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

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.

If a player learns this feat at 8th level, can they mimic speech they heard back when they were 1st level (when they did not have the feat)?

What about a speech heard 200 years ago, when they were but a small elven child?

RAW, I think it's allowed. And I don't think it breaks the game to allow it. But I'm curious if there are any aspects of this that I'm missing. I would assume that for the 200-year-old speech, that it would at least have to have been memorable in some way! :-)

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Yes. The feat is mimicry. Memory is independent of the feat.

The feat is the ability to mimic the speech. The ability to recall a particular instance of speech accurately enough to employ their skills to imitate it is another matter entirely. If they are able to accurately recall a full minute of a particular person speaking then their ability to mimic it allows them to do so.

Accuracy of Old Memory

Recalling details of events in the distant past is inherently fraught with inaccuracy. It should not be surprising if the mimicry is generally correct, but has the kind of defects that can creep into old memories.

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    \$\begingroup\$ For an example of how remembering things should be, if you look at the keen mind feat, another official feat, it grants the ability to accurately remember things that happened within a month. As such, for a player without even that, the accuracy of an imitation would not be very good most likely, but it'd be up to the dm just how it works \$\endgroup\$ – Smart_TJ Feb 23 at 4:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Smart_TJ your comment should be mentionned directly in the answer IMO if GcL can put it crediting you. \$\endgroup\$ – Maxime Cuillerier Feb 23 at 7:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ Note that in the real world, using idioms from 200 years ago can be very obvious. Consider "wake snakes" (get into mischief): "So I went on a regular wake snakes sort of a spree, and I went here and there turnin', twistin' and doublin' about until I didn't know where or who I was," a man testified in court as to why he was intoxicated, according to the New Orleans, La., Times Picayune of Aug. 15, 1842. Consider "lally-cooler" (a real success) used in print in 1890. So one may excellently imitate language from 200 years ago that no one in the present can follow. \$\endgroup\$ – Eric Towers Feb 23 at 17:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ I wasn't talking about just a link to D&D beyond, but also a bit of prose in the answer, (a sentence or two) that points out that Memory/ability to remember would be an Ability Check based on Intelligence. (But the link is helpful, of course). \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Feb 24 at 19:29

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