Comprehend Languages is broken


Playtest Reports


In tonight's Pathfinder playtest, a goblin seemed intent on communicating to us. So my character, a 1st-level wizard, cast comprehend languages so we could find out what was going on.

That's when I discovered that comprehend languages is one-way—making the spell effectively useless in communicating with someone verbally. Despite the spell being in full effect, we had to resort to a game of Pictionary to understand what the goblin was talking about. In short, the spell might as well not have been cast in the first place.

Here's the problem: Since it's unavoidably a personal and direct interaction with someone else, the spell should also allow speaking the language, not just hearing. You have to touch the person you're speaking with, so it's not like watching a movie and getting subtitles and it's not eavesdropping on a secret conversation—it's directly interacting with someone, and in that situation it's effectively useless not being able to speak with the person you're directly interacting with.

It's only for 10 minutes. That's not game or genre-busting. There's still a reason to take additional languages.

Corollary: The difference between speaking and not speaking with someone is not five whole levels' worth of difference. No. That's ridiculous. That means either comprehend languages just as it's written without any changes needs to go up in level to be closer to tongues or tongues needs to be a second level spell across the board.


Then why would someone cast cast tongues? Also look at the name of the spell... Comprehend languages... not speak languages. This spell does exactly what it says, and nothing more, which makes sense to me.

I was a little confused by your title, most the time I hear someone say something is "Broken" they usually mean overpowered, not under. Generally when they mean underpowered they call it "nerfed".

However generally other means of communication can be worked out once one side has a means of understanding the other... it's a great area for role playing.

Tongues allows any language, and it's only 4 levels difference for a wizard (3 for a bard). Also Tongues is a "Buff" in that you can cast it on anyone, Comprehend languages is self only.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The main use for Comprehend Languages is to _read_ a text in an unknown language. Found ancient hieroglyphs on the wall? Get the wizard!


Abraham spalding wrote:
it's a great area for role playing.

We've had a lot of fun with this spell. It's fine as it is, please don't change it.

tfad


I've found that the PCs generally chose languages like goblin, orc etc just to avoid the problem you encountered. What, if any other than common, did the party speak? As another poster noted, used primarily to read old texts, tongues is for diplomacy with the Xorn king. I wouldn't alter the level or tinker with the spell.


I do say to hell with the touchy-feely stuff.

Restore the spell to the way it was in the SRD of my delusions, i.e. no touching the subject. Let them understand everything. Make it the spell for dropping the eaves.


Abraham spalding wrote:
Then why would someone cast cast tongues?

For the reason you state, namely, you can cast it on others.

Abraham spalding wrote:
Also look at the name of the spell... Comprehend languages... not speak languages. This spell does exactly what it says, and nothing more, which makes sense to me.

And I'm not arguing that. I'm saying that the spell itself is fundamentally broken.

Abraham spalding wrote:
Tongues allows any language, and it's only 4 levels difference for a wizard (3 for a bard).

The difference between being able to hear and speak is not a four levels' worth of difference. More like one.

Scarab Sages

Then house-rule it in your game, I think in most games, some GMs want to keep the language barrier up more. If you want it down, then by all means lower it in your game.


Actually, I see the “read language” part as much problematic. It took away the opportunity for many riddles and it makes the “decipher” part of linguistics totally useless. The opportunity to talk and negotiate with opponents should be possible below 4th level.
In my opinion at 1. Level you should be able to talk with sentient beings. At 4. Level you should be able to eavesdrop and maybe translate writings (but honestly, I think decipher unknown characters should be left totally to the skill).


aeglos wrote:

Actually, I see the “read language” part as much problematic. It took away the opportunity for many riddles and it makes the “decipher” part of linguistics totally useless. The opportunity to talk and negotiate with opponents should be possible below 4th level.

In my opinion at 1. Level you should be able to talk with sentient beings. At 4. Level you should be able to eavesdrop and maybe translate writings (but honestly, I think decipher unknown characters should be left totally to the skill).

umm thats like saying take away the knock spell because it takes away from disable device (open locks) or take away the find traps spell because it takes away from trap finding for rogues.

Maybe we could ditch invisibility because it takes the thunder out of stealth?


Pendagast wrote:
aeglos wrote:

Actually, I see the “read language” part as much problematic. It took away the opportunity for many riddles and it makes the “decipher” part of linguistics totally useless. The opportunity to talk and negotiate with opponents should be possible below 4th level.

In my opinion at 1. Level you should be able to talk with sentient beings. At 4. Level you should be able to eavesdrop and maybe translate writings (but honestly, I think decipher unknown characters should be left totally to the skill).

umm thats like saying take away the knock spell because it takes away from disable device (open locks) or take away the find traps spell because it takes away from trap finding for rogues.

Maybe we could ditch invisibility because it takes the thunder out of stealth?

Hasn't there already been talk about stuff like that? I wonder what happened to it all...

See, I think each of you brings up a good point. I can agree with Aelglos in the sense that those certain spells can make other skills somewhat moot (and this can be hurtful to the party role of being a skill monkey since it takes a part of that away). That doesn't mean rogues and bards and other skillful classes are out the window because of it, it just takes away a slight portion of their once homely niche and opens it up to other people, which may or may not be bad depending on how you look at it (in a party that lacks a skill monkey, it would be handy to have spells that get around those things).

But, Pendagast has a fair point too, since it would knock out some of the already iconic spells that spellcasters often have. Obviously, a medium between the two would just be to nerf the effects of such spells, but eh, thats a lot of work and probably wont happen unless the DM house-rules it (which, in my opinion, is the way to go on these issues).

As for Comprehend Languages, I actually like it as is. Like it was said before, it can lead to fun roleplaying situations. If you're not into that stuff, or just want it to be better, then just house-rule it. It's not going to break anything, but odds are it wont be changed.

Likewise, its probably not going to eliminate the use of the skill Linguistics. What if there's no one there to cast it? And don't forget that skills can be used indefinitely, whereas spells actually have a daily limit, meaning the spellcaster might not always be so apt to cast it.

Scarab Sages

remember in 1e when wizards had to actually learn all their spells, they didn't get any free spells when they leveled...and they had to pass a roll to actually LEARN the spell. So in your wizard's spellbook you'd have a list of spells you could never learn since you failed the roll? Ah, those were the days huh?


Actually for the spells outside of your free ones there is still a roll, it's just rather easy (DC 15+spell level).


Well you know ALL wizards have an 18 int at birth an inherited boccobs blessed book on their 8th birthday.....

I think magic SHOULD emulate,copy or even out do mortal accomplishments.
After all is that not what technology does?

If Luke skywalker had the linguistics skill would we say C3PO shouldnt exist because hes way better than luke's skill?

If we were all really wizards, (old dodgy men with an 8 str and a 10 dex) would we not invent spells that let us do what we could not do physically? (like open locked doors, move silently and lift heavy junk?)
After all it's magic!

The bonus to having the linguistics skill, or open locks, is the wizard cant do it all day, and might not have even chosen that spell today.

If a rogue tries to open the lock and fails, he can turn to the wizard with a coy look who then says "shazam!" and the door opens.
But if the wizard blew his spell slot on the first dc 15 lock in the adventure, I'm sure hed didnt memorize 4 knocks a day.

The sae arguement for spells taking oomph out of the rogue or the brd could be said if there was more than one rogue or bard in the group.

"Hey no fair! Joe can do what I can do!"

However, I vote that comprehend languages should not require a touch of the target, so you can indeed eaves drop from the hidden shadows.

Grand Lodge

Seems to me that since such low level wizards and sorcerers and others have so few spell slots available, it would seem unwise to allocate everything to Comprehend Language and Invisibility and the such. But that is just me. Let the skills classes do what they do best and stop loading up on mundane skills.

I would also advise to not let a 1st level Comprehend Languages spell listen in from a distance. The touch restriction seems perfectly acceptable for a 1st level spell.

If you want to listen in at a distance, then I suggest players actually do the absolute unthinkable and make their own spells! An amazing thing really... such audacity... doing something for oneself rather than having it handed to you on a silver platter. I mean it really is so much easier to be lazy when playing the game.

Since Tongues is 4th level, Comprehend Languages is 1st, an Eavesdrop spell would likely be either 2nd or 3rd, depending upon how powerful it is designed to be.

But then again, perhaps they took out the ability to create your own spells, in Beta. I have not looked. I suppose it is possible they don't want people actually using their brains once in a while when they play.


Pendagast wrote:

Well you know ALL wizards have an 18 int at birth an inherited boccobs blessed book on their 8th birthday.....

I think magic SHOULD emulate,copy or even out do mortal accomplishments.
After all is that not what technology does?

If Luke skywalker had the linguistics skill would we say C3PO shouldnt exist because hes way better than luke's skill?

If we were all really wizards, (old dodgy men with an 8 str and a 10 dex) would we not invent spells that let us do what we could not do physically? (like open locked doors, move silently and lift heavy junk?)
After all it's magic!

The bonus to having the linguistics skill, or open locks, is the wizard cant do it all day, and might not have even chosen that spell today.

If a rogue tries to open the lock and fails, he can turn to the wizard with a coy look who then says "shazam!" and the door opens.
But if the wizard blew his spell slot on the first dc 15 lock in the adventure, I'm sure hed didnt memorize 4 knocks a day.

The sae arguement for spells taking oomph out of the rogue or the brd could be said if there was more than one rogue or bard in the group.

"Hey no fair! Joe can do what I can do!"

However, I vote that comprehend languages should not require a touch of the target, so you can indeed eaves drop from the hidden shadows.

Well, if you have two rogues or bards, then it should be expected of the player to know that what's-his-face should be able to what he can do, maybe even better. But when a player is playing a spellcaster, then its often preferred that the rogue doesn't need to worry about his skills being outdone by a completely different class. I don't think the two examples are comparable as such.

Also, we have to remember that not all of D&D is about "making sense." Granted, it might make sense to have magic, like technology, outdo most everything normal people can do, but then magic is clearly far superior to mundane combat (which makes good sense, but this is a game where there is at least an attempt at some sort of balance between the two). I would prefer not to see magic take such a powerful leaning, but then again, that's my preference; Obviously you prefer something else, which is perfectly fine.

Either way, I should be on my way, I've dragged this thread on for far too long ; ]

/end threadjack.


I have to agree with everyone else here the spell does exactly what it is supposed to do.

I personally can see many reasons to lower the level of tongues but that is not the issue here and they are really dependent on the campaign world.

So i think the fix here would be a similar spell to allow the target to understand the spoken or written word of the caster. Hows this for a fix

Convey languages

Divination
Lvl brd 1 clr 1 sor/wiz 1
Components V, S, M/DF
Casting Time 1 standard action
Range touch
Target Touched Creature
Duration 10 min./level

Touched Creature can understand the spoken words of the caster or read otherwise incomprehensible written messages. In either case, you must touch the creature. The ability to read does not necessarily impart insight into the material, merely its literal meaning. The spell enables the touched creature to understand or read an unknown language, not speak or write it.

Written material can be read at the rate of one page (250 words) per minute. Magical writing cannot be read, though the spell reveals that it is magical. This spell can be foiled by certain warding magic (such as the secret page and illusory script spells). It does not decipher codes or reveal messages concealed in otherwise normal text.

Convey languages can be made permanent with a permanency spell.
Arcane Material Component

A grain of salt and a few pinches of soot.


Krome wrote:
If you want to listen in at a distance, then I suggest players actually do the absolute unthinkable and make their own spells! An amazing thing really... such audacity... doing something for oneself rather than having it handed to you on a silver platter. I mean it really is so much easier to be lazy when playing the game.

Krome you've just said something that has been in the back of my mind ever since I started putting my two coppers in these boards. For a group of people (ie Gamers) who I'm sure collectively make up house rules, often on the fly, there is an odd sense of conformity on the boards. At first I saw this as rules lawyers thing, but I think now its more then that.

Its not so much an anti-creativity thing, because I've seen too many rules suggestions (good and bad) on these boards, but as we get closer to a final game there are more and more people who think that the printed rules are the alpha and omega of their game.

Sorry for the rant, just my feeling.

As to the subject at hand, I think the spell is fine as is, mainly because I see lanugage as needing to be a barrier. However it wouldn't be hard to either A. cast the spell twice, thus making even communcation having a cost. or B. Adjust the spell as you see fit as GM

TTFN Dre


Well again it's a where you play thing. In my campaigns sure someone can create a spell... but then someone else will want to... it ends up with somebody being upset that their "pet spell" isn't going to be the level they want it to be becuase it is far too powerful for that spell level.

Also homebrew is nice, but it doesn't work in several types of games... the "living campaigns" and module games that are ran in the guild often have to adhere to certain guidelines just to keep it fair to everyone.

So when we discuss core, we should realise it is possible people will use their own stuff and create new things, but we shouldn't rely on them doing so for design purposes.


Abraham spalding wrote:

Well again it's a where you play thing. In my campaigns sure someone can create a spell... but then someone else will want to... it ends up with somebody being upset that their "pet spell" isn't going to be the level they want it to be becuase it is far too powerful for that spell level.

Also homebrew is nice, but it doesn't work in several types of games... the "living campaigns" and module games that are ran in the guild often have to adhere to certain guidelines just to keep it fair to everyone.

So when we discuss core, we should realise it is possible people will use their own stuff and create new things, but we shouldn't rely on them doing so for design purposes.

has anyone noticed how much more often languages are a barrier now? (3.p) as opposed to 1e when anything non human with an int score over 12 spoke like 10 langauges? Now that you have to spend skill points on it you a group of adventurers that cant understand goblins,funny isnt it?


Hm, I thought you were going to say "Because in 1e we just killed anything non-player character race in the dungeon." :D


Abraham spalding wrote:
Hm, I thought you were going to say "Because in 1e we just killed anything non-player character race in the dungeon." :D

you stopped doing that after 1e?

Did I miss something? we still do that.


Since I didn't see it in anyone else's post, I have something to point out. Buy a potion of Comprehend Languages and keep it handy just in case. If your skill monkey can't make the Linguistics check, just hand 'em a potion, and cast it on yourself. Now you can understand them, and they can understand you. A little pricey, especially at lv 1, but probably worth the investment...

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

dthunder, the potion of Comprehend Languages is a good idea.

Now, the next time kobolds come up to you and chitter excitedly, and when one of them hands you a dirty phial of some blue-green slimy liquid and urges you to drink it, all the while his inhuman face open in a mockery of a sly grin, what will you do?

--+--+-

The reason Knock doesn't replace a rogue's lock-picking expertise, or Invisibility a ninja's Hide skill, is that the spells have a limited number of uses, and a wizard who prepares three Knock spells isn't going to be doing much else that day.

Cantrips under the Pathfinder rules aren't like that. Casters can use them an unlimited number of times per day. Light probably will indeed replace torches.


dthunder wrote:
Since I didn't see it in anyone else's post, I have something to point out. Buy a potion of Comprehend Languages and keep it handy just in case.

You can't make Comprehend Languages into a potion; it has a range of "Personal".

At any rate, complaining that Comprehend Languages is broken because it isn't as good as Tongues makes about as much sense as complaining that Burning Hands is broken because it isn't as good as Fireball. "Less powerful" is not the same as "broken". YMMV, of course.


hogarth wrote:
dthunder wrote:
Since I didn't see it in anyone else's post, I have something to point out. Buy a potion of Comprehend Languages and keep it handy just in case.

You can't make Comprehend Languages into a potion; it has a range of "Personal".

At any rate, complaining that Comprehend Languages is broken because it isn't as good as Tongues makes about as much sense as complaining that Burning Hands is broken because it isn't as good as Fireball. "Less powerful" is not the same as "broken". YMMV, of course.

I personally think magic missle should scale all the way up to 20th (would be a MASSIVE spell by then huh?) and btw summon animal I cant be used to summon balrogs, they look like animals to me,that should be fixed!!

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

hogarth wrote:


You can't make Comprehend Languages into a potion; it has a range of "Personal".

Hi, hogarth. Nice catch. (I remember a couple of bits from Monte Cook's review of the 3.5 rules, way back then, when he mentioned that potion restrictions were just a flavor issue, and that there wasn't anything unbalanced about, for example, "bottled monsters." So I've allowed any 1st - 3rd Level spell to be potionified, and I keep forgetting that's a house rule.)

hogarth wrote:
At any rate, complaining that Comprehend Languages is broken because it isn't as good as Tongues makes about as much sense as complaining that Burning Hands is broken because it isn't as good as Fireball. "Less powerful" is not the same as "broken". YMMV, of course.

I think the original post was complaining that it was weak enough to be useless, and that it could be strengthened and still be less than Tongues.

Myself, I disagree with him, but I also don't see the need to touch the target to be understood.

Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

Abraham spalding wrote:
Hm, I thought you were going to say "Because in 1e we just killed anything non-player character race in the dungeon." :D

Speaking of 1st Ed (and 2nd), CL was ONLY a reading spell back then, unless I'm misremembering. I'm pretty sure the "touch someone and understand their jibber-jabber" application of the spell was a new addition with 3rd edition.


Jason Nelson wrote:
Abraham spalding wrote:
Hm, I thought you were going to say "Because in 1e we just killed anything non-player character race in the dungeon." :D
Speaking of 1st Ed (and 2nd), CL was ONLY a reading spell back then, unless I'm misremembering. I'm pretty sure the "touch someone and understand their jibber-jabber" application of the spell was a new addition with 3rd edition.

BOTTLED monsters!!!! yeeee-haw something I never thought of! HOW coooool! Now Ive got to get me some!

Shadow Lodge

Just as an aside:

Slots per day/spells per day should not be used as a basis for balancing classes. Beyond the first few levels, wizards have ways of getting as many spells as they need every day and eventually (around 12th level in my experience) can't even use all of their memorized spells a day.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Jason Nelson wrote:


Speaking of 1st Ed (and 2nd), CL was ONLY a reading spell back then, unless I'm misremembering. I'm pretty sure the "touch someone and understand their jibber-jabber" application of the spell was a new addition with 3rd edition.

You are mis-remembering, at least with respect to 2e. I don't have my 1e PH handy, but my copy of the 2e one includes comprehension of a speaker as well. It's not new with 3e.


Pendagast wrote:
BOTTLED monsters!!!! yeeee-haw something I never thought of! HOW coooool! Now Ive got to get me some!

Yeah! You gotta catch 'em all!

"Celestial Dire Badger, I choose you!"


Pendagast wrote:
hogarth wrote:
dthunder wrote:
Since I didn't see it in anyone else's post, I have something to point out. Buy a potion of Comprehend Languages and keep it handy just in case.

You can't make Comprehend Languages into a potion; it has a range of "Personal".

At any rate, complaining that Comprehend Languages is broken because it isn't as good as Tongues makes about as much sense as complaining that Burning Hands is broken because it isn't as good as Fireball. "Less powerful" is not the same as "broken". YMMV, of course.

I personally think magic missle should scale all the way up to 20th (would be a MASSIVE spell by then huh?) and btw summon animal I cant be used to summon balrogs, they look like animals to me,that should be fixed!!

i do partially agree with you on that only because of classes like the missile mage. Although the spell might become a little broken if it simply continued to gain missiles all the way up. Maybe rather than continuing to gain missiles it could increase the die type for the damage once it goes to a certain level.

Or alternatively they could just include more magic missile spells there used to be a whole bunch that counted as magic missiles in 2nd ed. So why not bring some of those back.

On the note of the Comprehend languages thing. I think that the a fore mentioned do it your self and make a spell to fix it would work but only if the GM is adding it as it can cause the exact problem detailed out by another poster (sorry for not remembering the name). Or of course (enter shameless plug). they can just include the spell option i typed up :-)

Did anyone have any thoughts on the alternate spell i gave as an alternative?


In the current system Comprehend Languages seems like a first level spell and Tongues seems like a second level spell. But I have not evaluated it close enough to really judge.

But I have not seen anyone mention Rituals yet. The concept that some spells are not meant to be memorized but something you use outside of combat. I have not used them but SSS published Relics and Rituals and I think some other 3PP did also.

I personally would like someone brighter than me to suggest a simple system that ANY spell could be cast as a ritual if you have time, components, make a skill check and are willing to sacrifice a slot. Then you could memorize that Magic Missile but sacrifice it if you want to use the Comprehend Languages ritual (and have time, components and make a skill check). Give up your Fireball for the Tongues ritual etc.


Disciple of Sakura wrote:


Yeah! You gotta catch 'em all!

"Celestial Dire Badger, I choose you!"

I always preferred Fiendish Dire Weasels, but then my group does call me a dirty kobold lover for a reason I suppose, :P.

As for the issue of the thread, I can't say I ever gave much thought to Comprehend Languages. I never took it as a Sorcerer and rarely did so as a Wizard unless the group came upon carvings or something. And even in that case, it was usually a riddle that we had to solve, so just because we (or I)understood the script, it didn't mean it gave anything away.

Dwarven Pirate wrote:


Convey languages

Divination
Lvl brd 1 clr 1 sor/wiz 1
Components V, S, M/DF
Casting Time 1 standard action
Range touch
Target Touched Creature
Duration 10 min./level

Touched Creature can understand the spoken words of the caster or read otherwise incomprehensible written messages. In either case, you must touch the creature. The ability to read does not necessarily impart insight into the material, merely its literal meaning. The spell enables the touched creature to understand or read an unknown language, not speak or write it.

Written material can be read at the rate of one page (250 words) per minute. Magical writing cannot be read, though the spell reveals that it is magical. This spell can be foiled by certain warding magic (such as the secret page and illusory script spells). It does not decipher codes or reveal messages concealed in otherwise normal text.

Convey languages can be made permanent with a permanency spell.
Arcane Material Component

My only thought with this would be to either make it a 2nd level spell, or maybe make the duration 5 minutes instead of 10. Otherwise it's a good opposite to comprehend languages.

Liberty's Edge

Bill Dunn wrote:
Jason Nelson wrote:


Speaking of 1st Ed (and 2nd), CL was ONLY a reading spell back then, unless I'm misremembering. I'm pretty sure the "touch someone and understand their jibber-jabber" application of the spell was a new addition with 3rd edition.
You are mis-remembering, at least with respect to 2e. I don't have my 1e PH handy, but my copy of the 2e one includes comprehension of a speaker as well. It's not new with 3e.

It was like that in 1e as well. You can only understand, not speak or write the language, and you have to be touching the subject.


Why do you have to touch someone to understand what they are saying with the Comprehend Languages spell, but you can use a Helm Of Comprehend Languages without giving bad touches to everyone you meet?


magic items =/= spells.

It's the difference between having a translator program on your computer, and having a dedicated computer to translate for you.


Abraham spalding wrote:

magic items =/= spells.

It's the difference between having a translator program on your computer, and having a dedicated computer to translate for you.

But only one of those computers has to fondle someone to do the translating! LOL

Sorry. I have to agree with the OP. Either get rid of the bad touches for Comprehend Languages or drop the level of Tounges.


*shrug* I don't see removing the "touch feely" part of the spell as a bad thing. All in all that turns it into a unversal translator, doesn't mean they understand you. I can accept this spell with the touch requirement removed if that's decided.


I would say it's broken on the basis it pretty much voids the entire skill of "linguistics" as far as I can tell.

I would like to be proven wrong on this.


Gnome-Eater wrote:

I would say it's broken on the basis it pretty much voids the entire skill of "linguistics" as far as I can tell.

I would like to be proven wrong on this.

Well, the balancing part is that you can't speak the language, you can only understand it. As the original poster indicates, that can cause problems.

In my experience, it's mostly useful for reading documents in a foreign language. Or maybe eavesdropping, but having to touch the subject first sort of spoils that purpose.


Disciple of Sakura wrote:
Pendagast wrote:
BOTTLED monsters!!!! yeeee-haw something I never thought of! HOW coooool! Now Ive got to get me some!

Yeah! You gotta catch 'em all!

"Celestial Dire Badger, I choose you!"

Funny pokemon reference.

The cleric used his first bottled monster last night 3 hippogriffs against a troll, Later on he was all bummed because he was out of bottled monsters!


Note that Comp Lang only allows you to understand one language. You get to touch one text/person and understand what is written/heard in the one language that subject is presently speaking or that the page is written in.

Note that Tongues (3rd level Wiz) doesn't allow you to read or write, only speak and understand speech in any language. It says the subject can only speak "one language at any time" but presumably may address any number of beings in their several languages one at a time.

If you wanted to understand and speak (but not write) one language, similar to the way Comp Lang works, maybe that would be 2nd level.


This entire thread is the reason everyone speaks Common in my campaign.


hogarth wrote:
dthunder wrote:
Since I didn't see it in anyone else's post, I have something to point out. Buy a potion of Comprehend Languages and keep it handy just in case.
You can't make Comprehend Languages into a potion; it has a range of "Personal".

Well, that's lame. Bah, go around the limitation and make an elixir instead. Counts as a Wondrous Item. Or just house-rule around it.

Regardless, I don't think the spell is over- or under-powered. Though I really would rather not have to molest someone while trying to defuse a potentially deadly misunderstanding...

Scarab Sages

hogarth wrote:
You can't make Comprehend Languages into a potion; it has a range of "Personal".

A Hat of Comprehension?

Scarab Sages

Dwarven Pirate wrote:

Convey languages

Divination
Lvl brd 1 clr 1 sor/wiz 1
Components V, S, M/DF
Casting Time 1 standard action
Range touch
Target Touched Creature
Duration 10 min./level

Touched Creature can understand the spoken words of the caster or read otherwise incomprehensible written messages. In either case, you must touch the creature. The ability to read does not necessarily impart insight into the material, merely its literal meaning. The spell enables the touched creature to understand or read an unknown language, not speak or write it.

Written material can be read at the rate of one page (250 words) per minute. Magical writing cannot be read, though the spell reveals that it is magical. This spell can be foiled by certain warding magic (such as the secret page and illusory script spells). It does not decipher codes or reveal messages concealed in otherwise normal text.

Convey languages can be made permanent with a permanency spell.
Arcane Material Component

A grain of salt and a few pinches of soot.

What about saves - Will (harmless)?

and Spell Resistance?

I know it's harmless, but the target would need to lower his guard, especially if you can't explain what you're casting.

[EDIT]: Actually, if you have an Enchanter or Bard, giving a target the ability to understand them isn't a harmless effect. Some creatures might not want to be enslaved by your Wierding Voice...


KaeYoss wrote:

I do say to hell with the touchy-feely stuff.

Restore the spell to the way it was in the SRD of my delusions, i.e. no touching the subject. Let them understand everything. Make it the spell for dropping the eaves.

[smurfy threadjack] Given the nature of some of your posts on *this thread*, that quote proves that you cannot be the real KaeYoss. What have you done with him (or her)? ;) [/smurfy threadjack]

Sorry. That needed saying. Please resume the serious discussion everyone else.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Given the fact that language is a barrier to communication and translation for ages in human history proved to be a major hassle and reason for conflict, I don't see "comprehend language" as underpowered.

Well it might be a pretty much european perspective, but being hard pressed to communicate with someone/-thing is a major obstacle,and being able to circumvent that with a very simple spell (faultlessly too) evan at touch range is pretty handy.
Our wizards always kept scrolls of it about (usually the rogue and bard could use these too, lateron at least ), simply for the rainy day when the group of elves stumbled across an inscription in dwarven or gobliniod. And yes, I added (!) quite a number of languages to my Golarion campaign, simply for reality's sake .... the dwarven or orcish language staying the same for ages, through tourmoils, revolutions migrations and racial splits ? Sounds unlikely.... that is looking at the development of English from the middle ages (try Beowulf in the original), or even more so the Germanic or Slavic languages... not to mention all the derivates of Latin around these days (common root, pretty different languages just 1500 years down the road)

As is the "linguistics" skill is overly powerful anyway - one skill rank equalling one additional known language ? Right, so any halfway decently skilled forger for your local crime syndicate also conincidentally is a language whiz speaking an additional seven languages AND a capable code-breaker in the bargain ?
Now THAT sounds overpowered to me - "forgery" should be a craft in the first place(it is more akin to illuminating manuscripts and drawing anyway than to the study of foreign grammar or strange dialects ).
To my mind "linguistics giving a "return" of one additional language per two or even three skillpoints invested is still quite effective

/threatjacking OFF

But in the Beta as is, if you want to talk to something just invest the appropriate skillpoint !

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