Monday, November 20, 2017

Language Point System

I think for most games, simple languages known rules work well. But if you want a bit more granularity or investment to learn a language, here's an alternate system for using points.

Every character begins with one 3 point language, which is their native language, +1 point per intelligence modifier. Keep track of each language you know and are learning. Whenever you make significant progress in either politically or in your own life with members of another race or speaking a separate language, you can give that language +1 point. For example, signing a treaty with a Gnoll tribe will grant you +1, and getting married to one of them will grant another +1 for a total of +2. You'd be fluent by the next harvest you return to your hometown, probably dressed up in their tribal paint too.

To learn anything beyond 2 requires paying to receive a formal education in that language, or you have to be a Courtesan. Treat the written portion of the language as proficiency -1, unless your primary means of learning or using that language is in writing, in that case treat the spoken as = proficiency -1. If the language is totally oral or totally written, then just ignore the other section.

Language Proficiency Scale
[1 Point] Sparse and broken. You can speak just enough to get the basics out, and can now perform trade and speak to members of that race, but receive -1 to reaction checks.

[2 Points] Fluent. You can speak about most topics related to the language, but you may not understand or know the more obscure words or the meanings of some phrases or common sayings.

[3 Points] Well Spoken. Your large vocabulary and understanding of the language allow you to be very eloquent or even poetic when you need to. Your words can give you an air of intelligence or sophistication when dealing with low born and illiterate members of that race, granting +1 to reaction checks with them, but you wouldn't fool a noble.

[4 Points] Eloquent. You're good enough now to impress the nobility with your knowledge of literature, wordplay, rhyme schemes, and the origins of your words mean you have a great ability to use them. You gain +2 reaction checks to commoners and +1 to nobles, who find your politeness a nice change of pace from most riff raff.

[5 Points] Poetic. Beyond even well spoken, you can string together words and phrases brimming with secondary layers of meaning and can acknowledge all kinds of verbal tricks and traps in debates. You get +2 reaction checks with commoners and +2 with nobles. Minor works of literature as well as song and play writing are all possible at this level.

[6+ Points] Bard. Your understanding and grasp of the language is so good that you are capable of creating and disseminating the meanings and origins of popular turn of phrases, and can string together new ones at will. You do not gain more reaction check bonuses, but for each point at 6 and above you put into this language you can create ONE extremely catchy song, inspiring or demoralizing phrase, or semi-magical rhyme. These can grant +1 or -1 morale checks to soldiers the first time they hear it, it can be repeated by children to drive away small bad spirits, etc.

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