Dnd Languages made fun with an easy change 5e

Dnd Languages

Learning languages is a very valuable skill, and immersing yourself in a language is one of the greatest ways of experiencing a culture. It’s something that makes us different and is a huge obstacle to real-life travelers. So why is this aspect of the real world handwaved in Dnd through the existence of Common? How can we have DND Languages besides common matter? Even when a dungeon master wants language to be a problem the handy ritual spell comprehends languages makes matters trivial. So what happens when a Dm uses Executive Power and pulls some strings in order to make language matter?


Well, it’s super boring and not worth it.  Who knew that translating words would be less fun than fighting monsters? Languages such as common and ritual spells like comprehend languages are some huge perks of playing a tabletop roleplaying game. Most people don’t engage with the language rules at all. Of course, some monsters don’t speak common but it rarely happens and is usually not fun. It’s certainly a shame that all the languages and has to offer are better off entirely neglected. How can we turn something that’s neglected into something so fun and impactful players will consider emphasizing the languages they take, enough to where their feat and background selections include language learning? My goal is to make the Linguist feat usable.

How Can Dnd Languages Become Fun

Give Charisma Boosts for applying the Appropriate Language.

It’s way easier to connect to someone with your first language.  It builds rapport for me to fully understand the nuances of what a natural English speaker can say. Having a system where knowing Dwarvish gives advantage or a flat bonus to talking to dwarves is memorable, realistic, and gives purpose to dnd Languages. These types of bonuses are a mechanic that greatly impacts the social pillar of DND which is the favorite of many players. Players get really excited when their abilities pay off. A player who took the infernal language will be super happy when they get to talk to a devil and the bonus pays off. Suddenly charisma isn’t the only factor in social situations. Having a system like this naturally pushes players to take turns in talking which I think is something all Dungeon masters should aim for.

Make your Languages Unique

Advantage and a flat bonus are super easy to incorporate into your games. They are also easy to remember for players. It’s definitely an improvement but languages will have value based on how often they are used. This will lead to players naturally picking languages they know will be used in the campaign. Of course, you’d want elven in a campaign about elves. How can we make a system that makes languages different? In this article, I give every Dnd language a personality. You will see mechanics that make languages worth learning and rules that make the languages interesting.  

All Languages Revised


Most creatures are capable of speaking common. Its the dream come true of adventurers and tradesmen. In order to compensate for its usefulness it is the least unique of all the languages. It is the second language of most species.


Dwarvish is the language of the dwarves for the dwarves and by the drunk. The Dwarvish language is usually spoken by dwarves but it is also commonly known by those that get intoxicated. The Dwarvish tongue is slurred by those who are sober but increases in eloquence as you drink. I see this as a great backstory choice. When Drunk, Charisma skills using Dwarvish have an advantage if the target of the speech also understands Dwarvish. Highly powerful people negotiating with Dwarves engineer situations that involve  alcohol.  

Dwarvish also has more precise terms when it comes to stonework as Dwarves live in stone. Many metaphors and figures of speech revolve around a stone. Speaking Dwarvish gives you an advantage on charisma checks related to stone.


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Elvish is a language that takes a long time to reach mastery due to the longer lives of the Elves. Proficiency in the language normally takes 50 years.  Elves have many traditions that are locked behind elvish. You could choose to require Bladesinger and Arcane archer which normally require you to be an elf, to instead require you to speak Elvish. Speaking elvish is a way of meditation. This aligns with the elvish view of the world. In doing so you can cast calm emotions on any target who speaks elvish as well. This is possible due to the nature of Elvish being connected to magic itself.

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The Language of Giants is naturally rooted in the Giants’ culture. The Giant language comes from the Dwarvish script which was optimized for putting on stone. The Giant language is always spoken in powerful chants. Giant is commonly found on runes. Knowing this language lets you use basic runes. These runes are consumed upon use. There is a rune for strength, dexterity, constitution, intelligence, wisdom, and charisma. The rune gives you the specific effect of an enhanced ability spell. Speaking Giant gives you an advantage on intimidation checks on creatures smaller than you.



Gnomes are creatures who enjoy the wonders of life. Their core identity though comes from their ability to invent and Tinker.   In the Gnomish language, it is not uncommon for someone to make up a new word mid-sentence. This makes the language evolve very fast. New Slang, nicknames, and figures of speech are very common. You can add twice your proficiency bonus on checks relating to inventing things as you can better conceptualize ideas in your head.



Goblin is a very broken and ugly language. Despite this many adventurers would be wise to learn it. Negotiating with goblins who outnumber you is a safety net any adventurer would want. Goblins who are caught will be given freedom if they become a teacher of the language. The goblin language is spoken primarily in insults and idioms. You have disadvantage on charisma checks when speaking in goblin, however speaking in goblin to a creature who understands goblin, goads them to attack you, giving disadvantage on their attacks on anyone but you.


Halfling culture revolves around joy and food. They have an air of innocence as well. The halfling language has a focus on pathos and it is often comforting to hear the tongue for those who speak it. It could be due to the halfling’s natural luck but they are excellent salespeople. Mastery of the halfling language lets you double your proficiency bonus on any survival check related to cooking.


Orcs are best described as savage and bloodthirsty. They are very tribal and their language is reminiscent of sports cheers. For any non-native speaker, the language comes with a sense of adrenaline. Once per day, you can call upon this adrenaline to make an attack with your bonus action.


Abyssal is a language that sounds gibberish and maddening. Speaking or trying to comprehend Abyssal forces you to roll on the short-term madness table. However, while you are under the effects of this madness you can cast hellish rebuke once. 


Celestial is a very rare language, spoken only by divine beings or high-level clerics. It’s commonly written on divine texts and very difficult to translate. Those who can speak celestial are in direct commune with the gods. Once per day, you can pray to the gods. If you roll 100 on the percentile dice your deity intervenes. The Dm determines the nature of the intervention but it usually takes the form as a spell from the cleric spell list.

DND Monsters


The draconic language has mysterious and ancient origins. It has a legendary status amongst all races. Typically oaths are made in draconic. This is because it is impossible to lie in Draconic. Dragons have the capability to understand other languages but only trust those who speak Draconic. For this Draconic gives advantage on persuasion checks on a target who also speaks Draconic.

Deep Speech

Deep speech is spoken by creatures with immense psychic abilities. This language allows you to communicate telepathically. Deep speech is its own language but many attempts have been made to convert the aspects of other languages to deep speech.


Infernal is the language of devils… and lawyers. Infernal is spoken primarily in contracts and loopholes. Infernal is similar enough to common. Due to this Speaking in infernal gives an advantage in Deception to those who don’t understand it but a disadvantage to other creatures who understand it.


Primordial is the language of elements. It has many dialects. Most notable of these is Aquan which can be spoken underwater as if the soundwaves behaved normally underwater. If you understand one dialect you understand all of them. Auran can be carried very far as if using the sending spell to another creature who understands Auran.  Terran can be embedded in Stones and Ignan can feel temperature when hearing the word.


Sylvan is a language that is associated with the fey and animals. Sylvan is related to Elven and has the same calming power. Sylvan allows you to cast animal friendship twice per day.


Undercommon is the most misunderstood of the languages. It is an urban legend amongst commoners, that’s exactly what the thieves want them to think. Undercommon was developed by criminal masterminds with immense street smarts. Undercommon allows you to talk about illegal things with police none the wiser. Undercommon gives you advantage in making shady deals. 

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Using Intelligence

The stat distribution is one of the biggest disappointments I have with 5e. Strength and Intelligence get the short end of the stick massively. By tying this fun and interesting system to intelligence, fewer players will choose to take it as a dump stat. I believe language should be tied to intelligence with characters knowing common and one language based on their race. After that, they get additional languages according to their intelligence modifier with a minimum of zero. This does an excellent job of rewarding players for taking intelligence in a way that will stay fresh. Languages always feel so fun when they do come up once in a while. There need to be more incentives to take intelligence and language is thematic and makes perfect sense. Intelligence is a stat that is only primarily used by two classes and is never as good as charisma and wisdom. I don’t want to live in a fantasy world where most are stupid. Random bits of Lore are fun to get but you only need one person in the party for this role. Language diversifies the party and makes their background and identity matter in fun ways.


Additional Thoughts

Something this exercise did for me made races matter. I remember when I first played the fifth edition it was super cool to see all the different races we had around the table and how it fits into our Out of the Abyss Campaign. My Racist High Elf learned that some Drow were good, I learned about the protector and fallen aasimar, and hearing the bickering brothers was memorable. When Tasha’s Cauldron of everything introduced customizable origin,  we all went back to being humans or a couple of other races. The fact that language matters more and you get one based on your race, moves people to pick unique races. While researching I realized how fun a Dragonborn would be in part because of the dragon language. Any Dungeon Master wanting variety in their player characters should implement this system.


In conclusion, Language is a powerful tool that can give personality to characters. When I think of Culture language is one of the first factors. It makes sense that commonly exists in DND, it makes life so much easier. We can still find unique roles for language though to give our characters identity beyond their class. As someone who loves creating backstories for characters I certainly love this system for myself. If you thought this post brought value to your game, please consider signing up for our newsletter or sharing it with someone you think would enjoy it. Thank you so much for reading.

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