Language is an important part of the setting, and the time required to master a language is frequently underestimated.
There are three levels of understanding a language.
1. Rough – Ability to make out a few words, may communicate ideas with great difficulty
2. Basic – Ability to speak and understand the language, can read/write at a 6th-9th grade level.
3. Fluency. – Absolute Fluency, can read and write at a 10th grade to college level and communicate abstract ideas with ease.
A character is always Fluent in their native language(s), and any bonus languages they gain at character creation for a high INT score.
Furthermore, languages are broken up into dialects, such as High Elven/Wood Elven or Oristallian/Bombordish. A character fluent in a language understands all of it’s dialects as ‘Rough’ and may buy the dialect languages at ‘Basic’.
If a character wishes to learn a language unrelated to one he or she speaks, they must first purchase that language at ‘Basic’ costing one skill point. To advance the language to Basic and Fluent costs one additional point each.
Lastly, some languages are very closely related to one another, such as Oristallian and Rhotian or Eastern Claw and Eastern Scale. If a character is fluent in one dialect, he may treat the related dialect as basic and buy it at fluent.
Example: Frank is a human with an INT modifier of 1. He begins the game speaking Oristallian (Fluent) and Dwarven (Fluent). However, Frank wishes to travel to the elven lands and the eastern empires. Frank spends one skill point and is able to buy Eastern Claw (A dialect of Oristallian) at Basic. He could then spend one more point to upgrade it to fluent, and since Eastern Scale is very closely related to Eastern Claw, he could spend one final skill point to gain it as Fluent. He now speaks Oristallian (Fluent), Dwarven (Fluent), and both Eastern Claw and Eastern scale (Fluent).
Since Frank doesn’t know any elvish, he must first buy High Elvish (Rough), to gain fluency he’ll need to spend two more skill points. He now has High Elvish (Fluent). If he wishes, he could then spend a skill point to gain Wood Elvish (Basic), as it is a dialect of High Elvish.