Included in the Tales from the Yawning Portal, The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan adventure includes a creature called the Tecuziztecatl, which has its stat block included in the appendix (page 245).

Its languages are listed as:

Languages Olman, Primal

Olman is referenced throughout the adventure, but what is Primal? I've never seen this referenced anywhere else, not in the PHB or under any other monster's stat block.

Is this the same as Primordial? Since one of the PCs speaks Primordial, this will influence whether the party can speak with this creature or not.

If previous editions can provide any context, I'd be interested in any answer that cited old stuff as well; this is tagged 5e mainly just because I'm running the Tales from the Yawning Portal version of the adventure for 5e.

  • 2
    I'll check my original copy of the adventure (AD&D era) and compare it to TFtYP when I get to where my old stuff is; there may be an answer there. Is that OK, or is 5e matarial only your answer criteria? – KorvinStarmast Oct 17 at 16:19
up vote 9 down vote accepted

"Primal" is surely an error in the Yawning Portal text.

The D&D Beyond stat block for Tecuziztecatl1 states that it knows the languages Olman and Primordial, and the language "Primal" is nowhere to be found in the Beyond monster database.

Although Beyond is not considered an authoritative rules source, this context provides a strong indication that the unexpected and unknown "Primal" language is an error in the text2 of the version of this adventure published in Tales from the Yawning Portal. No errata has been released for Yawning Portal, but you can be fairly certain that the Beyond developers communicated the issue to Wizards and corrected it in the Beyond stat block in the monster database.

In addition, the 4th edition version of this adventure only lists Olman for Tecuziztecatl's languages, and the original (AD&D) version indicates that Tecuziztecatl speaks to the party in Olman. At the very least, this indicates there's no tradition of it speaking "Primal." The first instance of it speaking "Primal" is in the Yawning Portal stat block. Again, this is shy of definitive, but it's more evidence that "Primal" is a newly introduced error.


  1. The stat block is behind a pay-wall, but you can confirm this by filtering the monster database by language and checking the options available in the languages drop-down menu.

  2. Thanks to user guildsbounty for noticing that the D&D Beyond compendium text for Tecuziztecatl (also behind a paywall) still lists "Primal" instead of Primordial, but this is unsurprising because the compendium is a direct adaptation of the text of the book, which has received no errata. Although the stat block in the monster database and the compendium text contradict each other, the compendium is the one that doesn't make sense as per the question, so my money's on the stat block listing being a corrected version.

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    Interesting indeed. That's in the compendium specifically, which is not surprising to me, but it does muddy the context. – Bloodcinder Oct 17 at 19:54

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