Dungeon Meshi (subtitled "Delicious in Dungeon" in Engrish) is a Japanese mango about a group of murderhobos in a typical fantasy setting. It features an atypical but innovative premise: if your party is stuck underground and is starving to death, why not eat all those monsters you've been fighting? The story explores one such party learning dungeon crawler cuisine and bumbling their way through their quests.
Dungeon Meshi is most known on /tg/ for being a humorous manga with a nice set of characters, each with a variety of humorous reaction pictures. All in all, it's pretty good, and you should read it.
Also: Elves are a proud and noble race, and they are not lewd.
Laius and co. are a group of seasoned vets when it comes to adventuring, able to delve deeper into the Dungeon than most parties and overcome all manner of traps and challenges. Unfortunately, their limited food supply has become a greater obstacle than any spike pit or moving wall, and they've long since chewed through the portions of salted meat and hardtack they brought along with them. Weakened by days of strict rationing, the party fall easy prey to a Red Dragon they'd normally be able to slay.
Before disappearing down the dragon's gullet, party Cleric and Laius's sister Farlyn manages to cast an advanced teleportation spell and send the rest of her party to the safety of the surface. Now dirt broke, fractured, without supplies and still fucking starving, Laius has to convince what remains of his beleaguered party to follow his desperate rescue plan:
- Delve back down to the lower levels of the dungeon as fast as possible.
- Find and kill the Red Dragon.
- Retrieve Farlyn's corpse from its guts before she gets fully digested, and revive it.
- Eat the monsters they kill along the way to compensate for lack of food supplies.
Of course, eating monsters is regarded as a disgusting and dangerous taboo by the general public, thought to surely result in disease and death. However the group's luck finally turns when they encounter a strange dwarf with impressive experience in monster cuisine, who is happy to accompany them on their rescue mission and introduce them to a world of delicious dungeon delicacies made from ingredients such as giant scorpions, walking mushrooms, or even a cockatrice.
Reading on an empty stomach is not advised.
The Thorden Sibling Party
A small group of lovable idiots, their silly bickering and affability tends to disguise the fact that they are among the more experienced and infamous parties on the island. Despite their friendliness, Laius and Farlyn aren't always stellar judges of character, and their willingness to do jobs with sketchier groups, mysterious foreigners, and outcasts have fostered rumors and suspicions, meaning that other parties (such as Kabru's) find them somewhat untrustworthy.
- Laius Thorden - A human Fighter and the leader of the group. He's tough, strong, decisive, knowledgeable, even a bit handsome - the ideal well-rounded leader. Except that his charisma is so God-awful that most people who meet him tend to wonder if he's on the spectrum. Laius is often bad at conveying his emotions and even worse at reading the feelings of others, unintentionally offending people easily. His sister Farlyn usually has to step in to smooth things over, and is the best at understanding what Laius truly means. He's always had a fascination with monsters, and is the first to suggest that they try eating them when they run out of money to buy food.
- Marcille Donato- The half-elven Wizard. Her powerful and versatile magic forms the offensive lynchpin of her party, and is usually reserved for the more dangerous monsters they encounter. She has also taken over healing duties since her close friend Farlyn got eaten. She's eager to go rescue her, but also the most reluctant to try eating monsters, even after several of the dishes they try turn out quite well. Laius and Senshi's monster food obsession disturbs her, yet despite this, she herself is obsessed with the arguably even more disturbing AND highly illegal study of ancient magic. Has fat ears, isn't lewd.
- Senshi of Izganda - A mysterious dwarf who joins the group after discovering their interest in monster cuisine. He's been cooking monsters for years and knows the best preparation methods and nutritional values of most monsters they come across. Unlike your typical dwarf stereotype, he is uninterested in metalwork, nor does he take good care of his weapon and armor, bearing an embarrassingly chipped and neglected axe. On the other hand his culinary utensils are immaculate and priceless, including a mithril kitchen knife that can carve bone like butter and an adamantine wok that was formerly his family's heirloom shield. Later revealed to be a survivor from a group of Dwarven miners and treasure hunters, who had discovered a way into the dungeon underground long before human settlers found an entrance on the surface.
- Chilchack Tims - The group's halfling Thief. A consummate professional, Chil has the most dungeon crawling experience on the team and leads a Guild negotiating hiring contracts for most of the islands halfing adventurers. Often plays the sane and straight man to the groups antics. He hates mimics; as the one to open treasure chests, he's the one who usually gets killed by them. He also gets annoyed when people unfamiliar with halflings treat him like a child, as he’s got a wife back home and a trio of daughters who already moved out. Despite his antisocial behavior and insistence he's only with the party out of contractual obligation, he's a reliable ally and more emotionally invested then he likes to let on.
- Farlyn Thorden - Laius' younger sister and party Cleric. As a child she showed a natural affinity for communicating with and banishing restless spirits, making her something of a pariah in her superstitious village despite being the daughter of the chief. Eventually, she left to go to magic school, specializing in healing and purification magic. This is also where she meets and befriends Marcille. The first arc of the series chronicles their quest to rescue her from the belly of a Red Dragon before she gets digested. Unfortunately the group doesn't make it, and by the time they cut her out all that's left is a bleached skeleton. Marcille uses ancient magic (which no one had expected she knew) to tap into the infinite power of the Dungeon, instructing it to recreate Farlyn's body with dragon flesh so her soul can inhabit it once again. And isn’t that just horrifying. It ended badly when the Dungeon Master showed up looking for his enthralled Red Dragon, whose soul had ended up sharing Farlyn's newly resurrected body. Bringing its consciousness to the surface, the Mad Sorcerer gained complete control over Farlyn and reshaped her body into a giant draconic chimera. Laius' current solution is to eat away the dragon parts of her body and hope that it will remove any tethers to the Red Dragon's soul, and thus the Mad Sorcerer's control over her.
- Izutsumi (Asebi) - Ostensibly a ninja assassin Rogue. As a child Izutsumi was enslaved and unwillingly turned into a cat beastkin - a chimera created by the combination of human and nonhuman souls inhabiting a single body - making money for her owners in a freak show. She is later purchased by Shuro's father, given the name Asebi, and trained as a ninja to serve his household. Still, she doesn't give up her rebellious nature despite the markedly improved living conditions. At first chance she abandons Shuro's party to join up with the Thorden party, with the hope that they can remove the cat soul from her body due to Marcille's forbidden knowledge of ancient magic. She has a childish and self-serving attitude, is a picky eater, and has terrible table manners. She is the first person to outright refuse to eat a part of Senshi's cooking (ironically, perfectly conventional mushrooms), angering him by wasting food.
Ex-Thorden Party Members
Otherwise known as goddamn quitters.
- Shuro - See Shuro's party.
- Namari - See the Tance party.
The Tance Party
- Mr. Tance - A grumpy 210 year old gnome magic user specializing in healing magic researching the Dungeon. Haughty, foul tempered, and condescending, he tends to rub people the wrong way when first met, but is otherwise a man of his word. Was sent by the nobility of Karka Broud to observe and research the state of the dungeon. Despite working for the governor of the town, he is eager to unravel the mysteries of the dungeon for their own sake. Apparently has being together with his wife since their university days.
- Mrs. Tance - Mr. Tance's wife, also a skilled gnome magic user. Not much to say about her otherwise, as she's fairly passive and quiet, letting her husband do most of the talking. They've been together with since their university days.
- Namari - Female dwarf Fighter, and quite infamous amongst most dwarves. Her family used to serve the local governor, but her father embezzled a ton of money and then ran for it, abandoning his daughter. After this theft the governor refused to deal with dwarves, and the resulting damage to their coffers and reputation inspired all the other dwarf clans on the island to shun Namari. Like Shuro, she abandoned Laius' party after the Red Dragon ate Farlyn and nearly killed them all, however this was more to do with a lack of funding then confidence. Getting saddled with her father's substantial debts means she doesn't work pro bono, even for friends. She has a strange fetish for equipment that shorter races would find too cumbersome to use, ogling Tall-men who can wear heavy plate or strap bags to their lengthy thighs.
- Kaka & Kiki - A pair of dextrous fighter twins, male and female respectively. They were born to a nomadic clan, but during harsh times they were unable to be fed and abandoned at a tavern as children where they lived in the stable. The Tance's adopted and raised them as their own, providing a warm bed and lots of love. However growing up as tall-men in an all gnome village was a bit rough at times, due to being confused for adults. The twins seem to think they are nothing alike.
An adventurer party that is currently rising in the ranks and descending deeper into the dungeon. Initially rescued by Laius' party, a misunderstanding meant that they went deeper into the dungeon and continually fail challenges above their CR. Also known as the Scrub Party because they're fairly experienced.
- Kabru - A dark-skinned human Fighter, almost serving as Laius' foil. Where Laius is hopelessly dense, Kabru is suave, charming and diplomatic. He often inspires trust, admiration, and loyalty in people with his words alone. He's no slouch at fighting either, but where Laius has extreme proficiency in slaying monsters due to his intense study of them, Kabru is trained to kill humanoid targets and is often caught off-guard by the unusual physiology and abilities of the monsters in the dungeon. Kabru hates monsters, and especially hates Dungeons due to the corrupting influence it has on people. His home town was destroyed when people who spent too long in the local dungeon transformed into savage monsters and laid waste to the area. He was adopted by a vice-commander of Canaries, Milsril, who was sent to deal with the crisis. Despite Milsril's advice for him to stay sheltered and pampered inside her home, Kabru insisted on becoming an adventurer. He convinced Misril to train him in swordplay, and learned swiftly as she tested his resolve with brutal training.
- Lynnsha - Eastern wizard and Kabru's sort-of girlfriend. Often accuses Kabru of hitting on women of all races, and comes off as mildly xenophobic due to a bad childhood experience with Elves and view that the other races as nonhuman (in this setting, tall-men are just a sub-group of "humanity", which covers most races except the demihuman Orcs and Kobolds)
- Daya - Female Dwarf. Has a bad impression of Laius' party because Namari was a part of it, and Namari's family has a bad reputation among dwarfs.
- Holme - A gnome spellcaster who can apparently "summon" something. That something turn out to be an undine, a type of water elemental. Also, knows healing spells (although not really good at it).
- Mickbell - Halfling Rogue and Kuro's master. He staunchly refuses to join the Halfling's guild and pay guild fees. He thinks Chilchak is full of himself, deriding him as the self-appointed "leader of all halflings on the island". Mickbell is essentially the exact type of halfing Chilchack resents, playing up his child-like appearance to exploit naïve members of other races who view him as an innocent kid.
- Kuro - Dog-type Kobold Ranger who provides tracking services for the Kabru party. Kobolds are often discriminated against by civilized people because of their low intelligence and bestial apperance, which makes Kuro's presence in the party all the more unusual. Is paid in head pats, belly rubs, and food, and arguing whether or not that's a fair days wages will, without exception, ignite a flame war. He is also a good boy.
Originally part of the Thorden party, Shuro (real name Toshiro Nakamoto (半本 俊朗, Nakamoto Toshirō)) is a Samurai nobleman from "the East" whom came to the west in search of something interesting for his father. Although Laius initially considered Shuro a close friend, it is revealed that Shuro could not stand Laius' blunt and obtuse nature. It is also revealed that he developed intense romantic feelings for Farlyn, whom he had planned to propose to before the incident with the Red Dragon. After leaving the Laius's group, he returned home to form a rescue party of his own, composed of servants from his household. He has openly stated his distrust of Laius as well as the ancient magic Marcille uses; however he has agreed to keep quiet to the authorities about their endeavours for Farlyn's sake until he is able to rescue her himself - or destroy her if she is cursed to forever remain as a mindless monster.
His personal party consists of:
- Hien - One of the ninja duo. She has the highest rank among the group asides from Maizuru. Due to her ninja heritage where her parents are ninjas who serves the Nakamoto, she was trained to be a ninja from birth and was extremely skilled with amazing dexterity. Although she was overconfident some times, she is capable none the less. Named after "Hiensou" or "Delphinium" flowers. Was seen using bombs and swiftly disposing of Harpies in the dungeon.
- Benichidori - One of the ninja duo. She was an orphan who was sold to the Nakamoto as a servant at a young age. Has habit of observe people's face which made others feel awkward around her. Has body dysmorphic disorder concerning her face, which she hides with her make up and become very skilled with it. He name is based of a native apricot tree named "ben chidori".
- Maizuru - Her appearance is very similar to a Noh performer or Miko with winglike robes. A former spy. She was tasked by the master of the household to look after Shuro when he was young. Her shrine maiden outfit suggests that she is a magic user, and she has been revealed to be able to summon various yokai-like entities to do her bidding, as well as using talisman-style sealing spells. She also serves as the party's cook, specializing in Japanese-style dishes. Apparently has a scandalous relationship with master of the household, and is loathed by Shuro's mother as a result. Her name is based on the plant "Maianthemum dilatatum(False lily of the valley)".
- Tade - An oni armed with a Japanese style iron club. She is incredibly strong and resistant to physical damage, but is also shown to be very sweet and childlike in temperament, especially to Izutsumi whom she has act towards with honesty and kindness, doing jobs the cat-gal doesn't like doing (which has to do with Izutsumi feeding her food she didn't like at dinner, being a picky eater and all...). Is named after a hardy plant from her native land.
- Izutsumi (Asebi) - See the Thorden Party
Shuro and the other members of his party have temporarily left the dungeon with Kabru's party, though Shuro intends to return.
The Canaries Party
The Canaries are an Elven organization from the west whose mission is to investigate and take control of dungeons that have surpassed a certain danger level. Each member are not only talented in magic, but are also experienced in dungeon delving. The majority of the Canaries are criminals convicted of using ancient magic, with the rest being children of the nobility presented to their country as an act of loyalty, in a ratio of two criminals to one 'guard'. A notch cut into the ear is a mark of a criminal member of the Canaries. Other than that, members with criminal background are shown to be rude and arrogant people who love to underestimate their enemies; the team member with nobility background has to do the jobs of sucking up to other people in order to represent and act as some sort of emissary for the Elven race.
- Captain Mithrun - A short haired male Elf with one eye (the other can kinda open but doesn't see) and a bad sense of direction. He has a badass special magic ability that allows him to teleport anything he touches around ("mishaps" make colliding things swap places for extra comedic effect). For example, he could remove a piece of someone's brain by exchanging it with a stone pebble in his hand, which sounds scary as hell... until you remember that it relies on vision and he has no depth perception. He was a lord of dungeon once, where he was enticed by a demon into forming a contract to become one because his brother cucked him and he wished for a life of not being a Canary. He enjoyed his new life at first, until the demon was revealed to have been feeding on his desires, slowly robbing him of all of them (including basic needs for food, sleep, or water) save one - his desire to revenge himself upon demons. This one remaining desire spared him from becoming a vegetative husk, and he now lives to go full Doom Slayer on all demons invading his dimension.
- Cithis - A 149 years old notch-eared female Elf with dark skin and facial markings. Armed with a bell wand, she can use the sound it creates to control people's heart with illusion magic, or cast offensive blast magic (which it has yet to be shown). She used to be a fortune teller with many influential customers. Her crime was perhaps the most nefarious, hypnotizing someone to commit murder for her. She had repeatedly joined and escaped the Canaries by charming her gaurds, that is until Mithrun became her captain and was of course totally immune to her manipulations.
- Pattdohl - A very young 82 years old female Elf with long nose. She can cast barrier magic and use familiars (small magical automaton, not a creature) to allow communication with her team. Appears to be the most proper of the team due to her noble background. She is the newest member and was made in charge of Fleki and Lysion. Although she was aware of the Mithrun team grim reputations, she remained determined and refused to give up, and has grown to greatly admire Mithrun for his capability.
- Fleki - A 130 years old notch-eared female Elf with messy hair. She has a raven familiar which she can possess, controlling and seeing through the raven's senses but leaving her body behind in a sleep-like state. She loves to fly around in the body of her familiar while tripping out on hallucinogenic drugs.
- Otta - A 137 year old notch-eared female Elf with short hair and a series of ringed markings on her arms and legs. She is capable of manipulating the dungeon's terrain to an extent by using magic connect to the dungeon. Used to be a merchant who buys and sells ancient relic, monsters, humans and other illegal stuffs.
- Lysion - A 126 years old topless notch-eared male Elf-Beastmen hybrid with droopy eyes, a feminine look, a calm attitude and tattoos on his body. Hating his own body, he participated in gladiatorial fighting pits to vent his anger and abuse it. Eventually this furfag deliberately sought ancient magic to fuse his soul with a wolfs, granting him a canid form. Of course he went right back to the pit fights, where he could display his new body openly.
Fantastic Beasts and how to eat them
- Scorpion: A typical scorp. It's got claws and a tail, regular scorp stuff. When preparing, remove the legs, guts and tail, as they taste bad. Cutting into scores helps the heat travel better.
- Trotting Mushroom: Primary prey consists of overconfident eight year olds. To eat, cut off the butt and outer layers. The legs are fine to eat, though. Cutting vertically is the best way to slice them, it seems
- Slime: Drops onto people right after they exhale, drowning them. Difficult to remove without tools, though fire will do the trick. Tastes good dried.
- Man eating plants: Some strangle you, some digest you, some lay seeds in your skin. Nasty. Tends to grow well in walls with space in them, that is, areas with traps. This makes the traps even more dangerous since you'll be dealing with unreliable, broken mechanisms along with paralyzing plants. Can be eaten with vinegar.
- Basilisk: A chicken with a snake tail (or a snake with a chicken tail? Forbidden knowledge~) Can be spooked by things that look bigger than it. And don't run away with your back turned, it'll kick the shit outta ya. Also have lethal venom in their bite.
- Mandrakes: Well known for making elves scream at ear shattering volumes. Their regular scream is also deadly, but it can be safely plucked by a) murdering dogs, b) having long ropes, or c) stabbing it quick enough. Replacing the dog option with a big bat is not recommended.
- Animated armour: Are actually mollusks (forbidden knowledge) that exist between the metal armour and a thin internal shell. They try to protect their eggs like all living creatures. Cannot be trusted inside swords. Boiling or steaming the armor makes them easier to remove and eat.
- Golems: are little magic totems inside mounds of clay or other substances. Can be used to grow their own crops.
- Orcs: are sentient demi-humans so please don't eat them. They are rather violent, and are rather grumpy too.
- Treasure insects: A sign that the DM very clearly hates all of you. Bugs that take the form of valuble items, can be boiled and skewered.
- Ghosts: Spooky. While not directly edible, banishing them with holy water leads to a refrigerating effect that can be used to make shaved ice.
- Mimics: According to Chilchack, the worst thing in the entire world. Giant crabs that choose the sneakiest places to hide, so that they may jump out and ruin the day of whoever comes near to their hiding place. You can cook it just like any other sort of crab.
- Kelpies: Horses with mermaid tails. Might act charming, but have nothing but evil in their hearts even after years of friendly encounters.
- Giant Squids: Fairly self-explanatory.
- Mermaids: Come in "tempting siren" mammalian variety and "Oh god, kill it" piscene variety. Both are dangerous.
- Squid parasites: Also have parasites in them. Which also have parasites...
- Undine: Highly dangerous water spirits that blast people with high-pressure water. Basically concentrated mana so if you manage to catch one, can be boiled alive and made into soup for convenient mana refill.
- Giant Frogs: Giant frogs with giant tongues for snatching weapons off your hands. Their skin is resistant to paralyzing effects of plants in dungeon, so chances are you'll meet these together.
- Dragons: They are dragons, what do you expect? Really hard to kill even for full, experienced parties. Eats everything that's meat, from adventurers to wolves. They have a bad habit of fighting each other upon meeting so it is a bad idea for a dungeon master to summon many of them in a small space.
- Red Dragons: Large, scaly red Dragon with two pairs of horns on their head. They are known for their ability to breathe fire, which they accomplish by clicking their tongue (like flint stone) and igniting the fuel stored in their bodies, then exhaling. The fuel is typically the indigestible parts of their meals, like bones and fur, as well as oil. The burns left by dragon fire are apparently different to those left by normal fire. Despite being very large, they lack any wings to fly and are not very agile. They are known for being extremely tough due to their thick as steel scales that are invulnerable to both physical and magical attacks, as well as having very thick skin. They can be killed however with a well placed strike to the underside of their neck with Mithril weapons, which are known for their sharpness and ability to cut through dragon scales. Male dragons have a small protrusion underneath their chin, while female dragons do not. It's meat is fairly tough and chewy, but has a rich taste and powerful aroma.
- White Dragon: Dragon that can breathe ice. Coated in fur instead of being scaly.
- Green Dragon: Extremely agile dragon. Obsessed with shiny treasures like gold and silver.
- Eastern Dragon: Asian serpent-like dragon that can telekinetically fly and control weather.
- Wyrm: Also known as an Earth Dragon. It is toothless, dwells in dark caves and breathes an extremely toxic gas that kills any who inhale it. It's eyes are degenerated so it relies more on hearing to live in dark environments. Apparently it's gas is explosively flammable.
- Leviathan: An Orca like whale monster that swallows its prey like Jaws and has the power to summon sea waters and creates whirlpools in the water.
- Nightmares: Small monsters that give you nightmares and feed on your emotions if you sleep close to them, usually this happens when they hide in your pillow. Despite looking like clams, they're apparently dragons (which is apparently a nod to an ancient Asian folk belief). After being discovered they can't really do much, so feel free to steam them alive.
- Cockatrices: Similar to basilisks but bigger, meaner and nastier. Their venom causes petrification, from which you can recover naturally... as long as none of your petrified body parts snap off.
- Dryads: Gendered plants, females look like human women, with males being basically pumpkins with human faces. Only females put up a fight and cutting one results in outburst of pollen, the ingestion of which causes heavy allergic reactions. Grow from fruits which are edible.
- Shapeshifters: Generally refers to all monsters that change shape, but the ones that seem to take shape of party members are actually illusions caused by a mind-reading beast that creates images based on thoughts of other members of the party.
- Ice Golems: These appear if a magic totem used for creation of golems ends up in water that freezes, and then gets activated with a magic circle. Basically, all of this coming together would require one hell of a coincidence so you really don't have to worry about ever seeing one.
- Barometz: Sheep that grow from plants, harmless by themself but regularly preyed on by wolves and other carnivores, so it's best not to stick to places where they grow for too long. Tastes like crab.
- Griffins: You should know what griffins are.
- Hippogriffs: As seen in Harry Potter! They do resemble griffins, but have lower body that resembles a horse. They are also herbivorous, and have a distinct taste.
- Changelings: Contrary to popular belief, changelings are not creatures in and of themselves, but the result of a creature stepping into a ring of magic mushrooms. Said creature will eventually turn into mushrooms themselves unless they wash off all of the spores. Useful if you wanted to turn your griffon meat into hippogriff meat for whatever reason, or if you're feeling bored with the dumplings you have, you can just change your pot-stickers into ravioli, or your baozi into perogies. Just avoid direct contact.
- Bicorn: Whereas Unicorns are attracted to purity, Bicorns are attracted to immorality and corruption. However, its favorite prey is virtuous husbands; if you get too close, it'll try to take a bite out of you, but otherwise it doesn't seem (or at least taste) that different from a normal horse.
- Dullahan: An undead monster taking the form of a headless suit of armor. Do not eat.
- Succubus: The kind that most adventurers encounter are not true demons, but a type of shapeshifting mosquito that morphs itself into whatever its victim most desires, then uses its proboscis to suck the essence out of its victim, converting it into a milk to feed its larva. The best defense against a succubus is to have several party members at the ready since a succubus can only target one person at a time; if outnumbered, the only real defense is to have multiple souls in the same body (as the case with beastmen) so at least part of you isn't enthralled. Succubus victims can have their vitality restored by drinking said milk mixed with some nutrients. The larva are also nutritious, akin to shrimp when cooked.
- Phoenix: Pretty much exactly how your typical phoenix works; bursts into flames every time it resurrects. So how exactly do you cook a phoenix? Well, thanks to some rules put in place by the dungeonmaster, monsters cannot harm the native residents of the dungeon, so having one in close proximity allows you to prepare the meat, step back to let it self-cook, then quickly get close again. It is recommended to stay close to a dungeon resident for at least three hours to let the meat properly digest... otherwise you'll get a very different kind of "heartburn."
- Dungeon Rabbit: With a name like that, you thought they'd be just regular old rabbits living in a dungeon, right? Hahaha NO. These fuckers are the bastard children of the Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog. They're fully capable of decapitating seasoned adventurers despite being no bigger than ordinary rabbits. Instead of razor sharp teeth, they have razor sharp spikes on their hind legs that they use to slit their victim's throats, so neck protection is critical.