Languages


Ancestries & Backgrounds


First, about Sign language :

Why should Sign Language be a feat ? I would expect it to be treated as any other language. A group of adventurers could have learned it just to be able to silently speak while ambushing their opponents.

This seems even more weird since your GM can hand you sign language as a bonus feat. This means that, if your GM is kind enough, you would never spend a feat to learn sign language (and I suspect even if your GM does not git it to you for free, most players will not take this feat if they are the only one taking it).

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Also, about Read Magic/Esoterica :

Those abilities state that you can read and understand magic writting if it is written "in a language you can normally read".

I... always assumed magic was written in its own language, and anybody with some magical expertise could attempt to "read magic" no matter their background. I could grab a scroll from a goblin lair and read it, even if its creator was an elf or a goblin.

Now, I have to speak a specific language to read a scroll ? So if I'm a human with Common and Elven languages, I can't read a scroll crafter by a Goblin, a Drow or a Dwarf because I don't speak goblin, undercommon or dwarven ? This makes looting scrolls and spellbooks less interesting in most cases, and we lost the somewhat "universal magic" vibe from PF1.

Plus, does this mean GMs will now have to determine in which language each scroll is written ?

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This version of the languages rules left me disappointed. I was not a fan of languages rules in PF1 and tended to houserule them out of my games because I found them too restrictive, but at least I could somewhat play with them by allocating skill ranks in Linguistic. But after reading Read Magic/Esoterica, it feels like languages are even more restrictive than before.

Sign language was a good idea, but the way it is handled is weird.


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Almarane wrote:

First, about Sign language :

Why should Sign Language be a feat ? I would expect it to be treated as any other language. A group of adventurers could have learned it just to be able to silently speak while ambushing their opponents.

This seems even more weird since your GM can hand you sign language as a bonus feat. This means that, if your GM is kind enough, you would never spend a feat to learn sign language (and I suspect even if your GM does not git it to you for free, most players will not take this feat if they are the only one taking it).

Oh my gods yes! Sign Language is just that! A language! This is especially weird cause they made such a point in Starfinder that you could voluntarily learn the signed or braille version a language instead of the spoken or written version. With paizo having given me, completely independent of my GM, rules for how I can play a character with certain disabilities in Starfinder I would have expected them to continue the trend with PF2.0, not give me access to some options with the requirement that I sacrifice other opportunities that don't make sense to.

Almarane wrote:

Also, about Read Magic/Esoterica :

Those abilities state that you can read and understand magic writting if it is written "in a language you can normally read".

I... always assumed magic was written in its own language, and anybody with some magical expertise could attempt to "read magic" no matter their background. I could grab a scroll from a goblin lair and read it, even if its creator was an elf or a goblin.

Now, I have to speak a specific language to read a scroll ? So if I'm a human with Common and Elven languages, I can't read a scroll crafter by a Goblin, a Drow or a Dwarf because I don't speak goblin, undercommon or dwarven ? This makes looting scrolls and spellbooks less interesting in most cases, and we lost the somewhat "universal magic" vibe from PF1.

Plus, does this mean GMs will now have to determine in which language each scroll is written ?

I don't recall how exactly it was explained in PF1, but I know I had pretty much the same idea as you as a hold over from playing AD&D. I guess I understand where they're coming from in some aspects, like my Taldan noble that's studying magic is going to record all of their notes in Common since they're learning in Common and that's their native language. But my tengu acolyte that studied in a major city of Tian Xia would have recorded his notes in a tian language. (My apologies for the poor example, I've done next to nothing within Tian Xia and have read next to nothing on it as well).

While I can appreciate this, I'm also a little partial to Magic being it's own language that anyone can learn. If for no other reason, it's rather amusing to have my barely literate barbarian pick up a magic scroll and inform the wizard that it says it's a fireball spell (though to be fair that's a bit of a pain to do in PF1 as is). It'll be interesting to see how they're wanting magic writings to function in -game.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
epicmusic42 wrote:
While I can appreciate this, I'm also a little partial to Magic being it's own language that anyone can learn. If for no other reason, it's rather amusing to have my barely literate barbarian pick up a magic scroll and inform the wizard that it says it's a fireball spell (though to be fair that's a bit of a pain to do in PF1 as is). It'll be interesting to see how they're wanting magic writings to function in -game.

I have also considered Magical Notation it’s own language, sort of like music and math are.

Music and math both use symbols that aren’t used for spoken languages. Those symbols have become standardized so that it is easier to figure out what they are. They don’t change based on the writer’s native language, an integral notation is the same regardless of if the manual is written in English or German. Same for the sheet music.

Those styles of notation are what I imagined magical writings was like. Special symbols with their own contextual meanings and specialized symbols for each of the different schools of magic.

With magical writings now being in a certain language, we need to know what languages a Wizard should expect to need. Will most of the magic be written in a mixture of Common, Elven and Draconic? If someone is focused on Necromancy, are they going to feel the need to learn Necril as a language? What language should someone specializing in Transmutation magic learn in order to have the best chance of reading esoteric magical writings? Does it change based on magical tradition?

In general, characters will know less languages than they did in PF1. Rather than getting an Int bonus to languages known, you get a single extra language if your Int is 14 or higher. Other than that, it seems the only way to get more languages is via Multilingual feat.


Good to see I am not the only one :)

After a quick research in the Doomsday Dawn PDF, it does not seam that a scroll's language is listed when looted. It seams weird since Read Magic/Esotorica ask you to be able to read the scroll's language.

epicmusic42 => I don't think magical language was ever explained in PF1. You could just read scrolls with a Spellcraft check and read arcane symbols with Knowledge (arcana).

Bretl => I love how you described magical language :D From what I red, I don't feel like magical writings' language is based on the spell's school, otherwise it would be written in the spells' schools' description.


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I've always assumed that scrolls were written in Draconic by default in D&D/PF1.

Regarding Sign, I too think Sign Languages should be seperate languages; as opposed to a sub-language you may or may not get for free. There should instead just be a few example 'sign languages', like Drow Sign, Absolom Sign, etc.


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In the language section it already says you can choose to learn the signing form of a language instead of the spoken form. the feat just gives you the sign language form of all the languages you speak.


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Sukebe wrote:
In the language section it already says you can choose to learn the signing form of a language instead of the spoken form. the feat just gives you the sign language form of all the languages you speak.

No. The rulebook states (p.40) :

Quote:

When you first choose your character’s languages, you

must decide whether she knows the sign language versions
of all of her languages or their spoken versions.

So you only know the spoken OR the sign language version of ALL your languages. (the only exception being the Sign Language bonus feat, which is a problem I pointed out) You can't create your character and say "I know the spoken AND the sign version of Common".


Can I just gush about the way languages are handled in P2? If you have a 14 or higher Int you pick one off the list. So nice. Very simple. Elegant. I like it.

The idea that you had to pick one language for every point of Int modifier back in the day was just arduous and you never got the feeling that any of the characters would actually know any of those languages they picked--it was pure obligation because you had to, and fear that the GM would maybe introduce a language your character didn't know and you'd be stymied and unable to interact with some important NPC. I'm a fan of clearing up any of these sort of valueless drudgy choices to speed up character creation.


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Grimcleaver wrote:

Can I just gush about the way languages are handled in P2? If you have a 14 or higher Int you pick one off the list. So nice. Very simple. Elegant. I like it.

The idea that you had to pick one language for every point of Int modifier back in the day was just arduous and you never got the feeling that any of the characters would actually know any of those languages they picked--it was pure obligation because you had to,[b] and fear that the GM would maybe introduce a language your character didn't know and you'd be stymied and unable to interact with some important NPC]/b]. I'm a fan of clearing up any of these sort of valueless drudgy choices to speed up character creation.

Doesn't it just increase the fear of the GM introducing a language you don't know to stymie an encounter now that it's easier to find a language no-one knows?

Scarab Sages

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I gotta agree with dragonhunterq, I play a lot of society and even maxing Linguistics I'd run into languages I don't know all the time (even after metagaming a little and looking up use statistics). Now that looks like it's getting a lot worse.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Yeah, I'm also of the mind that the number of starting languages is too low. Maybe it doesn't have to be one per point of Int, but it should be higher than it is currently. Maybe starting languages +2, then bonus languages for high Int (14 or so).


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Grimcleaver wrote:
The idea that you had to pick one language for every point of Int modifier back in the day was just arduous and you never got the feeling that any of the characters would actually know any of those languages they picked--it was pure obligation because you had to, and fear that the GM would maybe introduce a language your character didn't know and you'd be stymied and unable to interact with some important NPC. I'm a fan of clearing up any of these sort of valueless drudgy choices to speed up character creation.

I think it made more sense for the higher Int folks to have multiple languages.

If the purpose of eliminating the larger pool of bonus languages was to eliminate drudgery of character creation, just allow starting characters have the bonus languages, but the ability to fill them in as they play (or right away if they have a concept that calls for it).

18 Int Elf that traded with Dwarves and northmen. Common, Elf, Dwarf, Hallit and 2 to be named later.
On a mission you run across Goblin speech. If you want, you can choose to know Goblin and fill it in and only have one left.

If the purpose is to drain more Resonance and require more comp language scrolls/potions, then never mind.


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Doesn't look like the designers rate languages the same as most people I know. They seem to think it's on par with +5 speed, becoming trained in a skill and low light vision. I don't think even making languages harder to obtain will make me choose a language over any of those.

Also consider the Gold Nodule Aeon Stone - know how to speak, read and write a single language - and it's a level 10 uncommon item!

Polyglot is being designed to be much harder to achieve. Languages have always been nice to have, but I don't think most players will make the necessary sacrifices being asked of them. I foresee many encounters stalling.


dragonhunterq wrote:
Doesn't it just increase the fear of the GM introducing a language you don't know to stymie an encounter now that it's easier to find a language no-one knows?

No, and here's why: if I don't know a certain weird language, it's not because I failed as a player. I can point to the five languages my people might know and the fact that of them my guy picked the very reasonable option (say goblin or gnoll) and that there's no way my guy COULD know Aklo or Terran or whatever. It ceases to be my job to anticipate the GM, I get to just flesh out my character with options that make sense with his background.

This in turn will make savvy GMs realize that when they prep an adventure, that if they don't stick to a fairly common handful of languages that they will just get a bunch of deadpan looks from their players--it should hopefully shift the game away from Obscure Language Scavenger Hunt the Roleplaying Game. And that's always nice.


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Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

There was an interesting little comment in, I think 1632, the first novel in the "Ring of Fire" series. Seems an entire West Virginia town (the whole town, not just the people) was transported back into the middle of the Thirty Years' War (hence the title). Early in the book, they rescue a man and his daughter from some bad guys. Later, he reveals that he speaks fluently and reads (I think it was) eight languages, and doesn't really get how folks from the future only speak and read one.

Magic might skew things a bit, but I suspect a lot of people on Golarion, not just PCs, should be expected to be fluent in several languages (including sign languages).

In another game, there is mention of a mage whose "spell book" was a necklace of small jade figurines that only he could "read". Humans are pretty darned inventive, aren't they?

In second and third grade, and later eleventh and twelfth, I studied French. I've had very little occasion to use it since, but I can still get by in it, thought I'm by no means fluent. Later, in my 30s, I studied Japanese (lived there three years) but I never achieved fluency, and I only remember a few words now. Can't read it at all any more. Point is, study languages early in life, especially if you immerse in them, and you'll be able to pick up several and retain them.


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Sir Richard Francis Burton spoke something like two dozen languages. Many Europeans are multilingual.

I am definitely not a fan of the change to languages in 2E. I am not really sure what the rationale behind it was (simplification, presumably). It certainly feels a bit overtuned with the changes to bonus languages, in addition to the rarity levels on languages and language related spells (like Tongues). If the intent is just to have everyone speaking Common and ignore complications of language, then just toss them out entirely.


Historically, people tended to be polyglots unless geography or politics/culture got in the way. They probably didn't pick up a dozen languages, and the degree of fluency in them probably varied, however. Few RPGs I've come across model degrees of language proficiency, however. The idea of a single skill point granting complete mastery of a language always rubbed me the wrong way, but attempts at house ruling an entire new subsystem and tacking it on to languages met with at best mixed success and was abandoned. Linguistics at least allowed me to make some attempts at detailing language issues, so long as I had an idea of how recently PCs picked up a new language, how much use they've had of it, and the language families in the setting.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Bjørn Røyrvik wrote:
Few RPGs I've come across model degrees of language proficiency, however. The idea of a single skill point granting complete mastery of a language always rubbed me the wrong way, but attempts at house ruling an entire new subsystem and tacking it on to languages met with at best mixed success and was abandoned.

Hero System (the rules underlying Champions) used a language chart that showed languages with common roots. It made other languages from the same family easier to learn than completely different ones.

Something like that might be made to work in PF2 if we were given enough resources to purchase multiple languages. I think the UTEML proficiency system could be used as a basis but it would have to use a different resource for languages separate from the current skills.


BretI wrote:
Bjørn Røyrvik wrote:
Few RPGs I've come across model degrees of language proficiency, however. The idea of a single skill point granting complete mastery of a language always rubbed me the wrong way, but attempts at house ruling an entire new subsystem and tacking it on to languages met with at best mixed success and was abandoned.

Hero System (the rules underlying Champions) used a language chart that showed languages with common roots. It made other languages from the same family easier to learn than completely different ones.

Ars Magica for instance lists language families and mutual intelligibility.


Bjørn Røyrvik wrote:
BretI wrote:
Bjørn Røyrvik wrote:
Few RPGs I've come across model degrees of language proficiency, however. The idea of a single skill point granting complete mastery of a language always rubbed me the wrong way, but attempts at house ruling an entire new subsystem and tacking it on to languages met with at best mixed success and was abandoned.

Hero System (the rules underlying Champions) used a language chart that showed languages with common roots. It made other languages from the same family easier to learn than completely different ones.

Ars Magica for instance lists language families and mutual intelligibility.

Sounds painfully dull if I'm honest and I actually prefer PF2 to that level of detail.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
dragonhunterq wrote:
Sounds painfully dull if I'm honest and I actually prefer PF2 to that level of detail.

It allows for some minor communication between people with similar languages. Allow a check for someone who knows English to understand some of what someone speaking German is saying.

What is or isn’t fun details will depend on the audience. I imagine some people would like a better way than mime to communicate with a nearby culture where the languages share common elements.


dragonhunterq wrote:
Bjørn Røyrvik wrote:
BretI wrote:

Hero System (the rules underlying Champions) used a language chart that showed languages with common roots. It made other languages from the same family easier to learn than completely different ones.

Ars Magica for instance lists language families and mutual intelligibility.
Sounds painfully dull if I'm honest and I actually prefer PF2 to that level of detail.

In use the Hero language rules aren't much of an imposition on the players. The hardest part is finding languages on the rather clear chart and it's only as dense as it is because the one given as a sample is for a wide selection of RL languages, (71 languages plus a catch-all for First Nations/Aboriginal/etc.). For a typical FRP setting you aren't going to have anywhere near that many unless you are taking advantage of it to split languages¹.

The real work is creating the language relationship table in the first place. And min-maxers who are going to try and figure out the right order to take things to save a character point or two.²

1: e.g. instead of Elven, you have -

High Elven (Kyonin)
Old Elven (Mordant Spire)
Low Elven (forlorn of the Inner Sea region, think Yiddish)
Drowish
North Elven (Snowcaster)
South Elven (Mwangi and Osiri desert)
Jinin

All of which are related to each other at fairly high levels.

2: Hmmm, I need to learn Arabic... I have 4 points in German, that gives me 2 in Yiddish which means I get a free point if I buy Hebrew which will do the same for Arabic so I can spend 2 points to get both Hebrew and Arabic at the 2-point level rather than 2 to just get Arabic at the 1-point level.


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I will say I like the idea of each language having it's own sign language. Weather having it be all or nothing in character creation I'm not sure about. Especially, since it seems to be that it thinks you can't hear since you get Read Lips as a bonus feat.

I had missed the thing about scrolls. I will say up front I do like the idea. I had always assumed Draconic before, but I suppose that doesn't make sense from a Divine spell perspective. Now that they have 4 spell types, maybe they wanted to diversify the "spell language"? Dunno.

That said, there are two things I really want to see:

  • I want each ancestry to get a Regional bonus language, which the player chooses at character creation: Now that Paizo seems to be doubling down on Golarion being the default setting for Pathfinder (which I'm 100% okay with), why is this not a thing? Why is a level 1 Elf, who has grown up in Varisia, unable to learn Varisian? Why can't a Dwarf in Alkenstar also know Osiriani? Before, when we got languages through skill ranks, it was easy to do. Now, it's not. Especially with people having to use a feat to get language, I don't think many characters, other then Human, will likely know a regional tongue. It will also help alongside the other systems to think more about your characters history and how they interact with the world. In a simplified manner, different aspects of character creation currently get you thinking about aspects of your character:

    Ancestry makes you think about what you are in the world.

    Background makes you think about how you were raised, and what you learned.

    Classes make you think about how you interact with the world.

    Skills help flesh out what you've done and what experiences you've had.

    Having a bonus Regional language will make you think about where you've come from.

  • Allow us to use Downtime to learn Languages, even sign languages: We have this neat Downtime system. Why can't we use it to learn languages or their sign variants? We could drop the feats i we have to for this, but it feels like a nice organic way to learn something new. It feels like it would be better then going out, fighting some things, then suddenly learning a set of languages. Heck, if someone wants to be rather multilingual, getting someone to teach them an uncommon language could server as a nice reward.


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Linkmastr001 wrote:

That said, there are two things I really want to see:

[list]
  • I want each ancestry to get a Regional bonus language, which the player chooses at character creation: Now that Paizo seems to be doubling down on Golarion being the default setting for Pathfinder (which I'm 100% okay with), why is this not a thing? Why is a level 1 Elf, who has grown up in Varisia, unable to learn Varisian? Why can't a Dwarf in Alkenstar also know Osiriani? Before, when we got languages through skill ranks, it was easy to do. Now, it's not. Especially with people having to use a feat to get language, I don't think many characters, other then Human, will likely know a regional tongue. It will also help alongside the other systems to think more about your characters history and how they interact with the world. In a simplified manner, different aspects of character creation currently get you thinking about aspects of your character:

    Ancestry makes you think about what you are in the world.

    Background makes you think about how you were raised, and what you learned.

    Classes make you think about how you interact with the world.

    Skills help flesh out what you've done and what experiences you've had.

  • I like this idea so much. My big problem with the Europe example folks keep coming back to is that those people organically got to learn those languages they know because they knew they'd come in contact with them all the time. The trouble in first edition Pathfinder was that you just had to read the GM and try to guess what languages would be good to know, only to find out in game that they were all a complete waste.

    Now if you were to have the local languages from the area you come from as a given, I'd like that even better. Honestly anything that injects Golarion flavor into the rules, the better I like it.


    dragonhunterq wrote:
    Bjørn Røyrvik wrote:


    Ars Magica for instance lists language families and mutual intelligibility.

    Sounds painfully dull if I'm honest and I actually prefer PF2 to that level of detail.

    Think of it like degrees of success on a skill. It's a lot more fun than the binary issue of knowing/not knowing a language. It would be terribly frustrating to play with binary language rules and e.g. be able to speak Norwegian but not be able to understand Swedish because the rules say they are two different languages.


    Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
    BretI wrote:
    Bjørn Røyrvik wrote:
    Few RPGs I've come across model degrees of language proficiency, however. The idea of a single skill point granting complete mastery of a language always rubbed me the wrong way, but attempts at house ruling an entire new subsystem and tacking it on to languages met with at best mixed success and was abandoned.

    Hero System (the rules underlying Champions) used a language chart that showed languages with common roots. It made other languages from the same family easier to learn than completely different ones.

    Something like that might be made to work in PF2 if we were given enough resources to purchase multiple languages. I think the UTEML proficiency system could be used as a basis but it would have to use a different resource for languages separate from the current skills.

    Ya'll might be interested in the Harnmaster system from Kelestia Games (or Columbia Games, but I like the former version better). Check it out. Everything is a skill, including languages. Some skills are innate (native language, for example), some can be learned just by trying them (using a weapon), some must be taught (casting a spell). "Mastery level" (ML) ranges from a minimum called "skill base" to 100+skill base, and is tested by a d100 roll. Language families are a thing, so learning some languages can be a bit easier if they're related to one you already know. BTW, reading (and writing) a script is a separate skill from speaking the language. You don't master a skill until your ML is more than 70 or so, so if you only know say, French to ML 50, you're by no means fluent.


    Basic Roleplaying (BRP) has a system that works much like that as well. It's easy to pick up a skill but gets progressively harder to improve the better you become, which is a nice touch. The difficulty levels and bonuses/penalties also helps. It doesn't really do much to make some skills harder to learn than others, however. At least, the Laundry Files version of the game I am familiar with doesn't (apart from the Sorcery skill).

    Shadow Lodge

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    Wait, so a starting human, unless you have an Int of 14 or use your Ancestry Feat on General Training to pick up the multilingual feat, can only start with Common? That's it? Wow that sucks.

    If you're a half-elf or half-orc, you don't even get the Ancestry option. "Yeah, I'm born and raised with the Varisians, I'm even smarter than average, but I still can't speak Varisian because I wasn't smarter enough. Oh, but I might be able to speak Orc though."


    thistledown wrote:

    Wait, so a starting human, unless you have an Int of 14 or use your Ancestry Feat on General Training to pick up the multilingual feat, can only start with Common? That's it? Wow that sucks.

    If you're a half-elf or half-orc, you don't even get the Ancestry option. "Yeah, I'm born and raised with the Varisians, I'm even smarter than average, but I still can't speak Varisian because I wasn't smarter enough. Oh, but I might be able to speak Orc though."

    No... Humans start with two languages. Common and either an Ethnic or Regional Language (or possibly another common language... but that is less explicit). Taldans don't have a special ethnic language (as "Common" is actually Taldane) but still have access to a regional language.

    Half-Elves/Orcs still select a Human Ethnicity (since they're just Humans with a specific heritage feat), and thus recieve an ethnic or regional language too. So a Half-elf can easily speak 3-4 languages (including Taldane, Elven, and a region or ethnic language).


    Grimcleaver wrote:
    No, and here's why: if I don't know a certain weird language, it's not because I failed as a player... It ceases to be my job to anticipate the GM, I get to just flesh out my character with options that make sense with his background.
    Grimcleaver wrote:
    My big problem with the Europe example folks keep coming back to is that those people organically got to learn those languages they know because they knew they'd come in contact with them all the time. The trouble in first edition Pathfinder was that you just had to read the GM and try to guess what languages would be good to know, only to find out in game that they were all a complete waste.

    If you had to read your GM than you were playing with a bad group. Any reasonable GM should be able to provide you with that information before the game in one way or another. Easiest scenario is if you are playing in a Paizo published campaign then each one comes with a XXXXXX; otherwise you should be able to ask your GM for a bit of details about the region their game is taking place in and what options are reasonable for residents of the area to have (languages, ranger favoured enemies/terrains...). If your GM isn't willing to give you that information than the problem squarely lies with the GM (and if that is the case there is nothing stopping them from intentionally choose languages non of the characters speak just to screw you over).

    Shadow Lodge

    Cantriped wrote:
    thistledown wrote:

    Wait, so a starting human, unless you have an Int of 14 or use your Ancestry Feat on General Training to pick up the multilingual feat, can only start with Common? That's it? Wow that sucks.

    If you're a half-elf or half-orc, you don't even get the Ancestry option. "Yeah, I'm born and raised with the Varisians, I'm even smarter than average, but I still can't speak Varisian because I wasn't smarter enough. Oh, but I might be able to speak Orc though."

    No... Humans start with two languages. Common and either an Ethnic or Regional Language (or possibly another common language... but that is less explicit). Taldans don't have a special ethnic language (as "Common" is actually Taldane) but still have access to a regional language.

    Half-Elves/Orcs still select a Human Ethnicity (since they're just Humans with a specific heritage feat), and thus recieve an ethnic or regional language too. So a Half-elf can easily speak 3-4 languages (including Taldane, Elven, and a region or ethnic language).

    That's what I expected it to be, because that's how first ed worked, but no. Being from an ethnicity gives you ACCESS to the ethnic language, adding it to the pool that a smart character can pick from. It makes it count as Common, while the others are Uncommon (and unavailable). You still need the high Int to select any of them.

    While the system was down, I realized how much worse that gets if you apply it to the general population. The point-by system might change this some, but going with the classic 3d6 scale and propability distribution, 16.2% of the population have at least a 14 int. With the other route, of the 7 feats available at level one, you get 1 of them. So, let's say from the remaining population, 1 in 7 picks General Training to pick up a general feat. Now, theres a bit more than 60 they could pick from there, so that'd be about 2% of those who took General Training selecting Multilingual as their pick, for a total of 0.2% of the under-14's having it.

    Let's be more generous though. Let's say that every person who took General Training put it into Multilingual. 1/7 is 14%. Add that to the smart people, and we're up to 30% of the population.

    So, being generous, only 30% of Varisians can speak Varisian. And if you're a Half-Elf or Half-Orc Varisian, it drops to 16.2%


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    thistledown wrote:
    Cantriped wrote:
    thistledown wrote:

    Wait, so a starting human, unless you have an Int of 14 or use your Ancestry Feat on General Training to pick up the multilingual feat, can only start with Common? That's it? Wow that sucks.

    If you're a half-elf or half-orc, you don't even get the Ancestry option. "Yeah, I'm born and raised with the Varisians, I'm even smarter than average, but I still can't speak Varisian because I wasn't smarter enough. Oh, but I might be able to speak Orc though."

    No... Humans start with two languages. Common and either an Ethnic or Regional Language (or possibly another common language... but that is less explicit). Taldans don't have a special ethnic language (as "Common" is actually Taldane) but still have access to a regional language.

    Half-Elves/Orcs still select a Human Ethnicity (since they're just Humans with a specific heritage feat), and thus recieve an ethnic or regional language too. So a Half-elf can easily speak 3-4 languages (including Taldane, Elven, and a region or ethnic language).

    That's what I expected it to be, because that's how first ed worked, but no. Being from an ethnicity gives you ACCESS to the ethnic language, adding it to the pool that a smart character can pick from. It makes it count as Common, while the others are Uncommon (and unavailable). You still need the high Int to select any of them.

    No, Cantriped is correct. A human, any human, starts with Common plus their choice of any one language they have access to. If they have Int 14 they get another one. See page 34 sidebar.

    Presumably most humans select their regional language (though they don't have to). So close to 100% of Varisians speak Varisian.


    Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

    Frankly, it would please me no end if Paizo moved away from calling Taldane "common". That's a holdover from some early D&D stuff,, and makes no sense. English is "commonly" spoken all around the western world, and French still has some cachet as the language of diplomacy, but nobody calls either one "common". "Common" in Golarion's Inner Sea region is not "common", it's Taldane, and if there's a common language in Tian Xia, or Vudra or wherever it wouldn't be called common, and it wouldn't be Taldane either.

    Couple other things annoy me: there seems an implicit assumption that everyone, or at least every PC, can read and write Taldane, and perhaps the other languages the PC can speak. Yet reading, writing, and speaking are separate skills, and I question whether everyone in the Inner Sea region learns or would need to learn, in societal terms, readin' and writin' (then there's 'rithmetic, but let's not go there. :-) Also, sign language(s). The restrictions or whatever on these in the Playtest rulebook are clumsily written at best, and downright silly at at worst. There's no reason to limit sign language to deaf people, or say it's either sign language or spoken language but not both. Nor is it accurate to say that one cannot communicate what needs to be communicated in "encounter mode" via sign language, particularly in a sign language specifically designed for that need. Yes, circumstances might dictate that it's more (or less) difficult to communicate things like "you go left, I'll go right" or whatever in some situations, but let the GM adjudicate that.

    Shadow Lodge

    Ah. I see it now. I kept looking at bonus languages and didn't see the paragraph above it.

    I retract my complaints.


    Cantriped wrote:
    I've always assumed that scrolls were written in Draconic by default in D&D/PF1.

    I recall there are a few instances of scrolls (or at least spellbooks) that are written in other languages as loot in modules or AP, but can't think of any particular ones. This would indicate spells are written in a language, but per spellcraft rules it's irrelevant. This could actually make magic something akin to a programming language: Yeah, this guy's comments make no sense (possible even between two native speakers!), he refused to add linebreaks in normal places and his variable names are confusing, and no average person will understand it, even if they've got some coding training, but if I work at it I can figure it out (hence DC15+spell level).

    If you wanted to make actual rules for spell language, the easiest way would be to give a penalty to decipher things in a language you don't know (+5, +2 if you have someone who can read the language but not decipher magical writing aiding you. If you're a wizard the main time the second comes up is racial languages which are easy to determine if a scroll is in.).

    Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

    Taldan's get a bit shorted without a separate ethnic language aside from common. I'd say they're cosmopolitan enough and have spread far and wide they should get to choose one other ethnic language.

    Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

    Shouldn't undercommon be an uncommon language, as it’s not frequently used on the surface. In the Darklands it would be common, just like Tien would be common in Minkai, but not in the Inner Sea region.


    JoelF847 wrote:
    Taldan's get a bit shorted without a separate ethnic language aside from common. I'd say they're cosmopolitan enough and have spread far and wide they should get to choose one other ethnic language.

    Thankfully they still have access to their regional language, whatever it may be... I infer from the bonus language entry for Humans that they also have access to all common languages as well as their regional or ethnic language (if any). However the Language subchapter is... not very informative, and the ancestry entry admittedly vague. So your table may vary.


    Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

    I realize Golarion is not Earth, but I would expect Tien to be about as common in Minkai as Chinese is, or was in medieval times, in Japan.

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