Languages are the means of communication, which also includes nonverbal communication like gestures and body language. In a world where intelligent beings can take many forms, languages can be even more diverse. In some cases, there are forms of communication beyond the realm of human senses. For example, creatures who can use sonar, or robots with the ability to broadcast digital transitions. While in others, there are only parts of communication beyond the range of human senses. That is, high or low pitch sounds that would help accent some words would cause confusion to those who cannot pick them up. On the other hand, language barriers can be surpassed though telepathy.
In Mutant Future, this is one of the hardest rules to implement, as the languages are not set in stone, and not all Mutant Lords (Game Masters) would compile a set of languages at the start of a campaign. This page deals with house rules involving language and communication, as well as means of learning new languages and lists of languages.
Know Language RollEdit
This system allows characters to know languages without having an extensive list languages, by having the Mutant Lord roll to see if the characters can comprehend the language of a new encounter.
This system assumes that local languages have mutated form an old common tongue (like English) or been altered form contact with other people, and even if a character does not know a given language, he can construct the language from other languages he is familiarity with, so that a character can easily know a patchwork of languages and dialects. It also assumes that the languages in general, within the setting, are simple and easy to learn. In chaotic environments like Mutant Future, the characters would need to be flexible with their linguistics skills!
How this works, is that when you encounter a new group of NPCs or intelligent mutant monsters, you roll 2d6 and (after applying adjustments) consult the table below to see the extent of how well you you can speak to them. Once your level of understand is established, you can communicate in that way from now on. After a full week of contact, you can roll 2d6 (plus adjustments) to see if you can become better at their language. On a 10 or more, you get better by one grade, or two grades on a 12 or more. On a 3 or less, you are stumped, and you require a full month of contact before you can make further progress. Further more, the Mutant Lord may rule that you have a permanent (but superficial) accent or speech pattern with that language, even when you become a fluent speaker. This could be the dropping or swapping of a random vowel or consonant, or even a lisp, rasp, hack or grunt. Speech patterns includes things like dropping or swapping some words, contractions, talking backwards like Yoda, and so on. The inclusion of unusual accents and speech patterns is about adding some flavor to the game.
|+2||Your Intelligence is 20 or more.|
|+1||Your Intelligence is 16 or more.|
|-1||Your Intelligence is 4 or less.|
|-(1-3)||You are a different race (use race-base Reaction Adjustment*, but as a minus).|
|+1||The language is crude/primitive.|
|-1||The language is complex/elaborate.|
|+1||You have some context to understand it (a related language or lexicon).|
|-1||It is too foreign to you.|
|-2||It is totally alien to you (as in space aliens, angelic/demonic creatures or Cthuloids).|
(*Pure Humans have a -3 instead of a -2, with Mutant Plants)
|2-3||"I do not comprehend at all?"|
|4-6||"I do not understand, but I'll figure it out."|
|7-9||"I think I understand you... A little?"|
|10-11||"I speak it fairly well."|
|12||"I speak it fluently!"|
"I do not comprehend at all?"
The language is too complex to understand. It will take you a full month of contact before you can speak it a little.
"I do not understand, but I'll figure it out."
You do not understand the language, but its not too complex to figure out -- after a week of effort.
"I think I understand you... A little?"
You know the language enough to convey only simple terms or ideas. e.g. you can say "I need food.", but you can't say "Have you eaten blue-fungus soup before?" Because you speak so poorly, you get -2 to all reaction rolls.
"I speak it fairly well."
You are familiar enough with the language to speak it normally, but with a noticeable accent or odd pattern. Complex concepts, like jokes, poems and metaphors maybe hard to understand or expressed.
"I speak it fluently!"
You can speak it as your own tongue. You speak it so well, you get a +1 to all reaction rolls!
(Know Language Roll system by Malcadon)