Author Topic: Ravenloft Languages  (Read 39482 times)

Budly

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Re: Ravenloft Languages
« Reply #75 on: August 08, 2013, 05:02:17 AM »
Hmm I see.

I always although played that common was more or less simply English.

Cause if we gonna be picky here. Why would Commong (trade tongue?) Be the same in Krynn, Faerun and other DnD settings? Logically speaking they should not be the same language.
I've already answered this before, but there's enough canonical crossovers between the settings from Planescape and Spelljammer that a common trade tongue could exist, and having "Common" be the same between worlds is a legitimate option in the Ravenloft Dungeon Master's Guide.

Sounds like a poor excuse to make it ease of use for DM's and players in PnP :P Bit sad! But okay, I get it.

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Re: Ravenloft Languages
« Reply #76 on: August 08, 2013, 10:18:54 AM »
I'm quite sure I'm not iterating anything that hasn't been discussed at length here before, but I'll chime in on my view of languages.

In Dungeons and Dragons, language is a skill.  It is something you invest points in and acquire proficiency just as you would opening locks or concentrating.

The limitations of the NWN engine with respect to coding and leveling make this a very difficult thing to truly implement, and as always, we as players struggle to divide these limited points across a range of skills that will allow the character to be proficient enough to function a role within the game.  This is balanced against the character background, character development and exposure to language over time as a means of becoming proficient in a given tongue.  This does not cleanly stack against the mechanics of the game, given that a person could for example be somewhat bright and spend a lot of time around elves, but never quite go adventuring, yet becomes fully familiar with the language quite validly.  Extend the hypothesis across a range of situations, and the logic of the dilemma is clear.

Language, at base, is about communicating concepts that relate to one another and mean something in context of other words and symbols in a collective genre.  It is easy to observe the crossover, slang, prefix, suffix and context of romance languages (French, Spanish, Latin, etc.) in relation to one another, because they are very similar in structure and vary only in diction and grammar--they are based on roman letters, and are far easier to relate than say, Chinese radicals or Japanese calligraphy--which again have many crossovers and dialects that are more or less recognizable within geographic regions.  The ability to connect the pieces of these puzzles is limited by the scope of a person's intelligence and exposure, and desire to learn.  Romance languages are very harshly literal in how they connect, but Asian "letters" more or less paint a picture of a scene, concept or idea that relates as the character becomes more complex and sophisticated, and this meaning changes rapidly in relation to other "word-pictures" in succession, like an idea unfolding instead of a line projecting directly forward.  That is why they are difficult to learn.

This is all important to take into consideration when deciding exactly how much knowledge of language your character possesses upon entry to Ravenloft, and even more so as he or she grows in exposure to other languages (such as Balok) that he or she may encounter.  The more similar the character's native culture, and the greater his or her intelligence, the smoother this transition shall be.

The best idea I can come up with to bridge this dilemma is to assign yourself a native language, and full proficiency in another per point of intelligence bonus, a broken proficiency for an odd score (i.e., 16 int means your native tongue, full proficiency in three others, 17 int would be another broken proficiency in addition).  If your intelligence grows, you should be able to add additional proficiencies.  Moreover, the character should be becoming proficient in languages that he or she is exposed to and intelligent enough to grasp the context of the conversation, save all mitigating circumstances.

I'd like to hear opinions about this idea, it's how I've been operating thus far, and I'd like a little clarification on the subject before I sit down and write my character's bio.  Perhaps I missed something.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2013, 10:21:56 AM by Gaul »

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Re: Ravenloft Languages
« Reply #77 on: August 08, 2013, 11:34:29 AM »
Hmm I see.

I always although played that common was more or less simply English.

Cause if we gonna be picky here. Why would Commong (trade tongue?) Be the same in Krynn, Faerun and other DnD settings? Logically speaking they should not be the same language.
I've already answered this before, but there's enough canonical crossovers between the settings from Planescape and Spelljammer that a common trade tongue could exist, and having "Common" be the same between worlds is a legitimate option in the Ravenloft Dungeon Master's Guide.

Sounds like a poor excuse to make it ease of use for DM's and players in PnP :P Bit sad! But okay, I get it.
Not everything needs to be complicated and realistic, Budly :roll:

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Re: Ravenloft Languages
« Reply #78 on: August 08, 2013, 11:39:26 AM »
I'm quite sure I'm not iterating anything that hasn't been discussed at length here before, but I'll chime in on my view of languages.

In Dungeons and Dragons, language is a skill.  It is something you invest points in and acquire proficiency just as you would opening locks or concentrating.

The limitations of the NWN engine with respect to coding and leveling make this a very difficult thing to truly implement, and as always, we as players struggle to divide these limited points across a range of skills that will allow the character to be proficient enough to function a role within the game.  This is balanced against the character background, character development and exposure to language over time as a means of becoming proficient in a given tongue.  This does not cleanly stack against the mechanics of the game, given that a person could for example be somewhat bright and spend a lot of time around elves, but never quite go adventuring, yet becomes fully familiar with the language quite validly.  Extend the hypothesis across a range of situations, and the logic of the dilemma is clear.

Language, at base, is about communicating concepts that relate to one another and mean something in context of other words and symbols in a collective genre.  It is easy to observe the crossover, slang, prefix, suffix and context of romance languages (French, Spanish, Latin, etc.) in relation to one another, because they are very similar in structure and vary only in diction and grammar--they are based on roman letters, and are far easier to relate than say, Chinese radicals or Japanese calligraphy--which again have many crossovers and dialects that are more or less recognizable within geographic regions.  The ability to connect the pieces of these puzzles is limited by the scope of a person's intelligence and exposure, and desire to learn.  Romance languages are very harshly literal in how they connect, but Asian "letters" more or less paint a picture of a scene, concept or idea that relates as the character becomes more complex and sophisticated, and this meaning changes rapidly in relation to other "word-pictures" in succession, like an idea unfolding instead of a line projecting directly forward.  That is why they are difficult to learn.

This is all important to take into consideration when deciding exactly how much knowledge of language your character possesses upon entry to Ravenloft, and even more so as he or she grows in exposure to other languages (such as Balok) that he or she may encounter.  The more similar the character's native culture, and the greater his or her intelligence, the smoother this transition shall be.

The best idea I can come up with to bridge this dilemma is to assign yourself a native language, and full proficiency in another per point of intelligence bonus, a broken proficiency for an odd score (i.e., 16 int means your native tongue, full proficiency in three others, 17 int would be another broken proficiency in addition).  If your intelligence grows, you should be able to add additional proficiencies.  Moreover, the character should be becoming proficient in languages that he or she is exposed to and intelligent enough to grasp the context of the conversation, save all mitigating circumstances.

I'd like to hear opinions about this idea, it's how I've been operating thus far, and I'd like a little clarification on the subject before I sit down and write my character's bio.  Perhaps I missed something.
It's actually not hard at all to implement a language system in NWN, but our scripters do not wish to implement such a system because they feel it would lead to more clique-like behavior than already exists. Personally I feel it would not change the level of that sort of behavior and would reduce metagaming, but I'm in the minority. Anyway, the existing D&D rules regarding language are much easier than what you're describing and are adequate for us and can be followed even if we do not have a mechanical system in place to prevent you from understanding languages your PC doesn't know.

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Gaul

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Re: Ravenloft Languages
« Reply #79 on: August 08, 2013, 02:10:21 PM »
Actually, I'm in agreement with you.  Anything to curb metagaming through mechanical measures is a worthy investment in my opinion, so I'll join the minority.

The real difficulty in stacking mechanic against circumstance that I'm discussing is how much of the "pieces" of language a character would recognize, growing over time with respect to intelligence.

If you're familiar with Final Fantasy 10, think of it like finding the Al Bhed translation journals.  You slowly begin to get an idea of what's going on, but it's a process.

And yes, the process of language here is very much a matter of clique.  I have not seen it used for any other reason than to talk over people's heads yet.  Why not give it the mystery it's owed?  I'm not sure what resources the server is running on, or how much space is available to make those changes.  Of course, it's just a matter of altering strings of text, which isn't hard.  I have seen it implemented very well on other servers, and I thought it was very nifty.

It would also really serve to limit people just "assuming" they know everything about language as it is expressed (like me)  :P

queenofspades

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Re: Ravenloft Languages
« Reply #80 on: August 08, 2013, 08:59:26 PM »
Here's a notion. Since some languages are based off rules counterparts would a French person for example have an easier time learning this language more than say a chondathan or balk native speaker? Also I do not think that it would be as hard for a smart gothic earth character to learn the trade tongue as I believe that asking as they don't speak a language that does not use thorass they would be working from the same lettering. That being thorass, like most languages, save ose written in dethek etc...
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Re: Ravenloft Languages
« Reply #81 on: August 09, 2013, 02:16:33 PM »
I don't think it would a good idea to complicate the language learning rules beyond the standard D&D rules. Having to keep track of which langauge is easier to learn than others depending on the languages you already know would just make things needlessly complex.

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Re: Ravenloft Languages
« Reply #82 on: August 09, 2013, 03:31:16 PM »
I think, personally, people are considerate enough to moderate their own characters ability to learn other languages.

Maybe I'm just an optimist, though.
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Re: Ravenloft Languages
« Reply #83 on: August 09, 2013, 03:42:48 PM »
Wow. Could you imagine the manpower that would be required to police something like that. And not only that, the giant linguistic nerd arguments about what languages are related to what. DM burnout would increase tenfold.

This is a gothic horror dungeons and dragons experience, not a real life simulator you guys.

Gaul

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Re: Ravenloft Languages
« Reply #84 on: August 09, 2013, 03:53:03 PM »
Wow. Could you imagine the manpower that would be required to police something like that. And not only that, the giant linguistic nerd arguments about what languages are related to what. DM burnout would increase tenfold.

This is a gothic horror dungeons and dragons experience, not a real life simulator you guys.

The point of having a language scrambler is to -spare- having DM"s and players having to moderate and gauge the information they acquire as they roleplay.

The main ingredient of fun roleplaying is suspense.  When you know exactly what's going on, as it's going on, it's just a routine of killing things and showing off.

queenofspades

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Re: Ravenloft Languages
« Reply #85 on: August 09, 2013, 08:48:19 PM »
I wasn't suggesting any kind of systems, but what I was saying is, that having say a gothic earth frenchman arrive, if he spent enough time in Demylooooooo it would be within reason that he could learn the language in a shorter time. Especially if he found a tutor, and like I said, I imagine common wouldn't be amasingly hard for any thorass-using gothic earth resident. its not like me, an English Speaking Australian, Trying to learn Cyrillic.
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Re: Ravenloft Languages
« Reply #86 on: August 10, 2013, 02:48:33 AM »
I wasn't suggesting any kind of systems, but what I was saying is, that having say a gothic earth frenchman arrive, if he spent enough time in Demylooooooo it would be within reason that he could learn the language in a shorter time. Especially if he found a tutor, and like I said, I imagine common wouldn't be amasingly hard for any thorass-using gothic earth resident. its not like me, an English Speaking Australian, Trying to learn Cyrillic.
Yes, but in D&D it isn't any easier or more difficult to learn one language over another, you just spend a skill slot to learn it and that's it. Gothic Earth characters, being that they are cut off from the other D&D worlds, do not have Common and must simply spend a language skill slot to learn it.

Since we don't have a mechanical system in place, the ruling was this:

The important part is to avoid cheesing.

I believe the principle for languages is:

 :arrow: Starting languages = Common + one racial language + bonus languages (additional number of languages is equal to your starting Intelligence modifier. Make this one believable as it is rare for a level 2 to know Abyssal/Draconic/more obscure languages)
 :arrow: Capacity for learning additional languages = Intelligence modifier - already learned bonus languages

One should roleplay learning a language land make the process believable.
Ravenloft characters get their domain's primary language(s) for free as well.

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Re: Ravenloft Languages
« Reply #87 on: September 03, 2013, 01:31:53 PM »
I'm curious if there's any analogy to the Sanguinian language? Or if it's at least inspired by anything? Or is it completely unknown?
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Re: Ravenloft Languages
« Reply #88 on: September 03, 2013, 06:03:50 PM »
Russian. Same for their neighbor Vorostokov.

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Re: Ravenloft Languages
« Reply #89 on: September 03, 2013, 06:51:21 PM »
I'm curious if there's any analogy to the Sanguinian language? Or if it's at least inspired by anything? Or is it completely unknown?
It never got that much detail as far as analogous languages go. It's vaguely eastern European, which really doesn't help much. The name of the domain is based on the Latin word for blood, and the darklord's name is Slavic.

As for inspiration, the darklord is based on both Prince Prospero from Edgar Allen Poe's "The Masque of the Red Death" and Count Orlock from the 1922 silent film Nosferatu.

Russian. Same for their neighbor Vorostokov.
Nope.

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Geiger

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Re: Ravenloft Languages
« Reply #90 on: September 03, 2013, 09:59:44 PM »
I'm curious if there's any analogy to the Sanguinian language? Or if it's at least inspired by anything? Or is it completely unknown?
It never got that much detail as far as analogous languages go. It's vaguely eastern European, which really doesn't help much. The name of the domain is based on the Latin word for blood, and the darklord's name is Slavic.

As for inspiration, the darklord is based on both Prince Prospero from Edgar Allen Poe's "The Masque of the Red Death" and Count Orlock from the 1922 silent film Nosferatu.

Russian. Same for their neighbor Vorostokov.
Nope.

Yeah, you're right, I looked over the Campaign Setting 3rd edition and all the toponyms, and even Ladislav's surname are Romanian in origin. So if anything its another Generic Balkan/Slavic language.

Mount Radu, Lake Argus, Castle Guirgiu, Kosova, Tirgo, Fagarus. All Romanian type place-names.

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Re: Ravenloft Languages
« Reply #91 on: September 04, 2013, 09:53:16 AM »
Aha, I see.

Thank you for the answers.
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Re: Ravenloft Languages
« Reply #92 on: March 16, 2014, 07:32:30 PM »
For those interested in playing Lamordians and using a few real Plautdietsch words here and there, there is an interesting Plautdietsch Lexicon (Low German Dictionary) available at http://plautdietsch.22web.org/index-english/index.htm
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Re: Ravenloft Languages
« Reply #93 on: February 18, 2015, 02:04:36 PM »
does mordent use Middle english? as it is listed as Mordentish, and said they switch it up in their dialect?