Thursday, November 1, 2012

Simple Language "Skill"

I like languages in my RPGs. Other than alignment languages which are retarded. Current, in-use languages are kind of meh.  Everyone knows common, right? I'm talking about archaic languages, lost languages, cryptic languages. Those can be treasures in and of themselves.

Language Check

Xd6 < Intelligence, where X is number of languages currently known. Optionally let mages and scholarly types subtract their level from X. Esp if, like me, you do away with Read Magic and all the good spells are written in esoteric languages such as High Lemurian.

If you want to get all fiddly you can require +1 or +2 dice for really difficult languages. Or, treat written and spoken as separate languages.

Learning Languages

Languages are generally not picked out at character creation time (A huge advantage to new players who don't have a flippin clue about all the crazy ass languages you've put in the game). At any time player may claim to know language "foo". Even if "foo" is the unknown language the green skinned people with spears are shouting at you with. A successful Language Check means character has known this language, but, only now has this become important.  They add it to their list of known languages.


  1. That learning languages rule is excellent!

    --This message paid for by Yes on Learning Languages


  2. I've been using a very similar rule for my space opera game for awhile now (check for knowledge and/or fluency, similar to a B/X reaction roll...modified by INT bonus/penalty). Works well.

  3. Thanks Timrod.

    JB, cool. This is from my S&W campaign, were there aren't really any bonuses so I've made lot of things roll 3(or more) d6 under some stat.

  4. This is great. Have you seen the LotFP method? That uses a max number of languages known along with a separate 1 in 6 (modified by intelligence bonus) roll to see if a given language is known. I think I like this method better though.

  5. Crazy languages are great. I've used a variation of the LotFP rules, where every PC rolls and the low role knows the language. This pushes a random player to the front to be the voice of the party.


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