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Language Rules

September 18, 2010

I like how Lamentations of the Flame Princess handles languages and thought I would make my own rules. Here’s a rough write up:

Characters begin play being fully fluent in their native tongue. They are also assumed to be literate. Clurichauns, Elves, Half-Orcs, and Dwarfs will know the ‘Common Tongue’ used by most of the kingdoms of men in addition to their racial tongue. Devilkin, Halflings, and Orgar do not have their own language, instead speaking the Common Tongue.

When a character comes into contact with another language have them make a D20 roll verse a DC 10. Add the character’s Int modifiers but NOT his levels. If the character rolls at or above the DC he knows the language having learned it sometime in his past. If the roll fails he does not know the language. He cannot roll again for that particular language.

By default, the DC for this roll is DC10. However, if the language is somewhat obscure the DC is 14. If the language is considered exotic the DC is 18. If it is an ancient, dead language the DC is 22. Modern day equivalents for an English speaker might be:

Spanish, French, German – DC10
Russian, Turkish – DC14
Farsi, Japanese – DC18
Aramaic, Sumerian – DC22

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 18, 2010 11:46 pm

    I think this pretty much rocks. Is there a cap on the number of languages that you can know? What would you do if someone really wanted to know a certain language?

    But here are my bigger questions… What are Clurichauns and Orgar?!?! Are those Player character races? I need to know!

  2. September 20, 2010 2:20 am

    I think the max will be half a character’s intelligence rounding up. So a character with an 8 intelligence would have a max of 4 languages, 15 could have up to 8.

    Not sure what to do about characters who want to learn a certain language but I’m thinking about ‘character training’ between adventures. Something like a character playing a fighter describes how he spent time practicing his shield use. As a consequence he gets a ‘training point’ (as opposed to a fate point) that he can use for one round of combat to up his AC by +4. Someone could describe how they tried to learn a language and could then make a roll to see if they have learned the language. Have to look at all this and make sure I don’t come up with anything too complicated.

    Clurichauns are from Shades and are essentially Scottish gnomes. I’m probably not going to use since they are too similar to dwarfs, may go the pixie route for fey. Orgars are simply my name for Half-Ogres, a race that was rather popular in 1st Edition D&D.

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