Languages

From Darfuria

A character's ability to understand or communicate in a language is likely to vary from one tongue to another. If the character has a low INT score, they may not even be very skilled in their own native language. This is an attempt to quantify a character's language ability.

A new character has several given languages according to their race and INT score. Some of these will be considered 00 level, assuming the character has a reasonable INT, but that character will probably not be absolutely fluent in all of them.

For every language, the character should have a d% score showing the character's ability in each language. When a character first learns a new language, such as the way druids and assassins can as they gain levels, or if they gain a point of INT, their initial ability in that new language will be 01-10 (1d10). Over time, this can improve, but will take study and effort.

Examples of languages that will always be 00 are alignment languages (including druidic and thieves' cant) and the mother tongue of the character (e.g. elvish for an elf, dwarvish for a dwarf, the common tongue for a human, etc.). The common tongue (in our campaign, Darfurian) is likely to be 00 for non-human races when the character in question has had a lot of dealings with humans and their society in general, but otherwise that may not necessarily be the case. The player and the DM will need to clarify this.

All other language abilities should be rolled for. Adjustemnets should be made for how often a particular language may have been used by each specific character. For example, a gnome may have had a lot of dealings with dwarves, so should gain a hefty bonus to any initial percentile dice roll. A halfling enslaved by gnolls for a few months may have picked up a lot of their language.

If some language is used that may be beyond the ability of a character to fully understand, percentile dice should be rolled. A higher score than the character's language ability indicates some level of misunderstanding. The degree to which the language is not comprehended is the amount above the character's language level. The DM needs to determine what the result of this miscommunication should then be, and the consequences.


Fluency (00) Here characters can effortlessly understand almost everything they hear or read, and they are able to express themselves spontaneously about any topic without making noticeable grammatical errors.


Advanced (91-99) Characters can understand longer and more challenging texts in detail and also grasp implicit meanings. They are able to have spontaneous conversations without being lost for words, and they can use the language in their social as well as their professional life.


Upper Intermediate (76-90) Characters are able to comprehend the main points of complex texts on a wide range of concrete and abstract topics. They can communicate themselves in a clear manner and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of various options and positions in a fairly sophisticated way.


Intermediate (56-75) Between lower and upper intermediate, a character's incomplete knowledge of grammar and vocabulary is sometimes liable to cause misunderstandings and miscommunications.


Lower intermediate (41-55) Characters can express themselves coherently regarding events, experiences and plans, and justify their decisions on a wider range of topics. They can understand the main points of a conversation when standardised language is used and the focus is on topics of personal interest as well as familiar themes, such as work, leisure, relationships, travelling etc.


Elementary (26-40) Characters can make themselves understood in and talk about routine situations. They are able to ask questions and answer them with concrete information on topics that are familiar to them.


Beginner (11-25) Students are able to communicate about familiar topics in a simple way, and understand short conversations about everyday life with people who speak slowly and clearly.


Absolute Beginner (01-10) A few words, probably swear words and a handful of others, no real understanding or ability to communicate beyond what little is already known.