There are a number of languages spoken in the world of Uarth, many human and a number of non-human. There are also a number of religious and magical languages that exist are used as well, complicating matters greatly for people who wish to travel. However, many languages have at least some things in common, so languages from the same family (see below) share enough similarities and roots that a person speaking one can make themselves understood to someone speaking another – generally at Very Easy DC (5) skill check that might be made though there are exceptions for some languages or circumstances. Also, speaking the current language allows for the understanding of written and spoken versions of the same language from far earlier times. For virtually all languages there is “Classic” and “Ancient” version, dating from older times and Eras. The Classic version has a Moderate Difficulty (DC15) to translate and the “Ancient” version is Hard (DC20) to translate, non-native speakers have a +5 to the DC.
Another issue in languages is that social class tends to create either through explicit rules of grammar or through education and association very different accents within each language. As a result, individuals trying to speak like a member of a different social class that they have no familiarity with have penalties and require a Performance roll to do so. In general this is minimum of Easy difficulty (DC10), +5 per additional level in difference (so a member of the Underclass would have a DC25 check on Performance to successfully impersonate them), there may be additional penalties for other factors (familiarity with the culture, racial or gender differences, etc)
Writing (and thus reading) of a language is dependent upon skill in a tool kit of some sort – namely some sort of a Scribes Kit (S), a Calligraphy Set (C), and or Engraver’s Tools (E). Each language will have a notation at the end of the description that indicates which tool set skill is required to know how to read and write the language in question. Sans knowledge of the kit at character creation, it is safe to assume that some Middle, most Upper, and all Ruling class characters know how to read and write their native language. Characters with religious backgrounds will know how to read and write their respective religious languages, and scholarly types will know how to read and write any scholarly languages that they begin with. Merchants have a chance to know how to read and write any of the languages that they speak, it costing of their language choices. When learning a new spoken language during downtime it is possible to study the written form at the same time (with the normal associated costs).
- Alphabets: Aleph, Istarian, Kistathian, Thulian
- Syllabaries: ‘Khar, Ogham, Shian
- Logographies: Ishkhavara, Khoisa, Serth
- Logisyllabaries: Dwarven, Kens, Senzar
- Ideographies: Aklo, Faerie
Languages that are noted as Glyphic have no complex written language and knowledge of the spoken form grants knowledge of the limited written format as well.