Xeno Linguistics

Xeno Linguistics is the ability or training to understand other species in their native tongue. It is not always possible to speak - or hear - every species in their native language. This is why linguistic translators are so cheap that everyone has one.

For those who desire to make the attempt, first, determine what the character wants to express or understand and how closely the language in which she wants to express it is to her native tongue. Then, compare the difference between the skill roll and the difficulty to decide how close she came.

Conveyed Idea Difficulty
Idea is very simple, consisting of a short phrase 3
Idea is simple; no slang; children’s book 6
Idea is of average complexity; most adult nonfiction 12
Idea is complex; slang involved; most adult fiction 18
Idea is very complex; technical jargon involved; academic writing 21

Additional difficulty modifiers allow for more complex attempts at communication:

Idea Complexity Difficulty Modifier
One or two common, basic words -5
Has a translating aid (book, computer program, electronic pocket device, hand signals)* -5
Different dialect of own language 0
Language is derived from common root language (ex., understanding Spanish if you understand French) +5
Completely foreign language (ex., Chinese has nothing in common with English) +10
Obscure language; reading lips +15
Language from a dead culture, or unpronounceable by the character trying to understand +20
Language includes many concepts nearly beyond the character’s understanding or experience +25
*Translation aids might provide their own bonuses, which are used instead of this.
Successful Roll Translation Result
0–3 Gist of idea; most words understood or conveyed properly; word usage seems stilted
4–8 Literal translation; slang expressed/translated incorrectly
8+ Subtle connotations
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