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  1. #1
    Destroyer of Worlds Sletchman's Avatar
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    Default Learning new languages?

    How do characters learn new languages?

    My players are playing as a small mercenary contract, and the adventure is leading them into some new territories. Since most of the group speak the local language plus one other, the bulk of the group ends up unable to speak to people in the new areas they go. As far as I can tell, the only way to fix this is for them all to take Spy as a third class - is this accurate, or did I miss something?

    If there's no other way to learn languages (which strikes me as strange), does anyone have a workable house rule that they've used?

  2. #2
    Destroyer of Worlds Northern Ronin's Avatar
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    I can't even recall if its a standard rule or not, but common languages are occupational skills, 1 Rank provides a new spoken language.

  3. #3
    Member No.: 5 Geist's Avatar
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    Aside from the classes that can spend an ability there isn't a way.

    In in unleashed there is a callout that mentioned people can start to learn languages over time and at first should have a -2 penalty to social interactions when using the language. Also that over time and use the GM could reduce the penalty to -1 and then down to even 0.
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  4. #4
    Destroyer of Worlds Morgan Coalburn's Avatar
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    Our gamemaster has also awarded language abilities as special story rewards (we got the chance to learn Satyxi from a captured Satyxis).
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  5. #5
    Writing Manager PPS_Goetz's Avatar
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    The two common ways of learning a new language are through the Language ability (which represents study and a decent level of fluency) and through exposure as described in the Picking Up Languages callout. I've talked elsewhere on the forums about alternate roleplaying rewards, like giving characters a free Connection. I think that giving characters new languages due to in-game actions is entirely appropriate.

  6. #6
    Conqueror Vorzakk's Avatar
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    I ran into the same problem and it was actually one of the first things that I made a houserule for. I allow languages to be taken as Occupational Skills; treated as General Skills so that pretty much anyone can take them.

    A skill level of 1 makes you're barely passable in conversation; 2 is less broken but you're still illiterate in that language and you have a noticeable accent. At 3 you can gain literacy or lose the accent, and at 4 you get whatever you didn't get at 3.

    If you take a language via the Language ability, it's equivalent to having a skill level of 4 as outlined above.

    That's worked out well for my group so far.

  7. #7
    Destroyer of Worlds Mordekiem's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vorzakk View Post
    I ran into the same problem and it was actually one of the first things that I made a houserule for. I allow languages to be taken as Occupational Skills; treated as General Skills so that pretty much anyone can take them.

    A skill level of 1 makes you're barely passable in conversation; 2 is less broken but you're still illiterate in that language and you have a noticeable accent. At 3 you can gain literacy or lose the accent, and at 4 you get whatever you didn't get at 3.

    If you take a language via the Language ability, it's equivalent to having a skill level of 4 as outlined above.

    That's worked out well for my group so far.
    We did pretty much the same thing.

    lvl 1 - "pidgeon" version of the language. Communicate simple ideas verbally. Great for the marketplace and getting directions.

    lvl 2 - Ability to read and write (if appropriate). Can communicate more difficult ideas, but you definitely have a strong accent. Noone will ever think you are a native.

    lvl 3 - You are fluent in the language and can read and write it as well. With a little work (say disguise) you can probably pass off as a native, though normally some of your accent remains. A language roll will also allow you to hide the accent for a short time (say one scene).

    lvl 4 - You can talk like a native and probably know more than one dialect as well. This was more of a RP thing based on how you learned it, who you learned it from, etc. Basically this was the same as the Language ability.
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  8. #8

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    There is more than just Spy that give you access to the Language ability; Aristocrat, Bounty Hunter (Five Cant only), Cutthroat (Five Cant only), Explorer, Investigator, Pirate, Priest, Soldier, Spy, Thief (Five Cant only), Doom Reaver (Orgoth), and Scrutator all have access to the Language ability in IKRPG. And in Unleashed the Blackclad and Chieftain also give access to the Language ability. Except for the ones that are limited to a specific language can take it multiple times.

    Personally I give all characters one additional language to start in my games. There are so many languages spoken rather close together that it sense to me for well travelled characters to be fluent in more languages. It is much more like Europe than America.

    My group has often given alternate role playing rewards. We have not gotten there in IKRPG yet but in other games if we had a bunch of down time in an area that spoke a different language picking up the language is a common skill picked up as part of the game outside the standard experience advancement route. The Call out in Unleashed gives a good way to do it gradual during play.

    I also like the skill version option that Vorzakk and Mordekeim mentioned and think I'll add that as well.
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  9. #9
    Destroyer of Worlds malachi's Avatar
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    I've got a question for everyone; do you think that the bone grinder fetish that lets you speak a language for 6+ hours would help or hurt with learning that language? (And the same question for the cryptospecter alchemical substance, which gives you a person's memories for a while)
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  10. #10
    Destroyer of Worlds Firecrest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vorzakk View Post
    I ran into the same problem and it was actually one of the first things that I made a houserule for. I allow languages to be taken as Occupational Skills; treated as General Skills so that pretty much anyone can take them.

    A skill level of 1 makes you're barely passable in conversation; 2 is less broken but you're still illiterate in that language and you have a noticeable accent. At 3 you can gain literacy or lose the accent, and at 4 you get whatever you didn't get at 3.

    If you take a language via the Language ability, it's equivalent to having a skill level of 4 as outlined above.

    That's worked out well for my group so far.
    Wouldn't this mean that a starting character is illiterate and hard to understand in their starting two languages (including what would be their native language!) with no hope of becoming even hallfway decent for another 19 levels? It seems to me that a skill level of 2 needs to be fully literate and 3 and 4 need to just go unused. Plus, honestly, forcing players to spend 4 occupational points just to learn a language seems a bit overkill.

    It also doesn't really fall in line with the skill system as used for other occupational skills. Having a skill of 4 in, say, Gunsmithing is something extraordinary. A true master of the craft. That definitely doesn't jive with the mundane nature of picking up another language.
    Last edited by Firecrest; 06-25-2015 at 07:41 AM.
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  11. #11
    Conqueror Vorzakk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firecrest View Post
    Wouldn't this mean that a starting character is illiterate and hard to understand in their starting two languages (including what would be their native language!) with no hope of becoming even hallfway decent for another 19 levels?
    No. The two starting languages are treated the same as languages picked up via the Language ability (complete fluency).


    Quote Originally Posted by Firecrest View Post
    It also doesn't really fall in line with the skill system as used for other occupational skills. Having a skill of 4 in, say, Gunsmithing is something extraordinary. A true master of the craft. That definitely doesn't jive with the mundane nature of picking up another language.
    I personally think that mastering a foreign language to the degree of being indistinguishable from a native speaker is pretty extraordinary, but that's just my opinion. Though re-reading my post, I perhaps didn't make it clear that that was what level 4 entailed.

  12. #12
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    Learning a new language is a big challenge indeed. Learning a language involves learning altogether different words, sentences, grammar, alphabets, and so on. One must be interested in learning a new language for better career opportunities or enhancing personal skills, or anything. There are many resources available now a days to learn any language online. Learning it online is convinent and flexible because you can take classes at anytime you want. You can take classes or language lessons for more.

  13. #13
    Conqueror Ad1's Avatar
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    I've kept languages as abilities so they are tied to particular careers for the most part. But like connections some NPC's might offer to teach a particular ability at the conclusion of a scenario depending on how it turned out and the social relationships (role play) through the scenario.

    When the group made characters some asked me about languages (and other skills) that might be useful. Some of them took particular languages I told them may be useful to have later. I say may because while I have a main plot line for the campaign I've built a sandbox that will allow the characters to go where they want when they want. In my current campaign a current theme is that choices have consequences whether positive or negative. Using it to help build and sustain drama.

    As a GM languages are a tool I have to help keep the characters on track. I do write the main plot-line and adventures after all, and if players decide to go off track, which they are most certainly allowed to do, then it is up to them to sort out the language issue. Hiring an interpreter or using certain connections might help out with this. Of course then comes an issue of trust.

    If a player uses their choices to build a character without access to more languages than their starting ones that is their choice. I don't give non-combat character's free military skill increases or extra +1 or 2 on a dice roll because they made non-combat selections. For me it's all part of keeping some balance, consideration of fairness for some player choices and as a GM it is a vehicle I can use to help direct the character's on a particular path. Hence they can make it as hard or easy for themselves as they wish.

    If your group wanted to house rule just go with whatever works for your group. Allow them to just have them after a period of time in the area where the language is used or as others suggested make them occupational skills with as little or much detail as is necessary for your groups story. Are languages and culture important aspect of your story or just footnotes and of little importance? Once you know the answer to that question the way forward should be fairly obvious.

    I think the main thing is that whatever you choose to do just be consistent.
    Last edited by Ad1; 01-10-2017 at 12:01 AM.

  14. #14
    Eater of Brains Weaselcreature's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PPS_Goetz View Post
    The two common ways of learning a new language are through the Language ability (which represents study and a decent level of fluency) and through exposure as described in the Picking Up Languages callout. I've talked elsewhere on the forums about alternate roleplaying rewards, like giving characters a free Connection. I think that giving characters new languages due to in-game actions is entirely appropriate.
    This is what I do as well. However, to make sure the Ability still has value, if a player learns a language in-game, they'll have a thick accent and won't be able to "pass" if needed, whereas with the Ability, they are much better at it. Similar with Connections; the Ability offers more for the character, whereas in-game earned connections aren't necessarily as robust.
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