This is rather a multi-faceted measure of a character’s knowledge. It can be used in general terms but can also be sharpened to specific areas of interest in which a character, through repetition of use, may develop different SL’s. Some such areas may be trade related and awarded at the start of play at SL’s above 1. Every specific area of interest chosen for the Connoisseur trade skill carries with it the Lore associated with it and at equal SL.
Anatomy & Physiology
Ancient Literature & Philosophy
Astronomy & Astrology
Classical Mythology & Poetry
Herbcraft & Apothecary
History of Place Names, Holy Places
History (native), Recent and Ancient
Foreign, Recent and Ancient
Throne & Altar, Recent and Ancient
Law & Custom, Recent & Origins
Market & Commodities, Native Regions & Foreign
Mathematics & Geometry
Noble Families & Bloodlines
Popular (current) Poetry & Literature
Folklore (regional, national)
This list, while fairly representative of the possibilities is by no means intended to be exclusive and complete. The GM is expected over time to come up with additional areas in which it may be considered advantageous for the character’s to specialize in Lore.
Most of the entries on the list is found among the various trade skill rosters in Step 5. of Character Generation. Folklore encompasses the nature of and identities of such things as nursery spirits/bogeys, nursery rhymes, local myth, history, legend, origins of special local place names, especially colorful nick-names.
The Lore skill measures how conversant a character is with a given subject matter, how widely read (if applicable), or how well informed regardless of the source(s). It is indicative of how much ancillary and background information the character picked up when growing up and when taking his trade training, learning the skills in his portfolio.
Lore skill is an Open Skill. Every character will have some measure of Lore, especially regarding the locality in which he grew up, the trade(s) in which he is schooled, and the specific skills in which he is trained. Every character will have the opportunity to cultivate Lore in a given area of interest, or in general regarding his trades and skills, during the course of play, he need merely follow the procedures outlined for doing so in Chapter 2. of Part III.
Lore can represent the character’s familiarity with the legends and myths both native and foreign to the country in which he was born. BUT these are also areas of specialization requiring extensive reading to attain, so only general questions in those regards is covered by a general Lore skill. How well a character has educated himself in addition to how well he listened to grandma and grandpa, mom and dad, while sitting upon their knees, and to the players and minstrels who wandered through spinning their tales of their country’s history and of faraway lands are all indicated by the Lore skill.
While this skill indicates how well the character paid attention to and participated in the oral traditions and folkways of his home and country, childrens’ stories, færie tales, local legends, customs, and superstitions, it also measures practical knowledge concerning the domestic household, lore and handicrafts needed in the character’s class and station to get by, with or without servants, as applicable. Lore will also include common social information such as where the best of the nation’s various commodities are produced and should be obtained (although there is a specialty for Merchants which involves far more detailed knowledge), the identities of colorful local personalities, especially folk heroes or great nobles, and any major events considered important in local history. The names of any prominent geographic features in the vicinity where the character grew up will also be encompassed by Lore, and any folk tales or historic events attached to them or lying behind the names, explaining their origins.
This skill also encompasses all of the background knowledge in the areas of the character’s skills, making him familiar with great masters and men of note in his skill(s) or trade, enabling him to identify items, materials, and/or tools used in his skills and abilities. In general, all of those facets of history and information not directly discussed in a skill’s description but considered important enough to those in the trade to be assumed to have been handed down by his masters in the oral tradition during his training is measured by the Lore SL, especially those concerning legendary heroes of the trades and accomplishments of skill of record or mythic proportions, the higher the SL the better informed the character is on the prominent people in the field and the more obscure aspects of his trade/skills.
Recognizing coins, their country of origins, the names by which they are called, the city in which minted, and their value in exchange with the coins of his own realm is considered part of the basic Lore of the Merchant trade.
The DV for exercising the character’s Lore skill will rise when attempting to determine whether the character has knowledge of foreign lands, peoples, or crafts and topics that do not directly touch on his skills. in regards to foreign lands, a character is likely to have only rumor and public conjecture if he does not have knowledge of foreign customs and Social Graces.
To recall a bit of general cultural information or some better known story or anecdote native to the character’s background or region of origins (GM’s discretion).
When making checks to determine or recall information relating to one of a character’s trade(s) or skills (level of public demand, impact of market and social trends, or the more prominent, renowned, or notorious practitioners, theories and philosophies of the trade or skill as practiced and the business of the trade or skill), either the character’s trade SL or his SL for the skill in question (as applicable) may be substituted for determining the AV, whichever is greatest, and the character will receive a bonus based on the skill with the lesser SL.
For example, in making a roll to determine if a trade SL 10 Craftsman character is familiar with a particular type of materials for his trade, or the style or work of a particular practitioner, his trade SL of 10 would be used for the base AV, plus his att. mod. of +1, and from his SL6 Lore he would receive a (1 per 4 SL’s) bonus of +2, for a total of 13.
For checks concerning knowledge directly hinging on the character’s trade or skill (materials, tools, techniques and processes of the trade or skill as practiced, and/or its less illustrious practitioners), and especially in regards to a Magister’s or other Scholastic’s knowledge regarding an established fields of study, the character’s trade SL or SL for the skill in question is added to the Lore SL in determining the AV.
As mentioned, the Lore skill is an overall measure of how well the character is tuned into the developments and, knowledge and society of the skill or trade and the knowledge that be gleaned through all such channels, thus the trade SL’s and SL’s are combined when the subject matter lies within the scope of the character’s training and this his interests.
The obscurity of the information in the GM’s opinion will determine the DV for any exercise of this skill, generally speaking. The general “degrees of Difficulty” table in Chapter 1. Task resolution of Part III. The Rules of the Game is the best guideline the GM can follow in determining Lore DV’s.
To supplement that table in regards to the Lore skill, knowledge that is restricted to fewer than 10 people in the world will stand at the very top of the scale, DV 40+. That shared by a single household, ruling body of a town, or small isolated village/hamlet, held within the bounds of a single hundred within a shire would be in the 30’s, that shared by a small fraternity or group of heads of families but held within a single shire might be in the 20’s, while that shared between members of a Guild (Warden rank or higher) or the members of a particular family station throughout a town but otherwise restricted to a single region of perhaps 3 or 4 shires that share economic or noble family concerns would perhaps be in the teens, while DV’s of 10 or below could be considered common knowledge for the Common and noble classes OR common and lower classes within a whole quadrant of a realm (or an even larger geographical region if the realm in question is relatively small), and DV’s in the negative numbers would be considered common knowledge, such as any high-points of social or political history.
The att. mod. for any exercise of the Lore skill is based upon the character’s AWA.
Lore checks are a good way of screening the information that the GM hands out, breaking it up so that all is not revealed at the same time, and not necessarily to all characters at once, thus creating an air of anticipation, even mystery. Lore also represents the characters’ memories, a good tool for determining whether the character(s) “remember” something, for deciding whether or not to give the PC’s a bit of information again on request when the GM has already given it out once. The PC’s must learn to discern what is important, however, the GM should be sure to let them know and also caution them to write it down if the information is truly vital to the flow of play or the flow of the adventure.
The GM might require a Lore check even for a bit of hometown news that might be considered general knowledge, for some of the characters simply might not have been told yet. Lore checks should also be evaluated along lines of character class, station, and/or trade; all characters need not be allowed a Lore check to “remember” a bit of information just because a few of the characters in a party are in a position to do so.
This skill is also the means for determining whether the character can “remember” a bit of background when the GM wants to add additional details or people from the character’s past. The GM must use discretion in these cases, for there are some things that one simply never forgets – local customs, family traditions, and the like. If the GM wants to add this kind of local color, he is much better off simply writing out and passing it out to those whose characters it concerns. These handouts become part of the character’s notes, which are nothing more than a written record of the character’s memory.
The GM should allow the character to specialize in a particular field of Lore, as established for a number of trades already, and track the character’s general Lore skill separately. The PC may choose a topic to pursue and allot SP’s to it separately, tracking the SP’s from general Lore checks along side, making SL progression checks for each separately, so that the PC might go up in SL in his general knowledge Lore and not in his special knowledge Lore, or vice-versa. If the PC chooses a topic or category of study associated with his trade, then the special Lore category might include all aspects of knowledge concerning the trade – the character could become an historian or trivia collector where his trade is concerned as well as a trade member, BUT the GM should start the character off with the same SL in that Lore sub-category as the character’s trade SL at the point at which he starts to accumulate trade Lore SP’s towards it.
A bit of information, news, or Lore will first be rated major (1 to 5) or minor (6 to 10). Generally, news of minor events will not travel beyond the province in which they occur, only social events, political machinations, or scandals that make an impression through shock or delight will travel. The DV’s for these is modified by location, by 1 point per 10 miles distant of the location in which it occurred/to which it pertains (GM’s discretion).
Historic Lore, popular ballads, poems, and other oral or literary works of heroic proportions or impact will first be rated major or minor, as above, and then is modified by their age, adding 1 per 10 years beyond the first 50. The modifiers for the location of the event or source of the work will then be made as described above.