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The Fang Dragon (taken from Draconomicon) has an ability called Sound Imitation:

Sound Imitation (Ex): A fang dragon can mimic any voice or sound it has heard, anytime it likes. Listeners must succeed on a Will save (DC equal to that of the dragon’s frightful presence) to detect the ruse.

The DM of our current party has taken this as meaning that this creature can only repeat any sentence it has literally heard while my interpretation is that it can say whatever it wants using the voice it has heard.

The dragon could (with my interpretation) mimic the voice of the king for example to give commands (while being out of sight), granting the listener a will save while with my DM's interpretation it's use is extremely limited.

Which interpretation is correct?

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up vote 8 down vote accepted

You're right, your DM is wrong.

The ability specifically says it can imitate a voice. In plain English, that means being able to imitate the voice and say anything you like using it; it doesn't mean being able to only mimic exact phrases. If the ability was supposed to only allow mimicking exact phrases, it would say so.

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Cheers, I thought as much but as we are both non-native English speakers I thought it would be a good idea to ask here ;) – Bas Jansen Oct 31 '13 at 15:42
While it might make sense that it could only parrot phrases if it were a non-intelligent creature, I'm fairly certain Fang Dragons are very intelligent, so they'd be entirely capable of mimicking a person's voice to say anything they like. I can see where your DM is coming from, because it also says 'any sound', implying it's supposed to indicate an ability to parrot, rather than improv. But because it explicitly says it can mimic "any voice", the Fang Dragon has free reign to act out Shakespeare as if it were the finest actor in the land. – Zibbobz Oct 31 '13 at 20:18
Would it need to make an additional bluff/perform check combined with the will save (vs the effect) in such examples? – Bas Jansen Nov 1 '13 at 8:43
That, I think, is where the DM might need to negotiate some tricky and undefined rules, because while they are technically using the voice of the person speaking, they are not certain to be saying something they would say unless they DO parrot the individual, so I would say "yes, but with a very high bonus" myself, but could see a DM saying "no, they're perfectly convincing" or "yes, without any bonus to the roll". – Zibbobz Nov 1 '13 at 13:09
@Bas Jansen Again, that would probably be up to the DM, and dependent on the Fang Dragon not being seen during the deception (talking like someone else while looking like a Fang Dragon isn't a very good disguise), but under those conditions, I would say it's a fair comparison. – Zibbobz Nov 6 '13 at 14:23

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