Suppose I've awakened a creature, using Awaken. If it mated, and had offspring, would the offspring have the same intelligence as the awakened parent creature?

Or, alternatively, if the awakened creature was to take time to educate the offspring, could it result in the offspring becoming intelligent? After all, the original creature speaks the same language as its offspring.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Are you the DM, asking for guidance, or the player? It's (sort of) important to know which side of the screen you're asking from so that you don't get answers only saying "It's up to your DM". \$\endgroup\$ – daze413 Jan 10 '17 at 5:00

I believe the answer is very likely to be "no." The following is my rationale.

  1. There is nothing in the description of the spell which indicates a change in the race or species of the target. The target itself is awakened and its game features change. The offspring would be of the same race or species as the original target, which has not changed, and so the awakened state would not be passed down to the offspring.

  2. There is no indication in the rules that a creature's six ability scores are inherited from its ancestors. The closest analogue is that creatures of a humanoid race inherit a small modifier to one or more ability scores. At most, we might be able to infer that an awakened plant's offspring would have a boost of +2 to Intelligence, which would not be enough for them to act as if awakened and which would require us to rule that the spell is capable of creating a new race, a concept that is discussed below.

  3. The heritable nature of spell effects would be a very major feature to be only implied by a spell description and not explicitly stated. We would expect that the power to use a single casting of a 5th-level spell to spontaneously create a new race or species with modified game features and then propagate an entire clade of them would be world-changing enough to be given at least a cursory mention in the rules.

  4. Finally, if we ruled "yes," then that would imply that many other spell effects can be passed down through heredity in the absence of any clear indication that they can or cannot, creating a slippery slope. In addition, we would be left wondering why there are not more naturally-occurring awakened plants when there are a grand total of two awakened creature stat blocks in the SRD, and those two explicitly mention that the creature has been awakened directly by means of magic.

I don't think it is terribly opinion-based, then, to conclude that in the absence of any explicit statement on spell effect heredity it is unlikely that it was an intended implication of the rules. Of course, the DM could follow the "rule of cool" and allow isolated occurrences if it makes the narrative more enjoyable, or indeed they could use it as a justification for the creation of an entire race of awakened creatures in a campaign setting of their design, but either way they would risk the slippery slope I mentioned above.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Previous edition would also support this reasoning, based on an epic-seed being needed in order to create a new race with inheritable characteristics. \$\endgroup\$ – nijineko Jan 3 '17 at 18:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ So well-reasoned, I'd upvote it twice if I could. \$\endgroup\$ – keithcurtis Feb 4 '17 at 19:53
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ It does seem to me that any other answer than "no" would require an explanation of why the world isn't full of intelligent talking animals (and plants!), given the obvious advantages an Awakened creature should have over its non-intelligent brethren. Of course, if that's the kind of setting you want to run, go for it... but that's not the kind of world most D&D campaigns are set in. +1. \$\endgroup\$ – Ilmari Karonen Feb 5 '17 at 0:28

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.