Primer on Languages

Languages are a subject that I want to touch on briefly. I find the way languages are handled in D&D to be jarring and an example of how an ease of use mechanic can ruin immersion. It is my desire to build unique identities to the various languages of the world and use them to expand on the unique cultures in the world. I’m worried that this exercise will ultimately be less than useful and may detract from the game. If it does, we can abandon it and go back to the simpler system presented in the books.

Allegian, referencing a now long defunct confederate of city states in the Southlands, Allegian is widely considered a ‘merchant language’ in the Southlands and is easily the most frequently used tongue in this part of the world. The numerous city states all have unique flavorings, dialects and accents. It’s easy to tell someone who was born in the slums of Freeport from a sailor who grew up near The Cape of Death. The script is utilitarian and lacking in much of the art and regality that Ilinin and Elrothias favor, but it has stood the test of time and managed to endure much more closely to its original form than the spoken version of the language has.

Non-Allegian tongues; The Southlands is a large region with numerous cultures. Those unique cultures have languages that predate the invention of Allegian and many still use these older languages. However, Allegian was a construct meant to create unity and ease communication, and as such uses the same script these older languages use.

Skarrik; The language of the barbaric Skarr. It shares a distant connection with Allegian but has long since developed into its own, unique language. Skarrik also shares some characteristics with Conflixion, enough so that someone who speaks Skarrik can understand broad concepts in Conflixion proper.

Conflixion; A scholarly name for a very non-scholarly tongue. Conflixion proper is the mother tongue of the brutal green skin races born from The God of War and his twin sons. Those peoples refer to it as The First Tongue or The High Tongue, and in their societies it is used as a formal language meant for ceremony and religious rites. Conflixion also refers not merely to the original tongue of Rellium, but also to the entire language family that is descended from it.

From Conflixion we arrive at the Brothers’ Tongues, or Dellish and Zhellish, are the core languages of the peoples borne from their respective patrons. The savage races of orcs and ogres speak Dellish while the gobliniods speak Zhellish. These twin tongues break down even further along racial lines and regional lines, with each race having their respective dialects and accents.

Conflixion tongues are very consonance heavy and those fluent in other languages consider it to be a very grating, harsh tongue to hear and to speak.Conflixion proper is very stylized and formal. As one descends, those characteristics are quickly lost. Dellish diverges quickly, with Zhellish being less so, but the difference between the Brothers’ Tongues and The First Tongue is marked.

OOC note; none of these languages uses a Dwarven Script, as presented in the PHB. Conflixion does have its own script, and the descendant languages use it, but the further one descends the less likely those who speak such languages bother with written characters and the more likely those characters (when used) have become so corrupted over the ages that they’re either wholly unique or their meaning has drifted far from the original intent.

Dwarven; The dwarven tongue is called Ilinin. Due to their isolationist culture, the Dwarven tongue is a rare thing to see in the world of Lorne. But where it exists, it is considered to be an erudite language beholden to libraries, treatises and manuals, a learned tongue meant to be spoken by a learned people.

Highly formal and stylized, the dwarven tongue has a slow, lingering pace to it and is filled with hard consonants but lacks in the harsh, grating nature that characterizes Conflixion.

Ilinin sees seldom use outside the dwarven mountain fortresses, but the use it received beyond being spoken by its people is in history books and the grand libraries of The Southland. The script is a runic alphabet, with characters representing both word sounds and whole ideas, making it an incredibly complex writing system that only the most dedicated of humans taking the time to learn.

Elvish; The elvish people of Lorne are a sombre race, drawing much of their identity from their exile from the Fae Realms. Their language, Elrothias, is often considered to be a beautiful tongue, and it made use of in poetry and song. It favors soft consonants and long, flourishing words. However, the language has become, over the past centuries and millennium, corrupted and now there are numerous ‘Low Elrothian’ dialects. This characteristic of the language stems from its Fae roots, and as many things in Lorne have no analogy in the Fae Realms, the elves must borrow words from the numerous Lornian languages.

Most people of Elven descent know (High) Elrothias and at least one Low dialect. For people who learn the Low dialects first, it is often said that then learning High Elrothias is more difficult, due to the changes in word usage and the subsequent context and phrasing changes that are inherent in the corrupted Low dialects.

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Primer on Languages

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