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View Full Version : Verbal components and language dependency



Freshmeat
2007-08-05, 11:23 AM
I, and most DM's I know, always assume that whenever people see a magey-looking-type utter some sort of magic mumbo-jumbo and move around with his arms a bit, they know he's casting a spell. A succesful spellcraft check would then determine what kind of spell is being cast. So much seems obvious.

However, what if a spellcaster has taken the still spell feat to avoid somatic components, and is merely looking to somehow 'mask' the verbal component as well? Would it be possible to speak the verbal component in another language, or are 'the magic words' too specific to be confined to a certain language? Or alternatively, if it were a language, would it then be draconic?

For a more practical example, could a spellcaster pretend he doesn't speak the local language (or even common) and slip in a clever detect thoughts spell amongst the random gibberish he's saying in his upposed attempts at communication?
Same rationale for randomly 'cursing' in a native language for exotic species.

Is this possible, and if so, who would recognize it?
Would commoners know that a spell is being cast before the incantation is over?
Would other spellcasters?
And if you are a DM, do you think this requires skill checks, such as concentration or bluff?

Quietus
2007-08-05, 11:29 AM
In the case of magic, I believe that there are certain arcane phrases that, regardless of what language you're speaking, are separate. A spellcaster can still make a Spellcraft check to identify a spell that you're casting that's been Stilled, no matter whether you've been jabbering along in some obscure or nonsense language.

Yakk
2007-08-05, 12:40 PM
For a more practical example, could a spellcaster pretend he doesn't speak the local language (or even common) and slip in a clever detect thoughts spell amongst the random gibberish he's saying in his upposed attempts at communication?
Same rationale for randomly 'cursing' in a native language for exotic species.

Is this possible, and if so, who would recognize it?
Would commoners know that a spell is being cast before the incantation is over?
Would other spellcasters?
And if you are a DM, do you think this requires skill checks, such as concentration or bluff?

Spellcraft: (Trained only)

15 + spell level Identify a spell being cast. (You must see or hear the spellís verbal or somatic components.) No action required. No retry.

If they make their spellcraft check, then they know a spell is being cast. If they don't, they don't.

Otherwise, this is lots of DM fiat and depends on how magic works in a particular world. I think the complete mage has a disguise spellcasting feat of some kind...

Kurald Galain
2007-08-05, 12:48 PM
The Complete Scoundrel has a skill trick that allows you to make a bluff check to hide the fact you're casting a spell. IIRC some other rulebook (races of stone?) allows you to do the same, without the skill trick.

Other than that, the way the rulebooks are written suggests that a caster has to shout the name of his attack at the top of his voice, like in all those realistic Manga series :smalltongue:

Roderick_BR
2007-08-05, 01:51 PM
Well, most people that says anything people doesn't understand, everyone will automatically assume that you are casting a spell, regardless if you are or not, so it's not a very good tactic.

Tallis
2007-08-05, 02:00 PM
It's really up to the DM. I would rule that magic has it's own seperate language. Another spellcaster or someone with spellcraft will know that you're using that language and be able to identify the spell with a spellcraft check. A commoner may not realize it if you give them a reason to believe that you are just speaking a foreign language.

Murderous Hobo
2007-08-05, 02:05 PM
Considering you're trying to hide your intention of casting a spell from another person I'd reckon it will be a bluff check against their sense motive or spell craft check, which ever is better.

They could make their sense motive to realize that you aren't just speaking gibberish or their spell craft to recognize that a spell is being cast.

ForzaFiori
2007-08-05, 02:47 PM
I had always assumed that magic had its own language, though i suppose a bluff check to disguise a spell would work, and maybe spellcasters get their ranks in spellcraft to to the Sense Motive check or something, since they'd recognize the arcane language in there.

Curmudgeon
2007-08-05, 04:54 PM
Magic must have a recognizable language of its own. Anyone with a good Spellcraft check can successful identify a Druid spell being cast, even when the caster only speaks Druidic and the identifying party doesn't.

horseboy
2007-08-05, 06:22 PM
Always figured it's not what you say but how you say it. You may want to check with athas.org (www.athas.org) for the free download of how it's handled in their setting.

Cause free is best! :smallsmile:

Belteshazzar
2007-08-05, 06:53 PM
Magic (in mine and some other worlds) is linked to the Music of Creation. The words are part of the Original Language used to create the Universe (or Multiverse.) So they would be recognizable irregardless of language spoken.