Take the 2-minute tour ×
Role-playing Games Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for gamemasters and players of tabletop, paper-and-pencil role-playing games. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Related to my answer here.

Druidic is a special language in that no race can take it as a Bonus Language (even those who can choose any language specifically say except Druidic) and cannot be learned with Speak Language. Druids are forbidden from teaching it to a non-druid, on penalty of losing all spellcasting and supernatural abilities.

So can a character know Druidic without having any levels of Druid?

share|improve this question
    
Side question for the DM: Since Druidic is so secret, dare I say, "sacred" what happens when one of the druidic orders discovers that you've learned their language?..especially if you learned it via some nefarious way? –  Ben-Jamin Jan 27 at 20:17
add comment

2 Answers

up vote 10 down vote accepted

Plot: Learn it from someone who knows it

One would presume that should a druid decide to teach you Druidic, then you could spend a skill rank or two on Speak Languages to learn the language. That would be a DM’s call and probably quite rare, but it could happen. A blighter (Complete Divine) certainly wouldn’t care about teaching the language, for example.

Mind reading, memory access, or simple eavesdropping on a druid teaching a new druid may also suffice to be allowed to use Speak Language to learn Druidic. Note that the druid may lose his class features even if you force or trick him into teaching you though.

And of course, if one can find a nondruid who knows the language, that person would have no reason to refuse to teach you.

Magic: Speak all the languages

There are magical means to understand languages; comprehend languages and tongues would give one the ability to temporarily understand and speak Druidic.

A crystal mask of languages would also be capable of doing the trick. Oddly enough, while the crystal mask of languages requires that the crafter speak five languages, and then grants knowledge of five languages, nothing says they have to be the same five. Thus a Psion who knows several languages could craft one that grants knowledge of Druidic.

Note that none of these actually teach you the language; they all last only as long as the spell does, or as long as you wear the item.

Epic: Polyglot feat

The [Epic] feat Polyglot says you know all languages, so that includes Druidic. Language barriers are probably not your greatest concern at level 21, though. I suppose some Dragon abuse could get you the feat earlier, which in this case wouldn’t even be that game-breaking.

Prestige: Loremaster

This is the most useful one: the Loremaster prestige class gives bonus languages at 4th and 8th level. This class feature simply states that the loremaster can choose “any new language” – it doesn’t exclude Druidic like racial bonus languages do, nor does it invoke the Speak Languages skill.

While Druidic itself does say that it is “a secret language known only to druids,” 3.5 has a very important rule known as “specific-trumps-general.” In this case, I would argue, the general rule is that only druids known Druidic. After all, they get it free and everyone else has to work quite hard to get it. But clearly it is possible to learn the language in general (see previous points), so the statement that only druids know it is not absolute. Polyglot specifically supersedes it. So, I would argue, does the Loremaster’s Bonus Language.

share|improve this answer
9  
"Secret language known only to druids." I read that to supersede other things where it's not listed. In other words, unless it's specifically included then just exclude it. That is just my interpretation though, yours also seems valid. –  LitheOhm Aug 15 '13 at 21:40
    
I read it at LitheOhm did, as to me "any language" sounds general, and "only to druids" sounds specific... -- however, as druids loose their features for teaching it, that obviously means they can teach it, even if at a high cost. Unless you consider the language a class feature and they could somehow lose it as soon as they try teaching it? I'd be interested if a de-facto druid (e.g. high level ranger role-played a particular way) could be taught without making the druid lose his features... –  Julix Jan 26 at 23:51
    
@Julix LitheOhm’s position is inconsistent with numerous other rules which explicitly call out Druidic as special, to which Loremaster is a notable exception. Other classes that allow the learning of a language either exclude Druidic, or reference Speak Language, which does. In any event, the rules do not provide an opportunity for druids to teach any non-druid the language (without losing class features), no matter how “druid-like” the character may be. A DM could easily waive that as befits the setting and character, of course, the rules just don’t specifically mention the possibility. –  KRyan Jan 27 at 0:20
    
It's a good point, that other language adding bonuses clarify exclusions and these ones don't. –  Julix Jan 27 at 0:57
add comment

A further alternative method to learn Druidic could be a extremely challenging Decipher Script using collected notes written in Druidic and knowing the context. However even just finding written Druidic equivalent of the Rosetta Stone (Most likely written in Druidic, Elven and Sylvan) would be a quest in itself as I imagine it is rare one of a kind marker of extreme importance.

It should be noted that this method isn't RAW and was a previous house ruling however if allowed by the DM gives your character an excellent roleplay opportunity to learn a language and provide plot hooks for adventures.

I would also like to mention there is nothing at all stopping a Druid from teaching (or being forced to teach) Druidic to someone in the case of an emergency and then atoning later.

share|improve this answer
1  
Are you aware of any rules that allow Decipher Script to learn a language? You could use Decipher Script to figure out a particular passage in Druidic (particularly given a Rosetta Stone), but I’m not sure it’s enough to actually learn the language. It’s a good idea but I’m curious if there is any rules back-up. The second point is good and valid. –  KRyan Aug 20 '13 at 17:35
    
I have just been talking to the DM of my previous online campaign during which we had a similar situation learning Infernal. It seems it was a house rule he had put in place I'll update my answer above accordingly. –  Dancing Kobold Aug 20 '13 at 17:42
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.