the Dungeons & Dragons multiverse is home to speakers of many different languages, and the average adventurer is usually fluent in at least two or three tongues. TO Dungeons & Dragons campaign with a focus on exploration or puzzles could use a fictional language as a plot device. Players could have to uncover the meaning behind the individual characters and words, in order to discover secrets or reveal hidden messages written by their enemies.
Fictional languages have been a part of the fantasy and science fiction genres for a long time. In the fantasy genre, most people will point to the Elvish languages created by JRR Tolkien for his Middle-earth setting as the most famous fictional languages, especially after they saw extensive use in Peter Jackson’s Hobbit-filled The Lord of the Rings trilogy. In the science fiction genre, the most famous fictional language is likely from Klingon star trekwith the franchise featuring many conversations held in the language.
There are some problems with using a fictional language in a d&d game and it involves certain spells. the comprehend languages and tongues spells are two examples of magical workarounds for any unknown languages that the players will encounter. If the DM wants to include a fictional language in their campaign and have it play a major role in the story, then they should take steps to avoid players breaking the game. There are some d&d spells the DM should consider banning for the duration of their campaign and the players should be informed before rolling their characters. Rather than going through every book in search of every class ability or spell that can automatically read languages, the DM should establish that magical translations are impossible in their world.
Using A Fictional Language In A D&D Campaign
The most obvious use for a fictional language in a d&d campaign is as a secret code. There are many evil organizations, such as cults or thieves’ guilds that would contact each other using a code that is known only to the members. It’s up to the players to break the code down letter by letter, either through context or through clues slowly given out by the DM, in order to learn what their opponents are planning. If the campaign involves an army, such as the 3e Red Hand of Doom campaign, then units would also communicate using codes, in case their messages are intercepted along the way.
The other use for a fictional language is for languages used by forgotten civilizations. TO d&d post-apocalyptic campaign that involves exploring a nation that has fallen into ruin centuries earlier would involve learning the lost language of the locals. A lost Netherese city that has reappeared in modern-day Faerun in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting would be a good setting for this type of campaign, with the players needing to learn the script used by its people, in order to uncover magical secrets and avoid the deadly traps that were left by wary mages from the past.
Fictional Languages To Use In D&D – Brittania & Ophidian, From Ultima
One of the earliest RPG series featured several constructed languages that the player would encounter on their journey. the Last series featured Gargish, which was the language of the gargoyle race, as well as the ancient runic script of Brittania. The Brittania language consists of runes that were heavily inspired by the Norse runic alphabet, so some of the individual letters should be familiar to players. the Last Codex wiki has the full Britannia alphabet and its English equivalents. The Brittania script would be a good replacement for the Celestial or Primordial languages, as there are already dwarvish scripts available in d&d books.
Ultima VII Part Two: Serpent Isle also contained a language called Ophidian, which also has its alphabet and numbers detailed on the Last Codex Wiki. What’s interesting about Ophidian is that all of its characters resemble a snake, making it a great choice of language for the yuan-ti, or for the Undercommon language used by many of the d&d Underdark races, such as the drow.
Giak, The Language Of Lone Wolf’s Enemies Could Be Used In D&D
lone wolf was a series of fantasy gamebooks in a similar style to the Choose Your Own Adventure or fighting fantasy series. The main difference with the lone wolf books is that they were a continuous story, with the first twenty books following Lone Wolf, and the remaining books following his student. the lone wolf series was created by Joe Dever, who also penned a supplement called The Magnamund Companionwhich details the world that the books are set in.
in the lone wolf series, there is a race called the giak, which are similar to the goblinoids or orcs from d&d. The Magnamund Companion features an entire section about the giak language, including its alphabet, numbers, common words, and grammar. The giak language has enough depth to suit the needs of a campaign and can easily be used as a d&d orc or goblin race language. The Magnamund Companion is no longer in print, but Must gave permission for a PDF of the book to be available on Project Aon, where it can be read for free.
Al Bhed, The Language Of Spira From Final Fantasy X In D&D
The Al Bhed language from final fantasy x isn’t so much of a full language, as it is a replacement version of English. In FF10, the Al Bhed are a race of humanoids who use the power of technology in a world where excessive use of science is considered to be a sin. The player encounters several Al Bhed during the early sections of the game and they talk in their unique language.
Over the course of the game, the player can find items called Al Bhed Primers, which reveal the language a letter at a time. Al Bhed just switches the letters of the alphabet, in such a way that they still resemble words, but the players will need to do some digging before they can work it out. The game rewards exploration, as FF10‘s world map is full of secrets, and uncovering the language leads to cutscenes with Al Bhed making sense. The page for the Al Bhed on the final-fantasy wiki lists the different letters. A player could come up with their own replacement language, but the Al Bhed one is already finished and it’s doubtful that anyone other than the most devoted final-fantasy fans would remember it by heart, so it should be safe to use in a Dungeons & Dragons game without the players working it out.
Next: D&D Races That Are Still Missing From Baldur’s Gate 3
Sources: Project Aon, Final Fantasy Wiki, Ultima Codex Wiki, (2)
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