Monday, December 30, 2019

Magical Languages (Sept Patreon Post)

Heaven's Vault

Magical Languages

One of the most ancient and more common folk magics, it is near impossible to find a community without at least one interpreter of magical tongues.

A character may know one magical language for each point of WIS bonus that they possess. (For games with higher modifiers, one language for every two points). A character who knows a language may always hear and respond to it, but may only successfully begin conversation with a successful WIS check LVL times / day. Human magical languages are the exception to this, requiring no roll.

Natural Languages

  • Of Birds and Beasts - A means of communication with all creatures typically lacking the ability of speech. some traditions split this further, so it is common to hear of the Language of Birds alone, or of The Language of Crawling Things or Of Fish and Sea Creatures.
  • Of the Deeps and Waters - Oldest, but fickle and forever changing.
  • Of the Earth and Stones - Slowest of all. The stones recall everything that has occurred upon them, but the recollection of even a single moment might take multiple days.
  • Of Fire and Coals - Flickering and short lived. Fire is swift and remembers little of what it devours
  • Of Tree and Flower - In many ways similar to the beasts, though much slower.

Human Languages

  • Of Wizarding Ways - A secret shorthand, either written so as to be invisible or incomprehensible to the untrained eye, that wizards use to guard their arcane secrets. Was once a mundane language, long dead, that the early unions of mages decided upon as the language of writing about magic.
  • Of Swords and Boots - The language of soldiers, trenches, and battles. A clipped, simple language, easy to speak and understand in times of chaos, but lacking a lot of depth beyond the scope of war.
  • Of Streets and Roofs - The language of the city, the means of speaking to its buildings and roadways.
  • Of Infants - Through this art, the smallest of infants can be spoken to as if a well-learned adult.
  • Of Taboos - Containing all the words we dare not say and ideas we dare not bring to light. A language of secrets and confessions.
  • Of Soft Touches - The language of intimacy. Practiced by lovers and lovers-for-hire.
  • Of Lies - Where everything said has a double meaning, and truth has no foothold.
  • Of Babel - The rare taproot of all human languages, which may be understood by anyone. 

Spiritual Languages

  • Of the Gods Above and Below - To speak with gods directly, without the need for a ritual intermediary.
  • Of the Spirits of the Dead - Speaking with ghosts, and to a lesser extent the material animated dead.
  • Of Good and Evil Spirits - To speak with spirits without the need of leaving a ritual offering.


  1. I haven't played Heaven's Vault yet, but I'd really like to.

  2. I want to use this in Knave, right now.

  3. Always was a fan of languages having functionality beyond simple communication. Granting them utility really opens up a dimension of player engagement with the flavor for your campaign setting.

    In my home game, I've sorta ignored them up to this point, but this post gives me inspiration! Maybe I'll go and elaborate that now.