A possible rewrite for Spout Lore

A possible rewrite for Spout Lore

A possible rewrite for Spout Lore

When you declare that you know something about the topic at hand, roll +INT: on a 10+, the GM will either tell you something useful and interesting about the subject relevant to your situation, or ask you to make it up; on a 7-9, the GM picks 1:

* They tell you something interesting about the subject (it’s on you to make it useful interesting)

* They ask you to make up something interesting, and then they tell you what else you’ve heard that complicates things

Regardless of the roll, the GM might ask you “How did you learn about this?” Tell them the truth, now.


So, the wording feels a little cumbersome, but here are the design goals:

1) Empower players to trigger the move more freely

2) Make the move look more like you are, y’know, spouting lore

3) Make/encourage more collaborative world building in the move

4) Maintain the GM’s ability to either maintain authority over a topic, if it’s something that they’ve prepped or have a strong idea about

I’m not at all sure these goals are even necessary, or that this move accomplishes them. But I’ve noticed that I have to prompt my players to Spout Lore more often than they instigate it themselves, and I feel like that’s related to both the wording of the trigger (“consult your accumulated knowledge”) and the somewhat blurry line of “who gets to establish facts” in Dungeon World.


13 thoughts on “A possible rewrite for Spout Lore”

  1. You could also let which of the “useful” bit and the “interesting” bit are contributed by the GM, and which by the player be chosen on the fly. In that case the first person answering doesn’t need to do have the complete answer, and the second person has a seed to go off of. If that makes any sense…

  2. This is great. Like you, I am always encouraging my players to try and spout lore more often. This may really help! Here is how I might word it instead to achieve similar goals.

    When you declare that you know something about a subject, roll +INT: on a 10+, converse with the GM to develop something interesting and useful about the subject; on a 7-9, same as a 10+, but the GM picks 1:

    * Do not establish its usefulness, it is on you to make it so

    * They tell you what else you’ve heard that complicates things

    Regardless of the roll, the GM might ask you “How did you learn about this?” Tell them the truth, now.

    Let me know what you think!

  3. Hmmm. This is the way we interpret the existing move at my table. “Consult your knowledge” feels pretty flexible, we hit it all the time. I do frequently ask players questions like “do you know anything about this?”, though, so maybe that’s it?

  4. I like this. The emphasis on the players to make things up is always something I’ve missed in the original SL. And even if I’ve often asked players to come up with things when they spout lore, I think it can be good to have it spelled out in the move.

    But the first pick on the list:

    “* They tell you something interesting about the subject (it’s on you to make it interesting)”

    Is it supposed to be:

    * They tell you something interesting about the subject (it’s on you to make it useful) ?

  5. Morten Halvorsen good catch, fixed!

    David Perry… interesting idea! Not sure how I’d word it though.

    Andrew Alwood… I see where you’re going, but my concerns are…

    The “converse with the GM to develop…” instruction is step too close to insisting that the player gets to make things up. It’s not quite there, because the GM can, during the conversation, be like “no, no, I’ve got this because Reasons” and decide on the info themselves. But that relies on the GM having an idea and sticking to their guns, which isn’t always comfortable. I prefer the move to explicitly say “hey GM, this is your decision to make: tell them something useful & interesting, or disclaim that responsibility.”

    For the 7-9, telling the player & GM not establish useful during the conversation is… difficult. Same would be true if you just asked the player to make up the interesting-but-on-them-to-make-it-useful piece of info. The player is naturally going to be thinking about information that they would find useful, or ways to make it so, and asking them to walk that back is… clumsy. Like, I’m looking at the runes and I’m like “surely I’ve seen their like before!” roll 7-9… GM says “make it up” and my first thought is that they’re like some kind of protective ward to keep intruders out, and it’ll blast folks with fire, but marring the runes would disable the trap… which part of that do I share? Which is the interesting and which is the useful part? If I decide not to state the bit about marring the runes, I’ve still got the idea of marring the runes in my head, and the DW tends to work, that’s probably going to still be a legitimate approach. So I got my useful answer, right? It just wasn’t stated outloud yet.

    I think it comes down to a bit of the Czerge Principle… if I’m making something up and responsible for adding my own limitation or complication, that’s less cool than if the GM makes something up but leaves out how its applicable, or if I make something up and the GM adds a complication.

    I dunno… does that make sense?

  6. Deep Six Delver if this is how you’ve been interpreting the move, cool! But it’s not at all what the move says to do. 🙂 At least not on the 10+ and 7-9 results. I think the original trigger is certainly meant to be a fiction-first way to say “when you declare that you know something.”

    Which is one thing that sorta bugs me with this rewrite: it’s now the only basic move that’s triggered by player action instead of character action. “Consult your accumulated knowledge” is something done wholly “in-character,” whereas when “you [player] declare that you [character] know something about the topic at hand” is a weird sort of meta trigger.

    But the whole “what do I know about X?” conversation has always been a weird, somewhat meta conversation in RPGs. So I think it works.

  7. I’ve always had a hard time making my information useless enough on a 7-9. here’s a move I really like from Max Hervieux’s Legend of the Elements:

    Meditate (+Natural): When you spend time in uninterrupted contemplation, say what you’re thinking about and roll +Natural. On a 10 or greater, declare a detail about that subject to be true. On a 7, 8, or 9, the MC declares a relevant detail about the subject.

    there might be a more elegant way to write this for Dungeon World but the pure fun factor of this move makes it worth trying, the 10+ feels really special.

  8. Jeremy Strandberg, You’re right that the move doesn’t tell you the GM might ask you to make it up. I guess I saw it as an implication of the GM move “turn their move back on them”, and the practices of leaving blanks and asking questions.

    Specifically, the sidebar on page 162 says: “Ask the Cleric about the gods, Ask the Wizard about magic and then switch it up—maybe the Thief has some ideas about the gods, too?”

    I can’t cite a specific thread, but my impression from prevailing discussion circa 2013 was that asking the players for the info when the characters Spout Lore was the default.

    I was pleased to see that the rule as written leaves it open for the GM to have a say in the world lore! I also appreciated Johnstone Metzger’s commentary on how to host a Dungeon World dungeon, in which he talks about the division of labor between GM and players when it comes to exploring the unknown:

    story-games.com – [AW/DW] Asking Questions and Leaving Blanks

    One thing I’ve been mulling lately is changing the End of Session question “Did we learn something new and important about the world?” to something like: “Did we explore a new forgotten location, site of power, or place of peril?”

    I haven’t settled on exact wording, but I’d like to shift the focus just a bit toward the unknown. There will always be blanks, and I can always ask questions to fill in the lore I don’t know. I often do, especially at the beginning of each session.

  9. Jeremy Strandberg, fair points on keeping the wording more GM centric. Not my typical approach, but you are right that it’s better be explicit about the GM choosing to open it up to the players.

    On the 7-9, again fair point, but I’m not sure you avoid your concern even with the original wording of the move/first bullet. The player is still supposed to make it useful. In your example, if the GM told the player they are some kind of protective runes, the player can still invent that marring them would disable the traps. I think what naturally happens here is on a 10+ it gets explicitly stated and therefore a DD is less likely when the player says they mar the runes. Where as on a 7-9 the player is trying to make the information useful by marring will more likely trigger a DD. Either way you word it, I think you arrive at the same place.

    On the second bullet, I would include “useful” in addition to the “interesting” to even out receiving a complication. The second bullet feels “harder” than the first. Said another way, bullet one: + interesting, and bullet two: + interesting, – complication feels out of balance. + interesting + useful – complication feels better to me. I think you’re probably looking at it as – GM Contributed and + Player Contributed are what even it out, but feeding off of the paragraph above, I think just interesting leaves you at higher risk of a future DD if acted upon regardless of who contributed it.

    Very cool discussion in this thread. Let me know what you think!

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