A turnip was a common root vegetable[1] found around Faerûn, and eaten both on the surface of Toril,[2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15] and underneath in the Underdark.[16]

The turnip trade is a demanding mistress.

Description[edit | edit source]

Properties[edit | edit source]

I can't even tell what time of night it is, and I'm about as sensitive as a turnip.

Turnips were rounded white-pink vegetables that had creamy white flesh and edible leaves. A type of turnip known around the Sea of Fallen Stars was called a roouddan, the red turnip of Proskur.[18] Turnips grew best in sunny areas, as even partial shade would stunt their growth.[17]

Jan Jansen claimed that southern turnips were red and gold in color, and that those further south were blue.[2][3]

Sourcing[edit | edit source]

Leave if you must, but as you lie in your soft bed tonight and the urgent cravings for turnips overcomes you, you'll be coming back to find me, you will.
— Jan Jansen[2][3]

The hamlet of Battlerise was home to several hardy farmers who grew turnips.[5] The settlement of Nightstone had a medium-sized turnip garden to the east known as Hulvaarn Farm—the house patriarch tripped on a garden rock during a cloud giant raid, and quickly died.[19] The Damaran family continued to grow turnips after the death of the house patriarch.[20] Terraced farms in the High Dale grew turnips, as well as raising livestock,[11][12][13] and both were an important part of trade in Highcastle.[21] Inns and taverns located in Hardbuckler sold a variety of mushrooms, lichens, stews, and turnips.[22]

Turnips were also known to be eaten in Kara-Tur.[23]

Cloud giants were keen gardeners, and were able to produce turnips that were as large as pumpkins, which they grew in devoted spaces.[24]

Beyond the Prime Material plane, turnips were cultivated by farmers in Barovia.[25]

Culinary[edit | edit source]

Delighting the palate of the young and old with flavors of distinction and subtlety, the turnip has so many uses it boggles the mind!
— Jan Jansen[2][3]

These versatile vegetables had several uses in the culinary arts. Turnips were known to have been served after being pan-fried, such as in the Hungry Man Inn, in Arabel.[26]

Ration packs often contained turnips, and lasted at least two weeks. A week's worth of such rations cost 10 gp from Aurora's Whole Realms Catalogue Wilderness Gear section.[27]

The Sly Fox inn, located in Zelbross of the Savage Frontier, served hot turnip pies.[28] Hearty meals of rothé meat, fungi, bread, and turnips from the surface were made available at Findlewulf's Galley in Skullport, the Underdark.[16] The Bargewright Inn sold pork and beef roasts paired with turnips, potatoes, and radishes.[29] Residents of the keep in Grimmantle were often served turnips, dried herbs, and rabbit.[15] Some varieties of wine were soured by being treated with turnips.[18] Turnips were sometimes paired with kale in stews,[30] or with lamb, eel, and peppers.[31]

Other uses[edit | edit source]

Mind you, the average sensible inhabitant of Faerûn is probably a seedy country bumpkin fresh off a turnip cart, chewing thoughtfully on a week-old stalk of grass as he scratches his filthy, vermin-infested head and ruminates on how much he can sell his prize possum-hound for.

Turnips were not just grown to be eaten, but had various other uses throughout the Realms. They could also be used to make ink to pen magical scrolls, such as for the message spell. The turnips had to be diced and added to a boiling mixture as the penultimate ingredient, followed by a non-human ear. The mixture then had to be stirred well with a vundwood rod after each new ingredient was added, and boiled gently. The turnip-infused residue had to be scraped out of the cauldron and stirred into a sepia. After an hour of frequent mixing, the ink had to settle for a single day.[32]

A textile trader, Wulve Raikyn, planned to use a wagon full of turnips to disguise stolen goods from Waterdeep.[14]

Scarecrow constructs were often made from wooden bodies and had a turnip for a head.[33]

According to the eccentric gnome inventor, Jan Jansen, turnips had even further uses. Jan claimed that turnips could be used for beer (apparently for its medicinal qualities, as well as its great taste), lotions, salves, cakes, muffins, as a meal served with fried imps and garlic, stew, salad, and tea. He also claimed that a wizard he knew believed that a turnip would make a fine component for a lich spell.[2][3]

Powers[edit | edit source]

As they say, it is better to die than to save your life with turnip.
— Jan Jansen[2][3]

Turnips were known for their curative powers, and were often used as medicine. These root vegetables could be used as a cure for mouth disease and a treatment for sore throats.[34]

Let that be a lesson to you. Never underestimate the power of a turnip!
— Balduran laughing at a devil he just bound to his service[35]

History[edit | edit source]

Turnips were known to be grown even in the times of Netheril. In these ancient times, peasants would till turnips in areas close to the Nauseef Flow.[36]

Your soul in exchange for a turnip?
— A devil responding to Balduran's deal to trade his soul for a turnip[35]

In The Illustrated Adventures of Balduran, Balduran was once confronted by a devil. The devil attempted to lure him into a deal for his soul, and Balduran accepted, but only for a turnip in return. Prior to the conclusion of the story, the devil is on her knees, defeated. She swore that she would come to Balduran's call if he needed it. In conclusion, Balduran boasted to the bound devil that it was all due to the powers of turnips, and that she should never play down what may seem like a mere vegetable.[35]

Together we stand against hosts,
And prevail, glorious, victorious.
Together we rouse kingdoms,
Gathering trouble as farmers reap turnips.
— An excerpt from Friends I Weep For You, by Velorna Jalaneth

In 1328 DR, the bard Velorna Jalaneth wrote the ballad, Friends I Weep For You. The theme of the ballad included standing together with friends until the end. A memorable part of the ballad spoke of rousing kingdoms whilst farmers reaped turnips.[37]

As reported by Jan Jansen, Sune developed a particular liking for turnips around a decade prior to 1369 DR.[2][3] Although this sounded absurd and another of his seemingly made up stories, others (some of which would become deities) were also noted to enjoy turnips around the same time, some in no small proportions. In 1358 DR, Midnight, Kelemvor, and their allies visited the Lonesome Tankard tavern in Eveningstar. The maid served a variety of food and drink, including wine, ale, meat, and vegetables. Out of the selection, Midnight immediately helped herself to "generous portions" of sliced turnips, whilst only having a single slice of pork.[38]

In Uktar 1367 DR, the turnip harvest in Chessenta was so high that such root vegetables were sold as low as about 1 cp for a basket, or even less. The farmers of the region were warned of the market crash, and they struggled to sell to anywhere easily reached by wagons or ships.[4]

In 1369 DR, Jansen claimed that the Cormyrians once caused a boom in the turnip market when a great onion famine spread through Faerûn.[2][3] In 1396 DR, Raidon Kane was mysteriously found injured in a bed or turnips; the farmers nursed him back to health for a tenday.[39]

In the 15th century DR, the Cult of the Dragon overtook the Xonthal's Tower. Within its lounge, the cultists used turnips and other ingredients to make simple dishes.[40] Mabannok Kovri, a gnome druid, spent much of his free time acquiring dwarven poetry and recipes that honored the "noble turnip".[41]

Rumors & Legends[edit | edit source]

According to halfling superstition, when planting rows of turnips, a well-rounded stone needed to be placed near the top of the patch. If this was done, they believed that Yondalla would bring them large vegetables upon harvest.[42]

Notable Turnip Farm Owners[edit | edit source]

  • Jan Jansen, an inventor, former turnip farmer, and turnip enthusiast. Jansen's obsession with turnips led him to start working on a magical turnip peeler that could peel hundreds of turnips in a minute, but cost over 100 gp per day to run.[2][3]
This adventure has yielded us a crop of useful items, and yet you turn your considerable powers to the never-ending quest to create the perfect turnip peeler!
— Mazzy Fentan to Jan Jansen[2][3]

Notable Turnip Farm Workers[edit | edit source]

Notable Turnip Farms[edit | edit source]

Appendix[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. Note that Jansen's stories range from believable, to half-lies, to ridiculous lies, some being incoherent and others seemingly completely made up. Although some of his claims were seemingly mad, his family confirmed many of them, and well as others, however, they may have just been as odd as Jan. For example, he claimed to sell astral turnips on the outer planes. Thus, all information related to Jan Jansen from the Baldur's Gate series should be taken as dubious at best.

Appearances[edit | edit source]

Curse of StrahdStorm King's ThunderThe Rise of Tiamat
Mortal ConsequencesPlague of SpellsSwords of EveningstarAll Shadows FledArchmageBeyond the High RoadCrucible: The Trial of Cyric the MadCurse of the ShadowmageElfshadowFire in the BloodRealms of MagicRealms of WarSandstormShadowbaneShadowbredThe GodbornThe Sapphire CrescentThe Shadow StoneWaterdeepWrath of the Blue Lady
Referenced only
Dawn of NightMurder in CormyrShadowstormSilver ShadowsSwords of DragonfireThe Devil You KnowThe Temptation of Elminster
Video Games
Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of AmnBaldur's Gate II: Throne of BhaalNeverwinter NightsBaldur's Gate: Siege of DragonspearBaldur's Gate III
Referenced only
Neverwinter Nights: Darkness over Daggerford

External Links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Jesse Decker, David Noonan, Chris Thomasson (June 2005). Dungeon Master's Guide II. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 98. ISBN 0-7869-3687-8.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 BioWare (September 2000). Designed by James Ohlen, Kevin Martens. Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn. Black Isle Studios.
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 BioWare (June 2001). Designed by Kevin Martens. Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal. Black Isle Studios.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Ed Greenwood, Julia Martin, Jeff Grubb (1993). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 2nd edition (revised), Running the Realms. (TSR, Inc), p. 23. ISBN 1-5607-6617-4.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Ed Greenwood (July 1995). Volo's Guide to Cormyr. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 77–78. ISBN 0-7869-0151-9.
  6. Beamdog (March 2016). Designed by Philip Daigle, et al. Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear. Beamdog.
  7. BioWare (June 2002). Designed by Brent Knowles, James Ohlen. Neverwinter Nights. Atari.
  8. Ed Greenwood (November 1999). The Temptation of Elminster. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-1427-0.
  9. Ed Greenwood, Eric L. Boyd (March 2006). Power of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 140. ISBN 0-7869-3910-9.
  10. 10.0 10.1 James Butler, Elizabeth T. Danforth, Jean Rabe (September 1994). “The Great Gray Land of Thar”. In Karen S. Boomgarden ed. Elminster's Ecologies (TSR, Inc), p. 1. ISBN 1-5607-6917-3.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Jeff Grubb, Ed Greenwood and Karen S. Martin (1987). Forgotten Realms Campaign Set (Cyclopedia of the Realms). (TSR, Inc), p. 50. ISBN 0-8803-8472-7.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Ed Greenwood, Julia Martin, Jeff Grubb (1993). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 2nd edition (revised), A Grand Tour of the Realms. (TSR, Inc), p. 34. ISBN 1-5607-6617-4.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Richard Baker (1993). The Dalelands. (TSR, Inc), p. 32. ISBN 978-1560766674.
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  17. 17.0 17.1  (March 2011). Sandstorm. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 978-0786957422.
  18. 18.0 18.1  (June 2011). “Eye on the Realms: Jalander's Dodge”. In  ed. Dungeon #191 (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 1–3.
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  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2  (September 6, 2016). Storm King's Thunder. Edited by . (Wizards of the Coast), p. 31. ISBN 978-0786966004.
  21.  (January 1996). Volo's Guide to the Dalelands. (TSR, Inc), p. 161. ISBN 0-7869-0406-2.
  22.  ed. (2015). Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 91. ISBN 978-0786965809.
  23.  (1985). Oriental Adventures. (TSR, Inc), p. 139. ISBN 0-8803-8099-3.
  24.  (November 2016). Volo's Guide to Monsters. Edited by . (Wizards of the Coast), p. 24. ISBN 978-0786966011.
  25.  (August 1997). Domains of Dread. Edited by . (TSR, Inc.), p. 59. ISBN 0-7869-0672-3.
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