The City of Lives
Lore is a knowledge skill. It measures the character’s “book learning”. Any knowledge that would not explicitly fall under Cultures, Philosophy, or Creativity falls under this skill (though some overlap may exist among all of those). Characters with high Lore include scholars of antiquity, professors and know-it-alls.
The main use of Lore is to answer a question. Questions covered by Lore include those of history, literature, sociology or any of the “soft” sciences—in short, most information that is neither art nor science.
The player can ask the GM “What do I know about this subject?” or “What does this mean?” Often, there will be no need to roll, especially if the subject is within the character’s specialty (if a stunt has established a specialty) but if the GM feels the information is something that should be hard to attain (such as a clue) then they may call for a roll against a difficulty they set. If the character succeeds, they receive the information. If they fail, they do not, but they may still attempt to research the topic (see below)—or, perhaps more entertainingly, may stumble onto a false lead that gets them deeper into trouble.
- Research [Lore]
Researching a topic is frequently a time-consuming and arduous task, and exactly the sort of thing worth skimming over with a few quick dice rolls. It is treated as an extension of what knowledge the character has—they can answer some questions off the top of their head, and other questions because they know what book to find the answer in.
As such, research is something that can happen when a character fails a Lore check. Provided the researcher is willing to spend time researching (and that the answer can be found) the only question is how long it will take and how good a library they have access to (more on libraries in a bit).
One important note: because the GM is not always obligated to reveal the difficulty of a given roll, players may not know how much they failed it by, which means they don’t know how long they’ll need to research. Usually they’ll just research until they find the answer, but sometimes, when time is tight, they may be limited to less time. GMs are encouraged to read “Setting Difficulties” in Running the Game before making any decision about how to deal with a failed roll.
Lore research requires a library. The quality of the library determines the hardest possible question that can be answered within it (so a question of Good ( +3) difficulty requires a Good ( +3) library or better). If a character is attempting to answer a question in a library that’s not equipped to answer it, the GM is encouraged to be up-front about its shortcomings.
Most schools and private individuals have Mediocre ( +0), Average ( +1), or Fair ( +2) libraries. Houses associated with knowledge often have Good ( +3) libraries while few places outside the Academy of Artful Sciences have Great ( +4) ones. Superb and better libraries are few and far between. Many Libraries also have a specialty or two where they are considered one step higher—for example, the Library of Miliovera specializes in law, so it has a Great ( +4) Library, which is treated as Superb ( +5) for questions of law. Characters may own libraries of their own; see the Resources skill for more.
Example: Tyche needs to discover some information on the Heliotrope Cliffs. From her Great ( +4) Resources skill, she has a personal Library of Fair ( +2) Quality. She does some research, and rolls a Good ( +3) result on her Lore check. The GM tells her that she’s discovered information on the Cliffs’ population, imports and exports, and some of the people of importance. If she wants any more specific information (the location of a hidden mine, for example), Tyche will have to find a library with a higher Quality or that specializes in the Cliffs.
- Exposition and Knowledge Dumping [Lore]
Sometimes the GM just needs to give the group a lot of information, and the character with a high knowledge skill tends to be the conduit of that. When the GM needs to drop a lot of information on the group, they may ask the character with the most knowledge if she can use them as a mouthpiece. Assuming the player agrees, the GM can share all appropriate background, and is encouraged to give the player a fate point for having their character temporarily commandeered by the GM.
- Declaring Minor Details [Lore]
The character may use their knowledge to declare facts, filling in minor details which the GM has not mentioned. These facts must be within the field of Lore, and the GM has the right to veto them. However, if the GM is all right with it, they may let the player make a declaration and roll Lore against a difficulty they set. If successful, the fact is true, and if not, the character is mistaken. Like most Lore rolls, the GM may or may not wish to share the difficulty, so the character may not know if they succeeded.
This is a straight up declaration action, as described in Declarations. If the academic or another character takes action based on the declared fact, that person can tag the aspect that has been introduced. If the academic is wrong, there is no penalty, but there may be complications—at their option, the GM could place a temporary “mistaken” aspect on the academic, compelling it to represent the fall-out (and netting the mistaken academic a fate point!). If the academic was right, the aspect is placed, and is taggable as described earlier—the first one being free.
Example: Tyche has made it to the Heliotrope Cliffs, and is trying to infiltrate a mine. Her team can’t find a way in, so Tyche ‘declares’ that she’d read about a nearby mine whose tunnels cross near enough for them to dig from one mine to the other. The GM sets a (secret) difficulty of Superb ( +5), as this is fairly obscure and powerful knowledge. Tyche is lucky and rolls a Fantastic ( +6) result, and the GM agrees that the mine exists.
For GM advice on setting difficulties for declarations, see page Declarations.
- The Truth [Lore]
Under normal circumstances, the character may know the answer or not, but will not get a wrong answer. A wrong answer should only be a result of one of two things. First, it may be the result of the compelling of an aspect—the player may be offered a fate point for their character to go veering off on a tangent or to reach the wrong conclusion. Alternately, it may be as a result of an active deception, such as someone planting bad information.
To plant bad information, a character must decide what question (in general) they’re providing false information about. The character must have access to the target’s library (see Research, above) and make a Lore roll modified by Deceit (see Combining Skills) in addition to whatever rolls they may need to get in and out of the place where the information is stored.
The result of that roll is the difficulty to spot the false information. When someone tries to discover information that is affected by this deception, he must make a Lore roll as usual. If that roll less than the difficulty set by the deception, then the false information is discovered one step earlier than the real information might be. If the failure is significant (missing the mark by three or more), then the true information may simply be unavailable. If the researcher meets or exceeds the roll for the deception, they find the false information and recognize it for what it is.
- Lore in Conflicts
Lore is the primary Attack skill in Research conflicts. It is the primary Defense skill in Research conflicts. It can be used as a Maneuver skill in Social and Repair conflicts. It is the primary Move skill in Research conflicts.