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Questions tagged [languages]

For questions relating to setting-specific use of language in RPGs. Questions about real-world languages should be tagged with the specific language instead (e.g. [french]).

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13
votes
1answer
1k views

Is there a way to make a Beast Master ranger's animal companion able to read a language?

Let's say I am a Beast Master ranger and have a baboon animal companion. Is there a spell or magic item that would let it know how to read? Write?
22
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1answer
3k views

Does a gnoll speak both Gnoll and Abyssal, or is Gnoll a dialect of Abyssal?

In the Dungeons and Dragons 5e Monster Manual, the gnoll statblock lists their language as Gnoll. However, in Volo's Guide to Monsters, the section on gnolls indicates that they communicate with ...
17
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2answers
3k views

Is Thieves' Cant a language?

In a recent question there was some confusion as to whether or not Thieves' Cant is a language, a class feature, or both. Which is it?
19
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3answers
3k views

Are there any other rule mechanics that could grant Thieves' Cant?

Thieves' Cant is a class feature of Rogues in 5e. As it is a method of communication, can it be taken as a language? If not, is it mechanically equivalent to something that can be swapped so that ...
3
votes
1answer
83 views

Looking for a generic name substitute in Elvish, Draconic, Celestial, or Sylvan

I have a Far Traveler Sorcerer High Elf character who has lost most of his early memories so he does not remember his name. I am looking for a generic word or name substitute to make him more playable ...
8
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2answers
181 views

Does a race without a list of bonus languages still get extra languages from a high Intelligence score?

The Player's Handbook on Race and Languages says All characters know how to speak Common.… A smart character (one who had an Intelligence bonus at 1st level) speaks other languages as well, one ...
9
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2answers
349 views

What's the difference between a monster that can't speak and a monster that doesn't speak?

In their languages section of stats for some monsters, the wording sometimes says "can't speak" and sometimes says "doesn't speak." What functional difference is there between these two wordings? ...
9
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2answers
444 views

Can a polymorphed creature understand languages spoken under the effect of Tongues?

Let's say we have a spy that has been True Polymorphed into a sheep (to blend in, obviously). The spy originally knew Common + some other languages. As a sheep, though, she can only bleat. True ...
20
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2answers
2k views

Elf (adjective) vs. Elvish vs. Elven

Are there rules on when to use elf (as an adjective) versus elvish versus elven in D&D? For example, would any of the following sentences be more or less correct than the others? "Many of them ...
13
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2answers
802 views

Do grungs have a written language?

It is unclear. Do grungs have any written language at all? And if they do, which script do they use for it?
21
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4answers
3k views

What's the easiest way for a whole party to be able to communicate with a creature that doesn't know Common?

My party befriended a Faerie Dragon who is now tagging along with us, but only one of us (a Dragonborn) is able to communicate with it. According to the MM, faerie dragons only know Draconic and ...
6
votes
1answer
377 views

What is known about tabaxi language and terminology, particularly the word “tabaxi” and the name of the Cat Lord?

According to this Dragon+ article, the term tabaxi originates with the race of cat people (at least in the Forgotten Realms setting as of D&D 5th edition): Tabaxi with a capital T is the ...
9
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2answers
325 views

What kind of check is needed to read a language you don't speak to a character that doesn't know how to read?

So, I have a party with a Half-Orc Barbarian who cannot read and only speaks very simply. The last session ended with the party discovering a note written in Orc, which nobody other than the barbarian ...
7
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0answers
98 views

Using D&D as a medium to help learn IRL language? [closed]

I am a DM of a small group of friends; we prefer D&D 5e but this question can apply to any TTRPG. My friends have some experience with English, but are not comfortable with it. Lately I've been ...
14
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2answers
483 views

Does the Detect Thoughts spell work against an Intellect Devourer?

The spell Detect Thoughts has the following limitation on potential targets: You can't detect a creature with an Intelligence of 3 or lower or one that doesn't speak any language. An Intellect ...
12
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3answers
1k views

Do these creatures from the Tomb of Annihilation campaign speak Common?

There are some creatures in the plot of ToA that my players will interact with. The problem is that their stat block says they speak only their specific language, which my players' characters don't ...
6
votes
1answer
169 views

What customizable name generator am I remembering?

About 15 years ago, I came across a small program that allowed you to put in rules for name generation. I believe the program would have been no more than a couple years old at that point. It ...
7
votes
1answer
501 views

If I Wild Shape into a Giant Elk, can I speak any language I know?

Jeremy Crawford, in a tweet, wrote that a Moon Druid can speak the languages it knows while shaped as an Elemental because the Elemental can speak. The Giant Elk can speak the "Giant Elk" language, ...
8
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1answer
1k views

Do characters know how to read/write languages or just speak them?

I noticed that the rules for language selection state Your race indicates the languages your character can speak by default, and your background might give you access to one or more additional ...
3
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3answers
190 views

Can a Sorcerer's companion raven speak with everyone?

In D&D 3.5, the Sorcerer's companion can be a Raven. In the PHB (p. 52), after the familiars table there is a note that says: A raven familiar can speak one language of its master's choice as a ...
7
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1answer
162 views

Are most characters illiterate in SotDL?

Im making a character for the first time, and with the exception of dwarves, the ancestries don't specify that you know how to read and write any of your languages. The professions state that you can ...
10
votes
1answer
1k views

Are there specific descriptions of what each of the racial languages sound like?

Running adventures with varied races of NPC, I run into a lot of times where I simply say "It sounds like they're speaking Elvish/Orcish/etc etc". I'd like to know if perhaps there are descriptions of ...
4
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2answers
407 views

How many level 1 characters does it take to have access to all languages?

How many characters are needed (using any 5e published race, background and class [no feats]) so that a party can understand (read and converse) all languages in PHB, GGtR and WgtE; at level 1 without ...
17
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4answers
3k views

What is the script for the Aarakocra language?

I have been unable to find this anywhere and was curious about it. I've found the relationship between all other languages and which script, if any, they have. The Aarakocra language seems to have a ...
16
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2answers
2k views

Does Warlock's Eyes of the Rune Keeper allow them to read Druidic?

Just a bit confused as the PHB states that Druidic is used to write in code. Does that mean that Eyes of the Rune Keeper will allow me to read Druidic but not understand what it means or could I read ...
29
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2answers
3k views

Why do most dwarven city names in the Forgotten Realms have a suffix of -bar?

I am running a 5e campaign based in the Silver Marches of Faerun of the Forgotten Realms universe. I noticed that some of the cities in and around the Silver Marches area have a suffix of -bar, and I ...
0
votes
1answer
191 views

Are there rules on creating a language in-world?

Suppose a creature wants to create their own constructed language for purposes of obscuring communication. Are there any rules that would cover creating and learning such a conlang? For example, ...
4
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1answer
1k views

Can a Changeling shapeshifted into a mind flayer read Deep Speech?

Can a Changeling (Wayfinder's Guide to Eberron, p. 61) shapeshifted into a Mindflayer read the Qualith language? The ability to read Deep Speech is dependent on tentacles, so could a Changeling use ...
57
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6answers
8k views

I deciphered the meaning of a cryptic language out-of-game: should my character know what the meaning is?

I have just started my first D&D 5e campaign, and have encountered a seemingly mind-controlled bandit who keeps writing the same thing over and over on the wall. Our DM wrote out what it looks ...
5
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4answers
3k views

Exotic language on new character? [closed]

I've already read this post but just wanted to get clarification; I am new to D&D and have created a Half-Orc War Cleric who was once a soldier... His back story involves demons and I decided to ...
6
votes
2answers
834 views

Can a Kenku communicate using sign language?

The description for the Kenku race (VGtM, p. 109-111) includes this statement: You can read and write Common and Auran, but you can speak only by using your Mimicry trait. In the Kenku origin tale,...
7
votes
1answer
681 views

How does Sending work with a creature that doesn't speak any language?

I am a wizard with an owl familiar (created by find familiar) that I wish to send on a long-distance delivery mission, requiring it to be away from me for several days. I would like to be able to ...
5
votes
2answers
222 views

What language(s) does a Simulacrum know before Limited Wish is cast?

Simulacrum in AD&D 2e creates a duplicate, but it has none of the original’s knowledge or memories before you cast Limited Wish to give it some. But you can control it verbally & the spell ...
12
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3answers
1k views

Giving a Pearl of Speech to a creature with Int too low for language?

What happens if you give a pearl of speech to a creature with low intelligence? Say you give a pearl of speech to an owlbear with an intelligence of 2. The pearl states that: While absorbed, the ...
2
votes
0answers
407 views

Where could my character have learnt Primordial? [closed]

I just created a DnD character. He speaks the languages Common, Elvish and Primordial. Where could he have learned Primordial? He learned Elvish when he spent 2 years with the Elves.
2
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4answers
2k views

Can you understand a language without being proficient?

My character was raised by elves and never learned Common language. Throughout his adventures, he had learned some words of Common, here and there, mainly daily words, like "name", greetings, until at ...
7
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3answers
2k views

Do monsters not follow the same rules as PCs for languages known?

Reading up on languages it looks like characters are supposed to start play with their base languages plus one language per point of intelligence modifier. Looking at monster stat blocks however ...
4
votes
4answers
573 views

What justification could there be for a PC learning thieves' cant when multiclassing Rogue?

In our campaign, I'm currently considering multiclassing into Rogue very soon. One thing I'm wondering is how, if at all, it could be justified for me to learn thieves' cant when our party is ...
10
votes
1answer
480 views

Where else does “Primal” appear as a language (from The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan adventure)?

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 ...
28
votes
3answers
4k views

Can Thieves' Cant be used across languages?

In this question, it is established that Thieves' Cant is more of an encoding system built on top of a language than a language in its own right. According to the Basic Rules, Thieves' Cant is: ......
4
votes
1answer
192 views

Can the Tongues spell allow you to trigger something that reacts when you say a word in a specific language you don’t know?

The tongues spell allows you to understand every spoken language, as well as to be understood by anyone who understands at least one language when you speak. Now let’s say you have a door that opens ...
3
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1answer
199 views

Is there an opposite for Dark Speech?

3.5e Book of vile darkness Page48 mentions dark Speech. In short, it's a language of the evil gods of pure vileness. I was wondering if there is also a Good aligned variant of this?
14
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3answers
4k views

Can you choose a dialect of a language instead of the whole language?

PCs can speak languages. Generally, they are given Common and one other than fits their race (e.g. for a dwarf: "You can speak, read and write Common and Dwarvish", from PHB, pg. 20). There are a few ...
7
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2answers
2k views

Do languages from backgrounds stack with base racial languages, or override them?

Hermit, Outlander, Sage, etc. all get a language trait from choosing that background. However, it's not made clear whether these languages stack with the languages that races provide, or replace them. ...
19
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5answers
2k views

My Ranger missed picking a “favored enemy language” when I started. Is it fair for me to pick one now that I'm in the midst of a campaign?

As someone new to D&D, when I was making my first character (a forest gnome ranger) I struggled a bit through the character creation process, following some YouTube tutorials, etc. When I was ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

How do I communicate with a hook horror?

The Monster Manual entry for hook horrors (p. 189) says: Hook horrors communicate by striking their hooks against their exoskeletons or the stone surfaces around them. What sounds to others like ...
10
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2answers
2k views

What would a Warlock understand from written spells outside of their class, via Eyes of the Rune Keeper?

This related question asks if you could transcribe a ritual spell to the warlock book via the Book of Ancient Secrets invocation regardless of spell lists, and the answers were generally "yes, but you ...
4
votes
1answer
867 views

Does Shapechange allow you to speak a language you don't already know?

The 9th level spell Shapechange gives you many of the traits of the creature who's form you assume: ... You also retain all of your skill and saving throw proficiencies, in addition to gaining ...
12
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2answers
2k views

Are any languages similar enough to be partly understandable?

I am running a campaign, and somehow my 4 friends have managed to pick 11 different languages in addition to Common (which they all have). Of these 11, one (Elvish) is known by two people, but the ...
1
vote
1answer
381 views

Can Awakened Mind let you affect creatures that don’t share your language with spells that require them to understand you? [duplicate]

Spells like Mass Suggestion require that the target(s) must be able to hear and understand you. The Great Old One’s Awakened Mind allows a Warlock to telepathically speak and be understood by anyone ...