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How Does Someone Speak Another Lauguage?


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#1 selderane

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 05:56 PM

I'm still in the early bit of the book but I was asked by a future player about being able to understand Wookie.  Imagine my surprise when I couldn't find anything about languages in the index or the skill list.

Did I miss something?  What would enable a PC to understand/speak any of the many languages within the galaxy?


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#2 $hamrock

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 09:49 PM

I think thats kinda left up to the GM.  The players should be familiar with the "core languages", at least the more common ones, while a "new" or rarer species…. well it could be fun (as a gm), to have a communication barrier.  

 



#3 Donovan Morningfire

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 11:57 PM

This was touched upon in Episode 163 of the Order 66 podcast by Lead Designer Jay Little.

Rather than using the stratified approach to languages that the prior d20-based games took, the approach in EotE is more akin to what we see in the movies, and that most people (PCs especially) speak a wide range of languages automatically.  In a way, it's similar to how WEG approached languages, with most PCs being fluent in the more common languages, kind of like how we see Han easily conversing with Chewie, and after a while the other Heroes of Yavin are able to get the jist of what he's growling about.


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#4 selderane

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Posted 29 August 2012 - 12:59 PM

Thank you.  I'll listen to that podcast.

What you say makes sense… it's just been so long since I player D6 Star Wars.

Good God I miss that game.  I have high hopes for EotE, however.


Rebel: 4 X-Wings, 1 GR-75 Transport, 2 Y-Wings, 1 A-Wing, 1 B-Wing, 1 YT-1300, 1 Corellian CR90

Imperial: 4 TIE Fighters, 2 TIE Interceptors, 2 TIE Advanced Fighters, 1 Firespray-31, 1 Lambda-class shuttle


#5 lupex

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 04:38 AM

Its a good idea gamewise but it kinda puts c-3po out of a job.

"I am fluent in over six million forms of communication."

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#6 selderane

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 06:28 AM

lupex said:

Its a good idea gamewise but it kinda puts c-3po out of a job.

"I am fluent in over six million forms of communication."

"So what Golden Rod!!!!"

Good point.  Though, I suppose, you'd make the argument that when that particular ability came up, the PCs wouldn't really have a good reason to know the language in question.

"Really, Dave?  Your speeder mechanic speaks Ewok?"

Still, I'd like to have seen some kind of language system in place.  Yes, every speaks Basic.  Maybe they can muddle through two other languages of their choice, but beyond that?

Luke speaks Basic and made some of the Jawa trade language.  I'll give you that he even picked up some Wookie over time.

But we know he didn't speak Huttese.  Well, how do you decide that?  Isn't it just as easy to say he did as to say he doesn't?


Rebel: 4 X-Wings, 1 GR-75 Transport, 2 Y-Wings, 1 A-Wing, 1 B-Wing, 1 YT-1300, 1 Corellian CR90

Imperial: 4 TIE Fighters, 2 TIE Interceptors, 2 TIE Advanced Fighters, 1 Firespray-31, 1 Lambda-class shuttle


#7 Callidon

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 06:36 AM

lupex said:

 

Its a good idea gamewise but it kinda puts c-3po out of a job.

"I am fluent in over six million forms of communication."

"So what Golden Rod!!!!"

 

 

C3P-0 came in the most handy when the group encountered a truly new alien species.  Rather than relegating old 3PO to being occasionally useful, you could just decide on the fly whether or not a certain species counts as a rarity in the galactic community.  A likely thing out in the black of fringe space.  Plus 3PO was always able to speak any language as well.  That could be really useful for conducting smuggling operations by speaking in odd languages.  And when your party unwittingly discovers Endor for the Empire on an Imperial scouting contract…your protocol droid will be able to speak with the little furballs.

 

As a total broad untried suggestion, I'd say that any species from the Core or Hutt space is going to be more or less understandable to each other even if they don't speak the languages fluently.  You more or less have a situation where the Barabel is speaking space-French, and your fringer is speaking rim-Itallian.  Both parties understand the other for the most part (slang and jargon being hit or miss) but they continue speaking space-French and rim-Itallian to anyone listening to the conversation.

I'd be more inclined to make fringe communication a tad more difficult for a Core based person hanging out on the Fringe.  They may be conversant in four or five common languages in the core, but when it comes time to understand or speak Huttese…you get Brad Pitt from Inglorious Basterds "Bon jee-or-no"


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#8 Donovan Morningfire

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 10:47 AM

Actually, I had this thought early today over on the D20 Radio message board as a poster there asked the same question.

My solution was for those languages that the GM honestly feels the players would not already have a way of knowing, have them make an Intellect check, with the difficulty based upon how rare or generally hard to understand the language is.  Increase the difficulty by one for obscure or highly technical information, and reduce it by one (minimum Easy) if the speaker is trying to convey very simple information.

So for Shyriiwook (Wookiee-speak), it'd be an Average difficulty under most circumstances, Hard if he's trying to explain why your speeder's engine failed, and Easy if he's asking where the little sentient's room is.  Conversely, trying to decipher the Sith language would be at least Daunting.

Actually, now that I think about it, this could be an excellent use for the Knowledge (Education) skill; a person with a broad, more in-depth education would probably have had more exposure to different languages, and thus a better chance of understanding other languages.

And if you really do want to go the route of "you only speak X number of languages," then I'd suggest X be equal to the character's Intellect (as everyone seems to be able to converse in at least a couple of languages) plus their native tongue, with each rank in Knowledge (Education) providing an extra known language.  So a hot-shot bush pilot fresh off the moisture farm with an Intellect of 2 would speak Basic and two other languages (one of them likely to be a trade language), while a seasoned scholar with Intellect 3 and Knowledge (Education) 2 would be fluent in five languages in addition to their native tongue.


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#9 cetiken

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 07:43 PM

selderane said:

But we know he didn't speak Huttese.  Well, how do you decide that?  Isn't it just as easy to say he did as to say he doesn't?

My approach is to simply ask the player. "He address you in his native Huttise, do any of you speak the language?" The game then proceeds from there. 



#10 lupex

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Posted 03 September 2012 - 12:10 AM

I really like both of these two approaches, mechanically based and narrative based, I would be inclined to have characters select languages  as they come up based on the narrative and give free languages based on the races of the party members?



#11 GM Chris

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 08:36 AM

Don't speak an obscure language?

 

Sounds like a Destiny Point, if I've ever seen a good suggestion for one.


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#12 Donovan Morningfire

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 09:26 AM

GM Chris said:

Don't speak an obscure language?

Sounds like a Destiny Point, if I've ever seen a good suggestion for one.

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#13 Librarian

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 08:50 PM

 I am not a big fan of letting everyone speak everything, give a player the option to speak every language and there is a good chance they will take it. heck star wars is full of characters not understanding other characters, thats why droid linguists exist.

I am normally against adding more skills to this system but I think there is a good enough argument for a Linguistics skill which by default grants you intelligence+linguistics ranks in fluent languages and lets you roll to determin if you understand or can get your point across in other languages, if you get a triumph on a roll it lets you speak that language without rolling for the rest of the session regularly succeding at difficult linguistics checks for the same language might allow you to add it to your fluent languages list.



#14 Donovan Morningfire

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 11:51 PM

Librarian said:

I am normally against adding more skills to this system but I think there is a good enough argument for a Linguistics skill which by default grants you intelligence+linguistics ranks in fluent languages and lets you roll to determin if you understand or can get your point across in other languages, if you get a triumph on a roll it lets you speak that language without rolling for the rest of the session regularly succeding at difficult linguistics checks for the same language might allow you to add it to your fluent languages list.

I don't think you need to add a new skill.  If you do want languages to be skill-based, make it a feature of either Knowledge: Education or Knowledge: Xenology.

I proposed earlier in the thread that if you really want a hard-coded system, each PC starts knowing their native language, plus one additional language for each rank in Intellect, with Knowledge: Education and/or Knowledge: Xenology adding at least one more known language per rank.

This way, you could have Han Solo, who probably starts with an Intellect of 2, be fluent in Basic and Huttese, then picking up Shyriiwook with a rank in Knowledge: Xenology (he does seem to be decently informed about other species and cultures due to his wide travels) as one of his bonus skill ranks for being a Human.

Luke on the other hand, being a fresh-faced farmboy also with an Intellect of 2 just speaks Basic and probably some Jawa Trade Language.  Due to constantly hanging out with the big fuzzball, GM George decides that Mark's character can get the basic jist of what Peter's character is saying without having to make any kind of check or reducing Peter to playing charades in order for Chewie to get his point across.


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#15 $hamrock

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 08:34 PM

On the same note, there is the option under "destiny" that lets the characters dictate a part of the story. As a mechanic they could easily spend a destiny point and say "good thing my nanny was a hutt"  or whatever, thus giving the language as a background. 



#16 Librarian

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 08:40 PM

 as it is now there is really no compelling reason aside from GM fiat to not decide you speak every language imaginable.

on another note I though about using education or xenology as a basis but it seems many of the most multi lingual characters from the books and movies are not heavily educated but well traveled, han speaks many languages because he travels alot not because he has a masters in alien languages, liea by comparison is very well educated and very intelligent but rarely shows a great facility with languages, luke it seems at first speaks only basic and a bit of jawa trade but by return of the jedi has learned atleast shirwook, tweilek, and binary.



#17 Donovan Morningfire

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 01:25 AM

Librarian said:

 as it is now there is really no compelling reason aside from GM fiat to not decide you speak every language imaginable.

on another note I though about using education or xenology as a basis but it seems many of the most multi lingual characters from the books and movies are not heavily educated but well traveled, han speaks many languages because he travels alot not because he has a masters in alien languages, liea by comparison is very well educated and very intelligent but rarely shows a great facility with languages, luke it seems at first speaks only basic and a bit of jawa trade but by return of the jedi has learned atleast shirwook, tweilek, and binary.

Actually I always figured Bib was speaking Huttese, the language of his master's court, and that Luke at least had enough passing familiarity with the language to suss out that the major domo wasn't going to admit him.  Leading to Bib's mind being on the wrong end of a Jedi mind trick

As I suggested earlier in the thread, if you really do want a hard mechanics-based cap on the number of languages your heroes start out knowing how to speak, simply use their Intellect rating, with them getting Basic and their species' native tongue for free (which means Humans only get Basic out of the gate), and that more can be 'learned' during game play, probably with Knowledge (Education) or Knowledge (Xenology) checks.

Luke probably picked up enough Binary to get the jist of what Artoo was saying thanks to some good Intellect results, but still needed a datapad to translate the more technical stuff, and Leia botched her check to see if she could understand Chewie (the GM opted to spend a destiny point to upgrade one of her difficulty dice to a challenge die, which then came up a Despair) and so had trouble with Shyriiwook for the rest of the campaign.


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#18 cetiken

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 12:43 AM

 Or from my table perhaps when Chewie's player made a bad pun she decided she didn't speak "furball" and made a point of ignoring him. 



#19 Sirkamina

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 02:37 AM

We have run into this 2 times now. The first one was the droid in the group deciding to speak with a Hutt- owned droid discreetly by speaking Binary.  The rules were not questioned at this point as they were both droids and it made sense. However our group ended last session having gained a wookie party member through the storyline. Our GM has ruled that we will pick up the language through interatction with the character (more intelligent players picking up faster) but for right now, the wookie has a notepad

Despite Really likeing the fluid nature of the game and really disliking "you get a number of languages based on your int" or "purchasing languages through skill points" I would like to see a paragraph that at least says to pick languages you feel are appropriate for your character and then have a list.

 

That aside we keep forgetting about the language barrier as we had a few conversations with a hutt prior to encountering the wookie which triggered our discussion.



#20 Kallabecca

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 05:32 AM

Sirkamina said:

That aside we keep forgetting about the language barrier as we had a few conversations with a hutt prior to encountering the wookie which triggered our discussion.

Hutts can speak languages other than Huttese. So, it is possible that he was speaking with the party in Basic. The only time language barriers really seem to come into effect is when dealing with Sapients that can't speak other languages, like Wookies.

The reason for the lack of fine grain distinction in the game seems to be to keep it cinematic. Like in Star Trek… they all speak English, even when it is a new planet that they've never encountered before. Saves the writers time in the episode to get the real plot going rather than wasting time over and over again showing the crew members picking up a new language or teaching theirs to someone else.






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