TL:DR – A Tale In The Desert's Cooking Skill, Part 1

OK, so some time ago I promised a TLDR (which, in case you didn’t know, stands for “Too Long: Didn’t Read”) on Cooking as a subject in A Tale in the Desert.

Wow, that’s a big, big topic.

Cooking sounds attractive in Tale because it’s one of the few ways to raise your stats, and higher stats mitigate some of the limitations and frustrations in the game. Higher Strength means you can carry more weight, higher Dexterity means more bulk, higher Speed means you run faster, and so on. (As we’ll see next time, some of these stats are more effective than others, so caveat cook-or).

So what’ll you need to get started on cooking? Well, you’ll need the skill Cooking, you’ll need something to cook, and you’ll need something to cook it with or on.

The Skill Itself

To get Cooking, which you can get from any School of Worship, you need 100 each of Garlic, Cabbage, Onions, Leeks and Carrots. To grow those, you’re going to need seeds.

Now, if you visit a University of Worship (and have a paid account), you’ll get a random pack of 4 seeds for one of those vegetables. No problem, you might think, I’ll just multiply those seeds like I can multiply flax seeds, then trade for the other ones.

Not so fast. Multiplying seeds is fiendishly complex and so far at this point in Tale 5, no-one knows how to do it, or at least they’re not telling. From my experience, trading for seeds is likely to be a dead loss for anything other than other seeds, although that will probably depend on your region’s culture. So, how the hell do you get seeds?

You visit each and every University of Worship, and hope for the best. There are 7 regions in Egypt in Tale 5, and most of them are connected by chariot routes (see this handy page for lists of available chariot routes, all of which are now open). To use a chariot, you’ll need offline travel time, probably a few days’ worth of it. Alternatively, you could run, but that’ll take you the best part of a real-world day.

With any luck you’ll get enough seeds. You might not. In that case, trade 4 seeds of one type for 4 seeds of your missing type, and hope. This might take a while.

Vegetable Growing

Now you’ve got to grow your veg.

To do that, the most important thing you’ll need is water, and lots of it, which you gather in jugs. That means you’ll need, at minimum, about 20 jugs, which you create with clay using the Pottery skill on a Pottery Wheel. Getting all that lot together’s outside the scope of this guide (read the relevant entries on the Wiki), but one important point is that you’ll need leather and stones to create a pottery wheel. To get them, either ask if anyone will give you those things in trade chat (or trade for them, although my experience is that ATITD players are more likely to offer simple things as gifts than want to trade for low-level goods, and all this stuff counts as very low-level) or just use some public pottery wheels and kilms, or ones belonging to your guild. (Note: Being in a guild will REALLY help you as a new player, or indeed as any player – things like furnaces and mines, which you’ll need in a minute, are a real pig to build yourself). There’s a list of public buildings on the wiki and individual region pages like Sinai’s will often have details on buildings not on that list.

So, you’ve gotten clay, made jugs, fired jugs, made more jugs, and generally gotten sick of the word “jugs”? Great. Now it’s time to get sick of the word “vegetable”.

Growing vegetables is, in principle, easy. Plant ’em either in sand or grass (Onions, Leeks and Garlic like sand, the others like grass), then water them each once, and again whenever they grow in size. Make sure to plant them far enough away from each other that you can actually distinguish them when they get large, because the final stage of each plant is VERY large. Finally, they’ll grow large enough you can harvest them, and you’ll get your seed back, and … some vegetables.

How many depends on a number of factors. In general, a yield of above 6 is good, and the simplest way to get to 100 vegetables in that case is just to keep growing them. Occasionally, however, you’ll see very low yields (1 or 2), and at that point, you’ve got a choice.

You can keep growing them that way. Aargh. It’ll take forever, and growing vegetables requires you to stare at the screen constantly. Alternatively, you can try and trade another type of veg for the one you suck at growing. Or you could try and find a way to grow them better. Each vegetable has different conditions that it requires to flourish – again, check the Vegetables page of the wiki for hints on that, which will vary from “travel to the Magic Onion Patch” to “try growing carrots in 4 hours”.

Eventually, you’ll get your 100 vegetables and your cooking skill. And that’s where it gets even more complex.

TO BE CONTINUED SOON. In the meantime – build a Firepit BEFORE you build a kitchen, unless you have access to mutton and oysters already.

Any tips on growing vegetables or getting seeds, or *shudder* building up your pottery equipment solo?