Wise tests - standard vs graduated tests

So, on page 26 of BW where it explains graduated tests, it takes a wise skill as an example - more successes, more information on the topic.

But then in Codex, in the chapter on Wises as Information (pages 206-207), it uses a different example that kinda contradicts this:

for argument’s sake , let’s say that he did. At that point , Anthony
would have had to decide whether to simply Say Yes and give Thor
the information or call for a Dragon-wise test. Further he also had
to consider these details: Would having the answer allow Thor to
circumvent obstacles he had planned? Could he think of an interesting
consequence’ or complication that would result from a failed wise test?
[f the answer to either of those questions was “No” , he would have just
given Thor the answer: The first dragons were born from the sparks
that flew off when the world was forged upon the anvil of the Void .

If the answer to either of those questions was ‘’ Yes", Anthony would
have called for a test. He might even have fished for more details: " Do
you want the common legend that is told around hearths on stormy
nights? That’s Ob 2. Or do you want the story the dragons believe?
That’s Ob 8.

How was this not a perfect opportunity to demonstrate a graduated wise test? Like when would you use it if not in a situation like this?
Or am I misreading this and this actually is a graduated test but where GM tells the player in advance what he can learn depending on successes? Is that how graduated tests are supposed to work?


I read that as the GM clarifying which of two different “facts about the world” the player wants to know (i.e. what are common legends about dragons vs. what do dragons say).

It’s a question of granularity based on the specific setting the game occurs in: while Wises do represent potential knowledge of everything about a topic, I don’t think we’d argue “I want to know everything about Thrawl Moddling so I’ll roll Trawl Moddling wise” is too broad; similarly, “I want to know what people in the pub sitting near the bar are gossiping about so I’ll roll Gossip-wise” and “I want to know what people sitting slightly further from the bar…” seem almost certainly not to need different tests. However, for any given setting, what is the same “nugget” of fact and what is two separate “nuggets” will vary: for example, if the entire plot is taking place within a single city, gossip in one district might be a different “nugget” from gossip in a another; whereas, if the plot takes place across a nation, the same two topics of gossip might be a single gossip in the city “nugget”.

Thus, a Wise test can produce either two separate tests or a graduated test, or even two separate graduated tests depending on circumstance. For example, in the Dragon example, each of the tests for “common legends” and “Dragon stories” could provide more obscure information with more successes.

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In that example, I would say that those are different tasks because those pieces of lore are different. If you assume that the player is looking for the Objective Truth, then, yeah, higher Ob means more Truth. But that is not what is on the table here. What’s on the table are the creation myths of two cultures. It’s a little bit like, in real life, if you had Dragon-wise and wanted to know where dragons come from; knowing about where Eastern dragons come from is different from knowing about where Western dragons come from. Knowing the Objective Truth would be something else entirely.

As for Graduated Tests, that mechanic is a tool that the GM can use or not use at their discretion. So, I might imagine that the answer to your first question is that it is because Anthony was GMing. Maybe when you GM you would have employed a different technique/tool for that scenario. That’s cool.

I tend to let players use graduated tests for generating Cash with their resources (though it’s every two successes per Cash die), the Body of Argument roll is a graduated test (in my book), I’ve had a player make a graduated Orc-wise test to try to place the war band’s recent actions as part of a larger M.O. Anytime a player says, “I just want to ___ as much or as best ___ as I can,” I ask myself if that can be parsed as a graduated test. A lot of it can come down to how the inciting action is phrased, “I want to generate as much money as I can -” graduated, "I need to come up with 30 livre - " Ob, I don’t know, 4 off the top of my head.


^This. To simplify:
The graduated test assumes that the Truth of the matter is knowable within the context of the wise and that more details can be known the more skilled you are.
The two options are for when the objective Truth cannot be known for certain within the context of the wise. Note that not even the Dragons themselves Know where they come from, they have their own Legend of where they came from. Ergo, more successes will not get you more truthful details, but instead a perspective that is more intimate to the subject of the test.

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