Outside ones that can talk naturally, like the silvanshi (who has truespeech), I can't think of any way to get an improved familiar to talk with people other than its master.

The mascot and decoy familiar archetypes won't work because they both require speak with animals for the related abilities.

The Mascot familiar archetype's Speak with Team (Ex) ability says:

At 7th level, a mascot gains the ability to speak with all members of its team verbally as if using speak with master.

This replaces speak with master and speak with animals of its kind.

The Decoy familiar archetype's Mockingbird ability says:

At 5th level, a decoy can speak any of its master’s languages. At 7th level, it can mimic its master’s voice and intonation perfectly.

This ability replaces speak with master and speak with animals of its kind.

The relevant lines of the Improved Familiar feat state:

Improved familiars otherwise use the rules for regular familiars, with two exceptions: if the creature’s type is something other than animal, its type does not change; and improved familiars do not gain the ability to speak with other creatures of their kind (although many of them already have the ability to communicate).


2 Answers 2


If your familiar can speak at least one language, even if none of your party members speak that language-- such as a pseudodragon who only knows Draconic-- use the tongues spell on your familiar. (You can even cast permanency to make it, well, permanent.)

If your familiar can't speak at all, such as a standard familiar with the Celestial template, the easiest way is to buy your familiar a ring of eloquence.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I think that the question essentially wants to add somehow to an improved familiar the special ability speak with others of its kind so that ability can then be traded away to grant the familiar the familiar archetype either mascot or decoy. (I agree that's probably not entirely clear from the question! This is right on track for making an improved familiar that speaks a weird language able to communicate with its master, though.) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 19, 2019 at 17:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan No I just want a way to make my familiar be able to talk with anyone not just me. Any way is fine as long as it can reasonably be done. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 19, 2019 at 19:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MageintheBarrel O! I totally misunderstood, imagining shenanigans where there were none. And, upon rereading, that is exactly what you want. My apologies! (However, the question really should ask about a specific improved familiar or two that meet the can't speak criterion so that answers can be more specific.) Also, since it sounds like this is the kind of stuff you're looking for, I upvoted this answer. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 19, 2019 at 20:06

Invest ranks in Linguistics

Any creature that invests ranks in linguistics gains one language of their choice per rank. While animals are normally barred from taking ranks in linguistics, improved familiars are not animals-- and even if they were their high intelligence score (i.e. >=3) would allow them to invest in and make use of Linguistics except when playing with this anti-animal FAQ post.

(Ab)use traits

Any improved familiar can take the Extra Traits feat. This allows that creature two traits, many of which grant, in addition to other abilities, the ability to speak a given language. For example, the Unintentional Linguist trait can grant the ability to speak Protean. Of special note is the Gesture Expertise trait, which lets you communicate with any creature via gestures and/or sign language, even if they don't know the language you are using, via a DC 15 Linguistics check.

Use Spells

The 2nd-level spell codespeak lets a group of creatures gain the ability to speak, read, write, and understand a new language for 10 minutes/level at a time. No one else except the recipients of the spell (you+1 target/2 levels) can speak the language, though, so you'll need to have Caster Level 4 before this works.

The 1st-level spell Speak Local Language may work better and at a lower level, depending on how your GM interprets the effects of the tongues spell.

The 3rd-level spell (2nd level for partial-casters) Voluminous Vocabulary grants a creature the ability to speak, read, write, and understand a language for 8 hours and explicitly addresses the spell being cast on non-sentient beings. A caster with an optimized Linguistics skill can grant many, many more languages with a single casting of this spell.

Use Magic Items

A Gold Nodule Ioun Stone is a slotless wondrous item costing 5,000 gp that grants the ability to speak, read, and write one language. As a slotless item, any creature can equip it, though the result is unspecified if the bearer lacks a head.

A Ring of Eloquence costs 3,500 gp and is better, but it takes the ring slot.

Use Otyugh

Otyugh is an olfactory language with a small dictionary published in Pathfinder Chronicles: Dungeon Denizens Revisited. While the limited number of concepts can be constraining, it's good enough to cover a fairly wide set of utilitarian uses. Rather than learning Otyugh mechanically, you can merely instruct your familiar to produce the correct sort of smell when it wants to communicate each idea and then rely on those smells rather than any sort of check to tell what's up. Note that this is too metagame-y without buying the language for many tables.


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