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So I've been looking at the rules for Intelligent Magic Items because I have a Bladebound magus in my group, and it looks as though Empathy -> Speech -> Telepathy is almost like an upgrade path of communication methods for intelligent items.

My question is, does a magic item that can communicate via telepathy also have the ability to speak and communicate empathically, or is each type of communication a separate ability and it would have to have BOTH telepathy and speech in order to speak?

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Yes and No

Specifically, from Intelligent Items' Senses and Communication section, all intelligent items have empathic communication. However, having Telepathy does not imply having Speech (the ability to vocalize out loud).

Every intelligent magic item begins with the ability to see and hear within 30 feet, as well as the ability to communicate empathically with its owner. Empathy only allows the item to encourage or discourage certain actions through urges and emotions. Additional forms of communication and better senses increase the item’s cost and Ego score, as noted on Table: Intelligent Item Senses and Communication.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This makes sense, but now I'm curious about the item Briar from the Kingmaker adventure path - which is kind of what sparked this. As an upgrading, intelligent magic item it starts with Empahty, then later gets speech and later still telepathy. Does this mean it loses the ability to speak when getting telepathy? \$\endgroup\$ – Balfuset790 Oct 5 at 7:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ All Intelligent Items start with Empathy. They can 'buy' (earn, whatever) Speech and/or Telepathy completely independent of each other. \$\endgroup\$ – Ifusaso Oct 5 at 12:33

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