I realized that my troglodytes shouldn't have been negotiating and taunting like they were goblins. Troglodytes are too primitive to speak Common. They speak Draconic.

Is there a way to generate a list of monsters that don't speak common? I can use those monsters when I want to pose a particular challenge for diplomatic characters or make the cleric feel good for memorizing Comprehend Languages.

  • \$\begingroup\$ For what its worth, you are allowed, as GM prerogative, to just say 'these creatures dont speak common'. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 12, 2012 at 20:49

3 Answers 3


There's two steps to this one.

Step one is finding the data in a format that's easy to manipulate. The base SRD documents are in .rtf format, which isn't very good for querying. Andargor's database doesn't include the languages. D20SRD.Org's Monsters section is in HTML format, which allows the use of Google but not much else (although "site:www.d20srd.org/srd/monsters/ -Common" will get you close).

In the end, I wound up using the Pathfinder dataset. There seems to be a lot of overlap in basic monsters, and I would expect there to be little difference in the languages spoken by the monsters.

user867 confirms that there has been some change to languages in Pathfinder, particularly to accommodate the addition of the "Aklo" language. For a strictly D&D 3.5 feel, use the method below to get ideas and then hand-check the candidates against the 3.5 SRD.

Step two is working with the data. I like LibreOffice's database application for this (mostly because I'm already familiar with SQL).

Download your dataset (I found getting the ODS version of the Pathfinder data to work the smoothest).

Launch Base, and choose "Connect to an existing database" (the third option in the first step of the Database Wizard). As I'm using an ODS file, I choose Spreadsheet from the list, and browse for my file.

Create a new SQL query. Like this:

Select *
From Sheet1 --This is the name of the table imported from the spreadsheet.
            --May be different depending on what type of file you imported.
            --Find it in the "Tables" section.
    left(languages, 6) <> 'Common' -- Eliminate records that begin with "common"
    And Not Languages Like '% Common%' --Eliminate records containing the word
                                       --Common, preceeded by a space. To allow
                                       --for Undercommon.
    And Languages <> ''        --To be thorough about eliminating creatures with
    And Languages Is Not Null  --no languages.

Cross-check the Pathfinder results against the D&D stats, just in case the race is one of the ones that changed between versions, and you should be good to go.

I'm feeling a bit under the weather, so I haven't quite done a full step-by-step. Let me know if you get stuck, and I'll try to put more effort into that section.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Be careful, some Pathfinder creatures have a slightly different list of languyages known than 3.5 ones. To some extent, this is because Pathfinder introduced the new language "Aklo." \$\endgroup\$
    – GMJoe
    Commented Feb 21, 2012 at 4:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ Using DBMS is a precise way to go but slightly less accessible to the average person. Upvoting this for the research level. \$\endgroup\$
    – CatLord
    Commented Apr 6, 2012 at 19:42
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Incidentally, this can also be done directly in LibreOffice Calc using a filter (Data -> Filter -> Standard Filter). Just filter on Language / Does not begin with / "Common"; AND Language / Does not contain / " Common"; AND Language / (=) / - not empty -. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 16, 2012 at 19:45

A creature with int 11 or less has no bonus languages. Most creatures that commerce with "civilized" communities have common as a bonus language.

When a creature has 11 or less intelligence and is not in contact with civilization, it's safe to assume it does not speak common. Otherwise, it's pretty sure it does, unless it's a planar creature.


I would have simply gone with any creature that has < 2 INT since they cannot speak. However, I have known a lot of campaign worlds with custom continents where the "Common" language is relative only to a certain region on char-gen. Therefore even when a critter/character/whatever has the Common tongue it is not the party's dialect. Compare American English to English in the UK to Australia. There are a lot of common aspects but can be considered wholly different languages.

EDIT1: Consider specialty languages like High Elven or Druidic

EDIT2: If you would like a modern day equivilant for sub-English languages there are things like Jive and Ebonics but usually something like that is equated to a thieves cant.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Huh, it's good to know I speak a wholly different language to Americans and Britons. In fact, I'm writing in that language right now. I guess there's more Australians on this site than I thought. \$\endgroup\$
    – GMJoe
    Commented Oct 11, 2012 at 4:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ What I mean is that thanks to regional vernacular/slang/etc. even the same language can be permuted in a way that's not intuitive to every speaker in the world. \$\endgroup\$
    – CatLord
    Commented Oct 11, 2012 at 16:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ Your point is sound, but I think you need a more extreme example to effectively illustrate it. The differences between UK and Australian English are quite obscure, and even American English isn't different enough to be unintelligible. Perhaps you could replace your example with a comparison of 'gangsta' slang to RC English, or describe the continuum of languages across Europe? \$\endgroup\$
    – GMJoe
    Commented Oct 12, 2012 at 3:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ Since you seem so offended by my core point, I can adapt my answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – CatLord
    Commented Oct 12, 2012 at 3:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ Eh? I'm not offended by your point at all, I'm just amused by your choice of example. \$\endgroup\$
    – GMJoe
    Commented Oct 12, 2012 at 3:33

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .