Speak Language

Speak Language (None; Trained Only)

The Speak Language skill doesn’t work like other skills. Languages work as follows.

Check: There are three levels of familiarity with a language: proficient, conversant, and fluent. Proficient means the character know basic words and phrases, enough to get by (ordering food, asking about basic services, etc.). Conversant means he knows a fair bit of the language and can hold a conversation as long as the subject doesn't become too technical or esoteric. Fluent means he speaks the language like a native.

A character can purchase Speak Language just like any other skill, but each language has only three ranks. Each level (skill rank) costs 1 skill point; a character cannot spend more than 1 skill point per language when leveling up. In other words, he can't suddenly go from not knowing the language at all to being fluent in it – he must become proficient and conversant first.

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 automatically become fluent – the player is effectively deciding at character creation that the character can speak the given language fluently).

If a character is less than fluent in a language and is addressed by someone with a greater grasp of the language, he can make an Int check to understand what was being said. The DC is 10 if the speaker is proficient, 15 if he is conversant, or 20 if he is fluent. If the character is conversant, he gains a +4 insight bonus to his check (he can fill in gaps by using context and educated guesses). If the speaker is using a dialect the character doesn't speak, the character can make a DC 10 Int check to identify the language; his level of fluency is reduced by one step for purposes of understanding the speaker.

A list of common languages can be found on the table below.

Language Typical Speakers Alphabet
Abyssal Demons, chaotic evil outsiders Infernal
Aquan Water-based creatures Elven
Auran Air-based creatures Draconic
Celestial Good outsiders Celestial
Common Any Common
Draconic Kobolds, troglodytes, lizardfolk, dragons Draconic
Druidic Druids (only) Druidic
Dwarven Dwarves Dwarven
Elven Elves Elven
Giant Ogres, giants Dwarven
Gnome Gnomes Dwarven
Goblin Goblins, hobgoblins, bugbears Dwarven
Gnoll Gnolls Common
Halfling Halflings Common
Ignan Fire-based creatures Draconic
Infernal Devils, lawful evil outsiders Infernal
Orc Orcs Dwarven
Romanic Half-elves, half-orcs, humans Romanic
Sylvan Dryads, brownies, leprechauns Elven
Terran Xorns and other earth-based creatures Dwarven
Undercommon Drow Elven

Action: Not applicable.

Try Again: Yes, but only if the speaker repeats what he says in a simpler form.

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