This is a site for discussing roleplaying games. Have fun doing so, but there is one major rule: do not discuss political issues that aren't directly and uniquely related to the subject of the thread and about gaming. While this site is dedicated to free speech, the following will not be tolerated: devolving a thread into unrelated political discussion, sockpuppeting (using multiple and/or bogus accounts), disrupting topics without contributing to them, and posting images that could get someone fired in the workplace (an external link is OK, but clearly mark it as Not Safe For Work, or NSFW). If you receive a warning, please take it seriously and either move on to another topic or steer the discussion back to its original RPG-related theme.
The message boards have been upgraded. Please log in to your existing account by clicking here. It will ask twice, so that it can properly update your password and login information. If it has trouble recognizing your password, click the 'Forgot your password?' link to reset it with a new password sent to your email address on file.

Author Topic: An alignment language example  (Read 2061 times)

Kyle Aaron

  • high-minded hack
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9012
  • high-minded hack
    • View Profile
    • The Viking Hat GM
An alignment language example
« on: July 28, 2017, 09:22:55 PM »
From 20th century Britain, Polari, the language of homosexual men.

   "One of the things that makes Polari so powerful is that it is simultaneously about disguise and identification," the artist Jez Dolan tells BBC Culture. "You would be hiding what you were talking about from people who didn't know it, but also if you were in a bar and you liked the look of somebody, you'd pop it into conversation and they'd either go 'ah' or they'd look blank and you'd be on your way."

[...] Baker believes Polari is a form of 'anti-language' – a term coined by the linguist Michael Halliday in 1978 that Baker defines as "a language used by people who are on the 'outside' of mainstream society". "It has its own vocabulary for elements that mainstream society is not interested in," he says. "Words relating to gay sex or evaluating male bodies – but it also demonstrates an alternative value system."

This "hiding in plain sight" and variations on the local language aspect would, I think, be key to how an alignment language would work. I don't see how it'd work separate from a system of deities, though. The church of Christ teaches Latin, or Greek; the Temple of Grolka the Mad would teach Chaotic Evil's cant. So you'd need 3 dieties in B/X, and 9 in AD&D1e.

The article's pretty interesting. Thoughts?
Rules for effective DMing:
1. Bring snacks.
2. The dice are always right.
3. I master the game, the game does not master me.
4. Momentum over perfection.
5. The game must go on!
The Viking Hat GM

Headless

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1864
    • View Profile
An alignment language example
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2017, 09:27:17 PM »
Flash in early New York.  Or cochneny ryming slang in london.  Both examples of thieves kant.

WillInNewHaven

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • W
  • Posts: 666
    • View Profile
An alignment language example
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2017, 11:41:14 PM »
Quote from: Headless;979171
Flash in early New York.  Or cochneny ryming slang in london.  Both examples of thieves kant.

That's how Cockney seems to have started. However, everybody's friends and relatives picked it up and pretty soon it became simply the dialect of one part of a big city. Then the criminals that had originated it probably created another obscure and arcane spinoff to use as a secret language.

Skarg

  • Venerable Gamer
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2379
    • View Profile
An alignment language example
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2017, 12:15:32 AM »
Are any of them full languages, though? Seems like none of them are class-limited, or alignment limited.

Shall we have a new RPG where alignment or class is code for gender identification or sexual orientation? I'm hoping not.

You can do the same thing with hobby jargon, e.g. D&D.

CRKrueger

  • Hulk in the Vineyard
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12464
    • View Profile
An alignment language example
« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2017, 01:20:59 AM »
Quote from: Skarg;979193
Are any of them full languages, though? Seems like none of them are class-limited, or alignment limited.

Shall we have a new RPG where alignment or class is code for gender identification or sexual orientation? I'm hoping not.

You can do the same thing with hobby jargon, e.g. D&D.

Are all languages full languages?  Would you be able to describe snow and ice flows in one of the Bedouin tongues sufficient to survive, or what about the different types and densities of sand or sand storms in an Inuit language?  Most languages AREN'T complete or full, hence the need for loan words and the creation of patois, slang and jargon.
Even the the "cutting edge" storygamers for all their talk of narrative, plot, and drama are fucking obsessed with the god damned rules they use. - Estar

Yes, Sean Connery's thumb does indeed do megadamage. - Spinachcat

Isuldur is a badass because he stopped Sauron with a broken sword, but Iluvatar is the badass because he stopped Sauron with a hobbit. -Malleus Arianorum

"Tangency Edition" D&D would have no classes or races, but 17 genders to choose from. -TristramEvans

soltakss

  • RQ Fogey
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1430
    • View Profile
    • http://www.soltakss.com/index.html
An alignment language example
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2017, 08:47:09 AM »
I get that all the above are languages that are used by certain groups of people and that is fine.

However, the idea of a language that is spoken by everyone who if Chaotic Evil, for example, makes no sense to me at all.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2017, 11:48:04 AM by soltakss »
Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism  since 1982.

http://www.soltakss.com/index.html
Merrie England (Medieval RPG): http://merrieengland.soltakss.com/index.html
Alternate Earth: http://alternateearthrq.soltakss.com/index.html

Bren

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7576
    • View Profile
    • http://honorandintrigue.blogspot.com/
An alignment language example
« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2017, 11:31:00 AM »
Quote from: soltakss;979287
I get that all the above are languages that are used by certain groups of people and that is fine.

However, the idea of a language that is spoken by everyone who if Chatoic Evil, for example, makes no sense to me at all.
The language is magically learned when they put on the proper alignment T-shirt. [spoiler][/spoiler]
Currently running: Boot Hill 2E      Currently playing:_D&D 5E and Call of Cthulhu
My Blog: For Honor...and Intrigue
I now have a gold medal from Ravenswing and Gronan now owes me 9 beers and I owe him 2 beers.
And this just in, jeff37923 has jumped on the beer wagon. He now owes me 1 beer.

soltakss

  • RQ Fogey
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1430
    • View Profile
    • http://www.soltakss.com/index.html
An alignment language example
« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2017, 11:48:47 AM »
Quote from: Bren;979303
The language is magically learned when they put on the proper alignment T-shirt.

Ah, that makses sense, then, thanks.

I fit at least three of those T-Shirts ...
Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism  since 1982.

http://www.soltakss.com/index.html
Merrie England (Medieval RPG): http://merrieengland.soltakss.com/index.html
Alternate Earth: http://alternateearthrq.soltakss.com/index.html

Trond

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1692
    • View Profile
An alignment language example
« Reply #8 on: July 29, 2017, 11:53:01 AM »
Sounds similar to people looking for drugs or, maybe, hookers. They develop their own lingo in order to go under the police (or nosy bystander) "radar", while hopefully be understood by the people they're looking for.

Dumarest

  • Vaquero
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3685
    • View Profile
An alignment language example
« Reply #9 on: July 29, 2017, 12:28:23 PM »
Forget it, Jake, it's D&D...

You either roll with it or you don't...I've  never played in a game that used alignment languages. It's easy to strip out, along with alignment en toto.

What I want to know is when you learn an alignment language? Do parents teach their children "Chaotic Evil"? Or do you wait to see what alignment a child is turning into and then teach them accordingly? If you're Lawful Good but your son is Neutral Good, how do you find a teacher? :confused:

Headless

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1864
    • View Profile
An alignment language example
« Reply #10 on: July 29, 2017, 02:11:28 PM »
It's natural.  Kids start listening to certian music, play video games, role playing games, or knitting, and there are subliminal messages which distort their thinking and start to color their speach.

Skarg

  • Venerable Gamer
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2379
    • View Profile
An alignment language example
« Reply #11 on: July 29, 2017, 02:47:07 PM »
Quote from: CRKrueger;979209
Are all languages full languages?  Would you be able to describe snow and ice flows in one of the Bedouin tongues sufficient to survive, or what about the different types and densities of sand or sand storms in an Inuit language?  Most languages AREN'T complete or full, hence the need for loan words and the creation of patois, slang and jargon.


Not having a term for ice floes or other things you've never seen, is quite a different standard from what can be communicated in "are you my kind of gay? code" or CB radio slang.

If I pretend I think D&D alignments make any sense themselves, I might be able to convince myself languages for them made some sense IF by "language" I merely meant slang and getting the meaning due to sharing similar values or ways of thinking. Kind of like how there are currently so many degenerate non-communicating conversation on the Interwebs about politics, where there's a thinking breakdown that includes having very different meanings and associations for the same words.

But even so, I wouldn't call those languages.

"hey mon do you speaka my language?"

"excuse me, stewardess, I speak jive..."

Gunslinger

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 786
    • View Profile
An alignment language example
« Reply #12 on: July 29, 2017, 02:57:58 PM »
Quote from: Dumarest;979316
What I want to know is when you learn an alignment language? Do parents teach their children "Chaotic Evil"? Or do you wait to see what alignment a child is turning into and then teach them accordingly? If you're Lawful Good but your son is Neutral Good, how do you find a teacher? :confused:


I would say largely cultural.  Similar to growing up in rural or urban environments with similar values.  So an alignment tongue may not actually be a reflection of an individual alignment but one easily identified with.  So the individual may speak the lingo and can relate with some of the experiences but would be exposed by their actions whether they kept those values.
 

Dumarest

  • Vaquero
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3685
    • View Profile
An alignment language example
« Reply #13 on: July 29, 2017, 03:08:55 PM »
Quote from: Gunslinger;979346
I would say largely cultural.  Similar to growing up in rural or urban environments with similar values.  So an alignment tongue may not actually be a reflection of an individual alignment but one easily identified with.  So the individual may speak the lingo and can relate with some of the experiences but would be exposed by their actions whether they kept those values.

I get you.

Eh, I just take D&D at face value...if I'm going to play it I'm not going to question whether alignment languages make sense, or worry about the ecology of the troll...otherwise I'll play something else. I say just go with the quirks of D&D and don't spend too much time trying to make it all make sense.

Kyle Aaron

  • high-minded hack
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9012
  • high-minded hack
    • View Profile
    • The Viking Hat GM
An alignment language example
« Reply #14 on: July 29, 2017, 04:18:08 PM »
Quote from: soltakss;979287
However, the idea of a language that is spoken by everyone who if Chaotic Evil, for example, makes no sense to me at all.
It makes more sense in the context of OD&D, where essentially "Law" was civilisation, like the Romans, and "Chaos" was the barbarians, like the Celts. It makes less sense with 9 alignments, for which as I said you need associated dieties or cults, then it'll make sense. Historically, ideas of what was proper and right behaviour came from association with a diety and its religion and rituals, they weren't some entirely abstract thing.
Rules for effective DMing:
1. Bring snacks.
2. The dice are always right.
3. I master the game, the game does not master me.
4. Momentum over perfection.
5. The game must go on!
The Viking Hat GM