Language is difficult to learn. Not just those weird, foreign languages, but even our native language. Hell, I've been speaking, writing, and reading the English language for near 28 years now, and I still haven't got it down 100%. None of us has. That's why it bothers me that adventurers in many FRPG's seem to be flawless polyglots, able to speak a number of languages without difficulty that would give even the most skilled linguists today pause. Worse yet, literacy seems to be nigh universal in those intelligent enough to learn it in the first place (or, for that matter, in games who even make a distinction between them).
That's yet another reason that I like 2nd edition non-weapon proficiencies. They offer me, as the DM, to limit the polyglot issue. Learning to speak a language takes up a full slot. Learning to read/write said language take an additional slot. That's a slot taken away from other things, like fire starting, mountaineering, riding, etc. So, yes, you can create a character who knows twelve dialects of elfese, but you're going to have to devote a great deal of study to it.
Of course, that doesn't even approach my general dissatisfaction with the whole "common" language idea, or alignment tongues, but that's another issue.
More Little Treasures
2 years ago