What we have here is a failure to communicate -- language learning and 2E


Pathfinder Society

Grand Lodge 5/5 ⦵⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Online—PbP aka Hmm

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One deliberate design choice that I find interesting is that 2e has made it harder to communicate across linguistic barriers.

What I have noticed so far:

1) Magical means of communication are much reduced:

  • Share Language is gone.
  • Comprehend language is a second level spell, and only by heightening it to 3rd can you actually speak the language.
  • Tongues is a fifth level spell, and uncommon to boot.

    2) Non-magical means of communication are much reduced:

  • Society Skill allows learning languages only through the multi-lingual feat.
  • Society Skill only allows you to decipher languages in writing, not speech.
  • The only way to create pidgin tongues is through a 15th level feat, Legendary Linguist.

    3) There is no reduction in the sheer number of languages in the world.

    There are so many languages, and we travel to so many places.

    ★ --- ★ --- ★ --- ★

    If we can't communicate, we're going to be fighting more often, and having trouble making new friends and allies.

    I think we're all going to be hiring a lot of translators. As someone who is used to hearing the patterns in a new language and deciphering it quickly to communicate, this feels way too high level. Will the society be offering guidance for hiring translators or getting translator ally boons? I realize that one of my first actions as a society member in a new area will be looking for a hireling who speaks the local language and my own. Being proactive about hiring translators and guides may be the best solution.

    Hmm

  • Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

    Hilary Moon Murphy wrote:
    3) There is no reduction in the sheer number of languages in the world.

    But mysteriously, most critters will still speak Common. Because that's what it says in their copy-pasted Bestiary statblock :P

    2/5

    Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

    Grand Archive Tier 2 Cost 4 Fame = Translator (2 languages)

    Nomadic Halfling = 2 languages (and 50% boost to Multilingual feat)

    Silver Crusade 5/5

    Blake's Tiger wrote:

    Grand Archive Tier 2 Cost 4 Fame = Translator (2 languages)

    Nomadic Halfling = 2 languages (and 50% boost to Multilingual feat)

    Nomadic halfling allows one to make a character that specializes at being a linguist (which is nice) but the cost is so high I'd expect it to be a fairly rare thing.

    In PF1 similar abilities cost the much lower cost of 1 skill pt a level. I DID see characters who invested highly in linguistics but not many.

    Silver Crusade 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Germany—Bavaria

    I kinda like that change, it makes learning languages more meaningful and you can have obscure old languages that players can not be expected to understand immediately.

    Learning languages has been ridiculously easy before.

    2/5

    Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

    You do realize that I'm making any claims that these this fix any real or perceived issues with language accessibility?

    I was merely pointing out a couple of other ways to gain extra languages for those interested in the information. But you're right. Not everyone wants to be a halfling.

    Grand Lodge 5/5 ⦵⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Online—PbP aka Hmm

    3 people marked this as a favorite.

    I've built a lot of characters who were invested highly in linguistics. Maybe because I really like languages... I just want to be able to communicate. I think the Grand Archive boon is great, but like everything else, you'll have to wait to get it.

    Maybe I'm the only one who worries about this kind of thing. I guess we'll see how the adventures play out.

    Hmm

    Venture-Agent, Canada—Ontario—Ottawa aka Mistwalker

    4 people marked this as a favorite.

    You are not the only one who worries about things like this HMM.
    And I also tend to have characters who are linguists, knowing multiple languages.

    2/5

    2 people marked this as a favorite.
    Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
    Jean-Marc Comeau wrote:

    You are not the only one who worries about things like this HMM.

    And I also tend to have characters who are linguists, knowing multiple languages.

    Yeah, not alone at all. I've also been concerned about PF2e's limits on learning languages.

    Silver Crusade 5/5

    Hilary Moon Murphy wrote:

    I've built a lot of characters who were invested highly in linguistics. Maybe because I really like languages... I just want to be able to communicate. I think the Grand Archive boon is great, but like everything else, you'll have to wait to get it.

    Maybe I'm the only one who worries about this kind of thing. I guess we'll see how the adventures play out.

    Hmm

    One related thing that I've noticed is that if you want a particular character concept in PF2 you often have to pick one out of a very few (often 1) options.

    For example, I'm currently trying to build a "know it all" character. The only reasonably viable options I'm seeing are Wizard who multiclasses into bard for bardic knowledge (wizard feats seem largely "meh" to me so this can happen by level 4) or a high int Bard. Bardic knowledge seems all but essential for this as, at least in PFS2-01, lore skills and ONLY lore skills cone up a LOT.

    Or building an archer wizard pushes you hard to either elf or human (for the 2 general feats required for proficiency in a bow).

    I'm not at all sure whether that's a good thing or not but it's certainly a thing. It's almost certainly a thing that will happen less and less as more resources get published.

    As you say, I'm going to have to see how it plays out in practice.


    Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
    pauljathome wrote:
    For example, I'm currently trying to build a "know it all" character. The only reasonably viable options I'm seeing are Wizard who multiclasses into bard for bardic knowledge (wizard feats seem largely "meh" to me so this can happen by level 4) or a high int Bard. Bardic knowledge seems all but essential for this as, at least in PFS2-01, lore skills and ONLY lore skills cone up a LOT.

    A high INT Rogue who multiclasses into Bard could also be good for this, because in addition to being able to pick up Bardic Lore at 4th level you can really easily become trained in a huge number of other skills, not to mention having heaps of skill feats to work towards getting Assurance and Automatic Knowledge in the big 4 monster identification skills.

    Silver Crusade 5/5

    rooneg wrote:
    pauljathome wrote:
    For example, I'm currently trying to build a "know it all" character. The only reasonably viable options I'm seeing are Wizard who multiclasses into bard for bardic knowledge (wizard feats seem largely "meh" to me so this can happen by level 4) or a high int Bard. Bardic knowledge seems all but essential for this as, at least in PFS2-01, lore skills and ONLY lore skills cone up a LOT.
    A high INT Rogue who multiclasses into Bard could also be good for this, because in addition to being able to pick up Bardic Lore at 4th level you can really easily become trained in a huge number of other skills, not to mention having heaps of skill feats to work towards getting Assurance and Automatic Knowledge in the big 4 monster identification skills.

    You're absolutely right.

    I didn't include that because
    1) one answer on how to make ANY skill focused character is "rogue" (let's face it, that Nomadic halfling linguist is very likely a rogue) :-)
    2) I'd already decided I wanted a spellcaster and forgot that when posting :-(

    I'm less than convinced that assurance is much use in general. Far too often you just assuredly fail. And at 2 skill feats per skill it's expensive even for a rogue.


    Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
    pauljathome wrote:
    rooneg wrote:
    pauljathome wrote:
    For example, I'm currently trying to build a "know it all" character. The only reasonably viable options I'm seeing are Wizard who multiclasses into bard for bardic knowledge (wizard feats seem largely "meh" to me so this can happen by level 4) or a high int Bard. Bardic knowledge seems all but essential for this as, at least in PFS2-01, lore skills and ONLY lore skills cone up a LOT.
    A high INT Rogue who multiclasses into Bard could also be good for this, because in addition to being able to pick up Bardic Lore at 4th level you can really easily become trained in a huge number of other skills, not to mention having heaps of skill feats to work towards getting Assurance and Automatic Knowledge in the big 4 monster identification skills.

    You're absolutely right.

    I didn't include that because
    1) one answer on how to make ANY skill focused character is "rogue" (let's face it, that Nomadic halfling linguist is very likely a rogue) :-)
    2) I'd already decided I wanted a spellcaster and forgot that when posting :-(

    I'm less than convinced that assurance is much use in general. Far too often you just assuredly fail. And at 2 skill feats per skill it's expensive even for a rogue.

    Yeah, I'm not super convinced that Automatic Knowledge is actually worth it (I mean seriously how often do you actually have target numbers to identify real threats that Assurance can hit?), but it's a neat build and I want it to be good ;-)

    4/5

    rooneg wrote:
    pauljathome wrote:
    For example, I'm currently trying to build a "know it all" character. The only reasonably viable options I'm seeing are Wizard who multiclasses into bard for bardic knowledge (wizard feats seem largely "meh" to me so this can happen by level 4) or a high int Bard. Bardic knowledge seems all but essential for this as, at least in PFS2-01, lore skills and ONLY lore skills cone up a LOT.
    A high INT Rogue who multiclasses into Bard could also be good for this, because in addition to being able to pick up Bardic Lore at 4th level you can really easily become trained in a huge number of other skills, not to mention having heaps of skill feats to work towards getting Assurance and Automatic Knowledge in the big 4 monster identification skills.

    I'm doing a high INT rogue who plans on multiclassing into wizard, and yeah, that is a lot of skills. The plan is for something arcane trickster-like or spellfilcher-like.


    The Untrained Improvisation feat helps somewhat, giving half or full level to untrained skill checks. The human feat Clever Improviser helps even more. You get Untrained Improvisation, plus you can attempt skill actions that require you to be trained. So you can know a little about everything.

    Any other ancestry could take the Adopted Ancestry feat to gain access to this this feat as well. As humans are pretty much everywhere it's not much of a stretch to be "fully immersed in another ancestry’s culture and traditions".

    Liberty's Edge

    Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
    pauljathome wrote:


    Nomadic halfling allows one to make a character that specializes at being a linguist (which is nice) but the cost is so high I'd expect it to be a fairly rare thing.

    I'm not saying that I was messing around with a high Wizard who doubled as a translator but you know, I'm not saying that I wasn't...

    4/5

    I hope the "Speak Local Language" spell from Heroes of the Streets returns soon. That was a favorite on mine in 1E. Alternatively, the return of "Voluminous Vocabulary" from Ultimate Intrigue would be welcome.

    The fact that both of these spells existed in 1E indicated an understanding by the designers that communication needed to be made easier, I wonder what happened to make them take it in the opposite direction.

    1/5

    Mimo Tomblebur wrote:

    I hope the "Speak Local Language" spell from Heroes of the Streets returns soon. That was a favorite on mine in 1E. Alternatively, the return of "Voluminous Vocabulary" from Ultimate Intrigue would be welcome.

    The fact that both of these spells existed in 1E indicated an understanding by the designers that communication needed to be made easier, I wonder what happened to make them take it in the opposite direction.

    Not a chance. There was a determined effort to reduce the ability to communicate, so unless the person driving that bus leaves Paizo abilities that increase the ability to communicate will not see the light of day.

    The obvious answer to why is that mysteries are the new preferred style of story. Divinization, and especially communication, got the nerfhammer hard. Apparently too many people found that their intricate plot was undone by a simple detect magic or detect evil.

    Silver Crusade

    Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
    thorin001 wrote:
    There was a determined effort to reduce

    Spells that completely invalidated non-spell abilities and effects.

    The two spells Mimo brought up I could see coming back.

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