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Linguistics System

I have, I've got to admit, something of a problem with Linguistics as an ability in Exalted. The way abilities scale, while it seems to work for many, jarrs a little in this case, not because of linguistics as a theoretical skill, the ability to deal with words, etc. but because of the association with the number of languages a character speaks.

This isn't, you understand, a major complaint; but it is something that irks me. I dislike the way 'linguistics' represents two pretty different things: skill with words and skill with foreign languages. The two do not really need to be connected. It's sort of the difference between being multilingual and being an amazing poet.

Ideas have been thrown around on this with my group, but they all seem to end up being horribly complicated (and we're still using the linguistics system as per the core rules, and may keep on doing so indefinitely). Having a 'general' linguistics score and a score in different languages (a score, not a speciality) was suggested by someone -- I don't recall exactly who. But then you have to buy all these different languages up from scratch, as opposed to getting your one dot and then specialities if you want them? Didn't seem very fesible, but did bring up another problem with linguistics. You can't be really profficient in a language other than your native one without a speciality in it, according to the core rules; ie, you can speak it, but to have a deep grasp of it you need the dot or more of speciality, raising the issue: do they really expect characters who can live for thousands of years to only be able to be highly profficient in three languages at most?

Considering that point, I'm thinking very strongly about removing the 3-point limit for linguistics specialities, with ST's discression on what counts as abuse of that removal. Obviously specialities would still not individually pass three, and I might limit them to two even; but you'd be able to buy specialities in different languages to your heart's content, as well as perhaps a couple of dots of specialisation in things like speach-writing and so on.

Now, I have to wonder about something. Am I coming from this point of view because I spend a lot of time with bi- and multi-lingual people? If I hung out with medics would I complain about medicine as much? And so on.

But in any case: two points to this. Firstly, do you have any suggestions about altering Linguistics? And secondly, do you think I'm just looking into this too deeply and would find each skill to be the same if I looked at it in the same detail? (Of course I'm aware that these things get simplified, and to some degree or other need to get simplified, but still.)


Over at Scrollreader/Houserules you can see my take on linguistics. I had similar problems. Scrollreader

Thanks for the link. That's the kind of thing I was also considering (and another thing I should probably mention is the issue of training times for extra languages under the existing system, which I've already started ignoring. It really shouldn't take linguistics 4 characters as long as it technically would under the existing rules to learn another language, especially if you assume that at this level they're pretty good at language-learning, general rules of languages, and using words in general). -- Vervain

If you want to divorce languages from Linguistics altogether : An Exalt is fully proficient in a number of languages equal to their Intelligence. This means they can read, speak, and write poetry in this language. Exalts also have an innate affinity for learning languges such that they can "get by" in any human tongue after a few days of exposure to it. Assume that all Exalts ( except maybe some Lunars ) know enough to get by in Low and High Realm, Airtongue, Firetongue, etc. However, they have an effective Linguistics of 0 when trying to do anything with a tongue they don't actually speak fluently. An Exalt can become fluent in a language after a month of study, and the expenditure of 1 XP ( or gain two languages per bonus point at chargen ). -- Xarak

There's a discussion on this over at Discussions/Language, and many houserule sets over at Abilities/Linguistics. My personal, highly biased recommendation is MoLinguistics.
~ Shataina