I am confused about Spout Lore and would appreciate any help.

I am confused about Spout Lore and would appreciate any help.

I am confused about Spout Lore and would appreciate any help. Most of the descriptions of the move say that the GM actually speaks the lore in question. But in the Conversion chapter, the implication seems to be that the player is the one who relates what the character knows:

Let spout lore do some work for you. “You’ve heard that the wizard here has a strange magical staff. What rumors have you heard of its origins?”

(from https://github.com/Sagelt/Dungeon-World/blob/master/text/appendices/Conversion.xml)

I have a similar question about the GM’s principles, but I’m guessing that if the answer is “oops, that’s just an inconsistency”, my other question will have the same answer.

Thanks in advance!


13 thoughts on “I am confused about Spout Lore and would appreciate any help.”

  1. BUT i always ask the player where they know that stuff from. It is a great opportunity for the player to add something to the game without breaking the line. 

  2. I usually deliver the lore, but I like to mix it up and ask the players to do it quite often, as long as the lore they spout could conceivably fall within the experience of their characters (as described in Tim’s link).

  3. A trick I’ve used in other games, and would like to transfer to DW, is to have a different player answer than the one who made the roll if I hand over the reins, particularly if there’s someone who needs a bit of prompting to speak up. But then, I’m very much a fan of player authorship.

    Very helpful article, though, Tim!

  4. The way I’ve seen it done that’s the most fun is kind of a midpoint between the two approaches. The GM delivers the lore ( i.e. “Goblins are allergic to celery”) and then asks “How do you know this?” Then the player gets to make up whatever backstory they want that explains where that bit of setting knowledge came from. It gives them some creative control and an opportunity to flesh out their character in ways they might not have thought of otherwise, but it still lets the GM control the lore where it’s important to control the lore. You even sometimes get good adventure hooks out of this. (“There’s a horde of angry goblins outside, and they’re calling for PC NAME’s head in retaliation for the Great Celery Massacre.”)

    I still think its fun to occasionally just let the player flat out dictate a bit of the lore with a Spout Lore roll. It generally results in a richer setting and more engaged players. 

  5. It’s funny, it all seems to come down to “the conversation”. Is this an even back-and-forth, or one person domineering the majority of the exchange? When one side of the conversation stops doing their job, or takes too much of the other side, then things stop working so well.

  6. It is a back and forth but in general the GM is the one moderating the conversation as they are making a move at someone and asking specifically them “what do you do?”.

  7. There was an older version of Spout Lore that operated on the player spouting lore and then rolling to see how accurate it was. Maybe there are still some legacy bits of that in the rules.

  8. I like to give the player’s authorship if their character has a strong background investment in the lore. As it stands there is no ‘bonus’ to spout about things close to your character concept. So If the dwarf fighter with the blacksmith move wants to spout lore about the ancient dwarvish warhammer they have just discovered in a tomb? I let the player go for it.

  9. In the group I play with, it depends on circumstances and somewhat on whether the roll was successful.  Spout Lore does seem to be intended to give the players information, so sometimes the only thing to do on a success is just have the GM give some information, but if the player has some player knowledge, they might also use that opportunity to turn some of it into character knowledge, and indeed if some things about the world are as yet unsettled, a player may volunteer something which the GM will just adopt as canon.  So usually there’s an opportunity for the player to volunteer something before falling back on a GM info dump (or having the GM correct the player if they make a successful roll but spout something that’s definitely not what the GM wants for the world).  On the other hand, on a failed roll in my group, it’s almost always the player’s responsibility to come up with something stupid to say (and of course believe).

  10. I have taken to giving my players a +1 to Spout Lore if it is a subject their character is an expert on. This encourages some of my players with low INT modifiers to Spout Lore occasionally. Also, when they get used to that +1, they Spout more often, and when I tell them they don’t qualify for the +1, they usually Spout anyway which is a great opportunity to Reveal Unwelcome Truths.

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