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  • A boost to Language

    So i had an idea that my gm turned down but wanted to see what others thought.

    during an intrigue if you have a higher language rank than your opponent you recieve +1B to all persuassion or deception rolls. This will not apply if a charachter is speaking a language their opponent doesn't understand

    The idea being if someone is speaking a more eloquent language will fluster someone who doesn't understand it.

    Let me know what you guys think

  • #2
    Re: A boost to Language

    Don't really buy it. A guy coming in speaking Oxford English into a dive bar in southie Boston isn't going to convince anyone of anything except that he's an asshole. Similarly, George Bush in his run for president, drastically affected a "poor" speaking pattern and many people think that's part of what won him the election.

    The idea of it flustering your opponent seems like it would fit better in fast talk as a bonus. Perhaps a Benefit that let you add your Knoweldge and/or Language rank to a fast talk test.

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    • #3
      Re: A boost to Language

      There's a benefit for that, it's called Eloquent, and it's a top contender for the most powerful benefit in the book.

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      • #4
        Re: A boost to Language

        I house rule a similar thing, but it's +1B for every 2 ranks you have above your target, so it's not as unbalanced.

        When it's not Common there's a bonus though, right? Speaking High Valyrian to a Targaryen gives +1B I believe. Or Old Tongue to Wildlings.

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        • #5
          Re: A boost to Language

          I'm pretty sure you're describing an off-shoot of Eloquent. If a character invested a destiny point into that benefit, I'd probably allow it. Otherwise... Meh. I don't give bonus dice away for free.

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          • #6
            Re: A boost to Language

            hmm maybe i had the wrong idea when I first posted but let me try to explain

            Maybe it's just my Narrator but here is a line I've never heard him say

            "Okay make a language roll"

            I hardly see language used in game besides if you take it to get eloquent and it makes sense that language would give a benefit because it represents your vocabulary and skill with words.
            That means your language rank dictates your word choice in any action

            an example, while two merchants have a persuasion 4, one merchant has a language 2 while the other has a language 4 and are both talking to a guy looking for a longsword the first merchant would try to sell him with "Look at this sword It's Great sword! You should buy, before I sell out' the other merchant can say "Here is a very special sword, it was forged by the best smith in King's landing!

            Either way they are selling the sword with a persuasion roll, but Because of the second merchants higher language he has more vocabulary to pull from to try and convince you.

            I agree my first reason for giving language a boost didn't make much sense but using your vocabulary to pick the right words to say should be given some bonus

            If you guys still dont like it let me know but I'd love for language to have some benefit to intrigues as anyone who has heard a pun knows that word choice matters

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            • #7
              Re: A boost to Language

              I've met my share of salesmen with a fine grasp of using language for making their sales without being any better than others at language in general.

              It's a psychological thing, someone speaking Queen's English would typically be perceived more positively than someone from Alabama, regardless of vocabulary. Plus, language represents reading/writing as well as vocabulary.

              Though feel free to adjust people's dispositions towards well-spoken characters. And do consider that language 3 does not automatically make you able to read/write like a champ.

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              • #8
                Re: A boost to Language

                Maybe it's just my Narrator but here is a line I've never heard him say

                "Okay make a language roll"

                I hardly see language used in game besides if you take it to get eloquent and it makes sense that language would give a benefit because it represents your vocabulary and skill with words.
                That means your language rank dictates your word choice in any action
                This got me thinking about house rule options that might make Language more useful in game. I found these references in the Game of Thrones edition rule book, and started a discussion with another player in my home group.

                With a word, a subtle lie, or a twisting of truth, they can plunge the lands into bloody warfare, bringing down the most beloved leaders and raising up the most despicable scum (pg. 46).
                Language is the ability to communicate through speech or, among the best educated, through the written word (pg. 55).
                Decipher: (Basic Test (Extended) Greater Action) Whenever you examine a text written in another language or in code, you may test your Cunning to discern the intent of the message and derive some basic understanding of its contents. Each degree of success allows you to Decipher about a paragraph of information (pg. 61).
                o Difficulty (x) Description
                o Automatic (0) Decipher writings in a language in which you have rank 6.
                o Easy (3) Decipher writings in a language in which you have rank 5.
                o Routine (6) Decipher writings in a language in which you have rank 4.
                o Challenging (9) Decipher writings in a language in which you have rank 3 or crack a simple code.
                Language can modify your Persuasion tests. Various intrigue tactics allow you to test Persuasion to Encourage, Fast Talk, Manipulate, and Mollify participants in the intrigue (pg. 66).
                The ability to speak a rare or native tongue of your opponent suggests education and intelligence, as well as a certain amount of respect. If the target would be impressed by such familiarity, you gain a +1B on tests to influence your opponents (pg. 149).
                It does seem like Language is very underutilized compared to the other abilities. We came up with two basic options for house rulings: 1) Remove it from the abilities list altogether, or 2) Expanding the rules to make more use of it in game.

                Removing it as an ability would mean adding in Qualities to replace it. For a noblesí game, you would assume everyone can read by default, and make Illiteracy a Drawback. For a lower-class game, you would make Literacy a Benefit. Learning a new language would mean taking another Benefit, and, depending on what class of game you were running, literacy in that new language may or may not be included.

                Expanding the rules would mean giving it specialties and defining situations where players would actually roll Language. We chose the specialties of Spoken and Written, but you could also have specialties for low-brow and high-brow, or specific dialects. A character would add their Spoken bonus to rolls made during face-to-face Intrigue combat, and would use their Written bonus when sending correspondence, allowing for an effective (if slow-paced) Intrigue Combat via ravens (I imagine Tywin Lannister using Language this way a lot).

                We also decided that Deciphering languages should be a Language test, instead of a Cunning test. If itís a code that uses symbols or numbers, instead of letters and words, (or if you didnít have at least 3 ranks in the Language being used) then you would still test Cunning.

                Language would modify Persuasion tests as per the note on foreign languages from page 149, but it would also work with the native Language as well. If the Narrator decides a NC would be impressed by the PCís grasp/use of Language, then the PC would gain +1B to Persuasion or Deception rolls to influence that NC.

                During Intrigue Combat certain actions would be Language tests instead of Persuasion tests. Fast Talk, Manipulate, and Mollify would each be Language tests. We considered if Language would be used at all for actual Influence tests for certain techniques, but couldnít come to any consensus for that, so left it alone. We also considered if Language could replace one of the three abilities that determines a PCís Intrigue Defense, but couldnít decide whether it should replace Status (since Status is also used to determine initiative), or Awareness (so each defense would use separate and unique abilities).

                So, thereís my two bits (or twenty). I realize this is more extensive house ruling than some prefer to use, but that seems to be the style my group and I prefer. *shrug*

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                • #9
                  Re: A boost to Language

                  First of thanks for the suggestions and you two bits and Im glad someone else agreed that it was underutilized in game

                  One house rule my dm did use was he made the different languages specialties and you started the game with x extra bonus dice to invest into the languages you know. where x was your language rank.
                  makes it easier to become multilingual and gives a reason to invest in language

                  Originally posted by Panacea View Post

                  During Intrigue Combat certain actions would be Language tests instead of Persuasion tests. Fast Talk, Manipulate, and Mollify would each be Language tests. We considered if Language would be used at all for actual Influence tests for certain techniques, but couldnít come to any consensus for that, so left it alone. We also considered if Language could replace one of the three abilities that determines a PCís Intrigue Defense, but couldnít decide whether it should replace Status (since Status is also used to determine initiative), or Awareness (so each defense would use separate and unique abilities).
                  I really like the idea of language replacing awareness for you Intrigue Defense.It helps spread out the power of Awareness, and it makes more sense that language would be involved in an intrigue than Awareness.
                  I'm sure there are arguments for having awareness in your ID but I cant think of any that Cunning couldn't cover as well. Status is a big factor of intrigues but besides rolling for initiative and house fortune rolls status doesn't come up as much as awareness. If you replace Awareness you still have an awesome stat but now language is also a factor and will require more diversity in character build.


                  Thanks again for the house rules. I'll let you know if we try it out with awareness being replaced

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                  • #10
                    Re: A boost to Language

                    Originally posted by Kimbob View Post
                    I'm sure there are arguments for having awareness in your ID but I cant think of any that Cunning couldn't cover as well.
                    The reason Awareness is used for ID is because of the Empathic side of Aw.

                    I agree that Awareness is overused, and language underused, IRL the real key to 'winning' any conversation is to be 'aware' of the emotional state of your 'opponent' all of the cunning in the world won't make you any friends, you have to be able to understand where your opponent is, in order to move them closer to where you want them to be (whether that's from neutral to friendly, or inciting them to anger)

                    Thinking about it more, that's really what Read Target does, you don't necessarily use Empathy to defend against someone trying to convince you, and if you did it would more likely be a counter-attack.

                    I think I like your idea of Language, rather than Awareness for ID..


                    As for other uses of Language: based on the text/table from DECIPHER, it sounds like you must roll Cunning every time you try to read anything. Your skill in Language is what determines the difficulty you'll have to beat with your Cunning roll. Decipher is ALSO used for breaking codes, in the same table, but it seems to apply to all written words:
                    Whenever you examine a text written in another language or in code, you may test your Cunning to discern the intent of the message and derive some basic understanding of its contents. Each degree of success allows you to Decipher about a paragraph of information.
                    Difficulty Description
                    Challenging (9)
                    Decipher writings in a language in which
                    you have rank 3 or crack a simple code.
                    Formidable (12)
                    Decipher writings in a language in which
                    you have rank 2 or crack a moderate code.
                    Hard (15)
                    Decipher writings in a language in which
                    you have rank 1 or crack a tough code.
                    Very Hard (18)
                    Decipher writings in any language
                    or crack a very difficult code.
                    In theory, this would mean a person with Language 4 and Cunning 2, would be able to read the words on the page, but might have a hard time (difficulty of six on 2d6 is 50/50) understanding the purpose of the message, even if written plainly.

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                    • #11
                      Re: A boost to Language

                      Awareness makes a ton more sense to include in ID than language.

                      I maintain that since not taking eloquent if you have language 4 is a capital offense, and language 3 let you read/write, and ability rank 5 needs no further incentives to take, quite the opposite actually, there is no need for change.

                      Add to it that Awareness is blessed because it takes away some of the MAD for any knight wishing to be reasonably good at intrigue, too. It's still certainly not among the top three abilities for either combat or intrigue.

                      Also, the narrator made my character roll for language once. But that was because he was illiterate and wanted to know if his name was mentioned on the letter. Then he lied to the rest of the folk because they couldn't read either.

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                      • #12
                        Re: A boost to Language

                        I think the main problem with language is the practical value of how it's written. It's just not useful to pick.
                        We house rule that language 1 means you can understand and hear... But not speak... You're a mute.
                        Language 2 means you can speak it and bonus dice 1 means you can read and write it.

                        Each rank after that is another language.

                        So a language of 7 means you can speak 6 different languages and a bonus dice of 6 means you can read and write all 6.

                        It works

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                        • #13
                          Re: A boost to Language

                          I like that, Sunstaff. Simple house rules do not come easily to me, so I admire those who think efficiently and logically enough to develop effective, simple house rules.

                          Well done.

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