Free lore skills.

Homebrew and House Rules

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

So this is one of my many many shower thought house rules that I would like some feedback on. I love the lore skills and how specific they are, and characters being able to use them for knowlage and income adds a lot of characterization.

However the problem is that raising them is almost always suboptimal. Maybe if your a rogue you have skills to burn but most classes are on a bit of a budget when it comes to skills and given you can earn income with almost any skill, and invest in a broader knowledge if you want to recall, I have rarely seen a lore raised above its initial level 1 trained, which is, imo a crying shame.

My solution is to give characters extra skills at regular intervals that can only be invested into lores. This will allow a fighter to be a master carpenter or a allow a wizard to study history or other scholarly pursuits while they are stuffed in all those books.

The question is of course how many lores and how often and there I admit I'm at a bit of a loss how many "flavor lores" do you guys think is appropriate without crowding the skill list?

Liberty's Edge

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I would first give free raises in the Background lore, as per the Additonal Lore skill.

And give INT mod (min one) Lores trained at first level as well as half INT mod (min one again) raises at level three, seven and fifteen.

That would IMO add value to INT while not risking unbalance.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
The Raven Black wrote:

I would first give free raises in the Background lore, as per the Additonal Lore skill.

And give INT mod (min one) Lores trained at first level as well as half INT mod (min one again) raises at level three, seven and fifteen.

That would IMO add value to INT while not risking unbalance.

that's roughly what I was thinking, it allows them to master int lores or they can go wide and dabble quite broadly.

From an optimization point of view, I consider lore skills to be a way for intelligence-based characters to recall knowledge using int on traditionally wisdom-based knowledges like nature or religion via additional lore (fey or demons or fiends or undead).

That said I don't think lores are particularly capable of breaking balance. If I were to hand them out, I'd give one Additional Lore feat per PC, and then give more arbitrarily as quest and story rewards, each flavored for the occasion.

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When it comes to mechanics, a lore is a more or less deep field of study you might use instead of something else.

Even the trained lore skill you get from your bg might be equal to an expert, master or even legendary one ( depends the ability score).

On the one hand, I understand paizo tried to semplify it by reducing and merging the skills pool. It works good in my opinion.

On the other hand, lores are more a gm thing than anything else. They can be taken given a specific campaign, to give a character more flavor or to cover for other skills ( due to lack of skill points or because of higher int and low wis, for example).

More than giving them for free, since removing the trading part would affect the balance, I like how Jacobs exposed his point of view about lores.

Every adventure path has its lores, which might be taken or not by characters.

Obviously a character wouldn't choose blindly. It would be up to the DM to communicate the xx lores which might be essential. And depends the player base skills, he might consider whether to take a specific lore to enhance its character.

But as always, the point of this is not to take lores blindly, but knowing what might be useful or not for the adventure.

I surely think that giving them for free might be nice to give colors to a character, but also that it would affect negatively other characters who invested in academic skills, as well as skill monkeys.

I'm frankly dissatisfied with the BG system in PF2e insofar as I feel it's too simple to properly flesh out a character's life before they became an adventurer.

As a bit of juxtaposition, I very much like how backgrounds are implemented in Microlite2020. That system doesn't have traditional skills at all. Instead, you get backgrounds that are arbitrated by the GM not unlike how Lore skills work.

In Microlite2020 backgrounds work sort of like the skills in PF1e.
Most ancestries grant you a background that starts off at 3 points.
The bonus you get from your backgrounds equals the number of points you spent on them.
You then get 8 background points to spend on additional backgrounds or to increase the ones you have.
No background can have more than 5 points at level 1.
Backgrounds can be anything you want.
And lastly, you are granted one background point at every level up that can be used to increase one of your backgrounds without limit or gain a new one.

Since Lore skills are similar enough, I suggest a somewhat similar approach might be satisfying.

At level 1 you give out 4 Lore points.
These can be spent to gain training in extra Lore skills or to increase those you have up to the usual limits.
Then every other level up (or maybe every third) you grant another Lore point to be used in the same manner.

That's my two cents.

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Hot Fix

At 1st level, may trade out bonus Languages (from INT) 1-for-1.

At even levels, Lore Skill Increases added to all character classes.

I dig that! Tho, I still think I'd want to add some more to start with.

I give out free Lore upgrade for the region they are adventuring in every couple of levels. So if they move about they will be Trained or Expert about a bunch of places, whereas if they stay in one spot they will be legendary in that region.

I have not quite figured out what happens if they stay in that same spot for more levels after they have already hit Legendary.


Thank you for bringing this up, Kekkres. I want to try out the following (untested) rule:

Characters gain a proficiency increase or training in one Lore Skill with every odd level, starting at 3rd level.

GMs may encourage or even require players to make this purchase relevant to the game. (Characters may train in a lore about a key monster they faced earlier without question; they’ve been motivated to research it, after all. But if they have Alcohol or Fishing Lore and have been spending time in bars or near bodies of water, increasing their training proficiency also seems like an obvious possibility – and yes, this will probably earn them more money in downtime than the monster choice.) Characters may not raise a Lore skill to Master before 7th level, nor to Legendary before 15th.

Rationale: It’s quite reasonable that grizzled, high-level adventurers would have a wide array of Lore Skills they had trained in, or be absolutely Legendary at the mundane work they do during downtime. But players are rarely going to put their precious skill increases into Lores otherwise.


Personally I give free raises in background lore while also giving each class a skill that natively increases as well.

Arcane for Wizards
Survival for Rangers
Religion for Clerics

I provide lore skills for free as it fits the activities the players are doing. If they spend a lot of time training fire wolf pups - nature checks to train etc. I provide a free Lore - Dire wolf. For example.

Or if the rogue spends time in a new city or town building contacts and connections. Lore - City or region.

A simple house rule I have considered is just having lore skills rise automatically, just let them level up when they can.

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