Sunday, January 10, 2010

A Language Tree For My Setting

Here's a language tree I whipped up in Paint for a future campaign setting I've been working on (click to enlarge):

Professor Tolkien I'm not, but I've always been interesting in languages in an RPG. Why is there a "Common" tongue? Where does it come from? I created this chart to help flesh out my own answers, and hopefully for player entertainment as well.

I plan to do one for the Trollish, Orcish, and Ogrish tongues soon.


Matthew said...

Chronologically, does this go lower to higher, or higher to lower? ie: did all languages spring from the bottom three, or merge into the bottom three?

Also, I'm not sure how you'd make use of this in a game. Is it a fun detail and that's pretty much it, or does it have further uses?

Mark said...

This is awesome, Zach. I've been thinking of writing up a new campaign setting soon, and I think I might steal this idea.

Zachary The First said...

@Matthew: Lower to higher. All the languages sprung from the lower 3 (Dwarves, Gnomes, and Elves arriving to the setting via WorldGates, and so bringing their own linguistic legacy with them.

Yeah, it's just a fun detail, but for learned and scholar characters, it can help you decide which languages may be worthwhile.

@Mark: By all means! Let me know how it turns out!

Joseph said...

Seeing this, is brings to mind a practical, in-game use for such an exercise. Perhaps someone who speaks a related language can understand a percentage of another language. Maybe each degree of separation gives a 25% lower chance of mutual comprehension, much like someone who speaks Dutch can (mostly) understand someone speaking German, but has a much harder time understanding Danish, even though all three ultimately stem from the same root language.

Example, using your tree: Someone speaking Eshemian will understand someone speaking Norvu 75% of the time, because they're only 1 step away from one another. That same Eshemian-speaker would, on the other hand, only be able to understand 25% of what someone speaking Pure Vaornan is saying, by virtue of the fact that they both stem from The Ancient Tongue (much like Spanish and Italian both ultimately stem from Latin).

Neat post!

Zachary The First said...

Not a idea, that!

Zachary The First said...

lol..meant not a bad idea, that!

Andreas Davour said...

Hmm. That do reminds me of a huge table like that I have for Kulthea lying around here somewhere. These days I don't think I could be bothered, even though it is interesting with multiple languages. At least in theory.

The Rusty Battle Axe said...