Language Rules


Starting Languages

Characters begin the game fluent in the language of their native land, as well the ubiquitous language in their region:

The Old World: French

The Dark Continent: The “River Tongue”

The New World: ?

Cathay and the Orient:
Hindoostan: Hindi

In addition to these, a character may be fluent in a number of languages equal to the number of dice he has in his Smarts Trait. For instance, a character with a d8 Smarts is fluent in three additional languages. Fluency assumes the ability to speak, read and write, and to comprehend complex phrases and ideas. It does not assume mastery of accents, which could conceivably fall to the Persuasion skill.

The player can choose to lose complete fluency in any additional language (not his regional or native ones) and instead choose two pidgin languages, in which they have limited but adequate conversational skill. In these cases, a successful Smarts roll, with applicable modifiers, is required to comprehend complex phrasing and ideas. Basic communication skills are assumed, however. Characters cannot read or write pidgin languages under most circumstances, though they might be able to decipher the most common words.

Learning New Languages

Players have two options in gaining new languages for their characters:
Every time a player raises his character’s Smarts Trait, he has the option to choose a new fluent language or two pidgin languages. Approval of these selections is left to the GM’s discretion.
Languages may be purchased as a skill as per the regular Savage World of Solomon Kane rules. A d4 in a language assumes pidgin/conversational skill. A d6 assumes fluent speaking but only rudimentary comprehension of the written language. A d8 assumes fluent speaking and reading comprehension. A d10 and d12 in a language skill assume comprehension of etiquette, complex ideas, and regional differences and related dialects. It is not necessary to raise a language skill beyond d12. A player who has purchased a d4 in a language may select it as a fluent language the next time he raises his Smarts roll if he chooses.

Note: A d4 language skill is equivalent to a pidgin language.

Known Languages

The following are some of the most common (and not so common) languages used in the setting. Players are encouraged to select languages that are appropriate for where the campaign is centered.

East Africa

Amharic, Oromo, Somali

North Africa

Berber, Hausa

South Africa

Bantu dialects, Shona

West Africa

Fulani, Igbo, Yoruba


Bulgarian, Czech (and Slovak), Polish, Russian, Serbian, Shtokavian


Gaelic, Scots Gaelic, Welsh


English, Dutch, German, Flemish, Yiddish

North Germanic

Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish


Italian, Romanian, Catalan (Spain), French, Ladino, Portuguese, Spanish

New World

Algonquian (Northeast, includes many languages such as Cheyenne, Cree, Massachusett, Powhatan, and so on), Hopi, Iroquoian (Cherokee, Mohawk), Kiowa (central America), Mayan, Muskogean (Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, Seminole, etc.), Nahuatle (Aztecs), Navaho, Numic (Comanche, Shoshone, Ute), Quechua (South America), Siouan (Crow, Winnebago, Sioux)


Bengali, Hindustani (Hindu and Urdu), Persian, Punjabi, Romani, Taijik


Arabic, Hebrew


Burmese, Cantonese, Mandarin, Thai, Wu


Albanian, Armenian, Basque (isolate, spoken in Pyrenees), Greek, Japanese, Korean

Dead Languages

Akkadian (Sumerian), Aramaic, Coptic, Edomite, Elamite, Hittite, Hurrian, Kushite, Latin, Libyan, Medean, Nubian (magical tongue), Phoenician (includes Ugaritic), Sumerian, Urartian

Language Rules

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