This tea began in a rare place.1
The seeds of it came from the sense of being listened to – but not in the moment. This was a circumstance where I felt like I had been listened to in a prior life-frame and that things I had said had trickled into someone’s informational brain space.
I was reading the back notes to a D&D game that I had been invited to by one of my current housemates. (He’s the DM.) The place I was to slide into within the story was not necessarily an easy one, as there was baked-in and practically unavoidable potential for initial conflict with many of the other characters, but it did come with the bonus of knowing everything that had already occurred.2
Within the notes there was mention of a porridge, made in a particular way, by the people my character was to have found a home with.3
In a way, my initial response to the description was similar to the one that led to the renaming of Elderberry Elixir to Hershel’s Gift.
But in this instance, it meant more. I can’t be positive that the herbs and spices lore that led to the description in game came from the many times I info-dumped about herbs and tea and things being made and… in the before time when we first knew each other – but I can’t be certain that it wasn’t, either.
And it gave me a warm fuzzy feeling that maybe there was a part of that earlier time that had stuck and contributed to the work of play that he does so well now.
The description got stuck in my head.
After playing with the group, the tea had to be made. There was absolutely no question.
I was terrified heading into that first session. None of them knew me, none of them had probably even heard of me beyond the “taking in of old friend in bad situation,” and there would be no baseline reason for them to be okay with the player behind the inevitable fricative nature of the introduction of my character.4
I’ve never asked if they could tell that I was having a panic attack when Vash was introduced – but I was.
Internally there was a lot riding on how that played out. I’d been one of those forever GMs before that session, and one of the long list of things I was worried about was whether or not I would remember how to play just one character, or how to be a player at all. To say nothing of having been away from D&D for long enough that I was 1.5 editions out of date for playing at all and the last time I had played regularly was only shortly after THAC0 got retired.
They were incredibly welcoming.
Nothing in the in-game interactions was unrealistically gentled – in fact, some of those initial conversations were quite fiery5, but the welcome extended to me, personally, was like a warm fuzzy blanket after you’ve come in from the bitterest of cold wintry days.
And that feeling took Traveller’s Porridge from “excellent idea” to “make this tea now.”
It became the first tea created in this new space, and it was amazing.6It reminded me that I am good at this, and that my talents and skills are not intendant on a location or on a person, they are mine. They can be enhanced by interactions with other humans, and quite frequently are, but they will not be lost by losing those interactions.
I’d lost a step there for a bit, but this tea and that group helped me to find it again.7
As a winter season gift and thank you, the whole group got to taste test the tea their game had inspired. The feedback was heartening.8
On another level, this tea knits together old happy memories and new ones. Drinking a cup of it helps the little kid who used to pick elderberries on the way to school come a little closer to the surface, and that is a gift.
To date, my favourite thing that has been said about this tea is “…and it might be particularly ideal for people who are looking for adventure without leaving the Shire.”
Now for the basics:
Organic Ingredients: Genmai, Elderberries, Oatstraw, Cinnamon, Nutmeg
Batch Size: 5.6 ounces, 159 grams, 40+ servings of tea
Loose Tea: 5 serving sample (Bag or Tin), Full Batch (Bag)
Teabags: Single Teabag, 5 serving sample (Bag or Tin), Full batch (Bag)
I am very happy the wonderful mom-of-the-group druid managed to give some benefit of the doubt, and that the cleric who often reads as paladin was patient, and that the young artificer did not set Vash on fire. (Intentionally, at least. The flamethrower does occasionally give Vash pause.)
Feels weird to say that, makes my brain twitch, and some of the traumatized portions are yelping things about ego and getting above myself and… stuff. But it was. And I am not the only person who thinks so.
The game, and the humans within it, and the characters they play have already inspired other ideas and teas. From the thing Vash wanted to drink in the casino to a to an Owlin-induced cocoa that will require adding an ingredient to the toolbox… there are a lot more things coming.