The Storm Has a Name
Use: Cannot be used unskilled though linguistics can be used in its place. Macro skill.
Sample limitations: English, French, Japanese, Edeinos, Stalenger Tap-Sign, High Ayslish, Akashan
Sample specializations: reading, writing, archaic, formal
Axiom: Social 3
Language gives the character the ability to speak another language (characters do not need the skill for their native language.) It can be taken multiple times to represent the ability to speak several additional languages. As a macro skill, language skill checks usually only have to be made once per conversation, players do not have to roll every time their character says or hears something in a foreign language.
To speed play even further, gamemasters may wish to assume that a character’s base language skill value represents the character’s normal level of fluency in the language and skill checks are only required when the character needs to communicate “above her level”. The following charts can be used to gauge a character’s fluency and the difficulty numbers for communicating at a certain level of fluency:
Minimal fluency—Basic phrases and important words, the type of things found in phrasebooks (“Please help me, I’m lost.” “Don’t shoot!”)
Average fluency—Remedial ability, knows basic grammar has a fair vocabulary of words and phrases (“Can you recommend a restaurant?” “I need to find the nearest bank.” “Don’t shoot, I’m not dangerous.”)
Good fluency—Can carry on a normal conversation with a little difficulty, still stumbles over the occasional word or concept. Knows enough to get through normal, everyday situations. Speaks with a noticeable accent.
Superior fluency—Knows the language as well as the average native speaker. May still have trouble with archaic or specialized words and ideas such as slang, technical terminology or an offshoot dialect. Has a neutral accent.
Spectacular fluency—Has mastered the language, is indistinguishable from a well-educated native speaker. Speaks with a native accent.
The number of different languages in Torg that are available under the language skill is being left for each gaming group to decide on their own. Most of the invading realms either speak some form of an Earthly language or possess the ability to immediately give knowledge of a new language to its inhabitants so communications in the game can easily be reduced to just a handful of Earthly languages.
On the other hand, some groups may prefer the increased realism of having to deal with the large number of different languages that exist just in Core Earth, not to mention the additional languages spoken in the invading realms. Having to work through a communications barrier can provide some interesting roleplaying challenges. But it can also slow down play and hinder the flow of the action.
How both sides of the equation get balanced will depend on how each group wants to play it.