I’d like to talk about Bardic Lore.

I’d like to talk about Bardic Lore.

I’d like to talk about Bardic Lore.

The move says:

When you first encounter an important creature, location, or item (your call) covered by your bardic lore you can ask the GM any one question about it; the GM will answer truthfully. The GM may then ask you what tale, song, or legend you heard that information in.

I’ve been thinking about how the “your call” part works.

My interpretation is, as a bard player when I run into something in the fiction that I think appropriately matches my area of expertise I should say I’m using Bardic Lore on that thing/place/creature/etc. and proceed to ask the GM a question. Unless the table calls me out on being disruptive or ridiculous in my judgment, it seems like the GM should then answer the question truthfully and then ask me to explain how I know this tidbit.

Do people think this is a reasonable interpretation?

Under what circumstances is it reasonable for the GM or other people at the table to tell a bard player that they can’t use Bardic Lore because something doesn’t match their specialty?

(In the interest of full disclosure, I should say… I think one of the games I play in is having some conflict because our GM doesn’t understand the conversation model of Dungeon World and is sliding back towards a “GM authority” model… and it’s making me a little irritable.)

11 thoughts on “I’d like to talk about Bardic Lore.”

  1. It’s YOUR CALL. I read that as “If the player thinks it fits the area of expertise, the GM should answer the question.” I don’t really think the GM has much say in whether or not it fits, but she is not obligated to give you information that is actionable or useful.

    After the question is answered, the GM can then ask you how you know that tidbit… and you must answer truthfully as well. 😀

  2. Yep. It’s the player’s call whats important. “Covered by your bardic lore” is probably subject to a bit more player reaction, but not all that much.

    The point here is that the GM doesn’t have to maintain a list of what’s important. They also learn about how the players see the world based on what gets called “important.”

  3. Mark is off point a bit on this one, it’s not the player’s call whether or not it’s covered by bardic lore, it’s the player’s call whether or not it’s important.

    Compare;

    When you first encounter an important creature, location, or item (your call) covered by your bardic lore you can ask the GM any one question about it; the GM will answer truthfully. The GM may then ask you what tale, song, or legend you heard that information in.

    When you first encounter an important creature, location, or item covered by your bardic lore (your call) you can ask the GM any one question about it; the GM will answer truthfully. The GM may then ask you what tale, song, or legend you heard that information in.

  4. I’m kind of disappointed to hear that. 

    I’m currently facing a GM who more often than not is telling me I can’t use Bardic Lore when I think it’s appropriate (based on my specialization). At one point he looked at the list of specializations and said, “no that’d be covered under a different one of those” as if they were purely separate buckets. :/

  5. Ah, yes. You’re right. My version would have to be the second one. Damn your precise grammar.

    I think that Sage LaTorra has a really interesting point here about this move guiding the GM toward things the players find interesting. In actual play, my instinct is still to let the players guide my hand more often then not, but I’m not sure what’s driving that.

  6. Eva Schiffer your GM is doing it wrong.  They are not being a fan of the characters. Ask them (nicely!) to re-read the GM Agenda and Principles.

    It’s part of the GMs job to be keeper of secret knowledge and arbiter of what’s what but the game specifically lays down how to do that – which includes player input and portraying a world where the characters can be awesome.

  7. My take: it’s a move trigger. Like all other move triggers (unless otherwise noted) everyone should agree, based on the fiction.

    There’s two parts to the trigger: important and covered by your lore. Important is explicitly your call. The rest is a normal move trigger: everyone should agree on it, and if you don’t you should refine the fiction until it’s clear one way or the other.

    So I say “Adam, what do I know about the first owlbear, since we’ve just discovered it’s skeleton. They’re made by magic and my lore is Spells and Magicks”

    Adam: I don’t think that’s covered, it’s probably under the bestiary, right?

    From here, we refine and figure things out. There are a number of ways it could go, likely depending on our situation. Here’s what I think would likely happen between the two of us:

    Adam (after some discussion): That makes sense. Ask me what you want to know about the spells that made the first owlbear, as that’s entirely within your lore.

  8. The other thing the GM should be doing is tell you only that which is covered by your lore. For example, in Sage’s example, I wouldn’t tell him about the Owlbear’s eating or sleeping habits, but I might tell him a story of the Wizard who invented the spell that crafts Owlbears.

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