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45

In general in play they were ignored or just treated as an abstract language with no further comment. As to where they came from, here's an answer from Gary Gygax on Dragonsfoot! As D&D was being quantified and qualified by the publication of the supplemental rules booklets. I decided that Thieves' cant should not be the only secret language. Thus ...


39

This is a place where you should probably revert to descriptive GMing rather than reciting the character's lines. Say something like: The Elf approaches you (the dwarf) and says something in a language you don't understand. It sounds like elf talk to you, but you don't have any idea what he's saying. Your player can then react to this situation. If ...


28

Unless you and the players speak Elvish, you have three options: Say that they're speaking another language without saying what it is. Say that they're speaking Elvish. Say a few Elvish words for flavor. To decide which option to use, think about the effects of each: The party only knows that this language is one they themselves don't speak. The ...


26

What's important to the setting? Rude words are rude only because we decide they are. The word and phrases that a society feels are inappropriate say a lot about the people and culture, so you're going to need to start with a solid understanding of the values and beliefs of the society. Consider what is commonplace in your setting, what's sacred or ...


25

There's two ways that I can think of. If you want a really simple solution? Declare that "Common" is a common second language. It's by no means universal - and as you move further away from major borders and trade routes it can completely disappear - but it's common enough that almost anyone could know it without straining plausibility. In mechanical terms, ...


23

Only gods and angels can speak Supernal so that all may understand. Your quote is from the Dungeon Master's Guide (page 171) then re-phrased by the Rules Compendium (a more up-to-date version of the rules), which actually says this: The gods have their own language, Supernal, which they share with their angelic servants. When a god or angel speaks ...


20

Latin (and to some extent Greek) used to be the lingua franca during the middle ages. Later on, French became the language of diplomacy and nobility. Everyone that mattered [1] speaks a local variation of said language which should still be understandable by another speaker. For example, Quebecois and French or American and English. So, you could have ...


19

As written, the Linguist feat seems to be a poor choice for most players in most campaigns. If languages are useful in your campaign, then the feat will be desirable. Making languages useful is difficult. If you make language use essential, then you run the risk of frustrating players when they cannot communicate with NPCs. "Hand signal" role-play is only ...


18

There's a pronunciation guide on the Wikipedia Page, which references an old FAQ, for whatever that's worth. Essentially it's pronounced how its spelled, no real trick to it. Might help to think of it as "Smurf-Neblin", only with a V instead of the M in smurf. Doesn't really roll off the tongue no matter how you pronounce it, but I'd guess that's half the ...


17

Ars Magica is the pride of its fans for this very reason—its core and supplements are founded on the principles of science, magic, and mythology as were believed by the people of the middle ages. The basic premise of the game is that all the things those people believed about the world are true: demons, humours, goblins, fairy circles, aether, etc. As a side ...


17

Excerpt from the Shardmind racial description (PHB3, pg12): Telepathy: You can communicate telepathically with any creature within 5 squares of you that has a language. Note that it does not place a restriction on whether you speak the same language, nor does it provide details about the nature of the communication. Excerpt from the Sending ritual ...


16

Yes, RAW others can learn. Drow Sign Language is a bonus language for drow; others have to spend skill points to learn it. It has no alphabet or written form. (FRCS, p. 13) As always DMs can rule however they want and may require you to find a willing drow to teach you. (If I allowed it, I would require this.)


15

You can communicate with anything that has a language whether or not you share a language. from the Rules Compendium pg. 316: A creature that has telepathy can communicate mentally with any creature that has a language, even if they don’t share the language. The other creature must be within line of effect and within a specified range. Telepathy allows ...


15

The feat has great utility... if you are not running 4E in a boardgame mode. In non-combat encounters, most of the action should be taking place in a single area, and the PC's should speak the primary language. They also should be speak their ethnic tongues. If you want to make it both more realistic in play and more useful, have most people in towns ...


15

Creating slang and dialect is an art, not a science, and there are two basic strategies: invent it, or steal it. If you invent dialect, don't invent words Berk, from Berkeley Hunt or a rhyming insult. Cutter, definition 11. Barmy, Etymology 2, from balmy. and chant is just a description of oral news services. You can see that the slang used in ...


15

Thieves' Cant isn't a written language, thus there would be nothing to understand via a spell. Nowhere in the quote you've pulled (or the PHB) is thieves' cant ever described as a written language. This is because thieves' cant is both verbal and physical communication. Some word substitution (1 to 1) is used, but it is largely based on metaphor and ...


14

Fractal is the way to go here. Try this on for size, some trimming may be needed for it to fit perfectly. I'm going to be assuming she speaks Latin fluently, and the rest of the party speaks modern English where assumptions need to be made. High Concept: Language Barrier Aspects: Romance Language Family, Ancient Tongue, Seeming Similarity ...


13

This thread implies that Deep Speech uses the same alphabet as Elven; namely, Rellanic: Found a font someone created for Rellanic on EN World (registration required); it works rather nicely. And since character who know Elven aren't supposed to be able to read it, I'm also rot13ing it.


13

Well, I would assume they get to use whatever is only one word in their own language. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Basically, if it's a single word imperative in your language, you get it. C'est la vie.


13

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, ...


13

From my knowledge there is no such language. Angels have this ability, but the languages they speak (Celestian and a few others) are just ordinary languages with no special properties. It's a supernatural ability of theirs which gives them a cheat mode: In 3.5e, it's called Tongues. In Pathfinder, it's called Truespeech. In both games, that ability takes ...


13

Yes. From 5e PHB, p. 123 Some of these languages are actually families of languages with many dialects. For example, the Primordial language includes the Auran, Aquan, Ignan, and Terran dialects, one for each of the four elemental planes. Creatures that speak different dialects of the same language can communicate with one another.


12

Some background: languages are shared only as far and wide as they can be communicated. Any farther than that, and variations start. Soon you have comprehensible dialects, then incomprehensible dialects and other languages. As you say, technology is what made entire countries speak the same language. Example: BSL is the British Sign Language. There's one ...


12

There are many options, and as always which one works for your group will largely depend on the system and the players. So long as everyone agrees to abide by the chosen convention, whichever your group likes is great. Colors You're already experimenting with colored text, and @JonathanHobbs pointed out the excellent Is there an optimum set of colors for ...


11

How would you approach the creation of setting-specific curses? Now when I think of swearing my mind goes to, as Spock put it, "colorful metaphors". This is keenly a product of how I, and my society, seem to use profanity (swearing, cursing). It's a way to express displeasure with another or a situation in general. With that in mind, here are a few ...


11

A possible explanation on the limit Upon browsing the Core Rulebook, Humans have the ability to learn any language with Intelligence Bonus points (other than "secret" languages). Surprisingly, Half-Elves also have this ability. To my mind, this is the developers trying to make humans more appealing than non-humans.. Maybe it is just the groups I have ...


11

As stated in your excerpt from the players' handbook, thieves cant isn't realy a language unto itself, but a way to put hidden messages into an existing one. As such, using comprehend languages or tongues would allow you to understand the language being used, but not the message hidden in thieves' cant. Think for example, someone saying 'I need to see a man ...


11

You don’t need rules to roleplay your character – this should not be random Just roleplay. Think about what your character hears and how he might misinterpret. Think about some odd phrasings that he might use, as too-direct translations of his own language, using syntax and idioms that Common doesn’t. And use these. Stay in character, and be honest about ...


9

This is more "some evidence in support of answers already given," but it won't fit in a comment. A co-worker said he had some memory of existing books talking about the Roman Catholic Church's use of Latin, and dug it up. Well, it wasn't all that buried... AD&D Dungeon Master's Guide, page 24 Alignment language is a handy game tool which is ...


9

Since you're already calling upon a Fate Core concept to establish this dilemma -- the Fate fractal -- I'm comfortable suggesting that you use another Fate Core system to address it: the more complex rules for consequences, particularly the rules for recovery on FC164. Establish the "inability to communicate" as a Severe Consequence, and then treat efforts ...



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