Building Bhakashal - Languages
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One of the things I wanted to mess around with with Bhakashal was the ease of communication. I want the party to be able to communicate amongst themselves, but I also wanted having a language to mean something beyond window dressing. So I decided that there would be no “common tongue” spoken by everyone. However, the most common language is Saan. PCs get the ability to pick one “free” language beyond their initial allocation, so they can “play it safe” and take Saan. If, however, they want a chance at an “unusual” language, they can forfeit their “free” slot and roll, some rolls will allow for unusual language options.
Each language entry on the Bhakashal Languages Table has a number at the end representing the relative scope of that playable group in the overall population. Saan are the largest group at 8, next largest is Togmu and Malu (4), then Yalan, Jugyi, and Garudin (3), then Humans, Chitin and Vodnik (2), and finally Urdyll, Rakasta and Kutya (1). So there are 8 times more Saan than Kutya in the setting.
A. Initial Languages
At character creation all PCs/NPCs get their playable group language and one “free” language automatically, and one further language for every point of INT bonus. The process is to either\ choose their initial “free” language, or roll for it on the Bhakashal Languages Table. If their existing playable group language is rolled, then they roll on Special Table 1 instead. Any languages assigned through the INT bonus must be diced for, only the initial “free” language may be chosen from the Languages Table. If a PC gets a language they already know for a bonus language roll, they roll on Special Table 1.
Bhakashal Languages - (3d12)* Special Table 1 - (d12)
*If undetermined ahead of time, each NPC has a 8 in 12 chance of speaking Saan in addition to their playable group language, and every intelligent monster has a 4 in 8 chance. If undetermined, an NPC’s chance of having any particular language on the Bhakashal Languages Table is X in 12, with X being the languages relative scope from the table, e.g. any given NPC has a 2 in 12 chance of speaking Human.
Results on the Bhakashal Languages Table are the standard languages of the region. Possessing languages other than your own suggests that your PC had an interest or involvement with that playable group in your past. If you are a Human and you roll Urdyll as a language, perhaps your family of farmers lived near a Urdyll village. You can either address this with the referee and come up with an explanation, or develop it through role play later. In either case it is a role playing cue up to the player and referee to use as desired.
Special Table 1 results reflect involvement with non-PC groups that interact with the standard 12 playable groups for some reason specific to the setting. For example, ogres work as “muscle” in Bhakashal, they are somewhat rare and keep to themselves. But if rolled on this table some aspect of the PC/NPC’s past or present means they would know how to speak Ogre. Maybe one of their parents was a merchant and had an Ogre bodyguard. Player and referee should create an explanation.
Special Table 2 - (2d12)
Special Table 2 - represents creatures that are intelligent and have language but a PC/NPC possessing that language would be VERY rare, and would require a special explanation. So for example, all dragons in Bhakashal can assume any of the standard playable group humanoid forms, so they could have been a dragon in their orbit while in humanoid form who spoke the language and passed it on to the PC/NPC. A giant might be known as the PCs village or community interacted with them. A doppelganger is a different matter, and obvious possibilities suggest themselves. Again, the player and referee should work together to explain the possession of such an odd language.
B. Learning New Languages
Learning a new language above the PCs initial allocation (from A) requires the PC to find a tutor, and spend [5 - (INT bonus)] months in constant study (4 hours per day - 120 hours/month), or the equivalent spread out over more time to learn a new language. Cost will vary from 200-500gp (d4+1 )x100 gp per month of study.
Otherwise, someone living somewhere where the language is dominant or travelling with someone and learning through use will pick up the ability to speak and understand that language spoken after [8 - (INT bonus)] months of daily exposure and learning.
After character generation a PC may learn an additional number of languages equal to their INT bonus. Learning any languages from Special Table 2 will require specialized tutoring, either from a warlock, sage or a seer, and will cost 5x regular rates.
C. Languages and Role Play
All official activities and documentation by the Noble Houses, Guilds and Temples is carried out in Saan, though transcriptions are available for most major languages (scores of 2 or more on the Bhakashal Languages table) at a rate of 1gp per page, transcriptions for languages of score 1, or anything on the Special Table 1 will be 5x the cost, Special Table 2 transcriptions cost 5x this.
If a common language is not shared, communication is by sign language only, saving throw versus magic for each party to successfully sign the idea and to understand it, with INT bonus on both sides being applied.
Speaking a creature’s native language gives a bonus on the Encounter Reaction table.
Jinxes, Spiders and Thaumaturges learning new languages do so in half the time required and may learn any language from the Languages Table or Special Table 1.
Spartans, Cavarals, Voxes and Phantasmists can learn new languages from any table at half the cost, but at the normal time requirement through the monastery.
Seers can learn new languages from the Languages Table or Special Table 1 at no cost through the Temples, but it takes 2x as long.
Slayers can learn the language of a chosen foe or a general foe at no cost in half the time at their Temple.
Warlocks and their subclasses can learn a language from any table at half the cost and time through their Noble House.
Because the PCs may have languages that their interlocutors do not, they can effectively communicate in secret in certain circumstances.
Example - Chiri the Gossamer is a 1st level conjuror warlock with an intelligence of 15, giving a 3 point bonus. Chiri is a Saan, so speaks Saan, and picks Togmu for her free second language rather than rolling. She then rolls on the table three times, once for each point of her INT bonus, and gets Human, Vodnik and Saan. That duplicate result on Saan gets a roll on Special Table 1. The roll on Special Table 1 is a Naga. So in this case the referee and player decide that since Naga’s live in the marshes and sometimes provide spells for local villagers in exchange for goods or services, Chiri’s mother was the liaison between her village and a local Naga in the marshes when she grew up, and through her she learned the language.