Expanded Language

Language is one of the most important tools in any world containing intelligent life. This system for languages shows a little of the depth and use that communication has in the world. It allows for much more immersive role-playing and makes learning new languages more difficult, since actually learning new languages is difficult. This can add a whole new level of immersion to your campaign.

Understanding of Languages

No one is completely fluent at a language when they first learn it. This system introduces ranks of fluency, running 0-3.

_

0 - No understanding and extremely limited vocabulary. Your best bet is pointing and miming to communicate any form of idea. You can understand the basic intentions these gestures with a successful DC 20 Intelligence saving throw.

_

1 - Rudimentary understanding and limited vocabulary allow you to communicate basic ideas in the language, but no more. You cannot read or write in this language. You can understand the basic ideas of others who use the language on a successful DC 15 Intelligence saving throw.

_

2 - Basic understanding and average vocabulary allow you to use complete sentences and have casual conversations but advanced ideas are beyond your ability to convey. You can now read and write in this language. You can understand the advanced ideas of others who use the language on a successful DC 10 Intelligence saving throw.

_

3 - Fluency and an extensive vocabulary allow you to communicate and listen effectively. No Intelligence check is required to understand others who speak this language.

Intelligence and Language

Instead of Languages as something that are just given based on race, Intelligence determines the use of languages. When you create your character, you have a number of Language Points equal to 3 + your Intelligence modifier. Whenever your Intelligence modifier goes up, you gain the appropriate number of Langugage Points. You may allocate them to any languages that you wish, at your DM's discretion. One Language Point is equal to one rank in any language. Each language is tracked separately. Studying a language for 250 days grants 1 rank of fluency. Total Immersion for 100 days grants 1 rank of fluency.

Languages have Power

Different languages are better at communicating different kinds of ideas. Each language comes from a different culture that valued different things, and their languages reflect these differences in the form of nuances and perhaps the lacking of a way to accurately or succinctly communicate certain ideas. _

Common - Common is the general language used to bridge the gap between cultures. Common thieves terms and grammar from most other languages and adapts them to its own uses. It has no major nuances that can be accurately defined. It can describe most any idea, but often misses the nuances and subtleties that other languages can convey. Common is used by most species only when communicating with other species. Humans are the exception, as they try to communicate in a more business-like fashion, and so communicate to each other the same way they would to any other race.

_

Elvish - To elves, beauty is perfection and their language matches that ideal. Elvish has hundreds of different, nuanced words for beauty. To elves, how something is pleasing to the eye is the most important, so words for objects in Elvish tend to describe how it looks.

_

Dwarvish - Dwarves are master miners and artisans. This manifests itself in their language in the form of touch. They describe things in terms of texture, be it roughness, cutting capability, or weight. The dwarvish language has words that many other races cannot directly translate as the dwarves especcially sensitive fingers can feel textures that are too subtle for other races to detect, so the words are just accepted as fact by others.

_

Draconic - Dragons are the oldest intelligent creatures, and their gutteral and hard language has a power that no other language has: it is the basis of magic. Draconic describes the creation of things, so any word for something is a reference to the process of creating the item. The verbal components of spells are all in Draconic. Because of this, spell scrolls and wizard's spellbooks must be written in Draconic to fully communicate each aspect of the spell.

_

Gnomish - Gnomes are tinkerers and machinists of the world, and their language is designed to sate curiosity in as short a time as possible. Words in Gnomish describe how a thing works and its inner machinations, so that something's name is all a Gnome need tell another Gnome before getting back to work.

_

Giant - Giants are family and individually oriented, and they have a propensity for the extravagance. Due to this, the Giant language has two names for every person; denoting their lineage and their accomplishments. Speaking Giant requires one to be long-winded, as ideas tend to be described in detail.

_

Primordial - The language of the elementals is wild and difficult to understand to those of the Material Plane. It seems to shift ideas and clauses quickly, but to those who study it, its patterns are detectable, if quick. The four dialects of Primordial are Aquan, Auran, Ignan, and Terran. If one speaks one of the dialects, he is able to understand someone speaking Primordial as if with Rank 2 fluency, but not the other dialects. If one speaks Primordial, he is able to understand those speaking all four dialects perfectly.

_

Sylvan - Fairies are a capricious, yet pretty race, and their language follows that. It sounds quick and flighty, just like its creators. If slowed down, Sylvan could be mistaken for Elvish by those who speak neither, since they both share a tendency to flowy, pretty speech. This is due to the fact that Elvish is originally derived from Sylvan, though the mortality of Elves has drastically changed the words, even if grammar and accent sound similar.

_

Undercommon - The language of the subterranean sounds harsh and grating on the ears, even if many words are taken from Elvish. This language is standard among those who don't see the sun's light, so visual beauty means little to them. Undercommon works much like Common, in that it takes from many languages and adapts to new words quickly.

_

Celestial - The language of the the divines, Celestial sounds lilting and melodious to the ear. It's words are actually related to Draconic, and so can be used in certain spells in place of Draconic, though only holy spells. This language is commonly learned by clergymen but is rarely used by anyone else.

_

Abyssal - The language of demons sounds like someone attempting to whisper, the words often sounding tempting or alluring. Like Celestial, Abyssal is also related to Draconic, and can be used in defiled spells. Infernal is a dialect of Abyssal, and those who speak one can understand the other as if they had Rank 2 fluency. Infernal cannot be used in spells.

_

More languages and nuances exist, and are subject to your DM's discretion.

;
1 / 2