Recalling Useful Information, aka "lore rolls" in Scarterra | World Anvil

Recalling Useful Information, aka "lore rolls"

Knowledge is power. Or it can be.   Some things are common knowledge and you don't have to roll for it, a character can just know the fact even if the player does not know it. Note that "common knowledge" depends on background. Everyone in Fumaya can name the king and the five dukes, but they can only name the counts and barons near where they live unless they are politically oriented in which case they learned all the counts and maybe all the barons if their thorough. Outside of Fumaya, it is unlikely most people can do more than name the Fumayan king unless they specifically studied Fumayan politics.   Giant reindeer calves actually have stunted growth in their juvenile stages and a foolish reindeer herder may cull a potential giant reindeer as a runt. Every nomad in the Great Colassian Tundra knows what signs suggest that a young reindeer calf has the potential to grow up to be a giant reindeer but most civilized folk are lucky to even be aware that giant reindeer exist at all.     Sometimes, your character might know something that is not common knowledge to them. In this case, the character rolls Intelligence + applicable ability. This is a "lore roll".   If the character is in a situation where knowledge might help them, the game master can ask a character to make a "lore roll" if he wants to toss the character a life line.   Alternatively, a proactive player can ask the Game Master "What do I know about ______" and ask for a roll. In either case the difficulty is based on how obscure the knowledge would be for that character. Sometimes two characters in the same party might have different difficulties.   Lets say an adventuring party sees some Codenya heraldry. Interpreting it requires Intelligence + Politics.   Aranil is a wood elf, and a noble at that. that means he is from Codenya. He rolls at difficulty 5.   Svetlana grew up in Fumaya which has some infrequent but mostly friendly contact with Codenya. She rolls at difficulty 7.   Neffrey grew up in Uskala and spent a large portion of his adult life in the Borderlands. These are places vaguely close to Fumaya. He rolls at difficult 8.   Neshik grew up on a distant continent with over 2000 miles between him and Codenya though he spent a few weeks staying at the temple of a diplomatic Fumayan priest that does have contact with Codenya, he might have learned something in passing. He rolls at difficulty 9.   Another example, a kalazotz is going to have a much lower difficulty rolling for information on the cultural workings of the camazotz than most humans because the camazotz have been fighting for generations and most humans only know camazotz as a scary old wives' tales.  

Degrees of Success

  Botch: The character is quite wrong, but he is very certain he is right and it will take a lot of evidence to change his mind.   Failure: The character doesn't know anything useful.   One: The character knows the rudiments of the subject but nothing especially helpful.   Two: The characters knows something somewhat useful.   Three: The character knows something useful.   Four: The character knows something very useful.   Five: The character knows more than he probably needs to know.  


  If you want to identify heraldry, know the mottos and stereotypes of noble families, understand how a bureaucracy operates, or want to know which factions are allied or at odds, roll Intelligence + Politics.   Example: "Who's heraldry is that?"  
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Botch: That is a one of the Border Baronies, they are allies to us.   Zero: It is not one of our nation's banners.   One: It is one of the Swynfaredian houses. We are in a cold war with Swynfaredia.   Two: It is not one of the founding houses of Swynfaredia, but it is not one of the nobody houses either.   Three: It is House Gareth, they are known for their great military discipline but somewhat below underwhelming magical ability. They are aligned as sidekicks to House Numaness, the queen's house.   Four: This is the personal banner of a Count or Countess in House Gareth. That means the Count or Countess is leading those troops personally, or their heir apparent is.   Five: That is banner of the County of Blue Falls. The Countess of Blue Falls is rather old now, and doesn't travel much. These soldiers are probably commanded by her son and heir, Lord Kynan. Kynan is a powerful invoker and skilled swordsmen, but he has a reputation for being a bit of a hot head, so he is likely to make an overly aggressive response to any perceived provocation. Lord Kynan's younger sister is reputedly very bitter about not being her mother's heir and could potentially be an ally against him or she can be framed for any action we take against Kynan.
  If you want to know about the habits, strengths, and weaknesses of supernatural creatures, roll Intelligence + Arcana. If the creature is a spirit or elemental, the character can instead roll Intelligence + Theology at +2 difficulty. f the creature is Fae, the character can instead roll Intelligence + Hearth Wisdom at +2 difficulty.   Example: What in the Hells is that thing?!  
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Botch: It's a flumpf, a Mera friendly mortal race believed to be extinct. Therefore it will probably be peacefully dispositioned to us and it's sighting is a hopeful sign.   Failure: It doesn't seem mortal or friendly.   One: It's a salt elemental, a corrupted water elemental. If they are like normal elementals, they can be beaten with normal weapons.   Two: Salt elementals pull moisture out of everything around them, including living beings, so it is best to fight them at a distance if possible. Unlike water elementals, they are not especially vulnerable to magical fire, but they are not immune to these attacks either.   Three: Salt elementals can be distracted with ordinary water but they are not harmed by it.   Four: Salt elementals can heal wounds with they absorb moisture. Salt elementals can be harmed by magical healing attacks much like undead. Salt elementals can be commanded by magic that can command or turn away normal water elementals or magic that can command or turn away conventional undead, but it is more difficult.   Five: Salt elementals that absorb moisture when they have no wounds to heal are distracted and immobilized by something akin to a drug euphoria but they can be destroyed by an extremely large amount of water (throwing them into the ocean or a large lake). This will destroy the salt elemental but it will weaken or kill the waters for plant and animal life in the local area.
  Is there any historical event that has bearing on what is going on now? Roll Intelligence + History.   Example: What does that rune mean?  
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Botch: It's a religious rune for Korus marking the area as a place of plenty   Failure: A dwarf made it maybe.   One: It's a dwarf clan rune but I'm not sure which one.   Two: That is the simple of Dyrik Mykrrún, the most hated dwarf mage in Meckelorn history.   Three: Dyrik Mykrrún was a skin changer witch, a malefic necromancer, and a rapist.   Four: Dyrik originally wanted to wipe out all orcs but ultimately became an equal opportunity cannibal consuming the flesh of orcs, dwarves, kalazotz, and almost anything he could catch. He recruited a small cult around him and they are still around today. They want to resurrect him. This rune was left by them. The king of Meckelorn offered a boon to anyone who slay any of Mykrrún's cultists.   Five: This rune looks like it was made by a morlock rather than a dwarf jormanger. This backs up the near blasphemous rumor that morlocks are descended from jormangers and thus are degenerate dwarves.

It's not what you know, it's who you know!

  Lore rolls assume your character is finding out if he or she knows something in a fairly spontaneous situation. You either know it or don't.   If time is not an issue, characters can do research. You can either look through a library or seek out an expert.   It is possible the expert is wrong or the library wrong but generally this is a solid strategy if your character has access to libraries or experts and can make an educated guess on what they need to know before the situation comes up. It is a good idea to reward players that are proactive in seeking lore.   If a character has social merits that suggest he or is she is to groups with access to libraries and experts, then this is pretty straightforward. Otherwise you probably need to pay for access to said libraries and experts. And lore keepers don't always want to be paid in coin.   If the information sought is obscure, you may have to roll Charisma + Investigation simply to find the expert in the first place.   If your player says, "my character will read up on Swynfaredian heraldry and talk to an expert on Swynfaredian politics" you can drastically reduce the difficulty of the roll in the heraldry example given.   If your player says, "I want my character to read up on corrupted elementals" you can drastically reduce the difficulty of the salt elemental example given.   If your player says "I want to read up on infamous mages in history" you can drastically reduce the difficulty of the lore roll on the rune example given.   In theory, a player could make a giant check list of topics he wants to research that the Game Master might do at some future point, but Game Masters should generally disallow this unless a character takes a very long period of down time though a safer course of action might be to just spend experience on raising your character's intelligence to increase his general knowledge of all things.

Cover image: screen shot from Game of Thrones before season 8 destroyed Tyrion's character by HBO Studios


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