A Spellplagued Land
Common Language of Forgotten Realms
Greetings and Partings
Alae (ah-lay): “Fortunate meeting.” A contraction of an old Elven phrase, used as a general greeting and reassurance of peaceful intent.
Durgos (dur-ghosz): “Peace.” A corruption of the orcs’ durgreos (see below), used by dragonborn, many traders, sailors of all races, and almost all slave traders.
Durgreos (dur-gree-ohzz): “No quarrel.” A greeting and parting response used by orcs.
Hykyath (hik-ah-yath): “Prance!” Once a satyr parting, but now used by half-elves and elves (and even, sarcastically, to mean “Look lively!” by sailors, warriors, and orcs).
Lammath drios (lham-math dree-ohs): “Fortune find you.” A parting used all around the Sea of Fallen Stars but not favored in Sembia, where it’s thought to be “low” speech, fit only for bumpkins and country dung carters.
Rhambukkya (ram-bookh-yah): “Ride high.” Used as both greeting and parting in Elfharrow and all lands east and south.
Sabbas (sab-bas): “Run free.” A parting used by centaurs, and increasingly by nomads and riders of other races.
Stettar voh (stet-tar voh): “Gods-power keep you well.” A formal, peaceful greeting and parting among merchants in southern Faerûn and in Returned Abeir.
Tantam (tan-tam): “Hello.” Peaceful way-greeting across northern Faerûn.
Uluvathae (oo-loo-vaw-thay): “Fortune bring you joy.” A friendly, informal greeting and parting used by elves and half-elves to others of any race whose company they welcome; between close friends, it is a neutral greeting, or a warning: “Say nothing; we’re being listened to.”
Vlandranna (vlan-dranna): “Gods grant,” meaning may that which is spoken of occur by their will. An old, corrupted Dwarven word now used by all races around the Inner Sea and lands east and north of there.
In most cities, a male stranger is politely addressed as “goodsir” and a female as “goodwoman” or sometimes “fairlady.” Known nobles and officials are “Lord” and “Lady,” with “milord” and “milady” used (to be safe) when addressing a person who seems grand, wealthy, or important, but whose precise rank is uncertain.
When formally addressing a known, specific person (male or female), either in writing or an official speech, his or her title is used (even a workaday title such as Guildmaster or Master Mason). If a man lacks such a designation, he is referred to not as “goodsir” but as “Goodman” (“Goodman Draekur of Thistle Lane”). A woman in such circumstances is always styled “Goodwoman.” When the person being described is known not to be human, “Goodfaer” is used, regardless of gender.
Racial and Collective Terms
Racial terms aren’t always disparagements, or taken that way. However, care should be taken when using some of the following expressions.
beast-men: Ogres (formerly used only by humans, now also used by gnomes and halflings). Uncomplimentary, but ogres are generally hostile anyway.
brittlebones: humans (used only by orcs).
Fair Folk, the: Elves and eladrin (elves use this only to mean eladrin).
Free Folk, the: Satyrs (a human term now used by all races, including satyrs).
hin: Halflings (informal but polite; everyday usage among halflings).
hurbryn: Humans (a term among satyrs and dryads meaning “heavy-footed ones,” now used by halflings and creeping into usage by other races).
manyhanded, the: Humans (derived from “the Manyhanded Curse,” an old elven insult).
meat: All intelligent prey (used only by orcs).
Mighty, the: Orcs (used only by orcs to speak of their own race).
oroosh: Humans (used by treants, this literally means “never-stopping talkers”).
People, the: Elves (used only by elves).
Proud Peoples, the: Dwarves and elves, collectively (used only by humans, and becoming archaic).
Quick Folk, the: Halflings (considered complimentary, and often used by halflings to refer to themselves).
Quiet Folk, the: Gnomes.
Sly Folk, the: Halflings (mainly used by dwarves and humans).
sorn: Drow (used only by eladrin, elves, half-elves, and drow themselves).
Stout Folk, the: Dwarves.
worms: Goblins and small or puny orcs (used only by orcs). Insulting.