Language Groups and Blocks
A house rule for the HERO System
Copyright © 2001 by Franklin W. Cain. All rights reserved.

This house rule is an option for those GMs who don't especially care for the Universal Translator Talent, but want to allow (or encourage) multi-linguism among the PCs. (This option will also allow GMs to do away with the Language Chart while still permitting PCs to save some points spent on related Languages.)

Basically, a Language Groups and Blocks are collections of Language Skills that have some degree of relation to each other. Using the Language Chart to illustrate, a Language Group is a collection of Language Skills having three points of similarity (i.e., enclosed by a thick box with rounded corners in the Language Chart), and a Language Block is a collection of Language Skills having two points of similarity (i.e., enclosed by a thin box with square corners in the Language Chart). Thus, many Language Blocks will be composed of two or more Language Groups.

Here is a chart showing the cost (in Character Points) for Language Skills, Language Groups, and Language Blocks. (Note that the Linguist Skill Enhancer will reduce these costs by one point.)

Fluency Cost
Level of Fluency Language Skill Language Group Language Block
Rudimentary 1 2 3
Conversational 2 4 6
Fluent with Accent 3 6 9
Idiomatic (Native) 4 8 12
All Dialects 5 10 15

Enumerated below are some Language Groups. (Note that these are taken almost directly from the Language Chart.)

Central Romance Languages:
Italian, Sardianian, Rumanian

Western Romance Languages:
French, Provencal, Spanish, Portugese, Catalan

Germanic Languages:
English, German, Yiddish, Dutch, Africaans

Scandinavian Languages:
Danish, Icelandic, Norwegian, Swedish

And here are some Language Blocks.

Romance Languages:
Latin, plus all Languages in the Language Groups "Central Romance Languages" and "Western Romance Languages."

Nordic Languages:
All Languages in the Language Groups "Germanic Languages" and "Scandinavian Languages."

Slavic Languages:
Russian, Ukrainian, Polish, Czechoslovakian, Bulgarian, Serbo-Croatian, (etc.)

Chinese Languages:
Mandarin, Cantonese, and all other versions of Chinese.

Indian Languages:
Hundustani, Nepalese, Punjabi, (etc.)

Polynesian Languages:
Indonesian, Malay, Javanese, Sundanese

This can be expanded to include non-existent futuristic (sci-fi) or mythic (fantasy) languages. For example, the GM could permit a Language Group of all Elven languages, covering Sylvan (Wood Elven), High Elven, and Dark Elven, or a Language Block of all Proto-Goblinoid languages, covering Goblin, Hobgoblin, Orc, Ogre, and Troll.