Cook vs. Baker Skills

I have a new player who’s quite the foodie IRL, and she unsurprisingly applied respectable ratings to both the Cook and Baker skills during Recruitment. I’m struggling a bit with how to meaningfully differentiate the two in play. Apart from obvious one off examples (e.g., a baking contest), does anyone have any advice on how I can provide opportunities that reward her investment in both skills? Mechanically, they feel a bit too redundant to me. (Interestingly enough, the Baker archetype in the Denizens chapter also has both skills.)

IMHO, baking is done in an oven, and cooking is over a fire or on a stove. Different foods, though often eaten in combination.

To expland on @BobSlaughter’s point, baking typically requires dry heat. Usually an over, but it could be hot stones or even ashes. Baking is also very precise. Some applications, like making bread or cakes, could be considered a very specialized form of Chemistry. I think it would be relatively easy to make a case for helping Scientist with Baker.

Ultimately, I think in game a lot of what is going to make them feel different will come down to the different foodstuffs/materials they scrounge up in play. When the patrol mice go foraging to provide materials to use the skill, what do they find? A handful of grains and seeds could be turned into porridge by a cook or bread/cakes by a baker.

Also consider that foods made by a baker tend to be more stable. A baker can make bread that you can carry with you on a long patrol in which you might not be able to build a fire. Foods made by a cook, in general, need to be eaten then and there.


Baker might also be good for gifts to help socially. Cakes would act as supplies for social encounters, especially haggling!

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Thanks for the input, all. The idea of baked goods as social currency fits this particular character concept extremely well. And the stability of the relative foodstuffs isn’t really something I’d considered. I think that’ll be the key distinction for my game: Cook will be used primarily to satisfy immediate hunger while Baker will have the additional benefit of being more useful for providing future gear bonuses. That extra utility is then balanced by the increased difficulty imposed by Baker’s extra set of Factors.

Consider watching BBC’s Tudor Monastery Farm series for ideas that are possibly close in respect to time frame–although not exact–which could showcase differences in baking and cooking.

You might also consider Townsends. His shows of colonial era cooking and baking are not quite identical to the imaginary timeline of the mice, but could provide lots of inspiration.

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