We are getting set to start a One Ring game. The creature section does not seem to delineate languages. Which creatures speak common in this game?

It's been a while since I read The Hobbit but I seem to remember that the Mirkwood spiders seemingly spoke common. Or was Tolkien translating for the reader? Or was it only Bilbo who understood? Or, like in the film, was it only Bilbo who understood when he was wearing the ring?

I'm fairly certain the eagles and wargs also spoke common.

What about the ravens and the thrushes?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Common... doesn't seem like a tolkien language. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 10, 2014 at 23:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ You may want to clarify that you're looking to know which creatures speak Common according to the rules of the One Ring RPG. Note: If you're wondering which creatures spoke Westron in the book/movie, that would be off-topic for this SE. \$\endgroup\$
    – Miniman
    Nov 10, 2014 at 23:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, which creatures (it lists the playable races) speak the Common Speech (or Westron). \$\endgroup\$
    – emonster
    Nov 11, 2014 at 0:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to rpg.se! Please take a look at the tour and the help center; they're a useful introduction to the site. This question may be off-topic because it is a non-RPG-specific setting question. You'll find more LotR experts at Science Fiction & Fantasy. \$\endgroup\$
    – BESW
    Nov 11, 2014 at 3:12

2 Answers 2


Everyone in The Hobbit spoke Westron. The Hobbits, the Dwarves, the Elves, the Istari, the Goblins, the Wargs, the Dragon, the thrush... Sometimes even common animals seems to understand it,

When Bilbo find the Spiders and listens their words, he is wearing the Ring. I don't know if this is the power of the Ring, translating the Spider's language as it translated the orcs words to Sam, but I think Tolkien just simplified things on his tale, and I don't know if that power of the Ring was invented at the moment. Still, the text could imply that Spiders didn't actually talk (as humans talk), but had another form of communication that Bilbo somehow understood. On the other hand, later Bilbo takes off the Ring, and he still understands the Spiders.

See this question as reference: https://scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/47193/what-is-the-babelfish-effect-when-bilbo-puts-on-the-ring-and-understands-the-s

  • \$\begingroup\$ Not quite; The thrush only spoke Thrush. Bard was special in that he was able to understand it. The Thrush probably UNDERSTOOD the Westron tongue, but if it could speak it, it chose not to. \$\endgroup\$
    – Airk
    Feb 19, 2015 at 21:52

In the Hobbit, the Trolls, Eagles, Orcs/Goblins, Dragon, some Ravens, and (maybe) the Spiders all spoke Common (Westron). The Wargs, Thrushes, and Crows did not speak Common, but understood Common.

In the scene with the Wargs, Tolkien states that Gandalf understood the Warg's hideous language, and that was why he knew (and the reader knows) what they are saying (pg 93). Similarly, the line of Girion (Bard's ancestry) understood the language of the Thrushes (224), although Balin states that it is too quick for him to understand (pg 230). However, Balin understands the language of Ravens and Crows (there is a scene where Balin comments that the crows are insulting them near the Front Entrance to Erebor, pg 231). Some Ravens (notably Roac) were able to speak the Common tongue (pg 231), and therefore did not need to be translated for Bilbo (who didn't understand the Raven's language).

All page numbers are taken The Hobbit or There and Back Again by J.R.R. Tolkien, published by Houghton Mifflin Company copyright 1997.

Note that the One Ring RPG does not really have an opinion on what language the creatures speak. Thus, we can default to LOTR and the Hobbit for this information, particularly since the One Ring RPG tries very hard to stay true to the Middle Earth that Tolkien created in his books.

  • \$\begingroup\$ This is a good answer as far as The Hobbit goes, but you probably want to add something about how the fact that the RPG doesn't really HAVE a strong opinion on who can speak Westron, so you might as well default to the book. \$\endgroup\$
    – Airk
    Feb 19, 2015 at 21:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Airk Thanks for pointing that out. Since the OP referenced the Hobbit, I assumed that he wanted information from it. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 20, 2015 at 23:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ Please don't signal your edits in text - rather than append 'edit:', 'second edit:' sections and so on, edit your answer such that it never needs those designations at all. It should look final, or like it was that way all along, not amended. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 20, 2015 at 23:04

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