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Work by RAW?


Rules Questions


Certainly not RAI, but perhaps RAW.

Would casting beast speak on a familiar allow the familiar to speak?

Here's the text:

When you’re in the form of an animal (such as when you are using wild shape or are affected by a polymorph effect), you can speak normally, including when you cast spells with verbal components, and you sound like your normal self when you speak. You can cast this spell while in animal form, using animal-appropriate somatic components.

You are casting the spell on your familiar by way of share spells. You picked up druid spells by way of Mwabagyaan (or other).
It is always in the form of an animal.


It says you can speak 'normally', like your 'normal self'. If the normal way your familiar speaks is to go "Grr!" then I don't think it will help.


Isn't the familiar a magical beast and NOT an animal? Is beastspeak still valid?


I was under the impression that when you polymorph, your basic type stays the same. A human in the form of an animal is a Humanoid for the purposes of what spells affect them (Hold Person works, Dominate Animal doesn't, etc.)

So a Magical Beast ferret familiar is still "in the form of an animal", which is what this spell cares about, even if it's not an Animal.


Besides which share spells has an explicit exemption from type requirements, 'A wizard may cast spells on his familiar even if the spells do not normally affect creatures of the familiar’s type (magical beast).'


Matthew Downie wrote:
It says you can speak 'normally', like your 'normal self'. If the normal way your familiar speaks is to go "Grr!" then I don't think it will help.

I understand your argument.

However, the caster of the spell is the *caster*. The recipient of the spell is the familiar.

I would make the following argument.

Usually this spell is cast by the caster upon himself. It conveys the ability to speak, even in a form that is unable to speak.

Familiars have the ability to understand language (their intelligence is sufficient, and indeed, they gain the ability to speak with animals and their master. Nothing says they gain the ability to understand language - merely speak it. Ergo, the ability to speak the language is already present.

The share spell ability allows the caster to impose a spell condition on his familiar. What is the spell effect: The ability to speak in a form that usually cannot.

TLDR: I would say that you apply the ability to speak normally *as the caster*. If it was the form the spell was cast on that determined normally, beastspeak would never work.

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies

Perfect Tommy wrote:
TLDR: I would say that you apply the ability to speak normally *as the caster*.

So you made your familiar a ventriloquist dummy?

As for your question, no this doesn't all an animal that can only go "grr" go "my dear sir I'm happy I can speak".


Perfect Tommy wrote:
I would say that you apply the ability to speak normally *as the caster*. If it was the form the spell was cast on that determined normally, beastspeak would never work.

I can see your reasoning, but it requires a pretty selective interpretation of what the word "you" means in a Personal spell being cast on someone else.

If it was the natural form of the recipient of the spell that determined "normally" then beastspeak would work for the caster but not for the familiar.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

I don't find any reason that this would work, even with a twisted interpretation of the language.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
I don't find any reason that this would work, even with a twisted interpretation of the language.

The spell conveys the spell effect

"When you’re in the form of an animal you can speak normally..",

In order to deny a player that benefit, you'd have to have a solid rules argument. Other than not wanting it to work - whats your rules argument?

Compare it to elemental speak

"This spell enables you to converse with creatures associated with a chosen element, including but not limited to true elemental creatures. This spell gains the elemental subtype based on the version of the spell you cast. Elemental speech does not guarantee a friendly reaction; it merely enables communication. You may converse with all creatures of the selected type with an Intelligence score of 1 or greater, even if they do not understand one another."

I think it is very clear the intent of these spells is to convey the ability to speak. The first in animal form, and the second in elemental form.

The ability to share spells with a familiar is also well established.

And while this can create unanticipated interactions, RAW I think it flies.


NO the intent and RAW is to allow the caster to speak their non-shaped language when shaped as an animal. Familiars don't have a normal non-shaped language to speak.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Perfect Tommy wrote:
I think it is very clear the intent of these spells is to convey the ability to speak.

Indeed, but not in the manner you suggest.


Chess Pwn wrote:
NO the intent is to allow the caster to speak their non-shaped language when shaped as an animal.

We agree on that.

However, take the spell Elemental Speech. Do you agree that there is *no* basis to deny a familiar the ability to speak, if the familiar is in the form of an elemental?

Secondly. Share spells is a core class feature. It allows you to share a spell effect that usually applies to the caster, to the familiar.
So, if you think the spell effect is to allow the caster to speak their non shaped language when shaped as an animal, then share spells conveys that exact effect on the familiar.

Thirdly: Can you think of any other spells that have different effects when cast on caster/familiar?

Mirror Image: Gives a familiar mirror images, that act just the same as if cast on the caster. False life: Gives the familiar temp hit points just as if you had cast the spell on the caster.

Indeed, suppose the caster had Improved spell sharing, which explicitly splits the same spell effect between the two.

Spell effects are concrete things. A wall of stone is a spell effect. False life creates a very specific spell effect: temp hp. How would you rule that if you had Improved spell sharing, that the familiar was getting some different benefit than the Caster?


Perfect Tommy wrote:
Chess Pwn wrote:
NO the intent is to allow the caster to speak their non-shaped language when shaped as an animal.

We agree on that.

However, take the spell Elemental Speech. Do you agree that there is *no* basis to deny a familiar the ability to speak, if the familiar is in the form of an elemental?

Secondly. Share spells is a core class feature. It allows you to share a spell effect that usually applies to the caster, to the familiar.
So, if you think the spell effect is to allow the caster to speak their non shaped language when shaped as an animal, then share spells conveys that exact effect on the familiar.

The rules for share spells changes the rules of the "You" spell to: "The wizard may cast a spell with a target of “You” on his familiar (as a touch spell) instead of on himself." This replaces the Personal with Touch and target with "Your familiar." The target is not still you. So any reference to "You" in the spell is "The Familiar." Just as the You in the spell could be replaced by your character's name when you cast it on yourself.


Actually while its a reasonable inference, the rules do not say that.
It merely says a wizard "you" targeted spells may be cast on the familiar. It says nothing about how to interpret the spell text.

Its a reasonable inference, but the inference that it conveys the same benefit to the familiar as it would to the master is also a reasonable inference.

Your interpretation creates difficulties: How do you deal with the question of improved spell sharing?

I can't think of any precedent to say that the familiar doesn't receive the exact same benefit as the caster. Can you?


I can. Haste for example, grants up to a +30 bonus, dependent on the person's movement capabilities. If the familiar has 20 ft speed, they only receive an additional 20 feet movement, and thus makes it different between caster and castee.

I see no problem with my interpretation with the feat. Just like any other instance of shared spells among people, treat both targets as targets of the spell, deal with the effects on a person by person basis. Just as a fireball effects all within it, it matters not if one of them has resistance to the other.

In this case, just as the spell is cast upon the familiar originally, the improved version just makes it so the targets are "Self and Familiar." The rules do not clearly state this, but it is a more concise reading of the words, as if the spell was still considered to be targeting you, it would have no effect on the familiar. And thus be wasted, which to me is a bigger issue than the supposed one of my reading.


TrinitysEnd wrote:
I can. Haste for example..

What I was asking is - can you think of another case with Improved Spell Sharing and a spell shared between the Master and the familiar, where the familiar wouldn't get the exact same spell effect?

Haste doesn't actually fit that category, as it targets selected targets.

But following your suggestion, here is beast speak, replacing "you" with "your familiar".

"When your familiar is in the form of an animal, it can speak normally, and your familiar sounds like its normal self when it speaks."


Perfect Tommy wrote:
can you think of another case with Improved Spell Sharing and a spell shared between the Master and the familiar, where the familiar wouldn't get the exact same spell effect?

Mirror Image?

Quote:
This spell creates a number of illusory doubles of you that inhabit your square.

I assume that 'you' and 'your' refer to the recipient of the spell. The familiar gets images that look like the familiar, and the master gets images that look like the master.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

using a polymorph on your familiar will not give it the ability to speak an unknown language or gain a language unless the spell specifically states that ability (Anthropomorphic Animal). If you cast Alter Self(a core transmutation(polymorph)) on your cat familiar and say turn him into a humanoid and he 'meows', you'll hear his normal 'meow' not a translation into common.

Beastspeak description: "When you’re in the form of an animal (such as when you are using wild shape or are affected by a polymorph effect), you can speak normally, including when you cast spells with verbal components, and you sound like your normal self when you speak. You can cast this spell while in animal form, using animal-appropriate somatic components."
The spell only lets you speak normally, thus again no gained languages. The above example would remain the same(casting Alter Self and Beastspeak on your familiar).

review Speak with Animals. The caster understands the animal but the animal does not gain a language.

Tongues, Speak Local Language, Anthropomorphic Animal are more in line with what you are looking for. Some GMs will balk/object if the target's INT score is less than 3 (not a problem with a familiar) so expect some slight table variance.

sometimes I think language translation plays a role in misunderstanding the mechanics or spell effects.


Perfect Tommy wrote:
TrinitysEnd wrote:
I can. Haste for example..

What I was asking is - can you think of another case with Improved Spell Sharing and a spell shared between the Master and the familiar, where the familiar wouldn't get the exact same spell effect?

Haste doesn't actually fit that category, as it targets selected targets.

But following your suggestion, here is beast speak, replacing "you" with "your familiar".

"When your familiar is in the form of an animal, it can speak normally, and your familiar sounds like its normal self when it speaks."

And what does your familiar normally speak? Not common! So they would sound exactly like whatever animal they are. Leading to the spell not having any effect on the familiar unless you can speak with that animal type constantly and he's polymorphed into another.

Like, your familiar is normally a cat and you have Constant Speak with Animals (Cats only) (There is a trait that does this). Cat gets polymorphed into a dog. Now you can't talk to it, so this spell would allow it to speak as a cat again, allowing you to understand it again.


Azothath wrote:

using a polymorph on your familiar will not give it the ability to speak an unknown language or gain a language unless the spell specifically states that ability (Anthropomorphic Animal). If you cast Alter Self(a core transmutation(polymorph)) on your cat familiar and say turn him into a humanoid and he 'meows', you'll hear his normal 'meow' not a translation into common.

Beastspeak description: "When you’re in the form of an animal (such as when you are using wild shape or are affected by a polymorph effect), you can speak normally, including when you cast spells with verbal components, and you sound like your normal self when you speak. You can cast this spell while in animal form, using animal-appropriate somatic components."
The spell only lets you speak normally, thus again no gained languages. The above example would remain the same(casting Alter Self and Beastspeak on your familiar).

review Speak with Animals. The caster understands the animal but the animal does not gain a language.

Tongues, Speak Local Language, Anthropomorphic Animal are more in line with what you are looking for. Some GMs will balk/object if the target's INT score is less than 3 (not a problem with a familiar) so expect some slight table variance.

sometimes I think language translation plays a role in misunderstanding the mechanics or spell effects.

A lovely argument, but familiars already have language, they just can't speak. This is covered under the RAW by the change in intelligence to 6.


TrinitysEnd wrote:
Perfect Tommy wrote:
TrinitysEnd wrote:
I can. Haste for example..

What I was asking is - can you think of another case with Improved Spell Sharing and a spell shared between the Master and the familiar, where the familiar wouldn't get the exact same spell effect?

Haste doesn't actually fit that category, as it targets selected targets.

But following your suggestion, here is beast speak, replacing "you" with "your familiar".

"When your familiar is in the form of an animal, it can speak normally, and your familiar sounds like its normal self when it speaks."

And what does your familiar normally speak? Not common! So they would sound exactly like whatever animal they are. Leading to the spell not having any effect on the familiar unless you can speak with that animal type constantly and he's polymorphed into another.

Like, your familiar is normally a cat and you have Constant Speak with Animals (Cats only) (There is a trait that does this). Cat gets polymorphed into a dog. Now you can't talk to it, so this spell would allow it to speak as a cat again, allowing you to understand it again.

Normally, your familiar does not speak. The spell conveys the ability to speak normally.

dictionary.com: Normally: in a usual manner.

Since your familiar does not speak, normally; the spell conveys the ability to speak in a usual manner.

"When your familiar is in the form of an animal, it can speak in a usual manner, and your familiar sounds like its normal self when it speaks."

Compare to plant voice -2nd level spell which would let your leshy speak, and elemental speech 3rd level spell which would let your wysp speak.

This is absolutely in line with Pathfinder power levels.
Compare with tongues, 3rd level spell which lets the creature speak and understand any language, and can be targeted upon any kind of creature.


Meh. Doesn't matter too much. The spell "Speak local language" level 1 pretty much conveys the same benefit at one level lower.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Cards, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

While it seems highly questionable whether Beastspeak, as written, could have the desired effect of allowing the familiar to speak, this spell effect doesn't seem in and of itself horribly game breaking. In fact is seems cute, even endearing.

So I would suggest that the spellcaster in question use the existing rules on spell research to create a spell having the specific effect he wants, modeled on Beastspeak. It could probably even be the same level.

I learned in the 70s that a good Dm should never say "no" when a player asks if he can do something. Instead he should say "weeeell... it might be possible if you try doing it this way..."

Shadow Lodge

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Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Perfect Tommy wrote:
Azothath wrote:

using a polymorph on your familiar will not give it the ability to speak an unknown language or gain a language unless the spell specifically states that ability (Anthropomorphic Animal). If you cast Alter Self(a core transmutation(polymorph)) on your cat familiar and say turn him into a humanoid and he 'meows', you'll hear his normal 'meow' not a translation into common.

Beastspeak description: "When you’re in the form of an animal (such as when you are using wild shape or are affected by a polymorph effect), you can speak normally, including when you cast spells with verbal components, and you sound like your normal self when you speak. You can cast this spell while in animal form, using animal-appropriate somatic components."
The spell only lets you speak normally, thus again no gained languages. The above example would remain the same(casting Alter Self and Beastspeak on your familiar).

review Speak with Animals. The caster understands the animal but the animal does not gain a language.

Tongues, Speak Local Language, Anthropomorphic Animal are more in line with what you are looking for. Some GMs will balk/object if the target's INT score is less than 3 (not a problem with a familiar) so expect some slight table variance.

sometimes I think language translation plays a role in misunderstanding the mechanics or spell effects.

A lovely argument, but familiars already have language, they just can't speak. This is covered under the RAW by the change in intelligence to 6.

you are incorrect. You also make statements without citing sources to support your statements(arguments) in a Rules forum.

Quotes from CRB:

Familiar Ability Descriptions

Speak with Master (Ex): If the master is 5th level or higher, a familiar and the master can communicate verbally as if they were using a common language. Other creatures do not understand the communication without magical help.

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.

and

Aspects of Control

Sentient Companions: a sentient companion (a creature that can understand language and has an Intelligence score of at least 3) is considered your ally and obeys your suggestions and orders to the best of its ability. It won’t necessarily blindly follow a suicidal order, but it has your interests at heart and does what it can to keep you alive. Paladin bonded mounts, familiars, and cohorts fall into this category, and are usually player-controlled companions.

and

Intelligent Animals

Increasing an animal’s Intelligence to 3 or higher means it is smart enough to understand a language. However, unless an awaken spell is used, the animal doesn’t automatically and instantly learn a language, any more than a human child does. The animal must be taught a language, usually over the course of months, giving it the understanding of the meaning of words and sentences beyond its trained responses to commands like “attack” and “heel.”

Even if the animal is taught to understand a language, it probably lacks the anatomy to actually speak (unless awaken is used). For example, dogs, elephants, and even gorillas lack the proper physiology to speak humanoid languages, though they can use their limited “vocabulary” of sounds to articulate concepts, especially if working with a person who learns what the sounds mean.

from the quoted material you can see that the creatures can understand a language but without Awaken they cannot speak (anatomy is cited). Beastspeak isn't going to change that.

If you are implying that the special familiar to master communication will change to common, it won't. The familiar can still communicate to its master as usual. Others cannot understand this communication. When Speak with Animals of Its Kind kicks in then it can talk to a group of specific creature species (this is based on the biologic classifications of phylum->class->order->family->genus->species which is not covered in the CRB). Again, Alter Self will not change that group nor will Beastspeak.

You are trying to pointedly misinterpret the term "speak normally" in Beastspeak into speaking a language that anyone can understand.
You are using the term out of context.
Your assertion is not supported by RAW.

Perfect Tommy wrote:
Meh. Doesn't matter too much. The spell "Speak local language" level 1 pretty much conveys the same benefit at one level lower.

this statement is also False as your original statement it relies upon is False.

Speak Local Language would accomplish your goal and is a spell level lower than Beastspeak. It simply shows that you did not do your research before making this assertion about Beastspeak.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

I will add that the cited CRB material DOES support teaching your familiar a specific language. I think that's a special case and home GMs will have to recognize the effort.

The thrust of the CRB material on Intelligent Animals is that they glean a basic understanding of whatever language is spoken to them but that they are not going to start speaking in well formed or eloquent sentences in a specific language. It is akin to being in a foreign country and listening and trying to understand a foreign tongue in person(as opposed to remotely or through a cell phone). Body language, tone, pitch, gestures all help to get the basic idea across.
The terms "understand language" and "understand a language" have different implications.


Perfect Tommy wrote:


Mirror Image: Gives a familiar mirror images, that act just the same as if cast on the caster.

I feel like you have already come up with an answer (I didn't fully read all of the later comments though so I could be mistaken) but I wanted to point out some faulty logic here.

You mention that the effect of a spell is based on the caster instead of the familiar in a few spots. This would cause the mirror images in this example to look like the caster instead of the familiar - rendering this spell ineffective. This would suggest that other spells work similarly in that the "you" is the person receiving the spell. So mirror image would create replicas of the familiar instead of the caster.

Similarly, with beast speak, the familiar would be able to talk as it normally would - meaning that the familiar would still only speak in the languages it knows. But if you polymorphed your familiar into something else and then cast beast speak, the familiar would then be able to speak as its original form.


Azothath wrote:
Perfect Tommy wrote:
Azothath wrote:

using a polymorph on your familiar will not give it the ability to speak an unknown language or gain a language unless the spell specifically states that ability (Anthropomorphic Animal). If you cast Alter Self(a core transmutation(polymorph)) on your cat familiar and say turn him into a humanoid and he 'meows', you'll hear his normal 'meow' not a translation into common.

Beastspeak description: "When you’re in the form of an animal (such as when you are using wild shape or are affected by a polymorph effect), you can speak normally, including when you cast spells with verbal components, and you sound like your normal self when you speak. You can cast this spell while in animal form, using animal-appropriate somatic components."
The spell only lets you speak normally, thus again no gained languages. The above example would remain the same(casting Alter Self and Beastspeak on your familiar).

review Speak with Animals. The caster understands the animal but the animal does not gain a language.

Tongues, Speak Local Language, Anthropomorphic Animal are more in line with what you are looking for. Some GMs will balk/object if the target's INT score is less than 3 (not a problem with a familiar) so expect some slight table variance.

sometimes I think language translation plays a role in misunderstanding the mechanics or spell effects.

A lovely argument, but familiars already have language, they just can't speak. This is covered under the RAW by the change in intelligence to 6.
you are incorrect. You also make statements without citing sources to support your statements(arguments) in a Rules forum....

So, let me get this straight.

You spend 4 paragraphs saying I'm wrong when I said "familiars have language, they just can't speak"

only to conclude " creatures can understand a language but without Awaken they cannot speak"

and then to contradict yourself when you conclude (like I did) that speak local language would work just fine.

Oooook......

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

interesting rationalizations... but not classically logical.

As this is a fun place for positive chat and I've clearly made my point.
Thanks for reading. Ciao.


The real take away is RAW doesn't cover this; and that you'll be subject to table variation because of the word "normally".

Despite the fact that the 1rst level spell "share local Language"
and the 2nd level spell "share language"
and the 3rd level spell "elemental speech" accomplish the same objective (allowing a familiar to speak).

And the fact that normally, dictionary definition defines normally as "in a usual manner".

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Perfect Tommy wrote:
The real take away is RAW doesn't cover this

Thank you.


it's like different spells do different things... smurf it!

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