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While Wood Wardens and many fey can talk with mundane animals, most mortals have no way to communicate with beasts. Even beast friend grants no ability to understand a beast, though it does allow the spellcaster to control its actions. Several versions of voice on the wind allow animals to act as messengers, though in this instance it does not grant any conversational ability beyond recalling the message.
A rare few animals, however, can converse with the sentient races in their own languages. Typically these are messengers of the gods or powerful fey nobles, imbued with limited intellect and often for a short duration. A very rare few animals have the permanent ability to talk and understand human terms. These are always servants of some greater power. Most talking animals, however, are not capable of holding detailed conversations and are
generally used to pass on simple missives to specific people.
One must also remember that despite being gifted with the ability to talk, they remain animals in all other ways. A squirrel, for instance, understands about trees, nuts, predators, and many forest animals, but it is very unlikely to use human names and terms. An oak may simply be known as a “harvest source,” while a wild cat may be a “clawed terror.”
Encountering a talking animal, while extremely rare and likely to rouse much interest from the local populace, is not considered frightening. Many legends tell of heroes guided or aided by talking beasts. That said, few citizens will ever converse with an animal directly in their lifetime or even meet someone who has. Most talking animals use the stats for Small Animals from the Hellfrost Bestiary.