What languages does my [race] know?


Rules Questions


5 people marked this as FAQ candidate.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Tongue in Cheek Answer: NOBODY KNOWS!

Actual Answer: Nobody really knows.

More than half the races in Starfinder do not list their racial languages in an obvious location. Some can be gleaned from NPC stat blocks that have a language line, but many races are published as PC stats only, with no sample stat blocks with which to pull possible languages from.

From what I can gather from the rules, you start play with Common, your racial language, and the primary language of your home world, if any, as your base languages.

But what on missing Golarian are you supposed to do when your racial language isn't named?

I STRONGLY ENCOURAGE PAIZO TO FIX THIS OVERSIGHT, AND FOR OTHERS TO SUPPORT THIS CAUSE!

A simple blog, FAQ or, errata would work just fine. Heck, a semi-official forum post listing the languages would probably work for most!


Can it be assumed that some races don't have a racial language since they may have evolved on a planet post intraglobal communications and the establishment of a planetary common language?

I play an SRO at the moment and I would not expect them to know a specific language simply because they are of a specific race.

The fact that some races are missing an entry for a racial language that clearly exists is probably an oversight. However I would expect some races might not ever have racial languages.

Dataphiles

While I agree, I don't think that I feel the outrage that you do. Languages have always been a bit hand-waivey anyway. Especially if someone has share language and/or comprehend languages. Again, while I agree that it is an oversight, it isn't a game breaking problem.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Outrage is not the word I'd use. More like mild disappointment.

Nevertheless, I still think it should be fixed. Many of the races just don't feel complete otherwise.


Races have racial languages if there is a language that is their races name. If they don't have a racial language, then they don't have one. It is not an oversight that not all races have racial languages, in the language rules it says they start with "her racial tongue (if any)". Not having one is fine.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

This actually made me curious and I went through all the books to see which creatures don't have a racial language.

81 total races checked.
Core Rulebook has 13 races without a sample NPC.
There are Android and Human who both get common only I think, and the planet they grew up on. Vesk, Lashunta, Ysoki, Shirren, Kasatha have their racial languages mentioned in the race chapter.
For the legacy races you can get their racial languages from the Pathfinder Core Rulebook.

All creatures in the Alien Archive and Alien Archive 2 have an NPC statblock from where you can get the racial language.
The following creatures have a racial language that doesn't include their name:
Contemplative (Akitonian)
Draelik (Aklo)
Formian (Telepathy)
Grey (Aklo)
Nuar (Orc)
Verthani (Vercite)
Witchwyrd (Cyrunian)
Phentomite (Orrian)

From the other books (Pact Worlds, Adventure Paths and Starfinder Society Scenarios) 12 races do not have a sample statblock that I could find easily and thus lack their racial language:
Astrazoan, Bantrid, Borai, Khizar, SRO, Strix, Brakim, Gosclaw, Neskinti, Screedreep, Stellifera, Vilderaro.
Of those the Khizar is specifically called out as to not being able to speak, and only communicate telepathically. Strix we could look up in Pathfinder.

So I ended up with 10 races where I couldn't determine a racial language for easily.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Thank you for the summary. If this isn't nipped in the butt now, you can expect that number to grow.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

It might be worth noting that the chapters from which those races came were not Alien Archives, but rather Citizens of the Star Empire and Player Options - Pact World Races and follow the same layout as the Core Rulebook races (both the core and the legacy races), without the supporting language options in there or ability to draw upon the legacy books.


Damanta wrote:

The following creatures have a racial language that doesn't include their name:

Contemplative (Akitonian)
Draelik (Aklo)
Formian (Telepathy)
Grey (Aklo)
Nuar (Orc)
Verthani (Vercite)
Witchwyrd (Cyrunian)
Phentomite (Orrian)

Most of those aren't racial languages, but are the languages of their homes iirc (except Orc).


It's kind of crazy that the Greys speak Aklo. What does that imply?


Azelator Ereus wrote:
It's kind of crazy that the Greys speak Aklo. What does that imply?

That it's the closest language to 'universal common' in existence. Planar languages and Draconic being close competitors.


Greys probably speak Aklo because it's the language aliens that aren't part of a human-like society got given in Patfhinder.


Is it actually specifically written somewhere that you should take the racial language from the NPC statblock or is this just an assumption?


Yes and maybe no. The rules say you know your racial language (so yes) but pulling it from the NPC statblock just seems like the easiest place to find it (so maybe no, for where we're actually getting the information.)


Pantshandshake wrote:
Yes and maybe no. The rules say you know your racial language (so yes) but pulling it from the NPC statblock just seems like the easiest place to find it (so maybe no, for where we're actually getting the information.)

But there is quite a bit confusion what is a racial language and what not as seen here.

Do Dragonkin speak draconic? Technically not as the racial language must be called dragonkinian or something like that.

So a list of what the racial language, if any, of already printed extended races are + in the future an specific entry in the player statblock would be appreciated.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Mark the OP for FAQ and maybe something positive will happen.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

Dragonkin have Draconic listed in their NPC entry yes.

However if you think that their racial language should be Dragonkinian, do you also think that for example kobolds speak Koboldian instead of having their racial language be Draconic?


Damanta wrote:

Dragonkin have Draconic listed in their NPC entry yes.

However if you think that their racial language should be Dragonkinian, do you also think that for example kobolds speak Koboldian instead of having their racial language be Draconic?

Milo v3 posted above that racial languages must match the name of the creature. If you follow that then yes.

And if not the question remains what the racial language actually is. We don't actually know. Taking the languages from the NPC statblock is just an assumption which sometimes produce rather strange results.
So for clarification simply spell it out what the racial language is.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

I don't follow that line of thought.
Humans don't have humanian as racial languages, nor do androids speak androidian.
Lashunta have Castrovellian as racial language, even if it is also known as Lashunta.


Damanta wrote:

I don't follow that line of thought.

Humans don't have humanian as racial languages, nor do androids speak androidian.
Lashunta have Castrovellian as racial language, even if it is also known as Lashunta.

Have they?

Castrovellian is an interesting special case as it is not clear if it is a racial language or a home world language.
Page 40 makes it look like it is both.

But it highlights how uncertain it is to simply take something from an NPC stat block. Not every language is a racial language. Many are home planet languages. So what happens when the NPC stats list such a language like Aklo for Greys? Is it a racial language all Grey speak? Or is it only the home world language for this specific NPC and other Greys speak different languages depending on where they are from?

Sure this is something any GM could easily houserule. But once society gameplay is involved things cant rely on GM calls like that any more and have to be more specific.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

If humans had humanian as racial language it would have been presented on page 40, same goes for androids and androidian.

Not every race needs to have their name associated with their racial language, they could have adopted another language, like kobolds with draconic or a lot of eldritch horror races (like Draelik and Gray) with Aklo.


"Dr." Cupi wrote:
While I agree, I don't think that I feel the outrage that you do. Languages have always been a bit hand-waivey anyway. Especially if someone has share language and/or comprehend languages. Again, while I agree that it is an oversight, it isn't a game breaking problem.

Not "outraged" but it is a potential problem long term mechanically and fluff wise its very problematic. The post in this thread went a long way helping though =)

Community / Forums / Starfinder / Rules Questions / What languages does my [race] know? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.
Recent threads in Rules Questions