Do new characters know how to read and write?

Under 3.5 dark sun rules, do new characters know how to write and read or are they supposed to buy those as skills or something similar?

1 Like

Per the 3.5 rule book

Literacy (None; Trained Only)
The ability to read has been outlawed for thousands of years by the sorcerer‐kings. All characters in a Dark Sun campaign start without the ability to read or write, and must take ranks in Literacy in order to read anything.

You need to buy it with skill points.


New characters start as illiterate.


No more discrimination against barbarians.

1 Like

Public schools aren’t what they used to be, I tell ya.


Along those same lines… are there any skills that people feel literacy should be a requirement to have the skill up to a certain level. I know per the rules there isn’t anything. But I’m thinking maybe some of the knowledge skills require some level of literacy to progress in.

Decipher script also comes to mind.

Thinking about this a bit more. I think the rules should specify that for Decipher Script you must have literacy in at least one language.


You can use Decipher Script to read languages you don’t understand (perhaps including Common), so that’d make no sense to me.

Also, oral traditions are the exact way you’d have a knowledge skill but no literacy.


From another angle, it’s interesting to note the 2e proficiency Spellweaving. Because even mages in Dark Sun are illiterate, they came up with a much more creative and compelling way of storing information about their spells, such as coded stitching on cloth/leather, woven or braided cords, marks on clay, etc.


Kids these days have no ranks in decipher script… they can’t read cursive!

Pun intended.

1 Like

I see this play out all over the internet. Large numbers of people can barely comprehend a simple sentence. It’s really scary.