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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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5 Answers 5

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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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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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"The mouse has cut its way out of your intestines with a light slashing weapon. Muscle activity immediately seals the hole, so the other mice will have to cut their own way out. One of them makes its grapple check and begins to crawl out of your mouth..." –  the dark wanderer Apr 25 at 20:36

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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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
@mxyzplk That would be a mundane action which automatically succeeds, unless you're attempting it in difficult circumstances such as combat. In that case, as there's no relevant skill, it would require a Dexterity check. If you have a specific target in mind, it becomes an improvised ranged weapon that provokes an Attack of Opportunity unless you have the Improved Unarmed Strike feat or are a monk. The range penalties are quite high. –  Jonathan Drain Aug 25 '13 at 10:18

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