Languages (Dominaria Supplement)
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Creator's Note on Common
The world of Dominaria is so huge with so many different countries and peoples that I have split Common (and a few other languages) along regional lines. I realize some people may think this complicate things, but given the history of my world and all of the different countries it really helps the feel of the world. It gives each region a distinctive feel and allows DMs to emphasize the differences between regions. Sub-regions within countries can also have their own languages, allowing the natives to converse without giving away secrets and making regional Guilds even more clannish abroad. Don't worry though, given the map I have I don't think I take it too far, and many languages can be understood by people who speak related languages with an INT check.
Overall, this really allows me to give flavor to my world and really emphasize how far ranging adventures can get. Also it really tends to make the party 'voice' more important and helps people out who have good back-stories (allowing them to take multiple languages or a specific regional tongue. The back-story is really important here, characters who have spent their entire lives in Arcadia shouldn't know the Mountain Tongue from the northern Imperium for example. But enough of my rambling, on to the languages. Note that I've included the intended feel of some of the more common languages, giving an accent to them or changing diction for each one will help a lot.
Any language listed as a 'primary language' denotes it as the most important language in the region. All of the other languages are listed for regional intricacies of simply to add flavor. They need not be used.
- The Imperium
- Imperial Common (Primary Language, American-English feel): Spoken throughout the Imperium. Everyone in the Imperium proper (Cormyr, Illeria, Ramosia, The Northern Alliance), Arcadian Andor, (except the remotest parts), the Ruul Valley, Illûnia, and Velmorra will be able to speak Imperial Common
- High Imperial (English Aristocrat feel): High Imperial or "Chant" is the language of Nobility throughout the Imperium. Any member of a High House (and most Low Houses), Court official, high-raking military officer, powerful trade magnates and guild heads, and any of the powerful Court hangers-on (noble Knights and Bards and such) will speak High Imperial. People not of high nobility or office will usually be seen as pompous or overreaching if they speak High Imperial. High Imperial stems from Imperial but many words and phrases and even motions have subtle meanings, people speaking Imperial Common will be able to basically understand High Imperial but only a DC 20 INT check will reveal the full meaning.
- Ramosian Common (Southern-American Drawl): As Ramosia was independent until the formation of the 3rd Imperium, most of the Ramosian inhabitants speak Ramosian Common. Their accent is slow and smooth and sometimes seen as a reflection of their largely pastoral culture. People in Ramosia's five powerful city-states and the few lesser cities are the counterpoint to this however. Ramosian Common is similar enough to Imperial (really only an accent and some diction changes) to be understood with an DC 15 INT check.
- Cormyri: The now ancient tongue of the Kingdom of Cormyr is spoken only by very few (usually learned or noble) Cormyrians. The Cormyri people have spoken Imperial Common since the beginning of the 1st Imperium (2nd Age) so it should be stressed that this is nearly a dead tongue and those outside of the Cormyri Houses or scholars should have a good reason to know it.
- Illyrian: As with Cormyri, Illyrian dissapeared when the Republic of Illyria merged with Cormyr into the 1st Imperium. It is, by and large, spoken only by the Illyrian nobility and scholars. An interesting wrinkle here is that ever since the reign of John I Tionne of Illeria became the 1st Emperor, Illyrian has been the secret tongue of the Palace Guards and is often used to cipher Imperial military dispatches.
- Mountain Tongue: A bastardization of Imperial Common and Dwarven, the Mountain Tongue is spoken by the natives of the Northern Alliance Houses. It dates back to before the 2nd Imperium (when the loose alliance of Houses joined the Imperium). It was developed largely as a trade language and eventually became standard due to the many alliances of the northern Houses with the Dwarves during wartime. It is very difficult to pick up meaning from the Mountain Tongue, even if you know Imperial Common or Dwarven. A DC 20 INT check is required to pick up the basic meaning of the sentence.
- Velmorran: A very nearly dead language left over from the Velmorran Hegemony of the 2nd Age. Seen now only in their extensive works from the time.
- The Coastal Kingdoms
- Beldroni (Primary Language, South-London English feel): The language of the Beldroni Kingdoms and the feudal lands of northern Beldron known colloquially as 'The Sword Coast'. It is an unusually crass and vulgar language - indeed the Beldroni swear much the same way most folk use verbs and adjectives. This is usually off-putting when people first meet the Beldroni but is generally accepted once the person realizes they mean no harm. It is close enough to Imperial Common that a DC 15 INT check will render it intelligible.
- Hellenic (Primary Language): The language of the Hellenic City-states is the oldest human tongue, dating back to the first human settlements in the 1st Age. It is very different from the other languages in the area but the citizens of the Hellenic city states still use it exclusively when in their own cities. The fact that it still exists is a testament to the deep pride of the Hellenic people. Outside their lands they will use the local tongue of course, but it is not uncommon for an average Hellenite to only speak Hellenic.
- The Isles
- The Arcadian Empire
- Arcadian Common (Primary Language, Italian feel): The language of choice throughout the Arcadian Empire and it's Territories (Andor, Felix, Selucia, Concord). Everyone in these areas as well as a fair number of people from the western Caliphate will be able to speak this language.
- Andoran: The Ancient Language of the Lion Kingdom is a barely remembered secret spoken now only by the Wizards of the Red Tower and the follow on guilds they have throughout the Hellenic States and Arcadia
- Selucian: A through bastardization of Arcadian and Easterling that developed before Arcadia ever conquered Selucia. Your average Selucian is thoroughly bilingual (Selucian and Arcadian) so it is now merely a regional language. The nominal center of the Selucian culture and therefore language speakers is the port city of Rishdan. Also it is a trade tongue for the powerful Rishdani Guilds and it's little known nature allows them incredible freedom of tongue among each other wherever they go.
- The East
- The Northlands
- Gutter Argot
- Gutter Argot is an insane combination of human and demihuman languages spoken throughout the underworld of humanity. Gutter Argot is spoken in back alley sales and back room deals in every corner of Dominaria inhabited by Humans. Due to the nature of the language, each person has their own little nuances and puts their own spin on it. Therefore, even with the language, a DC 10 INT check every time a new person is spoken to in Gutter Argot.
- The Elven Kingdoms
- High Elven Houses
- Dark Elves
- The Grey Elves
- The Sylvan Elves
- The Aquan Elves
- Western River Clades
- The Beldroni Clade
- The Novan Clade
- The Najiki Clades
- The Drow
- The Kingdom of Argentum
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