Anvil Vale Languages

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Proficiencies & Languages

So much of the world's crafts are expressed in the languages of the people best known for their innovation that those with some skill in those crafts can sometimes understand what is being said in a related tongue they do not actually speak. Each artisan's tool proficiency has one or more languages associated with it; if a tool has more than one, the character with that proficiency must choose the language that reflects the "style" of craft they've learned (so that an alchemist might be better trained in the Imperial style or in the elven style).

  • A crafter may make a proficient Intelligence check to try and understand the spoken language associated with a tool they are proficient in.
  • If a crafter has two or more tools with the same language, the crafter gains that language proficiency for free.

The tongues associated with the artisan's tools are:

  • Alchemist's supplies: Elvish, Imperial
  • Brewer's supplies: Dwarven, Elvish, Halfling
  • Calligrapher's supplies: Elvish, Imperial
  • Carpenter's tools: Dwarven, Imperial
  • Cartographer's tools: Imperial
  • Cobbler's tools: Gnomish
  • Cook's utensils: Halfling
  • Glassblower's tools: Elvish
  • Jeweler's tools: Gnomish
  • Leatherworker's tools: Elvish, Halfling
  • Mason's tools: Dwarven
  • Painter's supplies: Imperial, Halfling
  • Potter's tools: Gnomish, Halfling
  • Smith's tools: Dwarven, Elvish
  • Tinker's tools: Gnomish
  • Weaver's tools: Elvish
  • Woodcarver's tools: Elvish

(Note that many languages do not have proficiencies attached to them. This doesn't mean those races are lacking in crafting skills; it simply means that their terms for their arts have simply not made it into the larger systems of such training among the surface settlement-building folk.)

Tongues of the Dwarrow Folk

  • Dwarven: Called dwarrowcánan in its own language, this is the language of the Anvil Vale and the dwarven citadels above it. Much of its concepts, if not specific words, have found their way into other languages along with crafts such as smithing and masonry, such that the wisest of craftsfolk are often educated in the language. Dwarven is a language that lends itself well to chants and less so to song. Dwarven is written in the árd samla, the high runic alphabet of dwarf-kind.
    • Proficiencies: Brewer's supplies, carpenter's tools, mason's tools, smith's tools
  • Gnomish: The gnomish tongue is related to dwarven, with generations of linguistic drift that came about from the gnomish sojourn into the Feywild. When they returned, the language was still close enough to allow both dwarves and gnomes to roughly make out what one another were saying, but they are distinctly different languages. It is notable that it is not just the rock gnomes who speak this language natively, but also the forest gnomes. Gnomish is also written with árd samla.
    • Proficiencies: Cobbler's tools, jeweler's tools, potter's tools, tinker's tools

Tongues of the Elven Folk

  • Elvish: The elf-tongue is an ancient one, said to have been spoken for centuries or millenia before any of the Elder Folk rose. Though it isn't jealously guarded, many elves act pained at the pronunciations of other folk in its cadences, so much so that all elves learn the Common Tongue to spare themselves the experience. Nonetheless, it is avidly learned by others, particularly musicians, for some of the finest lays are in the elven tongue. The lettering style of elvish is called certhas.
    • Proficiencies: Alchemist's supplies, brewer's supplies, calligrapher's supplies, glassblower's tools, leatherworker's tools, smith's tools, weaver's tools, woodcarver's tools

The Common Tongues

If there is a virtue to Humanity, it is that they are wide-travelers, curious to a fault, and desirous of seeing what lies beyond the horizon. As such, it is no small wonder that their tongue has become a language used by many and wide folk.

  • The Common Tongue: Though it has been a long time – including the rise, height, and fall of a great Empire – since its humble trading origins, the Common Tongue continues to be used. Though scholars can track the location and era of a given piece of writing from its specific grammar and vocabulary (and the accents of those who speak it), the Common Tongue hasn't changed much. Of course, this is by and large because it is a fairly simple tongue to begin with, mostly useful for communicating concepts of trade and finance. It has, however, proven to be remarkably useful over the years, and adaptable, absorbing elven terms of art and magic, dwarven crafting and martial terminology, and the like. Though this steady accretion of phrases, the Common Tongue does a great deal more than discuss trade today. Common today uses the Imperial Corpus, a system of lettering devised in the height of the Empire. Before the Empire, it tended to use the written alphabets of other folk, most often the árd samla or certhas.
  • The Imperial Tongue: Though it began as a simple traders tongue, the ancient Empire rose on the power of that mercantilism and spirit of exploration, and the Common Tongue became refined by the Imperial elite. The academies of the ancient Empire sought to expand their linguistic prowess, innovating and expanding the terms included in the corpus of the Common tongue to embrace historical and philosophical concepts that Common had previously borrowed (badly) from other languages. Though it is rarely spoken today, the Imperial Tongue is still sometimes used in formal education and in written texts. The Imperial Tongue is written in the letters of the Imperial Corpus, a system of lettering specifically designed to prevent it from being used using other lettering systems.
    • (A character may choose to start play with the Imperial Tongue instead of the Common Tongue, and can be understood by those who speak Common, but his conversation is always slightly stilted and overly formal-sounding, possibly inflicting disadvantage on certain social checks as a result.)
    • Proficiencies: Alchemist's supplies, calligrapher's supplies, carpenter's tools, painter's supplies
  • The Halfling Tongue: Given its construction, it is assumed that the halfling tongue grew up beside the Common Tongue. It uses about half of the same terminology, such that those who speak Common can largely understand this language. Where it diverges is with an incredibly complex language that discusses pastoral and household concerns. Many fine cooks and chefs discuss their art using the nuanced phrases of this language.
    • Proficiencies: Brewer's supplies, cook's utensils, leatherworker's tools, painter's supplies, potter's tools

Tongues of the Fey Folk

  • Seelie Sylvan: The tongue of the Feywild, Seelie is almost never heard in the Anvil Vale, save by visitors from the Frostwood and Ylistaloré. It is a gentle sounding tongue, full of poetic cadences and flowing notes. Some bards make a point of learning the tongue, for many of the ballads and lays of the fey folk have an almost magical effect on listeners when performed in the tongue of the Seelie folk.
  • Unseelie Sylvan: A whole other language of itself, it is clearly linguistically related to the Seelie tongue, although in practical terms they couldn't be more different. Unseelie is punctuated by contrasting knife-sharp tones (sometimes uttered with a hissing, furious quality depending on the speaker) and low guttural sounds full of rumbling vowels and garbled, growling consonants.

Tongues of the Wicked

  • Giantish: The language of giants, Giantish is actually more of a common tongue among the giant tribes. Most giants speak it as well as a tribal tongue, each of which counts as a separate language (Hill Giant, Frost Giant, Fire Giant, etc).
  • Goblin: The snarling, snapping language of goblinkind, Goblin is spoken by most of the goblin-folk: goblins proper, as well as hobgoblins, bugbears, and the like. Wargs also seem to understand Goblin, though they aren't capable of speaking.
  • Orcish: The bombastic, deep-toned language of orcs is rarely heard in the Vale, as there are no known tribes of orcs anywhere near it.

Tongues of the Underdark

  • Deep Speech: A strange and unsettling language communicated largely in whispers and echoing sussurus, dwarven sages believe that the language originated not in this realm, but in a distant, mad plane that is the origins of so many of the aberrations in the underdark. It is rarely spoken by creatures outside of the underdark.
  • Undercommon: A common tongue, this is a bastardization of some deep speech, a bit of goblin and some other surprising linguistic roots (sages have identified draconic in its make-up, for example). The overall is a harsh tongue that is useful mostly for communicating two things: threats and trade. It is the common tongue of many goblinoid tribes and other denizens of the underdark, but also can be found among those who have cause to venture into its depths.

Otherworldly Tongues

  • Abyssal: x
  • Celestial: x
  • Draconic: x
  • Infernal: x
  • Primordial: x