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I am playing a Wood Elf Gloom Stalker Ranger, multi-classed with Rogue Assassin. They found an orphan displacer beast kitten and has taken to training the kitten how to hunt and hopes to keep her as a traveling companion.

I would like to see if there are any magic items or spells that can my character can assist in communicating with the kitten and also to disguise the kitten as she gets bigger.

I want an item with a constant effect like Speak with Animals, which my DM is allowing to work with the monstrosity displacer beast, that allows us to understand each other. Doesn't need to include long distance communication, it's more about us being able to effectively "talk" to one another.

I'm also concerned that as the kitten gets bigger, walking around towns with her will be understandably concerning for the local citizens. A magic item that can create an illusion to make her appear as something less hostile, like a horse, would be great.

Are there any magic items that already tick either of those boxes, or can the community suggest any existing items or spells to use as the basis for asking my DM to create custom items?

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    \$\begingroup\$ What is your current race/class? Any other items, abilities, or home brew works rules we should know about? \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    May 9, 2023 at 23:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch Wood Elf Gloom Stalker Ranger, multi-classed with Rogue Assassin. My DM has been allowing me to use the Speak With Animals spell to talk to the kitten (even though it's technically a monster, not an animal). We're playing the Grim Hollow campaign setting and I've started a transformation into a Primordial, so there's a bunch of element-based abilities that come with that, but nothing relating to animals/beasts. \$\endgroup\$ May 10, 2023 at 0:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ I have a link here which may provide a partial answer to your question. Click here to see the question. \$\endgroup\$ May 10, 2023 at 2:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ Somewhat related question: What are the rules for owning and training animals? \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    May 10, 2023 at 11:55

5 Answers 5

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Magic Items

There are two magic items you will need to facilitate communication and disguise for your displacer beast.

The helm of comprehend languages says:

While wearing this helm, you can use an action to cast the comprehend languages spell from it at will.

While under the effect of comprehend languages, the displacer beast will be able to understand you.

...and the hat of disguise says:

While wearing this hat, you can use an action to cast the disguise self spell from it at will. The spell ends if the hat is removed.

Nothing about the disguise self necessitates humanoid form. That being said, you may also need to craft a special saddle to hide the tentacles of the displacer beast since disguise self does require "the same basic arrangement of limbs."

Two Hats

A displacer beast only has one head, so a DM may prevent their use simultaneously. This means you may have to be okay with only speaking to the creature while out of regions where the disguise is necessary.

Note: Here are a few questions on non-humanoids attuning and using magic items. They reference animals, but the logic should still apply.

Can beasts benefit from magic items?
Can an animal attune to a magic item?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ But wouldn't the displacer beast have to speak a language in order for the helm of comprehending languages to EVEN WORK? \$\endgroup\$ May 9, 2023 at 23:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ @TieflingDragon84 No. The helm says the wearer can understand any spoken language. So the displacer beast wearing the helm would be able to understand any spoken language. The magic item does what it says it does. \$\endgroup\$ May 10, 2023 at 0:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ @TieflingDragon84 Items say they must be worn, but that just refers us back to the general rule about Wearing and Wielding Magic Items: "A magic item meant to be worn must be donned in the intended fashion: boots go on the feet, gloves on the hands, hats and helmets on the head, and rings on the finger. Magic armor must be donned, a shield strapped to the arm, a cloak fastened about the shoulders. A weapon must be held." \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    May 10, 2023 at 4:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ There's always the option of discussing it with the DM. If they're on board, they could reskin one of those items and make something like a saddle of comprehend languages. Feel free to include this point in your answer if you feel it is relevant enough. \$\endgroup\$
    – Matthieu
    May 10, 2023 at 5:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ @aroth That wasn't in the question originally. I'll remove my first section \$\endgroup\$ May 11, 2023 at 2:57
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For language, you don't need magic, just time (and DM buy-in)

I agree with David Coffron's answer that for disguising the true nature of your animal companion, having it attune to a hat of disguise is the best solution. You will need to work with your DM to decide whether its tentacles are limbs and, if so, how they might be hidden.

But for communication, you don't need a magic item. You have the advantage of time - you are raising an intelligent creature from its youth, during the important window when it would be learning a language anyway.

The displacer beast has an Intelligence of 6, the same score as an ape. Apes, in our world, can understand human spoken language and respond by expressing themselves with sign language and lexigrams. Displacer beasts are said to have a "malevolent intelligence", and to be able to "demonstrate skill at setting ambushes. A single beast will strike and withdraw, luring prey into a densely wooded area where its packmates wait. Packs of displacer beasts hunting near trade roads recall the frequency and schedule of regular caravans, laying down ambushes to pick off those caravans." (MM 81). Your kitten, as she grows, will listen to you speaking to her, will recall your words, and will come to understand your spoken language. In turn, she will be able to respond to you - not with a spoken language, but with patience and training with body language and especially signs she can form with her flexible tentacles.

As you deepen your bond, you will be able to read her expressions more and more clearly. When you reach 6th level as Ranger, you can select Displacer Beast as your additional favored enemy (emphases mine):

You have advantage on Wisdom (Survival) checks to track your favored enemies, as well as on Intelligence checks to recall information about them. When you gain this feature, you also learn one language of your choice that is spoken by your favored enemies, if they speak one at all. You choose one additional favored enemy, as well as an associated language, at 6th and 14th level. As you gain levels, your choices should reflect the types of monsters you have encountered on your adventures.

Now normally Displacer Beasts don't speak a language at all. But since you are raising this intelligent creature from kittenhood, she will be striving to communicate with you in a non-verbal language, to the extent of her impressive intelligence. With DM buy-in, you should be able to learn this language. Eventually she will be able to understand what you are saying, and you will be able to understand what she is expressing as well.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ That's a great workaround to achieve communication without the need for a magic item. I regularly make a conscious effort to have my character say that he's spending time with the kitten, trying to teach her simple commands, how to move stealthily, things like that. The unfortunate thing is I'm multi-classing and wasn't planning to take anything beyond 5 levels in Ranger. Thanks for your suggestion though. \$\endgroup\$ May 10, 2023 at 21:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ @TieflingDragon84 Thanks for the bounty - I'm glad you found this answer useful. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    May 23, 2023 at 5:56
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Beastmaster Ranger Primal Beast Companion.

The Primal Companion alternate class ability for the Beastmaster Ranger from Tasha's Cauldron of Everything reads as follows:

You magically summon a primal beast, which draws strength from your bond with nature. The beast is friendly to you and your companions and obeys your commands. Choose its stat block—Beast of the Land, Beast of the Sea, or Beast of the Sky—which uses your proficiency bonus (PB) in several places. You also determine the kind of animal the beast is, choosing a kind appropriate for the stat block. Whatever kind you choose, the beast bears primal markings, indicating its mystical origin.

...

When you finish a long rest, you can summon a different primal beast. The new beast appears in an unoccupied space within 5 feet of you, and you choose its stat block and appearance.

While Displacer Beasts are Monstrosities rather than Beasts, I would say that they would count as a type of animal, so the Primal Beast should be able to take on the appearance (but not abilities) of one.

If you're already a Ranger with a different subclass, then it seems plausible for this befriending of a displacer beast kitten that becomes his Primal Companion to trigger you to swap to the Beastmaster subclass. From Tasha's Cauldron of Everything, under "Sudden Changes":

Sometimes a character undergoes a dramatic transformation in their beliefs and abilities. When a character experiences a profound self-realization or faces an entity or a place of overwhelming power, beauty, or terror, the DM might allow an immediate subclass change.

The given examples are an Oath of Devotion Paladin becoming a Paladin of Vengeance after demons destroy her home, a Wizard changing to the School of Divination after sleeping under a magic tree that gives him visions of possible futures, or a War Cleric having a religious experience and becoming a Cleric of Life.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I already have a Ranger subclass (Gloom Stalker) and no interest in changing to something else. Plus the kitten wasn't a magically summoned creature - it was found after I killed its mother (in self defence!). \$\endgroup\$ May 10, 2023 at 3:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DanielIwasiw The point is that it could become your magically summoned Primal Beast. \$\endgroup\$
    – nick012000
    May 10, 2023 at 3:18
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You might not have to make a custom item to make your displacer beast disappear.

Good news! You might actually be able to use a real magic item in the DMG for your displacer beast!

The bad news: it's a legendary item.

The Iron Flask allows you to put a creature inside it and make the creature disappear. There's also a 50% chance that the flask is empty, meaning that you could be able to put the displacer beast inside immediately. It would remove the sighting of the displacer beast, utterly relaxing people. You wouldn't kill the displacer beast either.

The creature in the flask doesn't need to sleep, drink, eat, or breathe.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Don't think my DM will be keen on a legendary item! I don't want the beast removed, just disguised, else I'd simply ask it to always wait outside of town or use invisibility. \$\endgroup\$ May 10, 2023 at 0:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ Ah yes, the good ol' D&D Pokeball. \$\endgroup\$ May 10, 2023 at 4:01
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You could have a friend cast a Polymorph spell to make your displacer beast polymorph into any beast, and then your ranger can cast the Speak with Animals spell.

I aked a question about this. Polymorph only works in concentration, so your ranger would not be able to cast it to get rid of the displacer beast's form for up to 1 hour(so don't sleep in inns). But if you have a very helpful buddy who doesn't get distracted easily, you can change the displacer beast's form. The Speak with Animals spell would only affect you and your displacer beast. You can have multiple castings, too.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This does not work. Polymorph can only change you into a beast, and a pseudodragon is a dragon. \$\endgroup\$ May 11, 2023 at 22:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ Notice I said OR SOMETHING SIMILAR. \$\endgroup\$ May 11, 2023 at 22:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ …can you provide an actual example of “something similar” that meets the requirements? Because right now, you cite an example that doesn’t work, but haven’t done any work to show us that your solution works. Until you show an example that works, it’s a downvote from me for not really being an answer. \$\endgroup\$ May 11, 2023 at 22:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ How does a giant vulture allow you to talk to it? \$\endgroup\$ May 11, 2023 at 22:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well, the giant vulture would be a possibility! I can't be sure about how people would react to a giant vulture, though. \$\endgroup\$ May 11, 2023 at 22:18

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