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12/06/2017 7:26 am  #21


Re: Common Tongue

francisca wrote:

Naw.  Common everywhere.  Once everyone speaks the same language, everyone knows what one another actually thinks of each other.  That's when it hits the fan!

I've never seen a language barrier get in the way of a good butt-kickin'!
 


“How can I wear the harness of toil
And sweat at the daily round,
While in my soul forever
The drums of Pictdom sound?” 
 

12/06/2017 8:43 am  #22


Re: Common Tongue

Brock Savage wrote:

I guess my question would be, what's the goal of adding linguistic realism to a roleplaying game? If the goal is to ensure that knowing multiple languages is interesting or rewarding, there are easier ways to get the same results. If the goal is for players to pantomime to get their point across to strangers, I guarantee it will be fun exactly one time. If the goal is an old-school DM screw job because the players don’t know this or that language, then it becomes a "language tax" because players aren't stupid and will cover their bases if it happens more than once. 

I think the goals would be increasing immersion in the setting, getting more players involved in NPC interactions, and reinforce the tribalism of different cultures by applying reaction modifiers depending on language used.  With my current player group, they've pretty much got all the languages covered, so it's not so much a barrier as an added element to consider with interactions.

 

12/06/2017 9:49 am  #23


Re: Common Tongue

Admittedly, I've always looked past language unless its addressing a rare language or an issue built into that night's game (nobody speaks Ogre and there's writing on the wall in Ogre).
This really has me thinking now, as I feel it's highly appropriate in the Hyperborea setting to give considerable weight to language. 
Great insight everyone! 

Last edited by Ar'Pharazon (12/06/2017 9:53 am)

 

12/06/2017 1:03 pm  #24


Re: Common Tongue

Ar'Pharazon wrote:

Great insight everyone! 

Agreed!
 


“How can I wear the harness of toil
And sweat at the daily round,
While in my soul forever
The drums of Pictdom sound?” 
     Thread Starter
 

12/06/2017 2:51 pm  #25


Re: Common Tongue

mabon5127 wrote:

Is there real-world historical precedent for a "common tongue" as used in many fantasy RPG's?   This seems to diminish the value of knowing languages as everyone knows this common tongue. 

 
Well, there is (it seems):

"A good part of the work that our linguists at SFI have been engaged in consists in tracing the histories of the world’s languages. We believe that these languages share a common origin. We believe in an Ur language. We believe that language is based on an idea."

This quite is by Cormac McCarthy, from Nautilus: http://nautil.us/issue/54/the-unspoken/cormac-mccarthy-returns-to-the-kekul-problem?utm_source=Nautilus&utm_campaign=96d6f93f51-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_11_29&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_dc96ec7a9d-96d6f93f51-60902025


"All suns are grasped within the hollow hand
Of Night, the godhead sole, omnipotent.
Whose other names are Nemesis and Fate."
CAS
 

12/06/2017 4:37 pm  #26


Re: Common Tongue

jcstephens wrote:

Koine Greek would probably be the closest historical equivalent:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koine_Greek

 

Thanks, very interesting. Solidifies my choice of "common regional tongues", though I guess technically they'd be "supraregional".


"My virtue is of the quintessential sort, being distilled from the erudition of the ages. How can I be other than virtuous? I am dispassionate to the ordinary motives of mankind."
Jack Vance, The Eyes of the Overworld
 

12/06/2017 5:33 pm  #27


Re: Common Tongue

mabon5127 wrote:

Is there real-world historical precedent for a "common tongue" as used in many fantasy RPG's?   This seems to diminish the value of knowing languages as everyone knows this common tongue. 

Latin during the Middle Ages (given that most fantasy worlds are about the size of Europe, if not directly based on Europe).

I'm not sure making a big deal out of languages would be particularly true to the source material. Even when there are different languages, the protagonist speaks pretty much all of them anyway. How many languages does Conan, an unlettered barbarian, speak? Randolph Carter seems to speak every language in the Dreamlands, including the monster languages! It's a pain in the ass for an author to handle languages realistically, let alone a referee. Certainly PCs that can't talk to one another freely would be an enormous headache for little gain IMO.


"The fear of death, its risk each time, is one of the most stimulating parts of the game. It therefore behooves the referee to include as many mystifying and dangerous areas as is consistent with a reasonable chance for survival." - J. Eric Holmes
 

12/06/2017 6:11 pm  #28


Re: Common Tongue

Blackadder23 wrote:

mabon5127 wrote:

Is there real-world historical precedent for a "common tongue" as used in many fantasy RPG's?   This seems to diminish the value of knowing languages as everyone knows this common tongue. 

Latin during the Middle Ages (given that most fantasy worlds are about the size of Europe, if not directly based on Europe).

I'm not sure making a big deal out of languages would be particularly true to the source material. Even when there are different languages, the protagonist speaks pretty much all of them anyway. How many languages does Conan, an unlettered barbarian, speak? Randolph Carter seems to speak every language in the Dreamlands, including the monster languages! It's a pain in the ass for an author to handle languages realistically, let alone a referee. Certainly PCs that can't talk to one another freely would be an enormous headache for little gain IMO.

Unless you use a movie like the 13th warrior as source material.  They had a language barrier, worked a way to get rid of it in the story, and it was fantastic. It wasn't the story but added a lot to it. That's the kind of opportunity I want to present in a game. Trust me I don't want to endlessly harass the players with a intra-group language barrier unless they want that!  But in game opportunities to make communication or lack there of drive the adventure, I think that could be fun! 
 


“How can I wear the harness of toil
And sweat at the daily round,
While in my soul forever
The drums of Pictdom sound?” 
     Thread Starter
 

12/07/2017 1:48 am  #29


Re: Common Tongue

mabon5127 wrote:

Unless you use a movie like the 13th warrior as source material.  They had a language barrier, worked a way to get rid of it in the story, and it was fantastic.

I liked the 13th Warrior and think it's an underrated film. I'm mildly surprised that people continue to hate on it.

 

12/10/2017 6:12 pm  #30


Re: Common Tongue

There's no reason to assume all NPCs speak common nor to have anything written in it except if the author of the putative work would have found that useful. But you gotta figure most stay-at-home NPC types would not bother with this lingua franca and would just stick with what they know. Merchants and those who make money off adventurers and sailors would bother to speak it, but not everyone.

Just saying you can get rid of a lot of the parts of Common that annoy you without changing anything about the game or worrying about remembering complex systems of distance to population centers. Just make every interaction of the PCs with the world friction-full and interesting and potentially entertaining but don't punish the players by making them worry about it in terms of their characters' telling one another "you go left, I'll go right."

 

12/11/2017 6:49 am  #31


Re: Common Tongue

Handy Haversack wrote:

There's no reason to assume all NPCs speak common nor to have anything written in it except if the author of the putative work would have found that useful. But you gotta figure most stay-at-home NPC types would not bother with this lingua franca and would just stick with what they know. Merchants and those who make money off adventurers and sailors would bother to speak it, but not everyone.

Just saying you can get rid of a lot of the parts of Common that annoy you without changing anything about the game or worrying about remembering complex systems of distance to population centers. Just make every interaction of the PCs with the world friction-full and interesting and potentially entertaining but don't punish the players by making them worry about it in terms of their characters' telling one another "you go left, I'll go right."

This is what I would want to do.  The distance thing is justification as I would never remember the actual distances in the heat of running.  Adventuring parties would have barriers worked out through learning bits of language, knowing patterns of behavior, gestures, etc.  Thanks!
 


“How can I wear the harness of toil
And sweat at the daily round,
While in my soul forever
The drums of Pictdom sound?” 
     Thread Starter
 

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