Illiterate trait and item identification

As much as I love the idea of the illiterate trait, there’s something about it that really makes no sense. How does your character know what things are if they can’t read? How does your character know that, say, a glass flask of mutagen isn’t really a glass flask of purifier if they can’t read the label? How do they know that the small plastic bottle over there contains Oxycodone, and not something else like Prozac? An illiterate person wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between a couple of white tablets versus some slightly different looking white tablets. Things like that. Item identification really kind of drives a big “wait what” into the game whenever I pick the illiterate trait as a challenge. Any idea on how to reflect all this?

Really, item identification in general is a big “wait what” in this game, the more you think about it. How, for instance, does a character with 0 skill in survival know that something is a datura plant, or bluebell, or poppy? How does a character with 0 mechanics know what an alternator or acetylene torch is? How does a character with 0 cooking skill know what a mutagen or purifier is, let alone tell the difference between a slime serum and a bird serum? How can a person with 0 skill in marksmanship and handguns tell the difference between a 9mm +P+ and a 9mm JHP round? My suggestion is to make identifying certain items require a certain level of skill, otherwise the name is withheld and only a vague description of what it looks like on the surface is given. On top of that, the illiterate trait should make a lot of items permanently unidentifiable, or just take a lot of effort to identify.

Perhaps books can be a source of item identification, much like how they are a source of crafting recipes?

Too much work to make that matter. If someone really wanted to implement that, I’d help, but I wouldn’t recommend trying.

Problems with identification:

First off, all items for which identification would be a thing would need regular spawn stack sizes. For example, +P+ would need to spawn in the same size as +P or JHP. Otherwise it would be an easy way to tell them apart - say, all +P+ would drop in stack size 25, while other 9mms in 50.

All items would either need randomized appearance or same appearance in group. Datura would need to look like “flower” and drop “seeds”. Also, it would need to drop all other items all flowers drop or else you could tell which plant is a datura by noting which plant drops seeds and only seeds.

You would need to be prevented from crafting using un-ided items. This one would be relatively easy, though.
For example, at the moment you can dry edible shrooms, but not the poisonous or hallucinogenic ones. This is quite stupid and a proper system would have to account for it.

Each item to “mis-identify” would need to share this group with at least one other item with same stack size and identification difficulty. Otherwise you’d have things like “I have survival 5 and still can’t tell this shroom - it must be the Fun Fungus because it’s the only one that IDs at survival 6+”.

Mis-identifying things in DDA wouldn’t cause big problems like in most roguelikes. Taking a prozac when you don’t need one will just cause prozac’s effects and that’s it. Since its stack size isn’t all that small, you wouldn’t lose much. Not even injecting heroin would cause much bad (unless you got the two doses - then you’d die to overdose).

And finally, it could easily lead to excessive stupidity on the survivor’s part. Mis-identifying prozac and xanax is OK, but mis-identifying a poppy as anything but a poppy would lead to players screencapping it and posting it on forums with a note “DDA in a nutshell”.

So it would be a lot of work for very little gain.

Maybehaps we should only go with the idea of illiterate survivors not being able to tell certain modern things (like medications, mutagens, CBMs) apart for added !!FUN!! ?