Monday, July 29, 2013

The First Language


The common language in the world of Seralin is a constructed language: conceived and kept up to date by the Society for Language, Vocabulary and Idiom, or SoLVI in short. This Guild changes the common vocabulary and grammar, and publishes a new edition of The Green Tome, almost every decade. There are now a total of eighty-six (86) editions of The Green Tome, all different from each other - sometimes only a little, but often greatly.

Common was originally designed to be easy to learn and to be understood by speakers of all existing languages​​. But in the dozens of editions SoLVI has released the language has changed so much that no one really knows what exactly is correct. There are dozens of versions of Common. The speakers of different versions can more-or-less understand each other, but is not really a common language that everyone uses, which was how it was intended.

But few people know there are no eighty-six, but eighty-seven versions of the common language. The first version of Common was written nearly 2000 years ago Dr. Alandra Sannie, a linguist at the University of Pretomournon. She based the language on a number of ancient scrolls adventurers had found in sea caves on the Silk Sea coast. After she had studied the roles, Alandra came to the conclusion that the unknown, ancient language they were written in was an ancestor to many - if not all - modern languages ​. She was amazed at the clarity and simplicity of the language, and decided to use it as a base for a new language that would serve as a common language to all people of Seralin.

Constructing the language took Alandra many years, but eventually she presented her life's work: The Grey Tome. The academics of Pretomournon received Alandra’s work enthusiastically, and the university immediately organized lectures in which Alandra could teach her new language to others.
No one survived the first lecture. Alandra had never spoken the language during her studies, and did not know the language was only safe as long as it was written. Pronounced out loud the words contained terrible power. Alandra was right: this flawless language could conjure beautiful images in her audience with only a few words, but her students gouged  out their own eyes so they didn’t have to see those images. Others stabbed sharpened pencils in their ears not to hear her words. Others jumped out of the window and, as this took place on the fourth floor, fell dead on impact or died on the way to hospital.

The Grey Tome was safely hidden in a vault and not until a thousand years later was brought out to consult while writing the first version of The Green Tome.  Linguists have paid more attention which elements of the language they used, so that their new language wouldn’t have the same terrible consequences. Yet, there are still traces of the Language of Death found in the current common language. That’s why words can hurt.

(The books below use the ‘Reading Eldritch Tomes’ rules from Realms of Crawling Chaos.)

The Scrolls from the Sea Caves
The original scrolls that a group of adventurers found in the sea caves on the Silk Sea coast. The five scrolls are all extremely fragile and must be treated with great caution. Someone rolling out a scroll must make a Dexterity check or the scroll crumbles to dust.

Spells: Power Word: Blind, Power Word: Kill, Power Word: Stun.

Complexity
Study Period
Total Comp. Rolls
Potency
Spells
14
6 days
15
16
3

Alandra’s Copy of the Scrolls
Alandra copied the fragile, damaged-by-silt scrolls in two thin notebooks bound in black leather. The text is almost the same as that in the scrolls, but it differs in a few key points: Alandra didn’t know the language in which the scrolls were written and therefore made ​​a few mistakes. The entire text has been annotated, and Alandra included a number of spells that were not in the original.
These books are long since removed from the vaults of the University of Pretomournon. Where they are at this time is unknown.

Spells: Confusion, Power Word: Blind, Power Word: Stun, Read Language, Read Magic.

Complexity
Study Period
Total Comp. Rolls
Potency
Spells
12
5 days
12
16
5

The Grey Tome
The Grey Tome is a thick book with a gray dust jacket. The pages are yellowing and gnawed at by worms and rats, but for a 2000 year old book is in good shape. It’s still in the vaults of the University of Pretomournon. Since Alandra wrote it, an unknown number of incomplete copies were made, that might pop up anywhere the Labyrinth Lord wishes.

This version of the First Language is perhaps the most dangerous: it has the power of Death Speak, coupled with the uncontrollability of people who want to use that power without understanding it. The words in this book easily describe the clearest images, but the images are of the sort the human brain cannot comprehend and have insanity as a result.

Spells: Confusion, Fear, Power Word: Blind, Power Word; Kill, Power Word: Stun.

Complexity
Study Period
Total Comp. Rolls
Potency
Spells
12
4 days
11
15
5

The Green Tome (first edition)
The first edition of The Green Tome is a book of great size with a green leather cover. It is much thinner than the Grey Book, and a lot less complete. The linguist who compiled the book was Somin Gennek, one of the founders of SoLVI. Gennek used The Grey Tome as an example to make his version of Common as clear and as easy to learn, but he was fully aware of the dangers that the use of First Language entailed. He was very careful, and the result was a common language that possessed only some dangerous supernatural properties.

Spells: Confusion, Read Language, Scare.

Complexity
Study Period
Total Comp. Rolls
Potency
Spells
9
2 days
2
10
3


Death Speak
This is the first language, from which all other languages have evolved. It is an ancient tongue of the dead, and it’s words are words of pain and corruption. It’s an powerful language and it can convey concepts and feelings, but it is difficult to pronounce.

Anyone who tries to pronounce Death Speak must make an Intelligence check with a -4 penalty. Failure means everyone hearing the words, including the speaker himself, suffers 3d6 damage and gets the irresistible urge to commit suicide. This works as a suggestion spell, but with a harmful act (obviously).

If the roll succeeds, the words of the speaker convey the emotions he wanted to express. This has one of the following effects:

Confusion: As the magic-user spell of the same name.

Fear: As the magic-user spell of the same name.

Joy: All people in the audience get a +2 Charisma and a +2 on morale rolls for 2d6 turns.

Love: The members of the audience get romantic feelings for each other and the speaker. Hilarity ensues.

Rage: The members of the audience go berserk, as described in the dweomer of rage spell, and start attacking each other.

Sorrow: All people in the audience get a -3 on all die rolls for 2d6 turns.

Learning Death Speak: To learn the First Language, someone should have a teacher who already knows it, or have access to The Silk Sea Scrolls, Alandra’s copy of them, or The Grey Book. The pupil must study for a total of 200 hours to learn the language. Then, even a rudimentary knowledge of the language is gained, and Intelligence checks to pronounce it are made with an additional -3 penalty (for a total of -6). This extra penalty will disappear over time, provided the character Death Speaks on a regular basis.

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