Monday, February 12, 2024

DragonSlayer - A Look at Languages (finding the unexpected)

Languages play a major if unsung part in the Dragonslayer RPG. I noticed this as I read. Unlike most traditional OSR RPGs, not every playable race speaks common by default. Additionally, an intelligence of 13 is required to learn an additional language.

Here are the languages in DragonSlayer spoken by playable race:

Humans – Common

Cyclopsmen – Suul

Dwarves – Dwarven

Elves – Elvish & Common

Gnomes– Gnomish

Halflings – Halfling & Common

Half-Elf – Elvish & Common

Half-Orc – Orcish & Common

So, Cyclopsmen and Dwarves are likely isolationist by nature. Gnomes, I'm not so sure. In any case, as written, PC's of these races will need an Intelligence of 13 or more to speak common.

Integrated parties have some potential issues...

For me, I'd assume that PCs of Cyclopsmen, Dwarven, and Gnomish background have spent time in a human-majority society and have learned common, likely with a noticeable foreign accent.

Sorry, I play most of my RPG sessions via VTT and I'm not a fan of pantomime ;)

Additional languages are spoken by certain classes:

Clerics, Druids, and Monks speak Ancient Common (akin to Latin). Although Paladins and Rangers get Clerical and Druidical spell access at higher level, they do not learn Ancient Common as a bonus language.

Magic-Users and Illusionists have Black Tongue as a Bonus Language.

Thieves gain Thieves Cant.

So, a Halfling multi-classed Cleric/Thief with an Intelligence of 10 (no bonus language slots) would have Common, Halfing, Ancient Common, and Thieve's Cant as their starting languages.

It's similar for a multi-classed Magic-User/Thief, starting with Common, Elvish, Dark Tongue, and Thieves Cant.

Yep, giving Dwarven, Gnomish, and Cyclopsman PCs access to the Common tongue won't unbalance the game, but making it so most characters of those races don't speak common, especially in their own closed societies, makes sense and likely fits most settings.

Time to dig some more...

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