Decipher Script

Decipher Script (Int; Trained Only)

The PC can read languages and decipher codes.

Check: The Decipher Script doesn't work like other skills. Instead of buying ranks in Decipher Script, the character buy ranks in a language.

There are three levels of familiarity with a language: proficient, conversant, and fluent. Proficient means the character knows basic words and phrases (read/write on a child's level). Conversant means he knows the language and can read and write most books, letters, etc., as long as they don't use a lot of vernacular, slang, or obscure words (this is the most common level for the average person). Fluent means he can read and write the language with a high degree of proficiency (a scholar, priest, wizard, or other learned person).

A character starts at 1st level knowing one or two languages, based on his race. He is automatically fluent in these languages. He gains an additional number of skill points equal to his starting Intelligence bonus; these can be applied to buy one or more levels of one or more languages (this is the only case where a character can start off being fluent in a language, as it is assumed that the character has been speaking the language for some time previous to the start of his adventuring career).

When a character encounters a message or text with which he is familiar, he can make an Int check to read and understand it. The DC for the check depends on the complexity of the writing:

Complexity Equivalent Examples DC
Easy Proficient A child's primer 6
Moderate Conversant A book written for the average person 11
Hard Fluent A text written in an obscure dialect but using normal language 16
Very hard Fluent An in-depth scholarly text 21

The DC can also be modified by one or more of the following (add any that apply).

Criteria Modifier
Language is archaic (a form no longer used) +5
Language is old (an uncommon form) +3
Text is badly damaged (less than 30% is readable) +10
Text is partially damaged (30-60% is readable) +6
Text is in code (same alphabet) +6
Text is in code (different alphabet) +10
Reader is conversant in the language +3
Reader is fluent in the language +6

If the check succeeds by 4 or less, the character understands the general content of a piece of writing about 1 page long (or the equivalent). If the check succeeds by 5 or more, he understands everything on the page; if the check succeeds by 10 or more, he can discern any hidden meanings (double entendres, metaphors, hidden messages, etc.). If the check fails by 10 or more (or he rolls a natural 1), he has drawn a false conclusion about the meaning of the text (this is left up to the DM, based on what the text actually says). The Decipher Script check is made secretly, so the player can't tell whether the conclusion the character draws is true or false.

If the language is one a character can't read, but uses the same alphabet as one he can (Giant and Dwarven, e.g.), he can make a DC 10 Int check to identify the language.

Action: Deciphering the equivalent of a single page of script takes 1 minute (ten consecutive full-round actions) if the character is reading something at his proficiency level or lower, 5 minutes if he is reading something one level higher, or 10 minutes if he is reading something two levels higher.

Try Again: Yes, but only after the PC has acquired more knowledge (i.e., gained one or more ranks, or had part of the text translated/decoded/explained to him).

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