Discussion & Proposal: Regional Languages

Systole

Community Supporter
I had that question as well, but forgot to add it to my post. As I see it, there are three possibilities:

1. Select a language from the full list.
2. Select from Deltan or one of the Landellian languages. Depending on character backstory, GMs may approve alternate regional languages on a case-by-case basis.
3. No free regional language. This gives players a tiny bit of incentive to create non-Venzan characters, and maybe create a bit more fo the world at the same time.

Or use Mowgli's proposal where Common and Venzan are different.

EDIT: Personally, I prefer Common = Venzan. I really do not like the idea that Common is a pidgin language, as it would lack a lot of subtlety that a natural language would have.
 
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I had that question as well, but forgot to add it to my post. As I see it, there are three possibilities:

1. Select a language from the full list.
2. Select from Deltan or one of the Landellian languages. Depending on character backstory, GMs may approve alternate regional languages on a case-by-case basis.
3. No free regional language. This gives players a tiny bit of incentive to create non-Venzan characters, and maybe create a bit more fo the world at the same time.

Or use Mowgli's proposal where Common and Venzan are different.

EDIT: Personally, I prefer Common = Venzan. I really do not like the idea that Common is a pidgin language, as it would lack a lot of subtlety that a natural language would have.
If we were to argue this from the perspective of real world cultures that are in some way contemporaneous with the type of technological and trade sophistication that exists in most Dungeons and Dragons and Similar Capaign Settings (ignoring those set in D20 Modern & Futuristic Settings). Then yes, the language that we know as Common, would most likely either be the most prevalent language of the world in which it is set (such as how Greek was the most prevalent language during the time of the Roman Empire and thus could be argued to have been the common language), or it would be some sort of pidgin language that is developed for use by tradesmen and adventurers similar to what is commonly known in most D&D settings as Thieves Cant or Bards Cant.

Though I personally like to think of Common being more similar in nature to the most affluent language of the day, than likening it to a Thieves Guild's cant. But that is just my opinion on the matter.
 

GlassEye

Community Supporter
Here's my suggested list:

  • Common is otherwise known as Venzan or Low Landellian, and is spoken in Venza and the surrounding areas. As Venza is the world’s most developed trade center, the Venzan language serves as the default common tongue throughout the known world.
  • Middle Landellian in and around Tritower.
  • Old Landellian and High Landellian are spoken in the Landadel Baronies. Old Landellian tends to be spoken in the more far-flung reaches.
  • Deltan in the Ouhm River valley.
  • Irthian in Irthos.
  • Ha’Gruut by barbarian tribes in Seithr mountains northwest of Irthos.
  • Stonetongue in most of the Seithr mountain ranges.
  • Cavetongue for deep dwarves and other dwellers underground.
  • Inner Sea including the areas of the Harran, Heth, and Rorn.
  • Rhat’mani in the Rhat'Matanis region.
  • Jira'shae in the lands of Jirago on the western continent.
  • Northern Isle for the areas near Illi Esse.
I've been thinking about this a lot since this was posted. A lot of good ideas here. I think I've come to like the idea of Venzan being considered 'Common' for the world, at least the eastern continent. But I always imagined Tritower as a colony of Venza that managed to acquire a measure of independence and would therefore speak the same language. Of course, as Tritower is sunshadow's brain-child he'd have a better idea of that city's history than I do.

Not quite how I would order the list (for example, I would make Ha'Gruut and Irthian as dialects of the Seithr language and I wouldn't call it Stonetongue) but I like the extra details in most of the names.
 

Systole

Community Supporter
If you've got ideas you like about the Seithr stuff, don't let my proposal get in the way. A lot of what I suggested was just throwing crap at the wall to see what sticks. The parts of the proposal that I like are:

a. Venzan = Common. Speaking as a RL traveller, English is undoubtedly the world's most common second language. Speaking as an ESL teacher, English is a terrible second language, on account of the ridiculous irregulars, and the vowels and consonants that most other languages never use. English is the common language of today's world because it got lucky, not because it's a good second language.
b. I also like that Venzan is 'Low Landellian,' because in real world history, Lower Egypt was coastal while Upper Egypt was inland Egypt. Therefore coastal Landellian = Low Landellian.
c. I want there to be several offshoots of Landellian, in the same way that Latin became Spanish, French, Italian, Romanian, and Portuguese.
d. Cavetongue. Whatever you want to call it, I'd like to see something like Undercommon.
e. Jira'shae. I will fight you if you say no to Jira'shae. And I already put it in the wiki. So that makes it official. And I will fight you more.
 

Maidhc O Casain

Na Bith Mo Riocht Tá!
Here's my suggested list:

  • Common is otherwise known as Venzan or Low Landellian, and is spoken in Venza and the surrounding areas. As Venza is the world’s most developed trade center, the Venzan language serves as the default common tongue throughout the known world.
  • Middle Landellian in and around Tritower.
  • Old Landellian and High Landellian are spoken in the Landadel Baronies. Old Landellian tends to be spoken in the more far-flung reaches.
  • Deltan in the Ouhm River valley.
  • Irthian in Irthos.
  • Ha’Gruut by barbarian tribes in Seithr mountains northwest of Irthos.
  • Stonetongue in most of the Seithr mountain ranges.
  • Cavetongue for deep dwarves and other dwellers underground.
  • Inner Sea including the areas of the Harran, Heth, and Rorn.
  • Rhat’mani in the Rhat'Matanis region.
  • Jira'shae in the lands of Jirago on the western continent.
  • Northern Isle for the areas near Illi Esse.
I vote YES to the list above, including Venzan=Low Landadelan=Common.

I like GlassEye's idea about Irthian and Ha'Gruut being offshoots of Seithr (I don't care for Stonetongue as the name either - but Seithr would work for me). Note that I've already started using Finnish as a basis for Ha'Gruut so if we go this route Seithr and Irthian should have that general sound as well. (Same argument as Systole's for Jira'shae, and I completely see the logic there! :lol:)
 

Systole

Community Supporter
If you're going to change Stonetongue to Seithran (which is a good idea -- I didn't really like Stonetongue either), I'd like to get an alternate for Cavetongue. Darktongue? Deep Speech? Speak-Stone-Dark? Or maybe something random-sounding like 'Chuachka' or 'Mord Uleth'?
 

Qik

Visitor
"Mountain Tongue" was my first thought, but I'm not sure if that's any better. It shouldn't be this, but "Beard Tongue" and "Ale Tongue" make me chuckle.
 

GlassEye

Community Supporter
Or we could pick a racial tongue like Dark Folk (horrible name for a language, btw) and say that it is as ubiquitous below as Low Landellian is above.
 

jkason

Visitor
I've been thinking about this a lot since this was posted. A lot of good ideas here. I think I've come to like the idea of Venzan being considered 'Common' for the world, at least the eastern continent. But I always imagined Tritower as a colony of Venza that managed to acquire a measure of independence and would therefore speak the same language. Of course, as Tritower is sunshadow's brain-child he'd have a better idea of that city's history than I do.
I can't speak to Tritower, but I do like the idea of Venza/Low Landellian being Common. We've already made Venza the place every adventurer comes to 'make it big,' so it works for me that Venza, while cosmopolitan, would have sort of forced the world to adapt to it. It also provides some nice possible tension regionally for places that might think themselves at least as full of opportunities.

That does still leave this question, insofar as PC's from Venza are concerned:

1. Select a language from the full list.
2. Select from Deltan or one of the Landellian languages. Depending on character backstory, GMs may approve alternate regional languages on a case-by-case basis.
3. No free regional language. This gives players a tiny bit of incentive to create non-Venzan characters, and maybe create a bit more fo the world at the same time.
I kind of like the 3rd option best, myself. Regional languages were presented as mostly-fluff, anyway, so I don't think anyone is being 'robbed' of a significant game benefit if they choose Venzan home-grown for their locale. And if they feel that way, then--as Systole points out--there's an incentive to build characters from elsewhere, helping to flesh out the world.

GlassEye said:
Not quite how I would order the list (for example, I would make Ha'Gruut and Irthian as dialects of the Seithr language and I wouldn't call it Stonetongue) but I like the extra details in most of the names.
I think someone else wanted Irthos to have a distinct language. I find it interesting that Landadel is brimming with derivatives while the three nations on the Inner Sea all share a language, too, but I'm not really opposed to such developments.

From my perspective, the remaining 'non-colorized' languages would be Stonetongue, Cavetongue, Inner Sea, and Northern Isle. Some fiddling with Google translate using languages I vaguely (and probably only for my own reasons) associate, plus a bit of mangling, how about these:

Uzka Mor for Inner Sea.
Bergnsprak for Stonetongue
Ogof'iaith for Cavetongue
Norey Jan for Northern Ilse
 

Systole

Community Supporter
That's not a bad idea. If it's ubiquitous, then the source should be slavers, traders, or conquerors, or else a race that simply happens to be everywhere throughout LPF's version of the Underdark. The first three explanations would have a fairly strong impact on E'n history, and would require writing a lot of history which should have really affected life above ground in significant ways I don't think this is a great idea.


That leaves the fourth explanation, and the fourth explanation requires a race that's everywhere but is sort of innocuous and non-evil. Fortunately, I think there's a very good candidate for that: Pech. A race that didn't drive any major historical changes, but since they're simply everywhere throghout the Underdark, their language becomes the default for everyone else.
 

Systole

Community Supporter
I think someone else wanted Irthos to have a distinct language. I find it interesting that Landadel is brimming with derivatives while the three nations on the Inner Sea all share a language, too, but I'm not really opposed to such developments.
Languages tend to diverge where they're isolated -- often by mountains or other impassible terrain. Impassible terrain also tends to favor smaller states and countries, because you can't exactly sweep an army through a continent full of mountainous terrain and then maintain an empire that standardizes the language over the course of a century or two. I was making the leap that the multiple baronies in Landadel probably meant mountains or other impassible terrain, which meant lots of language divergence. With the Inner Sea keeping most of the surrounding lands in easy contact via sailing, and also having larger government units, the languages would tend to diverge less.

Realistically, a place like Landadel should have about 30 languages instead of four, and the Inner Sea should have a half-dozen, rather than one. But I think that's an Acceptable Break from Reality.


Uzka Mor for Inner Sea.
Bergnsprak for Stonetongue
Ogof'iaith for Cavetongue
Norey Jan for Northern Ilse
I'm generally a little wary of not having a clear link between the name of the language and its origin, because it gets hard to remember what maps to what, especially as the world grows.
 

GlassEye

Community Supporter
I kinda like the names jkason posted but I definitely see the point about ease of remembering the names by making them close to the region they come from, e.g. Ilseyan or Ilessian for Illi Esse.

Pech are a good candidate for the Undercommon but their native language seems to be Terran. I don't have a problem with that; I think it actually works nicely.

Another thing to think about, Horselords of the Pell is fully approved now and the Pell are a combination of refugees from Rhat'matanis and the Landadel Baronies (but way back in E'n's dark ages). This would realistically make their language a mix of High Landellian, Rhat'mani and the Inner Sea language antecedents.

Since the Seithr Mountains seems to be the default homeland of the dwarves I don't think it would be unreasonable to have Dwarven be the regional language. Ha'Gruut would then be one of probably several unrelated tribal surface languages. Considering the background of Irthos it could be totally unrelated to anything else (like Basque). This would maintain that independence of language from Rorn and Rhat'matanis that Mowgli wanted for the nation.
 
I liked Stonetongue and Cavetongue. Please no to the Uzak etc. I am another one that would never remember the names and their place associations.
 

Systole

Community Supporter
I thought about Seithr being Dwarven, but I don't think it's a good idea for two reasons. First, while it does make some sense, it starts to blur the line between regional and racial languages. The second reason is that I think it would take something interesting away from the Seithr region. For example, we could also say that Jira'sahe is the same as Elven, but I think that having a Jiragan language adds a fun paragraph to the region's writeup.

I really like Irthian being the equivalent of Basque.

Has [MENTION=6667193]sunshadow21[/MENTION] weighed in on whether Tritower should speak the same language as Venza?
 
I would say that Tritower would have a good mixture of Venzan and Landadel, being quasi independent, but strongly allied with Venza. Local affairs and courts would be handled independently, but military and larger regional affairs would be handled in cooperation with Venza. Basically I see Tritower as a place of importance in and of itself, separate from Venza, but with enough business, political, and military ties to place it firmly in the Venzan zone of influence. For the most part they work together, but Venzan officials can never assume that Tritower officials will automatically agree to everything.
 
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Systole

Community Supporter
That sounds like Tritower is close enough to share a language. Here's my revised list:

  • Common is otherwise known as Venzan or Low Landellian, and is spoken in Venza and the surrounding areas, including Tritower. As Venza is the world’s most developed trade center, the Venzan language serves as the default common tongue throughout the known world.
  • Middle Landellian, Old Landellian, and High Landellian are spoken in the Landadel Baronies. Old Landellian tends to be spoken in the more far-flung reaches. Tal Hallow uses High Landellian.
  • Deltan in the Ouhm River valley.
  • Irthian in Irthos.
  • Ha’Gruut by barbarian tribes in Seithr mountains northwest of Irthos.
  • Seithran in most of the Seithr mountain ranges.
  • Pech is the common tongue of deep dwarves and other dwellers underground, having been adopted from the racial tongue of the pech themselves.
  • Inner Sea including the areas of the Harran, Heth, and Rorn.
  • Rhat’mani in the Rhat'Matanis region.
  • Jira'shae in the lands of Jirago on the western continent.
  • Illessian for the areas near Illi Esse.
 

jkason

Visitor
  • Common is otherwise known as Venzan or Low Landellian, and is spoken in Venza and the surrounding areas, including Tritower. As Venza is the world’s most developed trade center, the Venzan language serves as the default common tongue throughout the known world.
  • Middle Landellian, Old Landellian, and High Landellian are spoken in the Landadel Baronies. Old Landellian tends to be spoken in the more far-flung reaches. Tal Hallow uses High Landellian.
  • Deltan in the Ouhm River valley.
  • Irthian in Irthos.
  • Ha’Gruut by barbarian tribes in Seithr mountains northwest of Irthos.
  • Seithran in most of the Seithr mountain ranges.
  • Pech is the common tongue of deep dwarves and other dwellers underground, having been adopted from the racial tongue of the pech themselves.
  • Inner Sea including the areas of the Harran, Heth, and Rorn.
  • Rhat’mani in the Rhat'Matanis region.
  • Jira'shae in the lands of Jirago on the western continent.
  • Illessian for the areas near Illi Esse.
Regional language names: YES
Venzan natives gain no regional tongue free: YES
 

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