Torg Eternity Languages
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Torg Eternity leaves linguistic details up to the GM, so these are my rulings regarding languages.
Language Skill Levels
Each language skill can be purchased up to +3. While technically a Mind skill, you will never roll against it. Instead, each level represents a certain degree of fluency.
+0 = You do not know this language. If it's one you're familiar with and have been exposed to, or if you have a translation dictionary handy, you can haltingly and slowly communicate simple concepts, but all but the most basic sentences require you or the other speaker to make a successful Mind roll for proper understanding.
+1 = You speak the language just fine, if with an obvious accent. Sometimes you miss puns, the meaning of poetry, and other linguistic wordplay, however, and particularly rare or technical terms may sometimes throw you.
+2 = You've shed your accent and increased your vocabulary to cover almost any term. You get any obvious puns (etc.) but really subtle stuff may still slip past you. It is rare for any Storm Knight to need any language skill higher than this.
+3 = Native speaker in every way. You can even think in the language. For Copycat (etc.) purposes, everyone has their native language at this level for free.
The effects of the Linguist perk fall between +0 and +1; basically, you cannot communicate more than simple concepts, but it requires no success rolls and takes no longer than normal speaking. In addition, the GM will give you the benefit of the doubt when gauging your comprehension level of any language you actually have adds in.
Starting Language Skills
Each character starts off with their native language at +3 and a secondary language at +1, for free. If your native language is not English, your secondary language must be English, as that's the lingua franca of the Delphi Council.
Torg Eternity is a cinematic setting, as close to action movies as to our own reality. Thus, while the world still technically contains hundreds of unique tongues, in practice only a few Core Earth languages will come repeatedly in the game. Each language is dominant in certain parts of the world, but could be encountered anywhere. (In other words, the GM promises to default to NPCs speaking these languages whenever possible.)
Useful Core Earth Languages
Those with a * are especially useful for those trying to get by in as many countries as possible without breaking the character-point bank. The term "Austronesia" refers to the islands of southeastern Asia and the Pacific, such as Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Taiwan, and Fiji.
- *Arabic: Common in the Middle East, northern Africa, and pockets of Asia (esp. India and its neighbors).
- *Chinese: Common throughout Asia and Austronesia.
- *English: Common in North America, Europe, Australia, Austronesia, southern Africa, and southeastern Asia (esp. India and Japan).
- French: Common in Europe, Canada, and western and central Africa. Most Cyperpapacy communiques are in French.
- Hindustani: Common in Asia (esp. India and Pakistan) but found sporadically in other countries.
- Japanese: Common only in Japan but sometimes encountered elsewhere. Completely unnecessary to live and work in Japan, but important secrets in Pan-Pacifica are only ever discussed in Japanese.
- Russian: Common in eastern Europe, northern Asia, and pockets of the Middle East.
- *Spanish: Common in Central America, South America, and western Europe.
- Swedish: Common throughout Scandinavia (in northern Europe), uncommon elsewhere in Europe and North America. For game purposes, interchangeable with Danish and Norwegian.
That doesn't mean you can't take other languages! If your character should logically speak German or Portuguese, don't hesitate to take it. But expect the languages above to show up most often in game.
"Dead" Languages: Ancient tongues like Aramaic, Egyptian, or Latin may be learned as languages, but you can also translate them with a scholar test.
Most other languages in Torg Eternity are racial. The following are particularly useful:
- Daemonic (spoken by the Tharkoldu as well as Aysle/Orrrosh demons)
- Dwarvish and Elvish (two separate but similar languages; if you know one, you can understand the other with some difficulty and speak it with a strong accent)
Other minor races have their own languages as well, though players are only likely to take one when the GM imposes it as a "tax" for being a special snowflake ("You want to be an elf-trained Keefee? Fine, but Keefee is your native language so you need to buy Elvish and a human language separately"). These include deeply isolated tribes of humans, such as those from the Living Land's Merretika, who are their own "race" for cultural purposes.
Minor Languages of Merretika (Living Land): Darooni, Keefee, Larendi, Leopard Tribe, Ohibi, Pyrian, Serpentor
The languages of races eradicated by the High Lords long ago, like the Akashans and Ustanah, are not available to PCs . . . at least, not without GM permission and a really good reason.
Telepathy and Language
Any ability which allows mind-to-mind communication also grants the effects of the Linguist perk while in use. If the telepath (or the subject, for voluntary communication) actually has the Linguist perk, the two synergize into full-fluency translation.
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