Language Barriers

Yogah of Yag

Mongoose
I was very surprised to find out that at least a few RPGers role-play accents. Perhaps I should begin a poll to find out how many do this. Very interesting. At what point does it cease to be RPG and start being LARPing? I dread the inevitable day when one of my players shows up at the table with a sword and a full costume, saying thee, thy, thou, hither and thither m'lady. :roll: :shock:
I think its important to keep RPG mostly "in the head" and narrative as opposed to resorting to constant tactical grids, miniatures, live roll-play, etc. But that's just me...
 

geordiekimbo

Mongoose
In all the games ive played in we never roleplay accents. Our normal modes of speech are used most of the time but we do sometimes use the odd suitable flavour word.
 

urdinaran

Mongoose
Yogah of Yag said:
I was very surprised to find out that at least a few RPGers role-play accents. Perhaps I should begin a poll to find out how many do this. Very interesting. At what point does it cease to be RPG and start being LARPing? I dread the inevitable day when one of my players shows up at the table with a sword and a full costume, saying thee, thy, thou, hither and thither m'lady. :roll: :shock:
I think its important to keep RPG mostly "in the head" and narrative as opposed to resorting to constant tactical grids, miniatures, live roll-play, etc. But that's just me...

That's kinda scary; a gamer in a loincloth, ewwwww.
 

Ichabod

Mongoose
I worked on an Irish accent for a Camelot campaign I was running where I wanted to use Ireland as the land of adventure. I use it for a Vampire campaign I'm in. I think it's better when I talk more to get the consistency, so it was very likely better when I was GMing.

The interesting thing is that my demeanor changes. I'm far more whimsical when trying to use an accent. That works for getting into some characters.
 

Castel

Mongoose
I think that the Language barrier is a very interesting point, specially in conan... in a place where everyone doesn´t like you... saying something wrong might get you killed... i don´t remember if this ever hapenned in REH Conan Stories that i read... it goes like this, you want to say, "i´m sorry"... and you say... "you´re ugly", him thinking of asking my GM to had a roll to the use of a none ratial language.

In our group our GM decided that we wouldn´t gain new languages just from gainning a new level... he wasn´t very confortable of letting a guy in Zingara learn Nordheimer... whitout ever earing such thing... so he decided that for learning how to speak we had to spend at least 2 months in that place... and learning how to writte 4 months...

So i think it´s really an unexplored feild (at least in the Rpg´s that i´ve played, there is always a commom language) that could be further developed...

Do you guys use any kind of House rules Like these?
 

Yogah of Yag

Mongoose
Moderately bright humans can conceivably learn a new language in a few weeks, not months, and very bright ones can learn a new language in hours or days. However, since the Hyborian Age is patterned more after the known ancient past, rather than our own literate age, I don't feel it's appropriate to have more than a tiny percentage of the total population as literate. 2000 or more years ago literacy was not impossible, but extremely unlikely for the majority of the human population. Just because the minority can possibly read/write does not ever mean that the vast number of 'commoners' will ever do so. Most ancient cultures worldwide have had very rich oral traditions and this is in no way a lesser form of culture than a literate one. I place more stock in a PC having a very good ear than any need to read/write.
 

arnon

Mongoose
So i think it´s really an unexplored feild (at least in the Rpg´s that i´ve played, there is always a commom language) that could be further developed...

The Midnight setting has no Common tongue either and everybody start illiterate. As a DM I use it to great advantage.

As for the Conan rule of learning a language every several levels, I agree that one shouldn't be able to learn just any language. Maybe rule that a character may choose to learn one of the languages marked as "Bonus" under the racial description of the place they are in at the moment. (ex: if the party is in Stygia they can learn any of the languages written in the Stygian racial description)

Also, I would say that to learn to write said language, one will have to spend a skill point (at least).

Moderately bright humans can conceivably learn a new language in a few weeks, not months, and very bright ones can learn a new language in hours or days

Only exceptionally smart people can learn a language in a matter of hours or days (days more probably). Normal and relatively bright people may learn a basic (shall i say pidgin) command of a foreign tongue, never truly understanding everything and making lots of mistakes while talking and in comprehension.

For personal experience (having twice moved to places i didn't speak the language of), it takes about 2-4 months to learn to speak a language, not fluently mind you, but to understand most nuances, and maybe most of the jokes as well (understanding jokes in a foreign language usually shows high understanding of said language)... and I was a teenager when I learned those languages, kids learn languages quicker.

arnon
 

Orkin

Mongoose
vince the french said:
there's no real problem about that. all the hyborians langages have the same basis like italian and spanish, may be all the blacks languages too, etc...
why don't use an INT check to understand same basis languages
for example 10DC to say hello and 20DC for a philosophical discusion.
That's quite accurate, actually.
 

Mark Dunder

Mongoose
Can't remember the story, but it was mentioned once when Conan was in Argos, that there was a common language used by the countries along the coast. More of a pidgin language. Looks like I'm ganna hafta read all the Conan series again (sigh).
 

Castel

Mongoose
Well i must agree with you, Hyborian nations are and older version of the old continent nations, and even today portuguese, spanish, italian, french and other languages are relatively close languages... they all come from ancient latin... Some are more close than other (like Spanish and Portuguese)
Hyborian languages are close and to each other... there are thing that are shared but it´s no likely for a Zingarian to understand Corinthian perfectly...
On the Southern tribes... like todays africa, i don´t see everybody speaking languages from the same origin... the tribes are very respectfull of their past and of their tribes... and probably every tribe as its dialect, some share a common past, others don´t...

I´m thinking in adding an d20+int roll in each month to see if the caracther learns how to speak and understand that language if they want... DC (20) -5 each consecutive month... the same thing with learning to writte whith a DC (25).

Very good the idea of language levels...
After you succeded you would roll a d4, the result would be:
1-You speak really bad, but you can ask for food, place to sleep, say hello... simple things... you understand 50% of what is said to you.
2-You speak with a terrible accent and can understand 75% of what is said to you.
3-You speak with a Mild Accent and can understand 100% of what is said but can´t get some minor things like some "word games"
4-You master this language as if you were a native speaker.

Percentage roll may be asked when the games master thinks that the character won´t understand because it´s to advanced or spoken to fast and other situations...

From the way you speak people know were you´re from... they can find out with a wisdon check, if your roll with the d4 was:
1-People know you´re not native with a DC (5), they know were you´re from DC(10)
2-People know you´re not native with a DC (10), they know were you´re from DC(15)
3-People know you´re not native with a DC (15), they know were you´re from DC(20)
4-People Know you´re not native With a DC (25) and can´t guess were you´re from...

Several mods (positive or negative) can be arranged acoording to the situation.

Feel free to use it in your campains... and it can give birth to new situations in wich inteligence and wisdom is very helpfull...

"We are searching for the Zamorian thief... he is not here says some one with terrible Zamorian accent"

(Sorry about my errors in english... but it´s not my native launguage and i only rolled a 2... lol)
 

urdinaran

Mongoose
Yogah of Yag said:
Moderately bright humans can conceivably learn a new language in a few weeks, not months, and very bright ones can learn a new language in hours or days.

Think your waaaaaay off on this one. What do you consider learning a language? If you mean memorizing maybe 100 vocabulary words, sure. my opinion would be knowing enough of a language to hold a conversation at the high school vocabulary level. No one can learn that much "in a few hours".

As for the intelligence level of a person, how smart a person is does not correlate directly to their ability to learn languages. I was a linguist in the U.S. Army, and the test (DLAB) is multiple choice using a ficticious language. During my 9+ years in the M.I. community I met some really bright people that had trouble learning languages, and some average people that could master several languages.
 

Yogah of Yag

Mongoose
urdinaran said:
Yogah of Yag said:
Moderately bright humans can conceivably learn a new language in a few weeks, not months, and very bright ones can learn a new language in hours or days.

Think your waaaaaay off on this one. What do you consider learning a language? If you mean memorizing maybe 100 vocabulary words, sure. my opinion would be knowing enough of a language to hold a conversation at the high school vocabulary level. No one can learn that much "in a few hours".

As for the intelligence level of a person, how smart a person is does not correlate directly to their ability to learn languages. I was a linguist in the U.S. Army, and the test (DLAB) is multiple choice using a ficticious language. During my 9+ years in the M.I. community I met some really bright people that had trouble learning languages, and some average people that could master several languages.

I am currently a professional Linguist. I have met a few people in years past who COULD learn a language in a matter of hours. I assure you it was EXTREMELY intimidating, being around languages my entire life. I pride myself in the (albeit rather mundane) ability to learn a language in a few weeks. Some can, in fact, do this in an unbelievable amount of time.
My poor ego has taken quite a beating in the past because of this. :shock: :( I'm sure the corridors of the DLI are full of such remarkable people.
 

geordiekimbo

Mongoose
Moderately bright humans can conceivably learn a new language in a few weeks, not months, and very bright ones can learn a new language in hours or days.

I consider myself to be moderately bright and I'm useless at languages. You say thay you can learn a language in the same time yet you are a professional linguist. I would say in game terms you have a FEAT that allows to you to gain languages easier than moderately gifted humans without the same ability.
 

urdinaran

Mongoose
Well, then you are a rare exception. I commend you.

At DLI (Defense Language Institute, Monterey CA) Spanish is a 6 month course for people who are some of the most intelligent in their military branches. Mind you, that's 6 hours a day, 5 days a week, of one of the easier languages to learn.

Again, to say that moderately intelligent individuals can learn a language in a few weeks is incorrect. There are quite a few of these kind of people on our planet, and it would probably take them a bit longer than you think.

I consider myself one of these individuals and I took an 8 week crash-course Brazilian Portuguese while in the Army (scored a 3/3). That was about 7 years ago, and I barely remember any of it.
 
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