Thursday, December 30, 2010

Languages of Valador: Common Languages

The three most prolific races of Valador, the humans, elves, and dwarves, have each developed their own unique tongue. The languages are very indicative of the races that created them and their development was done with little influence from the others. Because of this, each language is very distinct and separate from one another.

The Common Tongue of the Valadian Empire: Often referred to Valadian or simply Common, this is the language of Valador's most dominant species, the humans. Valadian formed from the various tribal dialects of early human cultures and much of that is still reflected in the language today. Valadian is a very harsh and guttural language, with short, sharp words and an aggressive sound. Due to human's penchant for wanting to quantify things, Common has many words in its vocabulary, creating a new word for each new thing discovered, instead of simply identifying it with previous descriptive words. This process confuses the other major races, which often dissuades them from using the language unless absolutely necessary.

Elvish: Elvish is a derivative of the Fey language, brought over with the elves when came from "beyond the horizon." Like the Fey tongue, it is a flowing almost song-like language, developed to allow words to easily flow into each other and be carried lightly on the wind. However, over the years, the elves formed the language into their own, creating something distinct from that of the Fey. Because of their interactions with the races in Valador, Elvish has become much more truncated then its Fey origin, ideals that may have taken hours to express in Fey now only take several minutes in Elvish. Still, the language tends to be very long winded and the need for properly controlling the pitch and tone of one's voice in order to speak it correctly means that only those from other races with much patience can ever master even conversational levels of Elvish. This make Elvish the least spoken of the three common languages, something that suits the elves perfectly.

Dwarvish: Once considered a closed language, spoken only by the dwarves, Dwarvish has begun to spread beyond its native speakers as they've begun to interact with the rest of the world. Dwarvish is a simple language, with direct and straight phrasing, devoid of metaphor and complex structure. The language would be considered beautiful if not for the manner in which it is spoken. Like all things they do, dwarves speak loudly and with great passion, speaking even simple instructions with pride. It is not proper form to speak Dwarvish softly and the concept of whispering is lost to them. Many scholars of other races who learn the language are often embarrassed to speak it due to its boisterous inflection.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Languages of Valador: Alignment Languages

Each branch of the official religion of Valador has its own language to recite lecture and prepare scrolls and scripture, the languages of the gods themselves. It is rumored that the languages were rooted from a common theological tongue, formed centuries ago by the earliest unified human religion. Today, the three main faiths of the Valadian Empire each have their own distinct tongue and despite their shared ancestry, the languages today are so far removed from one another that a person able to speak one cannot understand another. This is particularly frustrating for adventuring clerics who, upon discovering an ancient spell scroll long forgotten, are dismayed to find it written in a holy language they are not familiar with. Because of this, many clerics learn alignment languages that are not of their faith. Alignment languages are taught by the church to only those of faith or of learned men of great renown (and great wealth). Not everyone of a particular alignment knows how to speak an alignment language and no non-human would ever be taught that language of the Valadian Empire's gods.

Lawful: A complex and wordy language, Lawful uses a vast array of words to convey and thought or action as detailed as possible while trying to do so in a very ordered fashion. Lawful is not a flowery language, but instead one that pieces together many words to create new words, mashing together adjective and nouns to create a single many syllable word to describe something as detailed as possible. Many scholars and burgeoning engineers learn Lawful in order to express detailed history, theories, and instructions. Lawful is the most widely learned of the alignment languages for those not within the clergy.

Neutral: Neutral is the most succinct of the three alignment languages and also contains the smallest vocabulary. Neutral conveys thoughts quickly, with small simple words that are devoid of personal feelings of a situation or object. Neutral has no words to describe personal feelings, instead relying on words that state absolute fact without bias. Because of this, Neutral is sometimes used in larger cities for the creation and documentation of laws, so that misinterpretation can be avoided.

Chaos is ever evolving and changing, it is a language with little stable form. It is impossible to convey the rules of the Chaos language, for there is none. The language is fluid, a flowery language with complex rules for conjugation can shift into a curt monosyllabic language devoid of inflection within a few decades. Words change their meaning, drop out of the language entirely, or shift their pronunciation within a few years, making it a very hard language to master. Because of this, very little of the language is preserved in written form, and those items that are, can take a skilled Chaos linguistic many months to decipher. It is said that many Thieves' Cants, used by many thieving guilds throughout the land, were developed from Chaos.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Hiatus Brings Inspiration

Well an interesting series of real life events has taken a good hold of my time these last few weeks. In the end, it all lead to very good things and was well worth any distance from the internet world and my projects that came from it (and really, there's some awesome stuff out there that's not the internet... I know, I didn't believe it either).

However, I didn't lose all interest in my Megadungeon, in fact, I came up with a few solid ideas while I was away.

The most important? I've decided to take all the collective work that I've been developing for the MegaDungeon to be run and put it together into .pdfs to share with the world!

Inspired by reading through one of Paizo's Adventure Paths, each release would be broken into two files, the Player's Section and DM's section. The DM's section would mostly contain a particular level or subsection of the Megadungeon as well as any DM only type articles, new monsters, background of villainous organizations, the truth behind an ancient mystery. The Player's section, meanwhile, would stick with things more useful for player's trying to develop their characters, articles about the various religions of the world, a nearby town described in detail, an article about dwarven holidays, etc.

I would like to see them published once every month, though the first one would not see print until after a few levels of the Megadungeon was run through by my players (free playtesting!) and would hopefully stay behind them as we went on. This also gives me time to back log several articles (especially as topics come up in play) so I'm not scrambling to come up with articles and authors last minute.

Hopefully I'll get some of my group in one the writing as they'll be contributing to the world building as I set out to do when I first started. We'll see if I can "force" them to be creative.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Thought: Languages

I don't think I like the vast amount of languages demi-humans get, I think I'm going to restrict that to the bare essentials and maintain bonus languages based on INT.

May look into sorta "defining" how the languages sound to let people build on the concept.

Monday, December 6, 2010

World Building 1.4 and 2: Delvers and The World!

The Delver has (finally) joined the rest of the human classes as having full rules written out for him, there is one small tweak in his rule set, we'll see if anyone notices.

More importantly, the Wilderness Area in which the megadungeon is set has been made and posted by yours truly. Not only will you finally see where Ashencor and Telstara are, but also a few other places named as well. These places may never be visited, or the PCs may want to take a trip to one or more of them, at which point they'll be further developed, for now, they're just tantalizing points on a map. Most importantly though, the world itself (or atleast the region occupied mostly by humans) has gotten a name, the lands of Valador! Many thanks to Sean for being the only one to suggest something and winning by default, couldn't do it without you!