With the diversity of life throughout the spheres, it should not be surprising that there are a wide variety of languages spoken at the various ports of call. Of course, in any situation where communication is necessary for trade and diplomacy, specific languages quickly rise above others, and Known Space is no different.
Spelljamming folk who wish to learn other languages have a wide range of choices, although availability of teachers will significantly reduce the number to choose from. While the exact list varies from port to port, world to world, and sphere to sphere, certain overarching generalizations can be made about what languages are likely to be available in the major non-groundling ports of the Known Spheres.
Language availability is ranked into five categories: Common, Uncommon, Rare, Very Rare, and Unobtainable. Availability is based on those willing to teach the language rather than number of speakers; some languages are ranked as common despite a low interest in learning them. Teachers of Common Languages can be found in virtually every major non-groundling spelljamming port (Bral, Dragon Rock, Refuge, etc.), as well as most minor ones. The major ports are usually home to good-sized enclaves of races who use the Common languages as a native tongue, while smaller ports often have small permanent populations of native speakers. Uncommon Languages are typically languages of races that either don’t have permanent populations within the major ports, or the populations are too small to consistently have members willing/able to teach it. Uncommon languages may also be languages with no native speakers in major ports, but many fluent speakers, as is the case for most of the goblinoid tongues. Rare Languages are those languages with small travelling populations, insular populations, or just individual native-speaking residents in major ports. To learn these languages, a potential student often has to seek out a speaker willing to teach it rather than waiting for a group to arrive at their home port. Moderate time and expense may be required. Very Rare Languages are spoken by wandering individual creatures, creatures who tend not to teach their language to others, and those races who do not maintain consistent contact with wildspace. One of the solitary speakers, or the rare learned scholar, will need to be sought out to learn these languages. Unavailable Languages are languages of significance that are generally impossible to learn for a variety of reasons specific to each tongue. Common and Uncommon languages can be taken at character creation.
The Common Tongue
The common tongue of wildspace is an ancient creole of the human language still used today by the Church of Ptah for liturgical purposes (Ancient Ptahvian) and elvish. The language has developed to a point, with loan words from so many other languages, that only linguistic scholars easily recognize the connections today. In general, the language varies little from sphere to sphere, with increasing dialectical differences the farther removed one is from the Radiant Triangle. Of course, the common tongues of other regions of space (illithid controlled space, goblinoid space, etc.) will vary.
Next up, the Common Languages of Wildspace…