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Bonus Languages and the Inner Sea World Guide


Pathfinder Society® General Discussion

**

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The new Inner Sea World Guide is great in appearance and in the material that it contains. Still, I have a question based on what I read there.
Bonus languages for non-humans are extremely limited and this becomes awkward to deal with in the Inner Sea when national languages are not available as Bonus Languages to non-humans. So a Osirian Dwarf can't speak Osirian, a Qadiran Halfling can't speak Kelish and so on unless the character takes a point in Linguistics.
The new Inner Sea World Guide gives a list of Languages for each nation or region. What are these languages for? Could these be considered as an addition to the racial Bonus Languages for a character (especially a non-human) to select using their Intelligence score if it is high enough. That way a Dwarf from Osirion with an Intelligence of 12 or higher could select Osirion as a Bonus Language at 1st level without using a skill point on Linguistics.
The way the languages are now, non-humans have some problem integrating language-wise into the human-centric Golarion since national languages (since they are setting based) are not included in the Core-rulebook.
This becomes frustrating for me with a Mordant Spire Elf character of mine. As the Inner Sea World guide says "Generally refusing to speak anything but Azlanti with outsiders" and yet a Mordant Spire Elf character can only choose Azlanti as a language by taking a point in Linguistics. If the Languages from the Steaming Sea region could be taken as Bonus Languages then any Mordant Spire Elf character with Intelligence of 12 or higher could speak Azlanti more easily.
Obviously in a home game I can ask the GM for this sort of thing no problem, but my enquiry is focused at the Pathfinder Society Organised Play Campaign. So what to others think?

Cheliax ** Venture-Lieutenant, Texas—Dallas & Ft. Worth aka drayen

Deluge wrote:

The new Inner Sea World Guide is great in appearance and in the material that it contains. Still, I have a question based on what I read there.

Bonus languages for non-humans are extremely limited and this becomes awkward to deal with in the Inner Sea when national languages are not available as Bonus Languages to non-humans. So a Osirian Dwarf can't speak Osirian, a Qadiran Halfling can't speak Kelish and so on unless the character takes a point in Linguistics.
The new Inner Sea World Guide gives a list of Languages for each nation or region. What are these languages for? Could these be considered as an addition to the racial Bonus Languages for a character (especially a non-human) to select using their Intelligence score if it is high enough. That way a Dwarf from Osirion with an Intelligence of 12 or higher could select Osirion as a Bonus Language at 1st level without using a skill point on Linguistics.
The way the languages are now, non-humans have some problem integrating language-wise into the human-centric Golarion since national languages (since they are setting based) are not included in the Core-rulebook.
This becomes frustrating for me with a Mordant Spire Elf character of mine. As the Inner Sea World guide says "Generally refusing to speak anything but Azlanti with outsiders" and yet a Mordant Spire Elf character can only choose Azlanti as a language by taking a point in Linguistics. If the Languages from the Steaming Sea region could be taken as Bonus Languages then any Mordant Spire Elf character with Intelligence of 12 or higher could speak Azlanti more easily.
Obviously in a home game I can ask the GM for this sort of thing no problem, but my enquiry is focused at the Pathfinder Society Organised Play Campaign. So what to others think?

If memory serves, Elves of Golarion states that Mordant Spire elves start with Azlanti.

As this thread is focused on the Pathfinder Society Organized Play, it should really be in that forum where the decision makers for the campaign can give a timely, definitive answer to your question.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Expanding the bonus language options for non-human humanoids to include all of the human tongues is a good rule. It's hardly unbalancing, in my opinion.

In some cases, though... some folks ARE pretty isolated. The Mordant Spire elves are one such group; they generally keep to themselves, and a GM would be well in the bounds of logic to limit a Mordant Spire elf's bonus languages.

For Pathfinder Society play, I wouldn't have a problem letting all of the core races have access to the various human ethnic tongues. That decision, though, is up to Mark and Hyrum.

**

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:

Expanding the bonus language options for non-human humanoids to include all of the human tongues is a good rule. It's hardly unbalancing, in my opinion.

In some cases, though... some folks ARE pretty isolated. The Mordant Spire elves are one such group; they generally keep to themselves, and a GM would be well in the bounds of logic to limit a Mordant Spire elf's bonus languages.

For Pathfinder Society play, I wouldn't have a problem letting all of the core races have access to the various human ethnic tongues. That decision, though, is up to Mark and Hyrum.

Thanks for your reply James. I think it would be good to see a bit more integration of national languages into non-human characters and hardly unbalancing as you say.

Mordant Spire Elves are pretty isolated although Wilverel (my character) has made his way out. He doesn't really fit in all that well in the outside world, but joined the Pathfinder Society to help fit in. For interests sake the other languages he has taken are Sylvan (as a Bonus Language at start up) and Aquan (which I bought with Linguistics). In addition to Common and Elven of course.


I think learning the language of your nation, and any bordering nation is a good rule.

Grand Lodge *****

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Tales Subscriber

It doesn't even need to be all languages. Most important seem the languages in the areas where faction camoe from.

Cheliax, Andoran and Taldan is covered by Common. This leaves Quadira and Osirion that really should have their languages available.

I'm just starting a Carrion Crown PBP AP and half the group s elves. As a GM there I can waive it and allow Varisian and Skald to ensure Versimilitude. An elf living fr fifty years in the country with INT 18 should have been able to pick it up.

As a PFS GM I'm more restricted here. Hyrum, Mark - please allow at least Kelish and Osiriani. I know house rules are not good in organised play - but not having these two available does go against the role play immersion of quite a few players.

Thod

Cheliax ** Venture-Lieutenant, Texas—Dallas & Ft. Worth aka drayen

Thod wrote:

It doesn't even need to be all languages. Most important seem the languages in the areas where faction camoe from.

Cheliax, Andoran and Taldan is covered by Common. This leaves Quadira and Osirion that really should have their languages available.

Working for a faction does not equate the character being from that faction's country. Having a character from Varisia working for Osirion doesn't mean they should automatically know Osiriani. On the flip side, an osirian <sp?> should automatically know Osiriani regardless of the faction for whom he is working. Now if you mean that the primary language of a faction should be available to be chosen as a bonus language by characters working for that faction, I agree.

Grand Lodge **** Venture-Captain, Netherlands—Leiden

I'm in favor of making all national languages available as bonus languages to any Pathfinder Society member. The Society should be able to educate its members in the various languages, right?

Andoran *****

Auke Teeninga wrote:
I'm in favor of making all national languages available as bonus languages to any Pathfinder Society member. The Society should be able to educate its members in the various languages, right?

Josh said a while ago. That humans can use bonus languages to take the languages of Glorian.

Mike

Grand Lodge *****

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Tales Subscriber
drayen wrote:
Now if you mean that the primary language of a faction should be available to be chosen as a bonus language by characters working for that faction, I agree.

+1

That is exactly what I tried to say. Probably should have added 'available as bonus language' to the end of the sentence.

Thod

**

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I think i should restate my original idea that began this thread.

I would like the languages listed as National or Regional languages in the Inner Sea World Guide to be available as Bonus Languages to non-human characters from these Nations or Regions.

As far as humans go with Bonus Languages the Core Rulebook says "Humans with high intelligence scores can choose any languages they want" so I think they are covered. Non-humans however have a far limited selection of Bonus Languages which reflect their race, but not the setting of Golarion.

Factions in the Pathfinder Society don't have Factional languages per se. As someone has said characters in a particular Faction are not necessarily from the Nation closely related to the name of that Faction.

Qadira **

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber
Deluge wrote:

I think i should restate my original idea that began this thread.

I would like the languages listed as National or Regional languages in the Inner Sea World Guide to be available as Bonus Languages to non-human characters from these Nations or Regions.

As far as humans go with Bonus Languages the Core Rulebook says "Humans with high intelligence scores can choose any languages they want" so I think they are covered. Non-humans however have a far limited selection of Bonus Languages which reflect their race, but not the setting of Golarion.

Factions in the Pathfinder Society don't have Factional languages per se. As someone has said characters in a particular Faction are not necessarily from the Nation closely related to the name of that Faction.

This is already allowed. Check out a thread from March 29,2010, in the archives called "languages in society games". Anyone can choose their regional language as a bonus language due to high intelligence or buy it with their favored class skill point.

http://paizo.com/paizo/messageboards/paizoPublishing/pathfinder/pathfinderS ociety/general/languagesInSocietyGames

**

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I read that thread. It was interesting but a little confused. There might be a few interpretations of "anyone can choose their regional language". Using the list for each region/nation from the Inner Sea World Guide gives structure to what non-humans can choose for their Bonus Languages.

Paizo Employee ** Developer

3 people marked this as FAQ candidate. 2 people marked this as a favorite.

I am making note to add clarification to either the Additional Resources page or the core campaign rules about this. In the meantime:

Quote:
All Modern Human Languages (Inner Sea World Guide 251) may be learned by all characters regardless of race or class, either via ranks in Linguistics or as bonus languages due to high Intelligence. Ancient Languages may be learned by all characters regardless of race or class via ranks in Linguistics only or if granted through another legal source calling them out by name. Other Languages may be learned only if they are specifically listed as being available in a class's or race's description, or if granted by another legal source.

**

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Mark Moreland wrote:

I am making note to add clarification to either the Additional Resources page or the core campaign rules about this. In the meantime:

Quote:
All Modern Human Languages (Inner Sea World Guide 251) may be learned by all characters regardless of race or class, either via ranks in Linguistics or as bonus languages due to high Intelligence. Ancient Languages may be learned by all characters regardless of race or class via ranks in Linguistics only or if granted through another legal source calling them out by name. Other Languages may be learned only if they are specifically listed as being available in a class's or race's description, or if granted by another legal source.

Mark this is great, but my journey with this post began with my Mordant Spire Elf character. Mordant Spire Elves are apparently native Azlanti speakers (an ancient langauge) and yet I could only get Azlanti by spending a point in Linguistics.

The Steaming Sea region lists Azlanti as a language spoken in this region, so I thought that it might make sense for characters from a region to have access to the languages in the Inner Sea World Guide from that region. Maybe Steaming Sea is unusual because an ancient language is mentioned in its language list.

*****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Mark Moreland wrote:

I am making note to add clarification to either the Additional Resources page or the core campaign rules about this. In the meantime:

Quote:
All Modern Human Languages (Inner Sea World Guide 251) may be learned by all characters regardless of race or class, either via ranks in Linguistics or as bonus languages due to high Intelligence. Ancient Languages may be learned by all characters regardless of race or class via ranks in Linguistics only or if granted through another legal source calling them out by name. Other Languages may be learned only if they are specifically listed as being available in a class's or race's description, or if granted by another legal source.

This I like!

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Illinois—Decatur aka TwilightKnight

Deluge wrote:


Mark this is great, but my journey with this post began with my Mordant Spire Elf character. Mordant Spire Elves are apparently native Azlanti speakers (an ancient langauge) and yet I could only get Azlanti by spending a point in Linguistics.

The Steaming Sea region lists Azlanti as a language spoken in this region, so I thought that it might make sense for characters from a region to have access to the languages in the Inner Sea World Guide from that region. Maybe Steaming Sea is unusual because an ancient language is mentioned in its language list.

Granted, it is not stated in the class/race section of the book, but since Azlanti is listed as the regional dialect for Mordant Spire, wouldn't declaring it your homeland justify it as an available bonus language? The book is a legal source, per Mark's quote.

However, even if this is not the case, your elf would be considered a "fringe" case and can just take it with a skill point. I suppose that opening up the language to your elf could have a Pandora's box effect. What about my dwarf from the Darklands? Should he have access to Drow, Aklo, or Undercommon as a bonus language? We might have to err on the side of caution on this one.

Paizo Employee ** Developer

TwilightKnight wrote:
However, even if this is not the case, your elf would be considered a "fringe" case and can just take it with a skill point. I suppose that opening up the language to your elf could have a Pandora's box effect. What about my dwarf from the Darklands? Should he have access to Drow, Aklo, or Undercommon as a bonus language? We might have to err on the side of caution on this one.

This. While I understand the specific situation of the character in question, I'd rather not open up loopholes to allow characters to game the system by claiming a background simply to get a clearly beneficial language. Racial and ethnic languages are fine to grant for free or with high Int, but ancient languages are meant to be a challenge in scenarios; the skill point cost or spell needed to speak them is what makes them challenging.

*****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Mark Moreland wrote:
Other Languages may be learned only if they are specifically listed as being available in a class's or race's description, or if granted by another legal source.

Does this mean you can't spend a point in Linguistics to pick up Abyssal, Infernal, etc?

Qadira **

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber
Kyle Baird wrote:
Mark Moreland wrote:
Other Languages may be learned only if they are specifically listed as being available in a class's or race's description, or if granted by another legal source.
Does this mean you can't spend a point in Linguistics to pick up Abyssal, Infernal, etc?

Interesting point. They were allowed in the past--my Chelaxian speaks infernal. If it's not allowed anymore, I guess I would have to pick another skill.

EDIT: That would seem uber restrictive, though, since Elven, Dwarven, Gnome, and Halfling are all under the "other languages" section. Does that really mean we can't speak Elven unless we're an Elf or half-elf? That seems...wrong?

Qadira **

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I believe he is talking about starting languages only.

Paizo Employee ** Developer

Kyle Baird wrote:
Mark Moreland wrote:
Other Languages may be learned only if they are specifically listed as being available in a class's or race's description, or if granted by another legal source.
Does this mean you can't spend a point in Linguistics to pick up Abyssal, Infernal, etc?

Er...Yeah, this could be clearer. Most of the languages in the other langues section (except Necril and Orvian) are called out by name as being learnable with a rank of Linguistics on pages 101–102 of the Core Rulebook. So those are legal under the "another legal source" clause. For purposes of simplicity Orvian and Necril may also be considered to exist on that list.

*****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Figured as much. Thanks for the quick clarification!

Paizo Employee ** Developer

Kyle Baird wrote:
Figured as much. Thanks for the quick clarification!

You're welcome! Sorry for the confusion.

Qadira ***

Mark Moreland wrote:
Kyle Baird wrote:
Figured as much. Thanks for the quick clarification!
You're welcome! Sorry for the confusion.

Now, can someone do me the favor of writing this into the Community PFS Guide Update, here?

I'd like to get it into the next update.

-Pain

**

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I think the language situation needs to be clarified.
In the Core Rulebook under human racial traits it says - "Languages: Humans begin play speaking Common. Humans with high Intelligence scores can choose any languages they want (except secret languages, such as Druidic)." This makes me think that humans can choose any language as a bonus language unless, as stated, it is a secret language. That reads to me that a human character can choose to begin with Azlanti, Ancient Osiriani, Aklo, Undercommon, Celestial, Infernal or any other such non- Modern Human Language because for human characters there seems no restriction.
Non-human characters don't have such an easy time of it. They get other benefits of course, but their available bonus languages only include racial languages. Giving characters of non-human races access to a few more languages doesn't seem out of line.
Is there a rule regarding languages that I have missed? Are there any restrictions on the languages that can be chosen if a point is spent on Linguistics? Or on the languages that a human can choose as Bonus Languages?

Qadira **

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber
Deluge wrote:

I think the language situation needs to be clarified.

In the Core Rulebook under human racial traits it says - "Languages: Humans begin play speaking Common. Humans with high Intelligence scores can choose any languages they want (except secret languages, such as Druidic)." This makes me think that humans can choose any language as a bonus language unless, as stated, it is a secret language. That reads to me that a human character can choose to begin with Azlanti, Ancient Osiriani, Aklo, Undercommon, Celestial, Infernal or any other such non- Modern Human Language because for human characters there seems no restriction.
Non-human characters don't have such an easy time of it. They get other benefits of course, but their available bonus languages only include racial languages. Giving characters of non-human races access to a few more languages doesn't seem out of line.
Is there a rule regarding languages that I have missed? Are there any restrictions on the languages that can be chosen if a point is spent on Linguistics? Or on the languages that a human can choose as Bonus Languages?

I believe that all of those questions have already been addressed by Mark, above...non humans can gain human regional languages by virtue of high intelligence as bonus languages. Ancient languages, you have to spend a point in linguistics.

From Mark's post above:
All Modern Human Languages (Inner Sea World Guide 251) may be learned by all characters regardless of race or class, either via ranks in Linguistics or as bonus languages due to high Intelligence. Ancient Languages may be learned by all characters regardless of race or class via ranks in Linguistics only or if granted through another legal source calling them out by name.

Also, most languages listed under the "other languages" list in the world guide are allowed for purchase via a rank in linguistics, human or non-human:

From Mark's post above:
Most of the languages in the other langues section (except Necril and Orvian) are called out by name as being learnable with a rank of Linguistics on pages 101–102 of the Core Rulebook. So those are legal under the "another legal source" clause. For purposes of simplicity Orvian and Necril may also be considered to exist on that list.

**

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
teribithia9 wrote:


I believe that all of those questions have already been addressed by Mark, above...non humans can gain human regional languages by virtue of high intelligence as bonus languages. Ancient languages, you have to spend a point in linguistics.

What I was getting at here was that not all players read these forums, so if these are the PFS rules regarding languages then it seems that they need to be added to the Guide to Organised Play where all players should see them and can ensure that their characters follow the rules.

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Illinois—Decatur aka TwilightKnight

Deluge wrote:


What I was getting at here was that not all players read these forums, so if these are the PFS rules regarding languages then it seems that they need to be added to the Guide to Organised Play where all players should see them and can ensure that their characters follow the rules.

Mark/Hyrum have said that a comprehensive new guide is forthcoming, probably between PaizoCon and GenCon. Until then, follow this thread with a community driven guide updated with all the changes/clarifications that are on the board threads.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Deluge wrote:

I think the language situation needs to be clarified.

In the Core Rulebook under human racial traits it says - "Languages: Humans begin play speaking Common. Humans with high Intelligence scores can choose any languages they want (except secret languages, such as Druidic)." This makes me think that humans can choose any language as a bonus language unless, as stated, it is a secret language. That reads to me that a human character can choose to begin with Azlanti, Ancient Osiriani, Aklo, Undercommon, Celestial, Infernal or any other such non- Modern Human Language because for human characters there seems no restriction.
Non-human characters don't have such an easy time of it. They get other benefits of course, but their available bonus languages only include racial languages. Giving characters of non-human races access to a few more languages doesn't seem out of line.
Is there a rule regarding languages that I have missed? Are there any restrictions on the languages that can be chosen if a point is spent on Linguistics? Or on the languages that a human can choose as Bonus Languages?

In my game, I'm sticking with the rules as in the Core rulebook. With the language in the core book as clear as it is, I don't see why humans need linguistics to pick up ancient languages as long as it is plausible based on their character background. It is no less plausible for a human wizard to start with Azlanti than for a half orc to start with draconic. Frankly, speaking an additional language is not so often such an in-game advantage that I'm going to make my players unnecessarily spend precious skill ranks on it.

Grand Lodge ***

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
Voomer wrote:
Deluge wrote:

I think the language situation needs to be clarified.

In the Core Rulebook under human racial traits it says - "Languages: Humans begin play speaking Common. Humans with high Intelligence scores can choose any languages they want (except secret languages, such as Druidic)." This makes me think that humans can choose any language as a bonus language unless, as stated, it is a secret language. That reads to me that a human character can choose to begin with Azlanti, Ancient Osiriani, Aklo, Undercommon, Celestial, Infernal or any other such non- Modern Human Language because for human characters there seems no restriction.
Non-human characters don't have such an easy time of it. They get other benefits of course, but their available bonus languages only include racial languages. Giving characters of non-human races access to a few more languages doesn't seem out of line.
Is there a rule regarding languages that I have missed? Are there any restrictions on the languages that can be chosen if a point is spent on Linguistics? Or on the languages that a human can choose as Bonus Languages?
In my game, I'm sticking with the rules as in the Core rulebook. With the language in the core book as clear as it is, I don't see why humans need linguistics to pick up ancient languages as long as it is plausible based on their character background. It is no less plausible for a human wizard to start with Azlanti than for a half orc to start with draconic. Frankly, speaking an additional language is not so often such an in-game advantage that I'm going to make my players unnecessarily spend precious skill ranks on it.

Except that this isn't a home game, it's PFS and our Gamemasters have spoken :P

**

Alright, to make sure I have this clear, and to put it in terms that my 7 Int Dwarf can understand:

Free Languages: As presented by race, ethnicity (for humans), and class (ie Druidic for Druids)

Bonus Languages for High Int: All Races: Listed languages in entry, Modern Human Languages (Inner Sea WG p251), additional bonus languages granted by class (ie Draconic for wizards)

Bonus Languages for High Int: Humans/ Half-Elf: All languages EXCEPT Ancient Languages and Secret Languages

Languages Purchased through Linguistics: All languages EXCEPT Secret Languages

Am I correct in this?

**

As to the original topic:

Allowing for languages dependant on region of origin just complicates things. If I had a character from the Realm of the Mammoth Lords, by defalt he would not know common.

Bummer as it is, for balance reasons, your elf needs to burn a skill point for Azlanti. For background purposes, think of it as symbolic of the teaching he/she had being raised as a guardian of the Azlanti ruins. If you don't want to burn the skill point, it could be a matter that your character left home before recieving that particular bit of training.

The elves of the Mordant Spire refuse to speak in anything but Azlanti to outsiders. That doesn't mean that they speak to eachother in it. Those who can't speak it may just not speak to outsiders at all.

Grand Lodge ***

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
Lord Twitchiopolis wrote:

Alright, to make sure I have this clear, and to put it in terms that my 7 Int Dwarf can understand:

Free Languages: As presented by race, ethnicity (for humans), and class (ie Druidic for Druids)

Bonus Languages for High Int: All Races: Listed languages in entry, Modern Human Languages (Inner Sea WG p251), additional bonus languages granted by class (ie Draconic for wizards)

Bonus Languages for High Int: Humans/ Half-Elf: All languages EXCEPT Ancient Languages and Secret Languages

Languages Purchased through Linguistics: All languages EXCEPT Secret Languages

Am I correct in this?

Looks right to me

Paizo Employee ** Developer

me too


cblome59 wrote:


Except that this isn't a home game, it's PFS and our Gamemasters have spoken :P

And it is not so much that, but that the Core Book is setting neutral and the PFS is set on Golarion, so any setting-specific rules in the Inner Sea World Guide, or other setting books, have precedence over any setting-neutral rules that they conflict with. Then after that, any "house rules" made by Joshua in the past or Mark and Hyrum in the present override those if there is a conflict. So the order of the rules to follow is: PFS "house rules" ---> Golarion-specific rules ---> Core rules.

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