02 April 2016

Elvish 3

I've done several things that my players despised.

Not least of which has been being rational about languages.

When you consider that at one time Portuguese, Spanish, French and Italian were all once Latin, it makes little sense to have a single language for a race.

Making the languages national really bothered several players.

But at least the number of languages was small enough that they had names and they were all [nation-name]ese.

The real rebellion happened with a nexus world.

Not wanting to come up with names for every language for every race from every world, I just started numbering them.  If a language was predominantly spoken by Orcs, then it was Orcish #.

This let me have some multiversal flavor without too much work.

I briefed the players, they seemed to understand.

Then when I looked over a character's sheet I see, "Elvish".

"Which elvish?" I ask.

"THE Elvish language." he replied.

"There's several.  Sometimes more than one per world."

[blank stare]

"Here on earth we have lots and lots of languages.  There's no one Human tongue." I try to explain.

"Yeah, but Elvish is ELVISH!"

"Where are you getting that?"

"Tolkien."

"J.R.R. Tolkien where there's Quendian, Avarin, Eldarin, Quenya, Vanyarin, Ñoldorin, Telerin, Sindarin and Nandorin all spoken by the elves?"

"No, Sindarin is ELVISH!"

"Got it, your character speaks Elvish 8."

"NO!  He speaks ELVISH!"

"Take a [-5] disad, 'Intolerance of Elves who don't speak Elvish 8."

[sputter] "WHY?!?"

"You're playing it, you should get the points."

1 comment:

  1. I was there for some of that. After a while, I couldn’t resist messing with their heads. I made a nonhuman character who didn’t speak English, and waited for somebody to try to talk with me; as I remember things, it was an NPC.

    “So, GM, this person speaking a mysterious foreign tongue at me; is he … a human?”
    “Looks like one.”
    “No problem, then. I’ll address him in his native language.” Points at language list on character sheet. “See, I’m quite fluent in Human.”
    “And what is it you think humans speak?”
    “Take Babylonian, toss in a bunch of loan words from various nonhuman races, and let linguistic drift chew on it for a few centuries. All the humans where I’m from speak that, therefore all of them do, right? Right. Of course.”

    Naturally, I did actually have a way to communicate with the party. I think it was translation magic, but I can’t swear it wasn’t some real-world language described in-character as a fictional construct with way more vocabulary work than Klingon.

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