When a character gets a rank in Linguistics, he learns a new language. Since a familiar gets its master's skill ranks, would the familiar learn a new language and, thus, learn how to speak? I figure that a DM would only allow languages the master knows and it would not come into effect until after it has Speak with Master. Still, I don't think it would be a big enough mechanical advantage that it would cause problems but some people would think it would be neat for their familiar to be able to speak to other people.
On the other hand, knowing a language would let it spy on conversations. That would be a pretty big advantage.
If a familiar can learn a language this way, then a Raven would learn more languages.
Still, I don't think it ever explicitly mentions whether or not this is possible so it will be up to your DM to decide. However, there are magical beasts that can speak so it isn't really out of the realm of possibilities.
Any GM out there who will say whether or not they would allow it?
At higher levels familiars are more intelligent than 72% of the adventurers in the party. So it understanding a language or more than one really is not so weird really.
However it would need the capability to actually speak to speak those new languages. So either some improved familiar that can talk, or a raven.
|Owen K. C. Stephens Developer|
Maybe . . . a feat that lets any familiar with Int 3 speak, or else rolling the ability into Improved Familiar (without sacrificing the skill increase for traditional familiars).
Or not; there are magical means to make this work after all. (Is there a "speak with humanoids" spell?)
Note, I'm fine with the animal not being able to actually speak the language if his voice box won't handle it. But all he needs is an INT 3 to learn the language (just like a human) and understand it. He might be able to make himself understood...
"What's that Lassie?" RELLL! "Timmy fell down the well again?" ROFF! ROFF! ROFF!! "Ok girl, lead the way!" ROFF ROFF ROFF!
Exactly what mdt say. Even mundane animals learn to recognize a few words(and several of them have a "language" that they learn from the parents, not only instinctual signals).
As a familiar break the threshold and is a fully sentient creature eh can learn different languages. He could even learn to read them.
But, without magical aid, most familiars can't to speak them.
If a human can have an INT of 3, and speak as many languages as they have ranks in Linquistics, why would a familiar need an int of 5?
You do realise that a familiar for a level 1 wizard already has an Int of 6, so this argument is kinda moot, right? :)
Remember at level 5 it gains "Speak with Master" anyway. So it could then be used to spy. It would understand the orcs speak in orcish, return and could tell the master about it, who then can relate it to the group.
For before that level it's either what mdt said, or someone casts Speak with Animal or so. Could be debated that that doesn't work, since its a magical beast now, but I'd let it work.
Even if it has to pantomime or something, as I said it starts at a Int of 6 and gets to 7 at level 3. That should make it able to play that game alot better than Lassie :)
In my reading of it a familiar doesn't gain the ranks the master. It uses the ranks of the master for checks if the master has more ranks (also note that it specifies ranks, not modifier). In the case of Linguistics, I would grant the familiar the master's ranks on checks to decipher, but it wouldn't give it new languages that it automatically understands. I wouldn't even give talking birds new languages because it gains the ability to speak one language as a Supernatural ability that has nothing to do with skill ranks.
Skills: For each skill in which either the master or the familiar has ranks, use either the normal skill ranks for an animal of that type or the master's skill ranks, whichever is better. In either case, the familiar uses its own ability modifiers. Regardless of a familiar's total skill modifiers, some skills may remain beyond the familiar's ability to use. Familiars treat Acrobatics, Climb, Fly, Perception, Stealth, and Swim as class skills.
|Tiny Coffee Golem|
I agree with Platosbeard reading by RAW. However, I have until now allowed the character to place the familiar's skills. It seems some changes need to be made.
Familiars dont' gain skills beyond what they have as standard animals. However they can use skill ranks equal to their masters, but they use their own modifiers.
From PHB: Skills : For each skill in which either the master or the familiar has ranks, use either the normal skill ranks for an animal of that type or the master's skill ranks, whichever is better. In either case, the familiar uses its own ability modifiers. Regardless of a familiar's total skill modifiers, some skills may remain beyond the familiar's ability to use. Familiars treat Acrobatics , Climb , Fly , Perception , Stealth , and Swim as class skills.