Using Arcane Languages

Arcane languages come in many varieties, and are known by a number of titles. Enuncia, Enochian, the Dragon-Tongue, the Ur-Tongue, and the Song of Creation are but a few, but their usage is expressed identically, from the perspective of game mechanics.

Collectively, these languages (and there are many of them, born of xenos, long-lost civilizations, and from the Warp itself, as well as those created by long-dead sorcerers and witches) are grouped under a specific skill, which represents a broad understanding and comprehension of the arcane significance of the words in question (though by no means indicates complete fluency, even at the highest levels). This skill is Forbidden Lore: Arcane Languages .At the Trained level, the character receives 1 Sorcery die to use when making tests based on this language. At every additional rank of mastery, they gain an additional dice, with a total of 3 bonus dice for Sorcery tests based on the arcane language for having the appropriate skill at +20. Having the Talented trait in the specific language adds an additional Sorcery Die. These bonus dice will add to any other dice for enacting Sorcery the character may possess (from the Sorcerer and Master Sorcerer or Psy Power Talents, for example.)

It should be noted that this skill only pertains to these ancient languages, and does not permit or provide any comprehension of or fluency in the language of the culture, civilization or species that originally created this Arcane Tongue. In fact, regardless of the language of origin, all this skill permits one to do is recognize syllables of words in arcane tongues and, possibly, pronounce them. It will also provide something akin to a basic definition of the syllable or Word.

To use these languages to enact effects, the Speaker must make a Sorcery Test, just as they would when casting an Arcana. The Speaker rolls however many Sorcery dice they have available to the test, adding their Willpower Bonus to the result, plus any additional modifiers, against a Threshold determined by the desired effect. In essence, the Words of Power work in a manner identical to the Arcana of Sorcery. The Invocation skill does not affect the use of Words of Power.

The effects of an Arcane Language are extremely powerful, and so care must be taken to ensure that the word is pronounced correctly. Additionally, these words are expressions of raw arcane power and ability, and thus are vocalizations of Warp-born conceptual realities. It is not possible to use an Arcane Language “Fettered”, in the way that Psychic Powers can be, nor can the Speaker “Push” to activate the word..

Thus, whenever an Arcane Language is used, it immediately causes a single Warp Phenomenon. This Phenomenon cannot be adjusted by such Talents as Favored by the Warp , nor is it affected by things such as Untouchables or null-Psi fields.

If the Speaker attempts to invoke the effects of an Arcane Language and fails, the Speaker must test Toughness and then consult the following table to determine the results:

Toughness Test Results Effects
1+ Success Simple failure, invoking 1 Peril of the Warp, centered on the Speaker.
1-2 Failure Serious failure. The power invokes 1 Peril of the Warp, centered on the Speaker, and deals 1d10 Energy damage to the Speaker, ignoring Armor and Toughness.
3+ Failure Catastrophic failure! The power invokes 1 Peril of the Warp, centered on the Speaker, and adds +20 to the roll on the Warp Perils table. Additionally, the Speaker suffers a number of points of Energy Damage equal to 1d10 + WP Bonus (including Unnatural Willpower or similar Traits), ignoring Armor and Toughness. This damage is assigned to both the Head and the Body (though is only counted once), but will apply any Critical Effects to both locations.

If the Manifestation test is successful, then the individual power will describe what effects it has, and what (if any) bonuses additional degrees of success grant.

All Words of Power, regardless of the specific language, are comprised of three parts, here referred to as “Syllables”, which comprise the full extent of the power unlocked by that Word. While it is not required to know all three Syllables to use a Word of Power, possessing all three does make using the Word of Power much easier. Knowing one Syllable permits the Test to be attempted at all, knowing the second syllable adds +1 to the Manifestation Test, and knowing all three syllables provides a +3 bonus to the Manifestation test.

Syllables Known Bonus to Manifestation
1 Can attempt to Manifest the Word of Power
2 + 1 to Manifestation Test for this Word of Power
3 + 2 to Manifestation Test for this Word of Power (+ 3 total Bonus)

Learning these Arcane Languages is anything but easy. On very rare occasions, a Sorcerer may uncover a Syllable to a Word in the course of occult studies, or may recover them from ancient ruins left behind by long-extinct Xenos species. This is almost always a matter of the GM placing a specific Syllable in such a location for a PC to discover it, rather than as a bit of random loot. By far the most common source of such Syllables are from Daemonic Pacts. Such Words of Power can be granted by some forms of Daemon, but always at great cost to the would-be Speaker. Any Daemon that is capable of offering a Daemonic Pact may (10% chance) know a number of Syllables of the Words of Power, though they may not be of the same Word. Lesser Daemons may know 1 to 3 Syllables, while Greater Daemons, if they know any Words of Power, will know their Patron Power’s sacred number in miscellaneous Syllables. Unaligned Greater Daemons may know their base Willpower Bonus plus 1d5 syllables.

Determining Manifestation Dice

The following table demonstrates how to determine how many dice a character has to use these Arcane Words.

Character has: # of Dice
Psy Rating Equal to Psy Rating
Sorcerer 2
Master Sorcerer 4
Forbidden Lore: Arcane Language + 1 die
Forbidden Lore: Arcane Language + 10 + 2 die
Forbidden Lore: Arcane Language + 20 + 3 die
Talented (Forbidden Lore: Arcane Language) + 1 die

Using Arcane Languages

Seven Saints of Talis Psienesis Psienesis