So, a hungry wizard walks into a bar... And then gets kicked out before he's able to get any food in his stomach. He throws some curses and then remembers - he has some olives left, as well as a Minor Creation Spell prepared. So he casts the spell, gets more olives than he can eat and goes off for some other business.

Now, here's the question: what is going to happen after the spell expires, given he has even slower metabolism than his hours/caster level allow? In other words - can Minor Creation be used for constant food supplying, or it is basically a bad idea?

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ Well, maybe it's overthinking, but there ARE spells that specifically create food and water. Living things need to eat since they need some nourishment, but if the food disappears in the middle of its digestion, one may rule that it would be the same as if the character did not eat at all. Basically, this question is "Can I use Minor Creation instead of buying food" and stuff. This really should matter, especially in survival situations 8) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 2, 2014 at 8:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ Discuss question validity on Meta: When are questions that attempt to add 'real-life' to a game okay and on-topic? \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Commented Apr 2, 2014 at 20:08

3 Answers 3


The game does not provide guidelines for this.

D&D 3.5 is not a "life simulator". It is a game whose mechanics largely involve abstracting combat against fantasy monsters. How a character handles the digestion of magical food is a detail the game simply does not address. In fact, the game doesn't seem to consider food an important topic in general, it often being handwaved away. Digestion is way below the simulation threshold - unless it has to do with fighting monsters.

Nevertheless, you are asking a question about a situation that can come up. People can and always will come up with questions the game can't not address, given the open-ended nature of RPGs.

In D&D, such questions are mostly answered by the DM. The DM makes some kind of ruling, and the game continues. If you are the DM in this situation, I suggest you go with whatever ruling that you think is...

  • most likely to improve fun at the table right now (is it funny to have a Wizard with a suddenly-rumbling stomach?)
  • most likely to improve the story being told (could a Wizard dying of magically-induced malnutrition be a good plot point?)
  • most likely to enrich/improve the players' experience of the game world (does it being possible for any 1st level Psion to create food from nothing have an odd effect on the setting?)

    ... and so on. In any case, you're going to have to make a decision for yourself. The game doesn't help you.


There's no RAW, but I'd allow it.

RAW has no rules for modeling the humanoid metabolism. However, if we wanted to do something quick and off-the-cuff, then we can note that the lowest level an arcane caster could use this spell would be 7 (as a Wizard), meaning the material created by the spell lasts seven hours.

In humans, by this point the matter being eaten has already cleared both the stomach and the small intestine, and so some 95% of the nutrients have already been absorbed by the body. It is unlikely that any of it would have cleared the colon just yet, but in terms of nutrient absorption, the difference is quite small. For simplicity we will assume that other humanoid digestive systems work at a similar rate to humans.

At this point, the absorbed nutrients are part of the person, and I'd rule that this puts them beyond the reach of the spell's expiration. Maybe the stuff still in the colon would vanish, but this wouldn't have gotten you much more anyway.

So if you really want rules for something like this, here's something that balances simplicity with realism, while taking care to strike at that I suspect is the truly important question in your player's mind...

  1. If the matter lasts less than 6 hours, it cannot be used as food. This doesn't matter for wizards or sorcerers with minor creation, but psions get it sooner.
  2. If the matter lasts more than 16 hours, then it is essentially normal food. Waste will vanish when the spell expires, but by that point it's already made the full trip through your system.
  3. If the matter lasts between 6 and 16 hours, it can be used as food, though it is slightly less nutritious. You need a little more of it to avoid starvation: humans need a pound and a half every 24 hours, rather than a pound; halve or double for size as appropriate. On the other hand, you don't require a trip to the bathroom afterwards, because what's left over will vanish before that can happen.

Magically Created Food Satisfies Hunger
While it might make the creatures who ate it nervous, even when uneaten magically created food disappears, if a creature's consumed the magically-created food the creature has met the requirements for preventing starvation.

Here are the rules for Starvation and Thirst. The starvation-specific information reads, in part,

Characters might find themselves without food.... In normal climates, Medium characters need [...] about a pound of decent food per day to avoid starvation. (Small characters need half as much.) [...]

Thus a creature who needed food--in the above, I assume need means needs to consume, by the way, rather than possess because that would be silly--and used a spell to make food and ate that magic food actually had food, despite it being magically created and later disappearing, because, at the time it really was food, and that's the extent of what the game checks for. That the food's not food anymore after the spell expires is irrelevant. He needed food, he got it, and done.

The wizard can eat his pound of minor creation-made olives, and this solves his starvation problem.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Though satisfying hunger is only part of the equation (that works by swallowing stones, too!), nutrients passing into the body being the other. Which would allow for an interesting way to kill an otherwise invincible, well-protected opponent. Tricking someone into eating minor creation food with a long duration would be undetectable as poison or such, but nevertheless the body takes up and incorporates the matter (fatty acids, proteins). Which then, suddenly, disappear from the victim's body as the spell expires, causing cells to fall apart. \$\endgroup\$
    – Damon
    Commented Apr 2, 2014 at 14:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Damon Sadly, stones aren't, in D&D 3.5 terms, food. But that's a clever enough comment that you might want to turn it into an answer. I gravitate toward rules-as-written, but this question lacks that tag--have at it. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 2, 2014 at 15:00

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