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Psullie

Speak Languages spell?

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looking through RQG and older editions for a speak other language spell. It is something I'd expect from Goldentongue cult but can't find one. Simple spell to allow two people to communicate without a common language? Gloranthan babelfish perhaps?

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Issaries communicates through Tradetalk. and might have a ritual to teach the rudimentaries. Not sure whether Lhankor Mhy has any business to provide spells for speaking another language, but probably has ones for understanding spoken languages - possibly as sorcery spells.

Yelm might have a magic to make his commands understood regardless of language barriers.

I don't really see the mindset to establish a two-way communication in a foreign, inferior language with any group in Glorantha. Issaries offers Tradetalk as a common ground, and his magic is based on this.

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2 hours ago, Psullie said:

But there is the initial phase when two cultures meet. Seem to me a spell that facilitates introductions would be a very useful one.

That's when you teach tradetalk, or learn the local lingua franca. Given the stalwart preparation of the God Learners and the Theyalans before them, the Issaries trade language is rudimentarily spoken everywhere outside of the East and inner Pamaltela. Otherwise, you try with the language of the folk you just met a little distance from there and see whether anybody has a few words you can understand in that language.

If that doesn't work, you can try to find a language on those two trees on p.172 of the RQ rules which has some relationship.

Making first contact with Hsunchen won't give you anything like this. There it is "teach Tradetalk". And I wonder whether that is an option in post-Syndics Ban Fronela, or whether there is a language used by the Kingdom of War which has taken over.

WIth older editions, there was the Spirit/Battle Magic spell Mindspeech, but according to p.435 that is currently unavailable.

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I accept that what you say is valid, particularly for long term relationships learning the language is preferred. And from a gaming perspective I'm all for using interpreters and roleplaying the occasional clash of cultures when language becomes an issue. I recently had a scene where the PCs needed to speak with blue elves. None of the PCs had Aldryami, and the blue elves, being somewhat reclusive didn't speak trade talk - in the end they coopted a friendly ludoch (this was additionally complicated by the fact that blue elves can leave the water!)

But there are occasions when time or other factors prevent that and given the way magic is used to simplify life in all other respects, enabling communication would be covered. We have the Translate spell for written works, (which by your logic the reader should go off and learn the language 😉) why not a similar spell for spoken words. 

I looked at Mindspeech but is this is verbal I assumed a common language was required. 

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7 hours ago, Joerg said:

I don't really see the mindset to establish a two-way communication in a foreign, inferior language with any group in Glorantha. Issaries offers Tradetalk as a common ground, and his magic is based on this.

?

There are a LOT of times two (or more) people meet that don't speak each other's language and the need to communicate is either short term or too urgent to TEACH them trade talk.

Why is it so inconceivable there's a Lingua Franca spell?  You can't believe our current spell lists are in any way comprehensive?

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Given Issaries' worshippers in HQ can use his magic to be understood by any listener, I could very well see it as a Rune Magic spell used by the cult.

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6 hours ago, styopa said:

?

There are a LOT of times two (or more) people meet that don't speak each other's language and the need to communicate is either short term or too urgent to TEACH them trade talk.

Why is it so inconceivable there's a Lingua Franca spell?  You can't believe our current spell lists are in any way comprehensive?

Where does it say that Issaries has the ability to speak any language? Tradetalk is the lingua franca, the magic is already inherent. Teaching Tradetalk is making that magic work.

Making first contact free from any misunderstandings is a little too easy. 

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15 hours ago, Joerg said:

Where does it say that Issaries has the ability to speak any language? Tradetalk is the lingua franca, the magic is already inherent. Teaching Tradetalk is making that magic work.

Making first contact free from any misunderstandings is a little too easy. 

I guess you seem to believe Tradetalk is somehow inherently magical?  It seems a lot more like a pretty standard game-rationalized "Common Tongue" mechanic that was common to RPGs like D&D ala 1978.  I'd be curious where you got that interpretation? 

And I'm not sure why we'd get all hung up on making sure first contact between peoples is difficult?  The spells in-game let people fly, we let people heal wounds, we let people fight off diseases - one might get all meta and point out that pretty much the point of magic is (logically) to make normally-hard things easier.   This is a common & hard thing.  It would seem pretty arbitrary to say that THIS in particular "has to be done the hard way"... especially when there's specifically Gods for whom trade and contact is their metier?

Edited by styopa

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29 minutes ago, styopa said:

Aside from the breathtaking emptiness of that argument...

Can't we disagree nicely? I don't think a Translate spell fits in Glorantha either, but I don't want to make enemies over it so I'll stay out of this thread from now on.

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3 hours ago, PhilHibbs said:

Can't we disagree nicely? I don't think a Translate spell fits in Glorantha either, but I don't want to make enemies over it so I'll stay out of this thread from now on.

Edited.

 

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4 hours ago, styopa said:

I guess you seem to believe Tradetalk is somehow inherently magical? 

This is Glorantha. There are few things which aren't inherently magical.

Tradetalk is the expression of Issaries' communication rune. Other languages like Earthtongue, Storm Speech or Fire Speech are the combination of the Communication Rune with the respective Element Runes, but Issaries applies pure Communication. Speech Speech, or Exchange Speech.

4 hours ago, styopa said:

It seems a lot more like a pretty standard game-rationalized "Common Tongue" mechanic that was common to RPGs like D&D ala 1978. 

So to keep it generic, let's have a generic "translate" magic?

4 hours ago, styopa said:

I'd be curious where you got that interpretation? 

It is the language introduced by the Speaking God, designed for enabling contact with people whose language you don't know. It will have a pantomime routine that will enable trades, and adding spoken components to start somewhat more meaningful exchanges like "We come in peace" or "Bring me to your leader".

In HeroQuest, it would be a breakout skill of the communication rune. In RQG, the harmony rune will have to serve half-heartedly.

 

4 hours ago, styopa said:

And I'm not sure why we'd get all hung up on making sure first contact between peoples is difficult?  The spells in-game let people fly, we let people heal wounds, we let people fight off diseases - one might get all meta and point out that pretty much the point of magic is (logically) to make normally-hard things easier.   This is a common & hard thing.  It would seem pretty arbitrary to say that THIS in particular "has to be done the hard way"... especially when there's specifically Gods for whom trade and contact is their metier?

Sure, we can provide a special magic for any old situation to let all challenges disappear.

First contact has a history of providing amusing or tragic misunderstandings. If you want to breeze over such scenario elements, fine, use a spell, or just tell them that once more the magic of Tradetalk has established communication where there has none before, and be done with it.

Dealing with languages and linguistics can be interesting, but possibly less so if you come from a monolingual background. On a few occasions, Hollywood gives it a go, but usually everyone speaks English with a slight fake accent, and that's it. If that creates an expectation that instant communication can be reached, traveling to countries with other languages or with a great reluctance to use English might be an experience.

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6 hours ago, styopa said:

I guess you seem to believe Tradetalk is somehow inherently magical?  It seems a lot more like a pretty standard game-rationalized "Common Tongue" mechanic that was common to RPGs like D&D ala 1978.  I'd be curious where you got that interpretation? 

HQ: Glorantha is explicit that it is magical - the breakout box on p. 160 says "Tradetalk is a magical language and is easily understood and quickly learned even by foreigners and non-humans." Not that Runequest needs to use all the same interpretations as Heroquest, but the idea's not coming out of nowhere.

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As an idea:

"Mother Tongue (Harmony)

1 Point

Self, Temporal, Stackable

This spell enhances the intelligibility of Tradetalk. For the duration of the spell, the Language Equivalency of the caster's Speak Tradetalk is 1/10th.

Each additional rune point increases the equivalency: 2 points equals 1/5th, 3 points equals 1/2th."

 

Keeps the important role of Tradetalk, while enhancing it. Connected to Therelma, Mother Language, who is the bride of Issaries or one of his sons.

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I suspect a lot of this is what do you want to roleplay.  If you like going through the pain and problems of no common language and see that as a fun time, then no spell is great for your game.  I have to roleplay this at work every single day, and as an activity it has lost it appeal.  So I want a spell or something that doesnt waste my limited game time.  But I dont want to impose my way of playing on others.

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Tradetalk was inherently magical, as Issaries created it to be easily understood by anyone.

As for a spell that allows anyone to be understood by anyone, sure, it is possible to make up such a spell. As to who would have it, I am not sure. A Communication Deity, maybe Herald, maybe someone new.

However, a party meeting another party without a common language is a good roleplaying experience and it would be a shame to just have a spell that overcomes that.

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First off I don't buy the it's fun/difficult/required so lets not have a spell for that. Everything that is made easier by magic could be said to be at the expense of a roleplaying opportunity. Getting run through by an axe is very different in Pavis than Innsmouth for example. Magic is their to make peoples lives easier. Roleplaying opportunities come when players are not prepared.

Now as Jeorg points out this is Glorantha and nothing is by chance. But nothing about Tradetalk in this new edition of RuneQuest suggests it is a magical language: "The cult’s language, Tradetalk, was spread by the God Learners and is spoken as a second language throughout much of Glorantha." doesn't mean it isn't but we can't prove a negative. But I do prefer to place a mythic reason toward things, especially when logic or common sense suggests otherwise. 

So, for now, here is my take on this: Issaries, as a god of communication, receives passive worship when people learn new languages. It is the willingness to communicate with others imparts the energy. This is also why there are so many languages, if we all spoke the same language then there would be no effort, and effort ensures understanding. This is also why no culture uses trade talk as a mother tongue. And why neither Issaries or Etyries possess magic that simplifies the process, as it would deny worship, even unconsciously.

However this does not preclude others from devising such magic. Some cults (Nysalor perhaps) may do so to deny Issaries or simply want to the easy route. Such spells would be heretical to the Lightbringers and used with caution in civilised lands.

Thanks for all the suggestions and as always YGWV  

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4 hours ago, Psullie said:

However this does not preclude others from devising such magic. Some cults (Nysalor perhaps) may do so to deny Issaries or simply want to the easy route. Such spells would be heretical to the Lightbringers and used with caution in civilised lands.

I can't see Nysalor doing this.  If there is any cult who would do so it would be Etyries, wayward daughter of Issaries.  It would be through New Pelorian, and quite likely a sorcery spell.

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1 minute ago, jajagappa said:

I can't see Nysalor doing this.  If there is any cult who would do so it would be Etyries, wayward daughter of Issaries.  It would be through New Pelorian, and quite likely a sorcery spell.

Etyries teaches Tradetalk - but the idea of her secretly undermining her father seem really appealing! Fair enough on Nysalor, it was a long shot. Who else would seek to undermine Issaries?

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3 hours ago, Yelm's Light said:

Eurmal comes to  mind.

Except Eurmal's approach would be the opposite - ensure NOBODY can understand anything anyone else says (aka Tower of Babel-style effect).

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16 hours ago, Psullie said:

Etyries teaches Tradetalk - but the idea of her secretly undermining her father seem really appealing! Fair enough on Nysalor, it was a long shot. Who else would seek to undermine Issaries?

"Tradetalk 2.0(tm), easier and better to use, but is unfortunately not backwards compatible with Tradetalk 1.0(tm).  Unfortunately, where you could formerly just buy Tradetalk 1 at a flat fee and then you owned it, Tradetalk two requires a monthly user licence to stay current or it's user-license is revoked."

3 hours ago, simonh said:

I think it's well established in Glorantha that languages are magical by their nature.

Well everything in Glorantha is magical.  Gravity's magical.  The dirt is magical.  Forks are magical.  Shoelaces are magical.  At a certain point it become a banality.  .

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1 hour ago, styopa said:

Well everything in Glorantha is magical.  Gravity's magical.  The dirt is magical.  Forks are magical.  Shoelaces are magical.  At a certain point it become a banality.  .

I'l be more specific, the use of language is a consciously executed intentional magical act, but yes I suppose that's a fair point.

Edited by simonh

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9 minutes ago, simonh said:

I'l be more specific, the use of language is a consciously executed intentional magical act, but yes I suppose that's a fair point.

It's an interesting viewpoint on language, though.  Is that your interpretation or did I miss something (admittedly, I had nothing to do with Heroquest, and it seems a lot of the magical structure underpinning Glorantha was evolved there)?

But if it's a conscious, intentionally executed magical act, then shouldn't there be an MP cost?  In that case, I could CERTAINLY understand that someone has Tradetalk skill X and with the spending of a MP could have a chance of making themselves understood to another.  That would be completely logical.  Then, too, you offer the person with Tradetalk a limited utility because it doesn't grant them necessarily the ability to understand what's said BACK.  Just one-way, which is useful enough in "DONT KILL ME" situations, and could even provide limited trade capabilities in "if you give me that cow, I will sell you this bow in trade".

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