ArM5 states that the Area Lore ability covers "knowledge of one particular region, covenant, or even a village...the smaller the region, the more detailed your knowledge."
This would seem to leave a lot up to the troupe. With abilities that have a differing scope depending on a player choice, I tend to vary the ease factor accordingly. A player who wanted to recall the name of the local priest would have a low ease factor with the (that specific village) area lore; using (whole of france) area lore would have a much higher ease factor.
Several suplements have provided expanded uses for this ability. In LoM, Area Lore is used to gain terrain advantage prior to a battle. In RoP:M, those with the regio network minor virtue can use Area Lore to find entrances to their regio network. These uses have specific ease factors and mechanics surrounding them.
I'm making a magical creature with the regio network and well-travelled virtues. If he spends those 50xp on 2-3 small villages or large regions, it dramatically changes the avalability of his network.
I realize that since I'm creating the character, I'm the SG, and this is a YSMV matter, its really up to me, but the character will serve as an example to players for their own characters, and I like consistency. I'm wondering how other folks have handled this ability and if they've run into any problems or abuse?
I'm think that as a house-rule/guideline, I might state that Area Lores are centered on a location - the house you were born in, the covenant you reside in, the university you once attended, etc - and cover a 20 mile radius around that location. For each 20 miles beyond, your area lore is at -1, until it reaches 0, at which point it is useless.
Does this sound like a reasonable guideline for the scope?