“Once, mankind understood the workings of the world, and lived in an age of wonders beyond our comprehension.” Ineffable Blossom said to her Circlemates, her eyes dark from sleepless nights of study.

“The greatest libraries of the Realm are but droplets from that ocean of lost wisdom. The wonders of the Lookshy foundries are paltry toys compared to the treasures of our forebears.” She brandished a map annotated with countless markings from weeks of study. Scribbled in the margins were broken ciphers, solved equations, and entire fields of mathematics she had reinvented, centered around a bold, red X.

“Which is why, once we have delved into the ruins of Is-Tagath, we will wield power beyond the dreams of any who’d oppose us. And I’ve found just where those ruins lay.”

This Ability is necessary to create artifacts.

Lore represents a character’s understanding of the world, covering academic disciplines of history, mathematics, geography, literature, science, philosophy, and similar scholarly pursuits.

  • It can be used both to recall useful pieces of academic knowledge, as well as to perform scholarly research in a library or archive.
  • It is also important in the forging of artifacts and the raising of manses.
  • Players must note the subject of their character’s education when selecting Lore, as this impacts the scope of what the Ability may cover for them — Lore 5 alone makes the character a world-class savant, but doesn’t mean she knows everything. Lore areas of expertise can be expanded with specialties and roleplaying.

Introducing a Fact

One of the basic functions of Lore in Exalted is to allow the player to spice up narrative drama, forward the plot, or become the object of positive Intimacies by demonstrating valuable knowledge. Once per scene, a character with Lore 3+ and a relevant specialty or backstory can attempt to “know” something useful about Creation’s history, geography, cultures, etc.

The player states a fact they would like to introduce. If it is a fact the Storyteller deems admissible, roll the character’s (Intelligence + Lore) against a difficulty set by the Storyteller. Note that the context of this roll is important. A character with Lore 5 may have a background in the subject being discussed, or their Lore 5 may apply little or not at all. (See the description of the Lore skill on p. 153). The Storyteller should increase the difficulty and levy penalties as they see fit; conversely, if a character specializes in a certain subject, the Storyteller may declare success without a roll. In any case, if the roll succeeds, the character may introduce her fact as knowledge she knows or uncovers in the scene, allowing the plot to progress, and perhaps leaving those around her in awe of her acumen.

Storytellers be warned! Facts introduced in this manner must remain internally consistent. Once a character has successfully introduced a fact, that information should not be contradicted; another player cannot then choose to introduce a completely contradictory fact by rolling an even better result. Once a fact about the setting has been introduced, it becomes concrete. Therefore, Storytellers, it is up to you to decide what facts to allow into the game, and to what degree. You might deem a Solar’s “Sidereal Exalted” hypothesis to be more than the character should know, while being more comfortable with a theory that tends toward something more vague, such as speculation about “Exalted conspirators behind the world’s events.” In this case, you should clarify which facts you will allow before the roll is made.

To be clear, no matter how many dice your player is able to roll, and no matter what Charms their character wields, you can always veto knowledge of certain events or the introduction of facts that would ruin your story. If an introduced fact contradicts a canonical fact you’d prefer to keep canonical in your game, contradicts a fact from your personal setting history or a future plot development you’ve yet to reveal to the players, or is something you are undecided or uncertain about, you can veto it. In the former cases, you are upholding the integrity of your story. In the latter, you are allowing yourself time to decide if you want to incorporate an idea that might change your view of that story. You should also veto knowledge of any canonical information you think it would be impossible for the character to know. That said, remember that people take Lore because this is the kind of character they want to play. You don’t have to treat the setting like a piñata, and Lore like a bat that will split its colorful shell and spill all the delicious secrets within, but you should always treat a character’s Lore rating as a chance to make the character look good, and as a chance to make the player feel good.

Challenging a Fact

Similar to the rules that allow the introduction of a fact, a character with a Lore rating of 3+, or Lore 1+ and a relevant specialty, has the potential to notice any information that rings false. A peasant farmer (Lore 1, with a specialty of sowing) could hear a deceitful spirit trying to mislead a Dynast into ruining his crop yield with bad information. Any time the Storyteller introduces suspect information within notice of a character with an appropriate Lore rating, the Storyteller can call for a reflexive (Intelligence + Lore) check to see if the character notices. A single success means that the character notices the falsehood, but not exactly why it is false. If the character is able to, on that same roll, succeed with enough successes to clear the difficulty as if she were introducing a fact, the character can then not only know that the information she’s read or heard is false, but also how it is false.

Unlike introducing a fact, the Storyteller decides exactly what the character is able to discern in this instance. Like introducing a fact, the Storyteller may waive the need for a roll if they feel the character is overqualified for the knowledge in question.
Assigning Difficulties to Lore Rolls “What can a character know?” has been a tetchy question since Gary Gygax had the floor. There are too many factors involved to come up with a pat mechanic to quickly encapsulate where exact difficulties should sit. After all, one might contend that, in a world where the Sidereals can alter the very course of history, it is nearly impossible to say exactly what is true.
In Exalted, difficulty on Lore rolls should be based on two things, primarily:

  • How thrilling is it if the character knows this fact or understands this thing, solves this riddle or answers this question? If it doesn’t really matter, but it is within the realm of possibility, you probably shouldn’t even roll.
  • How applicable is the character’s knowledge? If their knowledge of a culture comes from a dusty tome written a century ago, their knowledge of that culture today is going to be severely hampered.

A player character’s Lore background—the subject their Lore rating primarily reflects—and their specialties should generally reflect information that is as accurate as possible. In most cases, if the character is challenging a difficulty that falls under her expertise, it is her expertise that makes the roll possible in the first place. If it is interesting to the Storyteller to use a difficult roll to demonstrate to a character how her knowledge might be inaccurate, flawed, biased, or in need of an update, then the Storyteller should raise the difficulty, and use it as a way of leading the character to better, more accurate information, that ultimately updates or corrects the character’s knowledge without experience cost.

All in all, the difficulty settings should slide up and down based on what is dramatically appropriate. The Storyteller should not expect to get the difficulties perfectly right the first time; learning how to gauge them is just a matter of experience. Lore difficulties should not be consistent, as if run off a chart of values, because there isn’t a consistent base line for truth. In general, however, a crucial fact that forwards the plot should be revealed at difficulty 1-4; at 5-7 difficulties should be reserved for challenges to the greatest minds and should be used to excite players to rise to the occasion, while Lore 8-10+ challenges should be the proving grounds of Solar masters, riddles which unlock or reveal the greatest secrets of Creation’s history. Note again that it is the character’s Lore background and specialty that makes such rolls possible; characters with inaccurate knowledge or different backgrounds experience much greater difficulties, if they are allowed to roll at all.


Champions of the Sun GMJJ