Linguistics (Int; Trained Only)

You are skilled at working with language, both in its spoken and written forms. You can speak multiple languages and can decipher nearly any tongue given the time. Your skill in writing allows you to create and detect forgeries as well.


You can decipher writing in an unfamiliar language or a message written in an incomplete or archaic form. The base DC is 20 for the simplest messages, 25 for standard texts, and 30 or higher for intricate, exotic, or very old writing. If the check succeeds, you understand the general content of a piece of writing about one page long (or the equivalent). If the check fails, make a DC 5 Wisdom check to see if you avoid drawing a false conclusion about the text. (Success means that you do not draw a false conclusion; failure means that you do.)

Both the Linguistics check and (if necessary) the Wisdom check are made secretly by the GM, so that you can’t tell whether the conclusion you draw is true or false.

Create or Detect Forgeries: Forgery requires writing materials (such as ink, paper, and wax) appropriate to the document being forged. To forge a document on which the handwriting is not specif ic to a person, you need only to have seen a similar document before, and you gain a +8 bonus on your check. To forge a signature, you need an autograph of that person to copy, and you gain a +4 bonus on the check. To forge a longer document written in the hand of some particular person, a large sample of that person’s handwriting is needed.

The Linguistics check is made secretly, so that you’re not sure how good your forgery is. As with Disguise, you don’t even need to make a check until someone examines the work. Your Linguistics check is opposed by the Linguistics check of the person who examines the document to verify its authenticity. The examiner gains modif iers on his check if any of the conditions on the table below exist.

Condition Reader’s Linguistics Check Modifier
Type of document unknown to reader –2
Type of document somewhat known to reader +0
Type of document well known to reader +2
Handwriting not known to reader –2
Handwriting somewhat known to reader +0
Handwriting intimately known to reader +2
Reader only casually reviews the document –2
Document contradicts orders or knowledge +2

Learn a Language: Whenever you put a rank into this skill, you immediately learn to speak and read a new language.


Varies. Deciphering a page of ordinary text takes 1 minute (10 consecutive rounds). Creating a forgery can take anywhere from 1 minute to 1d4 minutes per page. Detecting a forgery using Linguistics takes 1 round of examination per page.

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You must be trained to use this skill, but you can always attempt to read archaic and strange forms of your own racial bonus languages.