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LoopyZebra
2007-03-27, 04:58 PM
So, I was doing some more work on my homebrew, and realized that the language I posted as "Common" (Lurian) is spoken in a far larger area than would be logical. Major trading language or no, there's atleast half of the world that has no good reason to be speaking it on a regular basis. I was considering simply limiting it to the areas it would be logical to have it, instead of it being an "overlanguage", and simply ruling that all PC's speak it, for simplicity's sake.

This brings me to my question(s): How do the fellow posters feel about the language "Common" in general? How do you implement it in your games?

Khantalas
2007-03-27, 05:05 PM
I use Common in my homebrew setting, but it's portrayed as too limited to use to have real conversations. There are several regions in the world, each has its own language that can convey more depth. These regions, while suitably large that spending skill points to learn the language isn't a waste, are only a part of the world, so it's likely that two given adventurers in the same party cannot even discuss religion.

I also play Mutants and Masterminds, so there's no Common: you wanna speak with French people, spend skill points to learn French.

martyboy74
2007-03-27, 05:09 PM
I use Common in my homebrew setting, but it's portrayed as too limited to use to have real conversations. There are several regions in the world, each has its own language that can convey more depth. These regions, while suitably large that spending skill points to learn the language isn't a waste, are only a part of the world, so it's likely that two given adventurers in the same party cannot even discuss religion.

I also play Mutants and Masterminds, so there's no Common: you wanna speak with French people, spend skill points to learn French.
Unfortunately, in D&D all dead speak the same language. If they really wanted to talk to everyone, they commision a unlimited use item of Speak With Dead, and kill everyone who doesn't speak their language. At some point, they probably wouldn't even need to use it, what with evolution and all.

Yay! Communication!

Khantalas
2007-03-27, 05:10 PM
Oh, I also made Speak with Dead language dependent.

I considered making Speak with Animals language dependent, too, but decided it was a huge stretch.

Clementx
2007-03-27, 05:10 PM
Daily language hassles = realistic != fun.

Common simplifies things. Occasionally it is an interesting challenge to have to break out a spell or drag a translator around. Making it a constant issue makes it boring. And no one says they speak it all the time. Elves know it, but they wouldn't use it when they could use Elven. Only humans would use it by default. And few people probably speak it well (if it can even be spoken well). Take English for example- language of the dirt-poor and uneducated on a dreary little syphilitic island. No one considered it of any use or merit until 15th century poets started to compose it it and showed it could be as beautiful as French. It took another 300 years before it became the scientific default.

If you want to downplay the universal translator feeling, make Common like 14th century English- an unsophisticated pidgin to get some things done, but there are better, more useful languages out there. All your technical texts are in Gnomish, all your magical ones in Draconic, all your architectural ones in Dwarven, etc. Would you ever hear the Queen of England speaking Ebonics? So your High King of the Elves understands enough of Common, but would never choose to express himself in it (and would probably not pronounce it properly or have poor structure- of course, to him, it is Common that is all messed up).

martyboy74
2007-03-27, 05:14 PM
Oh, I also made Speak with Dead language dependent.

I considered making Speak with Animals language dependent, too, but decided it was a huge stretch.
So they carry around rings of Speak With Animals and a Guinea Pig?

Nerd-o-rama
2007-03-27, 05:17 PM
I DM in Eberron. Everyone in Khorvaire knows Common, because it was the Galifar Empire's official language. Everyone in Sarlona knows Riedran Common, because it's the Riedran Empire's official language. Xen'drik and Argonessen lack common languages, so Drow always speak Drow, Giants always speak Giant, Dragons speak Draconic, Seren Barbarians speak a sort of pidgin Draconic, etc.

I_Got_This_Name
2007-03-27, 05:30 PM
In world-building, I generally make substitute in a national language of where-ever the PCs are adventuring for Common, or make Common a parallel for Latin in medieval Europe; the educated and travellers speak it, but the peasants speak something else. A third possibility is making there be a current dominant empire, and their language becomes Common.

Yet another is to give one area a disproportionate number of high-level mages (either at the moment or in the past), and Common is their language; it's a trade language because those mages have already been everywhere. The way I have this set up, though, was that the mages mostly came from one place, but were forced to flee to another, and settled much more densely than they were back home; they reached a critical mass of mages and started pulling more in from all over the world; Common is a pidgin used by those mages when out of Tongues spells, and by their non-magical assistants.

With established worlds, though, I use their languages.

Turcano
2007-03-27, 05:31 PM
It really depends on the geographic, political, and economic makeup of the given campaign setting. If your campaigns take place on a supercontinent that is highly connected by trade that is relatively unimpeded by political or other boundaries, you can justify having a single trade language. On the other hand, a more fragmented world population would have more regional trade languages, but you'd have to have really insular societies to have no such language available. If you want, you could divide your world into, say, three regions, give each of them a different "Common," and call it a day.

Orzel
2007-03-27, 05:38 PM
I always viewed Common as the Adventurer's Language. It exists to aid different races in allied combat and actions. Only military, trading, and adventure based areas speak Comon commonly. This doesn't affect PCs much but outside off the smash, buy, and sneak areas it has little use since it spoken poorly by everyone..

Tallis
2007-03-27, 05:40 PM
In my world common is a trade language used on 2 continents which are relatively close to each other. Most peasants and lower class people do not speak it, using regional languages instead. People on other continents are also unlikely to speak it as they are farther away and don't have much contact with the 2 main continents.

adanedhel9
2007-03-27, 05:50 PM
Daily language hassles = realistic != fun.

QFT.

The very first game I ever DM'ed, I said flat out that there was no Common. Then, once the game started, I realized that none of the three 1st-level characters could speak to each other. I ended up just hand-waving the language issue away almost entirely.

I'm still enamored with the idea of removing Common from my games, but I have yet to find a way to make it feasible to do so. Probably the best way that I've come up with would be to 'zoom' the campaign in, so that events are happening on a very local scale. However, I'm very much of a 'tour guide' DM: I want my players to see my campaign world, not spend their whole adventuring lives in one little corner.

Dhavaer
2007-03-27, 05:51 PM
I'd use it in D&D because it simplifies things. In Urban Arcana, however, the Gift of Lethe replaces Common with the major language spoken in the area.

Krellen
2007-03-27, 05:52 PM
Actually, since D&D society is more like modern society than medieval society - magic takes the place of technology, and things like transportation and communication are (or at least can be) close to instantaneous, as they are in the modern world - Common has never seemed much out of place to me. It serves the same role in most D&D worlds as English does in ours. Sure, not everyone speaks it - but a large enough portion do that you can generally get by with it.

Of course, if your campaign world has significantly less magic than "standard" D&D, the comparison is no longer so valid.

JadedDM
2007-03-27, 06:01 PM
In my world, I got rid of Common. Instead, each nation has its own language that is primarily spoken. So, in essence, I didn't get rid of Common so much as break it up into five pieces. This was a nice little half-way point, I felt, between having people on different continents and little contact with each other speaking the same language and peppering the land with 100s of regional dialects.

Orzel
2007-03-27, 06:05 PM
I remember 1 DM made ranks for lanquages to determeine fluency. You could know none of a language, a couple of words (1), a little(2), be fluent (3), or have a large vocabulary in the langauge (4). He made each PC be at least at rank 1 for Common which was enough to comunicate in battle and at trading towns but you sound like a new immigrant.

Rank 1 Common speakers call wizards "sparky hands". "Arrow the sparky hands nao.". We had to make Miscommunication checks all the time.

ocato
2007-03-27, 06:27 PM
Well, if you're pretty keen on making your world a deep, real place, you could/should plot larger areas that are cultural zones that are somewhat different than political boundries. Think of Europe as an example. Sure, most of the German speaking people live in Germany, but some of the outlaying areas, Belgium, the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia (not anymore, most of the germans and german culture/language were forced out in 1946, but that's neither here nor there) and so forth exist outside the political boundries of the country. If you step into France, people will speak at least some German, I'm sure. Now, I am all for a trade language, much like the phoenician language koine back in the greeks and geeks period, but it should probably be limited to trade cities and major capitals. Johnny Peasant and his family of dirt farmers won't speak your trade languages, but they might speak some dwarvish if the dwarven kingdom is only four or five clicks up the road. Since humans are so diverse in relation to elves, dwarves, etc, I tend to make up common variants. So the people of the kingdom of Dude speak Common (Dudish) and the people of the kingdom of Guy speak Common (Guyanese). If Dude and Guy are next door neighbors, the people on the border with Dude can probably speak at least some Dudish as well as Guyanese at no major penalty. They'd use up their skill points or bonus languages, however, if they took the time to learn Brohemian, when Bro is on the other side of the continent.

TheThan
2007-03-27, 07:46 PM
Iíve always imagined common to basically be American English. No wait here me out. America is a melting pot of a society. It has influences in virtually every major language, and bits and pieces of different languages still filter into it and become part of the language. With that being said I imagine common to be like this. It probably started with whatever humans are supposed to speak and began integrating words from elvish, dwarvish, gnomeish, orcish, halfingish (?) and so on. So after centuries of usage and exposure to other cultures, itís no longer a ďpureĒ language itís a mish mash of different languages smashed together.

Iím using this method in my homebrewed campaign setting. Iím thinking of making my homebrewed gods speak ďold commonĒ or some such, just to help emphasize this growing, changing language.

Sardia
2007-03-27, 08:58 PM
There's always the possibility Common is simply a primordial "Adamic language" which all creatures who have it as an option speak by default as part of the very nature of how their brains develop. Take a human kid, raise him in a box, and after twenty years he comes out speaking fluent common. Same with the elves or dwarves-- even with no input, poof, common and elven or common and dwarven.

ajkkjjk52
2007-03-27, 09:15 PM
There's always the possibility Common is simply a primordial "Adamic language" which all creatures who have it as an option speak by default as part of the very nature of how their brains develop. Take a human kid, raise him in a box, and after twenty years he comes out speaking fluent common. Same with the elves or dwarves-- even with no input, poof, common and elven or common and dwarven.

I feel a great disturbance in the force, as though thousands of cognative psychologists and linguists cried out in unison and were suddenly silenced.

But hey,with magic and gods all that, whatever.

Assassinfox
2007-03-27, 09:22 PM
There's always the possibility Common is simply a primordial "Adamic language" which all creatures who have it as an option speak by default as part of the very nature of how their brains develop. Take a human kid, raise him in a box, and after twenty years he comes out speaking fluent common. Same with the elves or dwarves-- even with no input, poof, common and elven or common and dwarven.

Don't forget the old 1E alignment languages! :smalltongue:

Matthew
2007-03-27, 09:45 PM
I don't use Common in my Homebrew. I do use Common in 3.x prefabricated games. Both work, but I generally prefer the former for lengthy and detailed campaign games.

Winterking
2007-03-27, 10:20 PM
In my homebrew, Common is only widespread on one continent, and is basically an evolution/devolution (depending who you ask) from the ancient/traditional language of a Rome-like human Empire. This empire once covered most of the continent, but inevitably fell. So, the continent's languages are somewhat like this:
Nations A, B, C, and D: remnants of the Empire; Common is actually the common tongue, because it is an evolution of the original Imperial language.--Nations A is the Empire's direct successor, and the elites (scholars/nobles/priests/rich) also use a dialect of the original, parent language.
Nation E: outside of the Empire, yet a close neighbor which adopted most of the Empire's customs, including language. Particularly in the cities and medium-to-large towns, a great many people speak Common.
Nation F: Further outside the former Empire, yet founded/populated by refugees from that Empire's collapse. Further, a large portion of society is mercantile, traveling/trading with the above. Common is spoken near-universally in towns and cities, and in many smaller communities as well.
Nations G, H, I: Their language, though it owes much to the pre-Common parent language, is quite different (very like the relationship of French and Latin). In cities, many people speak Common. Elsewhere, it is primarily merchants and specialists; the rest speak their native language.
Other parts of the world: you might find some people who speak Common, particularly those who are merchants or have dealings with merchants--its use as a trading language is akin to that of English today.


Generally, I think the idea of a "Common" language is fairly silly, unless there's a historical reason for it (what I've tried to do in my world); however, if a group of PCs is going to be traveling around the world a lot, having a widespread language keeps the game from being dragged down by language difficulties--it hardly seems fair for only one or two PCs to ever have a chance at communicating with the locals.

JadedDM
2007-03-27, 10:24 PM
The concept of Common is stretched even further in Planescape and Spelljammer. Imagine two humans from different worlds who could communicate with each other. Wonky. Or how a Qualinesti, Valley Elf, and Moon Elf could all talk to each other without difficulty because they all 'speak Elvish.'

LoopyZebra
2007-03-27, 10:32 PM
Heh. When you said Valley Elf, I thought of Clueless.

"Well, like, you know that Bag of Holding is so five minutes ago."

Well, in case you all are wondering, I decided to go with what I had originally planned. I now have 5 or so 'major' languages, but I'm going to rule that the party has to all share atleast one language, most likely the one dominant in whatever land I set the game in. The earlier "Common" happens to dominate the areas where I tend to run my games, so it works out in the end.

Sardia
2007-03-27, 10:42 PM
Don't forget the old 1E alignment languages! :smalltongue:

I think all memory of that was immediately and mystically wiped from my mind when I switched to 2nd edition.

Eikre
2007-03-27, 10:50 PM
I think we've taken the idea of Classical languages and underlined plenty enough, 'ere. Personally, I have 3 main ones stretched across the known world in my setting that everyone who plans to spend time abroad speaks, within their respective regions. There are also floating languages, deep-root language, the Glossolalia, and slangs, of course, but it's not like the PCs are walking through the entire known world.

However, I also like to use Illumians. They're rare, but they're around, and anyone that knows about Illumians know that their language is part of their essence. If you can speak Illumian- which is difficult to do, unless you happen to actually have the sigils floating around your head- you can basically get anywhere in the world you want to, by finding a local cabal.

TheThan
2007-03-27, 10:58 PM
Heh. When you said Valley Elf, I thought of Clueless.

"Well, like, you know that Bag of Holding is so five minutes ago."



I would like totally play one of those. Like totally!

*Pops bubble gum.*

Jayabalard
2007-03-27, 11:05 PM
If you're going to have common be that widespread, make it a limited use trading language. A trade pidgin, enough to buy and sell with, maybe even order food with, but not to hold a conversation or discuss anything meaningful in. it doesn't matter how skillful you are with languages, there just aren't enough words to have those sort of conversations in it.

Hard to implement in D&D because pretty much you either know a language at full fluency or you don't know it at all.

Then give a few common languages in smaller geographic areas; some areas might have multiple, especially on the border.

Edo
2007-03-27, 11:07 PM
"Common" does not exist. It never did exist, and it never will. I can suspend my disbelief in magic; I can suspend my open questions regarding the economy; I can even suspend my disbelief in the worship of gods without religions.

But I can't suspend my disbelief in politically-neutral languages that are spoken everywhere. The anthropologist in me doesn't buy it.

Now politically-privileged languages that are spoken everywhere, that's another story entirely.

Lord Tataraus
2007-03-28, 09:09 AM
In my campaign we don't have a "common". The adventuring world is a whole bunch of island groups which have a lot of trade. So there is a "sailing" language that is crude, but you can still converse in it. However, only those on ships frequently or those on the docks speak it, so the players have set up a number of them to specialize in different languages to act as translaters in various locations, but speak the sailing language when talking to each other since they all know it.

headwarpage
2007-03-28, 09:40 AM
Yeah, Common makes no sense at all. But unless you have a very unique group, roleplaying a language barrier isn't much fun. Every time I've been in a game where language was an issue at all, it got handwaved away pretty quickly.

Along the same lines, how is it that everybody uses the same currency? What's that? You say it's been instituted to facilitate trade? Ok, but that doesn't explain why every civilization since the dawn of time has used it, as evidenced by the fact that I'm always finding coins in ancient ruins that I can spend freely today.

So yeah, realism doesn't always equal fun.

DrummingDM
2007-03-28, 09:46 AM
In my homebrew setting, Common is a relative thing. By relative, I mean that on my PCs native continent, Common is the Human tongue, as it developed on that continent. Since humans dominate the landscape, making up 70-80% of the total humanoid population, that makes sense to me.

On another continent, my PCs version of "Common" would be a completely foreign language.

I like the simplicity of it, as the only elf in my party (who is not of the PCs homeland) speaks Human, what he considers to be a novelty language, but heavily accented with Elven. I think of it like this: Common = English. Elven = French. The elf speaks in Common and it sounds heavily accented, and vice-versa.

It works for me.

The_Werebear
2007-03-28, 09:55 AM
In my current campaign, there is a common tongue for all the human regions. While there are regional dialects to reflect the differering culture, trade and mobility are common enough, and all the different places are close enough so that they can have the same language spoken. While accents differ (American Southern to Cockney to Austrailian to Scottish) depending on where you go, people can make themselves understood easily, simply because it is more convenient.

However, and there is always a however, I did not include those as an option for elves and dwarves. Elves are invading from another landmass across the ocean. Neither humans nor elves have had time to pick up more than a smattering, and most of that is battlecries and swearing. Anyone who wants to understand what an elf is saying must make a listen check to see if they got it all (elven is a language of whispers and musical notes), and then an intelligence check to sort out the gist of it. It is the same way to common for the elves, who have a hard time sorting out the loud, a-rythmic grunting that is common.

Dwarves in contact with humans are mostly sellaxes, who may speak a bit of common, or traders who may speak a bit more. They, however, are isolationist enough so that not many will know much either way. And when they do speak it, it sounds like they are trying to chew a mouthfull of gravel. I haven't even decided if it would be possible for a dwarf to speak elven at all.

Despite all the language barriers, there are still some things that tie all of them together. The languages of the outer and inner plaines are the same to everyone, as is draconic. However, all those are scholarly in nature, and most normal people on both sides won't know either.

Squatting_Monk
2007-03-28, 09:59 AM
I also got rid of Common in my homebrew setting. I just can't stomach the idea of a universal trade language, no matter how simple, that spans cultures for no historical reason. Sure, there are a few trade languages, but even these are relatively localized. As someone else mentioned trade languages are most useful in ports and major cities, but would not be common among dirt farmers (so if you do find a dirt farmer who knows the trade language, you gotta ask yourself why).

In my homebrew, most humans speak some form of Mannish, though this doesn't mean they can readily communicate with each other. Originally, Mannish was the language of the first humans (likely taught to them by the gods). Over time, it grew into many languages as cultures went their separate ways, similar to how Indo-European has branched out into German, Greek, etc.

The most widely spoken form of Mannish is Erian, which was the language of the Erian Empire. After the Empire fell, it remained the language of trade, education, and politics. Practically anyone living in the boundaries of the old empire who wishes to be (or appear to be) well-educated speaks Erian. As with French to the Norman conquerors or England, the upper crust disdains those who speak the barbaric regional languages, and their command over the superior tongue and its subtleties allows effective communication between elites with little to no understanding by the masses.

Other languages of the world also have regional dialects. For instance, though all forms of Elvish derive from the same original tongue, the elves of Emorlad (the Mannish lands) have been isolated from other elves for thousands of years and their language has shifted dramatically away from that of their immortal kin in Almaren across the sea. Languages such as orcish are not really a language at all, but rather a mish-mash of various unrelated tribal dialects that humans and demi-humans lump together to make sense of them.

If you're going to throw out Common (which is really just human-ese in D&D), you've got to throw out other racial languages too. The only exceptions would be if the language is supernatural in origin (such as Infernal or Aquan, and, in my world, Sylvan) or if it is the language of a single unified culture that has not been politically or geographically fragmented.

Olethros
2007-03-28, 10:20 AM
In my world I use common, but also have a language specific to humans (which they get for free). I never liked the idea that every-other race has a unique language. Its also a fun way to mess with the all "metahuman" party; when they go into a major city/town and can't understand what the shopkeepers are saying to each other because the PC's won't spend points on speek human.

Dareon
2007-03-28, 11:28 AM
Personally, I have far more annoyance with flavor from other sources in D&D to worry about the language. It's not a problem either way, since my characters tend to know a bunch of languages anyway.

In one of the homebrew worlds I play in, the common tongue was handed down by the gods and hasn't changed appreciably in a thousand years or more. It works.

In another, there's at least three dialects of Common, used in differing eras, that can be picked up as languages. Otherwise, no explanation of Common is known to me yet. It works, too.

Hopping off-topic momentarily onto the gold piece standard, not all the countries in the first campaign world mentioned use gp. The ancient ruins hold a lot of old gold coins sometimes, but at least one country mints its own currency out of iron and won't accept gold from a second country (But will exchange it at a mostly-exorbitant rate), the second country tends to actually be hostile to someone trying to pay with the first country's iron coins, and at least two others operate strictly on barter.

Iron_Mouse
2007-03-28, 11:44 AM
I think what comes closest to common in RL is latin, as it was found everywhere all over medieval europe. But was only spoken by sages, the clergy and some nobles (so no real "common" at all, actually...).

Well, having some language barriers in the game might be interesting. But since the speak language skill is made obsolete with a low level spell anyway, it won't matter for a long time :smallsigh:

C Harnryd
2007-03-28, 01:40 PM
In my currently most active campaign, I've removed all language barriers. All sentient beings can speak with each other.

This has nothing to do with the campaign world and everything to do with having fun. I've simply come to learn that if PCs can speak to everyone they meet, it's more fun than if the can't.

Prometheus
2007-03-28, 02:03 PM
For my campaings Common is human, and I other lands will have other languages because of the influence of another race, even if they do have a high human demographic. Also, in one the Human empire that dominates the world is despised, and so most outerlying territories refrain from using it or recognizing even if they know it, while it is almost mandatory within the empire.

Jayabalard
2007-03-28, 02:33 PM
If you're going to throw out Common (which is really just human-ese in D&D), you've got to throw out other racial languages too. The only exceptions would be if the language is supernatural in origin (such as Infernal or Aquan, and, in my world, Sylvan) or if it is the language of a single unified culture that has not been politically or geographically fragmented.well, you could also have races have their personal languages, kind of like Yiddish, or Latin, as long as it's something important enough to teach the kids.

I think the primarily reason that people focus on common is that the other cultures are generally small and unified compared to humans, and have such longer lifespans. Remember, 1000 years is not nearly as many generations of elves as it is humans, so their language is going to change and adapt a lot slower than a human one would.

Fhaolan
2007-03-28, 02:58 PM
Tricky. This is one of those things where Reasonable and Playable diverge massively. There's a reason that most Sci-Fi shows have a 'universal translator' or something similar. Communication breakdowns are fun once. Maybe twice. But that's it. Beyond that, it's more irritant than dramatic.

I've contemplated creating regional languages, but once sliding down this slope I find it very difficult to stop. Redefine the known languages rules, introduce dialect comprehension and creol languages (trade and patois, like Common), so and and so forth.

And then my players threaten to beat me senseless, because the game's not fun anymore. :smallbiggrin:

martyboy74
2007-03-28, 03:00 PM
Add to the summon monster I list the following creature: Babel Fish. Problem solved.

anphorus
2007-03-28, 03:15 PM
It's not really for an RPG, but I'll refer to it as such here, for simplicity.

In my homebrew setting, the world is basically a huge allegorical version of 1600-1900s earth. The area that is equivalent to Europe is probably about the same size as our entire planet, plus you have the east coast of North America and the north of Africa too. This means that there are thousands of languages and countries (give or take) and even learning all of the "important" languages would be impossible. Therefore in this setting there is an equivalent to Common (called simply "trade") that is used by adventurers, Pirates and merchants. Trade is like a more grammatically simple modern day English, in that it has lots of words and many different ways to say the same thing. It also steals and bastardises words from other languages where they may be more appropriate (in the same way that English steals terms like rendezvous, schadenfreude and deja-vu). So it is possible that one person who can speak Trade could listen to another speaker and not quite understand him (depending on his vocabulary) they are almost certainly able to communicate with each other adequately.

Trade is also common in capital cities, port towns etc. Your average farmer wouldn't know any Trade at all, but the guy who comes a few times a year to buy his wool and tobacco certainly would. Trade has no written equivalent, if you want to write something down you would have to use another language. It also changes quite quickly. If you were to retire from pirating for around 50 years or so, you might not even recognise it anymore.

Turcano
2007-03-28, 03:30 PM
Tricky. This is one of those things where Reasonable and Playable diverge massively. There's a reason that most Sci-Fi shows have a 'universal translator' or something similar. Communication breakdowns are fun once. Maybe twice. But that's it. Beyond that, it's more irritant than dramatic.

I don't know, it does have its moments. Theoretically, you could pull of an assassination of sorts by serving as an interpreter in a negotiation between hostile parties and "punching up" the dialog at inopportune moments.

Sardia
2007-03-28, 08:52 PM
Therefore in this setting there is an equivalent to Common (called simply "trade") that is used by adventurers, Pirates and merchants.

Cool. And if I recall correctly, there was something sort of like this in that era-- Sabir, which was something of a mishmash of several of the Romance Languages used by sailors. The vocabulary shifted around a lot depending on whether you had more French or Spanish or Portugese or whatever in it, but you could get around.

Galathir
2007-03-28, 09:42 PM
I don't see "Common" as a very realistic concept, but for most campaigns it really simplifies things. As several people have mentioned before, finding a translator or casting spells can be fun, but after a while it gets tedious and pointless.

In a campaign I am working on, I am thinking about viewing "common" almost like English is today. It is largely the "lingua franca" and in most places around the world you can usually find someone who can speak it, even if not very well. This way, if you visit a city on island X, perhaps the town mayor and more scholarly types can converse with you, but the common townfolk won't be able to.

This could also function culturally. A dwarf raised and isolated in the mountains might only speak dwarven. The same goes for an elf or halfling.

Overall though, I think it depends on the campaign world and how much detail the DM and players are willing to invest in.

AriesOmega
2007-03-29, 07:52 AM
In my game there is no "common". I so hate that term. The "civilized" humans in this part of the world have been there for about 300 years only. The "barbaric" humans have been there since the beginning and have a language that is separate from the the "civilized" humans. Both languages are very helpful to know. Elven is also nice since it's a language that "civilized humans" consider a "high language",a language of sophistication, class and diplomacy kinda like how French was at one time. This due to the sound of the words and the perceived elegance of High Elves. Many nobles from the "civilized" human nation are surprised with how Wild Elves (the tribal, dark haired, barbaric ones speak with grace and ease....the languages are the same.

Short answer...no "common" human language. Each nation has it's own. Other races have a "common language" such as elven for ALL elves, dwarven for ALL dwarves and so forth.

Lord Lorac Silvanos
2007-03-29, 08:58 AM
The Bard suffers a little in a world where common is not common.

A few language-dependent spells becomes slightly less useful and the Bard will have to use skill points for more languages to make use of the abilities.

However, the Bard does typically have some skill points to spend on languages and might have an easier time finding job as a translator/messenger/diplomat etc.