Monthly Archives: August 2015

Investiture of Water (5e)

Investiture of Water

6th Level Transmutation

  • Casting Time: 1 Action
  • Range: Self
  • Components: VS
  • Duration: Concentration, up to 10 Minutes

Until the spell ends, water drips from the caster’s body and they stand in a small pool of water. The casters gains the following benefits:

  • They are Resistant to Fire and Acid
  • The caster may breath underwater and may Swim their normal Movement speed.
  • The caster may use their Action to raise a mist that creates Light or Heavy Obscurement as the caster choose (Reaction to change).
  • The caster may use their Action to transform themselves into water, fluid and amorphous. They have a Speed of 20, and are Immune to Melee or Missile damage in this form. They may not cast spells in this form.
Categories: Game Design, House Rules, Magic Spell | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Intersession #18.5 – Through the Leygate (Fiction)

Stepping through the leygate was an exercise in willpower, the crackling, eldritch energies raced through one’s body and it was easy to believe that instead of translocating space your body was ripped apart and reassembled within the span of a flash of lightning. But the memory of that awful moment of being in two places at once thundered through the body for long moments as each member of the party stumblingly caught their breath, trying to make way for the next with limbs that moved numbly and awkwardly.

Rhys had been the first through, now he stood on the edge of the barren and ancient road the leygate had taken the party to. Eyes alert on the surroundings, his cloak already pulled up around his face to keep out the black and grey dust that was whipped up by the low wind that moaned across the ground and through the surrounding hills, Rhys absently scratched Lockheed’s head as the dragonet wrapped itself across his shoulders, staying close in the unfamiliar and alien terrain.

He’d been the first to investigate the low stone terrace that they all rested upon now, where the leygate had opened to. There were a pair of ancient stone plinths standing in the terrace, deeply graven with runes and sigils, the site of the leygate terminus. They were now cold and silent rather than alive with arcane energies. The leygate had closed scant minutes after the company had arrived, removing the only way to return to Kingshom that the party knew of – the first sign of things going horribly, horribly wrong. Rhys had also discovered the body lying in road in his sweep of the area, a human dressed in violet robes, filled with arrows and bitten about the face and shoulders by snakes. The twin sacks turned out beside the body had been similar to the ones the tomb-robbers had carried and had the remains of grave dirt and tomb dust, but the note in the corpse’s hand had been in no language he’d ever seen before.

After that had gone Dhagri. The young Khazan’s eyes had been big and bright as he passed through the leygate, uncomfortable with the unfamiliar and arcane nature of the travel. He paced around sniffing the bitter tang to air that was cool with the wind. Like Rhys, his eyes focused outwards at the bleak rocky hills, watching for danger, looking for a clue as to what to do next. As he unconsciously played with the wrappings of the hilt of his axe, his eyes drifted off to the distance where it seemed darker, like the coming of night, but it came no closer, grew no darker as Dhagri watched. Instead it seemed as if the Darkness waited, and watched him in turn, patient and silent and hungry as a grave.

Fonkin sat on a small rock, shivering in the shadowy twilight they had found themselves in. Gnomes were creatures of the surface world for all that they burrowed in the earth for its treasures, and too much time away from the fresh air and warming rays of the sun brought with a malaise for the Little People. One hand on the body of his cousin Wren that lay wrapped at his feet, Fonkin rocked gently and prayed quietly that they could revive him rather than leave him in such a desolate place. Reaching out to his Patron, the link felt hollow and weak, and he shuddered to think of himself left alone in the darkness here, still and lifeless, with no-one to remember him. The light of Faerie seemed very distant, fading the same as hope threatened to.

Even the knowledge that his Patron was pleased with him barely cheered him, for while the contents of the note had been revealed to him, the turned out bags beside the corpse meant that another task lay before them…


I have been delayed. My servant carries the king’s bones and all the items of his champions that I could find. Merthúvial I cannot locate. I shall spend a bit more time it, but I am sending these on so our rendezvous is not compromised. Please give the Vanguard my regards. I shall be along shortly.


Ilda’s eyes flickered over the party in turn, then to each of the corpses in turn, as well as toward the same Darkness as Dhagri’s eyes did – consciously or unconsciously everyone cast a glance in that direction regularly. Having pulled out the dulcimer from its’ storage place, the dwarf was calmed by checking to make sure that it had survived the recent combats unscathed. This place was like nothing the dwarf had ever encountered before, and the lays and lore tumbled through Ilda’s head trying to figure out where they were. Like all of the party, the dwarf was tired – the miraculous blessing of the Celestial seemed days distant rather than hours.

Lost in a numb reverie, Ta’sara sat next to Rhys, unconsciously looking to family for comfort. Coughing at the dust, all she could hear was the wind blowing across the stones. Not a bird, not an insect, not any animal that she could identify. She hoped that this place would not be the death of them all, the same that the tomb had been for Wren and their distant kin Leera. The wrapped body of the young bard lay where it had fallen as Ta’sara had stumbled through the leygate – the incredible and essential wrongness of the place like an ache in her joints, a weakness in her bones, a queasy feeling that settled in guts like spoiled meat. The quiet, the dust and incredible dryness, the lack of vegetation made her think it was desert of some sort – but this matched no description of any desert she had ever read about. Beyond that, even the light of the distant stars was wrong and cold. There were none of the natural rhythms and currants that she was used to or even expected – only dust, shadows, and a distant lurking Darkness.

The tracks that had surrounded the purple-robed corpse had walked in the direction of the road and then stopped in mid-stride. Whomever had slain Xeron’s servant had teleported away in midstride and there was no way to know where they had gone. The Forgotten King’s remains and the equipment of his champions was nowhere to be seen and Ta’sara had no clue as to where to look next, no idea how to solve the problem in front of them, let alone the looming issue of the Vanguard and whatever their mission was in the threatened coming of the Age of Worms.

Face illuminated by the endless flame he held cupped in his hands, Jarvic listened to the song of the Great Dragon in the wind that swept across the land. It was a harsher, darker song, one that he had never heard before and it matched the ache in his muscles and the tiredness he felt in his very soul after the travails of the Barrow. Here, in this wide open space with nothing but rock and wind and dust Jarvic could hear the Great Dragon like never before, not just one Great Voice, but a multitude of lesser voices that sang in harmony and melody. It was so strong, these combined voices that made up the Great Dragon, the Great Dragon was so strong, that it felt like Jarvic was all but lifted off the ground, like the wind would carry him. The breeze eddied around him, filling his lungs so full that they would never empty, a constant presence and reminder that the Great Dragon was near, was present even here, was with him even with the Darkness so close.

The Darkness, Jarvic looked towards it. It weighed heavily on his mind, its presence almost adding a physical weight to his shoulders, adding to his weariness, holding him down where the Great Dragon would raise him up. The flame in his hand seemed dimmer here, less warm, colder, like the distant stars that could be seen through the twilight gloom of the sky. Stars that were in no configuration that he had ever seen nor any that he had read of. Their pattern reminded him of the writing that the Necromancer had stolen from his mind, not that it should be possible, but he felt weak and uneasy when he thought to deeply on the matter and his thoughts fled from half-remembered dreams of terrible things and worse possibilities.

While Fonkin had been able to read the missive from the tomb-robber Xeron, it was due to some arcane trick. Jarvic had recognized the script, even if he wasn’t skilled enough to read it. It was elaborate glyphs of the Ithian language – the language of the slavers that his family had escaped from when he was nothing but a child. An ancient and cruel people, of inhuman lusts and infamous plots, who dwelt far to south in a jungle empire built on the ruins of races and empires far worse than they. This rocky, desolate wasteland was not the jungle of Ith, so where had this Vanguard led them?

Shivering slightly as the wind picked up, Devon stared at the gleaming sword lying on the ground on a ripped and tattered cloak before him. The adamantine blade glowed faintly in the darkness the black and grey dust refusing to settle upon it. It sat there where he had placed it, almost dropped actually because gazing upon his companions he had been overwhelmed by the cacophony and hopelessness of their thoughts, their confusion, pain, and their fear. It had not happened again, but Devon was wary of that flood of information again. It made the young nobles own fear worse, that he would never see his wife again, that he would fail not just his family, but the Light itself by allowing the bones of Forgotten King whose sword this had been to be used in whatever fell ritual they were intended. The weight of that responsibility was crushing, weighing him down despite already being exhausted by the fight with the Betrayer and his companions.

Devon glanced in the direction of the Darkness and shuddered, it was as if he was living the tales and parables of the Enchiridion. It was hard, he knew he needed to be an inspiration even when he doubted himself. There is no Light greater than that found within the soul of the Faithful. It shines through the longest nights, in the deepest Darkness, and provides a beacon for those in the greatest need – was the quote and he remembered Frater Simeon reciting it as he learned Aleph in temple. Devon just wished that he was as strong as the blade in front of him, he knew he was unworthy, knew that he was merely weak flesh rather than celestial steel.









Startled by the almost simultaneous low whistle by Rhys and soft coughing bark by Dhagri, the company came to their feet, grasping at weapons and looking in all directions. Appearing out the shadows, gliding silently down the road, a small landbarge – more of wagon actually – had appeared. Rarely seen, no one in the company had ever seen such a small one before. It floated silently down the center of the well-worn cobblestones of the ancient road, and as it drew closer they were all able to see who helmed it.

Sitting there, holding the wheel, was a broad shouldered dwarf, but not like one that any of them had ever seen before. Dressed in a long black skirt, the dwarf also wore a heavy, dark leather greatcoat over a tight fitting shirt the same shade as his skirt. While this was odd enough it was the rest of his appearance that drew the most attention – the ashen-colored skin and glittering black eyes with no whites and no iris were like nothing any of them had ever seen.

Pulling up a short way off from the party, the dwarf nodded and smiled, calling out in a deep baritone in Dwarrune, the private language of the dwarves. Ilda stepped forward and responded as the dwarf climbed down from the helm of the landbarge and smiling as nodding as he did so.

“Well met travelers, and unless I miss my mark from the Heartlands of Avalon too. Harsh winds this span, but you have travelled far to get here and I am called Heart of Coal, a humble merchant of the Shadowlands. Perhaps you would like to see my wares?”

The words were harshly accented, but clear and unmistakably Westron, surprisingly welcome after the long silence that the party had not even realized had settled upon them as they had sat with their thoughts. But the words themselves held within in them the terrifying answer of where they were.

The Great Realm of the Shadowlands.

Ruled by the Witch-King and his Ebon Council, who had alternately plagued and saved the Heartlands since time immemorial, and bordering the Great Realm of the Dead, the Shadowlands were the home of daemons, succubae, and deadly beasts that were the stuff of both legend and legend in the Mortal Realms.

It wasn’t the Pit of Hell, but tales said there was a road from the palace of the Witch-King that led straight to the throne of the First of the Fallen.

By the Light, the Great Dragons, and the Old Powers – what exactly was this Vanguard and why had their minions fled here of all places?

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Session #18 – The Forgotten King

This party began the session with Ta’sara tending to the wounds of the unconscious half-elf that they had discovered bound last session, the rest of the party was beginning to work at making the room more defensible while they had the opportunity to rest up. The young woman, Leera Scornbul, woke quickly and her story was not what the party expected – though it would be hard to say what exactly that would have been based on the current circumstances.

A sage who had studied at the University of Navarre, Leera had been hired by the group before realizing just who and what they were – which even somewhat obscure to her as well. But the presence of the khazan and the goblins, as well as the repellant nature of the sorcerer Xeron spoke volumes even if their exact motives – beyond the contents of tomb of the Forgotten King – were unknown. Her information was enough to let the party know that the tomb-robbers had been in conflict with themselves, that they had faced most of them already, and that it was the leader, Xeron, and his main lieutenant, a khazan warrior named Jerog, that were left for the party to deal with. Leera was also able to give the party more information on the history of the Forgotten King himself, his rise, and his betrayal and fall.

While the Ta’sara was gathering this information, Devon was moving rubble and reached down to pick up a small Argentos he found there – and the party was granted a winged, celestial Visitation!

“Fear not! You must make haste, evil has come to the this place and seeks to work more evil still. Beware the Age of Worms and move quickly lest you lose your chance.” Drawing His sword, the light of the angel’s word was like the dawn of new day, renewing the party as if they had been fully refreshed – full of life and energy. He stared at the group, then at Devon in particular “In this war as all others, you must choose a side, so go forth and vanquish the evil ahead of you or perish and fall, with the world, into darkness.”

With a bright flash, the angel was gone with a clap of it’s wings.

Emboldened, the party girded their loins and pressed on into the next room. It was eerie, the air was damper then elsewhere, and the room was draped and wrapped in webs. The party moved in to investigate a statue (much as the tracks suggested the tomb-robbers had done) only to be attacked by hordes of large, fist-sized black-and-red spiders that swarmed over the group – as well as a web-wrapped body of some sort that spilled forth another swarm of spiders when it was attacked. As the party struggled to vanquish the venomous arachnids a giant horse-sized spider attacked the group as well. The cold chill that passed over those bitten pained them deeply, with Leera being overcome almost instantly, and Wren being struck down by the giant spider before the party slew it. Much to the Ta’sara’s dismay attempts to revive the two met with not only failure, but seemed to provoke another round of poisoning that damaged them further. Unsure of what to do but knowing that they needed to press forward, Jarvic cast Gentle Repose upon both of them in the hopes that they could come back and recover the bodies to revive later with more puissant magic.

Sobered by the loss of their new companion and Fonkin’s cousin, the party continued to onward to the next room – which seemed to be the final resting place of the Forgotten King. It was a large, square room, with fountains that poured out of each cardinal direction, the water running through carved channels in the floor to empty into a large well in the center of the room. Across from entrance, a figure sat on a throne, flanked by the bodies of warriors along the wall – with another figure sitting at the it’s feet.

There was no sign of the tomb-robbers, nor any sign of another exit.

Carefully, the party made it’s way across the chamber skirting the wall and focused on the figure on the throne – though some could faintly hear the sound of picks or stone breaking emanating from the well. Upon drawing close to the throne, the figure spoke, inquiring as to if it was time for the Forgotten King to return? If the Age of Worms was upon the world? The beautiful woman at the figure’s feet nodded along, smiling at the party. Confused, but curious and not wishing to give offense, the party tried to understand where the tomb-robbers had gone, while the figure on the throne continued to inquire as to why the party was there.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, Jarvic struck out – sensing that something was wrong – much to horror of the rest of the party. Roaring up in rage, the figure revealed itself to be hideous, fused to it’s armor, with crazed and lidless eyes gleaming forth from beneath it’s helm. The beautiful woman became a bloated, stumbling corpse, and the bodyguards were equally repulsive, eyes burning with hate and resentment. As one, they advanced upon and engaged the party in combat.

The fight was short, brutal, and devastating – though no more members of the party were slain. The Betrayer was able to turn Dhagri against the party for much of the fight, Fonkin and Ta’sara found much of their magic was useless against the undead, the hideous consort exploded causing much damage, and Devon and Rhys were barely able to take down the Betrayer at the very last. Drained by the fight, wary of the magic of the tomb after such a battle, Rhys used a hoarded piece of magic and dropped a globe from a Necklace of Missiles down the well to take of what they were certain was the tomb-robbers rather than try to figure out how to get the party down without being picked off one by one.

When no more noise was forthcoming, the party eventually investigated – finding the charred bodies of a human and a khazan, a series of broken sarcophagi, and a still-active leygate in the corner. As they decided what to do, knowing that they needed to decide soon if they chose to go through the leygate (because they did not know how long it would last), Devon was granted yet another spiritual visitation!

The spirit of the Forgotten King rose up, explained that the tomb-robbers had taken not only the equipment of his companions and champions, but his own bones well! Charging Devon with returning his bones and stopping the Vangard the king reached down into the stone underneath his tomb and drew forth an adamant longsword scribed in Aleph with the name Merthuvial, or “Kingmaker” and handed it to the surprised noble.

With this, as well as the realization that they didn’t know how to return the way that they had come, the party gathered up what loot they could, the bodies of their companions, and passed through the leygate – hoping that it wasn’t leading to a murder room in the fortress of the Vanguard…





  • So, this marked the end of the Barrow of the Forgotten King. It was a decent enough module, through it was far too linear and tried much to hard to be clever. This last session was almost entirely rewritten though I kept the monsters from the module I staged them differently and come up with an entirely new map.
  • My apologies for taking so long to post this, it’s been a busy few weeks – in all I think it has given me a better pace of prepping for the next stage of the campaign. I’m still running the group through the Age of Worms, but I’m tweaking it significantly to fit my campaign world as well as the 5E engine.
  • The angel replaced an utterly and ridiculously out of place fossergrim from the module, though it’s spring was kept “in spirit” with the fountain and wells in the Betrayer’s chamber. It was used to what I think was much better practical and dramatic effect. It certainly worked better for my game at least and fits the narrative about a million times better.
  • From here I’m proceeding to The Sinister Spire, though I’m changing it significantly to better fit my campaign setting. One of the things I like about is that it seems much more role-playing and much less combat oriented. This module turned into a bit of a slog because of the linear nature of the single-path tomb-complex.
  • This module trio was written, to the best of my understanding, to introduce Legacy weapons to 3.5E. I certainly like the idea of magical items that get better as the character levels up, but the feat investment is way out of place in 5E. I’ll write up my version of Merthuvial in a couple of days, and it is pretty much spot on. It also included a single piece of a magic item set, the Vestments of Divinity, I’ll include my 5E interpretation of that as well.


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Magical Languages

Overview of Language Mechanics

Magical Languages: Spoken in the first Ages of Creation. These languages require a strong spirit, their misuse can have dire consequences. They are not considered to be within the same family at all and knowledge of one provides no ability to speak or understand another.

  • El’aum1: A language of elementals and growing things, El’aum is spoken primarily by the Loremasters and E’lin of the Fae Folk. It communicates beyond words and into the hearts and minds of those that hear them, being more telepathic in some ways than spoken for the ear. Learning the language requires direct communion with the spirits of the elements and the Aethyrs, and they are much more likely to parley with a speaker of El’aum than any other language. Rare is the mortal who learns its secrets, though the greatest of druids and the mightiest of mages have been known to do so. There is no written form of El’aum, though there are some commonly held and understood symbols that hold mystical and psychic significance. (Special)
  • Enochian2: The language of the angels, both the Host and the Fallen, it primarily a telepathic medium the auditory component of which sounds like a great Song or Chorus. It has no written form, though all who speak Enochian can also speak and read Aleph at a +5DC – a fumble means accidently speaking Enochian, which may cause some obvious problems. Enochian is a language of command, of warcraft and it is both inspiring and fear-inducing for mortals to experience. (None)
  • High Kens1: A language like no other, High Kens is considered the language of the Great Gods Themselves. It is the language that the Unborn murmur in their endless dreaming death. Enochian is a pale shadow of High Kens, and it holds all within its bounds that El’aum and Sh’aur contain, and more. It is impossible to lie in High Kens, and where the True Speech is of making, High Kens is made of understanding. (None)
  • Sh’aur2: A language of dark and fell syllables, it is spoken by those with an interest in dead things and topics lost in blood and shadow. It is spoken by the Diabolists and Witches of the Shadowlands, and mages who have fallen into to the study of Necromancy and Goetia. Rife with mystic and psychic potence, its words can summon the spirits of the dead, and can cause Fear or worse among those that hear them – ears bleed and hearts stop. It, Enochian, and High Kens are the only languages used in the Realms of the Dead. (Special)
  • True Runes2: The written expression of the True Speech, the True Runes are a graceful written language of runes and glyphs with a supremely complex and elegant syntax that seem to quiver to the eye, ready to explode into being. Mastery of True Runes in no way allows an individual speak the True Speech.
  • True Speech2: The language of magic, mages and dragons, the True Speech is the language of Making and its Words make up the fundamental building blocks of the universe. It is impossible to lie in the True Speech. Its words pierce illusion, break space, and it exceedingly difficult to pronounce correctly or understand without the proper training. The written form, True Runes, is a totally separate language.


1 Similar to True Speech and High Kens, these languages require a greater than average magical and psychic power to actually speak and use effectively. Individuals with no Arcane, Divine, or Psychic levels have a +15DC penalty to use them, those with 1-3 Levels have a +5DC, and those with 4+ levels have no penalty.

2 True Speech and High Kens require a deep wellspring of magical and psychic awareness to speak properly. Individuals with no Arcane, Divine, or Psychic levels have a +25DC penalty to use the language in any way. For those with 1-3 levels, it is a +10DC, 4-5 levels it is a +5DC, and those with 6+ levels have no penalties.

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Religious Languages

Overview of Language Mechanics

Religious Languages: These languages are not considered to be within the same family at all and knowledge of one provides no ability to speak or understand another unless noted in the description. Smaller cults may either use one of these if they have strong ties to one of the larger religions, but they often use Nonhuman, Scholarly, or Magical Languages in their liturgy instead.

  • Aleph: Thought to be among the eldest of mortal languages, first spoke in the Vale of Myrten. It is religious language of the Society of Light – the mortal equivalent of Enochian and it is both beautiful and haunting to listen to. Its purity is considered of great import to the Society, and no matter what nationality, no matter what tongue a member of the society considers native, all will learn at least the rudiments of Aleph so that they may follow the chants and songs of the Lightbringers. The written form is not considered any more a secret of the faith than the spoken language. (C)
  • The Black Speech: The formal ritual language of a variety of evil cults, the exact provenance is unknown. It has clear links to Sh’aur as well as Enochian, though it is dissimilar to Aleph. It has been adopted (with minor variations) by goblins, trolls, and giants for use as a liturgical language as well, though usually in a more primitive form that includes elements of the Dark Tongue. (S)
  • Ishkhavara: The liturgical language of the En Khoda Theos Kirk, as well as a common language among the Dragonborn, Ishkhavra is one of the oldest languages known, with examples of Old Ishkhavara dating back to the era of the Second City and Ancient Ishkhavara predating that. It is an exceedingly difficult language to write, given the thousands of logograms involved (+5DC). (S)
  • Khoisa: The fount from which the Khoisa languages sprang from, Khoisa is now a language used only in the rituals and prayers of the priests and priestesses of the Khementi Religion. It is considered a great secret of the religion that only the clergy may learn and it’s written hieroglyphics are both beautiful and complex. (C)
  • Ogham: A poetic language of metaphors and twisting runes written in wood and stone, Ogham is the religious language of the Old Faith, considered a great secret of the druids and known only to those who have been initiated into the Mysteries of the Old Faith. Rangers and Bards both will learn this language after a certain point in their own studies. Certain creatures of Faerie also speak it due to their long association and friendship with the Old Faith, notably the Sheppards of the Forest and their kin. (Glyphic)
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Scholarly and Extinct Languages

Overview of Language Mechanics

Scholarly & Extinct Languages: These languages are not considered to be within the same family at all and knowledge of one provides no ability to speak or understand another unless noted in the description.

  • Aklo: Aklo is the language of the Old Race, once related to Senzar but now far removed from it (though the similarities often spark investigation with dire results for the researcher), examples are rarely found in the Modern Era. Aklo deals with such alien concepts it is less a language and more a virus of the mind and spirit, the study of which invariably insanity or worse. It uses what appears to be a variant of the Senzar script, much to the detriment of many a transcriber. (C)
  • Alchemical Code: Not a true language, the Alchemical Code is a primarily written series of symbols and metaphors used to the arts and sciences of alchemy, astrology, and other forms of healing, herbalism and poison lore. The metaphors can certainly be used in speech, though it would sound outlandish and clearly be seen as an attempt to speak in a form of open code. (Glyphic)
  • Bardic Hanes: Like Alchemical Code (q.v.) the Bardic Hanes is not a true language but is instead a set of notations and symbols for recording music and sounds. Used almost exclusively by minstrels, skalds, and bards it has a surprisingly solid and underpinning and structure to it. The need for precise time, often in multiple levels, also gives the Hanes a strong mathematical component as well. All of this combined makes the Hanes particularly suited to creating coded and secret communications in combination with other languages. (Glyphic)
  • Hill Speech: An ancient language, Hill Speech is the language of the native Avalonians and includes nature calls and a patois of corrupted loan-words from Faerie – it is now only used by the Rangers, Druids, and others who travel through the wild places of the Heartlands. Hill Speech has no written format though there are simple trail signs and markers which are commonly used and preserved in the lore of its speakers. (Glyphic)
  • Senzar: A very rare language even among scholars, Senzar was the language of the Second City and the so-called First Men. It is often considered the root language of the Westron, Casta, Khoisa, and Thulian language families. It is, however, distant enough from all of them to be near indecipherable to speakers of those languages and it uses it’s own unique set of writing glyphs. The speakers and writers of Tsath-Yo and Sar can both understand Senzar (and vice-versa) with Disadvantage, as these languages are closely related. (S)
  • Tsath-Yo: Closely related to Senzar, Tsath-Yo is the long-lost language of the Sorcerer-Kings of Engis-Erkrath – now only spoken by the shamans of their descendants, the Beastmen. It is a beautiful and poetic language, though strange to the ears of modern humans. It uses a variant of the Senzar writing system. (E)
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Nonhuman Languages

Overview of Language Mechanics

Non-Human Languages: These are the most common of the languages spoken by non-human races. The Old versions of these tongues often date back to the time of the White Empire, while the Ancient versions date back to the time of the Sundering – prior to this most races used either Demonspeech (see below) or just simply spoke in whatever magical language most suited their nature, their mood, or the circumstance. Unless otherwise noted, and with Demonspeech being the obvious exception, knowledge of one of these languages provides no knowledge of any of the others.

  • The Dark Tongue: Spoken by the Goblin, Troll, and Giant races this language is a corrupted mixture of Faerie, Dwarrune, and Kens (Skilled speakers of those languages have a DC10 check to understand or speak the Dark Tongue). It is a constantly changing language, if a speaker was attempting to communicate with someone from another era, it would be Very Difficult (DC25) at first, but would eventually become clear for everyone involved. The written form is simple and incapable of conveying complex concepts and uses a mixture of different pictograms and glyphs both drawn and inspired by its root languages. (Glyphic)
  • Demonspeech: An unfortunate colloquial term for a style of speech most commonly found among a variety of supernatural creatures and spirits (including angels, devils, demons, dragons, many elementals, etc). This speech is actually a form of highly limited psychic and spiritual awareness that allows the speaker to understand intent and meaning from any type of formal communication and also communicate in return – often being considered a native speaker. It is possible for mortals to learn, though it requires being skilled in True Speech, High Kens, Enochian, El’aum, and Sh’aur, as well as having one or more Arcane, Divine, or Psychic levels. Levels of 6+, as well as being skill in the True Runes, allows understanding of written language as well though they are not able to write in the language being written. There is no written form of Demonspeech nor are there any “Old” or “Ancient” versions of it.
  • Dwarrune: This is the ancestral language of the Dwarves, the Dwimmervolk, and the Dwarrow. It is considered a deep secret of their people and few outside of those three races speak or read the language. Steeped in tradition and ceremony, Old Dwarrune dates back to before the Sundering, while Ancient Dwarrune dates back to Ages of Creation. Its written form is predictable set of runic futharks, though many dwarves also learn True Runes. (E)
  • Faerie: The language of the creatures and the peoples of Fae, it is used by the Elves and their various cousins who inhabit both Faerie and the Mortal Realms. Old Faerie dates back to before the Sundering, while Ancient Faerie stretches back to the Ages of Creation. The written form is a beautiful and complex series of logograms and glyphs that are more art-form than writing, that results in +5 DC to read, +10DC for non-native speakers. (C)
  • High Elven: The formal language of the elves, few aside from them speak it to any significant degree – it is mainly used in formal situations and confined to the learned among them. The Sha’Achtar of the Shadowlands speak Old High Elven, with a subtly different syntax (+5DC), which predates the Sundering, while Ancient High Elven is as old as Ancient Faerie. It is difficult for non-natives to speak or read (+5DC) and uses the same script as Faerie. (C)
  • Kens: The language of the Shadowlands, held and used in common by all those who live there under the reign of the High Lord. This includes the Anakim, the Daemons, the Dwarrow, the Erynine, the Sh’Achtar, and the Sh’dai. Old Kens dates back to the time of the White Empire, while Ancient Kens dates back to before the Sundering. It has its own relatively simple and direct writing system. (S)
  • ‘Khar: A guttural languages of growls, hisses, coughs and snarls used by the Rakshasa, the mythical race of cannibalistic beast-folk from the Wars of Binding. ‘Khar is Moderately Difficult (DC15) for non-Rakshasa (or Goblin- and Troll-Kin) to speak due to its harsh treatment of the throat and vocal chords. The written version uses the Istarian alphabet. (S)
  • The Old Tongue: The other close relative to Senzar, the Old Tongue is a somewhat corrupted and idiosyncratic version of Senzar that is spoken by the ancient race of Beastmen (who while human are often considered non-human by their cousins). They can understand, at Disadvantage, Senzar and Tsath-Yo, but the opportunities for doing so are uncommon at best. There is no written form, just simple pictoglyphs and signs used as trail-markers and other forms of graphic, static warning. Speakers outside of the Beastmen are rare, though not unheard of – mostly being travelers who have reason to travel through the Wall of the World, the Ice Wastes, and other old wild places. (Glyphic)
  • Serth: The language of the Serpent Kings and their degenerate descendants, the Lizard Men, Serth is a sibilant language that has changed little over the ages. Old Serth dates back to the time of the Second City, while Ancient Serth dates back to the time of the Serpathian Empire. It is Difficult (DC15) for non-Serpent Folk to speak, though speakers of Serth have Advantage when trying to understand Ti-Ann. Serth has a complex written language of thousands of complicated glyphs such that it is a +5DC to be able to read and write it. (C)
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Cants and Argots

Overview of Language Mechanics

Cants & Argots: These are not languages for the most part, but are instead patois consisting various bits of slang from a variety of languages, unrelated in any way. Used either to provide easier communication in some circumstances (Mercenary’s Argot), as well as coded speech in others (Thieves Cant). With the sole exception of Fingerspeech, which has its own unique nature, these various languages are of only limited usefulness when discussing matters that fall outside the purview of the profession that uses it.

  • Fingerspeech: A rather rare language, it is unclear when or where Fingerspeech was first developed. Totally silent, the language’s medium is primarily movements of the fingers combined with other body language. Its elements are phonetic in nature, allowing to be used with any languages grammar and words. Due to this it requires double skills checks in needed, one for the Fingerspeech and the other for the language being “spoken” (similarly to how Calligraphy would be used with a language). Primarily tonal languages like Shian, Faerie, and Kens are a +10DC to be understood in Fingerspeech, +5DC if skilled in Slight of Hand, and only suffer no penalty if they have Expertise in Slight of Hand. (None)
  • Guttertalk: Primarily used by the Lower and Underclass in cities, Guttertalk is similar to both Thieves Cant and Tinkertalk in many ways. It provides it’s speakers an almost incomprehensible dialect to communicate in that is inaccessible to most other speakers. (Glyphic)
  • Mercenaries Argot: Used on battlefields and in mercenary companies across the Realms, Mercenaries Argot provides a medium for parlay and other negotiation. It is very simple, always changing language that has no written form. If a speaker was attempting to communicate with someone from another era, it would be Very Difficult (DC25) at first, but would eventually become clear for everyone involved. (None)
  • Sailorspeech: Used on board sea- and airships across the Realms, Sailorspeech is patois that provides a medium for communication for seamen, skylars, and those that deal with them on a specific set of topics and tasks. It is very simple, always changing language that has no written form. If a speaker was attempting to communicate with someone from another era, it would be Very Difficult (DC25) at first, but would eventually become clear for everyone involved. (None)
  • Thieves Cant: In use by the various organizations that operate in some way in the “night trade.” It would be wrong to say that there is a single universal “Thieves Cant” it is instead that there are a number of common elements and for those that speak the language it is a simple enough process to pick up on each new city or region’s nuances (DC10 check until done so). Thieves Cant does have a written form, as well as its own version of Fingerspeech, but both are limited to very simple content – mostly for identification and signaling and little else. Filled with slang and nuance, if a speaker was attempting to communicate with someone from another era, it would be Very Difficult (DC25) at first, but would eventually become clear for everyone involved. (Glyphic)
  • Tinkertalk: Spoken fluently by the wandering Tinkerfolk it is a patios of every other language found in the realms, human and non-human. Many other travelers, innkeeps, and merchants learn a few phrases to aid in the dealings with the Tinkers and occasionally each other as well. Sometimes mistaken the language for that of the Traderfolk, that is far more jealously guarded by an equally itinerant but for more reclusive and private people. There is no written form, and it would Very Difficult (DC25) to Nearly Impossible (DC30) to understand anyone more than a handful of generations apart in time. (Glyphic)
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Independent Languages

Overview     Westron Family     Casta Family     Thulian Family     Khoisa Family

Independent Languages     Cants & Argots     Nonhuman Languages

Scholarly & Extinct Languages     Religious Languages     Magical Languages

Independent Languages: These languages have little or no relation to any others, having obscure and ancient origins and existing in sometimes splendid isolation for great spans of time. Each has their own written form of script or glyphs.

  • Hordic: Spoken by the nomads of the great Tawill Plains, Hordic has been strongly influenced by Kistathian, Ti-Ann, and Shian over time. Despite that it has retained its own unique character steadfastly, perhaps obstinately, refused to develop any form of written language. A rich oral tradition has kept the language somewhat pure over time. Similar to Na’Dene, it actually consists of multiple dialects that require an Easy (DC10) check to translate between speakers of Hordic. It is a complicated language for non-Natives to speak and understand, resulting in an additional penalty of +5 DC to speak or understand it. (None)
  • Na’Dene: The language of the natives of the Colonies, it actually consists of multiple dialects that require Easy (DC10) check to converse between. Na’Dene has a complex “written” language that consists of braided and beaded cords. Native speakers must also be skilled in Weaving in order to read or “write” more than a simple tally or identifier, while non-native speakers have a +10 DC to read any “writings” that they discover. (Special)
  • Sar: The language of the Feyhd of the Great Waste. Held in careful reverence by the loremasters of the Feyhd, its written form is a unique set of diamond shaped pictoglyphs that seem most closely related to Senzar or possibly even Serth by the widest stretch of a scholars imagination – though translation is impossible and they are not the same language at all. Sar has changed little over the ages, bound by custom and ritual, and Old Sar dates back to the time of the Wars of Binding while the few examples of Ancient Sar have been dated to time of the Serpent Kings. (E)
  • Shian: The native tongue of the Khitian Empire, Shian is a beautiful language that non-native speakers (save for speakers of Faerie and Kens who have similar tonal languages) have difficulty with (+5 DC) due to its tonal nature. It is also has its own exceedingly complex written language of thousands of glyphs – it is +5 DC to be able to read and write it. (C)
  • Ti-Ann: The language of the Ithian Empire it is at once both stagnant and vibrant – held hostage by the Eternal Court of Jade. Virtually unchanged since the time of the Diaspora, Old Ti-Ann dates back to the time of the Second City, while Ancient Ti-Ann dates back to the Serpathian Empire when the Ithians were slaves to Serpent Kings. Ti-Ann itself is related to Serth, mostly via adaptations of that language to human physiology and anatomy – and speakers and writers can understand one another with some difficulty as the languages have drifted apart (Disadvantage to Understand Serth). Ti-Ann is also an exceedingly complex written language of thousands of glyphs that were adopted from Ancient Serth – a speaker has a +5 DC to be able to read and write it. (C)
  • Trader: Rarely heard outside their ships and camps, and isolated by both time and circumstance, Trader is spoken only by the Traderfolk and has no written form outside of codes and identifies found in the braiding of rope and hair. It is the custom of the Traderfolk only to teach the language to members of the clans, to their families as a trust in the past for the future. (Special)
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Khoisa Family of Languages

Overview of Language Mechanics

The Khoisa Family: An ancient language of poets, warriors, and mages, the languages of the Khoisa family are uniformly beautiful to listen to and lend themselves to marvelous songs and music. Found largely across the ocean in the environs of the Kistathian Empire, the Khoisan languages are written in a beautiful Khistathian calligraphy that has a +5 DC for individuals who are not natives to understand – in a similar quirk, there are no penalties for skilled readers of one of the Khoisa family languages to understand to understand the writings of another of the Khoisa languages. Due to the long history of the language and the rich magical culture of Kistath many mage learn Kistathian in order to benefit from the lore than has been accumulated and preserved in that language.

  • Islander: Spoken by the peoples of the islands between the Heartlands and Kistath, as well as along the coasts of Ith, Islander has become a patois of Na’Dene, Kistathian, and Ti-Ann. During the time of the Black Empire the people of Khoisa were among the most honored of sailors and explorers, finding many of the settlements that had already been founded by the Ithians in their own age-long travels. They travelled far and wide and were responsible for the vast majority of settlements on the islands in the great oceans. As such, individuals speaking Islander and Kistathian or Ti-Ann can speak to each other with a DC15 check, and Islander uses Khoisan calligraphy for written communication with the result of there being only a +5 DC penalty for written communication between readers skilled in one. Speakers of Kistathian gain no bonus trying to speak or read it – the Ancient form is far more influenced by Shian and uses Shianese glyphs instead of Khistathian calligraphy (which can be read by scholars of Ancient Shian with a DC25 check, though understanding will be poor). (C)
  • Kistathian: The language of the Kistathian people and empire, Kistathian is a poetic and fluid language that has been spoken since the days of the White Empire. The values of Kistathian culture have helped preserve the written and spoken language in a somewhat stable form – far more stable than is found is languages like Westron which have change dramatically over far less time. (C)
  • Medjai: In the deserts plains of Kistath the Medjai nomads roam far and free, speaking their own language and keeping their own customs. Scholars suggest that Medjai is the purest of the Khoisa languages given the often reclusive nature of the Medjai nomads and their reputation for fiercely repelling enemies and outsiders. This theory is supported by the strong differences between Medjai and Sautani – there is a +5 DC penalty to translating between the two. Medjai is also a primarily spoken language, attempting to write, read, or transcribe it garners an additional +5 DC penalty. (C)
  • Sautani: The primary language of Old Tierna and Tiernaese colonies, Sautani is a complex and subtle language that is strongly gendered and has a deeply hierarchical structure of imperatives and supplications. Since the Mad God’s War and the destruction of large portions of Tierna it has become a fiercely defended piece of the Tiernaese people’s past. (C)
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