101 uses of language in your campaign.

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I struggle to find uses for language in the game, but Im deptermined to try, here are a few of my ideas, please feel free to add.



1. the party is aproached by a band of halfings, they say something in draconic and then attack the party.  Any PC who speaks draconic isnt suprised in the first round of combat when they attack, any PC who doesnt speak draconic is supprised.

2. The party is aproached by a party of halflings, they say somthing in draconic. Any PC who speaks draconic can use their diplomacy / intimidation to convince the halflings they have the wrong adventurers, the other PC's (who might include the normal face) cannot (or maybe at a penalty)

3. A bonus to identification. I ask my players to identify new magical items. If they speak say elven then that will help them identify elven items. this would work with any task really though, trying to find somthing in the elven aleinage? Speaking elven gives you +3 bonus to your streetwise check.
4. There's a displaced goblin chief that has information about a goblin (or orcish, or whatever) warband that has been raiding local villages. He speaks only goblin and a bit of orcish. He will only speak to someone who also speaks one of those languages. If the character speaks orcish, they can get some information from him. If they speak goblin, however, he's both more clear (and thus accurate) and more forthcoming with information.
Boraxe wrote: "Knowledge of the rules and creativity are great attributes for a DM, but knowing when to cut loose and when to hold back, when to follow the rules and when to discard them, in order to enhance the enjoyment of the game is the most important DM skill of all." Keeper of the Sacred Kitty Bowl of the House of Trolls. Resident Kitteh-napper.
5. A sign written in dwarven says " beware the quicksand" if anybody can read it then you get to evade the quicksand!
6. The party has come across some senario where the sharing of information in normal spoken language would tip off a would be enemy. In order to obtain the critical information a different language very uncommon to the region is needed.
7. A merchant the character(s) are going to purchase items from misses his far-away homeland. If the party doesn't speak his native language, they shop as normal. If one (or more) of them do speak his dialect, he's so happy to be able to converse in his native tongue he gives them a generous discount.
Boraxe wrote: "Knowledge of the rules and creativity are great attributes for a DM, but knowing when to cut loose and when to hold back, when to follow the rules and when to discard them, in order to enhance the enjoyment of the game is the most important DM skill of all." Keeper of the Sacred Kitty Bowl of the House of Trolls. Resident Kitteh-napper.
8. After conquering a stronghold full of monstrous foes, the party finds some ragged survivors kept as slaves by the creatures. Kidnapped as young children, these desperate folk now understand only deep speech (goblin, giant, primordial, etc.), the language of their cruel former masters, and are not easily convinced of the party's good intentions without hearing words that they understand.

9. A quest might rely on someone speaking a language, maybe some one needs to repeat a certain line or recite a spell that will unlock some treasure or seal a demon prince in the abyss....it might even be a single word that needs to be spoken in several languages.  For instance, a Demon Prince was sealed in the abyss by an army of humans, elves, dwarves, and celestials.  To re-seal him, the word 'Eternity' must be spoken in common, elvish, dwarven, and celestial.  With that, the demon is sealed there for eternity....I don't know, something like that.

I am a level 29 Necro-POSTER! "...And then the cheese came."
10. Myself and another character in game both spoke a really random language. This allowed us to talk in secret with eachother to plan out stuff when people were nearby/listening. This lead to some cool encounters, but our DM threw us for a loop when one of our enemies "happened" to know the language (made sense for the NPC, at least), but feigned ignorance but still countered our plans.
11. A troll lives in the forest and it happens to speak the language of earth elementals. If you speak Terran you will be able to offer to hunt the Troll's favorite meat (bear) in exchange for unmollested passage through the forest. 

12. Your character speaks Goblin as well as Giant. While on a dangerous diplomatic trade mission to the hill country you overhear a quick conversation in goblin (a language the humans wouldn't know) about the betraying the caravan and keeping all the spoils.

13. LOL: The party is being guided by an NPC to a location. The NPC speaks a language that the party does not understand. One particular phrase was repeated over and over. At a later point the party somehow learns that the NPC was saying something rude and creative.

14. Cultists of a dark god are being driven mad over a riddle. To solve the riddle you must either know or find an NPC that knows the language. In this case significant research might be needed to identify the language of the riddle. Different cultists would be babbeling different elements of it along with broken bits of other prophecy.

15. If you play with trade/gambling/bartering checks give the defendor a plus 2 for every language they have in common ~ because the more syntax you share with someone the easier it is to understand them. (simple: use an int or cha skill check defended by a wis, int, or cha check) I have never done that but it makes sense, and I am sure I factored it into the general figurings somewhere  

16. Write the activation words of items on the side of the objects. The story of an ancient hero could be set into the heft of a magical sword, you would need to know the language to learn the story.. 
16. The party approaches a massive door with a hologram of 3d geometric pattern. They are unable to interface with the door control system because they cannot translate the Luminiuth text. This presents a problem because they now need to find some one who can read it to proceed.

My real screen name is WAR10CK. Space pirate science, We do what must because we can.

I mean 17. XD

My real screen name is WAR10CK. Space pirate science, We do what must because we can.

I thought this might be about how TSR used the Indoeuropean Root words from the back of the dictionary in all its products. Names of Towns, Rivers, mountains all are sourced from that collection of words.

18. A Simple translation error can lead to terrible complications and disasters.

Example:
Atlan Tepe: Go elsewhere to be warm.
Atlantepes: Large Penis (I kid you not).

Both those spellings have appeared on TSR D&D campaign maps. They mean two very different things. So if a word that means 'wolf cave' marks a cave on a map it might also simply be a word for 'lair'.
The Citadel Megadungeon: http://yellowdingosappendix.blogspot.com.au/2012/08/the-citadel-mega-dungeon-now-with-room.html