Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Lingua Obscura

Languages are sometimes the bane of tabletop roleplaying games because it is tough to simulate them around the game table without making the gaming part of a roleplaying game come to the fore.  Players often scramble for their dice and their characters' spell lists to deal with the problems more expediently and lose sit eof what might be gained through simple observation.

While the Game Master can spout gibberish or even some real world language unknown to the players when none of the characters supposedly are familiar with the language being simulated, trouble rears it when some portion of the player characters are meant to be fluent while others are not.  In cases of the PCs hearing a spoken language, there's no simple solution except to narratively give some clues as to what is being said without hving the experience nose dive into bad comedy sketch territory.

So too, if a discovered language, as in the case of writing being found on some relic or tablet in a tomb or in some ruins, is meant to be an ancient form of one of the languages known to the player characters, just how much of it should be revealed to give some idea of the discovery without giving too much away?  Are there some numbers or names that span the gap to more modern times that might give some clue as to the import of what has been written?

In a recent article in the UK's news paper and website, The Independent, a newly discovered language is proving to give a real world example of that problem and some tips can be had on how to deal with one of the above problem by following along.  Read more here!

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