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Old 10-18-2019, 03:49 PM   #1
Michael Thayne
 
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Default Point value of being unable to learn language above broken/accented

What's the point value of being unable to learn language above a given level? Canonically, Cannot Speak is worth -15 points and Dyslexia is worth -10 points, which suggests "Cannot Learn Language" is worth at least -25 points (because I don't think the two canonical disadvantages technically cover sign language). But even -30 might not be enough for "Cannot Learn Language". Consider that "Cannot Learn Language Above Broken" (CLLAB) gives -3 to a wide range of skills plus requires IQ rolls for basic tasks, which is worse than Low Empathy at -20 points, meaning CLLAB is probably worth at least -25 points. "Cannot Learn Language Above Accented" is probably worth -10 points, since it gives -1 to a wide range of skills, -2 to some skills, and makes your problem obvious to everyone. Thoughts?
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Old 10-18-2019, 04:26 PM   #2
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Default Re: Point value of being unable to learn language above broken/accented

Well animals only get Cannot Speak, I looked at Bestial [-10] but that includes more and both traits appear in the Wild Animal metatrait.
Mostly its treated as limited by IQ - see the box on p. B23.

Cannot Learn is -30 so it definitely needs to be lower than that and I think Cannot Speak is the best fit, though that does let you understand so maybe -35?
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Last edited by Refplace; 10-18-2019 at 04:29 PM.
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Old 10-18-2019, 04:33 PM   #3
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Default Re: Point value of being unable to learn language above broken/accented

Depends. On the genre, on if you mean "one language", "just spoken or written language", or "all languages".

Canonically it's a 0 point Feature for "Reptilian” races in DF that they cannot learn to speak any non-Reptilian language above Accented.
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Old 10-18-2019, 05:04 PM   #4
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Default Re: Point value of being unable to learn language above broken/accented

If you cannot learn any language, including your native one, at better than Accented/Literate, that's a lot like the inverse of Language Talent, and I'd price it at [-10] as a personal disadvantage. Inability to learn a specific language is a quirk, at most.
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Old 10-18-2019, 05:23 PM   #5
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Default Re: Point value of being unable to learn language above broken/accented

Technically 0 points - can't learn languages is a Taboo Trait, and those aren't worth anything. Can't learn better than some level is even less severe. Realistically it's clearly much more crippling than that - consider pricing it as an Anti-Talent giving the -1 or -3 to all those language related skills even when you have bought the language up to Native - if you just buy it to Broken or Accented, you'd suffer the penalty twice.

Parenthetically can't learn any languages is not a trait I would allow in a game - an inability to communicate with the other PCs is just too disruptive. I don't allow Cannot Speak/Mute anymore, or even not sharing any languages with the rest of the party, unless your character design has a clear workaround that isn't going to require disruptive rolls all the time, or you can otherwise show me how he's going to fit in. I'd strongly suspect anybody wanting to play a PC who can't learn anything above Broken doesn't have a plan for that either, and the character design is going to get a No from me for the same reason.
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Old 10-18-2019, 05:46 PM   #6
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Default Re: Point value of being unable to learn language above broken/accented

Quote:
Originally Posted by Refplace View Post
Cannot Learn is -30 so it definitely needs to be lower than that and I think Cannot Speak is the best fit, though that does let you understand so maybe -35?
Cannot Learn doesn't stop you from having very high skill, DX, and IQ levels. It 'merely' stops you from ever improving them past their starting point. If the GM isn't paying attention it's a free 30 points in a one-off game.
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Old 10-18-2019, 08:09 PM   #7
evileeyore
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Default Re: Point value of being unable to learn language above broken/accented

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Originally Posted by malloyd View Post
I'd strongly suspect anybody wanting to play a PC who can't learn anything above Broken doesn't have a plan for that either, and the character design is going to get a No from me for the same reason.
Which is why it's as dodgy as Anti-Talents and is canonically 0.
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Old 10-18-2019, 10:31 PM   #8
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Default Re: Point value of being unable to learn language above broken/accented

I would suggest just taking Disturbing Voice; it generally gives similar penalties to what you want, and is usually what cinematic characters who don't speak any language well actually have.
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Old 10-19-2019, 01:37 AM   #9
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Default Re: Point value of being unable to learn language above broken/accented

I want to say, first off, that there are two different restrictions here. There are physical restrictions, such as not having sophisticated enough vocal organs for articulate speech. That's -15 points and trades off for the Signals advantage from Template Toolkit 2, which lets you have a "language" based on skin color changes, electric pulses, or some other exotic channel. But then there's not having the cognitive ability to use a sophisticated language, which I think is what's involved here.

I think basically I would go with malloyd's idea that this is a zero point feature: a taboo trait. But bear in mind that if you're a normal character with IQ 6 or better, you get Native use of one language for free. So if you're from, say, a Spanish speaking country, and you can't manage better than Broken Spanish, that's a -4 disadvantage (or -5 if you can't read or write at all). I think you should take that disadvantage, and THEN take the Taboo Trait to prevent your learning either your native language or any other language above Broken.
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Old 10-19-2019, 04:45 AM   #10
Michele
 
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Default Re: Point value of being unable to learn language above broken/accented

If we're talking about learning a foreign language, as opposed to your native one at Native level, I agree with others that it's a Taboo Trait [0]. It's more crippling if it also applies to your own language.
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