Is it considered Metagamey or "bad form" to learn from past scenarios?


Pathfinder Society

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Just something I was thinking about, and wondering what other people think. This character has run into skeletons before, and due to trial and error, figured out that using blunt arrows was more effective. He has also fought constructs, and after the first few whiffs, started using adamantine arrows, so knows that they can be (though not always) more effective than regular arrows.

If I play this character in a scenario, and we run into skeletons, am I supposed to play dumb, and not use what my character would know is a more effective solution? I normally wouldn't mention anything from past adventures he has run, due to not wanting to spoil something. However I would want to say something like "Take care wizard, I've seen similar creations before (constructs) and they seem to be impervious to magic!" or "Take caution with your weapons, a monster similar to that broke my longsword when I was a greenhorn"

Now keep in mind, this is without succeeding on any knowledge checks, so it is just my character (or me) remembering what he fought in the past. The downside is, he (I) might be remembering it wrong, or the monster itself may be different than the last one so it isn't accurate information.

So in essence, is it wrong for my archer to see a skeleton, and immediately start using blunt arrows, regardless of any current knowledge checks to identify weaknesses.

Sovereign Court

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I would say absolutely not. If your character tried to use fire on a fire elemental and it did nothing, two or three scenarios he wouldnt be like "duuuuuuh" and try it again. Absolutely learn from your mistakes.

Scarab Sages

I agree with Niicks. Your character definitely learns as he levels up, but one character should not learn through a player having experienced (via a different character) a scenario or adversary.


Thats how my GM played it with the possessed dolls in the Frostfur Captives, the GM was in the same game with me and remembered we fought one before. The GM allowed me to brief my current companions on them due to my experience with them...so yes I'm in agreement


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Expect table variation

On one hand, there's a chronicle sheet that does this implying that you can't otherwise do it.

On the other hand seeker of secrets? has a lot of "what to expect in the dungeon and how to effectively pummel it" information for pathfinders, which includes beat the Skelly with a club.

Silver Crusade

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When I GM I assume a level of training and competence. I assume all pathfinders have the general training played out in the Pathfinder Society Field Guide. So, common DR I expect them to know. If I have new players at my table I'll even tell them, "In your pathfinder training you learned bash the bones cut the fleshies." Beyond that knowledge checks are needed, but knowledge learned in another scenario should carry over. That being said if you didn't fully identify the creature or someone else told your character to switch tactics, it would be bad form to whip out the whole stat block next time you see the same thing.

Grand Lodge

NiicksDH wrote:
I would say absolutely not. If your character tried to use fire on a fire elemental and it did nothing, two or three scenarios he wouldnt be like "duuuuuuh" and try it again. Absolutely learn from your mistakes.

Heck, I would go so far as to say it is intuitive that fire isn't going to hurt fire without ever having to try it out in combat.

Silver Crusade

One problem with pathfinder in general and PFS in particular is that characters often should know far more than their knowledge skills reflect.

A ftr with INT 10 (or even 8) who has gone through PFS school should know the basics automatically. Which is a lot more than most GMs allow on a 10 on a knowledge check.

So, players pretty much HAVE to metagame a little and have their characters know a little. But it should just be the basics unless you've faced something similar before.

And, unfortunately, what is "basic" is going to vary from player to player and character to character. The best you can do is to honestly try and play the character as knowing what he "should" know from his history (which includes a lot more than just the scenarios he has been in), erring a little on the ignorant side.

Unless, of course, part of your schtick is to be ALWAYS wrong :-)


Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

For a lot of common monsters, like skeletons, most people seem to forget that you can use the skill untrained to learn a few things about those common monsters.

CRB page 100 wrote:

For common monsters, such as goblins, the DC of this check equals 5 + the monster’s CR.

and

Untrained: You cannot make an untrained Knowledge check with a DC higher than 10. If you have access to an extensive library that covers a specific skill, this limit is removed. The time to make checks using a library, however, increases to 1d4 hours. Particularly complete libraries might even grant a bonus on Knowledge checks in the fields that they cover.

And I would have no real issue with a player character using knowledge of creatures learned in a previous adventure .

Liberty's Edge

I think it makes sense to assume that characters have some experience, because they have the chronicle sheets to prove they do!

Unfortunately the Pathfinder system has a very flawed knowledge and skill point system, so much so that it is technically possible for a skill starved less intelligent Paladin to lack Knowledge: Religion and be unable to identify not only the (un)holy symbols of their enemies, but the symbol of their own faith as well!

Personally I think that all adventurers should have a variation of the Inquisitor's "monster lore" ability to represent the stuff they pick up along the way, but it is what it is.

As long as no one pops open a bestiary at the table and keeps it within reason and the realm of possibility for the character, then I am pretty lenient on "player knowledge" when it comes to more common monsters... or ones specifically faced in their careers.

Dark Archive

My way of running this situation: You absolutely know that last time you ran into a monster that your allies informed you was a skeleton, that blunt arrows were the way to go. So you may very well remember skeleton = blunt arrows good. That doesn't mean, however, that you can recognize a skeleton for what it is immediately.

One thing you should take care to do as a GM is to describe aspects of the creature based on its visual characteristics, but don't be afraid to change cosmetic things to prevent metagaming. Your character can absolutely learn from mistakes, but not if you don't know what you're fighting this time.


Mergy wrote:

My way of running this situation: You absolutely know that last time you ran into a monster that your allies informed you was a skeleton, that blunt arrows were the way to go. So you may very well remember skeleton = blunt arrows good. That doesn't mean, however, that you can recognize a skeleton for what it is immediately.

One thing you should take care to do as a GM is to describe aspects of the creature based on its visual characteristics, but don't be afraid to change cosmetic things to prevent metagaming. Your character can absolutely learn from mistakes, but not if you don't know what you're fighting this time.

Yeah, if they dont describe what im seeing and hearing if I have the creature in view, i definately ask for a description...

But I had one GM that said I needed a Knowledge______, to get the description....needless to say I have not been in one of his games since.


pauljathome wrote:
A ftr with INT 10 (or even 8) who has gone through PFS school should know the basics automatically. Which is a lot more than most GMs allow on a 10 on a knowledge check.

That's one way to look at it. Another is that a fighter with Int 10 (or 8) would not have MADE it through Pathfinder school, but would have washed out in first year because he couldn't pass the knowledge tests.

Do we also give non-martial characters a bonus because "they would have learned to fight in Pathfinder school"? The skills, abilities, even class you *choose* at first level is what you graduated basic training with. You can't put all your eggs into one basket and then expect someone else to give you another basket for free.

On learning from past scenarios: RAW, you can't do it - a Knowledge roll is required every time. I justify this as being because you can't be sure, in the heat of a combat, exactly what you are facing. How much skin in on that undead horror under its armor? Skeleton? Zombie? Wight? Only by being well-trained (having skill points) can you think fast enough to gain some combat-useful knowledge in time.


Fomsie makes a good point, though: the RAW Knowledge system is fundamentally incompatible with the Pathfinder Society campaign premise (i.e. that all players are Pathfinders).


Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
GM Lamplighter wrote:
pauljathome wrote:
A ftr with INT 10 (or even 8) who has gone through PFS school should know the basics automatically. Which is a lot more than most GMs allow on a 10 on a knowledge check.

That's one way to look at it. Another is that a fighter with Int 10 (or 8) would not have MADE it through Pathfinder school, but would have washed out in first year because he couldn't pass the knowledge tests.

On learning from past scenarios: RAW, you can't do it - a Knowledge roll is required every time. I justify this as being because you can't be sure, in the heat of a combat, exactly what you are facing. How much skin in on that undead horror under its armor? Skeleton? Zombie? Wight? Only by being well-trained (having skill points) can you think fast enough to gain some combat-useful knowledge in time.

What about the untrained use of knowledge skills for DCs of 10 or lower?

Skeleton would be a DC 5.
Zombies would be a DC 5.
Wights would be a DC 8.
Orcs would be a DC 5.
Kobolds would be a DC 5.

Wouldn't Pathfinder training make the most frequent encountered creatures fall into the common definition for knowledge checks, usable untrained if the DC is 10 or lower?

Also, if a very strict interpretation is applied, how would people recognize a horse (DC 6), a pony (DC 5), a bear (DC 9) or even a dog (DC 5)?

Liberty's Edge

Character Knowledge vs Player Knowledge.

If you Character has come across stuff before, he would know about it, so yes he should know about the Skeletons.

If another character of yours has come across skeletons, then no, your current character should not know.

Shadow Lodge

Actually, knowing that blunt weapons are your best option against skeletal creatures is less a matter of knowing the creature and than it is of knowing your weapons: The fact that Piercing and Slashing weapons work best against muscles, internal organs, and blood vessels is covered in 'Physical Combat 101' at combat school (specifically on the 'where to aim your weapon' day). Given the fairly obvious lack of flesh on skeletons, any competent member of a martial class shouldn't have too much trouble figuring it out.

Basically, Damage type DR should be fairly obvious, although it might take a hit or two to gather enough information ('your opponent seems un-phased by your stabbing him in the kidney'). Exotic material or alignment DRs are a different matter, of course...

As for the original question, generally speaking:

  • Knowing something that your character learned earlier is fine.
  • Knowing something another character of yours learned earlier is not.


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If your character has learned something from one scenario, or through pathfinder training, then you should represent that by putting points into the appropriate knowledge

Grand Lodge

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Chris O'Reilly wrote:

If your character has learned something from one scenario, or through pathfinder training, then you should represent that by putting points into the appropriate knowledge

The skill point system, as it is, is not representative of this type of thinking. If it were, every class would have the same number of base skill points and only INT and Race would change this. But as it is, the idea that a fighter (who gets only 2 skill points per level) can't learn from experience as well as a barbarian (who gets 4 skill points per level) is rather silly. Many classes simply don't have the skill points to represent what you are suggesting.

Your suggestion also isn't very representative either. Just because I may have learned that I need bludgeoning weapons to hurt a skeleton does not mean my overall knowledge of religion is increased enough to warrant a skill point in it.

Silver Crusade

Mergy wrote:

My way of running this situation: You absolutely know that last time you ran into a monster that your allies informed you was a skeleton, that blunt arrows were the way to go. So you may very well remember skeleton = blunt arrows good. That doesn't mean, however, that you can recognize a skeleton for what it is immediately.

One thing you should take care to do as a GM is to describe aspects of the creature based on its visual characteristics, but don't be afraid to change cosmetic things to prevent metagaming. Your character can absolutely learn from mistakes, but not if you don't know what you're fighting this time.

It depends on what you mean by cosmetic.

Something made of bones is pretty obvious. I'd be more than a little peeved if the GM changed the description to "well, it is blue and thin".

I've got a low level archer character with poor knowledge skills and blunt and cold iron arrows. If he sees something bonyish he uses blunt arrows, Fae or Demonish he uses cold iron. Very basic descriptions often give a clue.

As I said above, I think the knowledge skills (especially as interpreted by some GMs) are so inherently broken that SOME metagaming is absolutely required AND expected.

Now, an argument could be made that a DC 5 check would give that information. But I've almost never encountered GMs who would agree and, even if they do, trained adventurers would NOT fail that check 20+% of the time.

@lamplighter - the rules just do not allow most 1st level characters to have the knowledge's and skills they "should" have according to the fluff. A good argument could be made that to become a pathfinder one would need lots of skills at bonuses of at least +2 or +5 or something. But until they decide that every character has to have a level of bard that isn't going to happen. If I was running a home campaign based on the society I would probably make it so all members were at least 3rd or 4th level.


I always figured the minimum ability scores (7s across the board) and the 20 point buy system for PFS were the entry requirements. Oh you want to be a Pathfinder Field Agent (10 point buy) sorry you don't make the cut. Got a 4 Wisdom? Nope. 5 Strength? Only if you're a Halfling, Humans that weak don't get the job, etc.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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There's a boon available that lets your PC "remember" the results of Knowledge rolls from one scenario to another. For that boon to make sense, the base-line for the campaign should be that no, characters don't remember the results of Knowledge checks.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

You could keep a record log of what you have fought and learned and have GMs sign off on it per session.

Silver Crusade

Chris Mortika wrote:
There's a boon available that lets your PC "remember" the results of Knowledge rolls from one scenario to another. For that boon to make sense, the base-line for the campaign should be that no, characters don't remember the results of Knowledge checks.

You really can't expect GMs to know all the boons that are out and to rule accordingly.

At the very least, this just screams for table variation.

For the record, I've never seen that boon. So I can't exactly be expected to take it into consideration can I? Without seeing the EXACT wording it still isn't clear what it means. Perhaps it means that you can remember the exact SR of a monster (Which is far more meta knowledge than I'd allow)

And that is a fairly circumstantial bit of evidence anyway. Pathfinder has many examples of rules that don't actually accomplish much of anything. If that boon just caused some GMs to rule differently on some edge cases it would be worth more than many boons.

Dark Archive

Another thorn into this argument:

A local player in Toronto has a gnome fire elemental sorcerer who carries around a little book with her where she has two lists. One of them is "Things that burn" and the other is "Things that don't burn" (The player actually has these lists with her character sheet as well).

Naturally she would need a party member to identify the creature, but if someone points out a bone devil to her, is she able to remember that they are immune to fire?

Silver Crusade

Mergy wrote:

Another thorn into this argument:

A local player in Toronto has a gnome fire elemental sorcerer who carries around a little book with her where she has two lists. One of them is "Things that burn" and the other is "Things that don't burn" (The player actually has these lists with her character sheet as well).

Naturally she would need a party member to identify the creature, but if someone points out a bone devil to her, is she able to remember that they are immune to fire?

And would she even need the party member to identify the bone devil? She has SEEN it before. Surely she is quite likely to recognize it again?

Arguably the chance would be related to when she last saw one. But who can expect records that precise to be kept?

But surely the chance of her recognizing something she has seen before is NOT particularly related to her knowledge planes.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I absolutely allow characters to recall monsters they have fought before.

I just don't correct misremembered facts without another knowledge check.


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I need to write up flutters list of "Monsters I have known and loved" and "Monsters that did not appreciate the belly rub"

Scarab Sages

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Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

I have a "boon" that allows me to remember Knowledge checks across scenarios. Anyone can earn it! Just write notes in-character about the monsters you fight. We are expected to report as Pathfinders, so it fits perfectly into the setting.

Grand Lodge

Chris Mortika wrote:
There's a boon available that lets your PC "remember" the results of Knowledge rolls from one scenario to another. For that boon to make sense, the base-line for the campaign should be that no, characters don't remember the results of Knowledge checks.

That boon is on my list of stupid ideas, along with the Strike Back feat and the Potion Sponge.

Scarab Sages

I have a character who has been killed once and charmed two more times by harpies. I would hope if someone says the word harpy, by now he'd be allowed to put in earplugs without making a knowledge roll.

I've always found it strange that something so simple as use blunt weapons on skeletons (or most demons have DR/good, or use silver against devils, or adamantine against constructs, or many similar facts) that pretty much every pathfinder player knows is considered knowledge that a character adventuring in a world where these things could actually kill them, trained by an organization sending them into the path of these creatures, wouldn't know.

Silver Crusade

Remembering that the things you were locked in mortal comabt with laughed at your fireball and requested another is just common sense.

The hard question is when you show up at a scenario that works better if you play along with the story even though you know how that monster works.
Or your character has seen every wedding he has attended go violently south (must have been the cake right?) and still shows up in a tux and not full plate with her trusty sword.

Grand Lodge

I even go further on my characters. I keep a list of creatures I've fought so I know which ones I'm allowed to "metagame".

Shadow Lodge

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Unless you put your experience into knowledge skills, you haven't retained the information you've encountered. There's a huge difference between playing a pick-up game of football, and watching game tapes and studying playbooks and working out to make yourself the best football player you can.

No one is expecting the Wizard to be better in melee just because the fighter told him how to swing the sword better. Thusly, it is not reasonable to expect the 8 Int fighter to remember more than the DC 5-10 basics just because the Wizard gave him a lecture about the monster in the heat of battle.

Shadow Lodge

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Ferious Thune wrote:
I have a character who has been killed once and charmed two more times by harpies. I would hope if someone says the word harpy, by now he'd be allowed to put in earplugs without making a knowledge roll.

But it's not you making the knowledge check to identify the creature as a harpy. You can't put in the earplugs just because you see a flying humanoid creature that starts to open it's mouth. Well, you can, but that could be a gargoyle and a wasted action.

Similarly, if you want to say your character knows that blunt weapons are better against skeletons, that's fine. But is that a regular ole' skeleton over there, or is it a skeletal champion? A lich? Sometimes your characters should make the wrong decision based on past experience. If you're only metagaming when it helps you, you are cheating.

The Exchange

Let's try a different outlook on "meta-gaming"... something I have noticed. I really have no "fix" for it, I'm just wondering if anyone else has seen this kind of "meta-gaming" popping up in a game.

I have actually seen players - experienced players, who know as players that you need to hit skeletons with blunt weapons NOT USING blunt weapons because no one at the table had Knowledge Religion - so... a bunch of players felt constrained to try to prevent "meta-gaming"... They knew that the monsters weren't taking full damage, but restricted their PCs, because they knew what to do (as players)- they didn't do it (as PCs).

The player "meta" knowledge constrained thier PCs ... If the monster had been something called a "Green Wiglet" and they noticed it wasn't takeing full damage they would have switched to different/back up weapons to try to find the DR type. It would have been a "puzzle" they would have enjoyed solving! (I can almost hear the table talk now..."Not Silver Blunt! switching to a Magic Slashing! You got that oil applied yet? Think it might be DR/Good then?")

Heck, these were not 1st level PCs! They all had blunt weapons! they just were afread to appear to be Meta-gaming.... In fact, one of them was a Dwarf who normally used a Warhammer - but in this case he was carefull to use his Battleax, because he didn't want to appear to be using "meta" knowledge.

Grand Lodge

Mystic Lemur wrote:
Ferious Thune wrote:
I have a character who has been killed once and charmed two more times by harpies. I would hope if someone says the word harpy, by now he'd be allowed to put in earplugs without making a knowledge roll.

But it's not you making the knowledge check to identify the creature as a harpy. You can't put in the earplugs just because you see a flying humanoid creature that starts to open it's mouth. Well, you can, but that could be a gargoyle and a wasted action.

Similarly, if you want to say your character knows that blunt weapons are better against skeletons, that's fine. But is that a regular ole' skeleton over there, or is it a skeletal champion? A lich? Sometimes your characters should make the wrong decision based on past experience. If you're only metagaming when it helps you, you are cheating.

You're saying that if a character doesn't invest in knowledge skills he can't recollect anything? That's just asinine. Knowledge is research. Rolling for knowledge is recollecting your research. This physically happened to the PC. Or are you saying that I need to invest in "Knowledge: backstory" to remember everything that my PC has ever been through, too?

Grand Lodge

Im of the opinion thain a world where undead regularly rise, that knowledge of a skeleton having DR/bludgeoning is probably about as common as RL people knowing that sharks can smell blood in the water, or that you should play dead cause then a bear wont eat you, or that climbing a tree will help get you away from a wolf, but not from a big cat, etc. Its not always the best idea, but it could help.

Similarly, if someone wanted to throw some water onto a fire elemental, I wouldnt count that as metagaming.

Grand Lodge

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Mystic Lemur wrote:
Unless you put your experience into knowledge skills, you haven't retained the information you've encountered. There's a huge difference between playing a pick-up game of football, and watching game tapes and studying playbooks and working out to make yourself the best football player you can.

Yes, there is a huge difference between the two, which is why your argument is nonsense. I do not forget the rules of the pick-up football game I played simply because I did not go home watch tapes and study playbooks in order to put a skill point in Knowledge (Sports). Why? Because Knowledge (Sports) is a broad category that encompasses all sports and does not represent specific knowledge in one sport, though that knowledge may be included with it.

Quote:
No one is expecting the Wizard to be better in melee just because the fighter told him how to swing the sword better.

But he would become a better fighter. In all likelihood the fighter taught him some simple trick that works under a very limited set of circumstances. You see this sort of thing all the time in stories. The issue isn't that the Wizard isn't a better fighter. The issue is that his increase in fighting ability is not sufficient enough to warrant a change in the mechanics of his character, such as taking a level of fighter. The mechanics of Pathfinder are meant to be generalizations. Arguing that a minor increase in a specific ability, knowledge, etc. must be represented by a mechanical change in the character is to utterly fail to understand the system.

Quote:
Thusly, it is not reasonable to expect the 8 Int fighter to remember more than the DC 5-10 basics just because the Wizard gave him a lecture about the monster in the heat of battle.

My experience is that people DO tend to remember information that is pivotal to their survival.


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Mystic Lemur wrote:
Similarly, if you want to say your character knows that blunt weapons are better against skeletons, that's fine. But is that a regular ole' skeleton over there, or is it a skeletal champion? A lich? Sometimes your characters should make the wrong decision based on past experience. If you're only metagaming when it helps you, you are cheating.

Who cares what it is? If it's made out of bones, I'm going to assume it's better to bash it than poke at it.

That fact that more powerful creatures of the same basic type (not monster type, but giant skeletons or whatever) are harder to recognize has always bugged me:

"The dozen little bony guys are skeletons. Don't waste your arrows, hit them with clubs. No idea what the big guy made of very similar bones might be though. Might as well shoot him."

EDIT: btw, both the skeletal champion and the lich have DR/bludgeoning, but RAW you're not allowed to assume that these types of creatures made out of bones have any similarity to the weaker ones you already know how to deal with.

Scarab Sages

Mystic Lemur wrote:
Ferious Thune wrote:
I have a character who has been killed once and charmed two more times by harpies. I would hope if someone says the word harpy, by now he'd be allowed to put in earplugs without making a knowledge roll.

But it's not you making the knowledge check to identify the creature as a harpy. You can't put in the earplugs just because you see a flying humanoid creature that starts to open it's mouth. Well, you can, but that could be a gargoyle and a wasted action.

Similarly, if you want to say your character knows that blunt weapons are better against skeletons, that's fine. But is that a regular ole' skeleton over there, or is it a skeletal champion? A lich? Sometimes your characters should make the wrong decision based on past experience. If you're only metagaming when it helps you, you are cheating.

I don't disagree with this, except maybe to not go as far as accuse anyone of cheating. My character likely would put earplugs in his ears if something that in any way resembled a harpy showed up.

I don't think anyone is saying you should know every detail about every creature you've encountered, but there are GMs who feel you don't know anything unless you make the knowledge roll. It doesn't matter if you spent an entire previous scenario with your attacks bouncing off a creature's DR, or in my case, have encountered harpy song several times. If I can reasonably believe a character has encountered a creature before, I'm not going to tell a player they can't say, "That looks like a skeleton!" They might be wrong, or they may not know it's a special skeleton, but they should at least be allowed to guess based on past experience.

Silver Crusade

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Usually you hear the harpies before you see them anyway. Bastards.


Chris O'Reilly wrote:
If your character has learned something from one scenario, or through pathfinder training, then you should represent that by putting points into the appropriate knowledge

But there's no way to do that.

If I've met a troll and learned through bitter experience that they regenerate unless burned (maybe I didn't even learn about acid), putting a point or two into the appropriate knowledge skill doesn't guarantee I remember anything about trolls when I meet one in the next adventure and it also means I have a better chance of knowing about all kinds of things that I haven't met.

Grand Lodge

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Mystic Lemur wrote:
Ferious Thune wrote:
I have a character who has been killed once and charmed two more times by harpies. I would hope if someone says the word harpy, by now he'd be allowed to put in earplugs without making a knowledge roll.

But it's not you making the knowledge check to identify the creature as a harpy. You can't put in the earplugs just because you see a flying humanoid creature that starts to open it's mouth. Well, you can, but that could be a gargoyle and a wasted action.

After 3 traumatic experiences with Harpies, you are going to remember what they look like. You would only logically need a knowledge check if the Harpy you were looking at had a significantly different appearance than a normal Harpy. Putting a point into Knowledge (local) is NOT representational of this kind of knowledge. Firstly because a rank in Knowledge (local) represents a general increase a knowledge, not the gaining of a single specific piece of knowledge. Second, mechanically all it does is increase your chance of identifying a Harpy by 5% which is poor representation of having specific Harpy knowledge. The Knowledge skills simply do not work the way you want them to.


trollbill wrote:
Mystic Lemur wrote:
Ferious Thune wrote:
I have a character who has been killed once and charmed two more times by harpies. I would hope if someone says the word harpy, by now he'd be allowed to put in earplugs without making a knowledge roll.

But it's not you making the knowledge check to identify the creature as a harpy. You can't put in the earplugs just because you see a flying humanoid creature that starts to open it's mouth. Well, you can, but that could be a gargoyle and a wasted action.

After 3 traumatic experiences with Harpies, you are going to remember what they look like. You would only logically need a knowledge check if the Harpy you were looking at had a significantly different appearance than a normal Harpy. Putting a point into Knowledge (local) is NOT representational of this kind of knowledge. Firstly because a rank in Knowledge (local) represents a general increase a knowledge, not the gaining of a single specific piece of knowledge. Second, mechanically all it does is increase your chance of identifying a Harpy by 5% which is poor representation having specific Harpy knowledge. The Knowledge skills simply do not work the way you want them to.

You could also then make the roll to identify the creature, but not be over it enough to know all the features you learned through experience last time.

That's not necessarily relevant to harpies, since there's really only one thing you want to know about them, but it does challenge the idea that you remember things you learned about "X", but don't recognize this as "X".

Sovereign Court

I have one friend whose character got ambushed by something that dropped from the ceiling, even after rolling a Natural 20 on his perception (Total 28) when he walked into the room.

When my friend confronted the GM about his perception (Which made the DC) GM said, "You didn't specify that you looked up."

Well, that character learned, and he "Perceives Up!" from now on.

Silver Crusade

That's griefing the player, imo. PCs that roll a "9" perception aren't looking up. Rolling a "28" implies looking up.

Grand Lodge

David Bowles wrote:
That's griefing the player, imo. PCs that roll a "9" perception aren't looking up. Rolling a "28" implies looking up.

...or hearing the monster crawling above you, or smelling its stench, or feeling its hot breath, etc. Perception isn't just visual.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
trollbill wrote:
Mystic Lemur wrote:
Ferious Thune wrote:
I have a character who has been killed once and charmed two more times by harpies. I would hope if someone says the word harpy, by now he'd be allowed to put in earplugs without making a knowledge roll.

But it's not you making the knowledge check to identify the creature as a harpy. You can't put in the earplugs just because you see a flying humanoid creature that starts to open it's mouth. Well, you can, but that could be a gargoyle and a wasted action.

After 3 traumatic experiences with Harpies, you are going to remember what they look like. You would only logically need a knowledge check if the Harpy you were looking at had a significantly different appearance than a normal Harpy. Putting a point into Knowledge (local) is NOT representational of this kind of knowledge. Firstly because a rank in Knowledge (local) represents a general increase a knowledge, not the gaining of a single specific piece of knowledge. Second, mechanically all it does is increase your chance of identifying a Harpy by 5% which is poor representation of having specific Harpy knowledge. The Knowledge skills simply do not work the way you want them to.

Hmm, would that make harpies common creatures for you? DC becomes a base DC 5 + CR = 5 +4 = DC 9.

DC 9 is a knowledge skill check that can now be made untrained (RAW and RAI). So for a PC that has fought harpies three times before, I would say that harpies have now become a common creature for that PC, and can be identified with an untrained knowledge skill check.

Fought trolls before? Common creature for you? If so, the knowledge check for them is DC 10 - which can be made untrained.


Brigg wrote:

I have one friend whose character got ambushed by something that dropped from the ceiling, even after rolling a Natural 20 on his perception (Total 28) when he walked into the room.

When my friend confronted the GM about his perception (Which made the DC) GM said, "You didn't specify that you looked up."

Well, that character learned, and he "Perceives Up!" from now on.

I absolutely hate that sort of nonsense.

It doesn't help that some scenarios and mods do it too.

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