You seen that four-storey building that travels between the cities, hawking its various confections and delectable dishes? No? Then you have no idea of the world of deliciousness you have been missing. With a staff of almost 200, the Hawkers of Yosh’i is a travelling restaurant unlike any other.
by Tobie Abad
Where do I begin? Hydraulic powers legs provide mobility as treaded wheels support the rest of the building’s bulk during its revolution around the Wastes. Some cities have even charted the restaurant’s passage to time its arrival with festivals and celebrations. Others have learned to use its constant visits as a shadow to conduct smuggling and similar operations. Each floor has its own theme, with hot baths, paper walls, and even musicians giving each room its own distinct identity.
My first encounter with the Hawkers of Yosh’i was when I was five. My father lead me to the southern wall of the City where the restaurant had come to a stop. I still remember the wooden bridges that had been extended to allow guests access to the tower of wonders. Despite the fourteen bridges that have been propped, I remember having to wait in line for an hour before we reached the entrance. It was torture. Pure torture, I tell you, smelling the powerful clouds of flavor that reached across the sky. Soy sauce, peppers, honey, tumeric, paprika, and all these other seasonings filled the air in almost distinct waves of richness. I remember walking through a heady atmosphere of roasted meat only to then slip into a silky richness of gingered steamed fish. By the time we sat down for our first dish, I already salivated enough to drool the moment I opened my mouth for a first bite.
My last visit to the restaurant was early this year as I ate some steamed soup-filled buns in memory of late husband Romero. He had died fighting off some bandits and I spent most of that year in a stupor of alcohol and depression. When the hawkers came into view, I remembered Romero’s love for those buns and made sure I split one with him one last time.If there is anyone, however, one should thank for this gastronomic miracle, that would be Mama Bebe. Atop the balcony deck, on what appears to be a tiled roof building with a skywell, Mama Bebe invites VIPs to dine with her in private. She proudly shows of her three pets, a trio of decapitated heads which have been still hooked onto life-granting machinery, (they were warlords who had dared assault her tower in the past) and is eager to hear from her guests their thoughts on her latest dishes. Mama Bebe is a sensitive soul, however, and once banished eggs from her tower when a guest commented her omelette was slightly overcooked.
Mama Bebe has yet to admit why the restaurant is named the Hawkers of Yosh’i. I have not found any documents or entries listing anyone ever given the name Yosh’i. Nor have I succeeded in asking any of Mama Bebe’s staff to speak up. Maybe Yosh’i was a former lover. Or maybe it was the name of the town the restaurant once stood in. But if you were hoping I was persistent enough to ignore the delicious delicacies and focus on uncovering the place’s secret history, I am afraid you are wrong. I could not ignore the curried egg rolls that found their way into my mouth. Nor the fruit-laden salted bread which was magnificently toasted inside a suckling pig. How they achieve such miracles, I shall never understand. Thankfully, my tongue was not there to debate but celebrate.
There are still things worth dying for that leave a good taste in your mouth. And the Hawkers is definitely one of them. The restaurant should be arriving this coming winter. So remember to keep a bit of extra coin with you lest you find yourself staring at the tower of delights and realize you can’t even afford to step inside.
Behind that elderly charm and humorous senility lies a cunning and wicked woman capable of great things. She is the personification of her creation; graceful and appealing on the outside, dark and fearsome on the inside.
Homeland: The Wastes
Qi Powers: N/A
The Perfect Experience (Motivation): The restaurant is everything to Mama Bebe. It’s goal is to create the ultimate culinary experience to escape from the harshness of the One Land, an opportunity to live like a god for one meal. Every decoration, spice, and staff members have been meticulously selected to create this experience, granting Mama Bebe +1 steps to all complication rolls while inside the Hawkers of Yosh’i.
In Complete Denial (Hindrance): Her secluded life masking the true world outside her restaurant has left Mama Bebe unprepared to face the truth. This level of control over every aspect of her environment fails her when forced to recognize the horrors all around her, leaving her unable to use any perks until she is able to revert back to a state of denial with a Tricky complication roll.
Charming Old Woman d8+1/5/3
Resource Slots: 3
Damage Trigger: Whenever she takes damage, Mama Bebe immediately responds with a free detail using a d8 for any complication rolls.
Hidden Contraptions: Mama Bebe is never unarmed or defenceless. Hidden within her coats, dresses, and various accessories (including her umbrella) are numerous inventions and weapons acquired from clever engineers from Rust.
Move To the Music (Signature): Mama Bebe puts on a record and turns on various speakers throughout the restaurant. It is classical music but played at a marginal low octave to make the composition sound forboding.
Predicting Chaos: As the Wastes’ perk.
Wild Potential: As the Wastes’ perk (applied to Overprotective’s original d10/7/4).
Tobie Abad is an accomplished RPG designer and writer from the Philippines. You may recognize his work from A Single Moment, 7th Sea, Cold Shadows, and many more.