Does Knowledge (local) need a rework?


Homebrew and House Rules


This skill has always bothered me. Beyond the obvious jokes ("Hey, ranks in this skill familiarize you with every shop, tavern, and thieves's guild in the world!"), there's another problem: it can basically supersede Gather Information.

Both skills represent the same thing, one more abstractly than the other. Your knowledge of a locale is the result of activity that is basically a series of Gather Information checks. There's no academy or school that can formally train you in the kinds of things Knowledge (local) covers, but making connections with people does. Knowledge (local) is basically testing you on retention of things you could have learned with a Gather Information check.

The lines between the skills are basically one of voice: Knowledge (local) is passive, reactive, and usually less comprehensive on a subject than a dedicated Gather Information check's results. Vice versa, Gather Information is active, and requires a conscious decision by the player, rather than simple osmosis. One area that they differ is in immediacy: a Knowledge (local) check doesn't even require an action, while Gather Information can take hours or days. But the activity is mostly the same: revealing the attributes of and connections between specific persons, groups, and establishments (including their past actions and their results), but on a personal dimension, rather than the artificial airs covered by Knowledge (nobility and royalty), though the dirtier the politics gets the murkier the line becomes.

This is where I could go off on a tangent about the difference between those two Knowledge skills, but I'd prefer to reserve that unless it needs clarifying.

Personally, I remove Knowledge (local) from the game, and all references to it are replaced by Gather Information. Gather Information can be done as a reaction (at a penalty for information being actively hidden) to see if a fact has percolated up in the course of the character's interpersonal interactions, or if they need to actively seek it out.

Anyone else have any thoughts on this?


What is this "Gather Information" you speak of. I see no such skill in the CRB. :)

More seriously, Gather Information was already rolled into Diplomacy for Pathfinder.

If you wanted to House Rule it, you could pull a 4E and roll Gather Information and Knowledge: Local into a Streetwise skill.


I merged Knowledge (nobility/royalty) and Knowledge (history) into one skill and called it Knowledge (local). This clarifies that Knowledge (local) is more abstract, rather than being a replacement for Gather Information.


Kalshane wrote:

What is this "Gather Information" you speak of. I see no such skill in the CRB. :)

More seriously, Gather Information was already rolled into Diplomacy for Pathfinder.

If you wanted to House Rule it, you could pull a 4E and roll Gather Information and Knowledge: Local into a Streetwise skill.

Damn do I feel stupid now.

But I guess the point still applies, just now to Diplomacy vs. Knowledge (local).


Thelemic_Noun wrote:
Kalshane wrote:

What is this "Gather Information" you speak of. I see no such skill in the CRB. :)

More seriously, Gather Information was already rolled into Diplomacy for Pathfinder.

If you wanted to House Rule it, you could pull a 4E and roll Gather Information and Knowledge: Local into a Streetwise skill.

Damn do I feel stupid now.

But I guess the point still applies, just now to Diplomacy vs. Knowledge (local).

You shouldn't feel stupid.

As far as knowledge (local) goes, I renamed mine (Knowledge (Sorilian)) for my game world. At rank 1 and every 3 ranks thereafter in the skill, a character gains a "specialization" in a region. For all knowledge that is "general" or pertains to a region the character doesn't have specialization in, DC is increased by +5. Additionally, I allow knowledge local (with a regional specialization) to reduce the DCs of gather information checks.

Dark Archive

Similar to Da'ath, I have players pick a region for each rank in Knowledge: Local.


In my Curse of the Crimson Throne game, I made Knowledge(Korvosa) and rolled Local, Nobility, and History into one, but only for Korvosa.

It should also be mentioned that Kn(Local) is the Monster Knowledge for humanoids, which is a larger group than you might think. Just look at http://www.d20pfsrd.com/bestiary/monster-listings/humanoids


Think it just needs to be renamed to Knowledge (Common).

Done.


The function of Knowledge skills it to furnish information to the player that your character already knows. Read the Try Again section under Knowledge. It has nothing to do with remembering stuff later or finding new things out. Ranks just increase the probability your character can furnish facts on XYZ. In fact, lacking ranks does not mean your character is ignorant in a certain area, just that they don't furnish novel information about things they encounter later. Just for instance, the Tarrasque is hard to an expert on, and only very skilled characters are likely to be able to come up with new information to combat it. However, it can readily identified and described by nearly everyone in a region it has attacked...


Thelemic_Noun wrote:


The lines between the skills are basically one of voice: Knowledge (local) is passive, reactive, and usually less comprehensive on a subject than a dedicated Gather Information check's results.

I think that's a much bigger difference than you realize. As RJGrady pointed out, the knowledge skills are things your character already knows; diplomacy/gather information is about finding out new stuff.

If nothing else, the fact that you are gathering information is itself a useful piece of information in the right quarter. If I go into the wrong bar and start asking about where to find the Assassin's Guild or when the King's Own Guard has its shift changes, bad things are likely to start happening to me.


I've considered rolling Knowledge (History), Knowledge (Local), and Knowledge (Nobility) into one skill. I'd probably call it Knowledge (General), but that sounds kind of silly.

Dark Archive

Maybe changing it to "Knowledge: Urban"?


Short and sweet answer knowledge (local)is what ya known But this is somewhat generalized. Like you know where haunted mill is.
Knowledge (History) is your ability of find out more specific: You know the mill was owned buy the same family for 10 generations hill they died in a fire.
Gather info Is your ability to add to what ya know some things normally not spoken out load: You find out that that many believe family was murdered and many believe wife was a witch.
I do kind of think knowledge local should be specified a little more like to specific cities or towns Like Knowledge local NY or New town.

Contributor

I fix this by just giving a bonus to characters to answer questions about the place where they live or grew up. Something like +15 for your own neighborhood, +10 for the city where you live, and +5 for knowledge of the country. So, for example, Nella is a student at the Acadamae in Korvosa. She gets a +15 for questions about the Acadamae, +10 for Korvosa itself, and +5 for Varisia in general, even if she hasn't put any points into Knowledge Local. The person with tons of Knowledge Local who walks into a town is assumed to have spent a lot of time perusing gazetteers and travelers' memoirs.


How about calling it Knowledge (steetwise)? That covers most of the actual uses of the skill - knowing about humanoids, being able to navigate towns, ans such.

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