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In my D&D campaign, there is an animal that has been tracking/following us. I suspect it to be a familiar of the big bad we may be fighting, but it has only watched us from a distance. If I cast Message on this creature, would it be able to respond if it was a familiar/animal? Either with chittering or their masters voice or something?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Is this a fifth edition D&D game? \$\endgroup\$ Jul 1 at 16:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yes this is 5e, sorry I should’ve specified. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 1 at 17:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ReeseHurst No worries, I've added the tag for you. Welcome to the stack, take the tour when you have a moment. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 1 at 17:14

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Yes, you can cast message on a familiar

Message says:

You point your finger toward a creature within range and whisper a message. The target (and only the target) hears the message and can reply in a whisper that only you can hear.

Any creature will do, there are no restrictions. It would work on a familiar. However, it is up to the familiar to answer, an as an ally of your enemy, they easily could decide not to. Familiars normally only have animal intelligence, which would limit what they can communicate. Your foe might have an imp or quasit familiar, which can take animal form, and is both tougher and smarter.

While their master can see and hear through them, he is not replacing their mind, so your spell still will target the familiar, not the master. You only can communicate with the familiar, not the master.

Normally, a master can only perceive through their familiar when they are within 100 feet of it and animals of animal intelligence might not be able to report back too much useful information about you if scouting independently. A warlock can extend this range to unlimited, and both they and wizards can gain familiars like imps or quasits (and evil NPC spellcasters in particular tend to have them), which are smart enough to scout by themselves.

A more conclusive way to find out if it is a familiar would be to shoot it down. Message has only 120 feet range, so if you can target it with message, you can attack it with bows or cantrips like fire bolt. Most small animals have very few hit points, and will die on a hit. If it is a natural animal, the corpse will remain. If it is a familiar, it will vanish. Of course, you have to be willing to possibly kill a innocent animal when using this approach.

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