NPC who can teach you to read?

I think it’d be cool if there was a (rare) NPC type who could teach illiterate PCs to read, in the vein of the ones who teach skills or martial arts. It’d be a nice goal for your churl and caveman PCs to seek out once they realize they’re in a world full of readable material.

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Find complicated book
Get NPC to read it for you
Get all the levels you can from it
Debug away illiterate

That’s a great workaround, but what I’m saying is that it’d be nice to have this as a feature.


This is a great idea.

We could add a variant form of the illiterate trait that’s only worth one point and is “cureable” this way, but otherwise no, the illiterate trait is valued the way it is because it’s permanent, if we made it non-permanent it would defeat the purpose of the trait.


Only way I’d accept permanent illiteracy is utter retardation or an entirely separate species that couldn’t understand the concept of the written word even if an attempt was made to teach them.

Not trying to start fires, but even a modicum of intelligence allows for literacy to be learnt.


There might be an equilibrium between the two.
In the case of having a non-player character teach the player to read, the players literacy could advance in steps, going from Illiterate > Basic Reading Skills (an enlarged penalty to reading time) > Mediocre (a reduced penalty to reading time) > Improved (only a mild penalty to reading time) > Fully Literate. A theoretical fifth stage, perhaps “Well-Read”, could garner a bonus to reading time, an could be gained from reading many books, or by training from a non-player character who possesses this trait. Of course, the player would begin fully literate unless specified otherwise, with the stages from illiterate to full literacy unable to be chosen as starting traits.


Are there cases of people that are incapable of learning to read IRL? I mean actually incapable, not lacking motivation or opportunity? Genuinely curious.

A curable form would be prettty good though, it would fit in with the XS and XXXL traits you can start off with that are also curable.


As far as I know, there is a psychological illness which prevents a person almost completely from learning to write/read. Other than @MutaMan, I do not agree on calling those “utterly retarded”.
From a genetic side, there’s Dyslexia, which, as an accidental short forum search shows, was actually discussed along with the illiterate trait a long time ago:

It’s worth to check that post. While there, may also read answers 41 and 42, as it’s basically this discussion we are having here.

Please, please don’t start new fires! You can buy them really cheap (used) :woozy_face: . Also - at the moment - they give them away for free in Australia :grimacing: .

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Fascinating, I’m going to have to look into this.

I’d say this adds to the idea of having varying levels of illiteracy, at least one for lack of education and one for the psychological aspect in relation to someone who is actually incapable.

Indeed. Maybe it could be somehow coupled with the slow reader trait, as it’s the case with mutation (Illiterate → Slow Reader → [Nothing] → Fast Reader) and add a new trait, Dyslexia, which is incurable via NPC learning (but can be cured with mutations?). That’s probably a good middle ground.
Not sure if we should throw in the psycological one, I can’t find enough sources on how it manifests (well, other than “not able to read/write”): Is it possible to overcome it, given enough time or a trauma therapy? Is there a drug against it? …
Given those questions, maybe adding it as a status effect for a disorder which is already in game would be better than on it’s own?

None of this addresses my point, if there’s an illiteracy trait that’s curable, it’s only worth a point or two. If you don’t like the inability of the player to cure their illiteracy, don’t take the trait.

I’m perfectly happy for someone who is not me to add such a trait and the process for removing it, but I don’t find it interesting enough to implement.

Ok so I’ve been looking around and it seems that there are some people who are capable of reading but seem nearly incapable of learning anything by reading about it and require pictures or personal visual demonstrations(hands on tutor) to learn things. I don’t know what this is called but maybe we could make use of it.

One might be able to instate a “visual learner” trait(along with the curable illeteracy) that removes 99% of skill progression from reading, making books basically useless for learning anything but the player character can still read things throughout the game.


To what end, though? If a character with such trait won’t be able to learn anything from reading (i.e. have the reading process positively modify their long-term memory) then it’s just a waste of time. You would have the exact same result by just waiting a certain amount of time.
I’m not against the idea of curable literacy impairment in general, in fact I’d most likely enjoy having one for some characters as means of reasonable added difficulty (as opposed to, say, deafness which is a death sentence in some situations). I just don’t see the point of this particular change.

Maybe they could still get morale bonuses or follow recipes for skill levels they already have.

I guess the recipes part makes sense.
Not sure about morale bonuses, though. If reading is essentially futile for someone the process itself would more likely to be anywhere from tedious to stressful for them. You’ll probably want to limit morale bonuses to Bookworm, as weird as that sounds.

It feels like, to me, whoever made Churl and Caveman illiterate made them with the intention of forcing the player of that background to not be able to use books the normal way. For the sake of a little realism, it’s either a pretty heavy buff to those specific backgrounds, or a significant debuff that also significantly changes their playstyle (or a change to the narrative so they “realistically” qualify for the “uncurable” form of illiteracy). That all feels like… a lot? for something that also feels very minor in benefit. I’m with @kevin.granade in saying “but y tho”.

EDIT: Oh gee, didn’t mean to actually bump this from a month ago, I didn’t realize how relatively far-ranging Discourse’s “suggested messages” was.

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Well, I’m not sure how it’s usually handled here, but your opinion about this and the right to express it is (in my opinion) still valid as it would have been a month ago; as i don’t think this topic has an expiring date.
Besides, it’s about a Zombie game… we should be used to seeing things come back to life from time to time :grin:

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I can understand the feelings of both sides.

In a way, that ain’t how hoomans work, most people are able to comprehend written language unless they’re severely impaired in one way or another.

In another way I don’t feel as much point in there needing to be a whole revision, as it’s tedious at best. Drop a couple points out of Intelligence and you can get the same effect.