The story is told piecemeal through the game's included instructions. On occasions the game will direct the player towards paragraphs of narration within the instructions in a nod to classic PC games such as Wasteland which used such methods to save disk space.
The crux of the story involves the protagonist, a toad warrior of some kind, exploring the Goblet Grotto in search of valuable goblets. However, narrative elements presented often directly contradict one another as well as information provided in the manual.
Although the game takes the form of classic dungeon crawlers such as King's Field and Dungeon Master, specific mechanics are intentionally opaque and incomprehensible. For the most part the goal is to explore a vast and abstract grotto in search of goblets. The reason for, or benefit of, collecting these goblets is never stated. NPCs are scattered throughout the game world and can be spoken to, although they generally say nothing of use and little that makes sense-- mostly centered around their own lust for goblets. NPCs and enemies can be attacked indiscriminately for their meat, which can be eaten.
The level of depression felt by the toad protagonist serves as a key focus during exploration. Hunger, prayer, sleep, and goblet collection must be managed in order to keep the toad happy, lest he begin to crawl across the ground at a diminished speed. The current emotional state and thought processes of the toad warrior are constantly displayed in the top right corner of the game window in the form of glyphs which much be translated by the player using the included instructions. The glyphs appear with a constant, obnoxious, but haunting noise.
The game's download is packaged with a set of instructions entitled "HOW TO WIN AT GOBLET GROTTO". While the included story paragraphs and glyph translation table are vital, much of the information is intentionally untrustworthy and the surrealist gameplay tips only vaguely communicate that the player's goal is to obtain (and appreciate) goblets.
A tooltip within the game's credits warns players that all dogs are liars. While dogs do appear in the game as NPCs, it is unclear whether they actually are liars.