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Knowledge is a feature in Dwarf Fortress which is at the heart of decision-making by historical figures. Historical figures can know about sites, events, regions, other historical figures, creatures, and art forms, but also a number of academic topics, as well as secrets.
There's several types of knowledge in Dwarf Fortress. Each historical figure will keep a list of these and whether they personally know them.
Knowledge can be spread through different methods, including books, observation, rumors, and apprenticeship.
In fortress mode, the knowledge that dwarves and other intelligent creatures possess can be seen after clicking them to open their overview screen and then in the "Skills" menu under "Knowledge."
Knowledge of other historical features of your world, such as sites, people, regions and artifacts can be obtained by a historical figure through seeing those things, and hearing rumors about them. In fortress mode, the knowledge is of limited use. In adventure mode, knowledge is reflected in the questlog, and necessary for historical figures for them to be able to tell you the location of a place, or to form reputation-awarding opinions on you.
Academic knowledge is handled through libraries, where scholars ponder, discuss, and research topics. They may make discoveries and write scrolls or quires. Topics can be learned through reading about them, as well as through apprenticeship, where a teacher will teach the topics directly to their apprentice. Research itself is an extremely slow process, and it is recommended to use books or apprenticeship to further knowledge development. Academic knowledge currently has limited application, the prime effect being the unlocking of literary forms.
The nine main branches of knowledge are: mathematics, philosophy, history, geography, medical science, natural science, astronomy, engineering, and chemistry. These all have their own sub-categories, which usually require the base branch to discover.
Knowledge of art forms can be obtained by historical figures through observation of the performance, reading about them, and apprenticeship under a different performer.
Knowledge of secrets can be obtained though reading books and slabs, or under the apprenticeship of a necromancer. Only the secrets of life and death are implemented; which give their purple practitioners a selection of different necromantic powers, and always the ability to raise undead.
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