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Consider a Warlock with The Great Old One patron and Pact of the Chain, who is mute because his tongue has been removed. He communicates with most characters through Awakened Mind, granted by the Great Old One.

The invocation Voice of the Chain Master says:

Voice of the Chain Master

Prerequisite: Pact of the Chain feature

You can communicate telepathically with your familiar and perceive through your familiar’s senses as long as you are on the same plane of existence. Additionally, while perceiving through your familiar’s senses, you can also speak through your familiar in your own voice, even if your familiar is normally incapable of speech.

(Emphasis mine.)

Voice of the Chain Master uses the warlock's voice to communicate, but this character is mute and does not have a "voice" in the general sense.

Could this character speak through it's familiar, even if he cannot speak himself?

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    \$\begingroup\$ At the risk of being too simulationist: losing your tongue doesn't render your silent, as your voice comes from your vocal chords. What it makes very difficult is human speech, which generally uses the tongue to help form a variety of distinct and particular sounds. Your warlock could say "boo" and "moo" but not "twitch" or "lavender" ... and so on. That means your warlock has a voice (he could do those harmonic oooh oooh ooohs in a chorus) but the formation of most words is either difficult or nigh impossible. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Jul 19 '16 at 2:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ This is a great piece of flavor for your character! I commend you for it! And if your DM doesn't let you use your familiar this way, I boo him mercilessly! \$\endgroup\$ – Will Rhodes Jul 21 '16 at 18:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ While not an answer, there is an important consideration that may damage your premise: you won't be able to speak through the familiar freely. Instead, you can only do so when you are perceiving through its senses. From the Find Familiar spell: "Additionally, as an action, you can see through your familiar's eyes and hear what it hears until the start of your next turn, gaining the benefits of any special senses that the familiar has. During this time, you are deaf and blind with regard to your own senses." Don't plan on doing this mid-combat. \$\endgroup\$ – Drunk Cynic Jul 21 '16 at 19:33
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There likely isn't a RAW answer, but...

Being permanently mute is not a condition that the core rules represent, so any answer here is going to be speculative and highly subject to the DM's rule on the matter.

However, I would encourage a DM ruling on this to allow it, particularly because the character is taking on a significant disadvantage that isn't compensated for anywhere else in the rules. So giving a free "out" isn't exactly letting the character get away with anything.

A more important question for you before you decide to volunteer your character for this disability is how you plan to use spells that have a verbal component. A character who can't speak (due to a gag or silence spell) generally can't use verbal spells, and speaking through your familiar may or may not make up for this limitation, according to your DM.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, this is kinda what I thought, just was not quite sure since he does not talk himself. As for the Verbal part in magic, we kinda covered that with a bit from the PHB, "rather, the particular combination of sounds, with specific pitch and resonance," \$\endgroup\$ – Zerozapper Jul 18 '16 at 23:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ "Uggh, rrhh, agrrhhhaa!" I cast Fireball \$\endgroup\$ – daze413 Jul 19 '16 at 6:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ RAW: speaking through the familiar won't compensate, since it takes an action to perceive through the familiars senses, which is the required condition to speak through it. \$\endgroup\$ – Drunk Cynic Jul 21 '16 at 19:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ You could perhaps always perceive thru the eyes of your familiar, which would get around the action requirement \$\endgroup\$ – Garret Gang Feb 16 '18 at 20:10
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Per RAW, the situation isn't really covered.

Deferring to reasonable interpretation then...

If your warlock has "lost" his voice, this implies that he did at one time have a voice. Extrapolation suggests that this is the voice he would speak with through his familiar. (See also KorvinStarmast's comment on the question, mentioning how losing your tongue does not actually render the character silent, just limits your "fine control" over speech.)

If your warlock had, instead, been born with the inability to speak, the situation is much less obvious. He is not deaf, so he understands speech, and the ideas behind it. Does he then have a "voice" that he thinks to himself in? Since the communication with the familiar is primarily mental, it could be that his "thinking voice" is what is transferred to the familiar.

Also consider, very few familiars are actually capable of speech on their own, and so there is obviously some magic involved in making them able to speak their masters' words.


As an aside regarding the issue of spells with Verbal components, perhaps he is only capable of casting them when his familiar is present with him. As he and his familiar are so closely bonded, he has learned to focus the verbal portions of the spell through his familiar. If he sends his familiar off to scout, or loses it in some other way, he would be unable to cast any Verbal spells until it returns, or is recovered.

Obviously, this would require extra bookkeeping and double-checking to make sure that the spell you are trying to cast is not a Verbal spell, while you are under the restriction.

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This is more of a character-choice. If your (as approved by DM) background includes a physical impossibility towards speech, you don't have a voice. If you choose to remain silent, you do.

If you have a voice, the familiar has one. If you don't have a voice, the familiar hasn't got one either.

Remove thou tonsils? (Or not.)

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