"Educated" and what it means


(Forking from the Alliance 2.0 Rulebook: Beta 2 thread because its not really about the rulebook.)

While that's the mechanical benefit of the skill, personally I think that this comment still makes role-play sense. It would be extremely odd to talk to someone and say "I'm an expert Calligrapher!" which they then follow up with "... but I'm not educated."
I think I was interpreting Educated differently than you. Much of what we'd consider Educated in current times falls under Craftsman. Educated is sort of the working tradesperson's skill -- its about identifying the tools and being taught what they are used for. Its a basis that lets you buy skills that let you know more or start doing things (like herbal lore, healing arts, read magic). Its more like what you get taught working your first job, and less like formal education. Educated equivalent for me is knowing what household tools are useful for what, how to connect & drive a truck with trailer, and who to ask to get appropriate remedies for various conditions. (My 1 rank of craftsman-farmer means I know how to hook up & use a tractor with a PTO and grow some of those remedies.)

Its about knowing how to interact with the physical things. To get in to any of the magics or serious crafting, you need the skill that comes after educated as a prereq. I actually think a better example for 'expert Calligrapher' is 'Read Magic'. Or requiring 'Blacksmith' to take craftsman-farrier (because its absolutely a required skill to be a rural farrier); similarly several of the other craftsman examples would really like you to have 'merchant'. 'Healing Arts' for 'vetenarian' would also be a better example.

I actually think the change from Read/Write to Educated has little significance mechanically; but has a bunch of interesting implications purely from the RP perspective. It implies a higher level of default education and knowledge in the world. It is moving our default lens from trying to consider things in a setting where writing was rare and unusual and something only rich people did (and so only they really knew much about things outside a half days walk), and moving to a later period where its assumed everyone can read/write and has knowledge about the greater world.


Oregon Staff
I think this is a fun discussion topic, but given the very diverse nature of Alliance, I wouldn't try to pin things down to a single ideal. I think that it can (and should), vary from location to location, and chapter to chapter. You can even get a lot of world mileage by varying it between place to place in a single chapter. To use my current game world as an example, the level of education varies:

Sedovians -Bog standard middle feudalism. Most laborers are not educated, while anyone in higher status occupations tend to be.
Valenziana - Mageocracy caste system with dedicated schooling. In fact, if you fail out of schooling, you go to the labor caste. Education is pretty widespread with even day laborers likely able to read/write.
Savage Lands - Primarily oral tradition. Education is spotty, and generally tied to your profession. Scholars, craftspeople and leaders tend to educated, but no one else.
Wylenzia - A hot mess of change caused by the blending of a primarily dispersed tribal nation being integrated with the mageocracy folks. If you're in the inner network, educated is the new chic thing. If you're in the boonies, unless you're a leader or wizened person, you aren't likely to be Educated.
Then there are the various minor powers who all have different stances on education and how much there should be.

This provides a richer world than having it be true across the board. Right now on Earth there are places where literacy is low, and those where it's high. The same for education level. That said, adventurers are listed as on par with the Merchant class, so it makes perfect sense that they have/had access to education beyond the rest of the populace and literacy is then a player choice. Furthermore, Craftsman represents being so good at it that you make a profit per day. So your rank 1 of Craftsman farmer isn't the guy who hooks up the tractor, he's the guy who gets a good crop year after year, enough to profit beyond subsistence farming and sell their crops.

To your specific examples:

Calligrapher doesn't need Read Magic as the magical symbols on scrolls has nothing to do with how well they're written, and I personally wouldn't require Educated for Calligrapher. I might look askance at a scribe who isn't, if only by osmosis from working with written texts, but I wouldn't make it a hard requirement. "I make Ser Vogon's terrible works of poetry look nice. I know nothing of the bigger world... just terrible purple prose."

Farrier - Remember that Blacksmith in Alliance is specifically about making arms and armor. It might be odd to be a Farrier but not a Smith, as odd as it is to be Calligrapher and uneducated, but I wouldn't deny it. "I make horseshoes and nails, as well as actually shoeing the horses. I hope someday to learn how to make sharp swords and armor, but right now... I'm just really good at working the simple things."

I think that in general Polare's quote still holds, but a player should work with their plot team in odd circumstances. For example Seattle had an Oathsworn uneducated merchant "Coin knows coin, not words." (don't know if he re-built into educated in 2.0). These things can work, and I don't think they need to be mechanic gated, but the quote on the whole provides a really good guideline.