A Possible System for Learning and Using Languages


Homebrew

Sovereign Court

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I enjoy low-magic campaigns where skills and knowledge make a big difference. And, as someone who has learned a second language, I've never been satisfied with how easy it is to learn languages in Pathfinder. What follows is an intentionally more complex system for learning and using language (and it's as much a exercise in rules-writing as something I would actually subject players to). I'd love some feedback on balance and possible angles and unintended consequences I may have missed. I'm not really looking for suggestions to try another game system or questions about why I would want to make language more complex. Thanks!

LANGUAGES

For the purpose of the game and these house rules, the majority of languages player characters will encounter can be said to be similarly complex and equally challenging to learn and use. There are, however, a few exceptions. Pidgin languages and trade tongues naturally arise from the interaction between linguistically diverse peoples and are relatively easy to learn, but, as a consequence of haphazard hybridization, they are unable to express the same level of complexity as languages with longer, more literary and academic histories (Note: With time and concerted effort, these languages might someday develop into full literary languages, but they are not currently capable of expressing this level of sophistication.). The languages of the outer planes, like Celestial and Infernal, and of certain ancient aberrant creatures with strange and alien mindsets, on the other hand, reach levels of complexity beyond anything seen by most on Golarion. These languages have existed for tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands or even millions of years and involve myriad layers of nuance and meaning requiring multiple lifespans to master. The highest levels of fluency in these languages are unobtainable by mortals without some form of special (usually magical) training.

Learning and Using Languages

Fluency
For the majority of languages, there are four ranks of language fluency:

Rudimentary (1) – Character can either understand/speak or read/write a smattering of words and phrases, enough to attempt to orally communicate or to get the gist of written text. Communication is limited to simple ideas and is prone to errors. A DC 10 Linguistics check is required to communicate successfully, +5 to DC if the GM determines that the message attempted is “too complex”; failure means communication has been unsuccessful, and failure by 5 or more means the opposite of the intended message has been understood/communicated.

Basic (2) – Character can both understand/speak and read/write the language with growing accuracy, although may still make non-critical errors and speaks with a noticeable accent. A DC 5 Linguistics check is required to communicate successfully; failure means communication has been unsuccessful.

Fluent (3) – Character can understand/speak and read/write the language with native or near-native fluency. No checks are required to communicate unless dealing with either a distinctly different historical variation or regional dialect of the language or a particularly formal or academic use of the language, in which case the difficulty varies from DC 2 to DC 4, depending on how different it is from the version the character knows.

Additional benefits of fluency rank 3 include:
o For each language in which a character is fluent after the first, he or she receives a +1 bonus on all Linguistics checks.

Advanced (4) – Character has advanced, academic and literary understanding of the language as well as familiarity with major historical variations and regional and dialects. No checks are required to communicate.

Additional benefits of fluency rank 4 include:
o For each language in which a character has advanced fluency, including the first, he or she receives an additional +1 bonus on all Linguistics checks (in addition to the +1 for rank 3);
o +2 to Knowledge and research checks involving texts written in this language.

A character’s language fluency rank is indicated by a small subscript number after the name of the language, such as: Dwarven2, Elven3, Taldane4, or Infernal1S and Celestial1W in the case of rank 1 spoken-only or written-only fluency. If no subscript number is present, assume the character has a fluency rank of 3 (native fluency), unless the GM determines that another rank would be more appropriate.

Simple languages (such as pidgins and trade tongues) have a maximum fluency rank of 3 due to their simple structures and lack of complex vocabulary, and exceptionally complex languages (such as planar languages and those of ancient aberrations) require an additional level of fluency to full represent their intricacies:

Transcendent (5) – Character has mastered the myriad nuances and layers of meaning of a complex and ancient language used by the inhabitants of the outer planes or aberrant creatures with strange and alien mindsets. This level of fluency is not normally available to player characters unless they complete some sort of epic undertaking, and it is even rare (though not unheard of) for outsiders and aberrations to attain transcendent fluency.

Additional benefits of fluency rank 5:
o For each language in which a character has transcendent fluency, he or she receives an additional +1 bonus on all Linguistics checks (in addition to the +1s for ranks 3 and 4);
o +2 to Bluff, Diplomacy and Intimidate with others who speak this language;
o +5 to Knowledge and research checks involving texts written in this language;
o +2 on saves versus language-dependent spells and spell-like abilities in this language; +2 to effective caster level on language-dependent spells and spell-like abilities cast in this language.

Due mostly to physical characteristics and limitations, in some cases characters may be unable to reach higher levels of fluency in certain languages (again, most often planar and aberrant languages) without some form of magical assistance. Communication in Lithan and Terran, for example, involves subtle vibrations as well as spoken words, something that most characters simply cannot produce or perceive. Likewise, Ignan uses fluctuations in heat and the color of flame to communicate meaning, Riman uses waves of cold and frost, Aquan uses the manipulation of water currents and buoyancy, and Auran uses the manipulation of air currents and pressure. Without some form of magical assistance to aide them in perceiving and producing these effects, most characters cannot attain a fluency rank higher than 2 in these languages.

Starting Languages
Characters begin with one language at native fluency (rank 3). Additional languages granted through class features, such as Druidic or Thieves’ Cant, also begin at rank 3. After that, for each +1 bonus granted to characters for above average intelligence, they have 1 additional point to spend on further improving their native language or learning additional languages, as described in Acquiring Languages below.

Characters with below average intelligence suffer a penalty to languages and fluency, and because they probably don’t have additional languages to penalize, they suffer the loss of fluency in their native language (although not as harshly as one might expect). Characters with a -1 Int modifier (Int 8 or 9) still start with 3 ranks of fluency in their native language, but characters with a -2 Int modifier (Int 6 or 7) only start with 2 ranks of fluency in their native language, and characters with a -3 Int modifier (Int 4 or 5) only starts with 1 rank of fluency in their native language (i.e., characters with below average intelligence get a small grace of one rank in fluency compared to their negative Int modifier, but then begin losing ranks at the rate of 1 per -1, as one would expect… although a strict GM might only extend this grace to spoken language and not to reading or writing). Characters with below average intelligence who start with multiple languages (usually gained through a class feature) may chose which starting language to penalize, and any characters who start with lower-than-native fluency in a starting language may invest skill points to increase their fluency as normal, as described in Acquiring Languages below.

If a character has the Bilingual trait, he or she begins with a second language at native fluency (rank 3) for free.

Acquiring Languages
Additional languages are no longer learned by adding points to the Linguistics skill. Instead, skill points are spent to purchase language fluency ranks. For most common languages, the cost to increase fluency is 1 skill point per rank. It would cost, for example, 1 skill point to move from Dwarven1 to Dwarven2 or from Elven3 to Elven4. However, if a character wants to increase his or her fluency by more than 1 rank per increase in character level, the cost of each additional rank doubles, so that +1 rank costs 1 skill point, but +2 ranks costs 3 skill points (1+2), +3 ranks costs 7 skill points (1+2+4), and +4 ranks – going from no knowledge of a language to advanced fluency in one character level gain – costs 15 skill points (1+2+4+8). At the GM’s option, if a character is immersed in an environment where the target language predominates, the cumulative cost of increasing fluency by multiple ranks in a single character level increase may decrease by 1, so +2 ranks would only cost 2 skill points, +3 ranks would only cost 6 skill points, and +4 ranks would only cost 14 skill points.

For particularly challenging languages that are more difficult to learn – planar languages, aberrant languages, and dead languages that are no longer widely used – the cost to gain fluency doubles. Rather than costing 1 skill point per rank to increase fluency, it costs 2 skill points per rank. Cumulative costs for increasing fluency by multiple ranks in a single character level increase are likewise doubled.

For languages that are easier to learn – usually pidgins and trade tongues – the cost to gain fluency is halved. Rather than costing 1 skill point per rank to increase fluency, it costs ½ skill point per rank (rounded up). This has little practical effect if characters only increase fluency by 1 rank per character level increase, but the cumulative costs for increasing fluency by multiple ranks in a single character level increase are also halved, meaning that +1 rank would still cost 1 skill point (½), but +2 ranks would only cost 2 skill points (½+1), +3 ranks would only cost 4 skill points (½+1+2), and +4 ranks would only cost 8 skill points (½+1+2+4). Applying the “immersion rule” from above and further reduce the cumulative costs for increasing fluency by multiple ranks in a single character level increase to 1 skill point for +2 ranks (meaning that, when immersed in a pidgin or trade tongue, most people skip rudimentary fluency and go directly to basic fluency), 3 skill points for +3 ranks, and 7 skill points for +4 ranks (keeping in mind, however, that most of these easy-to-learn languages are the same ones that max out at 3 ranks of fluency/complexity).

Using Languages
While learning languages is no longer governed by the Linguistics skill, using them still is. Once characters reach rank 3 in a language, Linguistics checks are no longer required in most cases, but for characters attempting to use languages in which they only have 1 or 2 ranks of fluency, Linguistics checks are necessary to hold a conversation or to read and write text. The degree of challenge in using a language successfully is dependent on a character’s fluency (base DC = 10 for rudimentary fluency, 5 for basic fluency), and is subject to the following modifiers:

Language Use Modifiers
The other participant in the exchange has rudimentary fluency in the language. DC +10
The other participant in the exchange has basic fluency in the language. DC +5
The exchange is casual or friendly, with all parties having the desire to understand each other. DC -5
The exchange is rushed or takes place in a tense and/or hostile situation. DC +5
The exchange involves a distinctly different historical variation or regional dialect of the language that one of the participants is not familiar with. DC +2 or +4
The exchange involves a particularly formal or academic use of the language. DC +2 or +4
Each additional language closely related to the target language the character understands fluently (ex: Osiriani and Ancient Osiriani, Taldane and High Taldane). DC -2


On the language rank 1, if the skill check is failed by 5 or more, you have writer that the opposite message was received from what was intended. I would drop this. If you are trying to make your system more realistic, inability to communicate is complete inability- the message receiver is left with the feeling of "I haven't got a clue" versus "My house is drowning" (a possible opposite to his house being on fire).

I do think this is too complex for a player to know what is expected of them (let alone a GM with who is trying to tell a story while balancing layers upon layers of rules), but that part is up to you.


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In terms of balance, the usual problems apply. Since languages now cost 4 times what they did, a character now needs to choose between being a Linguist vs being good at Stealth, Perception, Swim, AND Bluff. It's going to be a heck of a specific campaign before the Linguistics investment pays out more than 4 other skills.

The power of Comprehend Languages and Tongues, if unaltered, grant level 4 proficiency is ALL Languages, making them a vastly better deal. In fact, the best way to be a Linguist is either take a spellcasting class, of spend those points in Use Magic Device (you'll get back 4 times the investment in Linguistics, and it does something else) and buy a wand of Comprehend Languages.

To make this work, I'd flat out ban Comprehend Languages and Tongues (or at least make the Level 1 communication only), then focus on a travel-related, heavily Linguistics focused campaign, where getting a word wrong can be the difference between being welcomed or attacked by the natives.

Sovereign Court

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Thadyne wrote:
On the language rank 1, if the skill check is failed by 5 or more, you have writer that the opposite message was received from what was intended. I would drop this. If you are trying to make your system more realistic, inability to communicate is complete inability- the message receiver is left with the feeling of "I haven't got a clue" versus "My house is drowning" (a possible opposite to his house being on fire).

I can see that. I was going for the idea that one garbles the message so badly that it leads to problems. Not so much "my house is drowning" as "my family is still inside" > "everyone got out safely." But, yeah, that leads to all the debates about GM's lying to players to misdirect them or model other poor rolls.

(I once worked up a system where, when PC rolled for things like Bluff and Sense Motive, they would also get to roll a Wis check. On a successful Wis check, the GM used the standard d20 roll to determine success and players could pretty well estimate the reliability of their roll by how high or low it was. But if they failed the Wis check, the GM instead used a crazy, mixed up little table - 1 = 17, 2 = 9, 3 = 4, etc., with all the possibilities represented (thus maintaining the same odds), but impossible for players to estimate reliability of the attempt based off high and low die rolls... Like I said, I like making up little subsystems...)


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Thadyne wrote:

On the language rank 1, if the skill check is failed by 5 or more, you have writer that the opposite message was received from what was intended. I would drop this. If you are trying to make your system more realistic, inability to communicate is complete inability- the message receiver is left with the feeling of "I haven't got a clue" versus "My house is drowning" (a possible opposite to his house being on fire).

I do think this is too complex for a player to know what is expected of them (let alone a GM with who is trying to tell a story while balancing layers upon layers of rules), but that part is up to you.

This is pretty easy to fix -- instead of having failure go straight to the opposite result, it goes to any catastrophic result (which can range from comically catastrophic to causing a serious disaster by way of misunderstanding).

Reverse wrote:

{. . .}

The power of Comprehend Languages and Tongues, if unaltered, grant level 4 proficiency is ALL Languages, making them a vastly better deal. In fact, the best way to be a Linguist is either take a spellcasting class, of spend those points in Use Magic Device (you'll get back 4 times the investment in Linguistics, and it does something else) and buy a wand of Comprehend Languages.

To make this work, I'd flat out ban Comprehend Languages and Tongues (or at least make the Level 1 communication only), then focus on a travel-related, heavily Linguistics focused campaign, where getting a word wrong can be the difference between being welcomed or attacked by the natives.

I'd go for the second option. Of course, certain other spells also do too much for their level; a number of level-bumps (including for these spells) would be well within the realm of the reasonable. And using the ways that things in our world like Google Translate mess up as examples would certainly also be well within the realm of the reasonable.

Sovereign Court

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Reverse wrote:
In terms of balance, the usual problems apply. Since languages now cost 4 times what they did, a character now needs to choose between being a Linguist vs being good at Stealth, Perception, Swim, AND Bluff. It's going to be a heck of a specific campaign before the Linguistics investment pays out more than 4 other skills.

Fewer multi-linguists is definitely an intention of this system. I play in a campaign now where, by upper levels, we run into a strange beastie, and just about every time someone can look down their character sheet and say, "Oh, I speak that." Or "I've never been out of Sandpoint in my life, yet I speak fluent Terran." I know... magic is pretty common, and so are visitors from other planes. I'm just looking to tone that down a little. My target would probably be making 2-3 languages at a decent Level 3 fluency accessible to most characters, but after that, it would have to be a trade off and somewhat of a specialization. I could also imagine there being a feat or maybe bard/rogue class ability called "Polyglot" that halved the cost of learning new languages, but again, that would be in place of another feat/ability, so it would be a trade off.

Reverse wrote:

The power of Comprehend Languages and Tongues, if unaltered, grant level 4 proficiency is ALL Languages, making them a vastly better deal. In fact, the best way to be a Linguist is either take a spellcasting class, of spend those points in Use Magic Device (you'll get back 4 times the investment in Linguistics, and it does something else) and buy a wand of Comprehend Languages.

To make this work, I'd flat out ban Comprehend Languages and Tongues (or at least make the Level 1 communication only), then focus on a travel-related, heavily Linguistics focused campaign, where getting a word wrong can be the difference between being welcomed or attacked by the natives.

I'm not a huge fan of wands as spells-in-a-can in the first place, but that gets into some pretty heavy re-wiring of the system. Looking at Comprehend Languages, it certainly would grant a large benefit, but I'm not sure it's unreasonable. Like you said, basically a 4-skill-point equivalent. Jump is also 1st level and grants a +10 to Acrobatics. At low levels, a spellcaster doesn't have that many spell slots, so if she wants to spend one on being able to understand/read (but not speak or write) a language, cool. And at higher levels, when she has more 1st level slots available, it might be more available, but that's when "it's magic" kicks in. I could see making it 1 min/level instead of 10 min/level, so it's pretty much good for one conversation rather than hours on end. I could also see clarifying/enforcing that it's only good for one language per casting, so it's not a general "understand everything" spell. Tongues would probably need to get pushed up a level, and gimped down to 1 min/level as well. But as you point out, wands make a lot of this moot. I think I'd be more likely to ban wands, though, than these specific spells.

Sovereign Court

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One clarification - several comments so far have made reference to either spells giving a Level 4 fluency or it now being 4x as costly to speak a language. The intent (although probably poorly expressed) is for Level 3 to plenty for most purposes. Level 3 is supposed to represent your average native speaker. Level 4 is more like advanced mastery. I've got a master's degree; I probably have like a Level 3.5 mastery on English. In my mind, Level 4 is more like an English major, someone with a pretty high level linguistic understanding of the language as well as historical and literature knowledge.

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Reverse wrote:
The power of Comprehend Languages and Tongues, if unaltered, grant level 4 proficiency is ALL Languages, making them a vastly better deal.

You could also redefine the spell in terms of the new system. Comprehend Languages gives you 2 ranks in a language you don't know, or +1 rank in a language you already have ranks in. Maybe bumps up to 3 ranks or +2 ranks at 5th level.


Mosaic wrote:
Fewer multi-linguists is definitely an intention of this system.

If the aim is to ensure that few if any PCs will take extra languages, then I think your system will work well to do it. (NPCs have whatever skills the GM assigns them with as many points as they like, so it's a non-issue for them).

It'sunbalanced - unless it's a rare campaign, no language is worth that many skill points - but if the intent is to prevent PCs from taking languages without outright banning it I think this will work well.


I quite like what you are doing here.
But I still think that it should be tied into the Linguistics skill

Acquiring Languages wrote:
Additional languages are no longer learned by adding points to the Linguistics skill. Instead, skill points are spent to purchase language fluency ranks. For most common languages, the cost to increase fluency is 1 skill point per rank. It would cost, for example, 1 skill point to move from Dwarven1 to Dwarven2 or from Elven3 to Elven4. However, if a character wants to increase his or her fluency by more than 1 rank per increase in character level, the cost of each additional rank doubles, so that +1 rank costs 1 skill point, but +2 ranks costs 3 skill points (1+2), +3 ranks costs 7 skill points (1+2+4), and +4 ranks – going from no knowledge of a language to advanced fluency in one character level gain – costs 15 skill points (1+2+4+8). At the GM’s option, if a character is immersed in an environment where the target language predominates, the cumulative cost of increasing fluency by multiple ranks in a single character level increase may decrease by 1, so +2 ranks would only cost 2 skill points, +3 ranks would only cost 6 skill points, and +4 ranks would only cost 14 skill points

Instead of costing Skill points to gain levels in a Language, putting points into the Linguistics skill gives you Language Points.

Level one costs 1 LP
Level two costs 3 LP
Level three costs 7 LP
Level four costs 15 LP

Each skill point you put into Linguistics gives you a number of LP equal to your Int Mod (min 1). Again you can only put one skill point per level, so this would keep the number of Languages learned down. And give those with high Intelligence a better chance at increasing the number of Languages known.


If Comprehend Languages, Tongues, and similar spells were level-bumped, it would make Wands of them a LOT more expensive, if even available at all.


I introduced a system remarkably similar to this in one 3.5 game I ran, and it worked there only because we had turned d20 into a classless levelless system and could buy skills freely.

Now that we play pretty straight PF we just make notes of which languages and dialects a character can speak and I require a Linguistics roll to see how complicated stuff they can comprehend and convey, with modifiers similar to the OP's. It requires a bit more effort on my part to determine the exact languages spoken in any given area and how closely related they are to what the PCs already know, but it's a pretty good middle ground between the actual complexities of modeling how easy it is to communicate and not getting in the way of adventuring.


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IMHO, if you really want to make having a multilingual environment a significant game feature, your ideas about fluency levels and in-game effects are spot on.

However, you should de-link language proficiency and skill points. Make increasing language fluency a function of:
- time
- environment (having opportunities to use the language with others, etc)
- resources (libraries for dead languages, teachers for living ones)

You could let skill points invested in Linguistics give a bonus, but still require time for real advancement. Use something like the retraining rules, which have a time component, or just make up something that feels right without penalizing players too much.

Linguistic difficulties and problems of communication could potentially be an interesting source of conflict and in-game tension, if the DM manages it carefully. Even magic like Comprehend Languages and Tongues would become cool again, since they are currently mostly worthless space in a spellbook. After all, those spells have their limits in terms of duration and functionality, and players with poor linguistic skills will have a reason to seek them out.

Don't forget to allow PCs who start at an older age, or who take long-lived races to have a wider repertoire of languages known and fluency levels. I would think elves would get a number of extra languages for free, regardless of intelligence, whereas goblins and similarly short-lived races would tend to be far more linguistically isolated.


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LANGUAGE AM USELESS

TALKYMAN DO LANGUAGE FOR BARBARIAN


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I wonder how this issue would be seen differently in the US (mostly strictly monolingual except for immigrants) and the rest of the world . . . .


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UnArcaneElection wrote:
I wonder how this issue would be seen differently in the US (mostly strictly monolingual except for immigrants) and the rest of the world . . . .

That's an easy one, at least for a guy like me, who grew up in the states but has lived in France for some 30 years.

Real-world fluency (or lack thereof) has basically no bearing at all on fluency in languages in a fantasy-medieval world setting.

Take people here in France. They typically study two or even three foreign languages in school, but their fluency levels remain so pathetically low that most people never dare speaking English, even if they do have enough basic knowledge to get by.

Now look at typical language tropes in fantasy or science fiction literature or TV/cinema. Most take the easy way out and just assume that everyone speaks the same language. Very few take the hard road and deal with problems of understanding various languages across cultures.

Learning a language takes time and effort. It's not automatic. In PF a character can learn multiple strange and disparate languages in the space of a few weeks or months, just by killing things and taking their stuff. Skill points and levels are an abstraction that makes advancement within the game system work, but has very little to do with the practical reality of learning new skills.

Languages are a case in point. You can't learn a new language without taking time and having opportunities to practice what you've learnt. Not in real life, anyway. I have no problems with awarding new languages through skill point allocation in PF, it's just one of many "conceits" used in the game to gloss over difficult issues, like the constant and fixed value of gold pieces and other commodities like diamonds and diamond dust. It's an abstract procedure that's used to make the game run more smoothly.

But if the OP is interested in making linguistic obstacles a focal point of his game, hey, all the more power to him. I would simply suggest that he de-couple language learning and fluency completely from skill point investment, and make it a function of time and learning opportunities. That would bring things more in line with real-life issues in language learning, even if it would bog things down somewhat in game terms, and make linguistic obstacles more frequent and daunting.

YMMV.


Wheldrake wrote:
I would simply suggest that he de-couple language learning and fluency completely from skill point investment, and make it a function of time and learning opportunities. That would bring things more in line with real-life issues in language learning, even if it would bog things down somewhat in game terms, and make linguistic obstacles more frequent and daunting.

That's a very good suggestion. It has the advantage of making it as real world as the OP desires, decouples balance issues of the value of a skill point in Linguistics, and altogether prevents players from being as multi-lingual as they like.

You'd still have to account for extra languages spoken at character creation, since they would have retroactively spent the time to learn them, which could be accounted for by spending feats, traits, or skill points, or disallowed altogether, depending on how foreign and daunting you want language to be.


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Reverse wrote:
You'd still have to account for extra languages spoken at character creation, since they would have retroactively spent the time to learn them, which could be accounted for by spending feats, traits, or skill points, or disallowed altogether, depending on how foreign and daunting you want language to be.

I would think extra languages at character creation could easily be hand-waved. IRL, smart kids who grow up in multilingual environments generally have few problems in mastering them all. Then again, some smart people have awful foreign language skills, and some folks who are not what you would tend to think of in the "smart" category have multiple languages they can use, at least to some degree.

At some point, even a DM striving for greater realism and in-game intrigue from linguistic obstacles is going to have to settle for *some* degree of simplification, if only because real-life linguistics is such a complex issue. These days, somebody who can speak fluently in more than 4 languages is really rare, whereas in D&D and PF, they are a dime a dozen.


Mosaic wrote:
Reverse wrote:
The power of Comprehend Languages and Tongues, if unaltered, grant level 4 proficiency is ALL Languages, making them a vastly better deal.
You could also redefine the spell in terms of the new system. Comprehend Languages gives you 2 ranks in a language you don't know, or +1 rank in a language you already have ranks in. Maybe bumps up to 3 ranks or +2 ranks at 5th level.

I would have Comprehend Languages grant effective rank 2 fluency and a +5 or +10 competence bonus on Linguistics checks. Then require skill rolls to communicate.


Sorry, I should have said.

I love your system for languages, and couldn't agree more that 1 per rank is ridiculous.

Regarding the value of points in this skill vs. other skills: when you gain a rank in Stealth, you become around 5% more likely to succeed at sneaking. When you take a rank in Linguistics, you become about 5% more likely to decode an UNKNOWN language, and as a bonus, you are fluent AND literate in a new language.

I think that is a bit much. IMO, your use of Linguistics to actually communicate is brilliant, and the stepped fluency is great as well. If someone needs a polyglot angle, it should be feats/traits combined with ranks in Linguistics using this system.

I have a 20th level Int using Sorcerer who speaks and writes over 20 languages. I didn't mean to, I didn't intend to, I don't want to. It's just automatic, and silly. It is as you say, the party encounters some ancient scrawl, and the DM says does anyone speak ____? The Wizard player and I have ALWAYS said, "yep."

I understand Paizo's approach to "fixing" languages. But, since the inability to communicate so rarely comes up, it would be nice if it wasn't ignored by any party with a Wizard or Bard (i.e. all of them).

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