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Sunday 4 May 2014

Lords of Olympus Q&A: Languages

We have a new question for the LoO Q&A thread.  If you want to have YOUR question answered by me, here, please go to that thread and post it!

As for today's question:
Q: So, I'm pretty impressed with LoO. I particularly like that it has a lot more hard detail on the powers and their interaction with different attribute levels, unlike, say, the original Amber Diceless RPG. Also, the Momus entry is hilarious. ;)

My question is a bit more trivial, however. How are language barriers supposed to be handled?

In Lords of Gossamer and Shadow, being a Warden gives you a translation ability. In Amber, it's clear that language barriers exist, but fast-time Shadows make it easy to nip off and learn a language, not to mention the strong implication that a lot of languages are just a variant of Thari. It doesn't seem quite that easy in LoO.

I ask this in part because I'm considering a campaign where all the PCs start on Modern Earth, not knowing their heritage. Chances are that not all of them will know Greek, which obviously is the language their god-parents would prefer. Or should I simply assume the gods know all mortal languages, even if the PCs don't?

A:  I think this is the kind of thing you can handle in different ways in different campaigns.  Some GMs might want to save themselves the trouble and just make all languages understandable quickly. For others, of course, this might seem too cheap and easy.

I think a key to this answer is Ego Class, and mental power.  If your character has a decent Ego level, he should be able to learn the native language quite easily using a mental contact with a local. This could obviously also be done by something like Scrying, and possibly even Advanced Metamorphosis.  Of course, there's also the old fashioned possibility of taking time to learn; since most characters have Immortality, but in some campaigns that may not be an option.

Also, for something like this do not underestimate the potential of "local powers" in a World.  The local magic would in some worlds allow a character to learn a language.  In some advanced worlds, technology might do the same.

Finally, there's some of the more hardcore options: you can always dedicate points to control a realm, or to get a daemon that has a power to comprehend languages (or in theory an artefact of some other kind).  And of course, if you have Advanced Primordial Magic, you could always just change all the rules so that everyone is speaking what you speak.  You'll never have to read a language book again.


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