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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Barbarian in the Playground

    Join Date
    Jun 2012

    Default Learning Languages as Crafting

    So, I'm not particularly happy with the Speak Language skill. I think it oversimplifies langauges and makes it too easy to learn them, while simultaneously reducing a player's desire to learn them, since it requires investment of skill points (which are often needed elsewhere). I want my players to be able to learn any language they come across, but I don't want them to be able to do so instantly (and I don't want languages to be as big a deal as they are with SuperDave's version). Hence, the following:

    First off, get rid of Illiteracy on all classes who have it, because I don't want to deal with that. If you do, then treat every language known by an illiterate character as a langauge known at the "Fluent" level, without literacy, and allow them to improve those langauges the same way they would any other.

    Linguistics (Int)

    The following REPLACES the Speak Language skill found in the Player's Handbook and D20 SRD.
    The Linguistics skill represents a character's ability to learn a new language, improve his knowledge of a language, or teach another character a language. It can also represent a character's ability to translate between two characters who do not share a common language.
    Check: A character makes a linguistics check when attempting to learn the basics of a language (such as how to purchase food or read a poster on a wall), become fluent in a spoken language, or become literate in a language. A character may be fluent but not literate, in which case he can speak well in most social situations, but must struggle to read a broadside, and likely cannot understand longer works. Another character might be literate but not fluent, in which case he will be able to read and understand most anything written in the language in question, but will speak with a very heavy accent or be completely unable to pronounce words. If you have only basic fluency in a language, you take a -4 penalty on Bluff, Diplomacy, and Sense Motive checks when conversing in that langauge.
    Every language that a character can attempt to learn has its own DC listed below. A character must study and practice a language, with or without a tutor, for two hours every day for a week in order to make a Linguistics check to learn the language. This practice takes some concentration, but can be done while riding, walking, setting and breaking camp, or otherwise performing minor tasks. If the character has a tutor attempting to help him learn a language, he substitutes the tutor's Linguistics skill ranks for his own when making the Linguistics check (the character attempting to learn the language still uses his own Intelligence bonus, and any other bonuses or penalties).
    At the end of a week of practice, a character makes a Linguistics check against the language's DC. If the check is successful, the character gains a number of language points equal to the DC times the character's check result. To determine whether a character has advanced their proficiency in the language, add together the language points from their previous proficiency level and those gained from practice. If this total equals or exceeds the minimum for the next proficiency level, the character has achieved that level of proficiency. A failed check has no negative effects, but two weeks without progress will cause the same loss of progress that two weeks spent not practicing would.

    The numbers below are jiggered so that a character who exactly succeeds on a check every time should take a bit less than a month to achieve basic proficiency in Common (why don't you known Common?) and then another two or three months to learn literacy/full proficiency with a language. As DC increases, so does the time it takes to learn the language (up to a full year for Druidic, the hardest language to learn). Orc, Giant, and Gnoll are calibrated to be harder to start but not hard to improve. If you'd like to talk about how one of these languages is calibrated (critically or otherwise) I'd love to hear what you say, but please don't comment just to say that you think one language should be harder to learn than another. If you think two languages were ranked inappropriately, swap them!

    {table=head] Language | DC | Basic Proficiency | Fluency or Literacy | Fluency and Literacy
    Common | 12 | 400 | 1700 | 3000
    Dwarven | 14 | 600 | 2000 | 3400
    Elven | 14 | 600 | 2000 | 3400
    Gnome | 14 | 600 | 2000 | 3400
    Halfling | 14 | 600 | 2000 | 3400
    Orc | 13 | 500 | 1800 | 3000
    Giant | 13 | 500 | 1800 | 3000
    Gnoll | 13 | 500 | 1800 | 3000
    Undercommon | 16 | 800 | 2500 | 4200
    Auran | 18 | 1200 | 3000 | 4800
    Aquan | 18 | 1200 | 3000 | 4800
    Ignan | 18 | 1200 | 3000 | 4800
    Terran | 18 | 1200 | 3000 | 4800
    Abyssal | 20 | 2000 | 10000 | 18000
    Celestial | 20 | 2000 | 10000 | 18000
    Infernal | 20 | 2000 | 10000 | 18000
    Draconic | 24 | 3000 | 12000 | 21000
    Druidic | 30 | 10000 | 30000 | 50000

    When attempting to translate, the character translating must share a language with each party speaking. For every minute of translation, the translator must make a Linguistics check against the DC of whichever of the two languages has the higher. If the check fails by less than 5, the translator has made a noticeable error, delaying the conversation by one minute while the error is found. If the check fails by 5 or more, the translator has made an error that is hard to notice, which imposes a cumulative -2 penalty on any language based checks (usually Diplomacy or Bluff) being made through the translator. Another translator who knows both languages in question is entitled to a Linguistics check at the same DC to catch and correct the error.

    Action: A character attempting to use linguistics to learn or improve a language makes a check every week. A character attempting to translate makes a check for every minute of conversation.
    Try Again: A character can always try to learn a new language or improve his skills with one he already knows. A character looses (10 * the language's DC) language points for each two week period he spends not working on learning a language, until he reaches the minimum for his current proficiency level (zero for a language the character does not know). A character may otherwise continue learning a language without penalty.
    Synergy: Possessing 5 or more ranks in Linguistics grants a +2 bonus on Bluff, Decipher Script, and Forgery checks.
    Special: In order to learn a language without a tutor, a character must have specialized study materials. These materials typically cost as much as a masterwork tool for a craftsman, and weigh as much as a wizard's spellbook. Attempting to learn a language from listening to and conversing with native speakers who are not interested in teaching you imposes a -5 penalty on the check, and cannot grant literacy. Attempting to learn from random materials written in the language imposes a -10 penalty and cannot grant spoken fluency.
    A character may voluntarily add 10 to a Linguistics DC to learn a language. This means he will learn the language faster, since he will be multiplying his check result by a higher number.
    When a character is created, he knows his automatic languages plus a number of bonus languages equal to his intelligence modifier. If the character chooses to learn languages from his listed bonus languages, he is assumed to be fluent and literate in those languages. If he so desires, he may sacrifice literacy or fluency in a language in order to gain literacy or fluency in an extra language from the pool beyond his normal allotment of bonus languages. If the character wishes to begin play knowing languages from outside the allowed pool, he only has basic proficiency in the language. He may sacrifice one further bonus language to gain full literacy or fluency. If a character is created above level 1 with ranks in the Linguistics skill, the GM may choose to allow him to know a number of additional languages equal to one quarter of his Linguistics ranks. These languages are known at full proficiency and need not be selected from among the character's racial bonus languages. As before, a character may sacrifice total proficiency in a language in order to learn an additional language with partial proficiency.
    Why should a man be scorned if, finding himself in prison, he tries to get out and go home? Or if, when he cannot do so, he thinks and talks about other topics than jailers and prison-walls?


    Friend Code: 4484-7979-9172
    DS name: Ben
    In-game name: Lief
    Friend safari: Charmeleon, Pansear, Ninetails


  2. - Top - End - #2
    Dwarf in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Within memes

    Default Re: Learning Languages as Crafting

    I like. Much more similar to real language acquisition, and makes knowing languages actually good for a group. Nicely done man.

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