Ex Libris Nocturnis - http://www.nocturnis.net
Suleiman A. Allen (email: )
A new set of house rules for Vampire: the Masquerade.First, I feel obliged to comment that there is no satisfactory rule in any set of game mechanics to cover the obscure form of linguistic mastery which some rare individuals have attained. Those persons whom I have met who were polyglots andgamers have all commented that gaming rules either over-simplify the process of learning a new language, or elseover-complicate them. The white-wolf system tends to over-simplify everything, reducing wide varieties of skill intoconvenient one-word packages. I like the storyteller system because of this simplification, which allows me to brush off players hounding me for more realistic rulings, and get on with the actual story at hand. Unfortunatley, in my currentchronicle, this ruling is very pertinent. Therefore, I fall back on semantics. The ability of Linguistics (which is on everybody'scharacter sheet) is for Linguistics, the study of languages, their structures, and their meanings. To speak additional languages,one now uses the knowledge of Polyglot.
This is the study of languages, in it's academic form. A linguist may, given time, study and decipher any language into anyother language, if there is some means of deciphering the fragment. The difficulty of this decipherment, and the accuracy of the translation, is set according to a case-by-case basis, defined by such things as whether the language is currently in use ordead, how large the fragment is, and how closely the language is related to a language which the character understands. Dueto my own personal prejudices, Linguistics is a skill, rather than a knowledge - If you have a french-to-english dictionary,you can try to translate a french manuscript into english, but if you do not understand the fundamental rules of linguistics, itwill be rough going, and the translation will be rather spotty.
This is the ability to read dead languages (or written languages that do not have a relationship to the spoken word), withoutcopying and translating. This is separate from the ability to speak a language, although a linguist could mumble their waythough, given time. Each dot gives you the ability to decipher one character set, and the ability to make a skill roll, akin tolinguistics, to translate a related character set. This might allow you, for instance, to translate an aramaic text if you knowhebrew, but knowledge of hebrew would not allow you to decipher sequoiya, despite their both being syllabaries.
This is the mastery of speaking, reading, and writing some language other than your own. Languages must be listed in theorder in which they are learned. Each new language is a little more difficult. Your conversational skills in your fourthlanguage will never be equal to your mastery of your second language. Each new language is considered to have it's 'skill'reduced by one dot, for the purposes of translation and conversation. These levels of skill are broken down to BasicVocabulary, Conversational Vocabulary, Fluency, and Dialectic mastery. As each new language is learned, it becomes easierto learn more, but it is highly unusual for anybody to become completely fluent in more than two to four languagess withouta special merit.* One other language at basic level.** One language at conversational, one more at basic.*** One language at Fluent, second at conversational, two more at basic**** One language at Dialectic, second at fluent, 3rd & 4th at conversational, 4more at basic***** Two languages at dialectic, two at fluent, 5th & 6th at conversational, 10 atbasic
http://web.archive.org/web/20030529055856/http://www.nocturnis.net/art...1 of 26/30/2012 12:55 AM