Skull and Shackles: The Athenian Experience
Languages of the Shackles
The Shackles is a cultural melting pot, and knowing the correct languages is key to survival. Below are a list of the languages relevant to the Shackles area, although any language may be heard at some point during the adventure.
Spoken By: Aboleth and other deep sea (aquatic) aberrations.
Aquan ("Tongue of the Sea")
Spoken By: Aquatic and water-based creatures
The so-called “tongue of the sea” is spoken primarily in the sunken nation of the locathahs— those who trade frequently with the ocean empires often speak this tongue as well.
Common is a relative term used to denote the most prevalent human language spoken in a particular region. For instance, Taldane (see below) is the most widely spoken language in Avistan and Garund and so is referred to as Common in the Inner Sea region. In Tian Xia, however, the most widely spoken language is Tien (see below), and so that is classed as Common on that continent. It may be that on other continents, other human languages are classed as Common.
Spoken By: Cyclops and their kin.
Once the ancient language of the giants, this tongue was created before the rise of humanity by the cyclopes of Ghol-gan.
Spoken By: dragons, reptilian humanoids
Spoken By: Druids (only)
Druidic is a secret language known only to druids. It is a free language for a druid; that is, it doesn't take up a language slot. Druids are forbidden to teach this language to nondruids and has its own alphabet.
Spoken By: Dwarves.
Spoken By: Elves, half-elves
Spoken By: Cyclops, ettins, giants, ogres, trolls
This brutish tongue and its numerous minor variants are spoken in any region where the wrath of giants is known.
Spoken By: Gnomes
Spoken By: Halflings
This harsh tongue is spoken by the Kellid people originally from the north of Avistan and centers around survival and war. Although many northern barbarian tribes use versions of Hallit that has no written form, at least one ancient one does exist. It is spoken by a significant portion of the population in the following countries: Brevoy, Galt, Mendev, Nirmathas, Numeria, Razmiran, the River Kingdoms, and the Worldwound.
Spoken By: Devils and other lawful evil outsiders
The language of devils is often spoken by evil spirits.
Kelish is the language of the Great Padishah Empire of Kelesh far to the east of the Inner Sea. It is a throaty, phlegmatic language, rich with poetry, scholarly writing, and history, having served the empire for countless generations. It is also widely spoken by the genies of that land. It is widely spoken in the Inner Sea region in Absalom, Alkenstar, Geb, Katapesh, Nex, Taldor, and of course Qadira, the westernmost satrapy of the Great Empire. The traders of Kelesh are so ubiquitous, that the language is even spoken by a sizeable minority in the great city of Goka, in distant Tian Xia.
Spoken By: Orcs, half-orcs
This is the most widely spoken language on the continent of Garund. It is a direct descendant of Ancient Osiriani, which modern speakers can partially understand. It is a majority language in Osirion, Alkenstar, Geb, Nex, and Thuvia, and spoken by a sizeable minority in Katapesh and Rahadoum.
Polyglot is the collective name given to the numerous dialects of the Mwangi tribesfolk inhabiting central and western Garund. Surprisingly, the various tribes can generally understand each other, and it is believed all the dialects are derived from an unknown root language. Polyglot is spoken mainly in the Mwangi Expanse, the Shackles, and Sargava.
Taldane is the most widely spoken language in Avistan and Garund, indeed it is often referred to as Common in the entire Inner Sea region. It is a trade language which takes its alphabet from ancient Jistka and its numerals from Kelish. Most of the terms and grammar are based on ancient Azlanti, although Taldane also borrows from Varisian. It is thought to be one of the oldest human languages still spoken in the Inner Sea region, and is certainly the most widely-spoken.
Spoken By: Tengu
The official language of the tengu race.
This complex language is spoken by the Tian people from regions of the once great Imperial Lung Wa; its use is so prevalent it is often referred to as Common within Tian Xia region. It contains nearly 24,000 pictographs and is a tonal language with thousands of homophones.
Varisian is the language of the native Varisian people of Varisia. Vocabulary and grammar are based on a mix of Orc, Taldane, Giant, ancient Thassilonian, and a now defunct proto-Varisian language. It is known for its subtle nuances and double-meanings, and is a perfect tool for innuendo. It is spoken by a minority of the population of any of the countries these nomadic people have traveled to or settled in over the millennia including Brevoy, Lastwall, Molthune, Nidal, Nirmathas,and Ustalav.
Vudrani is believed to have been born in the Dhavala River basin in distant Vudra, and has been heavily influenced by both Tien and Kelesh. Speakers tend to add many prefixes and suffixes in conversation, making for many difficult-to-pronounce and lengthy words. It is the primary language of Vudra, and people there believe that it is the tongue of the gods. It is also spoken on the island of Jalmeray, and in Katapesh and Nex.