Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Languages in Eradu

Fantasy, not Reality

I tried running a game with the fantasy language structure modeled after real world languages.  What I ended up with was a group of characters that couldn't couldn't communicate and a splash of un-fun rules and complicated nonsense.  Everyone just learned dwarf to so they could speak - it was ridiculous even by RPG standards.  There was some sense of awesomeness in knowing the local language, but as soon as the adventurers moved on, WHAM! no one can speak to NPCs any more.  I decided to simplify things for the next round.

The Languages

A Common Tongue
Merchant's Tongue is a pidgin that has developed to facilitate trade.  If a character can speak MT they should be able to deal with any sort of merchant situation outside of those tiny villages where the merchants barely speak their own language.  Everyone should take this as it can be used for any simple communication.  There is no written form.
Speak: 2 BP     Literacy: na

Ancient Stuff
http://www.bible-history.com/babylonia/ancient_map_bab.gifWestrian is really old and no longer spoken.  In fact, a PC can only become literate in Westrian.  For those that dive around in the ancient ruins of the world, things are often written in Westrian, so being able to understand it is key.  The language is incredibly complex and often indecipherable.
Speak: na     Literacy: 4 BP

Arcanus is also very old, but still used in some circles as a scholarly language.  It is quite often heard as the language cults use in their strange and dark rituals to petition the Elder Gods.  Mages also use Arcanus as a language to discuss magic and magical theory.  A character can never have a mastery more than one level above their Arcane Lore skill.
Speak: 2 BP     Literacy: 4 BP

Human (and Halfling) Chatter
There are four primary human languages in Northern Realms of Eradu.  A character who can speak one language is considered to have a skill equal to half the rank of their native language.  All the human tongues are inter-related.  In addition, any of the ancient variants of those languages just necessitate a more difficult skill check rather than a separate skill.  Halfling speak the closest human language or occasionally speak Impir well out of context.

Halit: guttural language of the north; a simpler version is used by the barbarians of the far north
Larer: a more civilized language of the south, most closely related to Merchant's Tongue
Impir: the western language, aspects seen in Halit and Farhuir as well
Farhuir: a tongue codified from numerous of clan languages, numerous dialects
Speak: 2 BP     Literacy: 4 BP

 Task Check 
 Ancient  +40

The Dwarf Cant
At one time there were as many dwarf languages as there were great clans, but at some point as the written word became as unto religion to the dwarfs and their language was brought together to form a perfect union of ideas and the unified dwarf language was crafted.  Literally translated the name of the language is The Word Of Stone Shall Neither Be Sundered Nor Forgotten.

Dwarf: the unified language of the dwarf peoples
Speak: 2 BP     Literacy: 4 BP

Deepstone: A secret dwarf language spoken by the Deepstone Dwarfs who hate the surface and light
Dwarf - Speak: 2 BP     Literacy: 4 BP
Non-Dwarf - Speak: 4 BP     Literacy: 12 BP

The Elf Song
The elf speak a language that is lyrical and pleasing to the human ear.  It comes in two melodies simply called high elf and low elf, the former being a proper language and the former more of a vulgar tongue used in battle or when outside of the Home Nest.  Elves believe their language to be the pinnacle of language, but when literally translated, it often seems full of juvenile crudeness and haphazard description.

Elf, High: the true language of the elf nations full of lyrical intonation and complex cadence
Elf, Low: the vulgar common of the elf people, still thought to be better than any human gibbering
Speak: 2 BP     Literacy: 4 BP

Other Languages

Characters can learn other languages as well.  These are only spoken unless otherwise noted.

Canis: language of gnolls and savage men, full of growls and yips
Draconic: the ancient language of dragons (2x BP, also a written language)
Edri: the language of the Patchwork sounds like screams and cries of madness
Gobbeldy: the yammering of goblins, orcs, and their ilk
Jotnar: giants and trolls speak this booming tongue that sounds like a rock slide (Speak: 3 BP     Literacy: 6 BP)
Shsrthas: the hisses of snakemen and lizardfolk can be understood by others (the snakemen have a written form of Shsrthas)
Wildrun: spoken by faerie and creatures of the sylvan wood

Everything in a Handy Chart

 Language Speak   Literacy   Note Sounds Like
 Canis2n/a gnolls and savages growls and yips
 Draconic48 dragons (not kobolds) resonating brass 
 Dwarf, Deepstone2 / 44 / 12 non-dwarfs learn at a penalty a perfectly working mine 
 Dwarf, Unified2 4 standard dwarf language somewhere between Scottish and German 
 Elf, High24 standard elf language a passionate song sung by your lover
 Elf, Low24 "vulgar" a bawdy tune sing by an opera star
 Erdi2n/a Patchwork things screams and cries of madness
 Ancient - Arcanus24 limited by arcane lore Staccato Latin
 Ancient - Westriann/a4 no longer spoken Unknown?
 Human, Farhuir24 all human languages are related   Slavic languages
 Human, Halit24 all human languages are related American English
 Human, Impir24 all human languages are related British English
 Human, Larer24 all human languages are related French
 Merchant's Tongue  2n/a pidgin common a bit of everything
 Gobbeldy2n/a goblins, orcs, and kobolds gibbering nonsense
 Jotnar36 giants and trolls a pebble dropping to an avalanche
 Shsrthas24* folk of scales hissing and glottal stops
 Wildrun2n/a faerie and sylvan things the wind whispering in the trees