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Over the course of about 4 years listening to D&D actual-plays, I've heard time and time again that if a Greater Fey offers you a meal, you're not supposed to accept it. The phrase is used like an adage that everyone just seems to know, but its reasoning has never been explained.

I remember it happening in Major Spoilers Critical Hit and Geek & Sundry's Critical Role in their respective Feywild arcs. I also believe I heard it in Web DM's "The Fey" episode.

Why shouldn't one do this? What would happen if one were to accept?

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TL;DR: It is dangerous to give a Fey any power over you. Eating/drinking their food either makes it impossible (or painful) to leave Faerie or gives them power over you, and giving a fey power over you (especially the great ones) is a very dangerous and potentially fatal thing.

In our games (and using various rulesets) over the years, we generally went with the food being too delicious, so that a mortal eating it would never be sated by normal food again and would waste away, and/or the idea that food not freely (and explicitly) given and accepted leads to an obligation on the part of the mortal consuming it.

Caveat - I am not up to date with 5e (any expertise I could claim ends with 2e back in prehistory), so this is more of a general faerie lore response. I am not sure it is explicitly covered anywhere in the rules, even way back when, because it tends to be a 'fact' almost universally known by Western readers.

It's common (Western) Faerie lore that mortals should never eat or drink anything either in Faerie lands or offered by a member of the Fey.

This link covers a great deal of it (just beware the TVTropes rabbit-hole): http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/FoodChains -- and includes/leads to some useful early examples from literature.

This ties in with another 'common lore' fact about the Fey: Gifts are dangerous to accept and possibly even more dangerous to give. Never ever get obligated to them, and beware of getting them obligated to you. Stealing (i.e. taking or consuming anything not freely and explicitly given by the Fey) counts as incurring a massive obligation.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to rpg.se! This answer could be improved by focusing on your experience with the subject in games, and how your groups' choices affected gameplay; since the question's being asked on an RPG Q&A site, we can assume it's our RPG expertise they're hoping to tap into for answers. The real-world lore is useful, but secondary. \$\endgroup\$
    – BESW
    Commented Dec 28, 2016 at 0:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ Apologies - I thought I had done so towards the end. Will focus on more of that and less of the other next time! \$\endgroup\$
    – Ysharros
    Commented Dec 28, 2016 at 4:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ No worries, it's a good answer and you can always edit in improvements. In this case it's just a matter of potentially making a good answer great by shifting the focus to actionable RPG-specific solutions. \$\endgroup\$
    – BESW
    Commented Dec 28, 2016 at 4:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oh, good idea - will edit asap and move the (admittedly small) para on my experiences up a bit. I tend to be wordy - I think I was afraid to put in TOO much gaming stuff (ironically). \$\endgroup\$
    – Ysharros
    Commented Dec 28, 2016 at 4:34
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In a lot of fairy tales, if you eat food while on the "other side" you won't be able to return (or just won't want to). I can't think any particular mechanics that enforce this but even if many who have gone into the feywild as PCs and followed this instruction have then avoided potential or imagined consequences they are likely to bring that into their DMing. Just because the current edition doesn't have negative effects of garlic on vampires shouldn't preclude the suggestion of using it as a deterrent whether because it actually has an effect, or people (in game) just think it does.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This doesn't seem to answer the question, which is about D&D lore and how to implement it in a campaign; can you talk about your experience with the subject in D&D games, or give examples of relevant D&D setting details? Sharing your RPG expertise is what RPG.SE is for; untested speculation, "make it up yourself," and non-RPG-specific setting details, don't really draw on your RPG expertise. \$\endgroup\$
    – BESW
    Commented Dec 27, 2016 at 23:37

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