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A Changeling's shapechanger feature allows them to change their voice as an action. But unlike Kenku, the actor feat, and Rogue(Assassin)'s impostor feature, "mimicry" isn't mentioned.

Are Changelings able to innately mimic voices or is some check required when trying to imitate a voice/vocal mannerisms?

If no check is required, what is the upper limit? Could they transform into a Kenku and use their actions to replicate that race's mimicry of any sound (e.g adopting the appearance of a Kenku, then changing tiny parts of their appearance as they change their voice to a dolphin or between other humanoids)

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The Changeling's Shapechanger trait (E:RftLW, p. 18) says, in part:

As an action, you can change your appearance and your voice. You determine the specifics of the changes, including your coloration, hair length, and sex.

Per Keith Baker's FAQ post on Changelings in Eberron: Rising from the Last War:

  • As a changeling it is assumed that you can perfectly replicate the appearance of a creature you’ve seen before (just like someone using disguise self). No roll is required to duplicate basic physical appearance.

  • However, this doesn’t provide you with any knowledge of that person and their quirks. It’s taken for granted that you sound like them—the voice comes with the shape—but you don’t know their mannerisms or their vocabulary.

Basically, the timbre of your voice will be the same, but that doesn't guarantee you'll match their accent, their word choices, their verbal tics, etc.

Especially with the removal of the free advantage on Deception checks (that the version from UA: Eberron Races had), this means the Actor feat and/or the Assassin rogue's Impostor feature still help.

The Actor feat (PHB, p. 165) says, in part:

  • You have advantage on Charisma (Deception) and Charisma (Performance) checks when trying to pass yourself off as a different person.

  • You can mimic the speech of another person or the sounds made by other creatures. You must have heard the person speaking, or heard the creature make the sound, for at least 1 minute. A successful Wisdom (Insight) check contested by your Charisma (Deception) check allows a listener to determine that the effect is faked.

The advantage part is straightforward enough. The other benefit is more nuanced, and would ostensibly let you match those mannerisms and word choices and such.

The Assassin rogue's Impostor feature (PHB, p. 97) is similar:

At 13th level, you gain the ability to unerringly mimic another person’s speech, writing, and behavior. You must spend at least three hours studying these three components of the person’s behavior, listening to speech, examining handwriting, and observing mannerisms.

Your ruse is indiscernible to the casual observer. If a wary creature suspects something is amiss, you have advantage on any Charisma (Deception) check you make to avoid detection.

This is very similar to the Actor feat's benefits, but you get it as an Assassin without spending a feat - and you are able to match their writing style too. The feature explicitly calls out "mannerisms" as something you "unerringly mimic" - so again, this complements the changeling's Shapechanger trait well, by letting you copy the things Shapechanger doesn't already grant you the ability to copy.


That said, this question is distinct from your other one:

If no check is required, what is the upper limit? Could they transform into a Kenku and use their actions to replicate that race's mimicry of any sound (e.g changing one's voice to sound like an animal).

No matter what form a changeling takes, its statistics and traits do not change. Per another part of the Changeling's Shapechanger trait:

You can make yourself appear as a member of another race, though none of your game statistics change.

Copying a kenku's appearance doesn't grant you their Mimicry trait. I'm not sure exactly how a kenku would sound "normally", but if you took a kenku's form, you would sound like a "normal" kenku if you spoke. I assume this isn't typically a concern in the Eberron setting, because kenku don't traditionally exist in Eberron; if you were to transplant them into the Eberron setting, you could opt to ignore or modify the kenku's racial curse that took away their voice.

As Medix2's answer says, you can't only partially transform yourself into another race - you can determine the specifics of your appearance as that race (e.g. hair color, skin color, sex, etc. where relevant). I think you would be able to try to mimic other creatures' voices, to the extent that you are able to make those sounds in your new form. Essentially, you'd be using the new body to make those sounds. For instance, you might not be able to mimic a dragon's roar with the vocal cords of a humanoid - whereas an actual kenku would be able to do so, due to their Mimicry racial trait.

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The specifics are up to a GM, but you cannot replicate a kenku

The Changeling's Shapechanger trait states:

As an action, you can change your appearance and your voice. You determine the specifics of the changes, including your coloration, hair length, and sex. You can also adjust your height and weight, but not so much that your size changes. You can make yourself appear as a member of another race, though none of your game statistics change. You can't duplicate the appearance of a creature you've never seen, and you must adopt a form that has the same basic arrangement of limbs that you have. Your clothing and equipment aren't changed by this trait [...]

- Eberron Rising from the Last War (page 17)

Note that you determine the specifics of the change, and though you are limited in that your size cannot change, that does not affect your voice; thus the only other limitation is that you cannot change your game statistics. This would include things like learning languages. Similarly, you could not actually gain the Kenku's Mimicry trait, but how well you could mimic Mimicry would be ultimately up to your GM.

One question would be whether you can replicate their accent, mannerisms, and the like. You very likely could not because simply looking like and sounding like somebody does not include those things, your body and your voice are like theirs but how you act does not match that of who you replicate. This would be something that would require skill and planning, if not also great amounts of knowledge.

You cannot become a hybrid creature

The following part of the Shapechanger trait shows that you cannot become any sort of hybrid/chimera creature:

[...] You can't duplicate the appearance of a creature you've never seen [...]

Unless you have actually seen a Kenku-dolphin hybrid, you could not turn into one. You could not be one creature with the vocal chords of another, in fact the feature states:

You determine the specifics of the changes, including your coloration, hair length, and sex. You can also adjust your height and weight, but not so much that your size changes.

No part of that description points towards having the ability to change something like your vocal chords, but only more general things such as hair and skin color.

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Maybe you cannot replicate a Kenku as a Changeling but, if you take 3 levels as a Rogue and choose the Archetype Mastermind, you will get access to: Master of Intrigue.

Additionally, you can unerringly mimic the speech patterns and accent of a creature that you hear speak for at least 1 minute, enabling you to pass yourself off as a native speaker of a particular land, provided that you know the language. (Xanathar's Guide to Everything p. 46)

You could become fantastic at deception as a Changeling with this ability, you still don't think get the Kenku's mimicry because it's not a language.

I hope this helps.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ While this might be a nice observation, we require posts to answer the question itself, not just comment. \$\endgroup\$ – Szega Jan 18 at 12:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ This does not provide an answer to the question. To critique or request clarification from an author, leave a comment below their post. - From Review \$\endgroup\$ – Szega Jan 18 at 12:17

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