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Warlocks with the Great Old One patron get the Awakened Mind feature at 1st level (PHB, p. 110), which allows them to telepathically speak to any creature they can see within 30 feet. Part of the description says:

You don't need to share a language with the creature for it to understand your telepathic utterances, but the creature must be able understand at least one language.

Does this mean that the recipient of a message sent by a Warlock using Awakened Mind is receiving the core thought itself, since they don't even need to be able to understand the language that the Warlock uses?

As an example, let's say a Warlock decides to mess around with NPCs -- or PCs for that matter -- by constantly barraging them with Awakened Mind... and let's go further by saying this Warlock speaks Abyssal, Infernal and other "otherworldly" languages.

If said Warlock decides to transmit in Abyssal, which would probably sound like hideous demonspeak and would freak the heck out of many people, to, say, a farmer, is that farmer "hearing" Abyssal or are they hearing the actual content of the thought in whatever language they understand (presumably Common)?

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It simply understands your telepathic utterance

As you've quoted, this isn't about sending a message in a specific language. It's about requiring the recipient to understand language in general which then allows it to understand your message. The origin or receiving languages are not relevant and the utterance and it's meaning is simply passed along telepathically.

What does that mean?!

The details of specifically how that works will likely be up to your DM, but it will not functionally change the effect of the recipient understanding your utterance.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks! That's what I thought. I'm the DM in this scenario, and now I have to think of way to break it to my player nicely since they have a lot of fun messing with commoners by sending a horrifying mix of Abyssal and Infernal into their minds. LOL \$\endgroup\$ – natlee75 Jul 24 '18 at 22:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ The rule of cool is probably most important. If they enjoy messing with commoners and it doesn't disrupt the game or anything, I'd just let them do it \$\endgroup\$ – Blake Steel Jul 25 '18 at 15:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ @BlakeSteel Definitely. I could see them understanding it, but still having it come across infernally/abyssally (yeah, I made up those words, so what?) just to give it some fun flavor. But eventually, word could get around that when the PC is around, weird voices occur. Could come back to haunt them :) \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Jul 25 '18 at 15:38

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