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The Glossator-Mages were an obscure school of arcane magic originating from old Pharsus who reached their pinnacle during the Atalan Empire. They studied the phenomenon of glossalia, when individuals undergoing a religious rapture started to speak in strange tongues which could only be understood by their fellow believers. From this the Glossator-Mages developed a series of extremely simple languages which could only be understood by people who shared some sort of common characteristic - these characteristics might include aspects like race, gender, belief in a specific religion or philosophy (which made these languages a very useful tool for various secret societies), or psychological profiles or behavior - anything that had shaped the mind of the user might be used as a qualifier. Anyone else not meeting these characteristics would only understand gibberish. Legends claim that the glossator-mages were also capable of mind-control via the power of specific words, or that they were even capable of creating "word-plagues" which would spread from person to person via repeating phrases that induced insanity in all listeners.

As far as anyone knows, this school is no longer active - however, some of their writings have survived. The largest collections of Glossator-Mage texts are believed to be in the city of Pengalen in Thenares, and in the Flannish megalopolis of Praxus. It is further rumored that the scholars of the latter used these texts in the creation of Common.

Adventure Ideas

Designer's Notes & Resources

I had this idea when I read a mention of "alignment tongues" - a concept from the older editions of D&D where people with the same moral/ethical "alignment" would share a language that is incomprehensible to outsiders. I expanded on the idea and added ideas about neurolinguistic programming from Neil Stephenson' novel "Snow Crash" to it, which fit into my earlier ideas about the language "Common".


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