A Truffle is a type of fungus which grows underground, generally feeding on the roots of trees. As a truffle matures and its spores ripen, it emits a powerful smell which attracts animals that dig it up in order to eat it, scattering the spores far and wide in the process.
Some varieties of truffles are considered a great delicacy by humans and fetch very high prices - one white truffle from near Pisa in Italy which weighted 1.5 kilograms was sold to a casino owner from Macao for US$330,000.
In general, truffle is used as a spice, for seasoning and flavouring foods, although some historical recipies use them so freely that they are treated like just another mushroom.
Game and Story Use
- The PCs find a very large truffle in a bandit lair. Will they eat it or use it as a spellcasting ingredient - or try to auction it off? And what if the original owner (likely a powerful noble or merchant prince) learns about it and wants it back?
- Someone has kidnapped the price-winning truffle hog of a local farmer, and he asks them for help. Will they be able to find it and return it unharmed? Especially if it runs off during a fight with the kidnappers - into the direction of the local slum, where the locals know a large piece of pork when they see it?
- Bear in mind that in some truffle growing areas, they were historically regarded as quite unremarkable and part of standard woodland forage - a merchant from a truffle loving area could potentially make quite a killing by establishing a trade route. Especially if the locals would quite happily trade their truffles for some other seasoning which might well be quite mundane elsewhere…
- Just being sent off to buy truffles could lead to plenty of adventures messing about in the wildwood.