This article was originally published November 28th, 2022, and has been updated to reflect the new monsters that have been added to the D&D 5e cannon.


What is Deep Speech?

According to the 5e Player’s Handbook, p123, Deep Speech is the language spoken by mind flayers and beholders. That’s it, that’s all the information we get on this language. What else can we glean from the official sources about this language.

First, speaking more broadly, deep speech is the language of aberrations. Start spawn, neogi, psurlons, aboleth, and other beholderkin are speakers of this language. Most of these things have a mouth, and many of the ones that don’t either can only understand the language or are telepathic.

The current player’s handbook also lists no script for this language. The 4e Forgotten Realms Players Guide states that the drow were the first to document this language. This is as a result of their close proximity to the mind flayers in the underdark.

I like to think that, given the body plans of creatures that speak this language it must involve a larger amount of gesture than most languages we think of. Tentacles and extra limbs are the norm for aberrations. The also tend to have rather unusual mouth-parts.

The hardest part of speaking Deep isn’t all the hissing and gurgling. It’s all the gesture meant to be made with tentacles. Bony human fingers just weren’t made to coil and squiggle like the tentacles of a mind flayer or a star spawn…

-Voivode Kohoutek

Who Speaks Deep Speech?

CreatureTypeCRSource
Aberrant ZealotAberration8Phandelver and Below: The Shattered Obelisk
AbolethAberration10Monster Manual
Aboleth SpawnAberration5Criticial Role Presents: Call of the Netherdeep
AlhoonUndead10Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse or Volo’s Guide to Monsters
Alyxian AbolethAberration12Criticial Role Presents: Call of the Netherdeep
BalhannothAberration11Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse or Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes
BeholderAberration13Monster Manual
Beholder ZombieUndead5Monster Manual
BelashyrraAberration22Eberron: Rising from the Last War
Berlain ShadowduskAberration12Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage
Bodytaker PlantPlant7Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft
Brain BreakerAberration (Mind Flayer)12Phandelver and Below: The Shattered Obelisk
Breath DrinkerAberration14Phandelver and Below: The Shattered Obelisk
Captain N’ghathrodAberration8Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage
Cassiok ShadowduskAberration12Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage
ChishimixAberration11Phandelver and Below: The Shattered Obelisk
ChokerAberration1Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse or Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes
ChuulAberration4Monster Manual
CloakerAberration8Monster Manual
Cloaker MutateAberration10Phandelver and Below: The Shattered Obelisk
Core Spawn CrawlerAberration1Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount
Core Spawn EmissaryAberration6Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount
Core Spawn SeerAberration13Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount
Core Spawn WormAberration15Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount
Cosmic HorrorAberration18Boo’s Astral Menagerie
DarkweaverAberration10Morte’s Planar Parade
Death KissAberration10Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse or Volo’s Guide to Monsters
Death TyrantUndead14Monster Manual
DolgauntAberration3Eberron: Rising from the Last War
DolgrimAberration1/2Eberron: Rising from the Last War
Dream EaterAberration7Monstrous Compendium Vol. 2: Dragonlance Creatures
DyrrnAberration24Eberron: Rising from the Last War
Elder BrainAberration14Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse or Volo’s Guide to Monsters
Elder Brain DragonAberration22Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons
Eldritch LichUndead15Monstrous Compendium Vol. 1: Spelljammer Creatures
Ettin CeremorphAberration8Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants
Eye MongerAberration10Boo’s Astral Menagerie
EyedrakeAberration8Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons
F’yorlAberration0Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden
Fragment of KrokulmarAberration0Keys from the Golden Vault
GauthAberration6Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse or Volo’s Guide to Monsters
Gnome CeremorphAberration5Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden
Gnome SquidlingAberration1/2Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden
Goon BalloonAberration1/8Monstrous Compendium Vol. 1: Spelljammer Creatures
GrazilaxxAberration7Out of the Abyss
Grell PsychicAberration4Phandelver and Below: The Shattered Obelisk
HashutuAberration11Phandelver and Below: The Shattered Obelisk
HastainCelestial8Light of Xaryxis
Ignatius InkblotAberration4Keys from the Golden Vault
IllithilichUndead22Volo’s Guide to Monsters
Infected Elder BrainAbberation (Mind Flayer)11Phandelver and Below: The Shattered Obelisk
Intellect DevourerAberration2Monster Manual
Intellect SnareAberration8Phandelver and Below: The Shattered Obelisk
LorthuunAberration9Out of the Abyss
Markos DelphiHumanoid (Human, Warlock)3Keys from the Golden Vault
Melissara ShadowduskHumanoid12Monster Manual
Meloon WardragonHumanoid9Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage
Mind FlayerAberration7Monster Manual
Mind Flayer ArcanistAberration8Monster Manual
Mind Flayer ClairvoyantAberration11Phandelver and Below: The Shattered Obelisk
Mind Flayer ProphetAberration8Phandelver and Below: The Shattered Obelisk
Mind Flayer PsionAberration8Volo’s Guide to Monsters
MindwitnessAberration5Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse or Volo’s Guide to Monsters
Mr. DoryAberration10Ghosts of Saltmarsh
Neh-thalgguAberration4Boo’s Astral Menagerie
NeogiAberration3Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse or Volo’s Guide to Monsters
Neogi MasterAberration4Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse or Volo’s Guide to Monsters
Neogi PirateAberration3Boo’s Astral Menagerie
Neogi Void HunterAberration4Boo’s Astral Menagerie
Nerozar the DefeatedUndead5Monster Manual
Nightmare HauntAberration5MCV4EC
NihiloorAberration7Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage
OculorbAberration9Phandelver and Below: The Shattered Obelisk
Oshundo the AlhoonUndead (Mind Flayer, Wizard)10Phandelver and Below: The Shattered Obelisk
PodlingPlant1/2Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft
PsurlonAberration2Boo’s Astral Menagerie
Psurlon LeaderAberration6Boo’s Astral Menagerie
Psurlon RingerAberration1Boo’s Astral Menagerie
QunbraxelAberration (Mind Flayer, Warlock)9Phandelver and Below: The Shattered Obelisk
Reduced-Threat AbolethAberration10Tales from the Yawning Portal
Reduced-Threat BeholderAberration13Tales from the Yawning Portal
ReigarCelestial8Boo’s Astral Menagerie
Shalfi LewinAberration8Phandelver and Below: The Shattered Obelisk
SkumAberration5Ghosts of Saltmarsh
SpectatorAberration3Monster Manual
Star Spawn GrueAberration1/4Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse or Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes
Star Spawn HulkAberration10Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse or Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes
Star Spawn Larva MageAberration16Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse or Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes
Star Spawn ManglerAberration5Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse or Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes
Star Spawn SeerAberration13Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse or Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes
UlitharidAberration9Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse or Volo’s Guide to Monsters
Vertrand ShadowduskHumanoid12Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage
VoalshAberration11Phandelver and Below: The Shattered Obelisk
WhistlerAberration9Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel
XanatharAberration13Waterdeep Dragon Heist
Xazax the EyemongerAberration13Out of the Abyss
Zalthar ShadowduskUndead17Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage

What’s Next?

Learn more about how to price magical items from the Arena Gnomes at the Coliseum Market, and maybe learn about how to make a token for yourself. Or, maybe head over to Amazon and buy some cool stuff and support the DungeonSports Coliseum. For the Dominus!

Categories: Ability Check

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