You are skilled at working with language, in both its spoken and written forms. You can speak multiple languages, and can decipher nearly any tongue given enough 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.
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.
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. In addition, you can also always attempt to detect a forgery.
Forgery requires writing materials appropriate to the document being forged. To forge a document on which the handwriting is not specific 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 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 modifiers if any of the conditions are listed on the table above.
Whenever you put a rank into this skill, you learn to speak and read a new language. Common languages (and their typical speakers) are listed below.
The language of demons, Abyssal is often spoken by evil spirits.
This ancient tongue is spoken by strange eldritch entities, and certain ancient beings.
Spoken By: Aquatic and water-based creatures
The so-called “tongue of the sea” is spoken primarily in the sunken nation of the locathahs— those who trade frequently with the ocean empires often speak this tongue as well.
Spoken By: Flying creatures, air-based creatures
A soft-spoken, breathy language, also known as the “tongue of the heavens.”
Spoken By: Boggards.
Spoken By: Angels and other good outsiders.
The language of angels.
Spoken By: Cyclops and their kin.
Once the ancient language of the giants, this tongue was created before the rise of humanity by the cyclopes of Ghol-gan.
Used By: Drow.
Like Druidic, drow sign language is a "secret" language.
Spoken By: Druids (only)
Druidic is a secret language known only to druids. It is a free language for a druid; that is, it doesn't take up a language slot. Druids are forbidden to teach this language to nondruids and has its own alphabet.
Spoken By: Dwarves.
Spoken By: D'ziriak.
The insectoid d'ziriak language consists of buzzes and chitters. It is an obscure one known by few outside their race.
Spoken By: Elves, half-elves
This brutish tongue and its numerous minor variants are spoken in any region where the wrath of giants is known.
Spoken By: Gnolls
Spoken By: Gnomes
Spoken By: Grippli.
Spoken By: Halflings
Spoken By: Fire-based creatures
Also called the “tongue of fire.”
The language of devils is often spoken by evil spirits.
Spoken By: undead
Spoken By: Proteans.
Spoken By: Sphinxes.
The language of the fey.
Spoken By: Tengu
The official language of the tengu race.
Spoken By: Earth-based creatures.
Also called the “tongue of earth.”
Spoken By: Treants.
This language is derived from an ancient combination of Elven and even older tongues.
Used By: Vegepygmies.
Vegepygmy is not a spoken language since vegepygmies cannot speak. They communicate via a crude language of rhythmic taps, beats, and clicks.