Games are an exchange of questions and answers. "Can I do this?" "How are you trying to do that?" The GM adjudicates the reality of the world based on this exchange. "Sure, you can climb a tree, no problem" versus "You're trying to climb the tree before GORTHMAK THE UNDECEIVER catches you. Uhhh, roll a d20 and try and beat your Dexterity."
One of the most essential questions of "Can my character..." is "Can my character know this?"
- Have I heard of Medusa before?
- What does my wizard know about dragons?
- I feel that, like, as a fighter I'd probably know about wars and tactics and stuff.
What do I know?
- Obvious knowledge (level 1): Stuff everybody knows and sets the general expectations of the encounter. Giving players a lot of information makes sure that both players and the GM are on the same page and lets players make intelligent choices.
- Obscure knowledge (level 2): Some specialist subjects would only be known to certain people. Obscure knowledge might include the habits of mythical creatures, the likes and dislikes of specific people within an organization, or the metaphysics of the planes of reality. In these cases, the GM should only give information to a player who has bid lore (see below). If a player bids lore and the GM accepts the question, the GM should give as much information on the subject as they know—keep talking and riffing until you run out of material.
- “Yes, you know about this.” The GM then gives a detailed answer. If the GM says "Yes," the GM will answer your question as thoroughly as they can.
- “No, you wouldn’t know about this with that lore.”
- “I don’t accept this lore bid.” The GM then tells the player why the lore bid question wasn’t fair game. The player may rephrase or re-frame the question and try again.