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JohnChildermass

How to handle Languages?

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I am creating a new social skill for my Spy game. In Spycraft they had a Cultures skill so I am adapting it to Genesys. 

New Skill: Cultures (Intellect)

Focuses
Central America, Eastern Asia (including China), Eastern Europe (including Russia), Northern Africa, Northern America (including Greenland), Oceania (including Australia), South America, Southern Africa, Southern Asia (including Southeast Asia), Western Asia (including the Middle East), Western Europe.
 

Everyone in the game will start with their home culture. By purchasing the Cultures skill you will learn how to blend into those specific cultures, including the languages. You would gain one culture per rank taken. Still trying to decide if I  want to allow a one time gain of number of cultures equal to Intellect when you first take the skill. Instead of singular languages you learn a broader skill that covers languages and culture.

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Personally no. While in my game I want there to be some weight to the ability I am thinking having to buy talents may be too much weight. That's why I am contemplating the initial cultures/intellect rank when you first take it. Even with a maxxed out intellect and cultures skill that will only just cover all the foci. While I want languages to be a factor I don't want them to be a debilitating one. 

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On 1/7/2018 at 1:40 AM, KRKappel said:

As a general rule of thumb for RPG devving, particularly for Genesys/Star Wars, if your plan forces someone to keep an additional list or do some bean counting that the game doesn't already ask for, you might be going down the wrong road. Another good rule is to define your design goals.

This sentence is such a salient want to phrase an important design point that so many GMs miss when designing rules for their favorite RPGs!

When I've done Star Wars campaigns where players wanted to know how many languages they could speak, I just said, "you get some for your Intellect Rating, and make a Knowledge (Education) check at the end of character creation to see how many others your character has picked up before the game started. Rolling threats might mean you speak the language poorly, or with a thick/noticeable accent." I then make sure that the languages players have chosen (and especially languages they speak poorly) come into play during the campaign. But there's no more player bookkeeping about it after the game starts.

Also, that approach works for players who like that sort of game-ified character creation. If a player has a cool concept for a character that involves several languages, I say run with it. And then I make sure those languages come into play during the campaign.

I've also had players want to learn languages, which I turned into a skill challenge (see Order 66 Episode 63, I think... Maybe they did a different one about skill challenges in SWRPG more broadly). In other words, to learn languages, you accumulate successes across multiple checks using/translating the language toward some threshold of fluency. It's bookkeeping, but I'm a GM who uses skill challenges all over the place, even when my players don't know about it, so it's bookkeeping in a pattern I'm used to anyway.

Something like "Knowledge (Education)" is the best fit for learning languages, while still having a scope that makes it applicable to enough other things to justify its presence in a setting. I can't imagine creating narrow talents or other bespoke mechanics to learning languages.

Edited by sfRattan

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I have a special spot for "Languages" on the character sheet, followed by "Proficiency"

Languages are leveled. Each proficiency level costs 5XP. At 5XP (first level) the PC can communicate simple sentences with a strong accent. At 10XP (second level) the PC has no major problems conversing, except when speaking on academic or very specified topics. The PC still has a faint accent. At 15XP (third level) the PC speaks the language as a native. Becoming fluent therefore costs 30 XP.

Simple and no hassle.

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11 hours ago, lecudas said:

I have a special spot for "Languages" on the character sheet, followed by "Proficiency"

Languages are leveled. Each proficiency level costs 5XP. At 5XP (first level) the PC can communicate simple sentences with a strong accent. At 10XP (second level) the PC has no major problems conversing, except when speaking on academic or very specified topics. The PC still has a faint accent. At 15XP (third level) the PC speaks the language as a native. Becoming fluent therefore costs 30 XP.

Simple and no hassle.

This follows the rules for buying improved talents at higher tiers - but is speaking a second language more worthwhile in your game than the Dedication talent? The latter only costs 25XP.

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4 hours ago, player966703 said:

This follows the rules for buying improved talents at higher tiers - but is speaking a second language more worthwhile in your game than the Dedication talent? The latter only costs 25XP.

That's a fair point. I suppose it could be seen as a bit expensive, but if you have ever learned a language you know that it is not necessarily an easy feat!

Also, no prior tiers are required to learn languages, following my house rules. Dedication may cost 25XP, but you will have had to invest 150XP before even getting to Tier 5!

EDIT: Also, most PCs will be satisfied only reaching the second Proficiency Level.

Edited by lecudas

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