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I feel in DnD animals have always been basically people? even when the stats don't match.
Tolkien had animals talking like brits and dnd took that and went, oh oh yes, but you need a skill or feat to talk to them.

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Originally Posted by Kadajko
I expected it to be simple like: ''Me hungry. Me afraid. Cave there.'' But when I talk to animals I feel like I am talking to people because they are highly intelligent, and I am starting to ask questions like: Why has this animal not integrated into society and learned common language? Why is it not wearing a purse with coins and isn't a blacksmith at the camp?

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They wanted to port over talking animals from Original Sin (like so many things) and so they did, the D&D rules be dammed.

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Originally Posted by Ixal
Originally Posted by Kadajko
I expected it to be simple like: ''Me hungry. Me afraid. Cave there.'' But when I talk to animals I feel like I am talking to people because they are highly intelligent, and I am starting to ask questions like: Why has this animal not integrated into society and learned common language? Why is it not wearing a purse with coins and isn't a blacksmith at the camp?

Welcome to Larian world.
They wanted to port over talking animals from Original Sin (like so many things) and so they did, the D&D rules be dammed.

Speak with Animals
You gain the ability to comprehend and verbally communicate with Beasts for the Duration. The knowledge and awareness of many Beasts is limited by their Intelligence, but at minimum, Beasts can give you information about nearby locations and Monsters, including whatever they can perceive or have perceived within the past day. You might be able to persuade a beast to perform a small favor for you, at the DM's discretion

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Originally Posted by T2aV
Speak with Animals
You gain the ability to comprehend and verbally communicate with Beasts for the Duration. The knowledge and awareness of many Beasts is limited by their Intelligence, but at minimum, Beasts can give you information about nearby locations and Monsters, including whatever they can perceive or have perceived within the past day. You might be able to persuade a beast to perform a small favor for you, at the DM's discretion

I think their complaint is that they overestimate the advantage humans have over other animals in intelligence. Dogs, horses, birds, are going to have a higher level of thought than they expect - grey parrots have the intelligence of a 5 year old - but they think it's all fieldmice and ants.

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Originally Posted by T2aV
in DND, Giant eagles have 8 Intelligence(understands common but can't speak it), but Griffins have 2 Intelligence. Kind of odd

Giant eagles have always had higher intelligence in D&D. Their intelligence was probably inspired by Tolkien's giant eagles in LotR. Those eagles were very intelligent.

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Originally Posted by VeronicaTash
Originally Posted by Kadajko
Originally Posted by VeronicaTash
Do you think they are plants? Fungi? Very large bacteria?

I am using one of the definitions of the word ''animal'' from Cambridge dictionary which is ''something that lives and moves but is not a human'', only in this case I substitute the word human for ALL intelligent species of Faerun, dragons included.
There is a definition of the word ''animal'' that includes humans too, since humans are technically animals, but if I were to use that definition my point wouldn't make any sense, and typically when we use the word animal we don't mean humans.

It's basic biology.

Indeed, but in the contest of this dialogue "animal" is not used in its biological meaning but in his common sense meaning, and in common sense there are "insects" (that include everything from centipoda and arachnida to proper insects), plants (in wich fungi falls), microorganisms (a group that includes all that is not visible by the human eye), and humans (that is the one animal species that has, scientifically proven, self coscience, astract thinking, ability in complex mathematical calculus, etc etc.. ).

This common sense applied to Faerun means to change "humans" with "all entities able of the same characteristics that humans have: being self constious, being sentient, being able of abstract thinking, etc etc.. ..".

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Opposable thumbs probably in reality. laugh

Animals totally do have those personalities if they are allowed to come out... animals in the close proximity to a druids grove might be the most likely possibility for this level of "familiarity"...

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Remember also that a number of the bests around the grove may even be awakened.

People talking about the biology distinction: may I suggest or recommend that you shift your terminology to using the types as defined by the game rule set? It might make getting yourselves on the same page for discussion easier. 5e doesn't use 'animal' as a classification anywhere. It uses 'Beast', which is a specific type. This is separate from 'monstrosity', 'dragon', 'humanoid' and many others. Speak with animals, for example, specifically targets 'beasts', so many "by our real world definition of the term" animals are not included - because they are dragons, or humanoids, or monstrosities, or plants, or aberrations, or giants, etc...

Technically, for example, speak with animals should *not* work on the owlbear. It's a monstrosity, not a beast. Nobody would try to say that it is not an 'animal' by our day to day usage of the word... but it's not a d&d 'beast'.

If you want to talk about how people fit into it - talk about people. Don't think about humans; think about people. That's the first step - there's a lot more than humans out there. If you want to use the in-game classification, use 'humanoid', though there are a lot of people who aren't humanoids, as I'm sure any fiend, celestial or giant will reassure you... and probably a number of shifty undead too, but maybe don't trust them quite as much.

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I'm not sure awakening animals is a very druidy thing to do.


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If the animals seem too smart it is worth remembering that most animals have low INT but surprisingly high WIS. Which means they're fairly perceptive with good insight and a strong ability to understand what is going on around them even if they lack the knowledge base to fully understand the context

Originally Posted by Dexai
I'm not sure awakening animals is a very druidy thing to do.

It seems like a pretty druidy thing to do to me. Remember that druid magic is divinely channeled from nature itself. Their magical effects are therefore not "unnatural" the way arcane meddling or necromancy would be. A druid who chooses to awaken a squirrel is giving them a precious gift from nature itself to bestow them with reason beyond their normal capacity so they might better understand the druid's needs and, by extension, the needs of nature as a whole.

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makes sense. the squirrels are spies(on the tieflings) for the druids, birds are the scouts, wolf and bears are for protection

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Originally Posted by SaurianDruid
Originally Posted by Dexai
I'm not sure awakening animals is a very druidy thing to do.

It seems like a pretty druidy thing to do to me. Remember that druid magic is divinely channeled from nature itself. Their magical effects are therefore not "unnatural" the way arcane meddling or necromancy would be. A druid who chooses to awaken a squirrel is giving them a precious gift from nature itself to bestow them with reason beyond their normal capacity so they might better understand the druid's needs and, by extension, the needs of nature as a whole.

I strongly feel "the consequences are of nature and totally fine because my magic is of nature and therefore I can't do anything unnatural with them" is a very un-druidy way to reason.

Last edited by Dexai; 29/12/20 12:31 PM.

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Originally Posted by Dexai
I strongly feel "the consequences are of nature and totally fine because my magic is of nature and therefore I can't do anything unnatural with them" is a very un-druidy way to reason.

It is literally how it works, though. Druids get their power directly from nature in most cases. Wouldn't you consider it "unnatural" for an elf to turn into a bear? What makes that more natural than giving an animal greater intelligence? Or heck, what makes buffing an animal's intelligence less natural than giving a human armored skin made of tree bark?

It is because they are druids and their power comes from nature that makes it natural.

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That's the same as thinking everything a Cleric does is good because the Cleric's god is good. That's isn't how things work. The Druid is availed a set of powers from nature. This does not make anything they do with those powers natural. If they were to kill a lot of wolves, for example, that would greatly upset the natural balance of the ecosystem. It would be unnatural. Similarly, going around Awakening animals for shits and giggles would mean greatly altering the animals from their natural state. They might as well be fusing owl heads to bear bodies. It is not the kind of behaviour a Druid, a protector of the natural balance, engage in. It is the behaviour of wizards and mages who enjoy fucking shit up for shits and giggles and don't give two damns about the consequences of their actions.


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I think this is the case when you shouldn't change something. If they make animals stupid, it will be even worse.

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Originally Posted by Dexai
That's the same as thinking everything a Cleric does is good because the Cleric's god is good. That's isn't how things work. The Druid is availed a set of powers from nature. This does not make anything they do with those powers natural. If they were to kill a lot of wolves, for example, that would greatly upset the natural balance of the ecosystem. It would be unnatural. Similarly, going around Awakening animals for shits and giggles would mean greatly altering the animals from their natural state. They might as well be fusing owl heads to bear bodies. It is not the kind of behaviour a Druid, a protector of the natural balance, engage in. It is the behaviour of wizards and mages who enjoy fucking shit up for shits and giggles and don't give two damns about the consequences of their actions.

You're applying motive to the powers now though, and that wasn't a part of the original discussion.

The ability to awaken animals could be misused, true. But it can also be used in service to nature, which is how a druid would use that power. Awakening a wolf so it can lead its wolf pack more efficiently in the face of human hunters and to serve as a steward of the forest, as an example, is a completely druidic thing to do. Or awakening an owl that has become the druid's companion so they can work with the druid in their duties of safeguarding the lands more carefully.

If a druid were abusing their powers the way you describe they'd probably lose those powers. They operate like clerics in that they get their magic from a divine source and, as such, can lose that power if they use it incorrectly. And at least in older editions if they wore steel armor or changed alignment from neutral they ran the risk of losing their abilities just like a cleric who has forsaken their god or a paladin who broke their oath.

Now, because their patron is nature itself there's a lot more leeway in how to interpret what nature wants and needs. That is how you get shadow druids who believe they serve nature's will by bringing ruin to civilization. How far a druid has to go before they stop being able to awaken animals would probably be up to the DM.

But the power, in and of itself, is perfectly in-line with druids and how they operate. And if they are using their nature-given powers to better fulfill their role as nature's guardians then making an intelligent bear isn't a crime against nature.

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It would be cool if it was like animal farm, and talking to the animals basically unlocked a whole special plotline hehe.

Intelligent animals is a conceit I'm definitely willing to explore in a fantasy game.

The awakened grove would be a good hook for that, and perhaps help to explain away the reservations.

Maybe there is a rats of NIHM team in the cuts, waiting to stich it all together?

I hope we get a new class soon, Druids should at least be able to talk to them on some sort of higher level. Perhaps not as individual animals but as an expression of the voice of the Oak Father or Magna Mater. There are lots of ways it could work, but without that kind of set up, sure I could see how it'd be disjointed.

I wish Scratch could be part of the actual party as a PC follower, for Huan style hound glory hehe. I think the cinematic cutscenes would be hilarious with shot counter shot, between the origin NPCs and the Dog. Lots of options for the barks lol

Last edited by Black_Elk; 01/01/21 02:52 AM.
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I like how Neverwinter Nights 1 did animal talking. Dogs think and indicate with actions. Yet a rat will tell a joke about how something got ate by something else by something else and you realise it's making it up once it reaches the dragon.

Sometimes it's serious. Something it's just plain funny.

Chickens could have had more TLC though.

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Originally Posted by Black_Elk
I wish Scratch could be part of the actual party as a PC follower, for Huan style hound glory hehe. I think the cinematic cutscenes would be hilarious with shot counter shot, between the origin NPCs and the Dog. Lots of options for the barks lol

If they make Scratch a full companion, I reserve the right to romance him... he's far nicer to me than most of the others.

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The way I interpret this is that those dialogues/voiceovers are Tav's (or Wyll's or anyone else's) interpretations rather than direct translations. The rather sophisticated syntax itself does not represent EXACTLY what the animals are trying to convey - there might/should even be subtle mistakes in those interpretations. I mostly like the "speak with animals" dialogues and their voice acting.

However, the semantics DO matter and there should be severe limitations to what the animals can actually say (regardless of 'how'). And there are some problematic examples: Volo's bear, the Druid Grove boar ("Halsin promised me a mate") and Topaz (the OCD bird with the coin) being the worst offenders I've found so far - I have checked their intelligence: 2, so nope, not Awakened. The Tieflings' rat is also questionable. The Druid Grove squirrel & Astarion's boar seem fine to me. Tingmiaq (the bird sent to look for Halsin) also has Int 2, though some birds (crows...) are actually VERY intelligent (though the whole intelligence comparison thing between humans and various animals is a bit flawed), so this might not be "unrealistic", but should probably be reflected in stats for us OCD people... smile

Last edited by DiDiDi; 29/01/21 04:53 PM.
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