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When warlock chooses a pact with The Great Old One, he gains a feature called Awakened Mind:

Starting at 1st level, your alien knowledge gives you the ability to touch the minds of other creatures. You can communicate telepathically with any creature you can see within 30 feet of you.

My question is, is the communication two-ways, or only one-way?

I assume it's only one-way: I can "send" messages to target creature's mind but I can't receive any responses. So it's not possible for this creature to "send" me back any thoughts or messages and I can't read any of the creature's thoughts.

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From Wizards' July 2015 Sage Advice column:

Does the warlock’s Awakened Mind feature allow two-way telepathic communication? The feature is intended to provide one-way communication. The warlock can use the feature to speak telepathically to a creature, but the feature doesn’t give that creature the ability to telepathically reply. In contrast, the telepathy ability that some monsters have (MM, 9) does make two-way communication possible.

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    \$\begingroup\$ O, heavens! It really is like the example in my answer! Madness! Madness, I say. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Mar 30 '17 at 17:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ The wording of the GOO warlock's Awakened Mind feature was changed in the latest printing (though it's not noted in the errata) from "You can communicate telepathically with any creature" to "You can telepathically speak to any creature". That said, the Sage Advice Compendium phrasing hasn't changed. You may want to update your answer accordingly. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast May 24 at 22:48
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Awakened Mind reads:

Starting at 1st level, your alien knowledge gives you the ability to touch the minds of other creatures. You can communicate telepathically with any creature you can see within 30 feet of you.

And from the DM's Basic Rules, page 5:

A creature without telepathy can receive and respond to telepathic messages but can't initiate or terminate a telepathic conversation.

(All emphasis mine.)

So yes, it should allow two way communication since everyone automatically have the ability to respond to others' telepathic messages.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Can't terminate? That's interesting. I think I'd allow opposing Wisdom rolls, or similar, personally. \$\endgroup\$ – Jason_c_o Dec 3 '14 at 5:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ Can't terminate seems perfectly sensible - if I am shouting at you you will still hear me, you don't have to reply. Similarly, the warlock can talk to you telepathically, you don't have to reply. \$\endgroup\$ – Dale M Dec 4 '14 at 1:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ Despite the Crawford tweet, I still strongly support this answer. The text unambiguously contradicts the avowed intention expressed in that tweet that it be only one-way. Game writers need to put rules and explanation they want to be part of the game in the game, and take out parts that say the opposite of their intentions; with errata if necessary. My esteem of the editing of 5e is sinking rather quickly, as they're reaching old WW levels of "oh oops the book shouldn't say that". \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Dec 4 '14 at 17:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yes, they should either have mentioned that you can only respond to certain kinds of telepathic messages or that the warlock ability is an exception to the general rule. \$\endgroup\$ – Johan Dec 4 '14 at 18:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ The wording of the GOO warlock's Awakened Mind feature was changed in the latest printing (though it's not noted in the errata) from "You can communicate telepathically with any creature" to "You can telepathically speak to any creature". You may want to update your answer accordingly. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast May 24 at 22:42
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Telepathy should probably be two-way

Telepathy that only allows sending thoughts just isn't that useful unless there's an offensive component… and, here, there isn't. This means folks are free to ignore the voice in their heads, and that means the entire campaign could elapse with no one—except maybe the warlock's companions after much convincing—acknowledging the warlock's superpower at all, ascribing the warlock's telepathic intrusions to demonic influence, madness, magic, bad (or good!) pipeweed, or whatever.

Example

Warlock: Now I will communicate with you telepathically. (He does.) Into your head I just projected the sentence You like puppies.
Queen: But I liked puppies before. How do I know you made me think that?
Warlock: I didn't make you think it. I put that thought from my head into your head.
Queen: But how do I know that? Here. I will think of something, and you…
Warlock: It doesn't work that way. I can only speak into your head not hear your replies.
Queen: So you tell me what I think?
Warlock: No, I'm telling you what I think… mentally.
Queen: So you and I both like puppies?
Warlock: Eldritch blast!

As mentioned in this answer and this answer, it seems the intent really is to have the warlock's telepathy be one-way—the warlock capable of sending thoughts but not receiving them—, but it might be a worthwhile (and sanity-saving!) house rule to make the warlock's telepathy two-way anyway.

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On twitter Jeremy Crawford states that their intent was for it to be one-way ;)

My main concern is that it does not mention anything about creature willing to communicate. Moreover it doesn't even give the creature the possibility to terminate the conversation.

A creature without telepathy can receive and respond to telepathic messages but can't initiate or terminate a telepathic conversation.

In PHB (p.281) there is a spell "Telepathy" which is of course much more powerful but still it's 8th lvl spell and it can be used only on creatures willing to communicate, and Awakened Mind does not have this limit.

In my opinion this ability gives the 1st lvl warlock possibility to torment people by non-stop talking inside their heads. :) I would at least suggest a wisdom save.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Huh. It would have been nice to put their intention into actual words in the book instead of expecting us to be magically telepathic. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Dec 3 '14 at 17:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ Your quote still states receive and respond to, thus the conversation is two-way, but only the caster is able to start or stop the message. It does not allow another character to join, nor does it allow the receiver to control pace (dropping conversation). \$\endgroup\$ – Aviose Dec 3 '14 at 19:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ The wording of the GOO warlock's Awakened Mind feature was changed in the latest printing (though it's not noted in the errata) from "You can communicate telepathically with any creature" to "You can telepathically speak to any creature". You may want to update your answer accordingly. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast May 24 at 22:47
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Starting at 1st level, your alien knowledge gives you the ability to touch the minds of other creatures. You can communicate telepathically with any creature you can see within 30 feet of you.

You left out a part that from my point of view gives at least a hint what is intended. The paragraph continues to read:

You don't need to share a language with the creature for it to understand your telepathic utterances, but the creature must be able understand at least one language.

That is the full text. Remarkably, nothing is said about the warlocks ability to understand the reply. The focus is solely on the receiver of the warlocks message. If the communication was meant to be both ways, I would have expected this to read:

You don't need to share a language with the creature to communicate with it, but the creature must be able to communicate in at least one language.

In contrast to the wording of the ability in question, the spell telepathy for example is very clear about the communication being both ways:

[...] you and the target can share [...] with one another through the link.

TL;DR:

As this ability is worded specifically for sending messages, I suspect that it's actually intended to do just that. It lets you send messages. One-way.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The wording of the GOO warlock's Awakened Mind feature was changed in the latest printing (though it's not noted in the errata) from "You can communicate telepathically with any creature" to "You can telepathically speak to any creature". You may want to update your answer accordingly. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast May 24 at 22:43
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There is nothing here that indicates whether or not it's 1-way or 2-way.

Here's the thing, you're touching another creature's mind. That means that you can both plant thoughts (transmit) and also read their thoughts that they allow you to (receive). The word used is "communicate" which certainly indicates the conversation is bi-directional.

The extent and limits of this ability are between you and your DM and how you guys want to play it. Talk to her about this.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The wording of the GOO warlock's Awakened Mind feature was changed in the latest printing (though it's not noted in the errata) from "You can communicate telepathically with any creature" to "You can telepathically speak to any creature". You may want to update your answer accordingly. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast May 24 at 22:43
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I've been allowing my warlock player to use this ability to silently communicate with other players, like if they are in a "Silence" spell area of effect, trying to sneak up on something, or for private discussions when NPCs are present. Basically it gives an "in game" mechanism to allow the sort of interplayer discussion that usually occurs in combat or NPC parleys. To be strict you'd have to have the warlock repeat stuff to various other players to simulate the nature of the communication but I don't often get into the weeds like that.

The warlock player hasn't been too creative with it though. I don't let him use it as a "thought radar" to detect hidden beings that might be visible to his eyes if he just knew where to look. He does use it on occasion to intimidate some poor prisoner. I definitely do NOT let him read someones mind or gain advantage on an insight roll or something.

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protected by Oblivious Sage Oct 14 '17 at 14:16

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