For quite some time now, I’ve been looking for a way to teach a familiar in Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 or Pathfinder how to talk. If you choose a raven, you’re lucky enough that it can speak a single language, but no other familiar gets this ability. I know my sorcerer will be able to speak to her familiar one-on-one, but I’m interested in the bit of humor that goes with talking to other characters. My GM is pretty free-wheeling with the rules, so anything I come up with will probably work for the most part, but I have yet to find a reliable way to make this happen.
And Google has failed me hardcore.
There is this little potentially breakable issue of “anyone who can speak can potentially use spell trigger items (wands)”, but ravens can already do this, and they can hold wands to boot! I’m looking at an animal with no inherent way to hold a wand.
Besides, I’m only halfway interested in my familiar using a wand.
So let’s go over a few things I’ve tried that probably don’t work…
Druids have access to a feat called Wild Speech which lets them speak even when animal form. This could be a base for a talking familiar, but familiars don’t exactly get feats, so it would be something my character has to take (and I’m pretty much committed to feats until 11th level).
The Magic Item Compendium (sometimes called the Book of Wonderful Things) has a Crystal Mask of Languages that lets the wearer speak, read, and write five languages (which my character does have). I could make this at some point and give it to my familiar, but it doesn’t specify whether a creature who couldn’t normally speak could use it.
Learning to speak a new language costs a skill point or two, and familiars share skill ranks with their masters. I spent two points to learn Aquan, so my familiar can probably understand Aquan but can’t speak it?
There really should be some magic item out there that has the Speak With Animals spell as a requirement to allow an animal to speak, but I can’t find one, and I’m not really sure what sort of caster level or cost such a thing would have.
EDIT: The spell Awaken allows an animal to talk (or a tree for that matter) and makes them more intelligent, but awakened animals can’t be familiars. I know some GMs are probably willing to allow a partial version of this so they can talk and get the Charisma boost, but no other benefits… Even that feels like a workaround.
So… Anyone know a decent, reliable way to teach a familiar to talk?