Knowledge Arcana, Spellcraft and Spell knowledge


Rules Questions

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Silver Crusade

I think some people need to get their facts straight. Knowledge skills are used during game play and interaction with the game. You, the player, can't flip through a new book and then think you are going to roll to see if your player knows about that spell. That is metagaming, period.

Please show me anywhere in the book where it says that just because you are a Wizard and have studied magic that you know about every spell out there. How much information do you think a 1st level Wizard is going to have? You aren't learning the secrets of the universe at level one.

Sorcerers need to be looked at differently than wizards. A sorcerer is someone who is innate with magic. A sorcerer doesn't sit there and thinks really hard until the Fireball spell jumps into their minds.

As to the druid part, I still haven't been proven wrong on that.

Your 5th level Wizard is not going to know anything about a Prismatic Sphere unless they have encountered one or they maybe read about one. You can't sit there and say "Well at 17th level I am planning on taking Prismatic Sphere so I am going to say that my character has prior knowledge of the spell.

I think some of you are just upset that I have addressed something that is legitimate and needs to be looked at.

You can call me whatever you like or try to dismiss me but I won't be quiet about it.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Shallowsoul, how much do PCs know at game start?

Silver Crusade

theneofish wrote:

I can see the point if the spell in question was exceptionally unusual. It would be one of those ‘now why didn’t I think of that?’ moments that generally lead to entrepreneurs making millions. I’ve been DMing for thirty years, and I still come across spells in core and 3PP products and think ‘wow, that’s so cool, I’d never have thought of that.’

But for the other 99% of cases? Wizards have spent years in study, analysing components, effects, reading up on famous spell duels, creative problem solving with spells, even supernatural abilities that can be duplicated or countered with spells. Rumours, heresay (‘did you hear about the time Barrington the Black had his eyes turned to paper by Harding the Scribe’s ‘Transmute Flesh to Writing Material?’), after hours attempts to scare other students with hideous spell effects. And we have to believe that they can’t ‘know’ about the existence of every low – mid level spell in Core rules. I studied Archaeology at college and can still name every Roman emperor and give you brief details of his reign. I was there for three years. What if I'd been studying for eight years, or ten? C'mon.

There is a reason why we have 1st level. You maybe studying for a few years but you don't know it all. I am a programmer as well as a semi professional saxophone player. I have played for years but I don't know everything there is to know and I don't know the existence of all songs out there. I learn of new and old songs as I go along in my career. Adventuring is where you accumulate most of your knowledge and you have to understand this, you can put in your background that you have studied X civilization, now that doesn't automatically mean you know everything about it. You could fail every Knowledge check about it. Your knowledge is at the mercy of the dice. If you fail your roll you know nothing about it. Once you fail a knowledge check about something you are not allowed to try again, that roll determines that either know it or you don't.


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I started typing an answer and then realized this was the same guy who didn't allow a druid to turn into animals unless he had a PHD on that specific animal, and remembered sane discussions are for other threads.

Silver Crusade

TriOmegaZero wrote:
Shallowsoul, how much do PCs know at game start?

You don't get to decide that according to RAW, the dice decide that. If someone asks you a question during the game and you fail your Knowledge roll you don't know it.

What it all boils down to is the in game interaction. Why would my PC think of this when nothing of the sort has ever come up in game?

Knowledge skills are used during the game, not at home while you pour over the new books you just got.

Silver Crusade

Toadkiller Dog wrote:
I started typing an answer and then realized this was the same guy who didn't allow a druid to turn into animals unless he had a PHD on that specific animal, and remembered sane discussions are for other threads.

Exaggeration is a bad thing.


Except you dont even allow that knowledge roll until that spell/monster/king even comes up.

By your houserules I can't as a human scholar know who the last king of a nearby country was until either I get asked or it becomes a plot point. You wouldnt allow me to roll to know off hand.


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shallowsoul wrote:
As to the druid part, I still haven't been proven wrong on that.

Yes, you have. I did it. I've proven it wrong through RAW for both of these arguments. I swear nobody pays attention to my posts because I don't have a picture... *grumbles*

The Rules wrote:


You are educated in a field of study and can answer both simple and complex questions.

There. Tell me how this isn't clear or absolute? The player can do it.

Simple question: "Is there a spell that does X?"
The RAW says roll Knowledge: Arcana to win this argument and a free pizza party.

Also, it doesn't matter if you're a wizard, sorcerer, or fighter. If you have ranks in Knowledge: Arcana, you have the ability to know about spells. You get a roll. Being a sorcerer who inherently gains spells doesn't mean he's never picked up a book before. The skill rank says he's learned.

As to this wrote:
You, the player, can't flip through a new book and then think you are going to roll to see if your player knows about that spell. That is metagaming, period.

No it isn't. Why? Because getting a new book and adding it's contents into an already running campaign doesn't mean that this stuff was just invented in the world. If those spells are in the game, they were always in the game. They were always in the world. They've been in the world for hundreds of years most likely. If the players have ranks in a knowledge skill, then they have every right to know about it just as easily as if it were from the core book.


shallowsoul wrote:
theneofish wrote:

I can see the point if the spell in question was exceptionally unusual. It would be one of those ‘now why didn’t I think of that?’ moments that generally lead to entrepreneurs making millions. I’ve been DMing for thirty years, and I still come across spells in core and 3PP products and think ‘wow, that’s so cool, I’d never have thought of that.’

But for the other 99% of cases? Wizards have spent years in study, analysing components, effects, reading up on famous spell duels, creative problem solving with spells, even supernatural abilities that can be duplicated or countered with spells. Rumours, heresay (‘did you hear about the time Barrington the Black had his eyes turned to paper by Harding the Scribe’s ‘Transmute Flesh to Writing Material?’), after hours attempts to scare other students with hideous spell effects. And we have to believe that they can’t ‘know’ about the existence of every low – mid level spell in Core rules. I studied Archaeology at college and can still name every Roman emperor and give you brief details of his reign. I was there for three years. What if I'd been studying for eight years, or ten? C'mon.

There is a reason why we have 1st level. You maybe studying for a few years but you don't know it all. I am a programmer as well as a semi professional saxophone player. I have played for years but I don't know everything there is to know and I don't know the existence of all songs out there. I learn of new and old songs as I go along in my career. Adventuring is where you accumulate most of your knowledge and you have to understand this, you can put in your background that you have studied X civilization, now that doesn't automatically mean you know everything about it. You could fail every Knowledge check about it. Your knowledge is at the mercy of the dice. If you fail your roll you know nothing about it. Once you fail a knowledge check about something you are not allowed to try again, that roll determines that either know it or you don't.

Back to my earlier statement. I am Pro Artist with a Masters in Painting. I don't know every painting that existed, but if I saw one I did not know about I could EASILY tell you the style, the technical way it was painted, what materials were used, what the artist was trying to covey, and even attempt to copy with or without it being in front of me using the same skills.

You as a Sax player I am sure, can hear a piece of music you have never heard before, and tell me the technical aspects of it, what style it is, and even try replicate it.

So why couldn't a wizard do the same thing, especially in a setting like where magic is very common.


FSM, not this thread again. At least it's in its own thread this time instead of someone else's.

What I don't understand is why it's in Rules Questions instead of Homebrew.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
shallowsoul wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Shallowsoul, how much do PCs know at game start?
You don't get to decide that according to RAW, the dice decide that. If someone asks you a question during the game and you fail your Knowledge roll you don't know it.

So PCs know nothing at game start? Because they have to roll knowledge checks before they can know anything?


blahpers wrote:
What I don't understand is why it's in Rules Questions instead of Homebrew.

I can answer that one.

Shallowsoul is absolutely, utterly convinced that his stance on 'player characters cannot know anything of relevance, unless the subject is encountered in-game and then verified by a knowlegde check' is the only legit way to read RAW, and insists to share this view with the world.

Actually, he has requested that a developer confirms his point of view (see original post, near the end). Hence the placement in Rules Questions.

TriOmegaZero wrote:
So PCs know nothing at game start? Because they have to roll knowledge checks before they can know anything?

Precisely. According to Shallowsoul, Knowledge checks are only good for checking whether you know something about things you have encountered in-game. Prior to encountering a Myxlmynx, or hearing about one in-game, you have zero possibility to even check if you know what it is. (Cookies for the reference)

Shadow Lodge

shallowsoul wrote:
What it all boils down to is the in game interaction. Why would my PC think of this when nothing of the sort has ever come up in game?

To answer this, it's because your PC does not only exist in the game world while you're playing him. He has lived in the world for years of game time, and could have heard many different things. It is not metagaming to ask 'does my character know this piece of trivia?'


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
shallowsoul wrote:
theneofish wrote:

I can see the point if the spell in question was exceptionally unusual. It would be one of those ‘now why didn’t I think of that?’ moments that generally lead to entrepreneurs making millions. I’ve been DMing for thirty years, and I still come across spells in core and 3PP products and think ‘wow, that’s so cool, I’d never have thought of that.’

But for the other 99% of cases? Wizards have spent years in study, analysing components, effects, reading up on famous spell duels, creative problem solving with spells, even supernatural abilities that can be duplicated or countered with spells. Rumours, heresay (‘did you hear about the time Barrington the Black had his eyes turned to paper by Harding the Scribe’s ‘Transmute Flesh to Writing Material?’), after hours attempts to scare other students with hideous spell effects. And we have to believe that they can’t ‘know’ about the existence of every low – mid level spell in Core rules. I studied Archaeology at college and can still name every Roman emperor and give you brief details of his reign. I was there for three years. What if I'd been studying for eight years, or ten? C'mon.

There is a reason why we have 1st level. You maybe studying for a few years but you don't know it all. I am a programmer as well as a semi professional saxophone player. I have played for years but I don't know everything there is to know and I don't know the existence of all songs out there. I learn of new and old songs as I go along in my career. Adventuring is where you accumulate most of your knowledge and you have to understand this, you can put in your background that you have studied X civilization, now that doesn't automatically mean you know everything about it. You could fail every Knowledge check about it. Your knowledge is at the mercy of the dice. If you fail your roll you know nothing about it. Once you fail a knowledge check about something you are not allowed to try again, that roll determines that either know it or you don't.

See, I disagree. That's not what 1st level is. 1st level represents - for a wizard - the culmination of years of study, not just the beginning of years more. Take the novel Shadow of the Torturer by Gene Wolfe, as an example. Severian is apprenticed to the Torturer's Guild from about the age of 5, and goes out into the world to become an executioner at the age of about twenty. That, for me, is 1st level. That's when his adventures begin, but not his knowledge. Your example of the Prismatic Sphere above just doesn't stack up. It's one of the most famous spells in the book, and a 5th level Wizard doesn't even know of its existence?. None of his studies, none of his tutors, none of the famous archmages he has studied or read about or heard stories of have given him any insight that high level magics exist or what powers they can conjure? Sorry, that's preposterous.

To take your analogy of a musician - I'm a guitarist, not a very good one, maybe level 2 or 3. I can't play the solo from La Villa Strangiato, but I could sure as hell tell you what key it's in, and what the notes are. That's because beginners in a subject spend hours poring over the work of the masters. That's how they learn.


shallowsoul wrote:
You, the player, can't flip through a new book and then think you are going to roll to see if your player knows about that spell.

Why would you?

Spells Gained at a New Level: "Wizards perform a certain amount of spell research between adventures. Each time a character attains a new wizard level, he gains two spells of his choice to add to his spellbook. The two free spells must be of spell levels he can cast. If he has chosen to specialize in a school of magic, one of the two free spells must be from his specialty school."

The "research" is the wizard learning about the spell, either figuring out how it works, or coming up with it on his own. He doesn't have to roll anything, he just learns it. He doesn't even have to pay to scribe it.

For Spells Copied from Another's Spellbook or a Scroll, there are explicit rules about it. If he deciphers the magical writing and makes his spellcraft check, no problem. He doesn't need to know about it in advance, it's right there on paper. He just has to figure out what it means.


Funny notes based on Shallowsouls house rules the following creatures were known about by no one in the world before the bestirary 3 came out.
And worse even after NPCs knew PCs still didn't know till they saw one.

Antelope, Elk, Flying Squirrel,foxes, goats, otters, porcupines, raccons, skunks, and vultures.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I wish I knew how to get this high on a power trip of telling my players what they can and what they cannot.

I'll try a viagra-vodka-vocadine combo next time, maybe that will do the trick...


Gorbacz wrote:
I'll try a viagra-vodka-vocadine combo next time, maybe that will do the trick...

Might I suggest amphicaine?

(Once again, cookies for the reference)


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Talonhawke wrote:

Funny notes based on Shallowsouls house rules the following creatures were known about by no one in the world before the bestirary 3 came out.

And worse even after NPCs knew PCs still didn't know till they saw one.

Antelope, Elk, Flying Squirrel,foxes, goats, otters, porcupines, raccons, skunks, and vultures.

Theresa, half-elf druid 12: "Desna's dugs! What is this aberration before me that looks exactly like my ivory goats of wondrous power!?"

...or, alternately...

Warmaster Melchior, human wizard 3: "Stand fast, soldiers! What we are about to face is the dreaded" *rolls Knowledge (arcana): 18* " chimera! This evil creature has not one but three fiendish heads--that of a lion, a goat, and a fearsome dragon. Even my arcane power will be tested--yes, Geoff, what is it?"
Geoff, human warrior 1: "Begging your pardon, Warmaster, but what's a goat?"
Warmaster Melchior: *rolls Knowledge (arcana): 4* "It's some kind of vase carved into the shape of a tree stump."
Geoff, human warrior 1: "Er, that's interesting, Warmaster, but what's a tree?"
Warmaster Melchior: *rolls untrained Knowledge (nature): 1* "What's a what now?"


Can't use knowledge checks untrained. You don't even know what nature is.

*cue the Jack Skellington reaches Christmas Town music*(He is 12)

Scarab Sages

theneofish wrote:
Your example of the Prismatic Sphere above just doesn't stack up. It's one of the most famous spells in the book, and a 5th level Wizard doesn't even know of its existence?. None of his studies, none of his tutors, none of the famous archmages he has studied or read about or heard stories of have given him any insight that high level magics exist or what powers they can conjure? Sorry, that's preposterous.

This is why, in older threads (the infamous ones in which paladins are forced to cuddle wyverns), I pointed out that scaling Knowledge DCs to a creature's CR made no sense at all.

It's precisely the biggest, baddest, most fearsome creatures, that become legendary, and thus those are the ones of whom bedtime stories and cautionary tales are told.
"Red dragons breathe fire" should be a complete no-brainer for anyone living in a world where red dragons exist. Where the evidence of their marauding lies in the charred ruins on the abandoned hilltop.

Silver Crusade

theneofish wrote:
shallowsoul wrote:
theneofish wrote:

I can see the point if the spell in question was exceptionally unusual. It would be one of those ‘now why didn’t I think of that?’ moments that generally lead to entrepreneurs making millions. I’ve been DMing for thirty years, and I still come across spells in core and 3PP products and think ‘wow, that’s so cool, I’d never have thought of that.’

But for the other 99% of cases? Wizards have spent years in study, analysing components, effects, reading up on famous spell duels, creative problem solving with spells, even supernatural abilities that can be duplicated or countered with spells. Rumours, heresay (‘did you hear about the time Barrington the Black had his eyes turned to paper by Harding the Scribe’s ‘Transmute Flesh to Writing Material?’), after hours attempts to scare other students with hideous spell effects. And we have to believe that they can’t ‘know’ about the existence of every low – mid level spell in Core rules. I studied Archaeology at college and can still name every Roman emperor and give you brief details of his reign. I was there for three years. What if I'd been studying for eight years, or ten? C'mon.

There is a reason why we have 1st level. You maybe studying for a few years but you don't know it all. I am a programmer as well as a semi professional saxophone player. I have played for years but I don't know everything there is to know and I don't know the existence of all songs out there. I learn of new and old songs as I go along in my career. Adventuring is where you accumulate most of your knowledge and you have to understand this, you can put in your background that you have studied X civilization, now that doesn't automatically mean you know everything about it. You could fail every Knowledge check about it. Your knowledge is at the mercy of the dice. If you fail your roll you know nothing about it. Once you fail a knowledge check about something you are not allowed to try again, that roll determines that either
...

It's not bringing up the whole post so I will respond as much as possible.

I think the problem here is what you think of a first level Wizard. You are ignoring the facts that have been presented. You only know as much as the successes you get from Knowledge checks.

You can't sit there and assume you have knowledge XYZ before you roll anything. If you are being asked in game about something specific then you are allowed a Knowledge roll, if you fail then you don't get to reroll so in turn you don't have that information.

The way you describe things actually makes Knowledge checks useless except for identifying monsters.

Your response to Prismatic Spray is pure metagaming. You said that it was one of the most popular spells in the PHB. First of all not everyone's world is the same and how would your PC even know about it's popularity? Now if your DM has played upon that then that's different but thinking you would know about that spell because it's a popular spell in the PHB is just dead wrong.

The more responses I read the more the designers really should step in and explain just how Knowledge skills are used.

Silver Crusade

Snorter wrote:
theneofish wrote:
Your example of the Prismatic Sphere above just doesn't stack up. It's one of the most famous spells in the book, and a 5th level Wizard doesn't even know of its existence?. None of his studies, none of his tutors, none of the famous archmages he has studied or read about or heard stories of have given him any insight that high level magics exist or what powers they can conjure? Sorry, that's preposterous.

This is why, in older threads (the infamous ones in which paladins are forced to cuddle wyverns), I pointed out that scaling Knowledge DCs to a creature's CR made no sense at all.

It's precisely the biggest, baddest, most fearsome creatures, that become legendary, and thus those are the ones of whom bedtime stories and cautionary tales are told.
"Red dragons breathe fire" should be a complete no-brainer for anyone living in a world where red dragons exist. Where the evidence of their marauding lies in the charred ruins on the abandoned hilltop.

Hold on a minute. Red Dragons being common doesn't mean you are able to skip the Knowledge Arcana roll. Now if your DM says you can then that's fine but Reed Dragons are not common in everyone's game nor are the legends. Just because "you", the player, are aware of Red Dragons doesn't mean your PC is going to know. If you come up against a Red Dragon and you fail your Knowledge Arcana check you know absolutely nothing about the creature. Now if someone else passes theirs then they can tell you but other than that your PC has no idea what it is by RAW.

Grand Lodge

Snorter wrote:


"Red dragons breathe fire" should be a complete no-brainer for anyone living in a world where red dragons exist. Where the evidence of their marauding lies in the charred ruins on the abandoned hilltop.

Yes, but on the other hand, the nature of their defenses and vulnerabilities probably should be shrouded by the same myths and legends, as few people will have killed one, and those people probably weren't likely to write treatises on the killing of dragons.

Shadow Lodge

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A PC that does not know what a red dragon is needs to have his adventurer's permit revoked.


Have you seen one?

If not its a goat to you.

Scarab Sages

A goat? We're eatin' good tonight!


No one is saying that when you encounter something you don't have to roll a knowledge check.

The problem really is that under your interpretation a PC can't say "hey DM, has my guy ever heard of X before?" and roll the die and have you check the DC and tell if he does or not.

Thats the underlying issue. The knowledge rolls are to determine what the PC knows. Everyone agrees with that. The question is- when do you roll?

If I want my PC to buy a scroll of say fireball then he should get to roll to see if he's heard of it and if he has then he knows about it. He does *not* have to wait to get hit in the face with one to realize there might be spells in the world that create fire. Anymore than he has to see a light spell to know there might be spells in the world that create light.

"Hey DM, does my character know X?" is a perfectly valid and appropriate question for *anything in the game world*.

Do I know who the king is in the next country over? do I know who his daughter is? Does my character know what a red dragon is? has he ever heard of a pit fiend?

I think folks would agree that if all someone does is rattle through the CRB spell list or the MM monsters that he deserves to get smacked with the books. but thats an issue of time management not RAW.

I want to know if my PC has heard of a pit fiend. The only non-metagame way I have is to ask the DM so I can roll the dice and find out. If the DM says "you can't roll to check because you haven't seen one" he's just made a house rule.

-S

edit: typos a plenty


Man. I pity any player that has any desire whatsoever to play a wizard in a campaign under this sort of DM.
Kudos to those with that much patience and willingness to gimp themselves!


shallowsoul wrote:
Snorter wrote:
theneofish wrote:
Your example of the Prismatic Sphere above just doesn't stack up. It's one of the most famous spells in the book, and a 5th level Wizard doesn't even know of its existence?. None of his studies, none of his tutors, none of the famous archmages he has studied or read about or heard stories of have given him any insight that high level magics exist or what powers they can conjure? Sorry, that's preposterous.

This is why, in older threads (the infamous ones in which paladins are forced to cuddle wyverns), I pointed out that scaling Knowledge DCs to a creature's CR made no sense at all.

It's precisely the biggest, baddest, most fearsome creatures, that become legendary, and thus those are the ones of whom bedtime stories and cautionary tales are told.
"Red dragons breathe fire" should be a complete no-brainer for anyone living in a world where red dragons exist. Where the evidence of their marauding lies in the charred ruins on the abandoned hilltop.
Hold on a minute. Red Dragons being common doesn't mean you are able to skip the Knowledge Arcana roll. Now if your DM says you can then that's fine but Reed Dragons are not common in everyone's game nor are the legends. Just because "you", the player, are aware of Red Dragons doesn't mean your PC is going to know. If you come up against a Red Dragon and you fail your Knowledge Arcana check you know absolutely nothing about the creature. Now if someone else passes theirs then they can tell you but other than that your PC has no idea what it is by RAW.

Per RAW, if you fail your check you don't know anything about red dragons. No one disputes that.

Snorter was claiming that basing the rolls DC on CR works backward, at least for legendary monsters like dragons.
Per RAW, no one other than high level characters has any idea that dragons exist. (At least the older ones.) Despite the historical evidence, no one who hasn't studied Arcana knows anything about the, unless they've survived a meeting. All the inhabitants of Brevoy are very confused about what's on their flag.

Now, it's perfectly reasonable that you wouldn't know specific powers and weaknesses without study. Though with dragons, there's a hack: You can get the basics by checking against the youngest age category.


Ardelaneu Zakath wrote:
A goat? We're eatin' good tonight!

Why on earth would you want to eat a vase?

Scarab Sages

blahpers wrote:
Ardelaneu Zakath wrote:
A goat? We're eatin' good tonight!
Why on earth would you want to eat a vase?

Don't tell anyone, but I'm secretly half-orc.


Ah, this is just like the old 3.5Loyalist days.


Lol Umbral i never thought of it like that.

Scarab Sages

Snorter wrote:

It's precisely the biggest, baddest, most fearsome creatures, that become legendary, and thus those are the ones of whom bedtime stories and cautionary tales are told.

"Red dragons breathe fire" should be a complete no-brainer for anyone living in a world where red dragons exist. Where the evidence of their marauding lies in the charred ruins on the abandoned hilltop.
shallowsoul wrote:
Hold on a minute. Red Dragons being common doesn't mean you are able to skip the Knowledge Arcana roll. Now if your DM says you can then that's fine but Reed Dragons are not common in everyone's game nor are the legends. Just because "you", the player, are aware of Red Dragons doesn't mean your PC is going to know. If you come up against a Red Dragon and you fail your Knowledge Arcana check you know absolutely nothing about the creature. Now if someone else passes theirs then they can tell you but other than that your PC has no idea what it is by RAW.

When did I say they were common?

Either in the core game assumptions, in Golarion, or in my home game?

I said they are legendary.
A creature's legendary status is very often proportional to its power, danger and influence.
Therefore, the chance of hearing tales of such a creature will rise along with its CR.
Therefore, it makes no sense to have the Knowledge DCs for legendary creatures scale out of reach of the mothers who need to be able to frighten their children.

Think how many tales exist of fire-breathing dragons, in our world, a mundane world, where these creatures don't exist.
How many tales would be told, in a land where they did exist, the evidence of their marauding lay around the countryside, the church hall has a foundation stone dedicating the fact it was rebuilt after being sat on by a dragon, graves in the village cemetary mark the heroes who drove it off, the local baron has the device on his shield, his soldiers wear it on their tabards, and people tell tales and sing songs to remind themselves of the signs that need to be watched for, in case the creature comes back?

At no point have I said to skip the Knowledge check.
I believe that the base DCs are set unrealistically high.
I believe that CR is a poor method for scaling the DCs.
I believe that information should be released in larger bundles, and/or via smaller incremental DC increases (ie DC/+5/+10/+15 is to much for each piece of information.). Depending on how a control-freak GM designates each meagre scrap of self-evident intel, you could be forced to hit target DCs of 50+/60+/70+ before you're allowed anythin of worth.

And I believe Knowledge checks should be triggered earlier and more often than you.

According to you, 99% of all citizens do not know the name of their ruler. They cannot know, without making a History or Nobility check, and they aren't allowed to even attempt a check, until they meet him in the flesh.


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On the other hand, there's a decent chance that the common knowledge of red dragons won't be more useful than "huge, dangerous, fire everywhere, run for your life".

Scarab Sages

But even that is still useful information.

Under the strictest reading of the RAW, no commoner is allowed to know even that much.
The Base DC starts at 10, modified by CR.
Even allowing for the slightly dodgy workaround, that the base CR can be that of a hatchling (why isn't that allowed across the board? Meet a minotaur? What CR is its calf?), you still have a CR of around 13+, which can't be met by a level 1 commoner with 3-point stat array, max one rank, and no class skill bonus.

That dragon gets to treat the village like a drive-thru takeaway, it just lands outside someone's house, and the yokels take turns walking up to its mouth to pet it, because to do anything else is considered filthy metagaming.

"Durrr, Maisie, thar be a geet big COW in'street! A reet big scaly red'un, wi'wings an'all steam comin' off it. It musta escaped from Dooley's field. Oi be tellin' him ta fix his fence fer AGES. Oi'll just be goin' over ta tie a rope round its neck an' put a bell on it's nose.
Be back soon, m'dear!"


Whats this "cow"?

Scarab Sages

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FARMER: "Damn! You're right! A cow can kill a commoner, therefore its CR is outside of his APL!"

<runs to foot of stairs>

FARMER: "Maisie!"

<pregnant pause>

FARMER'S WIFE (one would presume): "WHAAAAAAT!!!"

FARMER: "What do you call those things in the barn?"

<pregnant pause>

"Which things in the barn?"

FARMER: "The ones with the vacant eyes, chewing the cud?"

<pregnant pause>

FARMER'S WIFE: "I THOUGHT THEY WERE YOUR RELATIVES!"

Shadow Lodge

According to shadowsoul, the average 1st level human character doesn't know what a human is (Knowledge:Local) until he encounters his first human, and even then he only has a 50/50 chance of having ever heard of what humans are.

Heaven help him if he starts his adventure in front of the magistrate (who is npc level three, and at least CR 1), and is therefore the first human he sees.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
shallowsoul wrote:


Your response to Prismatic Spray is pure metagaming. You said that it was one of the most popular spells in the PHB.

... other stuff

Well, firstly, no I didn't - I didn't mention the phb at all. By 'the book' I'm speaking metaphorically (ie, 'that's the oldest one in the book'). I apologise for not being clearer.

But, ok, your point is valid. Not every game world is the same. There are worlds where magic is rare, and precious, and restricted to a few. But you're positing knowledge checks for everything that the pcs don't have direct personal experience of. There is no way, to my mind, that knowledge of Prismatic Sphere is metagaming. Here's how I would handle an encounter with such.

Me: OK, the guy in the robes is making gestures and intoning something. It doesn't look good. Roll that knowledge check, see if you can work out what it is before it goes off.
PC (fails).
Me: You can't tell what it is from the gestures, or the half heard incantation. It's way beyond what you've come across in your own studies. Suddenly the room is engulfed in a shifting, multi hued ball of light. With horror, you realize what it is, and just have time to gasp 'Thor's balls! It's a Prismatic Sphere!'

In your world there are no bards telling heroic stories, there are no fables, myths, legends, no tales of empty ruins on the hill and the hollow eyed ghosts within. There's no Homer, no Shakespeare, no Dante. Nobody sits around the campfire trying to scare the pants off each other.

That's fine. There's no way anyone is going to persuade you you're wrong. You're interpreting the rules in a certain way, and I, and a lot of other people here - heck, everyone here - thinks you're wrong. But it's your game. It's just as well you didn't have to wait until you played it before you could go into a FLGS and ask for it.


Some metagaming is necessary to create and build characters. I don't even call that metagaming. It is no different than picking power attack or improved initiative or deciding which revelation you want to learn as an Oracle.

PS:I only read the first post.


shallowsoul wrote:
Hobbun wrote:
shallowsoul wrote:

If he has seen an effect like that in action then I would say that it is legitimate. Maybe he went to make a spellcraft check and didn't make it but saw it's effect.

How would we know the full range?

He doesn’t know the specifics on Color Spray, but the player is asking the vendor on what spells he knows that has them.

How about this:

Player: I would like a 1st level spell that allows me to potentially make opponents stunned, blinded and/or unconscious in an area of effect. Do you have something like that?

I mean I understand you want to keep outside knowledge as much as possible, but really, it gets to point where it just bogs down the game where you just get too technical with in-game conversation. There are going to be times where you need to have some assumptions to allow the game move on at a reasonable and enjoyable pace.

To be honest I would be asking what is 1st level? This is supposed to be a role playing game after all.

Try phrasing it in a less game term way.

Ignoring rules for fear of being "bogged" down would be a houserule issue.

How would a fighter ask for a +2 as opposed to a +3 swords. How would someone ask for a cure scroll that is made by a 3rd level cleric instead of a 5th level cleric?

The point is that if the GM knows the player's intent he should assume the character can word it correctly within the game world.


shallowsoul wrote:

I think some people need to get their facts straight. Knowledge skills are used during game play and interaction with the game. You, the player, can't flip through a new book and then think you are going to roll to see if your player knows about that spell. That is metagaming, period.

Please show me anywhere in the book where it says that just because you are a Wizard and have studied magic that you know about every spell out there. How much information do you think a 1st level Wizard is going to have? You aren't learning the secrets of the universe at level one.

Sorcerers need to be looked at differently than wizards. A sorcerer is someone who is innate with magic. A sorcerer doesn't sit there and thinks really hard until the Fireball spell jumps into their minds.

As to the druid part, I still haven't been proven wrong on that.

Your 5th level Wizard is not going to know anything about a Prismatic Sphere unless they have encountered one or they maybe read about one. You can't sit there and say "Well at 17th level I am planning on taking Prismatic Sphere so I am going to say that my character has prior knowledge of the spell.

I think some of you are just upset that I have addressed something that is legitimate and needs to be looked at.

You can call me whatever you like or try to dismiss me but I won't be quiet about it.

The rules don't dictate at all how much a wizard does or does not know at level 1 any more than they do for a sorcerer. Actually they don't say the cleric knows his entire spell list either. It seems you are just trying to cripple wizards. If you want us to provide proof for your belief the provide proof for yours.

Here is what they do say.

Quote:
Spells Gained at a New Level: Wizards perform a certain amount of spell research between adventures. Each time a character attains a new wizard level, he gains two spells of his choice to add to his spellbook. The two free spells must be of spell levels he can cast. If he has chosen to specialize in a school of magic, one of the two free spells must be from his specialty school.

I am sure that at wizard school he had experience with spells that are not in his spellbook, but if you want to be technical-->

Quote:
A cleric may prepare and cast any spell on the cleric spell list, provided that she can cast spells of that level, but she must choose which spells to prepare during her daily meditation.

It does say the cleric can prepare and cast any spell on the list, but at no point does it say he know of the existence of every spell, and it seems pretty illogical to pray for a spell you don't even know about.

Silver Crusade

Table 4–6: Knowledge Skill DCs
Task Knowledge Skill DC
Identify auras while using detect magic Arcana 15 + spell level
Identify a spell effect that is in place Arcana 20 + spell level
Identify materials manufactured by magic Arcana 20 + spell level
Identify a spell that just targeted you Arcana 25 + spell level
Identify the spells cast using a specific material component Arcana 20

All of these indicate that you must actively be engaging with something in game.

Silver Crusade

wraithstrike wrote:
shallowsoul wrote:

I think some people need to get their facts straight. Knowledge skills are used during game play and interaction with the game. You, the player, can't flip through a new book and then think you are going to roll to see if your player knows about that spell. That is metagaming, period.

Please show me anywhere in the book where it says that just because you are a Wizard and have studied magic that you know about every spell out there. How much information do you think a 1st level Wizard is going to have? You aren't learning the secrets of the universe at level one.

Sorcerers need to be looked at differently than wizards. A sorcerer is someone who is innate with magic. A sorcerer doesn't sit there and thinks really hard until the Fireball spell jumps into their minds.

As to the druid part, I still haven't been proven wrong on that.

Your 5th level Wizard is not going to know anything about a Prismatic Sphere unless they have encountered one or they maybe read about one. You can't sit there and say "Well at 17th level I am planning on taking Prismatic Sphere so I am going to say that my character has prior knowledge of the spell.

I think some of you are just upset that I have addressed something that is legitimate and needs to be looked at.

You can call me whatever you like or try to dismiss me but I won't be quiet about it.

The rules don't dictate at all how much a wizard does or does not know at level 1 any more than they do for a sorcerer. Actually they don't say the cleric knows his entire spell list either. It seems you are just trying to cripple wizards. If you want us to provide proof for your belief the provide proof for yours.

Here is what they do say.

Quote:
Spells Gained at a New Level: Wizards perform a certain amount of spell research between adventures. Each time a character attains a new wizard level, he gains two spells of his choice to add to his spellbook. The two free spells must be of spell levels he can cast. If he has chosen to
...

The book may not say how much knowledge you have but you aren't free to give yourself any knowledge you want, that is why the mechanics for Knowledge skills are designed to be used during actual in game engaging. You could in theory say your character knows everything there is not know in the world but you are still limited by the roll of the dice and this is no different. it is not about crippling anything it is about playing the rules. Last time I checked, metagaming when it wasn't necessary is a big no no. I am fully aware of the 2 spells per level but read it very closely, you don't get to choose those spells until you reach the next level, you can't pick those spells ahead of time. Now you might be able to in your mind and when the time comes for you to choose the DM can't question you because the rules dictate that you get to choose your spells but you can't use the knowledge of future spells in order to help you in the now. It's metagaming now matter how you try and justify it.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

You have a very strange way of playing.

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