Parent Pages: Rules

The version of this page for the GM is here.


There are many languages used in the Archipelago, varying both by region and race.

The Languages

This is by far not a complete list. Unless stated otherwise, all dialects provide understanding of other dialects at one level lower. For example, a Native speaker of Common would understand Planar Trade Common at the Accented level and an Accented Common speaker would understand it at the Broken level.

However, understanding at the Broken level provides no understanding of other dialects, as they're too different. The GM should allow someone in such a position to catch a word here and there, but not enough to follow or participate in a conversation.

Regardless of the degree of similarity, any related language can be bought up from the level provided by the other. For example, a Native High Elf speaker could pick up Grey Elvish at the cost of the Broken level, gaining Native comprehension in it.

Most languages have a pair of older dialects: Old and Ancient. Old is one step removed from the modern dialect and Ancient is two steps removed. These aren't normally spoken aloud and are most often encountered as text.


The language of Bariaurs.


Spoken by the giant-beetle Coleopterans, this is an insectoid language, quite difficult for most humanoids to pronounce. Non-insect races cannot learn to speak this above the Accented level.


The most common language. Spoken by most Humans, Dark Ones, Centaurs, Minotaurs, Pixies, Brownies and many Giants. Wildmen have their own dialect and there's a dialect used on other planes known as Planar Trade Common.

Planar Trade Common uses a number of unusual terms that make it sound similar to Thieves' Cant, but the same terms often have different meanings.

There's a semi-dialect for Quicklings, which is actually just Common without pauses between words, because it's spoken too fast. Familiarity with Quicklings and a little practice listening to them is enough to overcome the difference.

Common has an associated sign language, but very few that aren't deaf or mute understand it. There's also a Braille form for the blind.


This language is encoded in beams of infrared light that the Crystallinus shoot at each other. It's a complex, colorful (literally!), visual language based on transmitted pictographs. Their written language is exactly the same, with minor variations for a lack of pigments, as their writings are often carved in solid rock or crystal.

They occasionally display it via their innate Illusion power, when attempting to converse with more than one of their kind at a time.


Spoken by Dwarves, there's a dialect for each sub-race.


This is the language spoken by the inhabitants of the island of Egypt.


Spoken by Elves, there's a dialect for each sub-race. The Drow and Rockseer dialects are each two steps removed from the surface dialects and each other. Half-Elves speak the dialect of their Elf parent and/or Common.

The Drow use a unique sign language in addition to their spoken language, for the sake of silence. This is a separate language for all intents and purposes.

Fish Folk

This is a complex sign language involving both hand and body fins. Non-Fish Folk sign at one level of comprehension lower than they understand it, due to the lack of body fins. Fish Folk also suffer this penalty if they wear any kind of clothing that covers their body fins.


The language of Gargoyles. This is a guttural mixture of a number of other languages, allowing a speaker to understand Common, Goblin, Ogre and Troll at two comprehension levels lower. Please note that this comprehension default is one-way. At most, speakers of these other languages might catch a word here and there from a conversation in Gargoyle.


Spoken by the Githyanki and Githzerai. There's a dialect that's no longer spoken called Ancient Gith. The Githyanki and Githzerai dialects allows comprehension of the other at two levels lower.


The language of Gnomes, with dialects for each sub-race.


The language of all Goblin-kin, with separate dialects for Advanced Goblins, Primitive Goblins, Hobgoblins, Kobolds and Orcs. This also allows understanding Ogre at two levels lower.


Spoken by Humans and Minotaurs on Medusa Island, it's slowly being replaced by Common. It's also the native language of the inhabitants of Minos, as well as Medusae.

The Minoan and Medusa peoples speak two different dialects; this variation is a relatively recent development. The people of Theris Island once also spoke Greek, but this has fallen out of practice in the last few generations. They spoke the same dialect as the Minoans.


Spoken by Grimlocks, it is very rarely, if ever, learned by other races, because most of the time it's spoken outside the hearing range of other races.


The language of Halflings, with dialects for each sub-race.


The language of the squirrel-folk includes a long-range whistling/bird-call system that carries well through a forest but is limited to very simple concepts. The regular spoken form of their language is a rapid, chattering tongue, sounding almost exactly like the sound of regular squirrels.


This is a dead language most often used in alchemical, magical and scientific work. It is the predecessor to Common and several other related languages.

Lizard Man

The language of Lizard Men.


The language of the Modrons. This is a very ordered, exacting language with very strict sentence structure. However, Modrons usually speak to other races in Planar Trade Common. This language does not have any older dialects, as the Modrons have always spoken it the same way.

Mold Man

This unusual language is effectively neither a spoken nor a sign language with no written form. Mold Men communicate by tapping on their chest or another nearby object, making a noise that's used to encode messages, similar to Morse Code. It can be learned and used by quite a variety of races.


This is the musical-sounding tonal language of Nymphs. Provides understanding of Sprite at two levels lower.


Ogres and Half-Ogres speak this. It allows understanding Goblin at two levels lower.


The Saurial language is composed of words spoken at ultrasonic frequencies (that humans cannot hear) and scents that carry the emotional context of their words.


The language of Sprites has a very musical quality, sounding much like small bells being shaken. Provides understanding of Nymph at two levels lower.


The language of the Tabaxi is ancient and the current written form is largely unchanged compared to the oldest known examples. However the spoken form has changed and become a new dialect.


The language of the Tako is composed of a combination of tentacle movements (with eight tentacles!) and bodily color alterations. It's quite impossible for most races to communicate in without Shapeshifting.

Other races can actually learn to understand the language; it's only deceptively complex. After a few hours of watching it, an IQ-8 roll can be made to puzzle out the meaning of each sentence, without actually spending points, because the language is reminiscent of pantomime (if a mime had eight tentacles and the ability to change skin color, of course).


The language of the jungle-dwelling Tasloi.

Thieves' Cant

Not actually a language and cannot be purchased as one. Players should instead give their characters the Streetwise skill. The cant is a way of using any language with slang words to mask the true meaning of a conversation.

However, there is an associated sign language that can be learned as a language. This should be recorded on character sheets as Sign Language (Thieves' Cant). It's designed for subtlety, with most signs appearing as innocuous gestures, whereas the Gesture skill cannot so easily be hidden.


The language of Trolls.


This is a mixture of several languages and is spoken as a second language by nearly all deep-dwelling races, including Advanced Goblins, Drow, Deep Gnomes, Mind Flayers, etc. It's written using the Elvish alphabet, but understanding Elvish won't help in reading it.

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