Is asking 'what a monsters weak save is' a valid use of a Knowledge check?


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here.... I'll just leave this link here
PF-basic-training-Monster-Recognition-Class..


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thejeff wrote:
Legion42 wrote:
The meeting the DC of the check gives all of the info in the Attack and Defense blocks of the creature as well as the senses. This is Almost Everything relevant to a random encounter.

That's a house rule, I take it?

My whole system is a house rule, but that is a hard definition I created to cover the ambiguous "A successful check allows you to remember a bit of useful information about that monster" from the knowledge skill description in the RAW. The full passage from my original post is: Success on the check gives a player the Senses, Defense and Offense blocks with an in-world flavor description. Every 5 over adds another info block (special ability descriptions, ecology, or statistics) with flavor description.

I also tend to use the Trained Skill total of the player as a guide to general "hey that looks like x." If the player's skill total (skill points, ability and modifies) equals the CR of the creature or more they gain automatic access to the Name and general alignment of the race/species and the strength of the creature relative to the party (CR). Creature CR due to class levels are not counted in that passive check. Untrained skills (IE no skill points) never provide general info and must always roll for any info and cap at the standard 10. This allows for just about anyone to identify at least basic combat info about all CRs from 1/8th to 5 without much issue.


Legion42 wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Legion42 wrote:
The meeting the DC of the check gives all of the info in the Attack and Defense blocks of the creature as well as the senses. This is Almost Everything relevant to a random encounter.

That's a house rule, I take it?

My whole system is a house rule, but that is a hard definition I created to cover the ambiguous "A successful check allows you to remember a bit of useful information about that monster" from the knowledge skill description in the RAW. The full passage from my original post is: Success on the check gives a player the Senses, Defense and Offense blocks with an in-world flavor description. Every 5 over adds another info block (special ability descriptions, ecology, or statistics) with flavor description.

I also tend to use the Trained Skill total of the player as a guide to general "hey that looks like x." If the player's skill total (skill points, ability and modifies) equals the CR of the creature or more they gain automatic access to the Name and general alignment of the race/species and the strength of the creature relative to the party (CR). Creature CR due to class levels are not counted in that passive check. Untrained skills (IE no skill points) never provide general info and must always roll for any info and cap at the standard 10.

The issue is that you are using CR twice, which inflates the DCs.


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Toirin wrote:
nosig wrote:

we can all expect table variation on this... YMMV

Here's an example of two different "variations" in understanding how this rule works meeting at the same table...

Judge: "Roll Knowledge XXXX".
Player: "34"
Judge:"Ask 3 questions.",
Player: "What can I ask?",
Judge: "Things like Special Attacks",
Player: "OK, I ask that."
Judge: "No, that's not how that works, you have to ask 3 questions".
Player: "??? ok, whatever. What does my PC know about this monster?"
Judge: "NO! you can't pull do it that way! You have to ask one of the standard questions!"

This was me for the longest time... Despite having knowledge, our party didn't know much about what we were fighting. Hit it til it dies works for pretty much all creatures luckily.

Yeah, pretty much for me too, the first time I ran into the "ask questions" approach in PFS. In our home games it had always been GM handing out useful info.

I had no idea what to ask. I'm still not really clear on what a good approach is most of the time. Especially with GMs who want specific questions and consider "no DR" to be a useful answer.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
thorin001 wrote:
Legion42 wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Legion42 wrote:
The meeting the DC of the check gives all of the info in the Attack and Defense blocks of the creature as well as the senses. This is Almost Everything relevant to a random encounter.

That's a house rule, I take it?

My whole system is a house rule, but that is a hard definition I created to cover the ambiguous "A successful check allows you to remember a bit of useful information about that monster" from the knowledge skill description in the RAW. The full passage from my original post is: Success on the check gives a player the Senses, Defense and Offense blocks with an in-world flavor description. Every 5 over adds another info block (special ability descriptions, ecology, or statistics) with flavor description.

I also tend to use the Trained Skill total of the player as a guide to general "hey that looks like x." If the player's skill total (skill points, ability and modifies) equals the CR of the creature or more they gain automatic access to the Name and general alignment of the race/species and the strength of the creature relative to the party (CR). Creature CR due to class levels are not counted in that passive check. Untrained skills (IE no skill points) never provide general info and must always roll for any info and cap at the standard 10.

The issue is that you are using CR twice, which inflates the DCs.

yes, but it only inflates the DC by 5 based on the CR. The CR reflects the strength of the target, stronger targets leave less living references and thus make valid available knowledge harder to acquire. And I always intended to have high level checks be harder that was the point of modifying the DC table in the first place. At RAW the Tarrasque is a DC 40 check, in my system it is a DC 50. That is intentional. That thing kills everything it meets and the standard survivors that have written about it did so hundreds of years ago. So a total Skill comparision hey I have a 26 total arcana (3+6+17), hey that looks like a Tarrasque. My teacher described it to me once. Roll to see if I know anymore? check of 46 max you don't know anything more than running is a good option. Or hey we are going to maybe have to fight a terrasque in the next few weeks, I take 20 researching in the pathfinder society libraries (+5) and now I get a 51, terrasques are rumored to have these abilities and resistances.


yes because every one always has access to a library that has every single piece of info one could possibly need at any given time ever most libraries barley have books relevant to most plot points much less a 4000000 book series of encyclopedia Britannica of all knowledge ever in every library in existence

Liberty's Edge

I too have always found the idea that CR is almost the sole determining factor in whether or not someone can identify things about a creature. Going back to the comparison of a hatchling red dragon and a great wyrm red dragon, it makes no sense that a 5th level adventurer could look at the hatchling and know it's a red dragon, immune to fire, vulnerable to cold, breathes fire, etc, but look at the thing's mother, literally standing 10 feet away and simply have to shrug their shoulders, because they didn't hit a DC 37 to know even basic information.

In the real world, even people who live in Nebraska can probably tell you the difference between a great white shark and a hammerhead. Even if they've never been to an aquarium or the ocean and seen the creatures before. Per RAW, if the PC rolls lower than 15+CR on the wyrm red dragon, they won't even know it's a dragon (but they'll know the hatchling is!). I mean, there are probably millions of people who have never seen a goblin shark, but if you show them a picture, they'll at least know it's a shark. I doubt every one of them essentially rolled a Knowledge (nature) check at DC 20+ to identify basic information.

When I GM, I take into account how common the creatures are in addition to the thing's CR. I also don't give out stats as information. I don't tell things like the amount of damage reduction, hit dice, saves, BAB, AC, etc. I will say things like, "These/this creature(s) are highly resistant to fire," or, "...a little resistant to acid," or, "if you don't have a silver weapon, you'll be a little less effective when you deal damage." Use descriptors to tell them what they need to know. DR 5/- is something like, "No matter what you attack with, it won't feel it quite as strongly as it should." Whereas DR 15/- gets something like, "You have to hit it very hard to cause the slightest amount of damage." I will also tell players if a creature is immune to certain types of magic, i.e. mind-affecting, specific schools, specific damage types. I will also tell them if the creature is very nimble, very tough, or strong willed. I rarely have players tell me the information I give isn't useful/helpful, and it helps keep them in-character.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Lady-J wrote:
yes because every one always has access to a library that has every single piece of info one could possibly need at any given time ever most libraries barley have books relevant to most plot points much less a 4000000 book series of encyclopedia Britannica of all knowledge ever in every library in existence

That is the literal point of the Pathfinder society, to have that information somewhere. There is of course not going to be any form of library that has everything, but at the level you would be facing the creatures that would need these checks you have access to magics that can get the player's group to where ever they need, whether in party or via NPC. Also most major churches have written histories as well as most kingdom centers. And no they won't have the series of britannica's, but they will have legends and happenings worthy of note for hundreds of years of the local area. This is how you give your players the info they need in game with real reasons and real checks and real rewards. Even failures can lead to new knowledge or new side quests.

The ability to research just about anywhere has been a long standing, but little used part of the game. It plays/ed a major part of Carrion Crown AP and has been sprinkled into many of the APs since then. Any large collection of tomes can be used to provide a +1 to +5 on any knowledge check for various subjects. The content of the collection determines the knowledge checks you can make and how strong the bonus is. Just because the system isn't used by a group or DM doesn't mean it isn't useful. I use it, my players use it and it works for us.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

If I were running for a new player, and they didn't have specific questions, I'd just pick a few useful things for the PC to know. Let's not waste the player's skill point investment playing useless Q&A games. Heck, sometimes, especially at low levels, the critter only has one special ability, in which case I'll just tell the player something like "no DR, no resistance, it can spit acid."

It amuses me when someone gets like a 40 check to ID a normal animal. "It's a bear. It does bear things. It's...uh...got scent and grab. It will claw and bite you. That's about it."


Legion42 wrote:
Lady-J wrote:
yes because every one always has access to a library that has every single piece of info one could possibly need at any given time ever most libraries barley have books relevant to most plot points much less a 4000000 book series of encyclopedia Britannica of all knowledge ever in every library in existence

That is the literal point of the Pathfinder society, to have that information somewhere. There is of course not going to be any form of library that has everything, but at the level you would be facing the creatures that would need these checks you have access to magics that can get the player's group to where ever they need, whether in party or via NPC. Also most major churches have written histories as well as most kingdom centers. And no they won't have the series of britannica's, but they will have legends and happenings worthy of note for hundreds of years of the local area. This is how you give your players the info they need in game with real reasons and real checks and real rewards. Even failures can lead to new knowledge or new side quests.

The ability to research just about anywhere has been a long standing, but little used part of the game. It plays/ed a major part of Carrion Crown AP and has been sprinkled into many of the APs since then. Any large collection of tomes can be used to provide a +1 to +5 on any knowledge check for various subjects. The content of the collection determines the knowledge checks you can make and how strong the bonus is. Just because the system isn't used by a group or DM doesn't mean it isn't useful. I use it, my players use it and it works for us.

still doesn't change the fact that anyone with 20 ranks into a knowledge skill should be able to take 10 and identify something of their own cr with an int of 10 and the skill not being a class skill because that's what putting ranks in knowledge skills are for, and if they have an int score of more then 10 and its a class skill then they should have an easier time identifying said creature and be able to take 10 on some creatures more power then themselves to identify them


darth_gator wrote:

I too have always found the idea that CR is almost the sole determining factor in whether or not someone can identify things about a creature. Going back to the comparison of a hatchling red dragon and a great wyrm red dragon, it makes no sense that a 5th level adventurer could look at the hatchling and know it's a red dragon, immune to fire, vulnerable to cold, breathes fire, etc, but look at the thing's mother, literally standing 10 feet away and simply have to shrug their shoulders, because they didn't hit a DC 37 to know even basic information.

In the real world, even people who live in Nebraska can probably tell you the difference between a great white shark and a hammerhead. Even if they've never been to an aquarium or the ocean and seen the creatures before. Per RAW, if the PC rolls lower than 15+CR on the wyrm red dragon, they won't even know it's a dragon (but they'll know the hatchling is!). I mean, there are probably millions of people who have never seen a goblin shark, but if you show them a picture, they'll at least know it's a shark. I doubt every one of them essentially rolled a Knowledge (nature) check at DC 20+ to identify basic information.

When I GM, I take into account how common the creatures are in addition to the thing's CR. I also don't give out stats as information. I don't tell things like the amount of damage reduction, hit dice, saves, BAB, AC, etc. I will say things like, "These/this creature(s) are highly resistant to fire," or, "...a little resistant to acid," or, "if you don't have a silver weapon, you'll be a little less effective when you deal damage." Use descriptors to tell them what they need to know. DR 5/- is something like, "No matter what you attack with, it won't feel it quite as strongly as it should." Whereas DR 15/- gets something like, "You have to hit it very hard to cause the slightest amount of damage." I will also tell players if a creature is immune to certain types of magic, i.e. mind-affecting, specific schools, specific damage types. I will also tell...

I would agree that dragons are not handled well, but they're also an edge case.

You're right, a lot of people could probably tell the difference between a hammerhead and great white, but that's a pretty obvious difference. I bet if you asked them the difference between a bull shark and tiger shark though, you'd get a lot less knowledge. Also, lets remember what we're talking about in regards to the rules, "useful" knowledge. How many people would have any appreciably useful knowledge that would help them in an encounter with any of these species of animals?

Also, is ONLY knowing the name of a thing useful? If you've memorized the stat blocks of every monster, sure, but that is generally considered metagaming (taboo) information to have UNLESS you acquire it through a successful check.

So, a person in Nebraska can visually identify a picture of a great white. Does that mean they can identify it while out on the ocean? Does it mean they know anything about it's behavior to attract/repel it? Do they know where to punch it to get it to let go of a victim?

People know factual information about sharks because scientist have gone out and recorded massive amounts of data on them, and when they make tv shows about them people watch.

Prior to 1900, nearly all of the information on sharks was myth AND there was no good way to spread that information. In 1900, if you asked a person in Nebraska to identify a shark, I pretty much guarantee you that other than hammerhead (the name kinda gives it away), you're going to get completely random guesses.


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Irontruth wrote:

You're right, a lot of people could probably tell the difference between a hammerhead and great white, but that's a pretty obvious difference. I bet if you asked them the difference between a bull shark and tiger shark though, you'd get a lot less knowledge. Also, lets remember what we're talking about in regards to the rules, "useful" knowledge. How many people would have any appreciably useful knowledge that would help them in an encounter with any of these species of animals?

Also, is ONLY knowing the name of a thing useful? If you've memorized the stat blocks of every monster, sure, but that is generally considered metagaming (taboo) information to have UNLESS you acquire it through a successful check.

So, a person in Nebraska can visually identify a picture of a great white. Does that mean they can identify it while out on the ocean? Does it mean they know anything about it's behavior to attract/repel it? Do they know where to punch it to get it to let go of a victim?

People know factual information about sharks because scientist have gone out and recorded massive amounts of data on them, and when they make tv shows about them people watch.

Prior to 1900, nearly all of the information on sharks was myth AND there was no good way to spread that information. In 1900, if you asked a person in Nebraska to identify a shark, I pretty much guarantee you that other than hammerhead (the name kinda gives it away), you're going to get completely random guesses.

The real world examples are all kind of misleading - the range of CRs are small, so you wouldn't actually expect anyone to know much more about one than another by PF rules - slightly greater chance of knowing anything, I suppose.

The things to know are in PF terms generally pretty miminal. For sharks, about all there is would be the obvious - this one's bigger and more dangerous. And the occasional, no, this one's actually harmless.

You don't have some sharks that regenerate, some that explode when killed, some that can fly, some that turn you to stone on contact. Or for that matter, just some that are just big enough to bit ocean liners in half and tough enough cannonballs bounce off.


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ryric wrote:

If I were running for a new player, and they didn't have specific questions, I'd just pick a few useful things for the PC to know. Let's not waste the player's skill point investment playing useless Q&A games. Heck, sometimes, especially at low levels, the critter only has one special ability, in which case I'll just tell the player something like "no DR, no resistance, it can spit acid."

It amuses me when someone gets like a 40 check to ID a normal animal. "It's a bear. It does bear things. It's...uh...got scent and grab. It will claw and bite you. That's about it."

"Is it smarter than the average bear?"


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Zhayne wrote:
ryric wrote:

If I were running for a new player, and they didn't have specific questions, I'd just pick a few useful things for the PC to know. Let's not waste the player's skill point investment playing useless Q&A games. Heck, sometimes, especially at low levels, the critter only has one special ability, in which case I'll just tell the player something like "no DR, no resistance, it can spit acid."

It amuses me when someone gets like a 40 check to ID a normal animal. "It's a bear. It does bear things. It's...uh...got scent and grab. It will claw and bite you. That's about it."

"Is it smarter than the average bear?"

"How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?"


thejeff wrote:
Irontruth wrote:

You're right, a lot of people could probably tell the difference between a hammerhead and great white, but that's a pretty obvious difference. I bet if you asked them the difference between a bull shark and tiger shark though, you'd get a lot less knowledge. Also, lets remember what we're talking about in regards to the rules, "useful" knowledge. How many people would have any appreciably useful knowledge that would help them in an encounter with any of these species of animals?

Also, is ONLY knowing the name of a thing useful? If you've memorized the stat blocks of every monster, sure, but that is generally considered metagaming (taboo) information to have UNLESS you acquire it through a successful check.

So, a person in Nebraska can visually identify a picture of a great white. Does that mean they can identify it while out on the ocean? Does it mean they know anything about it's behavior to attract/repel it? Do they know where to punch it to get it to let go of a victim?

People know factual information about sharks because scientist have gone out and recorded massive amounts of data on them, and when they make tv shows about them people watch.

Prior to 1900, nearly all of the information on sharks was myth AND there was no good way to spread that information. In 1900, if you asked a person in Nebraska to identify a shark, I pretty much guarantee you that other than hammerhead (the name kinda gives it away), you're going to get completely random guesses.

The real world examples are all kind of misleading - the range of CRs are small, so you wouldn't actually expect anyone to know much more about one than another by PF rules - slightly greater chance of knowing anything, I suppose.

The things to know are in PF terms generally pretty miminal. For sharks, about all there is would be the obvious - this one's bigger and more dangerous. And the occasional, no, this one's actually harmless.

You don't have some sharks that regenerate, some that explode when killed, some...

Look around for some of the myths various people had about real world animals that they had contact with, and you might think that some could explode or control people with their minds. For Pete's sake, those misunderstandings about the truth is HOW we got so many fantastic creatures for gaming.


Gilfalas wrote:

Assuming the character has the appropriate knowledge skill for the creature being identified, is asking what it's weak save/s is/are a valid use of the skill OR do you make the roll and take whatever information the GM gives you?

Or is it some combination of both?

...

Monster Lore, CRB:

You can use this skill to identify monsters and their special powers or vulnerabilities.

Check: In general, the DC of such a check equals 10 + the monster’s CR. For common monsters, such as goblins, the DC of this check equals 5 + the monster’s CR. For particularly rare monsters, such as the tarrasque, the DC of this check equals 15 + the monster’s CR or more. A successful check allows you to remember a bit of useful information about that monster. For every 5 points by which your check result exceeds the DC, you recall another piece of useful information.
{table of monsters and Knowledge fields}

you get useful bits of information.

so the reason players ask a question or get more specific is to define what they think is useful at the moment. Technically the GM can give you what he wants and thinks is appropriate. GMs are usually trying to help and stay within the rules and in theme.

you can ask what is its weak save. It is the same level of metagaming as asking DR, resistances, SR, or other stat block notations. It is done for expediency. The risk in asking for specific things is you may get a "no" or "none".
Sometimes literalness gets carried away in organized play and people think it's the only legal way to ask a question. That idea is patently false. It does cut down on the variability of the answer.

Part of a GMs job is to interpret what players say into game rules. Personally I think a player should ask, "how do we kill it quickly!" or "I'm a spellcaster, how do I affect it?" as those are very sensible questions.

I think you can also use Knowledge skills in a negative way. Knowledge(nature) will tell you that something isn't natural (aka unnatural). It doesn't tell you what it is, but will tell you it's not in this field of study.

===
on Undead, the funny thing is animals recognize them as unnatural and won't attack them, in fact you have to take "attack" trick twice. How do they do that without Knowledge(religion)?
almost all low level undead are recognizable as mobile dead bodies or parts of bodies. If the body/part isn't on a string and dogs run away from it that might be a clue. They probably smell dead also. Time to get a buzzard pet.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

When someone rolls their check, I'll try to give them useful info (as well as game-world background info) because that's more fun than just relating game mechanical info. But if they're fishing for something specific, they'd better ask up front about it, otherwise it might not be foremost in mind in relating relevant info. And for me, weak saves is almost never foremost in my mind, so if they want it, they gotta ask for it.


I just want to point something else out.

What constitutes "useful" is a very fluid thing. Most players tend to focus on the immediate issue, which is the combat at hand. The GM, however, has a larger amount of knowledge about his/her game world and the situation surrounding that particular combat than do the players.

Maybe the creature at hand tends to travel in loosely spread packs that coalesce when a member of the pack gives it's hunting cry (The GM knows there are others of this creature's type that will appear in 1d6 rounds, for example). This bit of knowledge could help the party determine if they need to flee (if the creature is tough on its own) or conserve resources (so they don't nova their attacks, leaving little to deal with the rest of the encounter).

Or, maybe the check allows the character to remember rumors that this type of creature has been linked to Duke Notagoodguy, indicating that the ambush they just stumbled into might be at the behest of said Duke.

The rules for what you get from a "Monster Lore" check are vague enough that the GM has a lot of leeway. It is the GM's job to make sure that useful information is provided, and sometimes the GM might know that something not directly related to the combat is more important to the party, in the long run, than whether or not the creature has a good Will save.


If the question is specific then the answer will be specific rather than the GM making a judgement. It's just a difference in play style and where perceived power lies.

Why the request was made can be nebulous; distrust of GM, wanting to be in control, thinking that's how it's done, GM asking player for metagaming input to make it clear and easy, trying to be literal. It is not really worth it to try to figure out the intent.


Saldiven wrote:

I just want to point something else out.

What constitutes "useful" is a very fluid thing. Most players tend to focus on the immediate issue, which is the combat at hand. The GM, however, has a larger amount of knowledge about his/her game world and the situation surrounding that particular combat than do the players.

Maybe the creature at hand tends to travel in loosely spread packs that coalesce when a member of the pack gives it's hunting cry (The GM knows there are others of this creature's type that will appear in 1d6 rounds, for example). This bit of knowledge could help the party determine if they need to flee (if the creature is tough on its own) or conserve resources (so they don't nova their attacks, leaving little to deal with the rest of the encounter).

Or, maybe the check allows the character to remember rumors that this type of creature has been linked to Duke Notagoodguy, indicating that the ambush they just stumbled into might be at the behest of said Duke.

The rules for what you get from a "Monster Lore" check are vague enough that the GM has a lot of leeway. It is the GM's job to make sure that useful information is provided, and sometimes the GM might know that something not directly related to the combat is more important to the party, in the long run, than whether or not the creature has a good Will save.

Most of those examples are bad scenario/campaign design. If it is required story information it should not be dependent on dice rolls. If you want to reveal that info during a knowledge check then it is bonus information.


thorin001 wrote:
Saldiven wrote:

I just want to point something else out.

What constitutes "useful" is a very fluid thing. Most players tend to focus on the immediate issue, which is the combat at hand. The GM, however, has a larger amount of knowledge about his/her game world and the situation surrounding that particular combat than do the players.

Maybe the creature at hand tends to travel in loosely spread packs that coalesce when a member of the pack gives it's hunting cry (The GM knows there are others of this creature's type that will appear in 1d6 rounds, for example). This bit of knowledge could help the party determine if they need to flee (if the creature is tough on its own) or conserve resources (so they don't nova their attacks, leaving little to deal with the rest of the encounter).

Or, maybe the check allows the character to remember rumors that this type of creature has been linked to Duke Notagoodguy, indicating that the ambush they just stumbled into might be at the behest of said Duke.

The rules for what you get from a "Monster Lore" check are vague enough that the GM has a lot of leeway. It is the GM's job to make sure that useful information is provided, and sometimes the GM might know that something not directly related to the combat is more important to the party, in the long run, than whether or not the creature has a good Will save.

Most of those examples are bad scenario/campaign design. If it is required story information it should not be dependent on dice rolls. If you want to reveal that info during a knowledge check then it is bonus information.

Doesn't have to be "required", just useful.

No different from a clue spotted with a Perception roll or some such.


thejeff wrote:
thorin001 wrote:
Saldiven wrote:

I just want to point something else out.

What constitutes "useful" is a very fluid thing. Most players tend to focus on the immediate issue, which is the combat at hand. The GM, however, has a larger amount of knowledge about his/her game world and the situation surrounding that particular combat than do the players.

Maybe the creature at hand tends to travel in loosely spread packs that coalesce when a member of the pack gives it's hunting cry (The GM knows there are others of this creature's type that will appear in 1d6 rounds, for example). This bit of knowledge could help the party determine if they need to flee (if the creature is tough on its own) or conserve resources (so they don't nova their attacks, leaving little to deal with the rest of the encounter).

Or, maybe the check allows the character to remember rumors that this type of creature has been linked to Duke Notagoodguy, indicating that the ambush they just stumbled into might be at the behest of said Duke.

The rules for what you get from a "Monster Lore" check are vague enough that the GM has a lot of leeway. It is the GM's job to make sure that useful information is provided, and sometimes the GM might know that something not directly related to the combat is more important to the party, in the long run, than whether or not the creature has a good Will save.

Most of those examples are bad scenario/campaign design. If it is required story information it should not be dependent on dice rolls. If you want to reveal that info during a knowledge check then it is bonus information.

Doesn't have to be "required", just useful.

No different from a clue spotted with a Perception roll or some such.

I think we are talking about different things.

Dropping campaign notes in place of monster lore is actually robbing the character of the benefits of their skill. You were going to drop that campaign lore anyway if you wanted to continue with that plot/subplot.
Telling me that these trolls work for the BBEG is not really telling me anything about the trolls. That is the kind of info that should come from some skill other than the monster lore check I just made.


Useful is highly subjective. For some diplomancers, the most useful information is "What language do they speak and what is their motivation?" in an attempt to negotiate instead of fight.


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thorin001 wrote:
thejeff wrote:
thorin001 wrote:
Saldiven wrote:

I just want to point something else out.

What constitutes "useful" is a very fluid thing. Most players tend to focus on the immediate issue, which is the combat at hand. The GM, however, has a larger amount of knowledge about his/her game world and the situation surrounding that particular combat than do the players.

Maybe the creature at hand tends to travel in loosely spread packs that coalesce when a member of the pack gives it's hunting cry (The GM knows there are others of this creature's type that will appear in 1d6 rounds, for example). This bit of knowledge could help the party determine if they need to flee (if the creature is tough on its own) or conserve resources (so they don't nova their attacks, leaving little to deal with the rest of the encounter).

Or, maybe the check allows the character to remember rumors that this type of creature has been linked to Duke Notagoodguy, indicating that the ambush they just stumbled into might be at the behest of said Duke.

The rules for what you get from a "Monster Lore" check are vague enough that the GM has a lot of leeway. It is the GM's job to make sure that useful information is provided, and sometimes the GM might know that something not directly related to the combat is more important to the party, in the long run, than whether or not the creature has a good Will save.

Most of those examples are bad scenario/campaign design. If it is required story information it should not be dependent on dice rolls. If you want to reveal that info during a knowledge check then it is bonus information.

Doesn't have to be "required", just useful.

No different from a clue spotted with a Perception roll or some such.

I think we are talking about different things.

Dropping campaign notes in place of monster lore is actually robbing the character of the benefits of their skill. You were going to drop that campaign lore anyway if you wanted to continue with that...

Or it gives you a longer term advantage that you might not have had otherwise. If you would have found out from the signed orders in the leader's pocket after the fight anyway, then it would definitely be an abuse, but if the party might have continued trusting Duke Notagoodguy for more of the adventure, then it could be very useful.

Edit: Or say it lets them be prepared when Duke Notagoodguy betrays or ambushes them later on.


Here is how I do it

Knowledge checks reveals

Minimum knowledge:
  Name
  Creature Type
  Level of danger to party
  Save information

1st level of additional information
  How many in a group
  Stats: highs and lows
  Senses
  Natural Armor
  Poison
  Movement types
2nd level of additional information
  Resistances
  Weaknesses
  Damage resistance
  Non magical special attacks
3rd level of additional information
  Everything else


thorin001 wrote:
thejeff wrote:
thorin001 wrote:
Saldiven wrote:

I just want to point something else out.

What constitutes "useful" is a very fluid thing. Most players tend to focus on the immediate issue, which is the combat at hand. The GM, however, has a larger amount of knowledge about his/her game world and the situation surrounding that particular combat than do the players.

Maybe the creature at hand tends to travel in loosely spread packs that coalesce when a member of the pack gives it's hunting cry (The GM knows there are others of this creature's type that will appear in 1d6 rounds, for example). This bit of knowledge could help the party determine if they need to flee (if the creature is tough on its own) or conserve resources (so they don't nova their attacks, leaving little to deal with the rest of the encounter).

Or, maybe the check allows the character to remember rumors that this type of creature has been linked to Duke Notagoodguy, indicating that the ambush they just stumbled into might be at the behest of said Duke.

The rules for what you get from a "Monster Lore" check are vague enough that the GM has a lot of leeway. It is the GM's job to make sure that useful information is provided, and sometimes the GM might know that something not directly related to the combat is more important to the party, in the long run, than whether or not the creature has a good Will save.

Most of those examples are bad scenario/campaign design. If it is required story information it should not be dependent on dice rolls. If you want to reveal that info during a knowledge check then it is bonus information.

Doesn't have to be "required", just useful.

No different from a clue spotted with a Perception roll or some such.

I think we are talking about different things.

Dropping campaign notes in place of monster lore is actually robbing the character of the benefits of their skill. You were going to drop that campaign lore anyway if you wanted to continue with that...

Thorin is displaying exactly the type of short-sighted view that characters have to which I eluded in my post.

Sometimes, there are things FAR more important to the big picture than whether or not a creature has DR/5 (silver).

Unfortunately, some players get so wrapped up into the mechanics of the game that those mechanics are the only things they care about, at the expense of everything else.

Remember. The rule states ONLY that "useful bits" of information are provided, and gives zero examples or guidelines as to what constitutes "useful."

Shadow Lodge

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Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

I don't think skill checks for monster identification are a primary method to introduce authorial information or plot cues. Sometimes though ya gotta do what ya gotta do.


JohnF wrote:
graystone wrote:
Wei Ji the Learner wrote:


I'd be lying if I said I hadn't seen/heard those questions at a table.
LOL Sounds like I'd have fun playing there. ;)

You'd probably like my Kitsune bard.

He tends to get fairly high knowledge rolls, so he often has an extra question left over. He defaults to "What does it taste like?"

Isn't the answer always... 'chicken'?

Note to OP: asking weak save is perfectly ok. However, usually asking type (undead, construct, evil outsider) will give you that information .. and more.


Azothath wrote:
I don't think skill checks for monster identification are a primary method to introduce authorial information or plot cues. Sometimes though ya gotta do what ya gotta do.

Skill checks are perfectly cromulent for the purpose, especially when used as only one of many potential avenues for the information.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

But as he said, not a primary method.

...wait, cromulent? Was that on purpose?


TriOmegaZero wrote:

But as he said, not a primary method.

...wait, cromulent? Was that on purpose?

Well, that use of knowledge is used to embiggen options... ;)


skill check Knowledge(SciFi) 34! ... must be one of those cromulens from Star Dreck. They have wonderful cronuts though...


Yes it is a valid question, and I would answer it.

It also depends on who is asking the question. The fighter or druid might know something different than the cleric or wizard who might know something different than the paladin. But the bard would know the real details like the favorite color or what the creature does in its off duty time, the name of its kids...

I try and base answers on what the character might actually know. Two of the party are more well traveled and would have picked up a bit more random information than the others in the party. One of them is more book smart so I give that player a bit more information than rumors or word of mouth. So I try and flavor the answers for each player, so they feel like they can contribute in different ways.

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