I am new to the D&D system and want to create a druid character for D&D 5e.

At level 4, I am allowed to choose either an ability enhancement or a feat. The feat "Telepathic" has the following feature that I'm concerned about:

You can speak telepathically to any creature you can see within 60 feet of you. Your telepathic utterances are in a language you know, and the creature understands you only if it knows that language. Your communication doesn’t give the creature the ability to respond to you telepathically.

If I understand this correctly, the second feature works without casting a spell and should therefore not be limited by the beast form, basically allowing the druid to communicate all thoughts to his/her party members within a distance of 60 feet. This would be a powerful work-around of the limitation by the wild shape.

Therefore, my question as stated in the title is:

Does the Feat "Telepathic" allow my druid to communicate with the party and other beasts through telepathy without limitations of the beast form?


1 Answer 1


Yes, this should work.

The relevant parts of Wild Shape are:

You can't cast spells, and your ability to speak or take any action that requires hands is limited to the capabilities of your beast form.


You retain the benefit of any features from your class, race, or other source and can use them if the new form is physically capable of doing so. However, you can't use any of your special senses, such as darkvision, unless your new form also has that sense.

A feat is gained through a class feature (Ability Score Increase, specifically), a race feature (variant human, for example), or a background feature (currently rare, but will be the new style in OneD&D), so the Telepathic feat would not be lost while wildshaped.

There's no physiological reason a beast form can't use telepathy, so there seems to be no barrier from that clause.

And finally, since Languages are a feature of your race, background, or class, you still know them when you transform, even if you can't actually speak. (It's well-established that a wildshaped druid can still understand other party members.) So there's no block from that angle either.

So, there seems to be no reason to rule that a wildshaped druid couldn't use telepathic communication via the Telepathy feat.

This isn't unique to the feat, though. There are a number of races with telepathic abilities that similarly overcome the Wild Shape limitation and are retained while Wild Shaped.

That said, talking to beasts in this manner is still limited by the usual requirements of the Telepathic feat, so you'll need to have a language in common. Since most beasts don't speak any languages, that's potentially a problem.

  • 7
    \$\begingroup\$ I would add something about communicating with beasts, per the OP thoughts. "Your telepathic utterances are in a language you know, and the creature understands you only if it knows that language." So you can't just talk to a squirrel or a bear. \$\endgroup\$
    – MivaScott
    Feb 7, 2023 at 16:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MivaScott maybe with the exception of commands animal is already trained to follow. I'd certainly rule that way. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mołot
    Feb 7, 2023 at 16:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Alex2006, that's an important detail that would also influence the answer \$\endgroup\$
    – MivaScott
    Feb 7, 2023 at 18:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ Re: "There's no physiological reason a beast form can't use telepathy..." And in fact, some do. Cf. Cranium rat. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Feb 7, 2023 at 22:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ @DarthPseudonym I don't think I was implying a general rule, which is why I said "some do". Apes with hands do imply that at least some beasts can have hands and still be beasts. Cranium rats with telepathy implies that having telepathy does not disqualify you from being a beast, and gives evidence, rather than conjecture, that it is physiologically possible for a beast to have telepathy. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Feb 8, 2023 at 15:49

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