Tabletop role-playing game in my target languages.

I study languages as a hobby, and have been looking to include role playing game as a conversation exercise in any of my target languages for years without much success: finding a game master and players willing to form a new team is usually not trivial, doing so for a language you and the other players do not master is really challenging.

I ended up being lucky with two of them:


First, I looked for players and game master in Facebook Japanese learner groups. I had some feedback from potential players, but found no one fluent enough in Japanese able to take the role of game master. I had no more success on a french speaking RPG forum site, so I decided to have a look at some Japanese role-playing game forums. I found one where game masters schedule online sessions where players can subscribe to. The most popular games there are The Call of Cthulhu, Sword World (which I never heard of before) and Dungeons & Dragons 5.

Now, my level of Japanese being what it is, I did not feel like simply joining a regular session: i knew by watching replay screening on Youtube that I would not be able to understand enough to get a clear idea of what was going on, let alone actively participate in the story. So i posted a request on the forum, explaining I was looking for a game master willing to organize sessions for people with poor conversation skills based in a European timezone.

And it happen that someone who just joined the forum obliged ! This game master was also looking to test Fantasy Ground, a virtual tabletop not as popular in Japan as CCFolia or Udonarium .

We play Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 with his daughter and a friend of mine who also study Japanese. Some sessions of “The call of Cthulhu” are planned as well ! I wonder how difficult to understand those will be…

As i usually do not understand all what is happening on the fly, I like to record the session and watch again some key moment as study material later on. My friend used those recording to make a small animation of a moment where I learned 頭脳 (intellect) and 脳筋 (brute).


Guess what, my Hebrew is worst than my Japanese. I know basic grammar and vocabulary, I can read simple narrative books from the Hebrew Bible (Genesis, Samuel, Judges and so on) but before having my first role-playing session, the only Hebrew conversation experience I ever had was doing the 3 levels of Pimsleur over and over again.

I found several interested players on Reddit, but none with an actual experience of being a game master. One of them volunteered to have a try at organizing sessions of Dungeons & Dragons 5 on roll20. I never played the 5th edition of Dungeons of Dragons before and I must admit i found the amount of new rules to handle a bit overwhelming on top of the linguistic difficulty I experience during sessions. It is fun, but I would not qualify the experience as relaxing. After all, nobody said having an adventure would be like having some holidays, right ?

What else ?

I am still looking for adventures in Alsatian, a dialect of German still spoken in the eastern part of France where I come from and in classical Greek, which I understand even less than Hebrew. This may not be possible to find, however I heard there is a Call of Cthulhu in Greek project being organized in October. I do not know yet if the schedule will be compatible with my calendar, but if it is, I sure will do what I can to attend those sessions.