The description of the Periapt of Proof Against Poison (PoPAP) says that "poisons have no effect on you. You are immune to the poisoned condition and have immunity to poison damage."

So I'm wondering if a character could get drunk while wearing a PoPAP? There's no "drunk" status condition in D&D 5e, but drunkenness is caused because you've consumed enough alcohol to poison yourself, however slightly. Also, does the wearer of the PoPAP know they've been poisoned? Like for instance, if someone put spider venom in their food, would they know the food was poisoned when they ate it?

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    \$\begingroup\$ You have two separate questions here - to get the best answers possible, I recommend asking them in separate posts. \$\endgroup\$
    – Miniman
    Oct 21, 2016 at 14:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ Of interest: Lethal Doses of Water, Caffeine and Alcohol \$\endgroup\$
    – Makyen
    Oct 21, 2016 at 20:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ I was under the impression that a lot of drunken behaviour was psychological? \$\endgroup\$ Dec 10, 2021 at 2:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ Just as an aside, spider venom in 5e would not have any effect when ingested. So no one would realize it was there unless it modified the taste or appearance in some way. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 10, 2021 at 15:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ It is worth noting that the poisoned condition is probably one of the simplest ways to adjudicate being drunk. \$\endgroup\$
    – User 23415
    Mar 12 at 19:16

5 Answers 5


Both of these are DM calls.

So I'm wondering if a character could get drunk while wearing a PoPAP? There's no "drunk" status condition in D&D 5e, but drunkenness is caused because you've consumed enough alcohol to poison yourself, however slightly.

The problem here is that (outside of things that deal Poison damage or grant the Poisoned condition) there isn't any really great definition of poison. "The dosage makes the poison," and even water can cause intoxication and death in sufficient doses.

We usually bunch things that kill us with a "small" dose into the poison category, and things that kill us with a "large" dose into the not-poison category, but there's a lot of leeway in the middle.

Things that are immune to poison being immune to alcohol is a common trope. Alcohol isn't necessary for us to live, and has a variety of negative consequences. Thus, poison.

On the other hand, the effects of alcohol are pretty mild in typical dosages. It's unlikely to kill you, and may not even have a significant impact on you if you consume it slowly. Thus, not poison.

Which way the magic judges, is up to your DM.

Like for instance, if someone put spider venom in their food, would they know the food was poisoned when they ate it?

I think the general rule for spells applies well enough here. For spells, it works like this:

Unless a spell has a perceptible effect, a creature might not know it was targeted by a spell at all. An effect like crackling lightning is obvious, but a more subtle effect, such as an attempt to read a creature's thoughts, typically goes unnoticed, unless a spell says otherwise.

So, does the spider venom have a specific flavor, smell, or texture? The character can still discern that. If not, then the character doesn't get a "your amulet of poison has protected you" warning.

Of course, your DM could just as easily rule that you can feel the magic working. That there's a tingle in your stomach as the poison is attacked, or that the periapt glows, or similar.

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    \$\begingroup\$ As you say, the dosage makes the poison. I take poison immunity as meaning the dosage doesn't make the poison--you're immune to all forms of overdose. Since drunkeness is in effect harm from poison it won't happen. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 21, 2016 at 19:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ Amusing note on that quote: The original phrasing actually says "only the dosis makes a thing not a poison". \$\endgroup\$
    – Cubic
    Jun 27, 2020 at 8:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ I’m so creating a cursed PoPAP which spams the user with (largely spurious) “McMagic PoPAP has protected you against a threat!” messages, interspersed with suggestions that they upgrade to a monthly subscription for improved protection. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dan W
    Dec 16, 2021 at 23:20

The rules explicitly distinguish between alcohol and poison.

The Periapt of Proof Against Poison says:

While you wear it, poisons have no effect on you.

So the question is, "is alcohol a poison?" Within the scope of the rules, the answer is definitely "No, alcohol is not a poison." Unfortunately, this is not easily found. This distinction is not spelled in any general rules for alcohol or poisons.

Nevertheless, the distinction is made. Xanathar's Guide to Everything has a common magic item called the Tankard of Sobriety:

You can drink ale, wine, or any other nonmagical alcoholic beverage poured into it without becoming inebriated. The tankard has no effect on magical liquids or harmful substances such as poison.

In this description, the rules explicitly distinguish between alcohol and poison. Alcohol is neither a harmful substance, nor a poison.

Therefore, the protection from poison provided by the Periapt does not protect against alcohol, because alcohol is not a poison.

The Periapt does not give special knowledge of poisons.

The full description for the Periapt says:

This delicate silver chain has a brilliant-cut black gem pendant. While you wear it, poisons have no effect on you. You are immune to the poisoned condition and have immunity to poison damage.

Nothing is written here about giving you knowledge of poisoned food or drink. Further, the presence of a poison in your food or drink has no effect on you. No effect at all is certainly not a perceptible effect, so you would not know that your food or drink was poisoned.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I wonder if there's space to distinguish between inebriation and poisoning? The test of the tankard says "without becoming inebriated", but you summarised it as "alcohol and poison". Could you get inebriated from alcohol without poisoning with the Periapt? Could you get alcohol poisoning without the inebriation with the tankard? \$\endgroup\$ Dec 28, 2021 at 13:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ The Tankard's description begs the question of what (if any) effect inebriation is, if not the Poisoned condition... \$\endgroup\$ May 11 at 4:02

No, because it would be an unconscionable infringement on the Drunken Master monk

  • Xanathar's Guide to Everything introduced the Drunken Master monastic tradition (pp. 33-34).
  • At 10th level, all monks gain the Purity of Body class feature, which grants them immunity to poison (PHB p. 79).

Therefore, to propose that immunity to poison is a prohibition on drunkeness is to propose that, upon reaching 10th level, a Drunken Master should be permanently severed from the very wellspring of their identity and power. To this I say: I swear by whiskey, I shall never allow it!

Now, one could argue that the Drunken Master doesn't refer to literally being drunk on alcohol and is merely inspired by the movements of a drunkard. However, immediately upon selecting the subclass, the Drunken Master gains proficiency with brewer's supplies, suggesting that the Drunken Master indeed has a special connection to alcohol.

(I'm half-joking with this answer. But only half.)


Here's my take, look at what is the source/cause of the effect.

If a player was slipped...lets call it 'jamba juice'. It's not magical (like a potion), and it causes the same dice penalties and bonuses inebriation causes. You can't really justify it as anything else but poison or disease (maybe because it has bacteria in it) as the cause.

I'd rule that alcohol is a poison and you would be immune to its effects. I'd say any substance that could cause a game effect (no effect no reason to clarify), doesn't have a magical component to it (because then at that point...hey it's magic) or if it does that isn't explicitly labelled as poison (Poison Spell, Dagger of Venom, etc) and doesn't produce its effects solely by absurdly excessive consumption (IE: Water Poisoning.)

This could lead to players being idiots of course (like consuming tree leaves which I'd rule it doesn't kill you, but you don't get sustenance from it) but so be it.

As far as if the player knows they've been poisoned. Depends on how they got poisoned. Obviously if they get bitten by a Cobra, it would be obvious. Cut by a poisoned blade...I'd offer a high DC spot check. For food, I'd say raw wisdom check with DC depending on the poison and how well you do determines if it comes across as odd flavor or outright you know it's poisoned by the taste. Otherwise no, most of the time the pain or effects are the only things you can use to ID a poison. Stopping the cause, removes those effects.



a substance that is capable of causing the illness or death of a living organism when introduced or absorbed.

So by the definition I got from Google, I would say that since alcohol is a weak poison, it still is a poison and this the item works.

If you encountered poison in your food you might get a skill check to tell, but you do not get to automatically know.

  • \$\begingroup\$ This is inaccurate according the wikipedia -1. \$\endgroup\$
    – Snappie
    Oct 21, 2016 at 14:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ Your link takes us to the biology definition, not the disambiguation one. \$\endgroup\$
    – Fering
    Oct 21, 2016 at 16:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ Notice that water and oxygen are also poisons under this very loose definition. Does a Periapt of Proof Against Poison also prevent water or oxygen from “having an effect on you”? This is probably not a useful definition for answering this question. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 21, 2016 at 17:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ Only in the effect that they are poisoning you. Drowning in water is not poisoning so it would not protect you in that way. \$\endgroup\$
    – Fering
    Oct 21, 2016 at 17:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ I wasn't talking about drowning either. Water injected into the blood stream is “capable of causing illness or death … when introduced or absorbed” because it destroys blood cells, and drinking enough water (“absorbed”) can actually cause death from water poisoning. So: using a definition of “poison” that describes pretty much everything in the world isn't useful when the question is about where the line is between poisons and anything else. Another definition might be better. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 21, 2016 at 17:48

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