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Section: Character Rules

Summary: Characters must learn languages with skill points to speak them but don't need to learn to read and write languages they can speak. When reading in-game languages don't treat them as ciphers, we use strange fonts to make them look good, not to make them solvable.

This page talks about how to speak and write in fantasy languages without learning real foreign languages skills.


All languages in Novitas are categorized as common, uncommon, rare, or extremely rare. Common languages are those that are actively spoken by large portions of the population. Each common language has at least one nation on Novitas that currently speaks it. Uncommon languages are those languages either actively spoken but only by cultures that are marginalized in some way or they are no longer actively spoken. Rare languages are only spoken by cultures that do not want others to know their languages or who would be dangerous to learn from. Finally, extremely rare languages have mystical components that make learning them incredibly complex. These languages require more than standard tutelage to master.

All characters in Novitas begin play knowing the most basic of all languages, Common, the general trade tongue of all Novitas. This is at least in part a matter of convenience. Characters who come from the lost continent of Vargainen are not native speakers of Common, and have likely never had any exposure to it. However, as a consideration for allowing player characters to be fun, they are given Common for free anyway. These characters are encouraged to roleplay taking the steps of still learning Common, but each player is free to handle this as they wish. Other characters can at the player's choosing also not know Common if they desire.

Non-human characters begin play knowing an extra language, determined by what species they are. This represents the cultural heritage that character comes from.

Beyond that, any character can learn new common languages by using skill points. Uncommon languages are learned through role-playing skills, most commonly Scholar. Rare languages can be learned with skill points and plot marshal or second (Ryan Green and Donald Tyson) permission after having sufficient opportunity to learn the language through roleplaying. High level scholars also get the opportunity to learn rare languages through that skill without requiring further permission (beyond earning the ability to take the high level role-playing skill).

Many players love adding accents to their characters. As a game we allow accents, but we do generally discourage them. Different regions of the world might logically have different accents. This is a very reasonable assumption. However as an accessibility choice we do not have any interest in forcing all players who wish to make a character from one nation to be able to speak an accent in order to be from that location. This would result in players unable to make a character with the origin they desire, would result in players speaking with terrible forced accents constantly, or players would be stuck making accents that quickly devolve into silliness.

For these reasons we have, as a game, made a conscious choice that we don't have any official accents from any regions of the world. Characters may still add a local accent from their small, not officially supported heritage if they wish, but they should never try to say their accent is how any larger group of people talk.


If your character has a language skill to speak a language they can automatically read and write in that language. Should you desire your character be illiterate that is perfectly acceptable and you can roleplay that however you desire as long as you are consistent. Learning to read and write could be a very interesting arc for character development. Just don't suddenly regress and spontaneously cease to be literate without cause.

Different languages are all represented by different fonts for in-game documents. For simplicity sake these fonts are simple replacements of English letters with characters that don't look like English. This means that someone could treat foreign languages as a cipher, and translate them back into English. Don't do this. Other languages have different grammar structures, different words, different structure. They don't follow the rules of English. Translating an unknown language is a painstaking process that could take years to figure out one document. We use alternative fonts for simplicity sake to create interesting looking props, they are not designed to be solvable puzzles.

Documents of any importance that are written in other languages should always include a translation in normal English fonts. These can be read by anyone who speaks the corresponding language in-game. These translations will note at the top what language is needed to read it, saying something like '<In Elvish>'. When you see this, only read the translation if you speak the language.

The fonts are available for players to download so they can make their own props using them. A simple prop like a bow that says "Pew Pew Pew" in Elvish on it, looks cool, and adds to the setting while carefully concealing a joke so that it's subtle. No one needs to know what the bow says. Characters who want to be able to translate this kind of prop can get a translation guide from the logistics desk for any language they can speak. This is the one time where translating alternative fonts back to English is appropriate... to see the inconsequential, but fun little details people have added to enrich the game.

Speaking Foreign Languages

Characters who know languages other than Common can speak them at any time. To do this announce what language you are speaking and then proceed to say what you want to say. Players often add hand signals rather than saying 'In Draconic' repeatedly, but this is purely optional and not an actual rule, just a common practice. As long as people overhearing the conversation understand what language is supposed to be represented, any means of communicating when you are speaking that language and when you are not, works.

Word Puzzles

While you can't use in-game foreign language fonts as ciphers, you can use an actual cipher if you wish to. Use any characters you want as long as they are not from the fonts used by game to represent different languages. You could even put a cipher in a language other than Common, by adding something like '<in Terran>' at the top of the page. Then have the translation be the cipher which only characters who speak Terran could attempt to solve.

Common Language Skills

Common languages are those languages that are currently actively spoken in the various nations of Novitas. Each of these languages is the official language of at least one nation. All characters begin the game knowing Common, though it could be an interesting experience to have them not know it for some reason (such as being from Vargainen where Andaranian is their standard language, and Common doesn't exist). Characters who aren't human also begin the game knowing one additional language based on their species.

Because these languages are spoken actively in the world, characters do not need permission to learn them, though it is generally good practice to have a story for why and how you learned to speak a new language.

Languages can add personality to a character. They can be used to represent your characters cultural heritage. Sometimes they are used to make props look fancier. Some plots make knowing an unusual language an important aspect. Finally some characters try to conceal conversations in front of others by speaking in languages others don't know.

Skill Name

Skill Tree Prerequisite(s) Skill Point Cost Description


Knowledge None Free Speak the Common language.


Knowledge None 1 Speak the Elvish language. Elves gain this for free.


Knowledge None 1 Speak the Gershan language. Snow goblins gain this for free.


Knowledge None 1 Speak the Terran language. Earthkin gain this for free.

Uncommon Language Skills

Uncommon languages represent languages either actively spoken by a species without a homeland in the modern era, or a language that is no longer in active use.

These languages can only be acquired through being a member of a particular species and role-playing skills (most typically Scholar).

Skill Name

Skill Tree Prerequisite(s) Skill Point Cost Description

Andaranian Language

Knowledge Scholar - Speak the language of Vargainen and ancient Novitas. Characters from Vargainen get this as a free language instead of getting a language based on species.

Apian Language

Knowledge Roleplaying Skills - Speak the language of Insects. Verdurans get this language for free.

Canine Language

Knowledge Roleplaying Skills - Speak the language of Kazvaks and some Lycanthropes

Diabolic Language

Knowledge Roleplaying Skills - Speak the language of the Dark Fae. Faekin may choose this as their one free language.

Draconic Language

Knowledge Roleplaying Skills - Speak the language of piscenes, reptilians and drakes. Drakes gain this as a free language.

Sylvan Language

Knowledge Roleplaying Skills - Speak the language of the Light Fae. Faekin may choose this as their one free language.

Rare Language Skills

Rare languages are those languages that characters are not only unlikely to encounter but even if they do, they are exceedingly difficult to get someone to teach your character to speak. Often this is because the culture that speaks the language is hostile to player character species, but for some of these languages it is also because the language is not native to Novitas.

All rare languages require either plot marshal permission to learn or need to be acquired through a roleplaying skill, most commonly Scholar 4 or 5. To get plot marshal permission in this case requires plots that are generally long and drawn out over many months to acquire. Players cannot teach each other these languages.

The ritual, Polyglot, allows players to speak common and uncommon languages. It does not give access to ANY of rare languages.

Skill Name

Skill Tree Prerequisite(s) Skill Point Cost Description

Elemental Language

Knowledge Plot Marshal Approval 1 Speak the language of the Elementals. Druids get this skill for free. Scholars gain 1 rare language at level 4.

Goblinoid Language

Knowledge Plot Marshal Approval 1 Speak the language of the Orc hordes. Scholars gain 1 rare language at level 4.

Ratfolk Language

Knowledge Plot Marshal Approval 1 Speak the language of the Ratfolk. Scholars gain 1 rare language at level 4.

Thieves' Cant Language

Knowledge Plot Marshal Approval 1 Understand the codewords of the Thieves Guild. Scholars gain 1 rare language at level 4.

Extremely Rare Language Skills

Some languages are so rare not even the scholars can find them easily. These languages are mystical in nature. A teacher alone isn't enough to learn them.

Skill Name

Skill Tree Prerequisite(s) Skill Point Cost Description

Black Speech Language

Knowledge Plot Marshal Approval 1 Speak the language of Sky Beasts

Immortal Language

Knowledge Plot Marshal Approval 1 Speak the language of the Illuminated

Categories: Character Rules | Languages

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Page last modified on February 15, 2024, at 04:26 AM
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