  Again, you roll for each stage and see how high you can score.  Add the bonus you scored from each stage together.

TN 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25
Preparation +0 +0 +0 +0 +0 +0 +0 +0 +0 +0 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +2
Cooking +0 +0 +0 +0 +0 +0 +0 +0 +0 +0 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +2
Presentation +0 +0 +0 +0 +0 +0 +0 +0 +0 +0 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +2
TN 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 or >
Preparation +2 +2 +2 +2 +3 +3 +3 +3 +3 +4 +4 +4 +4 +4 +4 +5
Cooking +2 +2 +2 +2 +3 +3 +3 +3 +3 +4 +4 +4 +4 +4 +4 +5
Presentation +2 +2 +2 +2 +3 +3 +3 +3 +3 +4 +4 +4 +4 +4 +4 +5

Example roll:

Marvin has 4 ranks in Profession: Cook.  He has gathered his ingredients and is ready to cook!  He prepares to roll for the Preparation stage by adding his 4 ranks in Profession: Cook and his 2 ranks in Life Science (Ranks only!).  Then he rolls an 11, that’s a total of 17 which is a +0.  Too bad, but he’s still got 2 more rolls.  Now he adds his 4 ranks to no ranks as he has no ranks in either Physical Science or Athletics .  But he rolls a 17, woot!  So that’s a 21 and a +1.  Last roll, he adds his 4 ranks to another 4 ranks that he has in Slight of Hand and he’s lucky again a 19! So that’s a +2.  All together, he now has a +3.

Meal Type

Technically, your character likely picked this at the beginning or at least during the Cooking stage.  Nonetheless, the last step is the meal type.  The meal type determines the final Preservation score.  Spices will also add or take away from this as well.

Meal Type Preservation
Baked -2
Dried +3
Fried +1
Grilled +0
Stewed -1

Add the preservation from Flavorings to the Meal Type above.  The final number is the number of weeks the food will remain edible before it’s spoiled.  Whatever bonus you gained from Meal Stages decreases by -1 for each week of Preservation until it reaches 0 or spoils, whichever happens first.  The exception is the Dried meal type.  That preservation number is in Months and the aging penalty decreases monthly as well.

Special Ingredients

There are really only 2, the proteins from Magical Beasts and Abberations.  The other possibility could come from monsters of the Plant type, but that would be a judgement call by your DM.  All the same, when using these ingredients, you have the possibility to gain the magical beast or aberration’s resistances, if any.  For instance, if you killed a Bandersnatch and got some meat from it, you could cook it an potentially gain it’s immunities (those being, fear, paralysis, poison, and sleep).  However, you would need to score at least above a +4 on your Meal Stages.  Otherwise, it’ll just be…tasty? Maybe?

The Kitchen

You need a place to cook all this, right?  And the better the tools, the better the results, right? Right on both counts.  While using one of the Cooking Stations below, you gain a bonus to each of your Meal Stage rolls.

 Cooking Station Bonus
Campfire +0
Small Kitchen +1
Medium Kitchen +2
Ship’s Galley +2
Restaurant Kitchen +4
Palace, Castle, or Noble’s Kitchen +5

Feeling Full?

So, how long does the bonus last?  It lasts a number of hours equal to half the overall bonus (rounded down).  So if you scored a +5, then you’ll get +5 to all pertinent stats for 2 hours.

And how much does it make?  Normally, one set of ingredients makes 1 meal or serving.  Now, if you’ve slaughtered an entire deer, or caught a huge salmon, obviously its possible to make multiple meals.  It’ll be a partially a judgement call and partially a Survival or Life Science roll.  Basically, you’ll roll whichever skill you have TN 15.  If you make it, you gain a “normal” amount from the creature or plant.  If you roll above a TN 20, you gain “twice normal” and so on for every 5 you roll above TN 15.

Now, this is where the judgement comes in.  How big was that deer? Normal size?  Does that mean 3 servings/units and thus 3 possible meals?  This is where your DM will use his judgement on how much you can get from the creature or plant.

However, buying ingredients at the market guarantees a set amount.  Usually 1g (or 1 of the currency) per unit.  This is a rule of thumb.  Depending on location, tech level, exploration level, etc, spices could be really, really expensive.  Or you could be a the source and they’re cheap.

Now, you don’t have to cook all these meals individually, you can cook a number of servings equal to your ranks at one time.  You have 4 ranks, then you can cook 4 of each of the Ingredients and Flavorings in one go and produce 4 meals.  All 4 meals will have the same bonuses to the same stats equal to your 3 Meal Stage rolls.  If you have more than 4 ranks, but only need to feed 2 people, then you can just use 2.


Okay, TL;DR.  Here’s the cheat-sheet.

  1. Gather ingredients
  2. Roll for Meal Stages
  3. Add any bonuses from synergy skills per stage
  4. Add any bonuses for Cooking station
  5. Add up bonuses from Meal Stages
  6. Add any Preservation bonus
  7. Enjoy!

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