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I just don't like the way Exalted does Linguistics. I like language, and I think that language can play an integral role in many Exalted games without any Charms at all. To hopefully make the system more interesting, I am introducing a new system for Linguistics, as well as many more languages.


  • Riverspeak(4) - Trading Language of the Scavenger Lands. Official Language of Nexus.
  • Mountain Tongue(5) - Language of the Mountain Folk.
    • Gethemane(5) - Official Language of Gethemane.
  • Celestial(7) - Language of the Celestial Exalted in the First Age. Official Language of Yu-Shan.
  • Gaian(5)(Dead) - Common language of the First Age.
    • High Realm(6) - Language of the Scarlet Dynasty and patrician classes. Official Language of the Realm.
    • Low Realm(5) - Language of the commoners of the Realm and Greyfalls.
  • Promontorian(5) - Language of the Shogunate in the East. Spoken still in Lookshy.
    • Sijanese(5) - Official Language of Sijan.
    • Calinian(5) - Official Language of Calin.
    • Thoriandrin(5) - Official Language of Thorns.
    • Maurikani(5) - Language of Celeren and the western Maurikan Alliance.
      • Dimanjen(5) - Language of Eastern Maurikan.
    • Mountain Speak(4) - Language of Mount Metagalapa.
  • Ancient(?)(Dead) - Language of the Neverborn, Yozis, and 3rd Circle Demons.
    • Draconic(5)(Dead) - Language of the Dragon Kings.
      • Hymnasian(6) - Musical Code of the Sidereals.
    • Malfean(5) - Language of Malfeas, spoken by 1st and 2nd Circle Demons.
  • Forest Tongue(6) - Language of the Fae in the East.
    • Haltan(5) - Official Language of the Haltan Nation.
    • Chintar(5) - Official Language of the Hundred Kingdoms
    • Galctrec(4) - Language of the Hill Peoples of the Northeast. Ceremonial language of Great Forks.
      • Tretar(5) - Official Language of Great Forks.
      • Linowan(5) - Official Language of the Linowan.
    • Icirotan(4) - Language of the Ten Tribes.
    • Eastern Barbarian Tongues(4) - Too numerous to list.
  • Rus(5)(Dead) - Language of the Northern Shogunate.
    • Ven(5) - Official Language of White Wall.
    • Falcan - Official Language of Cherak.
  • Sky Tongue(6) - Language of the Fae in the North.
    • Haslan(5) - Official Language of the Haslanti League.
    • Vlazhim(4) - Language of the Icewalker and Tear Eater tribes.
    • Varajtul(4) - Language of the Varajtul.
    • Northern Barbarian Tongues(4) - Too numerous to list.
  • (Great House) Script(3) - Secret Code language for every Great House.
  • Veiled Tongue of Secrets(3) - Secret Code language for the All-Seeing Eye.
  • Words of the Guild(3) - Secret Code language for the Guild.
  • Words of the Sun(3)(Dead) - Secret Language of the Solar Exalted during the First Age.
  • Silver Tongue(2) - Language of the Silver Pact.
  • Dance Story(2) - Sign language of dance which can only ever be understood by dancers.


South, West.


The Linguistics Ability has been eliminated. Linguistics Charms now use Lore for their Ability prerequisite.


Every language is measured as an ability on a scale.

The maximum rating in that language is related to the language's complexity. Full languages can be learned to 5 dots. More rudimentary ones, like codes, have lower ratings. For example, High Realm is valid through level 5. A complex Lookshy military code might be valid through 3. Simpler codes, like those used by thieves might run to 2 dots, and things which are quite simple, and can only communicate simple concepts only go to 1 dot.

Your rating in the language determines your ability with it.

  • 0 - Greek to you
  • 1 - Pick out some nouns, fewer verbs. Some communication is possible.
  • 2 - Most of the important words. You still sound stupid, though.
  • 3 - Normal competency. Basically fluent, and can understand dialects for the most part.
  • 4 - Very well-versed. Enormous vocabulary. Great grammar. Nigh-perfect accent. (Note, this means good grammar all-around, not just proper straight-from-the-book grammar)
  • 5 - Total vocabulary. No accent (if not one's native tongue). Perfect grammar, even for very different dialects. You understand everyone perfectly.

Anything above 3 is mostly unnecessary, unless you want to sound impressive or like a convincing native. Often people who are not convincing natives or who do not bother to learn the language to 3 dots will receive a social penalty. Below 3 dots, a Wits + Language roll may be required to communicate, and only relatively simple concepts can be conveyed.

Learning Languages

Characters begin with a rating of 3 in their native language, and 2 dots to distribute among languages in any way for every dot of Lore they have. Each freebie point spent gives 4 dots to distribute between languages in any way. So, for example, a character with 3 Linguistics starts with 3 in their native tongue and 6 dots to distribute among general languages; if they spend a freebie point, they now have 10 dots to distribute among general languages.


  • Raise Language: New Rating x 2 -(Lore + 1 per language learned to 3 in the same family).(Min 1)
  • Training Time: New Rating x 10 Days -(Lore + 1 per language learned to 3 in the same family) Days. (Min 1)
Double Training Time if learned from a book alone for the first 2 dots. Triple it for the third and fourth dots, and quadruple it for the fifth dot. It is very difficult to understand pronunciation without being able to hear it.


When working on the XP, maybe make it cost a little less? After all, you're splitting an ability into different abilities. Also, somewhat related to XP, have you thought about grouping the languages into families? Exempli Gratia, I'm a Latin scholar, but I can understand a great deal of written French, and even moreso Spanish or Italian. The same applies with the spoken languages, but less so, and especially less so with French. Maybe once you have 3 in a family, you have 1 in every other language of that family? Moreso if it's the root language? i.e. if you have 3 in Old Realm, you automatically have 2 in Low and High Realm? OR, perhaps, have the family bonuses ride on top of the rating, like the Dragon King bonuses to Attributes, so the XP costs are still small, reflecting that it's easier to learn languages within the same family as yours. - Tardach

Good idea with the language family thing. Thanks :) - Morpheus

I love the idea, but you dont actually want to create the poliphonics and characters, pronunciation guides and all that stuff right? Sindaen

Dude, Why not? :p That'd be awesome. Be probably the most impossible hobby ever, but it'd be awesome :D -ipsi

Thanks! These are great ideas. I love the High and low versions of Dragon Kings and Demonic languages. And the Pelagotrope stuff is good. The lunar idea is just exactly like I play lunar clawspeak. I'm gonna keep the guild's cant a more secretive guild only language in my games, and use a more general english-like Riverspeak as the common tongue in Nexus and consequently of trading in the scavenger lands, though. And as for the Night and Zenith languages, what I think that I want to do with that is say that the Zenith did often use a secret "language" of tongues when communicating with the beyond in their rituals, and the Night caste may well have had numerous secret codes for it's various espionage and counter-espionage orgainzations, but what I was thinking are more general languages which arose from the secrecy, superiority complexes, and general ethnocentricity of the various celestial types. Such that any lunar may have known celestial, but only another solar lord would be taught the language of the sun, or the "Tongue of Kings", and only other lunars could understand the complicated claw-speak lunars used to ID territory and communicate less publicly. These would've been rare and small languages, though still languages for their complexity. As for the full languages, I don't think I need to go that far, but if it's your cup of tea, by all means be my guest, and if you'd like comments, feel free to post whatever you'd like. Thanks again. - Morpheus

Speaking as someone who actually plays in your games, particularly considering the fact that you're splitting ancient languages further, I really think you should give more language dots for freebie points. I already thought this, but it's just getting worse. I think 9 would be a lot more reasonable per freebie, but 6 might be okay. Now, as for the demonic tongues, I don't think the normal language for 3rd Circle Demons should be the same as the one for the Neverborn and for Yozi-Worshipping. I would personally say that Yozi-Worshipping should be done either in the lower language, or should be done in a separate ritualistic tongue. I would also say that Second Circle Demons should speak the higher Malfean and not the low Malfean. All the souls of the Yozis would speak one language that way, and the serfs would have their own language; I consider 2nd Circles way more removed from 1st Circles than they are from 3rd Circles, not necessarily by power level but definitely, definitely in terms of Demon-City status. At the very least, don't assign 2nd Circles and 1st Circles the same language.
~ Shataina

The demon languages need a lot of thinking about, but I'm not sure we really need "high and low" demonic languages, but rather perhaps ancient and super-ancient, so that the most powerful demons actually have access to a language which is even more frightening and alien than normal demonic (exalted = up and up). It wouldn't be so much about class as about power, and 2nd circles could probably exercise some knowledge of it, while 1st circles would simply run in horror or stand in awe.

As for language dots, I still disagree, though I am considering reducing the freebie cost to 4/point. It's tough. I'm trying to turn language from a slight annoyance and necessity into a really useful, interesting, and powerful ability. I want to make linguist characters, who were once just interesting exercises in characterization, into really powerful and useful beings. I want language to have as much power and mystery in Exalted as it does in real life. If I can get it like that, then I think that being completely fluent in a language is worth a freebie point. It's worth noting that most people know 1 or 2 languages, and linguists generally learn only a couple more. 2 Freebie points with 3 in linguistics means that you start with 3 linguistics, 1 language at full fluency, and 5 others at a useful speaking level. I don't want starting characters to just get any language they want for really cheap. So it's a tough call. It's a work in progress. You know how often I change my mind. - Morpheus

I'm a little confused by what you mean here, and by secondary languages. Do you still give secondary languages as per the normal core book for having linguistics? Seems to say up there that you do, but I'm not sure... And also, how do you get 5 languages at a useful speaking level? I'm assuming you get 4 languages for having linguistics 3, right? Therefore they begin at 2? So 2 lang. points to get native to 5, 4 lang. points to get each secondary language to 3, and the last 2 on the 5th language to 2? Or am I completely off here? -ipsi
Actually, "most" people know two to four languages, with linguists sometimes learning more. Most of the world is of necessity poly-lingual, as a number of case-studies in South America, for example, make abundantly clear. -Suzume who is enjoying this little example of the Wiki spontaneously doing something she thinks NEEDS doing
Morpheus almost never checks this wiki anymore, but I play in his games so I can answer this (also, I edited the page to be clearer). Linguistics as an ability has now been eliminated (but everything I'm about to say about Lore can be assumed to have once applied to Linguistics). A starting character gets 3 in his native language and 2 language dots per point of Lore. They then get another 4 language dots for every freebie point they spend. So, for example, Cynis Sierra has 4 Lore, and is a Dynast. She thus starts with 3 in High Realm and gets 8 points to distribute among other languages. She elects to raise her High Realm to 4, then takes 3 Riverspeak and 4 Celestial, spending all 8 extra points. She decides that isn't enough, so she spends a freebie point and gains another 4 dots for languages; she takes 2 Haltan and 2 Low Realm. As for your confusion, I think it arises from misunderstanding what he said about the language dots as well as the fact that he used to give 2 language dots per freebie. For levels: 3 is not "a useful speaking level", 2 is. You sound dumb, but you can get most stuff across -- this is the level of an awkward-sounding exchange student, for example; such a person can buy stuff at the store or do the homework, generally, but won't necessarily be able to have a super-detailed conversation with a native speaker. 3 in a language indicates fluency -- if you were born speaking English, for example, you have "3 English". 4 is the domain of great poets and editors, and 5 is the domain of people like Shakespeare or the guy who wrote the Chicago Manual of Style (handbook for editors). When Morpheus said that you get 5 languages at useful speaking level, he meant 5 at 2, which is on top of the native, which would be at 3. ... As for you, Suzume, you are right. <grin>
~ Shataina
I think I have a grasp of what Morpheus is doing with that. It sounds like a good system. One of my friends and I have been using a slightly simpler system for our games (his idea; also, my players would scream murder at the thought of any of this being called "simple", the results of too many decades of the horrifyingly attrocious D&D language systems). We kept linguistics, treating it simply as the ability to communicate (not an unreasonable stretch, although I'm still dissatisfied with the name). From that, we use the built in system of specialization, treating a mode of communication, aka a language, as a single specialization. This does require that multiple specializations in a single ability be allowed. Further, a given individual character is treated as having the equivalent of a 3-dot specialty in the one or two (depending on backstory and persuasive ability ^_^ ) languages considered her "native", or L1 language(s). Thus, the expressive capacity is more represented by a higher Linguistics ability, and fluency with the mode of communication by the degree of specialization. Shakespere would have a 3-dot inherent specialization in his native language, the English of the Elizabethean era, as well as likely specializations in latin, french, and possibly a few other languages. Where he would excell his neighbors, however, would be that while they would have the same technical proficiency in English (being native speakers) they likely would have little or no Linguistics ability, whereas he would have a fairly high rating in same (which I shan't put a number to; do it yourself, after having seriously read his plays and poetry). Essentially, this changes little of the mechanics of the system (except the multi-specialization issue already mentioned, and giving a virtual specialization in an ability that a character might not have dots in otherwise), while still providing a more realistic modeling of Language. Sorry for the length of this post. Eventually, I'll maybe get this written up (or get my friend to post himself) over on one of my pages. -Suzume (who deleted her old, higer ranked comment that related to this particular vein of the topic...) By the by, would anyone be interested in a discussion about language in games in general, and in exalted in particular? Or should we all just keep on crowding up this page? ^_^;
I would be way interested in a discussion of language in games! I think we should start one and entertain ourselves with it at least, and then let the rest of these unanswering losers come to us.
~ Shataina
はい!そうしょう! The discussion is at Language in Gaming, and can be accessed from the Discussions main page. ^_^ I hope I didn't go off too strongly, right at the start. ^^; -Suzume

Morpheus, I recently developed a language which is used by the Abyssals to write books and wards in the tongue of the Neverborn. I think it might be quite helpful for Midnight-Characters as they use this language to communicate with their demonic masters (through Whispers or so). Maybe they are only able to master the language if they posess that background. I have also developed alphabetic characters for it in the same way, High Realm and Low Realm is presented in the Player's Guide. Are you interested? Can I e-mail them to you or something? Maybe it helps you to complete the language list. ^_^Jiba

Wow, that's very nice. I am indeed interested. My E-mail is, and if you'd care to send me your work, I would be supremely pleased. It sounds great. Also, this system looks great, Suzume. Good justification, and I can appreciate wanting not to screw with things too much. - Morpheus