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So, my character has a donkey. I'd like my donkey to be 3 smart, so that I can use telepathic bond to talk to it.

There aren't stats for donkeys. There are stats for various horses, and for mules, and even for a wooden donkey; all have an intelligence of 2. That makes a great argument for saying that a donkey is 2 smart. Of course, a @#%# cat is 3 smart, and I am pretty sure my donkey is smarter than any stupid old cat. But how to convince the DM? Are there any in-game statistics or comparisons that I've overlooked that support assigning a donkey an intelligence of 3?

Failing that, is there there a way to give my 2 smart donkey a boost to 3? I have searched, but I'm not coming up with anything. Some sort of elixr of smartness? Temporary would be nice, so that I don't have to put up with a smart ass all the time.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Does your character or donkey have a name yet? If not, I suggest the first name Gordon ^^ \$\endgroup\$ Feb 19 at 18:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ Lol . . . the donkey's name is Sancho. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jack
    Feb 19 at 21:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ After boosting his intelligence, remember to remind everyone of it by periodically referring to him as your smart ass \$\endgroup\$ Feb 20 at 4:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ "A 2013 study by The Donkey Sanctuary found that they can learn and problem-solve at the same pace as dolphins and dogs." They're not stupid, they're stubborn, which actually belies a greater intelligence. Mastiff : INT 3 \$\endgroup\$
    – Mazura
    Feb 21 at 15:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Mazura Thank you! Ha ha, I actually read the same study, although perhaps given that they are obviously donkey lovers, it might be a bit biased. I may try to use that to bolster the argument that even if all donkeys are 3s, maybe some are. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jack
    Feb 21 at 16:05
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You need an Ioun Stone of Intellect.

You've cited the relevant material for determining the canonical intelligence of a donkey. Horses have an intelligence of 2, and if you've ever met a donkey, you know that giving the donkey a 2 is generous. That said, we do have a method for applying a modest intelligence boost to the donkey.

It may be difficult to get your dumb ass to do this, but it should work. This answer establishes that it is possible for animals to attune to magic items. Fellow donkey handler and stack user Pyrotechnical suggested in a comment: "Put the ioun stone in a salt lick to keep the donkey focused on it for the necessary hour." If you can get the donkey to attune to the Ioun Stone, we have overcome the first obstacle.

The second obstacle has to do with the stone itself:

When you use an action to toss one of these stones into the air, the stone orbits your head at a distance of 1d3 feet and confers a benefit to you.

The donkey needs to toss the attuned stone into the air to begin benefiting from it. This can probably be achieved by balancing the stone on the donkey's snout and kicking it, causing the snout to rise rapidly, tossing the stone into the air.

If done correctly, these steps will confer your donkey with the following benefit:

Your Intelligence score increases by 2, to a maximum of 20, while this marbled scarlet and blue sphere orbits your head.

Your donkey is now 2+2=4 smart.

When you need to end the effect, returning your donkey to it's humble 2 smart state, you can grab it:

Thereafter, another creature must use an action to grasp or net the stone to separate it from you, either by making a successful attack roll against AC 24 or a successful DC 24 Dexterity (Acrobatics) check.

Notably, this separation will not end the donkey's attunement to the stone, so to reapply the intelligence boost, you will only have to redo the snout toss trick.

Headband of Intellect: How smart is too smart?

The Headband of Intellect is another option, but this may be way overshooting your goal here:

Your Intelligence score is 19 while you wear this headband. It has no effect on you if your Intelligence is 19 or higher without it.

Do you really want a donkey with an intelligence of 19 when you could give yourself an intelligence of 19? Just think, this could be you:

enter image description here

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    \$\begingroup\$ Put the ioun stone in a salt lick to keep the donkey focused on it for the necessary hour. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 19 at 15:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ This is great. I really like the ioun stone suggestion. It will be interesting training him to throw it up in the air. Or trying to. He's not a tame donkey. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jack
    Feb 19 at 17:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ See, this: "if you've ever met a donkey, you know that giving the donkey a 2 is generous". That is the attitude I'm afraid the DM is going to give me. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jack
    Feb 19 at 21:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Jack Given that you can't have an Intelligence of 0, even if your DM rules that it has an Int of 1, the Ioun stone still works \$\endgroup\$ Feb 20 at 2:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ Why not either treat your donkey as horses, mules and even wooden donkeys, or debate this with your DM and players? If I - or anyone else - gave the perfect Answer, why would your DM or players be obliged to follow it? \$\endgroup\$ Feb 21 at 1:22
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Find a bard or druid that can cast Awaken:

You touch a Huge or smaller beast or plant. The target must have either no Intelligence score or an Intelligence of 3 or less. The target gains an Intelligence of 10.

This also has the "advantage" that your donkey learns to speak.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This might be a lot easier than finding an ioun stone. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jack
    Feb 20 at 12:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Jack I’d considered this but left it out because it is irreversible. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 20 at 13:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Thomas That is a great point. Irreversible could have unintended consequences. Also, then my donkey would be charmed by the darned druid or bard and not me; that might be an issue as well. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jack
    Feb 20 at 13:34
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Convince the DM that this particular donkey is smarter than the average donkey

I think I'm going to try this first. Even if donkeys in general are only 2 smart, which I'll probably have to stipulate, maybe this particular donkey is smarter than average. After all, although he looks like he'd be tough in a fight, at the first sign of trouble he's nowhere to be found, and he has a preternatural ability to find a good meal.

The ioun stone is a great plan, but honestly, if I find an ioun stone for intelligence, I'm using it on myself, although the idea of teaching the donkey to throw things up in the air with its nose just in case I ever find an ioun stone is really appealing.

Now, to teach it to fly . . . .

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