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Alternate HW trade languagesby Giampaolo Agosta
I've never liked the idea of "Common" (except on a local scale), and its implementation in the HW seems to me especially lacking. I mean, why should Milenians and Nithians address one another in the tongue of a savage tribe that lives beyond a nearly impassable mountain chain? Too many HW cultures have no deals with the Neathar, but all of their members are supposed to speak Neathar. To replace this kind of trade tongue, which is too unrealistic to me, I'd introduce localised trade tongues, along these lines:
Azcan and Oltec are quite similar, if not dialects of the same language.
Krugel Orcs and Malpheggi Lizard Men are employed routinely by the Azcans, so they're likely to know Azcan. I suppose that Schattenalfen have learned the language in order to deal with Oltecs and with the same mercenary orcs and lizard men.
Kogolor Dwarves probably use Oltec when dealing with Oltecs and Schattenalfen as well, though this would not be too common.
These three race are quite isolated in the northern wastes. They do not deal frequently with Neathars or other southern races, but do trade often with one another. I suppose Antalian is the choice language for these deals, and it doubles as a trade tongue with the northern Neathar tribes, since Antalian and Neathar are similar.
Traldar and Milenian are variants of the same language. Milenians probably know Traldar as the language of legends and epic poems, and use it when dealing with the Traldar. Merry Pirates mainly speak Thyatian (in this variant, they have no need for Neathar), but many are of Traldar descent, and Traldar is probably their second language.
Schattenalfen trade with the Traldar people, so they might use Traldar as well.
Nithians and Milenians are the dominant nations of Southern Iciria. All of the cultures here have little or no contact with the Neathar or other northern culture, due to the World Spine mountains.
So, Milenians and Nithians would probably keep each to their native tongue, using interpreters in their dealings, while Jennites would learn either or both of those languages, as they trade with and work as craftsmen in both empires.
Tanagoro are often taken in the middle of Nithian-Milenian clashes, so they are likely to have some knowledge of both languages.
Of the remaining HW cultures, Brute-Men, Kubbitts and Blacklore Elves do not have any contact with outside nations, and therefore know no foreign languages.
The Hutaakans speak their variant of Nithian, and don't have contacts with other civilisations. And the Gentle Folk know Neathar, but are not likely to have contacts with other races.