My party has gotten themselves into quite a pickle and one of our characters has gotten his mouth sewn shut by magical thread, which we can't cut. He is unable to eat and our GM has determined that he had roughly 4 days of being alright in that state without starving to death. We're now down to 1½ days before he starves and he has 2 levels of exhaustion (which cannot be reduced by taking a long rest because he can't eat and drink).

Is there any spell or creative solution to get him fed and allow us some more time to fix the whole situation?

He is a Tortle and the 'best' idea I've had is putting a feeding tube in his nose to keep him alive. He can't use a straw. He is a level 7 warlock.

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    Has your DM hinted at any way to solve this problem in-game? Since the magical thread itself seems to be a homebrew thing. I assume the DM calculated the number of days they can go without food based on these rules: "A character can go without food for a number of days equal to 3 + his or her Constitution modifier (minimum 1). At the end of each day beyond that limit, a character automatically suffers one level of exhaustion. A normal day of eating resets the count of days without food to zero." – V2Blast Oct 14 at 21:26
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    What properties of the magic thread that you know of? Does it resist attempts to use magic on it for example? – Rubiksmoose Oct 14 at 22:20
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  • In 3.5/Pathfinder, a ring of sustenance would be enough to solve this issue. In 5e, with the "nerf" on the ring, this plothook becomes way more interesting. – T. Sar Oct 17 at 11:27
  • So tell us what happened. Is the Tortle dead yet? – R.. Oct 18 at 15:58

10 Answers 10

Just cut a hole in his cheek.

Puncture wounds are healed by regular healing spells, so just stab the tortle through the cheek and shove a goodberry in there. It won't be fun, but it works. Or...

Find a cleric who can cast Regenerate.

Once you have done that (and I highly recommend doing it in this order), use a knife and just cut the Tortle's lips off, thread and all. Regenerate will restore the character's missing body parts, lips included, after two minutes. Strictly speaking, you don't need a cleric: a druid or bard who can cast seventh level spells will also work.

Alternatives to finding someone who knows that sort of magic: find a Ring of Regeneration. This is probably a lot harder, but technically, you only need to borrow it for 1d6+1 days for the body part to regrow (here, the tortle's lips) at which point you can return it.

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    Technically cutting their whole lips off would be extreme overkill, just cutting a slit from the outside of their lip to the thread should let it slip out. Still +1 – Xen2050 Oct 15 at 8:47
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    The drama of it all is why I suggest it, tbh. – Daniel B Oct 15 at 14:27
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    Presumablly you would have to cut a slit for each loop of the thread, depending on how exactly the sewing shut was done that could be a lot of slits. – Peter Green Oct 15 at 17:23
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    @PeterGreen: Either way, ouch. – Sean Oct 16 at 3:31
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    @Yakk of course, the preferred solution bypasses the stitches entirely, thus why the first thing I mentioned is the cheek cut (much less traumatic than perforating the trachea) – Daniel B Oct 16 at 18:32

Get creative

First the bad news. 5e does not seem to have a Ring of Sustenance like the earlier editions of D&D, and a Bead of Nourishment isn't going to help you if you can't get it in their mouth somehow. There are also no spells that can really help, there's no way to get a Goodberry inside the character's mouth. You might try to argue that a stomach is a container, but then Create Food and Water might instantly kill the character because it creates 45 gallons worth of food, which seems a bit excessive.

Instead, try to get rid of the magical thread so they can eat the normal way again.

The character had their mouth sewn shut by magical thread they can't cut, so cut around the magical thread and then figure out later how you're going to fix the poor Tortle's face later. Better to be a reptilian Joker than to starve to death. Alternatively, you could try making a hole in their cheek to insert food through, if the thread won't sew that shut, it might be the less severe, but less 'complete' solution.

Alternatively, see if you can nullify the magic of the thread. Perhaps there's a Dead Magic Zone that will do the trick or you can find somebody to cast anti-magic zone, or perhaps the DM will be generous and agree that the wire itself is mundane and the magic keeping it from being cut is a spell cast on it, in which case Dispel Magic might work.

If that also doesn't work, there might be more drastic ways to keep the character from starving to death, such as using a spell or a monster to turn them to stone. A different, higher level solution would be to True Polymorph the character into a creature that doesn't need to eat, such as an undead or a construct. You could also use any of the other higher level spells that remove the need to eat: Sequester, Imprisonment or astral projection.

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    The creature that you Polymorph into, True or not, can safely be one that needs to eat. Both spells specifiy that "the target's gear melds into the new form", so the thread should not be a problem until he changes back into his original form. If he had the time, becoming able to Wild Shape or Shapechange would be a permanent fix: both allow you to have your equipment "[fall] to the ground" nad should just let the thread fall away. – Pilchard123 Oct 15 at 12:25
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    I'd wager that the DM would not consider the thread to be 'equipment' in any normal sense of the word, so I'm going with the assumption that it'll remain in the new form. If not, that is indeed an easier way to get rid of it. – Theik Oct 15 at 12:29
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    maybe just snort a pea or a good berry or some grains of rice. – FrancisJohn Oct 15 at 13:53
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    Alternatiely polymorphthem into a creature that does not have a mouth that can be sewn shut like a stirge or swarm – John Oct 15 at 14:33
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    I haven't had time to give a full search, but if there's a beast with Photosynthesis (or if your DM is comfortable letting you Polymorph into something like a Dryt), you can just turn your warlock into one of these and leave them out in the sun for an hour. – Lord Farquaad Oct 15 at 18:33

A body needs an entry (hole) to absorb most kind of foods or liquids. So why not just use the lower entry, if you know what I mean.

Nutrient Enema

So my mixing some foods he could get nourishment as well. I do not play D&D but other free forms of fantasy RPGs. But since reality matters I guess, it could work?

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    This sounds like some kind of fad diet that you'd be able to buy from druids. "Shrink your waistline and increase your Wisdom with one weird trick!" – Mark Wells Oct 16 at 16:29
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    Goodberry in the butt! Replace it each morning and snicker about it being a good dingleberry. – eyecosahedron Oct 16 at 22:06
  • There was a family that survived for 38 days stranded in the sea using this method. Also, dehydration would matter way more than starvation and combating that with enemas would require way less skills – Daerdemandt Oct 19 at 3:10
  • Ioun stone

    Sustenance (Rare). You don't need to eat or drink while this clear spindle orbits your head. (DMG pg. 177)

  • Goodberry (1st level) ~ shoot one down their nose.

  • Dispell Magic (3rd level) ~ cancel magical effect

  • Polymorph (4th level) ~ turn them into another creature to eat.

  • Sequester (7th level) ~ put in suspended animation until magical effect removed

  • Antimagic Field (8th level) ~ will suspend the spell effect


Characters who don't eat or drink suffer the effects of exhaustion (see appendix A). Exhaustion caused by lack of food or water can't be removed until the character eats and drinks the full required amount.


A character needs one pound of food per day and can make food last longer by subsisting on half rations. Eating half a pound of food in a day counts as half a day without food.

A character can go without food for a number of days equal to 3 + his or her Constitution modifier (minimum I). At the end of each day beyond that limit, a character automatically suffers one level of exhaustion. A normal day of eating resets the count of days without food to zero.


A character needs one gallon of water per day, or two gallons per day if the weather is hot. A character who drinks only half that much water must succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw or suffer one level of exhaustion at the end of the day. A character with access to even less water automatically suffers one level of exhaustion at the end of the day. If the character already has one or more levels of exhaustion, the character takes two levels in either case.

Nose, mouth, toe? If you are assuming based off real human anatomy, then since we can receive food or drink through the nose into the stomach, then so can a D&D character.

If not, then may I suggest "Gentle Repose & Revivify".

All this depends on in which his mouth was magically sewn shut, like magical needle and thread, or like Neo in the Matrix?

  • Dispel Magic only reliably works on spells. Though the DM might allow that to work, in general if the target isn't (affected by) a spell, then dispel magic won't do anything. – Adam Oct 17 at 19:30

A person with a knowelege of medicine might be able to create an incision and feed the character through that.

There are cows that have cannula fitted to their stomachs on a permanent basis that allow scientist to study their digestive systems and these live quite happily.

cannulated cow

Your party could then either use magical foods like goodberries or beads of nourishment, or simply chew the food themselves before placing the chewed food directly into the party members stomach. Spells such as lesser restoration could be used as infection control to protect the site from infection.

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    Note: there is no cure disease spell in 5e, but lesser restoration can cure diseases. – Szega Oct 14 at 22:16
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    @Szega I forgot that, I have only played a little bit of 5ed I'll edit to reflect that. – Sarriesfan Oct 14 at 22:27
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    Or just punch a small hole in his cheek, put a straw through and feed him mashed/liquefied food. – Felix Dombek Oct 14 at 22:56
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    Ahh the future of industrial farming. – Jamie Clinton Oct 15 at 19:28
  • @JamieClinton not so much the future as the recent-ish past and present... – user45114 Oct 17 at 1:44

I might be wrong here since I'm still a newbie, but wouldn't you be able to cut your food into chewable portions and then use the Teleport spell to teleport it into your mouth?

This spell instantly transports you and up to eight willing creatures of your choice that you can see within range, or a single object that you can see within range, to a destination you select.

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    Depends on how familiar the caster is with the inside of the affected persons mouth I suppose. – Cubic Oct 15 at 11:00
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    Your quote indicates that the caster themselves must go to the destination, and the only thing that can come along are willing creatures. I don't think it allows you to translocate a substance. – keithcurtis Oct 15 at 14:14
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    @keithcurtis You stopped reading too soon. ...or a single object that you can see within range... – aslum Oct 15 at 14:42
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    @Cubic perhaps that's why bards are so flirtatious and philandering? Just in case of wacky scenarios such as these? :) – Lux Claridge Oct 15 at 15:46
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    @keithcurtis the comma placement means it MUST be your second version. Grammatically, it cannot be your first. – user45114 Oct 17 at 2:50

Antimagic Field

Antimagic Field is an 8th level Cleric/Wizard spell that last for up to 1 hour. It says:

Magic Items: The properties and powers of magic items are suppressed in the sphere.

So, you could find a high level Cleric or Wizard (perhaps at a local temple, or the Wizard's Guild) and see if they would cast this. Then cut the thread while it's magical properties are suppressed.

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    Great answer! Magical thread a problem? Make it not-magical! – NautArch Oct 15 at 14:39

You'd have to check with your DM because the thread is homebrew, but you might be able to get their mouth open far enough if you Polymorph them into something with a vastly bigger mouth than a Tortle, like a Crocodile. Unless the thread magically becomes 5ft long, a big croc should have plenty of room to squeeze in some goodberries for nourishment.

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    It's magic thread, so magically growing in length isn't as farfetched as you imply. – Arcanist Lupus Oct 15 at 13:17
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    A similar option might be to polymorph into something small, so there's enough slack in the thread that they can open their mouth in spite of it. – Ray Oct 16 at 19:14
  • Well, if the DM is making the rules on whether or not X works, then only they can truly answer the question. – Robert Columbia Oct 17 at 0:37

You can use a tube to feed them through their nose. There is a video on YouTube detailing how painful this is, and the wiki gives you some history on the horrors of it.

In this case, there is magic, so you could get a magic tube, cast a grease spell (is that still a thing in 5e?), and just slide it all the way in. Since the recipient is interested in staying alive, they will probably be somewhat willing to accommodate the tube.

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    welcome to the site please take the tour in order to understand the rules of this site. This answer could be improved by getting quotes from official sources to eliminate any misconceptions and possibly linking a YouTube video – rpgstar Oct 15 at 23:22
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    sorry didnt realise that the youtube video was already linked. still quotes would help. – rpgstar Oct 15 at 23:30

The last version I played was version 2.5 (We wanted an upgrade but 3rd ... wasn't good for our group, so we created 2.5) and a little of 3rd.

If I remember right you can teleport stuff other than the caster teleporting himself. So plate of food = in his stomach. You can argue that even with a traditionally complicated spell with a marginal degree of error that can happen, the teleport is only going to be for a couple of feet or even measured in INCHES.

A rookie mage should be able to pull it off with ease as in the "crawling stages" of learning; he would have done this too may times to count as he worked his distance up through practice.

Our DM was awesome. He had a rule: if you can logically show how it is possible, even if its "against the rules" he would allow it. It created some very interesting games with interesting solutions to some interesting "puzzles".

One thing or phrase that was all over the place in the books (at least in the early ones) was "DM's Option!"

The more practical solution would be a simple feeding tube, or, a very good spot to introduce a "vampire' into the mix of characters as they do not need to really eat or drink(or some other form of "undead"), then his mouth can be sewn shut for eternity and depending on the party member, it might be a good addition to his character: the stitched mouth, not the addition of an undead. (Another fun thing DM did was tell us we rolling new characters.... then throw us the monsters manual to look through.)

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    Welcome to Take the tour, it's a useful introduction to the site. Most importantly is that this is a Q&A site, not a discussion forum and we work a bit differently to discussion forums. If you're unfamiliar with the rules of the system/edition being asked about then it's usually best not to answer. Rules change quite a bit between editions so while this may have worked in your "2.5 edition" it doesn't mean it's going to work in another edition. Even if it did work in the edition being asked about, we expect that to be backed by the relevant rules from that edition. – Purple Monkey Oct 14 at 23:53
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    @PurpleMonkey Although being familiar with the system before answering is generally a good idea, this answer isn't half bad despite that lack of system knowledge. Teleport exists in 5th edition, as do vampires, and the fact that the DM is using homebrewed magic thread suggests that "DM's Option" would be in effect here even if 5th edition didn't emphasize rulings over rules to the extent it does. The answer could certainly stand some editing to make the style less rambling stream of consciousness, but the ideas themselves are potentially useful. – Ray Oct 15 at 3:07
  • Sorry, I can ramble sometimes but at least you got lucky.... I been known to have the "wall of text" lol. – Rusty Koenig Oct 16 at 0:49
  • @RustyKoenig It happens. (Most of my answers start as scattered fragments of vaguely related ideas before I clean them up.) The important thing is sharing useful ideas, but of course, they're more useful if they're presented clearly. Just make a point of doing an editing pass or two over answers (like the one Korvin did here) before submitting them, and you'll avoid getting a bunch of early downvotes like you initially did on this one. – Ray Oct 16 at 18:00

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