speak with animals 5e guide

Speak with Animals 5e Guide – D&Ds’ Unlikely Animal Friend

A Speak with Animals 5e guide is something that can take your nature-loving class to the next level. This D&D spell allows players to speak with beasts by communicating with them in a two-way manner.

I love animals in-game and in real life. While the Player’s Handbook description of Speak with Animals was all, I had the first time I played a Ranger Class, the more knowledge and creativity I gained, the more fun I had.

With my Speak with Animals 5e guide, you too can make the most out of Speak with Animals. You may even have things to add that never even crossed my mind. As Carl Jung once said, “everyone you meet knows something you don’t know but need to know.”

Simple Look at Speak with Animals 5e

  • Level – 1st
  • School – Divination
  • Casting Time – 1 action
  • Range/Target – Self
  • Components – V, S
  • Duration – 10 minutes
  • Class – Bard, Druid, Ranger

You can cast Speak with Animals in 5e as a Bard, Druid, or Ranger right off the bat. It doesn’t use a spell slot if you cast it as a ritual. But if you don’t have ten minutes to spare, it will.

The spell is cast on yourself and cannot be cast on anyone else. It works on beasts only, so you have to use it to communicate with creatures that have the “beast” tag. Not on humanoids, fey, etc.

There are fourteen types of creatures in D&D; beast is one of them. Beast creatures are fairly easy to spot. They are the animal-like creatures that you meet in the forest. But more importantly, they have the beast tag in the manual. 

What is Speak with Animals D&D 5e?

Speak with Animals 5e

Speak with Animals is a spell from Dungeons & Dragons. The description can be found in the Basic Rules on page 277. The description basically says that you gain the ability to comprehend and verbally communicate with beasts as long as the spell is active. 

However, not all beasts can communicate, as some are held back by their low intelligence. Most beasts can give you directions, let you know where to find food/water and what has happened to them in the least 24 hours.

If you find an intelligent beast, you may be able to communicate with them as if they were speaking something like Common or Sylvan. The limits are your creativity and the DM’s discretion. 

What is a Beast in DnD 5e?

According to the official rules, Beasts are non-humanoid creatures. Though not all non-humanoids are beasts. Beasts are generally unintelligent and don’t have a common society or language.

If you’re unsure if something is a beast, the DM can quickly check as each creature is tagged with a type. Other types include aberration, celestial, construct, dragon, elemental, fey, fiend, giant, humanoid, monstrosity, ooze, plant, and undead.

In Dungeons and Dragons, a beast doesn’t have to be furry. He doesn’t need to be a mammal. He has to be marked with the beast tag. That’s all. If he isn’t one of the other types, then he’s probably a beast.

Unique Ways to Use Speak with Animals 5e

Unlike Eldritch Blast or Magic Missile, the way to use Speak with Animals isn’t all that straightforward. Since there is so much left to your DM’s discretion and your creativity, using it can be a blast.

Perform a Favor

Speak with Animals 5e

This is the basic example used in The Player’s Handbook. If the beast is unintelligent, it may not be easy to get your point across, even with the spell. However, intelligent beasts may help you out with ease.

Try casting the spell and asking the beast to reach something out of a tree, let the other animals know something, or send a message through the forest and into town. The possibilities are endless.

Combine with a Skill Check

You can combine Speak with Animals with any skill check you have. Something like Animal Handling is an obvious choice, but there are ways to get extremely innovative with this.

For example, Performance can help you entertain the beast, while something like Religion can help you connect with the beast on a spiritual level. Again, there is no limit to what you can do.

Ask for Directions

Asking for directions is a very simple and heavily-approved way to use Speak with Animals. There isn’t much to say about this because all you have to do is ask for directions – if pride allows it.

Find Out Local Lore

If you fail your History or Nature checks on the area, then an animal may be able to help out. You may be able to find out about dangers in the area, if something is safe to eat, and more.

If you’re lucky, you’ll run into a beast that has a fascinating story to tell, whether it be true or a myth. A good story from a great storyteller is a fun way to spend five minutes in-game.

Make a New Friend

This is one of my favorite ways to use Speak with Animals. You may not be able to make the beast your “pet,” but you can make a good friend. Casually speak to one during downtime, and he may decide to travel with you.

If it doesn’t want to accompany you to new places, it can be your local connection. Speak with it each time you come through or ask the beast to send you message through the long animal grapevine. 

See Also: Message 5e Guide.

Communicate with Your Pet

If you already have a pet, don’t rule out using Speak with Animals to communicate. While you may learn to talk to your pet in your own way, Speak with Animals can ensure there are no misunderstandings.

If you are 100% sure of what your pet wants or needs, then you won’t need this. But there are times when your pet can let you know valuable info that can’t be retrieved any other way.

Calm Enemies

Speak with Animals DnD Spell

If you have a semi-neutral enemy that is also a beast, you may be able to avoid a fight by speaking with them. If someone upsets them, it can be you that combines Persuasion and neutralizes them.

For example, let’s say that you are camping out near a Giant Badger hole and your party member accidentally throws trash into it. You can deescalate the situation by using Speak with Animals and explaining yourself.

Speak with a Wildshape Druid

This is a hilarious yet effective way to communicate with a party member. When your Druid is in the Wildshape form, it can no longer use standard language. But you can speak with them via this spell.

As far as I know, all of the Wildshape forms are beasts. But you may have to check with the specific form to know for sure if it is a beast. If it is not, then Speak with Animals won’t work.

Speaking with Animals Without the Spell

My favorite part of Dungeons and Dragons is learning to do things via roleplay and not just the Player’s Handbook. I’m completely against loophole searching, but this is different.

I once had this party member who didn’t play a magic user. However, he could “cast” any Wizard spell he wanted by using illusions and tricks.

He was a magician who used Fireball by lighting gas-soaked balls on fire and throwing them. Innovation is the secret to a solid DnD character that is loads of fun to play.

Nature Check

A Nature check or Animal Handling check may allow you to communicate with a beast in a way. While you won’t be able to literally two-way talk with them, you can use other means.

For example, you may learn that when a small furry creature taps on wood, it means that a storm is coming. You an also use something like History, though there won’t be as high of a chance of you learning what you need to know.

Background Boost – Ex. Folk Hero

A background with the right perks can ensure you can speak with animals – in part. Folk Hero is a good bet as Rustic Hospitality is just vague enough to allow it to be applied to beasts as well.

A custom background can also work, but any homebrew must be approved by the DM. So choose something that isn’t too overpowered for a better chance of your homebrew getting approved.

Forest Gnome

Speak with Animals dnd

The Forest Gnome has a built-in ability to communicate with small beasts. The Forest Gnome is a Gnome subrace that has a specific ability to communicate with small beasts.

This is a shoo-in for speaking with animals as there is no denying that Forest Gnomes can speak with some animals. That said, these Gnomes probably can’t innately speak with large beasts.

Ring of Animal Influence

The Ring of Animal Influence allows non-spellcasters to use animal-related spells. It grants the ability to cast Animal Friendship and Speak with Animals. Finding it isn’t quite as easy.

The ring charges each night and has three charges. The DM can allow you to roll a 1d6 and divide it into two or let it charge fully each long rest. No magic class is needed.

Learn Their Language

Giant Eagle, Giant Elk, Giant Vulture, Giant Raven, and Giant Owl are all three real languages in the 5e world. There may be more, but you’d have to ask your DM how you can learn their language.

These creatures are considered beasts, so that you can communicate with them via Speak with Animals. Since they also have their own language, learning the language is possible with any class.

Be Newt Scamander

Newt Scamander from the Fantastic Beasts series may be a wizard, but he doesn’t use spells to communicate with animals. Instead, he had an innate ability to communicate with beasts.

He also devoted his life to studying them. He learned the little quirks they have and what they mean. you can do this too, but paying attention and devoting your campaign to learning to “speak their non-verbal language.”


Question: Who Can Use Speak with Animals 5e?

Answer: The Bard, Druid, and Ranger are the only classes that have it on their spell list. However, the Paladin’s Oath of the Ancients and the Cleric’s Nature Domain allows those races to cast the spell as well.

Question: Can I Use Speak with Animals On Any Beast?

Answer: Yes. You can attempt to communicate with any beast while the spell is active. But make sure that the creature is considered a beast before you cast it, or you’ll waste a slot.

Question: How Does Speak with Animals Work?

Answer: Speak with Animals allows you to understand the “speech” of the beast in question. This makes it easy for you to get your message across but is not guaranteed to work with unintelligent beasts.  

Question: Does Speak with Animals Work on Familiars?

Answer: In short, no. Speak with Animals does not work on familiars. Familiars are not beasts but spirits that take on the form of beasts. They also have a connection with their companion alone.

Question: What are the Requirements for Speak with Animals 5e?

Answer: To Speak with Animals, all you need is your voice, an action, and a spell slot. As long as you have the spell – which you’ll start with – you can cast it at any time you can use an action.

When Speak with Animals 5e Becomes Your Character

It is possible – and encouraged by me – to find something and make it the center of your character. However, don’t let it take away from the campaign. If you’re always observant of opportunities, that’s great.

But if you allow it to distract you from the rest of the game or inhibit the party from having fun, you’ve found the line. Use Speak with Animals to enhance your gameplay and connect to your favorite critters.

Speak with Animals is one of my favorite spells in Dungeons and Dragons because I’ve always dreamt of speaking with animals in real life too. Why not live out my dreams in the tabletop world? 

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