From Rogue Trader p. 104:

"Polyglot: The Explorer has an innate ability to derive meaning from unknown languages and make himself understood using this intuitive grasp. He treats all languages as Basic Skills."

Given that, does this cover 'Secret Tongue (x)'? p. 86:

"Secret Tongue represents comprehension of a particularly obscure and arcane language..."

(emphasis mine)

Seems both reasonable and broken, depending on point of view.


I don't think there is a RAW without a bit of interpretation here.

My interpretation of the RAW (which makes it RAI) would be that "All languages" means all skills that have language in their name, for example

Speak Language (Eldar)

If Rogue Trader is having an extra skill for things that are not "Speak Language", then it is not supposed to be a language skill.

Secret Tongue (Exorcism of Sigmar)

Is not a language. If it were, it would read "Speak Language (Exorcism of Sigmar)" and there would be no need for an extra skill.

But as I said, that's my pick at RAI, it would probably not hold in court. I don't think there is a clear, unambiguous RAW here.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Apologies: I'm not familiar with the term 'RAW' or 'RAI'. My understanding of 'Secret Tongue' was always that it was a perversion of some other language or mesh of languages: it was still a language in that it had vocabulary that meant a particular thing, and a syntax to combine meanings, but that if you only knew the base language you'd be lost as to how those signifiers connected to the signified. In that interpretation, though, polyglot would be just as effective as, say, with the Speak Language(Explorator Binary), which also uses 'non words'. \$\endgroup\$ – Nathaniel Ford Jul 23 '15 at 16:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NathanielFord: 'RAW' is "Rules As Written", and 'RAI' is "Rules As Interpreted". RAW is typically a strict, rules-lawyer answer, while an RAI answer is more likely to be tempered by real-world experience. On the other hand, an RAI answer is more likely to be given through the lens of house rules (sometimes without the answer-er realizing it). \$\endgroup\$ – minnmass Jul 23 '15 at 19:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NathanielFord 'RAI' can also mean 'Rules As Intended (by the game designer),' but as it's often hard to read the designer's mind, that meaning doesn't get much productive use. \$\endgroup\$ – GMJoe Jul 24 '15 at 2:20

You could tackle this a few different ways.

1. A little bit of homebrew never hurt

Dependent on how, "dependent" you want to be on the core rulebook, you could homebrew, and say something like "once your character hears the language and context with it, he immediately grasps it and can speak and comprehend it."

2. Roll d20

You can see if you can roll a d20 adding any relevant modifiers to see if you can comprehend the language. Since its obscure.

3. No

Just no, if you feel its broken, then don't utilize it. maybe in your universe some languages are impossible to comprehend. maybe polyglot only applies to basic languages. So if you want some languages to be mysterious to you to help your experience, use this option.

All in all, I would say go with your gut feeling, remember, role-playing games are about fun and imagination, and if there are rules that could hinder that for you, you should bring that up to your game-master in order to rectify it. If you aren't having fun, you might as well not pray at all.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I have a feeling this doesn't really answer the question. It just assumes that homebrew or GM ruling is required. \$\endgroup\$ – Erik Jul 23 '15 at 7:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ Why would you roll a d20 in Rogue Trader? It's a d10/d% game. A rogue trader player might not even own a d20... \$\endgroup\$ – Lyndon White Jul 23 '15 at 8:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Oxinabox It can be argued that RT is d20: virtually all play bonuses are increments of five (and 100/5 = 20). The only real areas it differs are in crit ranges and character progression, allowing a finer grain. Anyway, the point is 'to roll' not 'to roll something specific'. \$\endgroup\$ – Nathaniel Ford Dec 14 '15 at 23:48

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