Languages

Skills / Knowledge Skills

Time Taken: One round.
Specializations: Specific language known — Wookiee, Huttese, Bocce, Ewok.

The common language of the Known Galaxy is Basic. Most people speak it — if not as their main language, they are at least fluent in it — and virtually everyone can understand it. However, some areas of the galaxy are so isolated that Basic is rarely spoken.
Some aliens can't or refuse to speak Basic. For example, Wookiees can understand Basic, but, because of the structure of their mouths, usually cannot speak it. Ewoks do not normally understand Basic, but can learn it fairly easily.
The languages skill is used to determine whether or not a character understands something in another language.
If the character wants to say something in a language in which he isn't fluent (see "specialization" below) increase the difficulty by two levels.
The base difficulty depends on the language's complexity and structure compared to Basic (or any other language the
character knows):

  • Very Easy: Dialect of Basic, uses many common slang words or phrases.
  • Easy: Common language related to Basic.
  • Moderate: Common language, but not related to Basic (Huttese).
  • Difficult: Obscure language, not related to Basic (Wookiee).
  • Very Difficult: Extremely obscure language, such as one unique to a culture that has never been contacted before or a "dead" language; language that cannot be pronounced by the person trying to understand.
  • Heroic: Language where many concepts are beyond the character's understanding or experience. May include musical

languages or languages dependent upon intricate body language.

Modifiers:
+10 or more to character's roll: Idea is very simple. "No." "Yes."
+1-5 to character's roll: Idea is simple. "I have a bad feeling about this." "Landspeeder — only 1,500 credits."
No modifier: Idea is of average complexity. "We're out of ammo." "Big explosion … generators go 'boom'!"
+1-5 or more to difficulty: Idea is of above average complexity. "The stormtroopers are going to be charging over that ridge in 10 minutes." "3,000 credits for the 10 blasters, plus a crate of blaster power packs, and I'll give you my word that I won't tell anyone what a great deal you gave me."
+6-10 or more to difficulty: Idea is complex. "When the shield generator drops, Red Squadron will go for the ion cannons along the hull, while Blue Squadron will concentrate their fire on the bridge. Until then, try to defend each other from the TIE fighters."
+11-20 or more to difficulty: Idea is very complex. "From a sociological point of view, the culture of the Ithorians is wholly dedicated to to the metaphors of their first great poet and philosopher, Tiethiagg. His aptitude for understanding the unique herd culture and how it related to the individual, and how each Ithorian had to contribute to the health of the
planet as a whole …"

Fluency: Any character who makes 10 Difficult (or greater) difficulty checks on a specific language is considered fluent
in that language and no longer has to make languages rolls to see if he understands the language.

Specialization: Characters may specialize in a specific language, such as Wookiee, Huttese, or astromech droid. Once the character has 5D in the specialized language, the character is considered fluent in the language and no longer has to make rolls to understand anything in that language.

If the character is attempting to understand unusual dialects or seldom used words of that language, he can use the specialty language's skill code — and should have a much lower difficulty number. For example, a character fluent in Huttese trying to understand a dialect of Huttese will have a much easier time than a character who only knows Basic.

In Sparks, we also use the rule that for every +1D the language skill is above the Knowledge attribute the character can choose a language they were studying as they raised there language skill to be fluent in.

Gamemaster Note: Certain characters, like LukeSkywalker or Han Solo, know more languages than one would expect. Han travels around the galaxy a lot, and knows Wookiee, Huttese and probably several other languages. Luke comes from a planet with at least three common languages — Basic, Jawa, and Tusken Raider.
If a player wants her character to know several additional languages, you might want to give them to her at a reduced
cost (such as three obscure lanuages at 5D for ID in beginning skill dice), especially if she comes up with a very detailed background explaining why her character knows so many languages. Giving a character a few "extra" language dice is okay as long as the player "earns" them and you make sure that her added knowledge won't seriously unbalance the campaign. If the players aren't willing to do some extra work developing their characters' histories and personalities, they shouldn't receive such skill bonuses.

Another Way to Learn Languages
Another and probably more common way to learn languages is by acquiring 10 "Pips" in the language.. A Language pip is aquired when a character hears the language and rolls above a 20 on the language roll to understand the language. This generally takes time as simply hearing a few phrases is not enough to master the language..

These pips are tracks separately on the record sheet in the notes section and do nothing until 10 are acquired.

Once 10 Pips are acquired in a specific language the character is considered to know the language well enough to speak and understand it.

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