Dealing with language in Mystaran adventures

Weird red metals, dominions, immortals, hollow planets, invisible moons, and a lot of glorified magic zeppelins. It's all here.
The Book-House: Find Mystara products, Find Known World products.

Moderators: Gawain_VIII, Havard, Seer of Yhog, Cthulhudrew

Dealing with language in Mystaran adventures

Postby Daemon Caledor » Sat Jun 19, 2010 2:19 pm

In the older published Mystara adventures, language is rarely an issue given any thought by the auhors. Everyone in the world is just expected to speak Common so the PCs do not have any trouble blending in in any setting.

In X5 Temple of Death the PCs are supposed to be able to infiltrate Hulean villages to reach the Master's temple, in X11 Saga of the Shadow Lord they go to a village in Denagoth and try to act as locals, and in the whole Blackmoor-series they are simply able to communicate with people from more or less another planet!

How have you dealt with these situations? Use of spells, interpreters, Pendant of many tongues (HWA-trilogy)? Please share any thoughts on this.
User avatar
Daemon Caledor
Goblin
 
Posts: 10
Joined: Tue Sep 23, 2008 11:31 am
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark

Re: Dealing with language in Mystaran adventures

Postby Havard » Sat Jun 19, 2010 3:20 pm

Daemon Caledor wrote:In the older published Mystara adventures, language is rarely an issue given any thought by the auhors. Everyone in the world is just expected to speak Common so the PCs do not have any trouble blending in in any setting.


I rarely find that language problems make for fun gaming situations. IMC, Thyatian is the Common Tongue for the entire Known World region, but other regions have other common tongues.

In X5 Temple of Death the PCs are supposed to be able to infiltrate Hulean villages to reach the Master's temple, in X11 Saga of the Shadow Lord they go to a village in Denagoth and try to act as locals, and in the whole Blackmoor-series they are simply able to communicate with people from more or less another planet!


These might be tricky. In the case of blackmoor, it might be possible that Thonian, the language spoken by the Blackmoorians is somehow related to Thyatian.

How have you dealt with these situations? Use of spells, interpreters, Pendant of many tongues (HWA-trilogy)? Please share any thoughts on this.


I have used magic at times. In other cases I have simply given out language slots if the players have spent some time in a country...

-Havard

Aliases: Håvard Frosta, Havard Blackmoor, Blackmoorian, Dragon Turtle etc
Where to find me on the Web
The Comeback Inn - My Blackmoor Forum
The Blackmoor Blog
My Articles at the Vaults of Pandius
Moderator of the Mystara, Blackmoor and Thunder Rift forums.
My moderator voice is
GREEN.
User avatar
Havard
Dragon Turtle
 
Posts: 17226
Joined: Thu May 22, 2008 7:32 pm
Location: Norway

Re: Dealing with language in Mystaran adventures

Postby RobJN » Sat Jun 19, 2010 11:27 pm

Depending on how you want the PCs to use their resources, you could play it a few different ways.

If you want them to have to burn spell slots, go the comprehend languages/read languages route. This could cost several memorizations of the spell if they wish to keep up the effects over the course of a full day...

If you use the General Skills system, you might allow them to speak a number of additional languages equal to their Int modifier (at the cost of a skill slot, or not, depending on how benevolent a DM you are :twisted: )

You could go the magic item route, a-la the HWA series. Thorn's Chronicle uses something similar -- pendants keyed to one specific language that translate for the wearer.

As Havard noted, bogging down an adventure with language troubles tends to get old quickly, and takes away from time better spent killing monsters and taking their stuff adventuring.

Unless language is going to play a pivotal role in an encounter or two, I'd relegate it to the background -- handwaving a shared Common tongue (the Known World's Thyatian), or a cobbled-together trade language (Slag) among those of different cultures may be your best bet.
Rob
Thorn's Chronicle: The Thread Index|Thorn's Chronicle Blog
My articles at the Vaults of Pandius; My W.O.I.N. adventure in ENWorld's EONS Patreon #56.
Follow Thorn's Chronicle on Facebook | G+ | twitter
User avatar
RobJN
Dire Flumph
 
Posts: 3575
Joined: Sun May 25, 2008 10:33 pm
Location: Texas, USA

Re: Dealing with language in Mystaran adventures

Postby agathokles » Sun Jun 20, 2010 2:22 pm

I use language issues as part of the adventure (e.g., to limit interactions to a certain subset of the locals, or force the PCs to rely on an untrustworthy interpreter), and also as reasons for adventurers to stick with their home region or with cosmopolitan cities in foreign nations while they are at low (Basic/early Expert) levels.

At higher levels, it becomes less of an issue as PCs can rely on magic -- spells at first, but at Companion levels and higher magic items will provide most of the translation. Even in canon, IIRC, translation devices (Federation technology, in that case) were present in City of the Gods, a late Expert levels adventure.

GP
agathokles
Red Dragon
 
Posts: 6581
Joined: Sat May 24, 2008 6:42 pm
Location: Milan, Italy

Re: Dealing with language in Mystaran adventures

Postby AuldDragon » Sun Jun 20, 2010 3:30 pm

One way to do it would be to have the PCs figure out how to deal with the language issue for the extent of an adventure, and then if they decide to stay in the area, reward them with a minor magical item at the conclusion of the adventure that translates just the one language in question.

Jeff
Let's Play Old Games with AuldDragon (Youtube) | My 2nd Edition Blog
Monster Mythology Update Project | Spelljammer Livestream Campaign
"That sums it up in a nutshell, AuldDragon. You make a more convincing argument. But he's right and you're not."
User avatar
AuldDragon
White Dragon
 
Posts: 2075
Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2008 2:28 am
Location: Silver Spring, MD

Re: Dealing with language in Mystaran adventures

Postby Gecko » Thu Jun 24, 2010 2:31 am

agathokles wrote:I use language issues as part of the adventure (e.g., to limit interactions to a certain subset of the locals, or force the PCs to rely on an untrustworthy interpreter), and also as reasons for adventurers to stick with their home region or with cosmopolitan cities in foreign nations while they are at low (Basic/early Expert) levels.


Thats much how I try to do it.

The ideal of "Common" as a planet/planar wide Human Racial language is just wrong (I barely tolerate other races having a planet wide racial language) but a "regional" or "trade tongue" is ok. Of course I also try to make it somewhat easier for characters to learn the rudiments of a language (something I wish I could do in real life - despite years of studying spanish I'm little only slightly better than conversational level - It's something I'm being reminded of more frequently nowadays as most of the world cup games are only broadcast locally on the spanish language tv channels)
User avatar
Gecko
Storm Giant
 
Posts: 1547
Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2008 11:51 am
Location: Marooned in California

Re: Dealing with language in Mystaran adventures

Postby metal » Thu Jun 24, 2010 4:46 am

It's something I'm being reminded of more frequently nowadays as most of the world cup games are only broadcast locally on the spanish language tv channels)

I thought all you needed to know was.......

GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D
metal
Long live Mystara
"I'll fire aimlessly if you don't come out!"
User avatar
metal
Stone Giant
 
Posts: 662
Joined: Fri May 23, 2008 3:00 am
Location: Gainesville, GA (somewhere in the Sind desert)

Re: Dealing with language in Mystaran adventures

Postby Gecko » Thu Jun 24, 2010 7:47 am

;) That part doesn't bother me too badly. The annoying thing I've noticed is that he seems to pick one player and insists on saying that players name in an exaggerated manner everytime they get a touch on the ball. In Germany 2006 it was Schweinsteiger (a German midfielder, #7) and for South Africa 2010 it seems he's chosen Bornstein (an American Midfielder, #12) to do that with. "BEE-YOOOOOOUUUUURRRRNNNNNNSSSSSSTEEIIIIINNNNNN" gets annoying very fast.
User avatar
Gecko
Storm Giant
 
Posts: 1547
Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2008 11:51 am
Location: Marooned in California

Re: Dealing with language in Mystaran adventures

Postby Mike » Fri Jun 25, 2010 12:43 am

I treat language as a challenge to be overcome. Too often players take "dragon" or "orc" hoping for some tactical advantage, when they could be taking "dengar" or "alasiyan"

Thyatian and Darokinian are widely spoken, but not universal, especially when you get into backwater areas. I try to avoid referring to any language as "common" since that falsely implies universal use. Also, referring to languages by name reinforces that this is a world with history and culture, not just a game board where you move five spaces and kill an orc.

I have made a couple stabs at creating a Language Chart for Mystara. The Language Chart is an idea from the Hero System, and basically shows (in a graphical format) how languages are related. Langauges with a high degree of similarity are easier to learn, and may allow limited communication (with difficulty) due to similar structure and shared word-forms. In Hero this is used to determine the cost of learning a new language, if you already know a language with some degree of similarity. In Mystara, a language chart could be used to allow very rudimentary communication between, say, Thyatian and Milenian, or between Ethengarian and Makistani. The big question of course is how are Mystaran languages actually related, and are they close enough to allow a default level of communication?
User avatar
Mike
Ogre
 
Posts: 212
Joined: Tue May 27, 2008 2:49 pm
Location: The Sylvan Realm (Beaverton, OR)

Re: Dealing with language in Mystaran adventures

Postby Mike » Fri Jun 25, 2010 12:54 am

Found an example of a language chart. This one is for Greyhawk, I'll post a draft of my Mystaran version when I get a chance.
http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/s ... clnk&gl=us
User avatar
Mike
Ogre
 
Posts: 212
Joined: Tue May 27, 2008 2:49 pm
Location: The Sylvan Realm (Beaverton, OR)

Re: Dealing with language in Mystaran adventures

Postby Gecko » Sat Jun 26, 2010 2:08 am

Mike wrote:Also, referring to languages by name reinforces that this is a world with history and culture, not just a game board where you move five spaces and kill an orc.


YES! couldn't agree more! :D

I have made a couple stabs at creating a Language Chart for Mystara. The Language Chart is an idea from the Hero System, and basically shows (in a graphical format) how languages are related. Langauges with a high degree of similarity are easier to learn, and may allow limited communication (with difficulty) due to similar structure and shared word-forms. In Hero this is used to determine the cost of learning a new language, if you already know a language with some degree of similarity. In Mystara, a language chart could be used to allow very rudimentary communication between, say, Thyatian and Milenian, or between Ethengarian and Makistani.


I've long wanted to incorporate something like this (both for learning languages and for understanding related languages), but I have never had a consistent means of doing so beyond just saying things like (as DM) "You don't catch all of what he's saying but he seems to be trying to relay to you something about fire and danger up ahead - or perhaps above you."

Mike wrote:I'll post a draft of my Mystaran version when I get a chance.


please do.
User avatar
Gecko
Storm Giant
 
Posts: 1547
Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2008 11:51 am
Location: Marooned in California

Re: Dealing with language in Mystaran adventures

Postby phindar » Sat Jun 26, 2010 8:31 am

Mike wrote:I treat language as a challenge to be overcome. Too often players take "dragon" or "orc" hoping for some tactical advantage, when they could be taking "dengar" or "alasiyan"


I agree, but I think this highlights the problem I have with racial languages. I mean, I can buy that dragons have a common language, because they're an immortal race. But if two humans located on continents thousands of miles apart don't share a common tongue, it seems to stretch credibility that two orcs would be speaking the same language.

Overall, I think making languages regional does make a world feel like more of a lived in place. A language chart would be one of those things that would really appeal to me, but I'd be the first to admit I'd probably be the only player at my table who would use it.
phindar
Gnoll
 
Posts: 109
Joined: Sun Aug 10, 2008 8:59 am
Location: Atlanta, GA

Re: Dealing with language in Mystaran adventures

Postby Havard » Sat Jun 26, 2010 10:21 am

phindar wrote:I agree, but I think this highlights the problem I have with racial languages. I mean, I can buy that dragons have a common language, because they're an immortal race. But if two humans located on continents thousands of miles apart don't share a common tongue, it seems to stretch credibility that two orcs would be speaking the same language.


Humanoids of the Savage Coast/Orc's Head Peninsula have their own languages. In the Known World, most humanoids speak "Thar", a language enforced by the Orc King himself.

Elven is a different matter though. Due to the long lifespan of the elves, it is not unlikely that an elf from Alfheim and a Davanian elf would be able to communicate, even if there hasn't been contact between the groups for centuries.

It is worth noting though, that languages have become more diversified over time. In 800AD, a Viking from anywhere in Scandinavia would have no problem communicating with people he met in Britain or in Germanic lands. If he also picked up Latin, he would get around all over Europe and North Africa. Obviously, he would still have problems if he made his way to Newfoundland/Vinland.

Havard

Aliases: Håvard Frosta, Havard Blackmoor, Blackmoorian, Dragon Turtle etc
Where to find me on the Web
The Comeback Inn - My Blackmoor Forum
The Blackmoor Blog
My Articles at the Vaults of Pandius
Moderator of the Mystara, Blackmoor and Thunder Rift forums.
My moderator voice is
GREEN.
User avatar
Havard
Dragon Turtle
 
Posts: 17226
Joined: Thu May 22, 2008 7:32 pm
Location: Norway

Re: Dealing with language in Mystaran adventures

Postby AuldDragon » Sun Jun 27, 2010 3:25 am

Havard wrote:It is worth noting though, that languages have become more diversified over time. In 800AD, a Viking from anywhere in Scandinavia would have no problem communicating with people he met in Britain or in Germanic lands. If he also picked up Latin, he would get around all over Europe and North Africa. Obviously, he would still have problems if he made his way to Newfoundland/Vinland.


Languages only seem to be more diverse today because until the last few hundred years, the vast majority were never written down. In actuality, language death is happening far faster today than in the past. As for your example, he would have quite a problem communicating with many people in those areas. By 800AD Latin had pretty much differentiated into the early forms of French, Italian, Spanish, etc. You might be able to communicate with wealthy merchants, government officials, and the like with Latin, but not the peasantry. You'd have to deal with Byzantine Greek in the eastern Mediterranean, Arabic in North Africa and southern Iberia, Celtic languages in the British isles, Slavic and Uralic languages in eastern Europe, and of course, the Germanic languages had already differentiated. And that's not even taking into account dialectical variations. :) You'd probably be able to find a scholar or scribe in most major and middle-sized towns that knows at least one of the major languages, to work as a translator, though.

Much of D&D is idealized, though, so it is not unreasonable to have a common tongue. It would be reasonable to have different common tongues for different trade groups, though. For example, around 1500BC, the major lingua franca was Assyrian. Most trade and diplomacy was done in that language. However, in Anatolia, the lingua franca was Hittite, and diplomacy with Mycenaen Greece was done in Hittite. And to areas south of Egypt, Egyptian was the lingua franca. However, local commerce and speech would have been done in the local language/dialect in each area.

As to the unchanging nature of non-human languages, it gets lampshaded in the 2nd edition Player's Handbook, IIRC, and mentions it is a curios aspect of those languages. It might be reasonable to say it has something to do with the different construction of the non-human brain.

Jeff
Let's Play Old Games with AuldDragon (Youtube) | My 2nd Edition Blog
Monster Mythology Update Project | Spelljammer Livestream Campaign
"That sums it up in a nutshell, AuldDragon. You make a more convincing argument. But he's right and you're not."
User avatar
AuldDragon
White Dragon
 
Posts: 2075
Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2008 2:28 am
Location: Silver Spring, MD

Re: Dealing with language in Mystaran adventures

Postby Havard » Sun Jun 27, 2010 5:46 pm

AuldDragon wrote:Languages only seem to be more diverse today because until the last few hundred years, the vast majority were never written down. In actuality, language death is happening far faster today than in the past. As for your example, he would have quite a problem communicating with many people in those areas. By 800AD Latin had pretty much differentiated into the early forms of French, Italian, Spanish, etc. You might be able to communicate with wealthy merchants, government officials, and the like with Latin, but not the peasantry. You'd have to deal with Byzantine Greek in the eastern Mediterranean, Arabic in North Africa and southern Iberia, Celtic languages in the British isles, Slavic and Uralic languages in eastern Europe, and of course, the Germanic languages had already differentiated. And that's not even taking into account dialectical variations. :) You'd probably be able to find a scholar or scribe in most major and middle-sized towns that knows at least one of the major languages, to work as a translator, though.



Interesting insight there Jeff! Thanks for sharing :)

Much of D&D is idealized, though, so it is not unreasonable to have a common tongue. It would be reasonable to have different common tongues for different trade groups, though. For example, around 1500BC, the major lingua franca was Assyrian. Most trade and diplomacy was done in that language. However, in Anatolia, the lingua franca was Hittite, and diplomacy with Mycenaen Greece was done in Hittite. And to areas south of Egypt, Egyptian was the lingua franca. However, local commerce and speech would have been done in the local language/dialect in each area.

As to the unchanging nature of non-human languages, it gets lampshaded in the 2nd edition Player's Handbook, IIRC, and mentions it is a curios aspect of those languages. It might be reasonable to say it has something to do with the different construction of the non-human brain.


What I am beginning to suspect is that most D&D books werent really written with a world sized setting in mind. The early D&D campaigns like Greyhawk and Blackmoor usually revolved around just towns at first, and then baronies and eventually growing into countries. By the time of the birth of the Known World in 1981(?) we are still only talking about a small collection of countries. At this stage, it does still make sense to talk about things like a common tongue, or even non-human langauges, because it only implies that the Lizardmen in that region speak that language. What Lizardmen speak in other parts of the world doesnt matter because the PCs most likely arent expected to go there. I'm guessing the rulebooks were written with this in mind, even if the authors had not really given it too much thought.

A single Common Tongue for the Known World (ie Thyatian) works, but that's not going to help you alot in the Alphatian Sea region or on the Savage Coast (well maybe a little there). On Davania, now that's like a completely new setting.

Havard

Aliases: Håvard Frosta, Havard Blackmoor, Blackmoorian, Dragon Turtle etc
Where to find me on the Web
The Comeback Inn - My Blackmoor Forum
The Blackmoor Blog
My Articles at the Vaults of Pandius
Moderator of the Mystara, Blackmoor and Thunder Rift forums.
My moderator voice is
GREEN.
User avatar
Havard
Dragon Turtle
 
Posts: 17226
Joined: Thu May 22, 2008 7:32 pm
Location: Norway

Re: Dealing with language in Mystaran adventures

Postby Khuzd » Mon Jun 28, 2010 8:21 am

Languages are good for role-playing... they also help Dwarves to be diffrente than fighters.. even in my first game sessions, back in 1989, I remember I thought: "wow, being a Dwarf is great, I can speak kobold, goblin, gnome and dwarvish". Gnome was not very useful, but goblin was a "lingua franca" between humanoids: a "must have" to interrogate prisoners and spy them...

But, of course, languages also can be a logistical nightmare for the DM... Thyatians in Skothar trying to communicate with a Bronze Dragon to avoid combat, inteligent roleplaying but harmed by lack of a common language!!

I tend to give the PCs 4 "useful" languages:

- Thyatian: spoken by most literate people, many merchants, and many Know Wolders and humanoids...
- Alphatian: (the same, if playing in Alphatian areas...)
- Elvish: it is a good "lingua franca" in intercontinental adventures: Elves in HW, in Alphatia, in Brun... they can communicate quite well; also, Fey PCs do speak Elvish, which is also very useful in Glantri. Old evil liches, dragons, intelligent weapons and traps understand Elvish... It is useful even Underwater (many tritons speak Aquatic Elf, an easy to understand dialect).
- Goblin: is a very basic language, with hobgolblin, bugbear, etc... as easy to understand dialects...

I try to give "free" one of this 4 language to each of the characters in the group, or encourage them to take it as a slot: if an Elf, Fey or Dwarf is in the group, according to BECMI, they already have Elvish and Goblin...
"Glantri needs some re-shaping; a million dwarves would help!"
User avatar
Khuzd
Troll
 
Posts: 385
Joined: Tue May 27, 2008 1:18 pm
Location: Mad-dirid (Madrid); used to be Barcelona (Barak-Zelona), Spain

Re: Dealing with language in Mystaran adventures

Postby Mike » Mon Jun 28, 2010 10:10 am

I like your approach Khuzd
User avatar
Mike
Ogre
 
Posts: 212
Joined: Tue May 27, 2008 2:49 pm
Location: The Sylvan Realm (Beaverton, OR)

Re: Dealing with language in Mystaran adventures

Postby Khuzd » Mon Jun 28, 2010 9:34 pm

Mike, I like your "language chart"... but, as Havard, I prefer to simplify it a lot because of practical reasons... Your chart could be very useful (for a simplified view) if "related languages" become "80% understable dialects".

Let's thing about Dungeons: they are full of 2000 year old undeads and messages in walls, scrolls, traps, etc...

If your mummies and liches can not speak any inteligible language, they can not menace your PCs: "be ready for a cold death!" is more interesting than "tuhtepep ankh-luj tejlapt!!!" (yes, reading Nithian is interesting, but playing it is not so!).

Also, at medium-high levels, spy activities, or trade, or Charm spells... they all need a language. If you Charm a dragon but you can not speak to him, it is quite useless... and PCs will tend to use simple brute force and fireballs instead of interesting alliances and diplomacy.

So I think there are some languages that can be "regional linguae francae"... and useful to communicate with centuries old creatures.

- Faery (Fey) is probably the same language all over Mystara, both in HW and OW
- Elvish could be assumed to be mainly the same language for centuries and all over the world, with dialects (80% the same)
- "Nordic" could be the same language from Vestland to Helskir to Alpha in Norwold, and a lingua franca, with many local dialects.
- Draconic and "Abisal" could be "old and international" languages favored by wizards, and so found in Taymoran, Minaean or Nithian ruins... Demons and dragons probably have not changed their languages in centuries... These would be useful languages for "dungeon crawling".

It is good that PCs spend money in taking old documents to a distant scholar that reads Ancient Taymoran... but it is not very interesting if you need to take the weak, old scholar and protect him of sharks and traps in undersea Taymoran ruins, and use him to parlament with undersea triton wraiths.

I tend to reduce the number of languages and make them become dialects, and I tend to give PCs access to these "wide" languages (Thyatian, Alphatian, Elvish, Goblin, Faery, Draconic, Abisal, Nordic...).

But I also enjoy different accents. They are easy ways to add flavour to the game.

If the DM says: "the mercenaries speak Thyatian" and the PCs ask "which accent" and the DM answers "Caurenzian accent most of them, but the ones in gothic armor Kerendan accent"... is much better than "they Speak common tongue". "Mmm... Kerendan Knights... how did they arrive to Glantri?"
"Glantri needs some re-shaping; a million dwarves would help!"
User avatar
Khuzd
Troll
 
Posts: 385
Joined: Tue May 27, 2008 1:18 pm
Location: Mad-dirid (Madrid); used to be Barcelona (Barak-Zelona), Spain

Re: Dealing with language in Mystaran adventures

Postby Havard » Mon Jun 28, 2010 9:45 pm

Here's my take on the languages of Mystara:

Languages of Mystara (PDF)

Some comments:
This is a work in progress. I expect to change things as new information comes to light, in this thread for instance.

I have made use of some 3E Core Rules languages like the elemental tongues amd linked them to the "alignment tongues" of BECMI. I replaced 3E's Infernal and Abyssal with Entropic. In 3E, Draconic is the language of Sorcerers and Magic, but IMC I changed that to Alphatian.

Druidic and Thieves Cant are included as special "Secret" languages.

Havard

Aliases: Håvard Frosta, Havard Blackmoor, Blackmoorian, Dragon Turtle etc
Where to find me on the Web
The Comeback Inn - My Blackmoor Forum
The Blackmoor Blog
My Articles at the Vaults of Pandius
Moderator of the Mystara, Blackmoor and Thunder Rift forums.
My moderator voice is
GREEN.
User avatar
Havard
Dragon Turtle
 
Posts: 17226
Joined: Thu May 22, 2008 7:32 pm
Location: Norway

Re: Dealing with language in Mystaran adventures

Postby Daemon Caledor » Mon Sep 11, 2017 3:17 pm

Thanks for your replies. It is an interesting balance between 'realism' and practicality, I guess.

And that's a useful overview, Havard. Is it your own idea that Thar uses dwarven runes or is it canon somehow?
User avatar
Daemon Caledor
Goblin
 
Posts: 10
Joined: Tue Sep 23, 2008 11:31 am
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark

Re: Dealing with language in Mystaran adventures

Postby Havard » Mon Sep 11, 2017 7:46 pm

Daemon Caledor wrote:Thanks for your replies. It is an interesting balance between 'realism' and practicality, I guess.

And that's a useful overview, Havard. Is it your own idea that Thar uses dwarven runes or is it canon somehow?


I think this was an idea I borrowed from 3E, since Orcs use Dwarven runes in that edition. There could be older precedence for this, but I dont think it is Mystara canon. Glad you found my work useful! :)

-Havard

Aliases: Håvard Frosta, Havard Blackmoor, Blackmoorian, Dragon Turtle etc
Where to find me on the Web
The Comeback Inn - My Blackmoor Forum
The Blackmoor Blog
My Articles at the Vaults of Pandius
Moderator of the Mystara, Blackmoor and Thunder Rift forums.
My moderator voice is
GREEN.
User avatar
Havard
Dragon Turtle
 
Posts: 17226
Joined: Thu May 22, 2008 7:32 pm
Location: Norway

Re: Dealing with language in Mystaran adventures

Postby Patrick » Tue Sep 12, 2017 10:20 am

Havard wrote:Here's my take on the languages of Mystara:

Languages of Mystara (PDF)

Some comments:
This is a work in progress. I expect to change things as new information comes to light, in this thread for instance.

I have made use of some 3E Core Rules languages like the elemental tongues amd linked them to the "alignment tongues" of BECMI. I replaced 3E's Infernal and Abyssal with Entropic. In 3E, Draconic is the language of Sorcerers and Magic, but IMC I changed that to Alphatian.

Druidic and Thieves Cant are included as special "Secret" languages.

Havard


Very cool! A few thoughts...
  • "Heldannic" is used in various sources as the name of the language in the Ostland, Soderfjord, Vestland, and the Heldannic territories. I was thinking that it's primarily written with the Thyatian script, and the runes are rarely used anymore except for magic... but I might well be misremembering that.
  • Is Anglaise used by the Kaelic immigrants, too (the MacGregors and their retainers)? If not, might be another Laterran language to list.
  • I'm pretty sure VotPA discusses language in Graakhalia, and that there's at least one Gnollish tongue. The Black Vessel might also discuss Gnollish language--can't remember for sure.
  • I think there's a distinct Hutaakan language, too.
  • I find this set of information curious: Renardois in Laterran alphabet; Rakastayne in Thyatian alphabet; Yazaka in Rakastayne alphabet. I don't necessarily disagree... just curious how you came up with these assignments. Are you thinking that Rakastayne language and/or alphabet are used in Myoshima?
Patrick
Bugbear
 
Posts: 147
Joined: Fri Jun 04, 2010 4:16 am
Location: Portland, Oregon

Re: Dealing with language in Mystaran adventures

Postby Havard » Tue Sep 12, 2017 3:23 pm

Patrick wrote:Very cool! A few thoughts...


Thanks Patrick! :)

"Heldannic" is used in various sources as the name of the language in the Ostland, Soderfjord, Vestland, and the Heldannic territories. I was thinking that it's primarily written with the Thyatian script, and the runes are rarely used anymore except for magic... but I might well be misremembering that.


Yes. Many canonical sources tend to refer to the language and the people of various Scandinavian inspired cultures as Heldanners/Heldannic. IMC I use Antalian instead to avoid confusion with the Heldannic Knights, but in canon Antalian is reserved for the Hollow World cultures. I like your idea of the Heldannic Knights teaching the locals to use the Thyatian script over the old runes. That makes sense.

Its been a while since I made this list, but I notice that I have not included Hattian as a separate language. I dont know if I decided to just look at Hattian as an Antalian dialect or if it was an omission.


[*]Is Anglaise used by the Kaelic immigrants, too (the MacGregors and their retainers)? If not, might be another Laterran language to list.


The list has Kaelic as a separate language, but I think the MacGregors might speak Anglaise as well? With an accent of course! :)

[*]I'm pretty sure VotPA discusses language in Graakhalia, and that there's at least one Gnollish tongue. The Black Vessel might also discuss Gnollish language--can't remember for sure.


That is a good addition!

[*]I think there's a distinct Hutaakan language, too.


Makes sense. I wonder if it is similar to Gnollish?

[*]I find this set of information curious: Renardois in Laterran alphabet; Rakastayne in Thyatian alphabet; Yazaka in Rakastayne alphabet. I don't necessarily disagree... just curious how you came up with these assignments. Are you thinking that Rakastayne language and/or alphabet are used in Myoshima?


Both Yazakan and Rakastayne use the Rakastayne alphabet (per the Savage Coast PG p 11), so I must have made a mistake there. OTOH, that book assumes Japanese style Belayne and mentions their alphabet containing 3000 ideograms. If you want a more British style Belayne true to the Princess Ark, then maybe Thyatian would be better, but IMO Yazakan should use the same script as the one used by the Rakasta, whichever way you rule. I actually lean more towards the British Rakasta IMC.

-Havard

Aliases: Håvard Frosta, Havard Blackmoor, Blackmoorian, Dragon Turtle etc
Where to find me on the Web
The Comeback Inn - My Blackmoor Forum
The Blackmoor Blog
My Articles at the Vaults of Pandius
Moderator of the Mystara, Blackmoor and Thunder Rift forums.
My moderator voice is
GREEN.
User avatar
Havard
Dragon Turtle
 
Posts: 17226
Joined: Thu May 22, 2008 7:32 pm
Location: Norway


Return to Mystara

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 4 guests