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Do I tell players which knowledge skill to use when they encounter a monster?


Rules Questions

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Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

BigNorseWolf wrote:
You should be able to do it when its not your turn. I mean you can talk out of turn but not think out of turn? What would that sound like?

Sounds like you not talking/shouting over another player, and breaking my train of thought. Looks like me not feeling overwhelmed because two people are asking for my attention at once.

How about you roll whenever you like and I answer on your turn? That way I'm not telling you when to think?::ducks

;D

Seriously, as Rumpin Rufus suggested, if a player wanted to do that while people were rolling initiative—I don't see the harm. (I guess it depends if I am keeping initiative or not and needing to write everybody's rolls down. Its not a big deal if a player volunteer is doing it)

EDIT: Hey, look on the bright side, at least I'm not squeezing anybody on which Knowledge check to make. ;D


Jim Groves wrote:
RumpinRufus wrote:
That said, obviously you should run the game as you like while you're GMing. I don't know the dynamics of how your players deal with combat, but in my games knowledge checks are generally made simultaneously with initiative rolls. It's something that happens before combat even starts, as an extension of "You see an [X]", so it doesn't distract from another player's turn because initiative hasn't even started yet.

I'll certainly think about that. I don't see the problem with that.

As for dynamics, this might explain it. I generally don't bring the matter up. The players do. A player asks if they can make a Knowledge roll, I say "Sure, can we wait till your round? Then I'll get right to it." And I do it at the beginning of their turn so they can act on the information they learn. I'm not a prick. Heh.

If they were to say, "Hey, since we're rolling initiative, can I get my Knowledge roll out of the way now?" I'd probably say, "Sure, good idea. Make a Knowledge X roll."

Again, a little less about meta-gaming and more about not having to multi-task during someone else's turn.

I suspect this also depends on whether your players see value in always getting the knowledge or not. I mean, while we can all think of examples where you get information that's both immediately useful (Trolls: fire/acid, skeletons: blunt weapons, etc) and not obvious (Fire elemental: it attacks with fire), there are also a good number of monsters that don't really have much immediately useful information.

They may just not be bothering until they have some reason to think they need to know something. Which isn't really the way it should work. It's a free action. When you see it, you either know what it is and what's important about it or you don't.


thejeff wrote:
It's a free action. When you see it, you either know what it is and what's important about it or you don't.

*puts on pedant hat*

Technically, it's a non-action, not a free action. Free actions you can only take on your turn, whereas a knowledge check can be rolled at any time.

Silver Crusade

I like the 'simultaneous with rolling initiative' solution, especially if the skill determining whether or not there will be a surprise round is the perception roll made when the beastie appears!


Yes, and true they do gain a tiny bit of metaknowledge from the question. But otherwise it really slows down the game.

This does slow down metagaming, however. Simply say “You see a medium sized undead. Roll ks Religion”. No more player metaknowledge. OK, you might give them corporeal or non. I also specify “trained only” if it’s not common.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

thejeff wrote:
They may just not be bothering until they have some reason to think they need to know something. Which isn't really the way it should work. It's a free action. When you see it, you either know what it is and what's important about it or you don't.

Sure, but its not my responsibility to enforce Knowledge rolls upon them. If they're not bothered to check until they realize there might be a good reason to check—that's on them, Jeff. Not my problem or my concern.

I realize from your perspective, its more realistic. I also need to enjoy running the game. Sometimes you have to pick your priorities.

But hey—I'm having a good time running my games, and I am sure everybody else is too. We don't have to fight about it.

***********
I will bow out now, but as a parting remark, I recall a question made to a Paizo developer about Swim.

"But you realize, a stronger fighter with enough Armor Training might be able to swim in medium or heavy armor?!?"

Their reply: "Yep, but that's price we pay to have a fun game."


BigNorseWolf wrote:

You should be able to do it when its not your turn. I mean you can talk out of turn but not think out of turn? What would that sound like?

"Look out for that tentacle its a .....well I'll know what it is in a second! "

I get what you're saying and this is typically how I run it, but I can see the argument for the other side as well. I mean before your init, you are flatfooted, you aren't prepared for combat, you're still flustered, adrenalin has kicked in and you're pure fight or flight. I can see GM's saying your mind isn't ready to process yet, then your init comes up, your training kicks in and now you're ready.

That brings up another interesting thought: Maybe INT should be part of the initutive computation. Maybe it should be more than just reflexes, but quickness of mind to "get your head in the game" should be figured in too.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Here's something I've done in the past -

Figure out what the characters knowledge checks would be if they rolled a 10. Then, if that 'take 10' roll is high enough when they face something, you can mention that so-and-so remembers hearing something about the creature they're facing.

Then ask for the correct knowledge roll. Giving the info from that roll.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

At my table players roll knowledge in their turn, if they remember!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I play a fighter who has ranks in EVERY knowledge skill (he's a Lore Warden so they are all class skills plus he has an 18INT so gets 8 skill points/level - he's level 5 as a lore warden plus has one level of monk).

One of his "things" is definitely to do a knowledge check on anything he is facing - when he gets to level 7 this will actually have a mechanical benefit from a class feature of the Lore Warden (and will take a Standard action to gain not just what a knowledge check would offer but also a +2 competence bonus on all attack roles and weapon damage rolls against that specific opponent). A tradeoff I may or may not make depending on the situation but one of many reasons this character has so many knowledge ranks.

As a DM and as a player I think Knowledge checks are a fun and useful aspect of the game - at our tables we generally role them on a player's turn and then follow the rules re # of questions depending on the result. Even if we miss getting the specific creature name we often give anyone who is trained in that skill the very basic info (i.e. "yes this creature seems like an undead - though you don't recognize what type...") even on low roles.

And we tend not to metagame - so unless someone makes such a role successfully and is able to communicate with the rest of the party we leave it up to each character to figure out what weapons/spells/techniques to use against a given monster. Certainly we do, however, give people a chance to notice that an attack appears to be doing no or limited damage - and certain mechanical items we tend to reveal (like a monster that can't be precision hit - i.e. no sneak attack or a monster that can't be critically hit) - we (either I as a dm or the dms I play with) tend to mention those facts after they first come into play to minimize unnecessary dice rolling and calculations. (so a rogue may still try to get into position to make a sneak attack but once there and having taken it will notice that it seems not to have had an effect - or at least get a chance to notice that)

(a successful knowledge check and the right questions may have revealed such a fact ahead of time)

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