Do You Drink It?

I’ve seen this “interesting decision” in play so often that I am considering setting it up to happen in more of my games right off the bat, just to see what kind of habits the players have ingrained:

The NPC offers the PCs a drink while they talk.

One drinks, the other does not.

What do you think their players thinking?

(Polite request: no “depends…” answers).

Edit: bring your own context, talk about when it happened in your group. It ain’t a trick question.

Neither assumes the chalice is poisoned. One’s trying to build rapport with the NPC, the other’s trying to establish dominance.

Or, both assume the chalice is poisoned but one assumes that being poisoned is going to be more interesting than keeling over dead.

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Or… one of the players is afraid the chalice is poisoned, and is afraid to drink it. The other player hopes the chalice is poisoned, because their PC is immune to poison… and is trying to establish dominance. They take the other PC’s drink, too.

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I don’t have enough information.

A) If this is part of a low stakes/low detail/downtime interaction where the referee hasn’t signalled that risk is involved I’d assume the players are simply playing thier characters.

B) Ifcthis is some sort of faction intrigue situation in morevactive playvthen I’d guess that the player not drinking might be concerned about poison and that the player drinking was not.

The nature of play though is that the world is never seemless, detail tends to follow importance, with unimportant or safe activities glossed over and risky ones focused on to a greater degree. This level of focus is also a Referee clue to risk and plays into fairness.

For example.

If the drink were poisoned, but the Referee had set up the encounter as a low detail/low stakes event “You mert the mayor at his office and he gives you brandy while you talk” and then after the information is relayed said “the drinks were drugged and you didn’t say you abstained, you are captives of the Mayor cult!” That would likely seem unfair and like antagonistic refereeing. So much depends on play style. Setting and such as well though. In a CoC style game of investigation the NPC interactions will have more weight and expectation of risk then in a dungeon crawl game where risk is largely signalled by entering the mythic underworld.


Not having enough information is fine, It’s sort of a question you bring your own context for.

People talk all the time about “interesting decisions” in role-playing and this one is kind of ubiquitous, I must have been involved in it dozens of times as a player. I like to think there are all sorts of low stakes high decision-making, high memorability type interactions, and wonder if its a good time to make a list of them.