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Well, at my table, one of my players asked me if the Psychic Whispers ability can be used to share images, smells or sounds telepathically, not only words, since other creatures with telepathic abilities are able to do those things using their Telepathy, such as described in the Telepathy section in the Monster Manual.

So, could you clarify that to me, showing where I can find the things that explain it to him, according to the books. We also have English as our second language, so that could be disturbing our understanding in the phrasing.

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The class and subclass abilities do what they say they do, no more and no less. Monster abilities might or might not follow the same rules, and this is often reflected in the way the abilities are worded.

The Soul Knife ability (Tasha's page 64) says "For a number of hours equal to the number rolled, the chosen creatures can speak telepathically with you, and you can speak telepathically with them." Here, "creatures" is a catch-all term for anything that speaks a language. Notice that the ability says "speak telepathically" and not "share senses."

The ability also includes its own limitations: "A creature can't use this telepathy if it can't speak any languages, and a creature can end the telepathic connection at any time (no action required). You and the creature don't need to speak a common language to understand each other." So you can't use psychic whispers to form a psychic bond with a creature that can't speak a language, such as a deer, but you can use the ability with a Giant Elk. Strangely enough, the stat block for a Giant Elk lists "Giant Elk" as an actual language. Pay close attention to those stat blocks.

Contrast this with the Monster Manual page 6 entry on telepathy: "Telepathy is a magical ability that allows a monster to communicate mentally with another creature within a specified range. The contacted creature doesn't need to share a language with the monster to communicate in this way with it, but it must be able to understand at least one language." Notice that it says "allows a monster to communicate mentally" and not "allows a creature." This is referring specifically to monsters controlled by the DM. The monster ability requires the contacted creature (which could be a player character or NPC) to have some sort of language as well, so unless some other rule comes into play, in general a telepathic monster can't use telepathy with a deer but can use it with a giant elk, just like a Soul Knife.

So how would the ability be worded if the intention was that a creature's senses were shared? The Find Familiar spell does that, and it says: "Additionally, as an action, you can see through your familiar’s eyes and hear what it hears until the start of your next turn, gaining the benefits of any special senses that the familiar has." It's very different, and has zero requirement that the creature or monster (this only works for a familiar, a fairly specific exception) sharing its sense speaks any language at all.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you a lot for the explanation! \$\endgroup\$ Jun 14, 2022 at 17:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ Note that the Beast Sense spell also uses similar phrasing: "you can use your action to see through the beast’s eyes and hear what it hears..." To communicate with a beast that has no language at all, use the Beast Bond spell: "the beast can understand your telepathic messages to it, and it can telepathically communicate simple emotions and concepts back to you." Just note that the creature's stat block must say it's a Beast and not a Monstrosity or any other type of creature \$\endgroup\$
    – JamesB
    Jan 8, 2023 at 18:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ArthurGabry if you like the answer, please mark it as Accepted. \$\endgroup\$
    – JamesB
    Jan 11, 2023 at 4:48
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No

A creature can't use this telepathy if it can't speak any languages, …

This strongly implies that the message must be language based.

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