Languages

There are a wide variety of languages and scripts used by the people and creatures of the multiverse. Some languages share scripts, but have different “dialects” that can only be understood by someone who is proficient in that language.

Standard Languages

Common is spoken and understood by most of the free peoples, being the most popular and wide-spread language in the Known World. It is primarily a human dialect, though most races learn and understand common due to its prevalence throughout the world. All playable races understand common, and it is a first language for humans, half-elves, half-orcs, and tieflings. It is written in common script, a simple and flowing form of writing, which varies based on geographical location.

Dwarvish is full of hard consonants and guttural sounds. It is spoken primarily by the dwarven race. Dwarves are very protective and secretive about their language, typically only speaking it amongst other dwarves, and rarely in front of outsiders. The only widely known and understood dwarvish phrases are those shouted by dwarven warriors during battle. It is written in dwarvish script, which is an alphabet of sharp, angular runes typically carved into stone.

Elvish is fluid, with subtle intonations and intricate grammar. Elven literature is rich and varied, and their songs and poems are famous among other races. Many bards learn their language so they can add Elvish ballads to their repertoires. It is written in elvish script, which is a series of beautiful, elegant, and flowing cursive letters.

Gnomish has many similarities to the sounds and utterances of dwarvish, but with a vocabulary and richness more alike to elvish. It is the primary language of gnomes. Gnomish is renowned for its use in technical treatises and for chronicling information. It is not uncommon to find encyclopedias and scholarly tomes written entirely in gnomish. Its script is very neat, clean, and scientific in appearance.

Halfling isn’t as secret as dwarvish, but halflings are loath to share it with others. The halfling language is very musical and jocular in tone, and halfling poetry, song, and story-telling traditions are very strong. Halfling is written using its own script, which is a fairy simple script but which features many markings and flourishes.

Exotic Languages

Aquan is the language of aquatic peoples, such as merfolk and merrow. Its tones are fluid, bubbling, and elegant, and sounds like a gentle tide. It’s script utilizes many wavy and flowing symbols.

Arcane was by magic-users for use in spells and texts. It is a difficult language with a steep learning curve, making it ideal for concealing clandestine knowledge. Its script makes use of borrowed symbols, sigils, and runes from others, creating a sort of “magical freehand” for describing and explaining spells, enchantments, and rituals.

Avian is the language of avian creatures, such as aarakocra, kenku, and harpies. It can sound similar to birdsong, using chirps, squawks, screeches, and crows. It’s script resembles short scratches and lines that resemble the prints of a bird’s talons.

Celestial is the language of celestials, such as angels and devas. It is also spoken by many celestially-aligned gods. It has become the “holy” language of celestially-aligned priests, monks, clerics, and paladins, and many holy texts are written using the celestial script, which appears

Dark Tongue is the language of shadow and darkness typically spoken by inhabitants of Shadowfell, undead, necromancers, and dark wizards.

Eldritch, is the tongue of aberrations of the Far Realm such as mind flayers and gibberlings. It is the speech of the Outer Gods. It sounds like insane gibbering, guttural syllabic nonsense, and phlegmy gurgling that is unnatural and frightening. It’s script is alien, impossible to read, and made up of concentric shapes and sprawling lines that form eldritch symbols of unknowable origin.

Deep Speech is the common language of the inhabitants of the Underdark, and is also called Undercommon. It is not the primary language of any one race, but rather a language that members of different races and cultures can use to interact, trade, and communicate.

Draconic is the ancient tongue of dragons and dragonkin, such as kobolds, lizardfolk, and dragonborn. Its overall sound is characterized by many hard consonants and hissing. It has its own unique script which can be described as straight lines and curving, sickle-shaped strokes that could be scratched by a dragon’s claw.

Druidic is the secret language of the druids, a derivation of sylvan that has been adapted for communication between members of druidic order. Those within druid circles design their own symbols and emblems to convey information. The language is typically conveyed with as little writing as possible, making use of symbols and glyphs that convey much meaning to be understood by other druids with little need for explanation.

Giant is the language of giants, ogres, and goliaths. It is a booming and primitive language of strong syllables and sounds that is derived from Primordial.

Gnoll is the language of the gnoll race.

Goblin is the language of goblins.

Infernal is the language of the lower Outer Planes, and is spoken by fiends such as devils and demons. Typically it is used in evil, demonic, or hellish spells and rituals. The sound of its language is an oddly melodic but grating language. It is full of strange patterns that seem to meander and hide the intentions of its speaker, but those who know the language can respond intelligently with only the subtlest of cues. The language is so corrupt and malevolent sounding that it can send listeners into a madness of hate and despair. Its script is a mix of evil sigils, symbols, and letters.

Orc is a guttural, harsh, and violent language spoken by the children of Gruumsh. Orc words are formed from syllables as opposed to single letters. It uses hard consonants and gnashing sounds that clash to form a frightening and primitive dialect. Orcs have little need for writing, but use a primitive series of crude symbology, typically scrawled in blood.

Primordial is an ancient and primitive tongue that was spoken by the primordials, elemental titans that existed at the beginning of time. It is now the language of elementals, which were created by the primordials. Its script is a series of bold, angular runes, which may have influenced the dwarvish script.

Supernal is the ancient and archaic language of the gods, and can be thought of as “deific common”. It is written in its own script which resemble heiroglyphs. When gods speak to mortals using supernal, it is understood without them having any knowledge or understanding of it beforehand, making it a magical language at its core.

Sylvan is the language of fey creatures and the language of the Feywild, and is spoken mostly by druids, faeries, nymphs, dryads, and such creatures. Its sound is pleasant and musical, containing the sounds of nature itself, but tinged with an otherworldly eeriness. It is said even the trees can understand those who utter sylvan.

Languages

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