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Language Maximum
Not everyone can be a polyglot

A lot of PC's in the mid to late game pick up a second or third language. I think this is great and adds some cultural flavor to the game. However, it is also possible for players to become fluent in every language with relative ease.

Should this be possible?


Should we be self-policing?


Is it an actual problem?

I don't think so.

My proposal would be a maximum number of language levels which you can assign tied to your intelligence stats which would basically amount to fluency in two languages before it comes into play.

That said, this idea is fairly superfluous vs the number of things the game needs but throwing it out there because it came to mind.

Polyglots exist IRL and learn fluently many more languages than Sindome offer. I see it more than possible and think that given the mixing pot and global powers in Sindom, knowing only one language should be less common than knowing multiple.

In Europe, most people in most countries speak more than one language.

Given what characters can do, with regular ease, I think many limitations should be put in place long before how many languages you know should be touched.

Also languages you can speak have little to do with intellect. It is generally about immersion in that language and the necessity to speak it.

I agree we should police ourselves though. Think about the above, those your character spends time with so on and see if they would think learning a new language is needed.

Also from my own extensive experience of the language system I do not see many actually investing in it to an excessive degree. I can really only think of a handful that do and even less basing RP around it.

I've had similar thoughts about this in the past, Reefer. I'd personally put the number at around 3 languages maximum unless you have a character with a very high INT score. I'd also like to be able to fully unlearn a language given enough time, since they're not on the cap.

I love that there's been a drive to push foreign languages as more mainstream cultural things ICly in recent years. I wish that making the decision to speak one language was an impactful decision and not simply a time sink. Capping the number one could learn gives meaning to picking and choosing your language choices.

As for not needing high INT IRL to know multiple languages, keep in mind SD gamifies attributes, and part of INT is your ability to remember things!

TIL I have a super high INT stat IRL.

Language isn't about memorizing things. Immersion is subconscious, you don't even realize you're learning.

Limiting the number of languages you can learn is only going to make languages less valuable because so few characters speak any as it stands. Any move to further restrict that is only going to make languages more useless.

I think in this case, the idea has less to do with irl norms/abilities than it does with abuse/unthemely RP.

Opinion: The two most common languages in the mix should be English and Mash. Topside maybe English and Euro.

A third option that makes thematic sense right in the gate is the character's native language.

So depending where you spend the most time, that's three thematically acceptable languages as a standard.

An stat gate would prevent players from pursuing every language in order to "know what everyone is saying all the time". In terms of RP, I think this kind of mentality should mostly be reserved primarily to archetypes that require it, and for characters that specifically commit to x stats for this reason.

Fixers, scientists, public personalities, syndicate employees. Things like that.

In this regard, that opens up the option for a variety of stats to pursue for this goal. Intelligence, charisma, artistry, trading, to name a few.

A few other thoughts on this to make the language system more interesting/relevant/robust:

1. Mash is a pidgin language. I.E. a conglomerate developed between groups without a common language. Mixers therefore, should get a bonus to learning multiple languages beyond the first three (English, Mash, Native). This reflects the immersive nature of the melting pot that is the mix.

2. Topside dwellers should get negatives to languages beyond their first three (English, Euro, Native). This reflects the elitist community topside in which the lingua franca is English, and you might even be looked down on for speaking something else. Maybe it's rude. Maybe it comes off as secretive and sleazy in public. Maybe it's lowbrow. Maybe it's overtly shady to hide your conversations in public. That's mixer shit, you degenerate scumbag. Scheme behind closed doors and in sic like a real corpo, baka. Immersion is much lessened as a result, and people don't learn other languages as easily.

3. Syndicate members receive a bonus to the primary language of that faction. Cumulative with mix immersion bonus.

The topside part of your comment sounds like present day discrimination which would have been eliminated in our cyberpunk dystopia hehe

If anything, corpies should be using translator chips :P

I don't think it's off theme to say that English is the business language of the world. I'd either be English or Japanese, if I have my SD lore straight. And this isn't just a precedent in the business world, either. All pilots have to speak English worldwide, also!
English would likely continue to be the language of business. It has achieved that status primarily due to it's usefulness in contracts and other legal documents. It can be as precise, or as ambiguous as necessary.

All of this hand wringing about language seems to be a big todo about nothing. My experience has been that very few people speak other languages.

Any time / UE that a character spends on languages is time / UE that they are not spending on other things.

There very well might be characters who seek refuge topside and end up learning more than two languages. I have to wonder what percentage of the overall character base those characters represent. If it is larger than 9% I would be surprised.

My opinion is that more characters using different languages is a net positive for the game. Whether that is a polyglot fixer type character who can communicate with "everyone" , or some mid-tier character who picked up second language to communicate with their faction.

@hek I could name more characters that speak 3+ languages than not tbh. There's no hand wringing on my end though. I think it would be fun and interesting to give language some kind of relevant relationship with regard to the dichotomy between top/bottom lifestyles.

@soultune Discrimination is a primary theme in SD, specifically class discrimination. Racial and sexual orientation are things of the past (save the occasional neanderthal living in the 21st century).

Class, religion, status, factions, trans-humanists, etc.

There's a number of categories rife with discrimination in SD. If corporations view their idea of tertiary languages to be symbolic of shady "mixer mentality", it's just another facet of class discrimination in this case. It could be argued that it's cultural discrimination, but the powers that be aren't all of one culture, yeah? It'd be one of those things that wiggles its way into normalcy over time (retconned). Maybe at one point being seen as rude in the same way as not covering your mouth is rude. It evolved from there, the corps eventually caught on and did their propaganda thing, and boom. If you aren't speaking the lingua franca in public, you must be up to something.

At the end of the day, it's a form of control, and could be one more stereotype to foster suspicion against mixers and those that 'act' like them. I don't. Just sounds really cool and interesting to me.

"Is it an actual problem?

I don't think so."

then why is it a topic with offered solutions? i'm not sure i understand.

in many global areas it's not uncommon to speak 2-3 languages with passing fluency. it's more a matter of geography, luck, and timing than what is generally thought of as 'intelligence'

I just thought of another idea. Quick one.

Reefer's subtitle - Not everyone can be a polyglot. Running with the stat gate idea, add a new perk to choose at creation for people seeking hyperpolyglot life.

Call it Language Prodigy or Hyperpolyglot. More bonuses. Yay.

Also this is really cool in the same vein.


I think (correct me if I'm wrong, Reefer), that it isn't so much a problem, but they are expressing a concern for the potential of unthemely play. Obviously there are concerns with other facets of the game that are way more detrimental, but the thought is there so they shared it.

That aside, the idea boards are for ideas, so we share what's on our mind. I for one, like jumping into these conversations just to think tank and explore exciting new possibilities. And sometimes these discussions lead us to other issues worthy of discussion.