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Ok, so I mentioned in another question an idea for a character known for "(eating) small animals live and fresh with all the dignity and etiquette of a nobleman eating a sandwich"; would a character need any certain feats, stats, or skills to be able to do that? I know there were feats referenced in that article that would be useful for that, but they were more for being able to eat things regardless of decay (Scavenging Gullet) or just being able to bite into them better (Deformity(teeth)). Are there any other such feats, or do you even need a feat to eat meat raw like that?

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I'm just going to say, i didn't notice this was from rpg.SE when i saw it in the "hot questions" box. Was very confused and alarmed at the sudden development of flesh-eating computers. –  acolyte Aug 23 '13 at 15:54
@Cobalt Don't worry about it. There is something of a tradition around the network of celebrating titles that make perfect sense on their home Stack but are hilarious/odd when out of context. Don't feel like you need to change the titles of your questions to always make it obvious that it's about RPGs. :) –  SevenSidedDie Aug 24 '13 at 17:29
Actually I think RPG.SE is the most awkward of them all. Mostly here appear titles in the lines of "How to murder a ..." or "What would be an effect of a granade exploding in a residential building?". It's like armed martial arts training camp, and when hikers pass around they think "hey, look, terrorist training base". –  Vorac Aug 28 '13 at 10:48

5 Answers 5

up vote 23 down vote accepted

No, a character does not need a feat to eat meat raw. There's no rule for that in D&D, and if there were, it would be laughable if anyone didn't disregard it. "Good thing I'm third level, I can go to sushi bars now!"

You mentioned in the other question that you're not even necessarily playing a human character, but some Unseelie Fey right? Different people and cultures and races eat different things, and even the ridiculously legalistic world of 3.5 hasn't seen fit to mechanize that yet, thank goodness. Various races in the Monster Manuals are described as eating all kinds of things ("prefer human flesh...") but there's nothing in their stat blocks about it.

Then, see @Discord's answer for how this should be treated as a "non-RAW" activity.

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+1 for "Level 3 requirement to eat sushi" –  MrJinPengyou Aug 23 '13 at 14:45
i'm just curious which level i would need to eat tartare steak –  user902383 Aug 23 '13 at 16:05
Well steak, that comes from cows which have more Hit Dice than fish, so clearly level 5! But since that's the level you can cast fireball, eating them raw might not come up. –  mxyzplk Aug 23 '13 at 17:39
See, I personally appreciated the "non-RAW" pun. –  Kyle Willey Aug 23 '13 at 17:48
But what about eating the animal as it is alive? Or did I misunderstand the question. –  Vorac Aug 28 '13 at 10:53

As far as I know, there are no feats that govern being able to eat raw/live animals. It's really a matter of whether it's flavor for your character, (pun intended) or if you actually want game mechanics for it. Different cultures on Earth eat a lot of different things that would make other cultures sick and that would definitely be expanded in a fantasy world.

For really small animals (mice, insects, shrews) I would rule that a feat or roll wouldn't be required if the character has acclimated to eating these things. I would consider things like: the character's cultural/racial background (everyone of the particular race or city eats live mice), back story (the character lived as a feral child with no access to fire) or past practice. (Maybe the character has spent several months 'training' do this.)

If I character doesn't have practice eating these sorts of things, I'd go the Fear Factor route and have them make a Constitution check or Fortitude save to avoid becoming nauseated/sick.

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I think he's asking if rules already exist, not what rules might be invented. –  BESW Aug 23 '13 at 13:19
And now I have an image of someone "training" to eat live mice. It is not a pretty image. –  TimothyAWiseman Aug 23 '13 at 16:23

I think a certain amount of gastronomic flexibility is expected of an adventurer. Dragon vol. 328 lists Fussy as a potential character flaw, wherein “you are uncomfortable ingesting anything but a small range of preferred foods and drinks.” (The mechanics don’t back this up all that well, though, since all it is is a chance to become Sickened when you drink a potion and a penalty to saves against ingested poisons.)

Furthermore, “getting along in the wild” is a DC 10 Survival check. That is, the average person could do it without training; in the modern world that’s not really accurate (most of us city-slickers, at least, would probably eat a poisonous mushroom inside a week), but within Dungeons & Dragons it seems to be. So again, the rules seem to assume that adventurers are going to be flexible about eating what they find out there.

There are ways to benefit especially from certain kinds of gruesome meals – particularly cannibalism – but those have more to do with being Evil and demonstrating it through food practices than it does with strange dietary choices. Most are magical benefits, taking that kind of thing to a ritualistic level.

For just eating, it seems to be a thing unmentioned by the rules. Adventurers do seem to be expected to be willing to eat just about anything edible, though most would probably kill the rat first. Something like this seems to be purely a matter of how you describe your character.

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Well, the one rules that refers to this is the Ex ability Swallow Whole. It explicitly allows you to swallow a live creature one size smaller than you, and it details the grapple checks required to do this. Saying (as a house-rule) that all creatures with mouths have Swallow Whole for creatures 3 sizes smaller than them doesn't seems too crazy. And it gives the creature a chance to escape within the rules.


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RAW: First, picking up the live lizard to eat it requires a grapple attempt. Since the lizard has a grapple bonus of -12 due to its Tiny size and Strength score of 3, it's quite difficult for it to escape your grasp.

Since humans lack the Swallow Whole ability, you technically need to kill it first. This involves making a bite attack, which a human can perform as an unarmed attack. Unless he is a monk or has the Improved Unarmed Strike feat, he takes a -4 attack penalty in order to deal lethal damage. A lizard only has 2 hit points so you are likely to succeed.

Once the lizard is officially killed by your bite damage, it becomes just meat, and eating food is covered under mundane actions that don't require skill checks.

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And people say our schools don't teach anything useful these days. –  TimLymington Aug 23 '13 at 22:42
This is like the game of d20 Star Wars a guy joined, only to find that the group thought it was normal to use combat rounds, initiative, and the grid to walk around and talk to NPCs in a cantina. –  SevenSidedDie Aug 23 '13 at 22:50
Ah. Well, I plan to be playing a warlock that will probably take Call of the Beast, so I probably won't have to worry about the grapple bit much because I can call them to my hand and they probably won't be able to object. –  Cobalt Aug 23 '13 at 23:59
@Cobalt This is a real answer but also a joke. –  SevenSidedDie Aug 24 '13 at 17:31
Just don't ask for the RAW on how to go to the bathroom. There's a lot of CMB checks involved. –  mxyzplk Aug 25 '13 at 1:08

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