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Author Topic: Use of the language skill  (Read 5169 times)
MonkeyWrench
Member

Posts: 160


« on: August 07, 2003, 10:06:02 PM »

Here's something that just popped in my head.

Language Skill:
How do other Seneschal's handle this? Although it's easier to just assume that anyone who pays for a language can speak and understand it I find it's more realistic to use ot like any other skill. Roll MA against your Language SR for anytime you attempt to speak or understand a language other than your native one. The number of successes determines the level of interpretation.
Fumble: Gross misinterpretation - definate negative consequences
Failure: Incomprehension - no idea what is being said, etc...
1-2: you can barely understand what is being said or what you are trying to say
3-4: you have a slightly better understanding of what is going on, but only simple phrases can be understood or spoken.
5-6: normal conversation
7-8: you have spoken the language fluently and can understand all the sublties of it
9-10: textbooks and seminars should be taught on your interpretation of the language
I feel that this definetly favors the academic minded character and gives incentive to use your language skills. You could also tweak them to work for the lore and knowledge skills as well. Hopefully I explained what was in my head well enough.

In addition in the skills section of the book on page 31 it says you buy a language at SR+1 so if I wanted an 8 SR I'd need to use 9 points to buy it?

Let me know what you think.
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-Jim
Overdrive
Member

Posts: 100


« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2003, 12:08:16 AM »

Quote from: MonkeyWrench
1-2: you can barely understand what is being said or what you are trying to say


Hehe :)
Usually I do understand what I'm trying to say, but yea, sometimes it is hard.

But if you do come up with your own chart on how well things went, why not use the same guidelines as in the book. 1 success meaning narrow success, 3 comfortable and 5 flawless. I mean, getting even 2-3 is pretty hard if your MA is 4.
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MonkeyWrench
Member

Posts: 160


« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2003, 01:33:41 AM »

Quote
I mean, getting even 2-3 is pretty hard if your MA is 4.


That was kind of the idea I was going for. Part of the reason is I want to give my own players (who like speaking lots of languages) an incentive to raise non combat related attributes. However I can see your point. I wrote the post as the thought just came up. I think that I'll alter it to the standard Margin of Success rules.
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-Jim
toli
Member

Posts: 313


« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2003, 08:06:53 AM »

Quote from: MonkeyWrench
Quote
I mean, getting even 2-3 is pretty hard if your MA is 4.


That was kind of the idea I was going for. Part of the reason is I want to give my own players (who like speaking lots of languages) an incentive to raise non combat related attributes. However I can see your point. I wrote the post as the thought just came up. I think that I'll alter it to the standard Margin of Success rules.


Rolling language all the time seems to be a bit of a pain in the a...I think I would have thresholds that define the character's skill.  Something like:

skill level
9-8  rudementary.  Must roll. to communicate anything beyond I'm hungry.
7 good.  must roll only to communicate complex ideas (theological discussions etc), give directions, discuss tactics, or to make puns..(ridicule etc)
6 fluent but accented. does not need to roll except when trying to talk without an accent.
5 fluent, slight accent
4 fluent no accent
3 fluent no accent, can immitate dialects
2 scholar/translator/linguist..etc.

At some point along the way Orate would become more important than the language skill.  

I'm not sure how you would define it for native speakers.  Native speakers might automatically be a 6.  Fluent but with dialect. 4 would be for more educated native speakers who would not speak in dialect.

I'm probably and Italian 6.5.
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NT
Sneaky Git
Member

Posts: 169


« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2003, 08:09:45 AM »

Quote from: MonkeyWrench
In addition in the skills section of the book on page 31 it says you buy a language at SR+1 so if I wanted an 8 SR I'd need to use 9 points to buy it?


As I read it, pg 31 is referring to character creation.  If you spend one of your "extra" skill points (equal to your MA) to open a new language, it opens at SR+1 (best SR as determined by the priorities you chose).

If you are concerned, however, with character progression, pg 69 addresses the improvement of skills once the character creation process has been completed.  They may be improved through use under duress (3 uses = MA Test), out-of-game training (2 SA = MA Test), or purchased as a new skill (2 SA = SR 9).

I have, as an optional rule, allowed characters to open a related (to their native) language at SR or SR-1, and an obscure or unrelated language at SR+2 or SR+3.

Quote from: MonkeyWrench
Although it's easier to just assume that anyone who pays for a language can speak and understand it I find it's more realistic to use ot like any other skill. Roll MA against your Language SR for anytime you attempt to speak or understand a language other than your native one. The number of successes determines the level of interpretation.


I agree.  In our games, my group likes to stress the importance of sounding like you belong...and the potential dangers of miscommunication.  This is how we handle it:

Characters open new languages SR 10, unless it is a related tongue, a circumstance that would grant them a -1 SR bonus.  Once a character has reached SR 7 (Proficient) with a language (or better), and is attempting to convey a complex message, or one using concepts unfamiliar to those listening (could be rarely used/seen/etc.), we require a standard skill roll.  The Degrees of Success table is used for this check.  If the character has yet to achieve this level of proficiency, then we require rolls more often.

Chris
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Molon labe.
"Come and get them."

- Leonidas of Sparta, in response to Xerxes' demand that the Spartans lay down their arms.
Sneaky Git
Member

Posts: 169


« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2003, 08:17:57 AM »

Quote from: toli
Rolling language all the time seems to be a bit of a pain in the a...I think I would have thresholds that define the character's skill.  Something like:

skill level
9-8  rudementary.  Must roll. to communicate anything beyond I'm hungry.
7 good.  must roll only to communicate complex ideas (theological discussions etc), give directions, discuss tactics, or to make puns..(ridicule etc)
6 fluent but accented. does not need to roll except when trying to talk without an accent.
5 fluent, slight accent
4 fluent no accent
3 fluent no accent, can immitate dialects
2 scholar/translator/linguist..etc.

At some point along the way Orate would become more important than the language skill.  

I'm not sure how you would define it for native speakers.  Native speakers might automatically be a 6.  Fluent but with dialect. 4 would be for more educated native speakers who would not speak in dialect.

I'm probably and Italian 6.5.


Doh! Missed the boat by 3min...

I like this, but would probably jimmy the levels a bit.  Of course, this could just be quibbling...  I would make SR 5 native.  You have an accent (regional) that other native speakers would be able to discern.  At this level, a foreign speaker would lose the accent that marked him/her as a foreigner.

SR 3 would allow the speaker to mask, or choose, whichever accent they pleased.  Having mastered the language, they can do what they want with it.

Sr 7 (sorry about jumping around) would indicate the level of proficiency/fluency that most foreign speakers stop at.  You know they're from somewhere else, but they can convey most concepts without confusion.

Chris
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Molon labe.
"Come and get them."

- Leonidas of Sparta, in response to Xerxes' demand that the Spartans lay down their arms.
toli
Member

Posts: 313


« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2003, 08:40:08 AM »

Quote from: Sneaky Git


Doh! Missed the boat by 3min...

I like this, but would probably jimmy the levels a bit.  Of course, this could just be quibbling...  
Chris


Quibble all you want.  I just threw those numbers out.  If 5 is native, 6 could be native but poor (uneducated, lower class, etc) speakers.  Native 6 speakers would speak dialect but not really speak the "official language".  Foreign 6 speakes would be more or less fluent, but accented.

Or something like that...you could also require rolls to try to pass as the next level.  1 success...you appear at your actual level.  3 success...you appear one level better...or whatever...NT
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NT
Mokkurkalfe
Member

Posts: 340


« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2003, 10:31:44 AM »

How about beginning your native language at 10 - MA?
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Joakim (with a k!) Israelsson
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2003, 11:10:43 AM »

If so, then I'd condense the chart some first. I mean a person with a 4MA having a heavy accent? Even if you interpret this as some local dialect, it seems to me that a 4 MA would get you a level 4 (fluent, no accent).

I'd also note that this sort of stuff only rarely comes up in play, IME. I mean its interesting in terms of fleshing out the character, but it's more a hassle to use in many cases than it's worth in actual play.

Mike
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toli
Member

Posts: 313


« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2003, 11:52:03 AM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes
If so, then I'd condense the chart some first. I mean a person with a 4MA having a heavy accent? Even if you interpret this as some local dialect, it seems to me that a 4 MA would get you a level 4 (fluent, no accent).

I'd also note that this sort of stuff only rarely comes up in play, IME. I mean its interesting in terms of fleshing out the character, but it's more a hassle to use in many cases than it's worth in actual play.

Mike


I think the average person (native speaker) would have an identifiable local accent.  It is fairly easy to tell from what part of the US the 'average' person comes by the way they speak.  It is pretty easy to tell from what part of Italy some one is from by the way they speak. In a time period without TV and radio the prevalence and strength of local accents and dialects would be even greater.  

Social class should also play an important role.  Highly intelligent people (MA5+) from the lower social classes would probably still speak dialect or with heavy accents regardless.  The social environement in which you learn to speak will have a great impact on language skills.  

Education would probably also be important.  Characters with 'academic' backgrounds would probably speak one level higher than normal due to contact with other speakers with potentially different accents and due to education (grammar lessons!)

So, you could go with 10-MA with the following modifiers:

Social class:
Serfs etc +1
low freemen 0
High freemen -1
Gentry -2

Education
academic -1
clergy -1
diplomant -1

Therefore the average low freman with an MA of 4 would get '6: native but dialect'.  High freemen would get '5: native accented'.  Gentry would get '4 native, no accent'

Just a thought. NT
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NT
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #10 on: August 08, 2003, 12:01:56 PM »

Some would say that "no accent" is an accent. But, given that the nobility decide what's "right", then we can say that "accent" is difference from their accent.

Works for me. Seems odd, but this could go in TFOB. Wars are fought on foreign soil, often, and battlefiled communications are of paramount importance in warring effectively.

Mike
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Valamir
Member

Posts: 5574


WWW
« Reply #11 on: August 08, 2003, 12:25:09 PM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes
Seems odd, but this could go in TFOB. Wars are fought on foreign soil, often, and battlefiled communications are of paramount importance in warring effectively.

Mike


That's a good idea.  A section in the mass combat rules on the difficulty of commanding mixed language troops or foraging on foriegn soil with a language barrier, would provide an easy excuse for such rules relating to the regular RPG.
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toli
Member

Posts: 313


« Reply #12 on: August 08, 2003, 02:36:38 PM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes
Some would say that "no accent" is an accent. Mike


True.  I was thinking more of "no regional accent for native speakers"  THe kind of homogenized TV dialect that doesn't really represent any particular place.  In my experince, it is a common 'accent' for traveled or educated people, and becomes more common with the TV age.

NT
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NT
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