Languages of Liminal

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In my campaign, I use a number of glossaries of fantasy languages to represent those in Liminal.

  • Dwarvish: I use the Khuzdul language of Tolkien for this tongue.
  • Elvish: I use the Sindarin language of Tolkien for this tongue.
  • Orcish: I have compiled a glossary here: Liminal Orcish
  • Draconic: This language uses Draconic for D&D.

Spoken Languages

These are the broadest-spoken languages in Rinhony. There are, of course, more obscure languages and various regional dialects, but these are the widest-known tongues. Each has a parenthetical notation that indicates what written script it uses (see Written Languages, below).

  • Common (Common Script): Considered by most to be the tongue of humans, Common is the most widely-spoken language in Rinhony. There are dialects of Common in most large cultural areas - notably Tamous, which has a speech that encompasses many feudal concepts, and Almanni, with a dialect rich in theological concepts and terms.
  • Dwarvish (Dwarfrune): The language of the dwarvenfolk is probably the oldest recorded language still spoken in Rinhony. Though dwarves once guarded their language carefully, it has become the official language of the Guilds, thanks to its rich vocabulary for discussing the arts of crafting.
  • Elvish (Elven Script): A poetic language excellent for the expression of natural concepts and animistic concepts, Elvish is an uncommon tongue in Rinhony. With the fall of Liminal, the only real place to discover it spoken commonly is in the Delannwood, and even they retreat further and further from the lands of men. Other than the elves, druids often speak Elvish, using its cadences as their holy tongue, finding that it best describes the ebb and flow of the natural powers they revere and serve.
  • Giantish (Jotunrunes): Another language that is quite old in Rinhony is the language of the giants. Though true giants have not been seen in a very long time, it is a tongue still common among ogres, gnolls and similar humanoid tribal races that once served the giantish jarls of Rinhony.
  • Goblin (Jotunrunes): Long considered a barbaric, snarling tongue good for little other than hurling imprecations, making craven threats, and expressing all manner of inappropriate lusts, scholars have in recent days discovered some strange writings among artifacts of the Aulde Jarldoms that seem to hint at a great goblin civilization sometime in the past, possibly even predating the Jarldoms.
  • Orcish (Jotunrunes): Another very old tongue in Rinhony, the orcish languages sees use mostly by those on the borders of the Hordemarches. It is quite easy to find those who speak the language across the face of the continent, though, owing not just to the populace of the Hordemarches and the small communities of orcs and half-orcs that were once in Liminal, but also to the orc-blooded nations sound of the Ilandor Mountains.
  • Celestial (Angelic Script): The tongue of the Empyrean Heavens, the gods thereof and their angelic servitors, Celestial is relatively rare to find outside of ecclesial settings. In Rinhony, it is almost always found as the official tongue of high temple ritual, evocations and prayers to the Empyrean gods.
  • Infernal (Hellrunes): The tongue of the Talion Hells, the gods thereof and their devil servants, Infernal is also rare to find outside of those in service to the Talion gods. It is also used as the temple tongue for Talion gods, employed in sacred writings, invocations and the like.
  • Abyssal (Hellrunes): A language of demonkind, Abyssal is considered unholy, a dark speech unwise to be spoken by those not already in service to the Abyss. There is a deep superstition that surrounds the tongue, which claims that those who speak it can be heard by the demon lords of the Abyss.
  • Draconic (Draconic Ideographs): The tongue of dragons, this ancient language has been considered a scholar's language for thousands of years. Unsurprising considering the fact that dragons gather secrets as readily as they do gold coin, and the earliest sages were said to be great dragons willing to part with some of their precious lore in exchange for treasures to add to their hoards. Draconic is the official language of the ruling class of the Empire of the Nine, and it is said they not only perform all official court business in the language, but also use it almost exclusively when speaking to one another.
  • Primordial (Draconic Ideographs): An ancient tongue spoken primarily by elementals and the debased cultists who yet revere the broken primordials, this tongue is something of an ur-language. Its cadences and vocabulary are somewhat primitive, best for expressing ideas around natural phenomena and the act of creation. Primordial is the mother tongue of Draconic, and though it has no written language of its own, the ideographs of Draconic can be used quite easily to express its concepts.
  • Sylvan (Elven Script): The language of fey creatures and the Feywild as a whole, Sylvan is the mother-tongue of Elvish. Its language is best used for expressing concepts of life, growing things, natural phenomena, as well as certain magical concepts like illusion and enchantment.

Written Scripts

These are the alphabetical systems used in writing the various languages of Rinhony. They are generally learned by mastering one of the languages that uses that script system.

  • Common Script: A flowing alphabet of interconnected letters, each of which makes a specific sound, the Common Script is quite old on the continent, from the markings occasionally found on old stones in far-away places. Scholars have reliably traced a version of it to that used by the human slaves of the Aulde Jarldom.
  • Dwarfrune: A runic alphabet consisting of singular letters, each of which makes specific sounds that are indicated not only by the letter, but by dots around the symbol. The dwarven script is quite ancient, going back at least as far as sages have reliably traced dwarven existence. It is generally agreed that its sharp, angular shapes hearken back to its earliest written form: a chisel against stone or metal.
  • Elven Script: A flowing language of symbols whose pronounciation changes depending on not only their proximity to other letters, but to their placement in a word or phrase, elven script is extremely complex and while it is simple enough to learn, it can take decades to master. So nuanced are its renderings, and aesthetic its design, it is said that a poem written properly in elven script will be a piece of not just literary art, but visual art as well.
  • Jotunrunes: A language of symbols that is based on a series of partial and whole circles, interlocked in different ways. Though much of its complexity has been lost In this era, some scholars believe it was once as complex as elven script. It is today most often used by goblins, orcs and other humanoids to mark boundaries, hang warnings and graffiti profanity on the surfaces of an enemy or rival's city or dwelling.
  • Angelic Script: A strange, artistic writing of odd glyphs, each of which has a specific meaning and pronunciation depending on where in the overall page it is found. Angelic script is difficult to learn, and even those scholars familiar with it tend to be only skilled enough to read basic temple inscriptions and the titles of tomes in the church archive.
  • Hellrunes: Scratched and scrawled runes, Hellrunes are a corruption of Angelic script. Originally developed by the Talion gods, when the demons rose up and fled the Hells for the safety of the Abyss, they took with them the knowledge of these horrible glyphs. It is known that the true names of demons cannot be rendered in any written language save Hellrunes.
  • Draconic Ideographs: Intricately carved spiralling symbols, each "letter" in this language of more than three hundred base glyphs carries both a specific sound and a specific meaning. Though its name refers to dragons, there is no definite surety that it was created by them. The fact that it is used to write not just the draconic language, but the tongue of the ancient primordials suggests much, including the possibility of a connection between dragons and the primal powers.