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Unread postPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2020 3:36 pm


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I'm wondering when you need to roll a language skill roll? Do you need to roll on it whenever you have a conversation? What about Literacy?


Unread postPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2020 10:43 pm

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Like any other skill it is up to you. For me I only roll language, or any skill really, under these circumstances.

- If one of the speakers has a language/literacy skill lower than 70%. I have always considered 70% the threshold for proficient.

- If there is some condition that inhibits the communication. Something that makes it hard to hear/read. Anything where you would apply a penalty to understand it. Too loud, damaged paper, too much static too hear properly.

- Different accent or dialect. I usually don't assign a penalty here but I do have players roll to understand for the first few times they here it until they get 3 consecutive successful rolls.

So just how I do it, hope it helps.

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Unread postPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2020 11:22 pm

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usually when the char is doing something hard.

maybe like when conversing with someone speaking with a thick accent or in a dialect.

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Unread postPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2020 10:51 am

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cbrekkas wrote:
I'm wondering when you need to roll a language skill roll? Do you need to roll on it whenever you have a conversation? What about Literacy?


The time to roll ANY skill is "when the character is attempting something particularly difficult."
So if you speak American at 55%, for example, you won't need to roll any checks for day to day conversation. You'll probably have an accent and/or other issues, but not so bad it's a real problem.
If you end up doing something a bit tricky, but there's no pressure or time limit, you wouldn't have to roll.
Pressure and difficulty are the keys to knowing when to make skill checks.

Say your character is listening to a Rogue Scholar talking about something more obscure than everyday discussion, something that uses some jargon and/or esoteric words and/or explains some tricky concepts, AND you're in a situation where you can only listen ONCE?
I'd say you have to make a skill check.
Similarly, if you were trying to explain a difficult concept that required esoteric language and/or jargon, and again time was short and/or pressure was on, you'd need to make a skill check.
Or if you were trying to sing "I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General," or recite a tongue-twister.
Or if you were trying to say things in a particularly eloquent way.
Or if you were trying to convey subtle information to one person listening to you, without conveying the same information to other people who might be listening.
Or if you were trying to succinctly convey a lot of information in a very short time under pressure (like one melee attack, during combat).

Much of this can be dealt with via role-playing instead, and often IS because people forget about Language skills and/or don't care to bother with them, but it's nice to have a mechanism in place for that kind of thing.

Literacy would be much the same thing. You'd need to make checks when there's some kind of pressure and you're doing something tricky such as translating archaic texts, or reading something particularly dense and dry, or searching for hidden meanings that don't quite require Cryptography, or parsing specific technical meanings.
That last one is something we do all the time here on the forums, when we argue about rules; we read the official rules, and we interpret them based on what kind of language they use. Usually there's no pressure, but often the phrasing of rules is odd enough that a skill check would be warranted.
Actually, that brings me to another good situation: legal documents.
Often just by reading a document carefully, one can find loopholes or hidden catches; it's ALL in the precise nature of the language being used in the document.
A GM could set up a situation where the PCs are asked to sign a particularly dense contract that uses subtle language to hide all kinds of hidden catches. The GM could even type up and print off two different versions of the same document as props; one version for if the players succeed with their Literacy check, and one version for if the players fail in their Literacy check... the rational being that the paper the GM hands them represents the character's understanding of the contract.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Jun 20, 2020 11:46 pm

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Dolphins need to roll it to understand a language and maybe kind of do small words with it I think?

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