Feb 10, 2012

Languages of the Dawnlands


The Kaddish language family has two languages/dialects, and one significant creole. Its has a unique script.

High Kaddish

High Kaddish is the oldest remaining language of the Kaddish. It is a sociolect spoken mainly by the upper classes in the Orthocracy, and knowledge of it is a mark of education. It has not been anyone's native language since the revolution several centuries ago. It is also the language which the Kaddish writing system was intended to reproduce, and most formal writing is done in High Kaddish. A speaker of High Kaddish can make himself undertood in New Kaddish, and Kadiz, barely.

A speaker of High Kaddish can test their Language (High Kaddish) skill at -25% to understand speakers of New Kaddish and Kadiz

New Kaddish

New Kaddish is the everyday language of most citizens in the Orthocracy. It is a language full of slang and idiom spoken with a dozen different accents that can be used to precisely place the origin of the speaker. Most are more or less intelligible to one another, though non-native speakers may have trouble understanding some of the brogues. The language is full of neologisms and barbarisms, and has a simple, flexible grammar. Many morphemes have drifted over time from High Kaddish, and the writing system bears little resemblance to the spoken language.

A speaker of New Kaddish can test their Language (New Kaddish) skill at -25% to understand High Kaddish or Kadiz speakers.


Kadiz is a creole of High Kaddish and Old Elvish and simple statements are mutually intelligible to speakers of both languages. It has many shibboleths that distinguish it from the root languages. It is the native language of the Kadiz nomads. Each clan has a different accent, but most are mutually intelligible. Kadiz has no standard written form - literate nomads use the High Kaddish script phonetically.

A speaker of Kadiz can test their Language (Kadiz) at -25% to understand Old Elvish or High Kaddish speakers.

A speaker of Kadiz can test their Language (Kadiz) at -50% to understand New Elvish.


Dwer has two dialects, and a creole. The two dialects are written with the same script, which is based on the Old Elvish script.

High Dwer

High Dwer is the ordinary language of optimates and thaumates in Dwer Tor. It is used for many ritual purposes, and is the language most magical and technical writing is done in, and that the laws of Dwer Tor are written in. High Dwer is mutually intelligible with Low Dwer. This dialect has many loanwords from the ancient voidmen language. There is a different vocabulary to be used depending on the relative social positions of the speakers.

Low Dwer

The dialect of helots, and the language optimates and thaumates use when speaking to helots. It is distinguished from High Dwer mainly by vocabulary, especially its slang, metaphoric stock and colloquialisms; the grammar is identical. Though both languages distinguish between the social positions and attitudes of the speakers, Low Dwer's distinctions are less precise. More of its loanwords are from the ancient halfling tribal languages of the plains and New Kaddish.

Both Low and High Dwer are the same language, with different slang and slightly different loanwords. Speakers may take Language (Dwer) and be assumed to know both.

Colonial Dwer

Colonial Dwer is a creole of the Forest Tongues and Urban Dwer. It is mainly spoken along the Little Road and the other colonies of Dwer Tor. It is used by all social classes (optimate, thaumate and helot), and is similar to Low Dwer in its treatment of hierarchy. It is mutually intelligible with many of the Forest Tongues. It is considered a barbaric tongue by urban Dwer, and the accent is associated with bumpkins and provincials. It has no written form.

Speakers of Colonial Dwer may test at -25% to understand speakers of High or Low Dwer.


The Elvish language family derives from the language of the Children of Night, Old Elvish. It has multiple scripts, derived from gnollish scribes who used variable numbers of claws to incise or decorate a basic series of letterforms. The simplest and most commonly used in the modern day is the "One Claw" system, though most speakers of the languages are illiterate.

Old Elvish

Old Elvish is the name for the language once spoken by the urban population of the Cities of Night. The language exists mainly in written form, but lacks a standard orthography which makes translation difficult. It is not mutually intelligible with New Elvish or Monstrous Elvish. Kadiz shares much of its vocabulary since the nomad clans absorbed the last surviving speakers of the language.

A speaker may test Language (Old Elvish) at -25% to understand Kadiz.

New Elvish

New Elvish is a collection of mutually intelligible dialects descended from the rural dialects of Old Elvish. These dialects are the main languages of the modern Hill People population. It has many loan words from Kadiz, but is a distinct language and speakers can barely understand one another. It is mutually intelligible with Monstrous Elvish for simple statements. It is written only in the One Claw system, and then only rarely.

A speaker may test Language (New Elvish) at -25% to understand Monstrous Elvish.
A speaker may test Language (New Elvish) at -50% to understand Kadiz.

Montrous Elvish

Monstrous Elvish is the collection of mutually unintelligible dialects spoken by the various monstrous races that once comprised the subject peoples of the Children of Night. The various dialects share a broadly similar grammar and basic vocabulary, but are adapted to the vocal capacities of their speakers. Weykulnic, spoken by hobgoblins in the north-eastern plains, is the most widespread, followed by Dlak Gnollish, spoken by the gnolls who follow the prophet Finder of Eyes.

A speaker may test Language (Monstrous Elvish) at -25% to understand New Elvish.