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Lost in Translation?

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There was little I could do to help Berlin talk to the shopkeeper, so I simply hung in the background letting them talk and casually looking around the merchant’s small shop. We were there to negotiate for a rare synthorganic axion assembly. We were told this merchant had several, but he spoke little Common, and the difficult local language even had Berlin making several stumbles.

Negotiations seemed to be proceeding smoothly, so I busied myself with watching the installation procedure on my hand computer. Suddenly, an annoyed grunt was followed quickly by Berlin’s “Wait…uh…” I looked up at Berlin’s uncharacteristic stammer. The merchant suddenly looked angry. Berlin was stammering, trying to regain some semblance of confidence and social advantage. He stole a nervous glance in my direction. I met his gaze with a “what the hell?” look.

“I think I just insulted his mother,” he hissed.

As if in response to Berlin’s aside, the merchant drew two curved knives from his tunic and stalked slowly forward, spitting something in his language through gritted teeth. I didn’t need to know what he said…I picked up on how he said it.

Most starfarers would agree that jaunting among the stars can be dangerous, not only from the usual hazards like hard vacuum and harder radiation, but from seemingly little things like miscommunication. One mistaken word or gesture and a trade negotiation can suddenly become a desperate fight for survival.

Multiple languages obviously presents communication problems if there’s no way to translate between them. Fortunately for the interstellar government (and the Players), solutions have been put in place to help.

This supplement for Cepheus Engine and the Original Science Fiction Roleplaying Game gives the Referee a chance to introduce a little more complexity — and by extension, realism — into his or her universe by modifying one way the heroes interact with others.

Lost in Translation? Adventure is the universal language.

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File Last Updated:
May 22, 2021
This title was added to our catalog on June 01, 2021.
Michael Brown
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