This may well come down to House Rulz, but my druid recently acquired a Belt of Dwarvenkind, and I was wondering if (assuming you would let him wear it in bear shape), you would also let him speak Dwarvish.

I realise that according to the description of Wild Shape in the PHB: 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. (p. 67).

I also see the following points made in answer to Can a druid speak while in wild-shape?:

  • A DM may rule that a high-level druid has some capacity for speech in beast form based on being able to perform verbal spell components with the 18th level class feature Beast Spells:

  • Beginning at 18th level [...] You can perform the somatic and verbal components of a druid spell while in a beast shape ... (id.) But, this would be a houserule and likely not intended by RAW since Beast Spells specifically limits the verbal aspect to druid spells (not all spells).

  • The inability to form words (i.e., communicate in a language) in beast form would not prevent you from "gain[ing] the ability to comprehend and verbally communicate with beasts for the duration" pursuant to Speak With Animals (PHB, p. 277).

So my reverse-logic is this: Since a player-character can Speak with Animals due to the influence of magic, couldn't a beast (say a bear) speak Dwarvish when under the influence of a Belt of Dwarvenkind?

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Point of clarification to potentially minimise future troubles: we're not a forum and we do work a bit differently to forums. I see you may not have taken the tour yet so I would suggest checking it out to get an idea of what we are about and how things work around here. There's also the help center which goes into a bit more depth. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 23, 2015 at 6:25

1 Answer 1



The Belt of Dwarvenkind grants knowledge of the Dwarvish language, not the physical ability to produce speech. Beast Form very clearly denies the use of the humanoid languages you know:

your ability to speak [...] is limited to the capabilities of your beast form

If it was a Belt of Wookieekind, the situation would be different.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ @ Sebkha: on p155 of the DMG a Belt of Dwarvenkind is described as "If you aren't a dwarf, you gain the following additional benefits while wearing the belt...You can speak, read, and write Dwarvish". It makes no mention of just "granting knowledge". \$\endgroup\$
    – Maadiah
    Dec 23, 2015 at 14:58
  • 8
    \$\begingroup\$ @Maadiah It doesn't say that you can speak regardless of other conditions. Your interpretation of a Belt of Dwarvenkind would logically mean being able to speak Dwarvish (and only Dwarvish) while underwater, while gagged, while sleeping, without opening your mouth, while polymorphed into a tree, while petrified… If "you can speak […] Dwarvish" was meant to work under any adverse conditions, not just as a basic normal language facility, it would say so. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 23, 2015 at 15:51
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie I agree with you. Otherwise you'd be opening up something like "Ok, you are chained up in a basement with your hands tied behind your back, gagged, and you have nothing but the clothes you were wearing. What do you do?" "Well, I'm wearing my Belt of Dwarvenkind which lets me write in dwarvish, so I write a note to the Rogue to remind him about the lockpicks he keeps in his boot." \$\endgroup\$
    – Kevin
    Dec 23, 2015 at 16:30
  • 14
    \$\begingroup\$ Sir Bearington vehemently disagrees with this post. \$\endgroup\$
    – corsiKa
    Dec 23, 2015 at 20:06
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I'll bet most people think the Awakening spell grants the physical capacity to speak, though, and the wording there isn't significantly different. It seems to depend on whether the magical effect normally applies to targets that can already speak (like the Belt of Dwarvenkind) or to targets that can't (like Awakening). This is what breaks the symmetry of the "reverse logic" in the original question. \$\endgroup\$
    – Sebkha
    Dec 24, 2015 at 5:17

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .