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Petrification does not state the creature "no longer needs to eat/drink (or sleep)"[1]:

Petrified

  • A petrified creature is transformed, along with any nonmagical object it is wearing or carrying, into a solid inanimate substance (usually stone). Its weight increases by a factor of ten, and it ceases aging.
  • The creature is incapacitated (see the condition), can’t move or speak, and is unaware of its surroundings.
  • Attack rolls against the creature have advantage.
  • The creature automatically fails Strength and Dexterity saving throws.
  • The creature has Resistance to all damage.
  • The creature is immune to poison and disease, although a poison or disease already in its system is suspended, not neutralized.

So, by RAW, does a petrified creature starve? What in the condition text (or on other rules) makes a petrified creature eschew food / drink / sleep?


Note:

  1. Common sense dictates that it should be so, but let's stick to RAW.
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  • \$\begingroup\$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Aug 29 '17 at 23:12
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As silly as the question sounds, it's interesting from a rules perspective.

A petrified creature retains its statistics (such as hit points) except as noted in the condition. It can still attempt some saving throws (just not Strength and Dexterity ones). So clearly, a petrified creature is still a creature, and not an object — it hasn’t really become a statue.

But the creature does become “solid inanimate substance (usually stone).” A creature polymorphed into another form needs to eat what its new form eats. For example, a creature polymorphed into a Zombie gains Undead Nature and does not need to eat.

Some other creatures have their unusual dietary habits in their creature blocks. Others are left to common sense. Explicit or implicit, a creature’s diet is part of its “statistics” which get replaced when it is polymorphed or petrified.

So what does an solid inanimate substance need to eat? We don't have stat block of a rock that happens to be a creature, but I think we can agree that it does not need to eat.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This also explains why the petrified creature also doesn't need to breathe. "SISUS" doesn't breathe. \$\endgroup\$ – Mindwin Aug 30 '17 at 17:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ Do you have a citation for "A creature polymorphed into another form needs to eat what its new form eats."? \$\endgroup\$ – godskook Aug 30 '17 at 17:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ "We do not have a block of rock that happens to be a creature" Pretty sure we've got Earth Elementals... \$\endgroup\$ – Erik Aug 30 '17 at 18:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Erik, there are a number of creatures made of rock that eat various things... or don't. Stone elementals, golems, xorn (I think are stone), etc. Which one would most resemble our hapless petrified creature? \$\endgroup\$ – Tim Grant Aug 30 '17 at 18:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ @godskook, I will edit my answer later, but this is covered by a creature's statistics being replaced by the new form. Example, if you are polymorphed into a zombie, you gain "Undead Nature" and no longer need to eat. Dietary requirements of other creatures are left to common sense, but follow the same rule. \$\endgroup\$ – Tim Grant Aug 30 '17 at 18:46
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A petrified creature is transformed, along with any nonmagical object it is wearing or carrying, into a solid inanimate substance (usually stone). Its weight increases by a factor of ten, and it ceases aging.

It's a rock. It doesn't need to eat, drink, or breathe, because it's inanimate.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ How do you know rocks don't need to breathe? Just because they can't/don't? \$\endgroup\$ – fectin Sep 1 '17 at 2:38
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I'm not sure about RAW (since that's all the text in the rule book), but I could not possibly interpret "A petrified creature is transformed, along with any nonmagical object it is wearing or carrying, into a solid inanimate substance (usually stone). [...] it ceases aging" as anything other than that the character is magically transformed into stone. Stone does not have any biological processes and thus does not need to eat, breathe, sleep etc.

It would also clearly defy all the fantasy tropes and the dramatic point of the effect if a creature turned to stone would die from starvation / dehydration / asphyxiation after a few weeks/days/minutes.

Hell, it would make the 1/2 cr cockatrice a "save twice or die"-creature, since you can't live without breathing for 24 hours.

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