Map of Zheng-Kitar
Regional Langauges and Player Characters
This first section describes the mechanics of Regional Languages and is vital to playing in the world of Zheng-Kitar. Please Read Carefully.
All races and creatures of Zheng-Kitar that grow up in any civilized area grows up and is raised speaking the language of their homeland, as opposed to growing up speaking a racial language. The only exception to this, however, are those creatures who do NOT live in a civilized part of the world - in places where creatures live in barbarity such as out in the wilds, forests, or wastelands outside the bounds of civilization, racial languages take the place of regional languages.
For example, a player playing a Bomujeo
who was raised or primarily grew up or lived in The Narixian Empire, whether they were born and raised there, was born elsewhere and moved there as a child, lived most of their life there, or spent most of their childhood being raised or taught by someone who spoke Narixian - they would then most likely want to pick Narixian as their regional language.
However, though the races in Zheng-Kitar will invariably say they begin play starting with the regional language that suits their origins, if a player decides they came from barbarity or from outside civilization where no regional languages would reach, they may take a racial language as appropriate(GM Discretion) - this generally translates to a dialect of the language of Ssarin(AKA Wastetongue), for simplicity in taking languages. In very rare cases of cultures secluded from the outside world for millenia, true racial languages such as traditional Giant can be used.
For example, a player playing an Orc who did not grow up in civilization and instead grew up as a barbarian wandering the wastes, whether with a tribe or by himself, would likely speak Orc, his racial language, instead of any specific regional language. For race such as Bomujeo
who have no true racial language, the Player and the GM can work together to pick one.
Below is the list to the regional languages of Zheng-Kitar and where they originate from, as well as a short blurb of information about them.
- Narixian: This fiery, harsh language is the regional language spoken by those in the Narixian Empire. It has many words for violence and countless insults, but none for "hero". In a scant few centuries, the Narixians have fought with a hundred cultures in a hundred lands - they have learned to speak many languages and absorbed weapons, technology, and tactics from every war, and yet despite the overwhelming influence of foreign cultures as well as the absence of a central species, the Narixian language has not only survived but changed little throughout the centuries. If anything, the Narixian ways of life and philosophies have remained untouched, and their ideals and sense of family, identity, and nation have only been strengthened by their eternal quest for battle. It is a creed as much as it is a language - one that has remained undying for centuries.
- Shaoshuan: This ancient language was once the language of the United Shaoshu Empire, but has since spread across the fractured kingdoms of Central Zheng-Kitar that originated from the fall of that once great empire, with dozens of dialects existing that point to the specific country among the disparate nations one hails from. When taking Shaoshuan, notate the dialect that specifies the country one hails from, such as 'Shaoshuan(Astara)'. It is spoken primarily by those in the Shaoshu Empire, Astaran Republic, Kingdom of Osneia, Olander Principality, Coalition of Nine, and the Danzou Theocracy. Speaking Shaoshuan is enough to understand any native speakers from any of the constituent nations, but not speaking the same dialect means the conversation is often choppy and confusing, as each nation has developed a unique dialect since the fall of the unified Shaoshuan Empire.
- Kassaan: The language of the female barbarians of the Kassau Matriarchy. Kassaan begun as a tribal language for the Amazonian tribes that had historically been oppressed and subjugated in the Guezhan Rainforest, but when those tribes rallied together and burned one of the nations attacking them to the ground, this langauge became the national langauge of their new nation - the Kassau Matriarchy. The female amazonians of Kassau have spread this language to all they have conquered, and it is a most harsh one indeed. Having begun as a dialect of Ssarin, it has assimilated the languages of those the amazonians of Kassau have conquered to become a language all its own.
- Raoulish: The language spoken by the citizens of Raoulin, and the language of the legendary Lamia Ancestors and their God-Queen. In Raoulin, where peace is treasured, the culinary arts are a sacred tradition, and culture reigns supreme over violence, many races and cultures gather beneath the banner of the Lamia God-Queen for safety and security. Raoulish, tracing its roots to the Lamia Ancestors, is a hissing, serpentine language that flows and rolls off the tongue in an ominous but pleasing way.
- Seogharan: The language is the language of the Kingdom of Seoghar and some tribes in the Seoghan River Valley, home of the main populations of the Bomujeo and the main home to the Dwarves after the loss of their underground citadels in ages past. It has changed over time to become a mixture of Classical Seogharan and Dwarven, and is now wholly a language all its own.
- Dharian: The language of the Dharan Alliance on the western coast of Zheng-Kitar, Dharian is an elegant and civilized mixture of many different languages from the various races that came together to form the Alliance.
- Shukaans: The language of the people of the Qushu League, originally from the tribes that once dwelled in the Xiaosha Sands. It has become the central unifying language of the disparate and diverse Qushu League of Free Cities, and is a wonderfully free and diverse lexicon that can be hard for many outsiders to grasp.
- Juum: Juum is the brutal, unforgiving language of the people of the far-off, frozen northern country of Jugeum, land of the Jarls and Thanes. A language as unforgiving and harsh as the durable vikings who call Jugeum home, Juum is a very hard language for outsiders to understand with its dozens of unique linguistics rules and complex structures, and is often just as demonized as those who call Jugeum home.
- Khadagarian: The language of the Khadagan Commonwealth, Khadagan was once the language of but one of the harsh, nomadic tribes that called the plains home until a great conquerer united the plains beneath his rule and wiped out the other languages and cultures in the area. It is a biting language full of harsh sounds, and can sound to many to be "angry" even if the words are not.
- Ustanian: The flowing, elegent language of the Ustanan Concord, Ustanian is a language rich in culture and history, with rich discriptive terms and beautiful sounds that has led it to be coined "The Language of Love".
- Circuitron: This logical, binaric speak is spoken by the Machine-Men of the Cheoltang Technocracy. It is completely incoherent to almost all who hear it, as the mere act of speaking it requires highly specialized training and/or a special throat implant to allow an organic being to generate the machine-sounds neccesary to reproduce Circuitron from a living throat.
- Sandwhisper: This whispering, ephemeral language was coined and created by the Nomads of the Great Gyatsoshin Desert as a way to create and maintain a shared Unity despite their wandering and nomadic habits. It has become the uniting language spoken in secret by the tribes of the desert there, and serves to unite them in the face of outside oppression or in the face of danger.
- Fleetspeak: The official Language of the Ever-Moving and Unmappable Gāngtao Migrant Fleet, the massive Iron Navy and mobile nation that roams the Oseishin and Liuwang Oceans. It is an entire language of slang, linguistic shortcuts, confusing insults, and borrowed loanwords from other languages that combines to form the most incoherent, confusing language in Zheng-Kitar. It is said that even those who speak Fleetspeak have a hard time understanding if they're being insulted or complimented in this complicated and ever-changing language that reflects the free-spirited sailors who make up the Migrant Fleet.
- Tarthan: The strange, exotic language spoken by the citizens of the foreign nation of Tarthus-Tetsu, better known as the Iron Kingdom. It is a strange language full of strange phoenetic rules and pronunciations, and while not as biting and harsh as languages such as Khadagarian, its sharp intonations can mix with its flowing pronunciations to create a strange and hypnotic language that is a strange pleasure to listen to. It is an incredibly rich language as well - with many different words for the same thing and words for things that do not exist in other languages, the language has a 'formal' and 'common' dialect that even native Tarthans take some time to grasp.
- Ezdhûlian(AKA Dwarven): The language that was once ancestral dwarven, but has now taken on a role as the regional language of the Ezdhûl. It has taken the place of Dwarven on Zheng-Kitar, as many aside from Dwarves have gone to live as Ezdhûl, so the name 'Dwarven' was changed to be more accurate. Spoken by those who dwell in the last remaining mountaintop and underground citadels of the Dwarven People across Zheng-Kitar and its nearby islands.
- Baltairi(AKA Elven): A language that was once ancient Elven, but has now come to encompass the language spoken by all who have sought out the Elves above, on and below the land to live as they do, now known as the Baltairan people. Much like Ezdhûlian, was once a racial language(Elven) that was changed and adapted as the Elves took in more and more outsiders and became a people all their own, with a rich culture blended from many sources. Spoken by those who dwell in the world's forests, jungles, mountaintops, and the seafloor in ancestral Elven Communities, cities, towns, and even the occasional kingdom.
- Ssarin(AKA Wastetongue): The wide, varied tongue of the barbaric and tribal people of the world who exist outside civilization. Unlike other regional languages Ssarin is an incredibly diverse language with dozens of individual languages within it, used as a catchall for those who speak the language of barbarians. After the Age of Apostasy, the barbaric Tribes of Zheng-Kitar were unified beneath the banner of Cao Lu, and once they dispersed, they did so with a unifed central language bestowed upon them during their unification. Though many racial and regional dialects exist, they all trace their roots back to here. When taking Ssarin, one generally notes which dialects they speak (EX: Sarin(Dialect of their home tribe or area)). This translates into roughly understanding other dialects in an incomplete fashion, but one capable of being understood.
- Veunh: The language of the mysterious and secluded Vathomi people who dwell in and around the Vathomion Isles, Veunh is a complex, dense tongue that uses comparatively few core words and an involved syntax to express ideas; more complicated ideas are expressed by combining related words into a larger whole. The written form of Veunh is represented ideographically, and the agglutinative features of the spoken language were reflected in the written form, which combined simpler ideograms to present more complex ideas. The Vathomi find the complex nature of their tongue to be a source of pride. As other cultures do not share the same vocal abilities as the Vathomi, it is difficult for other species to pronounce it correctly, even after long periods of study. It follows a logical pattern, though, and can be understood after some study. It is often described as a 'beautiful language' when heard, but few can claim to sound as beautiful when pronouncing it as the native Vathomi.
- Palespeak: The vile, cursed tongue of the denizens of The World Below, better known as The Underdark, and the vast Empire of the Duergar that rules it. Not allowed to be taken, and must be learned. Spoken of by certain incredibly rare Gloomgaunt scholars and elders. Replaced Undercommon quite a long time ago, after the fall and nigh-total collapse of Drow Society at the hands of the Genetic Annihilation Virus that wreaks havoc on Drow Populations to this day. Is still referred to as "undercommon" outside of The World Below due to a lack of knowledge of the conquest and subjugation of the Drow by the Duergar.
Though regional languages are by and large the languages of the modern day, thus pushing racial languages to the historical wayside, they are yet important as both the language of an ancient people and the languages spoken by more barbaric ones. They are listed below, and can be taken unless otherwise listed.
- Old Dwarven: The racial language of the ancient Dwarven People. Found only in the most ancient parts of their citadels, and barely spoken by living dwarves - this is Dwarven back in the era of the Dwarvish Ancestors, who built the great citadels in the days of yore beneath the watchful gaze of the Spirit Kings. A runic alphabet of obtuse markings and symbols that only modern Dwarven Scholars still know. Not really spoken anymore - only read on the walls of ancient Dwarven Structures.
- Old Elven: Similar to Old Dwarven - the ancient language of the Elven People. This is Elven back before it transformed into Baltairi, and is only known by stubborn Elven Elders who cling to the days of yore, refusing to change with the times. It is spoken, but mostly by especially arrogant Elves who hate what Elves have become and who yearn for the days of Elven-centric society and Elven Purity. Also spoken by more traditional elves who may not be of Baltairan descent. Otherwise, is only found on the most ancient of Elven Ruins.
- Giant: The language of the True Giants, who still dwell outside the bounds of civilization. A rocky, brutish, and grinding language that many dislike hearing.
- Draconic: The language of ancient dragons, and the language of magic. Spoken by True Dragons and sometimes by their descendants.
- Orc: The language of the Orcs, who mostly have yet to embrace civilization. Spoken by them and their descendants, as well as any slaves or refugees they might take in.
- Necril: The whispering, damned tongue of the dead, formed by the most ancient and vile of necromancers and imbued in the essence of every undead. Blasphemous and vile, and said to be able to raise the dead. Usually not speakable by living creatures without extreme training. Gained automatically by any Undead Creature.
- Modulo: The robotic, static-filled language of constructs. A language of binharic cant and construct sounds only machines, golems, and constructs can easily and properly reproduce, usually. Nonintelligent constructs do not speak it, but understand it. Living creatures can take it, usually by aquiring some sort of surgery or specialized training.
- Hazi: The mysterious language of the Heihaizi, natives of the infamous Blackgrave Isles. Not available to be learned normally. Must be learned from one who speaks it.
- Aklo: The language of inhuman or otherworldly monsters, evil fey, and ancient Eldritch Beings.
- Gnoll: The language spoken by the dog-like, cannibalistic Gnoll race.
- Gnome: The language spoken by the whimsical gnomes.
- Goblin: The language spoken by the short, horrendous goblins.
- Halfling: The language spoken by the romaing, homely halflings.
- Sylvan: The language of the fey, plant creatures, unicorns, and centaurs.
- Gith: The harsh, biting tongue of the Githyanki and Githzerai.
- Qualith: The incomprehensible language of the Illithid, speakable and readable only by them.
Additionally, there are other languages spoken in Zheng-Kitar that, while they are not regional languages, still exist in the world. They are listed below and given a description.
- Common: A language coined by the Tyrant Cao Lu during the formation of his empire during the Age of Apostasy that was forcibly standardized across the continent as a language all had to speak to support trade and the spread of goods throughout his continental empire. Not spoken by any by default, but is learned by most who deal with others from other countries or lands frequently.
- Aquan: The elemental language of water.
- Auran: The elemental language of air.
- Ignan: The elemental language of fire.
- Terran: The elemental language of earth.
- Luxan: The elemental language of light.
- Tenebran: The elemental language of void.
- Mage's Glyphscript: A language invented by ancient magicians to allow them to speak regardless of nationality. Is not spoken, and is solely a written language and a series of hand-signs. Can be taken by anyone so long as they have at least one level in an arcane casting class. Those without such a level cannot comprehend or preform the subtle arcane signs to use it.
- Thieves' Cant: A language formed by the agents of the tyrant Cao Lu in the age of apostasy for their underworld and secret missions, that survives in the current day as the universal languages of thieves and underworld agents. Exists solely as a series of handsigned, gestures, simple written codes, and has no spoken word. Can be taken normally by those with at least one level in rogue, assassin, slayer, or a similar underworld based class(GM Discretion). Unlike Mage's Glyphscript, it can be taught to others, but few wish to and reveal their secrets.
- Celestial: The singsong, angelic language of the good-aligned outer planes such as heaven, nirvana, etc., as well as the outsiders that dwell there.
- Abyssal: The hoarse, ear-turning language spoken by residents of the plane of The Abyss, and the language of Demons.
- Infernal: The chanting, insidiously alluring language of the plane of The Nine Hells, and the language of Devils.
- Blackspeech: The language of The Witch Kings of Bhorsis-Razghûl and their servants. Cannot be taken as a language. It is a language of power, of raw magical might, and is the source of all Bardic Magic. The means of speaking it as a conversational language have been lost to all but the Witch Kings and their servants, or pehaps the most ancient scholars. It is a vile, dark tongue, guttural and rich, like the crack and boom of rolling thunder. There are many taboos and myths around speaking this language aloud, as many believe it gives power to the forces of evil - hence a general distrust of Bards that pervades Zheng-Kitaran Society. Consult your GM if you are looking to learn this language for conversational purposes.
- Old Druidic: The first language ever to exist, gifted unto the natural world by the Old Gods at the dawn of time. Has faded over time, and now only elder trees, bushes, ferns, and bits of nature still speak this language, alongside animals, naturally occuring materials, plant matter(Wood, sand, stone, etc), very old druids, and the most primordial, ancient beings in reality that yet wake and exist. Almost none remain alive who can speak it. It is a rumbling, bassy tongue like the heartbeat of the world, and allows one to resonate and communicate with the natural world, and recieved empathetic and telepathic communication from it. Cannot be taken unless the race notes otherwise, or unless someone who speaks it teaches it to you - though doing so wantonly will invoke the wrath of nature.
- Elderspeech: The Ancient Language of the Sapphire Elves who served as the Wardens of Reality in the ancient times of Pre-History, and who stood against the Yema but were slain in the Age of Sapphires. It is considered a dead language, but is still seen in the most ancient ruins scattered across Zheng-Kitar. It is so old that both the Elven and Sylvan Languages trace their roots to it.
- High Dwarven: The Ancient Language of the High Dwarves who sculpted the world back in the times of Primordial Chaos, when all was fresh and new beneath the watchful eye of the Old Gods. The first and original language of power, where the very act of speaking it could cause real and quantiable change in the world around them - speaking the word for "Light" to create light, etc. Not available to be taken, or learned.
The Elemental Languages
Unlike in many other locations on the world of Ea, the Elemental Languages(Ignan, Auran, Terran, Aquan, Luxan, and Tenebran) are spoken quite often across the continent of Zheng-Kitar, and are seen as "holy" languages, such that being able to speak and/or read one of these languages is seen as placing one closer to the Spirit Kings, and thus closer to "Gods". As a result, the Element Languages see lots of use in the upper echelons of the societies of the various nations across the land as a hallmark of not only class and culture, but as a sign of being chosen by the gods.
Being able to speak them is a clear way to get a leg up in societies that place great emphasis on form and nobility, and is otherwise a clear and easy way to get respect in any other society, by speaking the elemental language of the element that kingdom associates with the most.