DND Deep Speech: Ultimate Guide for Beginners

DND Deep Speech is a fascinating and often misunderstood language in the Dungeons & Dragons universe.

Here is the big picture of what you need to know about DND Deep Speech:

Deep Speech is an ancient and mysterious language in DND characterized by throaty sounds and raspy intonations. Deep Speech originates from the Underdark, a vast network of subterranean caverns beneath the world of DND. It is the native tongue of many aberrations and otherworldly creatures.

This guide will explore everything you need to know about DND Deep Speech in more detail.

What Is DND Deep Speech? (History & Traits)

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Cartoon Mind Flayer - DND Deep Speech
I made this image – DND Deep Speech

To understand Deep Speech, you need to know the history and charactertistcs.

The History of Deep Speech

DND Deep Speech is believed to have been created by the powerful and enigmatic beings known as the Aboleths.

These ancient creatures are said to possess knowledge that predates the existence of the gods.

Over time, the language spread throughout the Underdark, becoming the primary means of communication for many aberrations and other creatures that dwell within its depths.

The Characteristics of Deep Speech

Deep Speech is an incredibly complex and nuanced language.

It combines guttural, psychic, and otherworldly sounds.

This creates a form of communication that is both deeply unsettling and utterly unique.

DND Deep Speech is often described as being nearly impossible for other races to learn or understand without extensive study and practice.

Who Knows and Uses Deep Speech in DND?

There are primary language speakers and others who may know or understand the language of Deep Speech.

Primary Language Users

DND Deep Speech is primarily known and used by the following races and creatures:

  • Mind Flayers. Also known as Illithids, these sinister beings are known for their psychic abilities and insatiable hunger for brains. They use Deep Speech to communicate with one another and to command their thralls.
  • Beholders. These aberrations, known for their numerous eyestalks and powerful magical abilities, also use Deep Speech as their primary means of communication.
  • Aboleths. As the creators of Deep Speech, the ancient and mysterious Aboleths naturally possess a deep understanding of the language.
  • Other Aberrations. Many other aberrations, such as the Neogi and the Slaad, also use Deep Speech to communicate with their kin.

Other Users of Deep Speech

While it is primarily the language of aberrations, some other races and classes may also possess knowledge of Deep Speech.

These can include:

  • Warlocks. Certain warlocks who have made a pact with an otherworldly patron associated with the Underdark or aberrations might have DND Deep Speech as one of their known languages.
  • Githyanki and Githzerai. Both Githyanki and Githzerai have a long history of conflict with the mind flayers, and some may have learned Deep Speech in order to better understand their enemies.

Can My Character Learn Deep Speech?

Yes, your character can learn DND Deep Speech.

But there are certain requirements and limitations depending on your character’s race and class.

Races such as the Githyanki and Githzerai, may already know Deep Speech as part of their racial traits.

Warlocks who have made a pact with an otherworldly patron associated with the Underdark or aberrations may also have the option to learn Deep Speech.

Should My Character Learn Deep Speech? (Pros and Cons)

Before deciding whether or not your character should learn DND Deep Speech, it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons.


  • Communication with Aberrations. Knowing Deep Speech allows your character to communicate with aberrations, which can be helpful in negotiating, gathering information, or even forming alliances with these creatures.
  • Unraveling Secrets. Deep Speech may be useful for deciphering ancient texts or understanding the plans of powerful enemies that use the language.
  • Roleplaying Opportunities: Having a character who knows Deep Speech can create exciting roleplaying opportunities and deepen your character’s backstory.


  • Limited Use. Deep Speech is a relatively rare language, and there may not be many opportunities to use it during a campaign.
  • Possible Stigma. Some characters or NPCs may view knowledge of Deep Speech with suspicion, as it is primarily associated with evil and otherworldly creatures.

How Do You Learn Deep Speech

If you decide that your character should learn DND Deep Speech, there are several methods you can employ to learn the language:

  • Racial Traits. Some races, such as the Githyanki and Githzerai, already know Deep Speech as part of their racial traits.
  • Class Features. Classes like the Bard and the Rogue can learn additional languages as they level up, allowing you to choose Deep Speech as one of the languages your character knows.
  • Feats. Taking the “Linguist” feat will enable your character to learn three additional languages, including Deep Speech.
  • In-Game Training. Your character can also learn Deep Speech during the course of the campaign by seeking out a tutor or studying ancient texts.

What Does Deep Speech Sound Like?

Deep Speech is a complex and otherworldly language, combining guttural, psychic, and bizarre sounds to create a form of communication that is both unsettling and unique.

It may be difficult for non-native speakers to replicate the intricate nuances of Deep Speech.

However, you can imagine it as a blend of strange vocalizations, telepathic whispers, and unsettling tones.

Here is a video that gives you an idea of what DND Deep Speech may sound like:

YouTube video by Odean Rush – DND Deep Speech

Deep Speech and Telepathy

Many creatures that use Deep Speech also possess telepathic abilities.

Even if a character knows Deep Speech, they may still find it challenging to communicate with these beings without some form of telepathic ability.

However, knowing Deep Speech can still provide valuable insights into the thoughts and plans of such creatures.

Can Deep Speech Be Written?

Deep Speech is a complex and otherworldly language that relies heavily on psychic, guttural, and bizarre sounds.

Due to its nature, it is nearly impossible to represent these sounds accurately in a written form.

While some scholars or powerful beings may have developed a system to record the language, it is generally considered an unwritten language.

Most communication in Deep Speech occurs through spoken or telepathic means.

Deep Speech in Different Campaign Settings

The prevalence and importance of Deep Speech can vary greatly depending on the specific campaign setting.

In some settings, Deep Speech might be more widespread and well-known.

In others, it could be an obscure and forgotten language.

Forgotten Realms

In the popular Forgotten Realms setting, Deep Speech is primarily associated with the Underdark and its inhabitants, such as mind flayers and beholders.

It is a rare language on the surface, known mainly by scholars, adventurers, and those with ties to the Underdark.


In the world of Eberron, Deep Speech is less common, but it can still be found among the aberrations and other creatures that dwell in the depths of Khyber, the Dragon Below.

Characters with connections to the Cults of the Dragon Below or the mysterious Daelkyr might have knowledge of Deep Speech.

Dark Sun

In the harsh and brutal world of Dark Sun, Deep Speech is almost unheard of, as the aberrations that typically use it are exceedingly rare.

However, a character with a particularly esoteric or ancient background might still have learned this enigmatic language.

Deep Speech in DND Lore and Literature

Throughout the history of Dungeons & Dragons, Deep Speech has appeared in numerous published adventures, sourcebooks, and novels.

These works can provide further inspiration and context for incorporating Deep Speech,

Several official DND adventures and sourcebooks feature Deep Speech prominently, such as:

  • Out of the Abyss. This adventure takes place primarily in the Underdark, where characters will likely encounter many creatures that speak Deep Speech. Knowledge of the language can be particularly useful for navigating the dangerous depths and interacting with the denizens of the Underdark.
  • Volo’s Guide to Monsters. This sourcebook provides a wealth of information about the various creatures that use Deep Speech, including mind flayers, beholders, and neogi. It can be an invaluable resource for players and Dungeon Masters looking to learn more about the language and the creatures that speak it.

DM Tips for Using Deep Speech in a Campaign

As a Dungeon Master, incorporating Deep Speech into your campaign can add depth and intrigue.

Here are some overall tips for using Deep Speech effectively:

  • Create Puzzles and Riddles. Use Deep Speech as a means for players to solve puzzles, riddles, or decipher ancient texts during their adventures.
  • Introduce Unique NPCs. Include NPCs that know Deep Speech, either as allies or enemies, to create interesting roleplaying opportunities and challenges for the players.
  • Reward Players. If a player character learns Deep Speech, reward their efforts by providing opportunities to use their knowledge in meaningful ways.

Now here are some more specific tips:

  1. Introduce a mysterious artifact inscribed with Deep Speech runes that players must decipher to unlock its power.
  2. Create a secret society or cult that uses Deep Speech as a means of communication to keep their activities hidden.
  3. Have players encounter an ancient temple or dungeon where Deep Speech is used to communicate with the trapped spirits or entities within.
  4. Allow players to discover a prophecy or ancient text written in Deep Speech that reveals crucial information about their quest.
  5. Create custom spells or magical effects that are more powerful or have unique properties when cast using Deep Speech.
  6. Introduce a magical barrier or portal that can only be opened or bypassed by speaking a phrase in Deep Speech.
  7. Feature a reclusive NPC scholar who specializes in studying Deep Speech and can provide assistance or guidance to the players.
  8. Create a unique magical item or artifact that grants the ability to understand or speak Deep Speech, but with potential side effects or drawbacks.
  9. Introduce a faction or group of creatures that have been corrupted or influenced by the power of Deep Speech, making them a dangerous threat to the players.
  10. Create a powerful enemy or villain who uses Deep Speech to command their minions or cast powerful spells.
  11. Incorporate Deep Speech into the history and lore of the campaign world, associating it with ancient empires, cataclysmic events, or powerful artifacts.
  12. Introduce a quest or mission that requires the players to learn Deep Speech in order to succeed, pushing them to seek out tutors or ancient texts.
  13. Feature a puzzle or riddle that can only be solved by understanding the nuances of Deep Speech.
  14. Create a magical curse or affliction that causes the affected character to speak only in Deep Speech, requiring the party to find a cure or workaround.
  15. Use Deep Speech as a means for the players to communicate with powerful, otherworldly beings that exist beyond the normal boundaries of the campaign world.
  16. Create a unique, powerful creature that can only be defeated or appeased by communicating with it in Deep Speech.
  17. Introduce hidden messages or clues in Deep Speech throughout the campaign, rewarding players who have taken the time to learn the language.
  18. Develop an encounter or situation in which the players must use Deep Speech to negotiate with a dangerous or unpredictable creature, such as a powerful aberration.
  19. Create a series of side quests or missions related to the study and mastery of Deep Speech, offering unique rewards or revelations for players who choose to pursue them.
  20. Incorporate a location, such as an otherworldly plane or hidden city, where Deep Speech is the dominant language, forcing the players to adapt and communicate in new ways.

Variant Rules for Deep Speech

If you want to add a unique twist to Deep Speech in your DND game, consider implementing variant rules or homebrew content.

These can help further emphasize the otherworldly and mysterious nature of the language.

Psychic Component

Given the psychic nature of many Deep Speech speakers, you might require characters who wish to learn the language to have some form of psychic or psionic ability.

This can help reinforce the idea that Deep Speech is more than just a spoken language.

It requires a deeper understanding of the mind to truly master.

Madness and Corruption

You could also introduce a mechanic where prolonged exposure to or use of Deep Speech has the potential to corrupt or drive a character mad.

This can create interesting roleplaying opportunities and challenges.

Especially for characters who choose to learn the language, as they must weigh the benefits of understanding Deep Speech against the potential risks to their sanity.

Good Backstories for Deep Speech Characters

Characters with knowledge of Deep

Speech can have a variety of intriguing backstories. Here are some ideas to inspire your character’s background:

  • Former Thrall. Your character was once a thrall to a mind flayer colony but managed to escape. During their time as a thrall, they learned Deep Speech and now use it to help others avoid a similar fate.
  • Scholar of the Underdark. Your character is a researcher or explorer fascinated by the mysteries of the Underdark. They learned Deep Speech to better understand the aberrations and ancient relics found within its depths.
  • Child of Prophecy. Your character was born under a strange omen and has been haunted by visions of otherworldly beings since childhood. They learned Deep Speech in an attempt to understand these visions and unlock the secrets of their destiny.
  • Warlock’s Pact. Your character made a pact with an otherworldly patron connected to the Underdark or aberrations. As part of their pact, they gained the ability to speak Deep Speech and now use it to further their patron’s goals.

Final Thoughts: DND Deep Speech

I would recommend dabbling in DND Deep Speech in your campaign or one-shot.

That will give you some practice with the language while exposing your players to the possibility of encountering it in other adventures.

If you’re looking for resources to get started with DND, here is what I recommend:

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