Dungeon Master Assistance

A place to share thoughts and ideas about Dungeons and Dragons

D&D Languages


Updated for 5th edition

Language Typical Speakers Script
Abyssal Demons, chaotic evil outsiders Infernal
Aquan Water-based creatures Elven
Auran Air-based creatures Draconic
Celestial Celestials (angels, devas) Celestial
Common Humans, halflings, half-elves, half-orcs Common
Deep Speech Mind flayers, beholders
Draconic Kobolds, troglodytes, lizardfolk, dragons, dragonborn Draconic
Druidic Druids (only) Druidic
Dwarvish Dwarves Dwarvish
Elvish Elves Elvish
Giant Ogres, giants Dwarvish
Gnomish Gnomes Dwarvish
Goblin Goblinoids, hobgoblins, bugbears Dwarvish
Gnoll Gnolls Common
Halfling Halflings Common
Ignan Fire-based creatures Draconic
Infernal Devils, Tieflings Infernal
Orc Orcs Dwarvish
Primordial Elementals Dwarvish
Sylvan Fey creatures (dryads, brownies, leprechauns) Elvish
Terran Xorns and other earth-based creatures Dwarven
Undercommon Drow, Underdark traders Elvish

Animals, Plants, Vermin, and Oozes typically do not have languages.

Constructs, Deathless, Undead, and Elementals are usually created and understand the language of their creator.

Aberrations are just freaky, and may or may not speak any known language.

15 responses to “D&D Languages

  1. Brandon Vipperman December 29, 2014 at 11:02 am

    Awe, I was hoping for fonts to use…

  2. Anonymous January 28, 2015 at 11:11 am

    this list of languages doesn’t say anything about tieflings…

  3. Anonymous March 29, 2015 at 11:01 am

    You’re forgetting Thieves’ Cant.

    • Ronny March 29, 2015 at 5:45 pm

      I can see where you could make an argument for including thieves’ cant in this list, but I never thought of it s a true language. As per the Player’s Handbook, it is “a secret mix of dialect, jargon, and code that allows you to hide messages in seemingly norm al conversation. Only another creature that knows thieves’ cant understands such messages.”

  4. Robbed June 30, 2015 at 7:29 pm

    Can a player learn more languages other then the starting ones in the new 5e books?

    • Ronny June 30, 2015 at 9:23 pm

      Hi, Robbed.
      When creating your character, you can replace tool proficiencies with languages on a one-for-one basis.
      Some class features let you learn additional languages. With the Cleric Knowledge Domain you learn two languages of your choice. 13th level Monk learns to touch the ki of other minds so that he understand all spoken languages. Rangers learn one language of their choice that is spoken by their favored enemies. A (rogue) thief learns skills useful for reading unfamiliar languages. And, of course, there are magical spells and items.
      The Linguist Feat allows you to learn three languages of your choice.
      As a house rule, if I had a player that wanted to do it, I think that I would allow a character to learn another language in his down time. For each language I would have him subtract his intelligence score from 40 to determine the number of days required and the cost would be 2 gold pieces for each day. And I might limit the number of languages he could learn this way to a maximum of his INT modifier.
      One thing that others have done is to allow some type of intelligence check. I am not in favor of this. If the player has some good in-game reason to know another language I would find a way to let him learn it. I wouldn’t risk him not learning it because he made a bad roll of the dice.

  5. Iovas January 29, 2016 at 1:03 pm

    What classifies as a secret language? Trying to build a rogue with a sailor origin

    • Ronny January 29, 2016 at 2:42 pm

      A secret language is just a language that you are not permitted to teach to an outsider. I think that Druidic and thieves’ cant are the only ones in the basic rules, but your DM may have others in his world.
      Unless your DM says otherwise, thieves’ cant is the secrete language of thieves. If your rogue is or was previously a thief he will know that. If your character is or was a pirate your DM may allow you to know thieves’ cant, or perhaps there is a special dialect of thieves’ cant that pirates use.

  6. Anonymous August 2, 2016 at 1:15 pm

    Deep speech is usually spoken by aberrations not just beholders and mind flayers. Plus Primidorial is composed of the Terran, Aquan, Auran and Ignan dialects, they are not desperate languages.

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