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Command Word Grrrr - Can you create an Command-Word activated item for an Animal?


Rules Questions


1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

And would it need to be for a specific animal? E.g. Leopard or more generic "Cat"?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

"Command word activation means that a character speaks the word and the item activates." Therefore, if the activator can't speak, they can't use a command word. A command word item could probably be activated by, say, a parrot or something that had been trained to speak, but speaking indicates the use of spoken language, so only creatures with spoken language ability would be able to use command words.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I know a Raven familiar can speak. Most of the other things in the Bestiary that I can think of that can speak are magical beasts, not animals.


Pathfinder Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

You might be able to train a parrot to say a word in a specific situation.

Any animal companion or familiar with an Int of 3 or higher should be able to activate a command word item. That command word may be rather odd, but it basically needs to be something the animal or creature can make that's not a 'normal' sound.

Some examples, to me, would be the classical dog making the 'roof' sound when barking, rather than the traditional 'woof' sound. Or, the feline familiar hitting a particular octave and maintaining it for a specific length of time, similar to a human making his command word a whistle at a specific pitch with a specific length of time it's held to activate.

Things like pseudo-dragons or ravens, who can talk already, can activate anything.


"how come my wand is out of charges?"

"dog was up all night barking."


Familiar wielding wand.

Edit: And now an owl wielding a wand.


bodhranist wrote:
Therefore, if the activator can't speak, they can't use a command word. A command word item could probably be activated by, say, a parrot or something that had been trained to speak, but speaking indicates the use of spoken language, so only creatures with spoken language ability would be able to use command words.

Evidence 1:

Speak with Animals of Its Kind (Ex): "If the master is 7th level or higher, a familiar can communicate with animals of approximately the same kind as itself (including dire varieties): bats with bats, cats with felines, hawks and owls and ravens with birds, lizards and snakes with reptiles, monkeys with other simians, rats with rodents, toads with amphibians, and weasels with ermines and minks. Such communication is limited by the Intelligence of the conversing creatures."

A normal animal would be unable to talk to a familiar if it had no language. The familiar is able to talk to it using whatever natural animal language they use. This is an extraordinary ability, not magical.

Evidence 2:
Speak with Animals
Same as above, but not as good an example because "it's magic!"

Evidence 3:
Paizo Blog - An FAQ on Intelligent Animals
"Once a creature's Int reaches 3, it also gains a language."
It then goes on to say that this doesn't result in dolphins speaking common, because they don't have the anatomy to use human language.

So if the animal has a 3+ Int, it speaks whatever kind of language that animal would use. (Chirps, grunts, whistles, etc.) This is speaking, and the Command Word doesn't specify a language, in fact "often, the command word is some seemingly nonsensical word."

While I don't think someone could effectively make a magic item with command word "blend of two hormones and a thorax shake" (Sorry intelligent bees) a command word "Ook" or "Squawk" should be doable. (Especially if the creator can cast Speak with Animals!)


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I would think you would need to have a Trick learned to activate the item...like a Perform trick (e.g. bark on command) if the animal doesn't have at least a 3 intelligence.


Tiny Coffee Golem wrote:

Familiar wielding wand.

Edit: And now an owl wielding a wand.

Seems legit. I'd go with this.

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