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Manu

Learning to Read

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My group of players all want to learn to read. They feel they miss something not being able to read simple texts (and even maybe later books).

They came across an old library with many scrolls and books. And only the scribe can read them.

Should I allow it (I know that MGMV)?

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Think of writing as a form of magic - a magic that allows communication of things that have transpired in the past, elsewhere, etc. Not everyone has all forms of magic available, especially in a world that does not have universal literacy.  Would they all expect to know sorcery or the Rune magic of other cults?

I don't allow in my games if they don't have the R/W skill. But you might feel these are exceptional individuals, and maybe they gained 5% base and with Knowledge bonus they might be able to read some amount.

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Thanks Gods it takes a long time to  learn and a lot of money. I hope some of them will just learn the basics (just in case the scribe is not around) and concentrate on other skills.

And also, writing is just one way of written communication. Like in Churchs, drawings can be clear enough to pass a message to anyone connected to the cult (or at least from an associated cult) : Warning, welcome messages, heroes deeds can be painted on wall, furniture, even books. And a Cult Lore (if religious) or Customs (if mundane) should be enough to understand the message.

But finding old book on some secret society/cult will only be for scribes.

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In my RQ games, either as player or GM, everybody can learn to read, but of course not everybody wants. The trick is to be able to find somebody / some organization that ia able to teach it, and that accepts to do it. Lhankor Mhy and Irripi Ontor are the main ones, but requires the applicant to be at least lay member, in addition to services and tuition costs. Sorcery require to be able to read, so sorcerors may be a source. Other teachers are rare, if any exists in your area, especially if you play in Dragon Pass area or near. Far West and Kralorela may be another matter.

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Sure, they can learn to read. Roleplay them in a classroom with kids, perhaps Lhankor Mhy knowitall kids. See if they can get through a session without threatening to kill one of them.

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2 hours ago, Manu said:

drawings can be clear enough to pass a message to anyone connected to the cult (or at least from an associated cult) : Warning, welcome messages, heroes deeds can be painted on wall, furniture, even books. And a Cult Lore (if religious) or Customs (if mundane) should be enough to understand the message.

Definitely! Just think of the bas-reliefs included in the character background generation in RQG (and also shown in Glorantha Sourcebook). Could be Cult Lore to interpret in the temples (oh, it was the Westfaring Quest!) or Homeland Lore to interpret in palaces or other public places. 

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How do your players read their character sheets??? Let alone the RQG books. I'm surprised that people with access to the internet still can't read... 

 

Ok, seriously... It's obviously too late, but one of the 10% starting skills could have been thrown into R/W something. Now that they've started, one season would be enough to start learning the basics (at least script, if not full language)

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I thought Lhankor Mhy temples offered Read/Write lessons for a price but I can't find any mention of that in RQG so I must have imagined it... I would probably do that as a standard way for those temples to get income anyway (and since you need 50% in Read/Write to become a member, that's the perfect scam!). Another option (especially if they don't have enough money) would be for such a temple to instead ask them for a service in return, like a side-quest of sorts. Maybe they have some missing cult member they need found, or maybe there's an item they need to acquire, or whatever. One last option would be for them to meet some philosopher or scribe NPC (maybe they're hired as escort for that person) and that eventually leads to that NPC teaching them some Read/Write basics (as a "thank you" or, again, for a price).

On 8/16/2019 at 6:22 AM, jajagappa said:

Think of writing as a form of magic - a magic that allows communication of things that have transpired in the past, elsewhere, etc. Not everyone has all forms of magic available, especially in a world that does not have universal literacy.  Would they all expect to know sorcery or the Rune magic of other cults?

I like the idea of writing as a form of magic, to make it "special", but I'm not sure how that would work since there's no limitation on getting that skill as part of your character creation. If anybody can have literacy, maybe it's not so "special" after all and there are lots of opportunities to learn Read/Write (it's just than some people have better things to do). Actually, more than half of the pre-gens have one Read/Write skill, if not 2 or 3. Do you have a house-rule that players need to come up with a background justification to take Read/Write on character creation?

Edited by lordabdul

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9 minutes ago, lordabdul said:

more than half of the pre-gens have one Read/Write skill, if not 2 or 3. Do you have a house-rule that players need to come up with a background justification to take Read/Write on character creation?

I don't. If they got the local lawspeaker or skald to teach them how to read the script and pronounce a few words, or their name, or even something more so they could make a transaction with the passing merchant, that works fine for me.

But I don't see any reason they need to have read/write either in a culture without inherent education programs. Orlanthi don't need to read to worship - they do need to know the songs and dances and lore though.

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Amongst the Oranthi I would limit literacy amongst urban and noble Satarites under the sway of the Sartar dynasty, until the Lunar invasion.  The reason being Sartar did develop a program to facilitate education and literacy. 

Edited by Videopete

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2 hours ago, jajagappa said:

But I don't see any reason they need to have read/write either in a culture without inherent education programs. Orlanthi don't need to read to worship - they do need to know the songs and dances and lore though.

So it does sound like you're asking players to justify taking Read/Write 😅  (at least if they're Orlanthi)

I think the limiting factor is really time and money -- even if the party somehow finds someone to teach them, they would need to stay around for at least a couple months to learn anything usable, and unless they have enough resources to pay for living expenses during that time, that might not be practical. And there's also the need to justify a "jump forward" in the campaign to skip this downtime.

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4 hours ago, lordabdul said:

I thought Lhankor Mhy temples offered Read/Write lessons for a price but I can't find any mention of that in RQG so I must have imagined it.

Nope, you don't imagined it [see below].

1.) Learning the skill Read/Write is simple and straightforward in RQG:

RQG classifies skills in common, professional and rare [RQG p 417] . Read/Write is a professional skill.

"Professional skills, such as Craft, Orate, Read/Write, Sing, Speak, and most weapon skills, command greater prestige than common skills. As a result, their teachers can demand a greater price." [p 417]

Read/Write isn't classified as a RARE SKILL [see p 417]

2. ) "Temples provide training in cult skills to members at a special price." [p 417]
Read/Write
is a Lhankor Mhy Cult skill [p 298].

But you don't have to be a member of the Lhankor Mhy cult to learn reading. The benefit of being a cultist is only the lowering of training costs not the access to training [because this skill isn't RARE].
 

 

Edited by prinz.slasar
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8 hours ago, Shiningbrow said:

Ok, seriously... It's obviously too late, but one of the 10% starting skills could have been thrown into R/W something. Now that they've started, one season would be enough to start learning the basics (at least script, if not full language)

Yes, Shiningbrow nailed it. They wanted to be able to read and write but wanted it for free. All Characters can start at 10% plus communication bonus, if they wish in RAW.

2 hours ago, prinz.slasar said:

But you don't have to be a member of the Lhankor Mhy cult to learn reading. The benefit of being a cultist is only the lowering of training costs not the access to training [because this skill isn't RARE].

and pinz.slasar helped to put it away

Again, the above comments are RAW.

I also like all the roleplaying conventions that have been mentioned, They do explain why the cap would be 10% plus communications bonus, and why one would have to go out of their way (debt to the church, clan local pawn shop/Issaries priest with a loan and some training time sacrificed or some such plan) to improve beyond the cap. It would be so much easier as a barbarian to just sing and dance one's rituals as they have always been done.

. Nicely done all.

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5 hours ago, lordabdul said:

I thought Lhankor Mhy temples offered Read/Write lessons for a price but I can't find any mention of that in RQG so I must have imagined it... I would probably do that as a standard way for those temples to get income anyway (and since you need 50% in Read/Write to become a member, that's the perfect scam!).

You need 50% in literacy to become an initiate. Becoming a lay member is the pre-requisite to receive these Read/Write lessons at all.

 

5 hours ago, lordabdul said:

Another option (especially if they don't have enough money) would be for such a temple to instead ask them for a service in return, like a side-quest of sorts.

Most future scribes are selected for aptitude at an age significantly before initiation and taken to a temple where they learn the skill. Not all such children will become initiates - the literate Apple Lane tenants in the Adventure Book of the Gamemaster Screen package that immigrated from Jonstown are such a case of drop-outs.

 

5 hours ago, lordabdul said:

I like the idea of writing as a form of magic, to make it "special", but I'm not sure how that would work since there's no limitation on getting that skill as part of your character creation.

A lot of mundane pursuits in Glorantha that RuneQuest handles with a skill role are magical in nature, like e.g. the Peaceful Cut which only requires an successful use of Butchery.

5 hours ago, lordabdul said:

If anybody can have literacy, maybe it's not so "special" after all and there are lots of opportunities to learn Read/Write (it's just than some people have better things to do). Actually, more than half of the pre-gens have one Read/Write skill, if not 2 or 3. Do you have a house-rule that players need to come up with a background justification to take Read/Write on character creation?

Since my adventures often involve some spelunking for old documents (that need to be transcribed from architecture or sculptures that cannot be moved), I don't mind a certain amount of literacy in my party. Issaries cultists probably get literacy as associates of LM and use it in tallying. The Argan Argar cult has Read/Write Darktongue as a cult skill (RQG p.289) and a literacy requirement for rune priests of 80% in Darktongue, but it isn't clear whether this uses a native troll form of writing or one of the accessible Lhankor Mhy scripts.

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3 hours ago, Joerg said:

Becoming a lay member is the pre-requisite to receive these Read/Write lessons at all.

And being an Initiate of an Associate Cult automatically makes you a Lay Member... 

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We had a few literate PCs in our RQ2 game, mainly because being a Rune Priest had a literacy component, so they had to learn.

However, even though most of the party were not literate, it didn't matter, as we had a Lhankor Mhy Sword Sage and he would read everything we found.

You only need one or two literate party members, after all.

 

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12 minutes ago, Bill the barbarian said:
5 hours ago, soltakss said:

You only need one or two literate party members, after all.

So long as the literate are not Eurmali as well!

You know, all the Lightbringers are mutually associate cults.

The main problem with Eurmali students of literacy is that they might behave for long enough to actually learn reading and writing before you have an excuse to send them packing for some prank or the other. Next you get written pranks...

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