Languages (D20)

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Main article: Language

There can be great advantages of knowing languages, and sometimes it is even more important what dialect you speak with. This article deals with the house rules for this fact.

DnD 5e

It's fairly easy to convert the DCs to recognisingh a dialect to DnD 5e. Simply use a lower category of DC than listed below. E.g.: "determine the Kingdom of origin" would be DC 16 for DnD 5e, instead of DC 25 in DnD 3.5/PF1/PF2.

Language Rules

If I was so inclined I would make skill ranks in the actual language, but there isn't any good support for that in DnD, Translocation taught me that!

To train in a language, you spend the skill points (or train) which enables you to read and write in that language. Each ability bonus of Int beyond 0 also allows one bonus starting language. The languages you have easily available are:

  • Common ("Common (basic)" for non-humans)
    • Common (Kingdom name; one for each)
  • Lingua (the 'Old Tounge') (no dialects; just for scholars; require academical schooling to learn)
  • Sindarin (elven 'common')
    • Sindarin (Peak (general dialect) or city (specific dialect); one for each)
  • Quenya (ancient elven)
  • Dwarven (common) - Dead language; to any character but dwarves it requires academic training
    • More info to come
  • Halfling (common)
    • More info to come
  • Draconic (Dragon language) (no dialects; special circumstances to learn)
  • Acci (Accipiter: Hawk/avian language)(no dialects; special circumstances to learn)
  • Veni (the language of magic; required for Wizard class or to Use Magic Device) (no dialects; special circumstances to learn)
  • Burrow (ratel language)
  • Nigrum (Orc/Blackfolk language)
    • More info to come

When you learn a language, you do so with a particular dialect. Work with your DM to determine what dialect you know, but most likely it is "Language (common)". So an elf learning Common would actually have learned Common (common) if it was taught at the Lofty Peaks, Common (Capitoleum, general) if taught in Capitoleum or Common (noble) if taught by human nobles.

Learning to speak a dialect

Elves, Dwarves, Halflings, etc also have dialects, but they are almost impossible to find a person interested in teaching any particular accent, and it's not really useful unless you already have extensive knowledge of the inner cultural workings of these people so that you can use the dialect to any effect.

Elven dialects in particular are very hard to learn because they are so alike. To learn each dialect requires as much skill points as it takes to learn a full language.

Recognising Dialects

As stated, dialects are similar depending on geographic location. Two local merchants from each side of Capitoleum may say they don't understand each other, but to the adventurer from Midnight, they sound exactly the same.

To accurately recognise what dialect someone is speaking (a dialect the character is not speaking herself), make a Knowledge (local) roll and add one point for language learned beyond the starting languages and 1 point for every two accents known (regardless) and check against the DC:

  • No roll required if you speak the given accent.
  • DC8 to determine general area (Midrealm, Southrealm, Northrealm, Capitoleum, other).
  • DC16 to determine N/W/S/E direction within that area.
  • DC25 to determine the Kingdom of origin.
  • DC30 to determine regional area or city.

Situational modifiers to the roll:

  • +10 to recognise the Governor houses (Menthell, Haldean, Artipellin, Wyny and Edmyr).
  • +5 to recognise city dialects among the Governor houses.
  • +10 if you can speak a dialect that is a direct neighbour (Kingdom or reion/city).
  • +5 if you can speak a dialect that is a secondary neighbour (Kingdom or reion/city).
  • +1 for every week you have spent in that Kingdom (max +10).
  • +1 for every two weeks you spent in a neighbour Kingdom (max +10).
  • +1 for every four weeks you spent in a secondary neighbour Kingdom (max +10).

Since all people have their own speaking style, this roll is made any time the character wants to figure out the dialect of a person she have not met before. Retry allowed after gaining knowledge of a new dialect or managed to receive a bonus on a related roll through the modifiers.

Outdated rules

The following is not used!

To learn a dialect, a character must first know the base language (usually Common) and to learn a dialect, spend 1/2 the skill points needed to learn a full language. The character naturally also needs to have had ready access to people speaking this dialect continuously, or someone willing to teach it.

Fractions of skill points can be used on other dialects or saved for a later date. If skill training is allowed, then fractions of days training to learn a dialect are used in the process.

A character can have two dialects instead of a language as a starting language.

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