Monday, October 7, 2013

Campaign Design - Languages


The languages Celestial and Infernal are used in the campaign, so much so that the Celestial tongue is the liturgical language of most of the Lords of Heaven, while Infernal is generally the liturgical language uses by the priesthoods of the various Lords of Hell. More rarely, the Celestial or Demon Lords use Axiomatic and Anarchic as their liturgical language, but not Abyssal (all references to Abyssal should be read as referring to Infernal or Anarchic, whichever is more appropriate). All four of the elemental languages (Aquan, Auran, Ignan, and Terran) are used by creatures of an elemental nature, and by those who wish to communicate with them. The following is a list of languages that might be spoken by residents of the Freeholds, or travelers passing through. This list is not exhaustive, there may be other languages in the world, but these are the relatively more common ones.

Ahaliat: Ahaliat is more of a collection of languages than a single tongue. The nomadic tribes of the At'viras Steppes all speak some variant of this language. There are literally dozens dialects and sub-dialects of Ahaliat, and trying to learn them all would be difficult at best. Fortunately, in all but a few cases, language drift has been relatively minor, so an individual fluent in one form would be able to understand at a lesser level almost any tribesman he met on the At'viran Steppes.

Anfagen Zwursprache: This language is primarily spoken by the dwarves of Hartzstadt, and is reasonably common in the Freeholds. It is distantly related to standard Zwursprache.

Aralaic: Aralaic is an ancient language, considered by many sages to be the root tongue of Rhadynnic, Sorglish, and Menævish, as well as being loosely related to Pilosian. The language is not spoken as a native tongue in any country now, and those who can speak it are very rare. It is still used among druidic circles, and any reference to “Druidic” as a language in any source material should be treated as a reference to Aralaic for campaign purposes.

Dark Speech: Dark speech is the secret language of the Lords of Hell, so foul and so potent that even demons and devils refrain from its use lest it consume them. Few mortals know even a few words of Dark Speech. Those who do are wise to never underestimate the power of words. Characters must take the Dark Speech feat to begin to learn the Dark Speech language. Consult the Dark Speech page for the uses and powers of the Dark Speech.

Desprache: Desprache is the native language of the dwarves of the Dekkulde Islands, as well as those communities of dwarves who live in Langjord, Kysthjem, and Midtenjord. Although it is very distantly related to the other dwarven languages, it is a connection too remote to allow for mutual understanding between speakers of those languages and Desprache. It is more closely related to Nordlish, and speakers of those two languages can usually have a halting conversation.

Enslaic: This tongue is spoken in Enselm and the surrounding areas. Enslaic is one of the most widely known “second languages” in Midrun. The primary reason for this is the exceptional diplomatic influence possessed by the Collegium, resulting in Enslaic becoming the language of diplomatic interaction. The second, more sinister reason, is the wide reaching criminal activity of the Sang Nuit that has made Enslaic a popular language among the denizens of the criminal underworld. As Enselm is the cultural heart of the gnomish race, Enslaic is commonly spoken among gnomes across the Three Worlds, and any reference to “Gnome” as a language in any source material should be treated as a reference to Enslaic for campaign purposes.

Eurozic: This is not so much a language in itself as it is a group of dialects that have been given a common name. This term is used to describe the various dialects spoken by the many tribes of orcs and gnolls, although there appears to be considerable regional variation. A half-orc may choose this as their native language. Any reference to “Orcish” as a language in any source material should be treated as a reference to Eurozic for campaign purposes.

Gorovlic: This language is spoken by the inhabitants of the Gorovlic Isles. Although most inhabitants of these islands are peaceful people, it has become closely associated with piracy and has established itself as the “common tongue” among seamen. It is also the basic language of the great halfling trading companies, and is commonly spoken by halflings of a mercantile bent everywhere. Reference to "Halfling" as a language in any source material should commonly be treated as a reference to Gorovlic for campaign purposes except in those cases where Ahaliat or Tozlan would be more appropriate.

Hallitsijaic: In an effort to weld their disparate subjects into a single unified empire, several centuries ago the Hallitsijainen attempted to replace the many tongues spoken in their dominions with a common language. Hallitsijaic was the result of this effort. It is, in many ways, a stripped down version of Kansattish, which makes it easier for a non-native speaker to learn the language. Unfortunately, in the stripping down process, several things were lost that make it very difficult to use the language to discuss or expound upon various complex topics. Consequently, despite widespread usage of Hallitsijaic, Kansattu remained in common use throughout their Empire.

Jattalaic: Jattalaic is the racial language of giants. It is the native tongue of most giants, although frost giants speak Nordlish as often as they speak this tongue. It is somewhat related to Kansattish, and it is possible that someone able to speak only Kansattish could communicate very basic ideas to a Jattalaic listener, although that would likely require significant patience on the part of both parties. Any reference to “Giant” as a language in any source material should be treated as a reference to Jattalaic for campaign purposes.

Jedlic: This tongue, composed of a handful of closely related dialects, is spoken in many disparate areas as a result of the ancient migrations of the Jedinlide people. The largest concentrations of speakers are found in Calder, Elizon, Hatalom, Ranska, Roholukraz, Saksa, Zeme, and some regions of the Hallitsijaic Empire. Due to its widespread usage, it is quite common for an individual to be conversant in this language.

Kansattish: This language is spoken by the inhabitants of Isakoti and the rest of the Hallitsijaic Empire, and is commonly used in Polþia and Elizon. Individuals from those areas speak this language as their native tongue, and some inhabitants of the Freeholds learn it to communicate with travelers from those lands.

Karstish: Although this language is spoken in the goblin kingdom of Karst, it did not originate there, but is rather a common language used by goblinoid tribes across the Three Worlds. Any reference to “Goblin” as a language in any source material should be treated as a reference to Karstish for campaign purposes.

Menævish: The language spoken in Menævia, it is a language mostly unrelated to Rhadynnic or Sorglish, but due to the relatively open flow of trade between that nation and many of the Freeholds (despite the presence of the Polþian Swamps), it is not an uncommon tongue to learn. This language was also spoken by the inhabitants of Yle, before the destruction and depopulation of that kingdom resulting from the arrival of the Blight.

Minzoku: The Minzoku language is spoken in Owarikawa and the various Minzoku Republics surrounding it. Due to the relative isolation of these nations, and their insular culture, speakers of this language would be almost unheard of in the Freeholds.

Naceadan: This language is the native tongue of the inhabitants of Oropais. Although that land is quite distant from the Freeholds, because it was once part of the Sky Empire, it is reasonably common to find individuals who can speak this tongue in the other parts of the former Empire, including the Freeholds.

Nårsprache: Nårsprache is the native language of the dwarven inhabitants of the Aidake Mountains far to the east near Roholukraz. Although it is descended from the same root language as Zwurish and Anfagen Zwurish, it has diverged significantly from those two and is unintelligible to a non-speaker. Due to the xenophobic nature of the Aidake dwarves, they rarely speak the language outside of their mountain homes and virtually never teach the language to anyone from the outside, including other dwarves. It is the native language of the Aidake dwarves, but it would be almost unheard of for anyone else to speak it at all.

Nordlish: This is the primary language spoken in Langjord, Kysthjem, Midtenjord, and the human kingdoms found on both the Dekkulde and Sjorover Islands. Characters from those regions speak this language as their native tongue. It is loosely related to Desprache, and many Dekkulde Islanders speak both languages.

Pilosian: Although there are apparently many different languages spoken within the feuding alvari city-states and principalities of the Pilosian Sea, this language is the dominant tongue used in that area. It might be learned by a character that has had contact with traders from the Pilosian Sea, but since the language is completely different from any tongue spoken in the Freeholds, it can be a difficult tongue for natives to master. This is the native language of any alvari characters.

Quolin: Scholars generally agree that either Quolin or Sûlic is the oldest spoken language in the Three Worlds, although there is considerable disagreement as to which one came first. Either way, Quolin is the original, ancient, and rarely spoken language of the alvari. Very few use it in every day conversation now, but it is of interest both because many ancient books and inscriptions are written in this tongue and it is used as the liturgical language of the priesthood of Yng.

Rhadynnic: This language is the primary tongue spoken in the remnants of the Rhadynnic Sky Empire, and is commonly spoken in the Freeholds. Characters from any of the Rhadynnic kingdoms speak this language as their native tongue, and characters from the Freeholds may choose this language as their native tongue instead of Sorglish.

Sakti: Sakti, also known as the "spirit tongue" is a language common to the shamanistic leaders of the khülen. It is a difficult language to learn, since many of the sounds used are specifically suited to the khülen palate and outsiders find it difficult to achieve any fluency with the tongue. It is rare that anyone other than a khüen to learn to speak Sakti, but among the shifters, it serves as a common language.

Sorglish: Sorglish is the common language spoken in the Freeholds. Loosely related to both Rhadynnic and Nordlish, this language illustrates just how much of a crossroads the Freeholds are. Any reference to “Common” as a language in any source material should be treated as a reference to Sorglish for campaign purposes.

Sûlic: This language is commonly spoken by dragons and all of the the reptilian races including lizardfolk and kobolds. Any reference to “Draconic” as a language in any source material should be treated as a reference to Sûlic for campaign purposes.

Tozlan: This is the primary language spoken in Camocim and the surrounding areas of the Tozlu Desert. It might be learned by a character that had contact with traders from the Camocim, but since the language is completely different from any tongue spoken in the Freeholds it is a difficult tongue to master.

Zwursprache: This is the native language of the continental dwarves and is the native language of all dwarvish characters from Felsreich, Ostreich, or Stenigreich. It is not uncommon for non-dwarven characters living in or near those nations to learn this language and there is no particular impediment to doing so if a suitable teacher can be found. Any reference to “Dwarvish” as a language in any source material should be treated as a reference to Zwursprache for campaign purposes. It is closely related to Anfagen Zwursprache, and distantly related to Desprache and Nårsprache.

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