17 thoughts on “Can anyone help me understand how Spout Lore works?”

  1. Well on a 10+ the GM HAS to tell you something useful, that’s the first thing. Every character can spout lore about everything he can justify. It’s not like you are hosed because you don’t have knowledge arcana. Your fighter could have had some special anti caster training and got his knowledge from there.

    The “tell us where you know this information from” bit is also very powerful. If you spout lore about gnolls you can say that you know about them because they attack and besiege your hometown regulars and BOOM now there is a major gnoll tribe on the map!

    A missed move doesn’t mean you know nothing. It could be that you know a lot of stuff about Behirs and all of it is horrible (Behirs are now worse than before the move). It could be you think something you know is right but it actually isn’t, it’s dangerously wrong!(and the GM will offer you XP if you act on that false information)

  2. It could mean that you get ambushed right that moment or trigger a trap. It could mean a portal to hell opens in the next room or whatever move the GM decides to make.

  3. The big thing is that in Dungeon World, if the dice are hitting the table, that means that there is some sort of danger involved. A failure on a knowledge check in D&D means you just don’t know something. A failure in Dungeon World could mean that you get ambushed while you’re thinking about it, your GM decides to advance a grim portent while you research, you don’t know and you’re pretty sure the only guy who does know it is that crazy wizard who lives in the tower full of traps, or (my favorite), you DO know the answer to the question being asked, but it’s really, really not the answer you were hoping for.

  4. Okay that helps a lot! Thanks! One thing though, I read a Great Wyrm compendium class where they got a bonus to Spouting Lore when they exaggerated about dragons and such? Is that an out dated class or is that another aspect of it?

  5. ‘Behirs are now worse than before the move”

    I actually disagree with this. The GM move is reveal an unwelcome truth. The Behir didn’t become more dangerous, you’re just getting more information about how screwed you are.

    Otherwise, yeah, great advice!

    One thing to remember when Spouting Lore is always that it takes time and concentration. What might happen while you’re distracted? Will the goblins in the shadows see their change to strike?

  6. Okay that clears things up for me, thanks! I want to make sure I have a good grasp of all the moves before I try and run this for some friends.

  7. Spout Lore, really, is about bridging the player knowledge and character knowledge gap.  These are things your character already knows but needs to wrack their brain to remember.  It can be triggered by reminiscing about a memory, recalling a passage in a book or just putting some clues together, Sherlock Holmes style.

  8. In my last game, a goblin shaman threw an arcane acid ball at the group. The group wizard didn’t dive for cover; instead he Spout(ed) Lore to see if he could determine the type and makeup of the magic involved. He rolled 7-9, and was successful in getting info about the spell, but the downside was the he was hit by the spell.

    In retrospect, I should have phrased it as Offer An Opportunity With Cost, instead of a just Deal Damage. Make sure he understands the consequences of what he’s trying to do. Of course, one could argue that attempting to Spout Lore in the face of an oncoming magical death ball is by definition choosing to take the cost.

    Had he rolled a 10+, he would have gained the same information, but not been hit by the spell. 

    Maybe it should have been two rolls? Spout Lore to figure out what the spell was, and Defy Danger to not get hit? I don’t know, what do you guys think?

    Out of combat, I like Spout Lore for fleshing out the background. That’s part of Playing To Find Out What Happens. I look at it as generating settings details on the fly. It has the advantage that I only have to create details that the players are interested in. It gives me clues about which direction they want to go in, what they want to do, and how they want to approach it. Delivered with confidence, the players have no way of knowing that you’re making it up as you go.

  9. I’m with Neil Sorenson: While I’d be wary of precedent, at first blush I like the idea of “spouting” that arcane acid balls are susceptible to some magical flourish, and on a 10+ it’s countered. Sounds good in theory, but I’m always wary of precedent with my players.

  10. A counterspell might also be an INT based Defy Danger.

    “This Goblin magic is inherently unstable – as the ball hurls towards me, I invoke the 12th Secret Circle, utter the names of the Abjurer Lords and attempt to break the spell before it hits!”

  11. There’s a lot of mileage you can get out of Defy Danger if you’re creative.  I’ve seen a Bard turn aside a sword swing with CHA because he was “just too pretty to die” and the attacking NPC realized it at the last second.

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