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Profession Unknown
Job Title Reader
Labor None


  • Memory
  • Unknown
This article is about the current version of DF.

Reader is a skill used to read objects containing writing, such as books, signs and slabs (both built and unbuilt). The skill can be assigned points during character creation. Currently, being a novice reader is enough to read anything; getting a higher skill is regarded as a waste of points.

How to read in adventurer mode:

  • Pick up (g) the object you want to read, either putting it in your inventory or holding it in your hands.
  • Press I.
  • Select the object you wish to read from your inventory list by pressing the letter it is represented by.
  • Press a to select "Read".

If you have at least Novice skill in reader, all the information contained in the object will be shown. If the object contained a secret, you will learn it if you meet the secret's requirements. Since necromancy can only be obtained through reading books or slabs containing the secrets of life and death, it is required for you to be at least a novice reader in order to become a necromancer in adventurer mode.


If you have no reader skill at all, you will simply be told that You cannot read..

Looking at the object/building's description will also reveal some information about its contents - all information contained on memorial slabs and shop signs, for example, can be seen here. However, examining a book you have not read before will leave you with You have not read this book yet. and examining secret-containing slabs will only give you the name of the secret it contains, such as The slab reads "The secrets of life and death".

On the other hand, examining these objects/buildings if you are illiterate will give you this message: There is writing in the book/on the slab, but you cannot read.

Reader experience is gained slowly by reading new books. Re-reading the same books doesn't seem to increase the skill. Currently a high reader skill doesn't seem to affect anything related to reading, although it will raise the associated attributes.

Within adventure mode, there is no way for an illiterate character to gain Reader XP, and therefore no way to learn to read. So you may want to raise this skill to Novice during character creation.

Reader is currently used in fortress mode to read written quires, codices and scrolls. Its exact benefit is unknown. In fortress mode, the Reader skill is not required to read books and gain experience. So an illiterate adventurer could learn to read by retiring into a player fort, and then reading books during fortress mode.