Player / Character assumed knowledge


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I've had a question come up with regards to players assuming their characters know things about certain creatures. They group is fighting a troll that is regenerating health. I'm told that it is common knowledge for this magical world that 'all players know that trolls regenerate health and they won't if they are on fire'.

Is that common knowledge? I thought the whole point of the knowledge system was to allow that information if your character knows it. All the players failed their knowledge checks to identify the creature. I've given them perception checks to identify that he is in fact healing, but they don't know he has regeneration nor do they know that fire stops it.

Do they? It seems too meta for me that they would automatically know a fine detail about a creature they've never seen of in their life.


Sounds like they don't know they're fighting a Troll, so what they know about Trolls isn't relevant.

By the rules for knowledge checks they'd need a DC 15 check to know a Troll's weaknesses, so I guess that's not something "everybody knows".

Unfortunately, metagaming happens

Edit: also, they're probably right about all players knowing it :-)


Are you the DM? If so, players don't tell you what's common knowledge. You decide that.

All that RAW says on the matter is that you'd have a knowledge check of DR 10+CR to get one detail (which does not have to be fire vulnerability OR regeneration if you don't want as a DM)..

Which details are divulged, what might be common knowledge or not perhaps not requiring a check etc. is totally up to the DM.


As a DM, you always have the ability to determine what "everyone knows" about any given subject in your world. However, it should be something where the knowledge truly is ubiquitous.

It would be common knowledge in most of the USA that Canada is the country to the north. It's much less common knowledge that Burkina Faso used to be called Upper Volta.

In my opinion, for knowledge about a given monster to be considered "common knowledge," that monster would have to be pretty darn common. I don't mean common in the cannon of fantasy literature; I mean common to the location from which the characters originate. If you play Rise of the Rune Lords, there's a lot of common knowledge about Goblins, because the little blighters are everywhere in the wilds around Sandpoint, for example. Knowledge of the Half-Ogres, Ogres, and Giants that the party runs into later would be much more esoteric.


I'd have to agree; that seems to be the whole point of the Knowledge skills. Some guides outright call them 'legal metagaming', and as written it's how a character represents knowing that. 'Oh, Sam the barbarian just rolled a 20 on Knowledge (Planes) so that's why she knows what a quasit can do.' 'Eep. Frank the bard just rolled a 9? He can see the troll's recovering from the wounds you're doing ... but why is it doing that?'

And if they're not taking these skills ... well, then if they haven't directly experienced it in-game ...


Thanks guys, that's the same train of thought I had.


I agree with your players and say it's common knowledge that trolls regenerate and fire kills them, the same way that most everyone knows vampires suck blood and are killed by a stake through the heart. As Crimeo mentioned though, it's up to you to define common knowledge and there's no requirement that you define it the same as I would.

That said, I personally recommend leniency and geneorosity with the knowledges as you generally want your PC's to succeed and your players to have fun. It's not fun to fight a troll for 876 rounds or worse, TPK'ing to one because everyone failed their knowledge checks.


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You could meet them halfway and say that the characters know that regeneration in general can be stopped by the right kind of damage, then let them experiment until they find fire or acid.

Also, you should always feel free (beforehand) to change details of monsters. Maybe this kind of troll is vulnerable to cold and electricity, not fire and acid. This relegates the players' knowledge to adventurers' gossip the characters have heard which may or may not be accurate.


At best, i might be inclined to rule that it's "common" knowledge in the sense that instead of knowledge check at 10+ CR it would be 5 + CR for a "common" monster.

Quote:
You can use this skill to identify monsters and their special powers or vulnerabilities. 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. Many of the Knowledge skills have specific uses as noted on Table: Knowledge Skill DCs.

But if they can't successfully identify the monster they're fighting in the first place they a) don't know it's a troll b) definitely wouldn't know what it's weaknesses are. You can't know something's weakness if you don't know what it is. The knowledge check represents knowing what it is, as well as knowing its weakness. If you're players all failed the check to identify it, then they have no idea what they're fighting is a troll.


What's weird is that high-level monsters will bamboozle low-level adventurers, even if they're just goblins (or humans!) with lots of class levels. Somehow, by becoming a more powerful, renowned paladin, you also become fundamentally that much harder to identify.


My Self wrote:
What's weird is that high-level monsters will bamboozle low-level adventurers, even if they're just goblins (or humans!) with lots of class levels. Somehow, by becoming a more powerful, renowned paladin, you also become fundamentally that much harder to identify.

Yeah, which is why I wish they had actually used racial HD instead of CR.

Or included a rule that said CR increase gained from class levels does not increase the check to identify. I don't think anyone runs this by RAW, because it's silly.

Liberty's Edge

When I DM, especially in home games. I do not tend to specifically describe creatures by name , but rather by appearance,unless I am aware that the monster they are facing is extremely common or of a type they have specifically previously fought.


1) If they fail to ID the monster, they cannot use "common" knowledge.
2) "Common" knowledge is that way because it is common, or stories about it are common. That is why "everyone" knows vampires can be killed with a steak through the heart, even though they are a rare creature. Unfortunately, PF got rid of the Common/Uncommon/Rare that was in earlier games, so that becomes a GM call.
That is what the DC 5/10/15+CR is about.
I would rule the CR as the base creature for the creature's normal abilities and weaknesses, but with full CR for things added by class levels.
3) They perceived the damage healing. This does get them info. Maybe a heal check (DC 10) to recognize regeneration vs. something else. Knowing it is stopped by fire? No. Trying fire first? OK, since a lot of times fire/acid turns off regeneration.

/cevah


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Cevah wrote:
That is why "everyone" knows vampires can be killed with a steak through the heart

"I hope you like your death medium rare."


Dunno if that has enough of a double meaning to deserve a sunglasses removal, Carl, but I did come here to make a joke out of that same sentence, so kudos on the ninja. :P


CampinCarl9127 wrote:
Cevah wrote:
That is why "everyone" knows vampires can be killed with a steak through the heart
"I hope you like your death medium rare."

OK. So "common" knowledge can be wrong. :-)

/cevah


For the main topic, I'm in total agreement. Knowledge skills are what PCs know, etc. Good show.

As far as a Heal/Perception check to identify the troll regenerating, are you sure that's necessary? The DR rules say that the character knows he's done less damage than he should have, so from that I extrapolate that PCs are aware of the visual cues of HP damage or lack thereof. I always just announce that the wounds are closing up or the metal is knitting back together or whatever.

Thoughts?

OH, GOD, IS MY FUN WRONG?!?!

Sovereign Court

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As a side note: if this is the fourth campaign in which the PCs have to learn the weaknesses of trolls all over again, the novelty might have worn off for the players.


Ascalaphus wrote:
As a side note: if this is the fourth campaign in which the PCs have to learn the weaknesses of trolls all over again, the novelty might have worn off for the players.

That's why you, as a DM, don't throw the same monsters at the party campaign after campaign. The novelty has already worn off, regardless of whether or not they have to "relearn" anything about those monsters.

The Exchange

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This is why when I play trolls, I mess with the formula a bit. One time instead of regeneration, they actually spewed negative energy from their wounds as a cleric's channel of the same CR. To stop the AOE effect the troll would have to be hit with force effects.

Nothing stops you from changing things on the fly like that.

This also helps to prevent metagaming when what they are facing, is nowhere in the book.


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Claxon wrote:
My Self wrote:
What's weird is that high-level monsters will bamboozle low-level adventurers, even if they're just goblins (or humans!) with lots of class levels. Somehow, by becoming a more powerful, renowned paladin, you also become fundamentally that much harder to identify.

Yeah, which is why I wish they had actually used racial HD instead of CR.

Or included a rule that said CR increase gained from class levels does not increase the check to identify. I don't think anyone runs this by RAW, because it's silly.

That additional CR may be pertinent for sussing out that particular creature's powers and weaknesses, which would include any derived from their class.

Ultimately, you need a decent GM willing to use the lower DC for information based on the creature's type ("Oh, he's a kobold, that means...") while using the higher DC for more specific info ("And he's a cavalier of the Order of the Skink, which means...").


I'm not sure that's the case. The knowledge checks are definitely based on the creatures type. So ostensibly you're identifying the creatures type and specific species, which allows you to know weaknesses specific to such creatures.

However, I would allow for knowledge local (which already covers humanoids who are most likely to have class levels) to identify class based abilities. However, I don't think this is outright supported by the rules, but I think it's probably a good house rule.

Hmmm, although I could see a lot of different knowledges being used for different classes.
Religion - Any divine casters
Nature - Druids, Rangers, Hunters
Arcana - Any arcane casters
Local - Barbarian, Monk, Fighter, Rogue, Cavalier (other non-magical classes)

And I would probably allow some overlap between skills to identify class abilities as well, using the full 10 + CR of the creature. So you would make a check to identify the creature type, and another to identify class abilities/archetypes.

Shadow Lodge

Claxon wrote:

I'm not sure that's the case. The knowledge checks are definitely based on the creatures type. So ostensibly you're identifying the creatures type and specific species, which allows you to know weaknesses specific to such creatures.

However, I would allow for knowledge local (which already covers humanoids who are most likely to have class levels) to identify class based abilities. However, I don't think this is outright supported by the rules, but I think it's probably a good house rule.

Hmmm, although I could see a lot of different knowledges being used for different classes.
Religion - Any divine casters
Nature - Druids, Rangers, Hunters
Arcana - Any arcane casters
Local - Barbarian, Monk, Fighter, Rogue, Cavalier (other non-magical classes)

And I would probably allow some overlap between skills to identify class abilities as well, using the full 10 + CR of the creature. So you would make a check to identify the creature type, and another to identify class abilities/archetypes.

This is what I would use:

Knowledge Nature to identify animals at the normal DC's, as well as humanoids
Knowledge Arcana for magical beasts, abberations, Dragons, monstrous humanoids and Fey
Knowledge Planes for Elementals, PLane Touched, Demons devils andgels etc...
I would allow Knowledge Arcana to determine if a person is an arcane caster, and maybe if they cast prepared or spontaneously
I would allow Knowledge religion to determine if someone was a divine caster, and maybe if they cast prepared or spontaneously
I would allow knowledge local (maybe history depending on the individual) to determine any specific details of a characters background. I would NEVER allow knowledge to determine the specific class makeup and build details of an opponent. Some things are simply unknowable until you experience them first hand.

[edit] This maybe one area where i deviate from RAW. It just makes sense to me to handle these things this way. fortunately since I am not a PFS GM, i'm free to do so ;)


impureascetic wrote:

For the main topic, I'm in total agreement. Knowledge skills are what PCs know, etc. Good show.

As far as a Heal/Perception check to identify the troll regenerating, are you sure that's necessary? The DR rules say that the character knows he's done less damage than he should have, so from that I extrapolate that PCs are aware of the visual cues of HP damage or lack thereof. I always just announce that the wounds are closing up or the metal is knitting back together or whatever.

Thoughts?

OH, GOD, IS MY FUN WRONG?!?!

I did say "maybe" for a DC 10 check.

As to the DR description, there is a difference between damage being undone and damage not being done in the first place. Both are DR.

If you are having fun, then it is right and good.

/cevah


Cevah wrote:
impureascetic wrote:

For the main topic, I'm in total agreement. Knowledge skills are what PCs know, etc. Good show.

As far as a Heal/Perception check to identify the troll regenerating, are you sure that's necessary? The DR rules say that the character knows he's done less damage than he should have, so from that I extrapolate that PCs are aware of the visual cues of HP damage or lack thereof. I always just announce that the wounds are closing up or the metal is knitting back together or whatever.

Thoughts?

OH, GOD, IS MY FUN WRONG?!?!

I did say "maybe" for a DC 10 check.

As to the DR description, there is a difference between damage being undone and damage not being done in the first place. Both are DR.

If you are having fun, then it is right and good.

/cevah

I thought DR and Regeneration were separate.

DR 5: 'That didn't hurt!'
Regen 5: 'OW! OK, I feel better now.'


Fast Healing is healing over time. Not stopped by fire/acid. Can die at negative con.
Regeneration is healing over time. Stopped by fire/acid. Cannot die at negative con.
Damage Reduction is not taking damage in the first place.

However, DR can be not taking it because it never made a dent in you, or because it instantly healed.

The Wolverine has Regeneration, but is not a troll. :-)
The Hulk has Damage Reduction, but looks like a troll*.

While becoming the Hulk, the DR is instant heal. After the transformation, it is avoid damage. Both the recent Hulk movies and the TV Movies with Bill Bixby did this.

Perception will have a hard time figuring the difference between fast healing and regeneration. It has an easier time realizing the instant heal of DR is not fast healing or regeneration.

/cevah

*The TV Movie with Thor & The Hulk has Thor referring to the Hulk as a troll.

Grand Lodge

Claxon wrote:
My Self wrote:
What's weird is that high-level monsters will bamboozle low-level adventurers, even if they're just goblins (or humans!) with lots of class levels. Somehow, by becoming a more powerful, renowned paladin, you also become fundamentally that much harder to identify.

Yeah, which is why I wish they had actually used racial HD instead of CR.

Or included a rule that said CR increase gained from class levels does not increase the check to identify. I don't think anyone runs this by RAW, because it's silly.

If a creature is a vary close varient, I will often let PCs who make their knowledge check based on the base creatures CR, not the varient's CR know "this is a thus and such, but it seems different from the ones you have seen before / read about in books..."

I also do not add class levels to CR for knowledge checks, but I might hint at "this one seems more confident that usual" or some such.

Grand Lodge

Cevah wrote:

Fast Healing is healing over time. Not stopped by fire/acid. Can die at negative con.

Regeneration is healing over time. Stopped by fire/acid. Cannot die at negative con.
Damage Reduction is not taking damage in the first place.

However, DR can be not taking it because it never made a dent in you, or because it instantly healed.

The Wolverine has Regeneration, but is not a troll. :-)
The Hulk has Damage Reduction, but looks like a troll*.

While becoming the Hulk, the DR is instant heal. After the transformation, it is avoid damage. Both the recent Hulk movies and the TV Movies with Bill Bixby did this.

Perception will have a hard time figuring the difference between fast healing and regeneration. It has an easier time realizing the instant heal of DR is not fast healing or regeneration.

/cevah

*The TV Movie with Thor & The Hulk has Thor referring to the Hulk as a troll.

I'm not sure if Pathfinder uses it this way, but DR can also be "damage doesn't decrease combat effectiveness." As in Piercing and bludgeoning weapons damage zombies just fine, but unless you are hacking whole pieces off, the zombie doesn't get any weaker for having lots of holes in it. Thus DR 5/slashing.

an off topic side note:
A friend of mine once had a lot of fun playing a zombie super hero in a hero system game, built with huge amounts of Physical and Energy Defense (DR and Energy Resist) with the advantage "no visible effect" and an damage absorption effect that fed his presence only for intimidation (think charisma.)

Basically, A good solid hit might break his neck, and he would just keep coming, head lolling to one side...


FLite wrote:

I'm not sure if Pathfinder uses it this way, but DR can also be "damage doesn't decrease combat effectiveness." As in Piercing and bludgeoning weapons damage zombies just fine, but unless you are hacking whole pieces off, the zombie doesn't get any weaker for having lots of holes in it. Thus DR 5/slashing.

** spoiler omitted **...

The problem is, as written, losing HP doesn't affect you in combat either. When a barbarian takes a chunk out of your neck with her teeth, the 'expected' reaction is to drop in a pool of tears and/or blood, not note the loss of 7hp and continue swinging.


Obviously, if those 7 HP damage didn't drop the target to or below 0, then the Barbarian merely attempted to 'take a chunk out of his target's neck' and did not actually succeed in doing so.

In the Spycraft rulebook, they have a nice example (from memory).

P: "Let's peek around the corner. I'll be careful and only expose my head."
GM: *rolls* *rolls some more* "The enemy sentry spots you and quickly raises his assault rifle, sending a hail of bullets into your direction. You manage to duck back just in time as bullets whiz past you and blow chunks of concrete out of the corner."
P: "Heh, missed me."
GM: "Mark off 48 points of damage."
P: "But... he missed me?"
GM: "Exactly."


Qaianna wrote:
FLite wrote:

I'm not sure if Pathfinder uses it this way, but DR can also be "damage doesn't decrease combat effectiveness." As in Piercing and bludgeoning weapons damage zombies just fine, but unless you are hacking whole pieces off, the zombie doesn't get any weaker for having lots of holes in it. Thus DR 5/slashing.

** spoiler omitted **...

The problem is, as written, losing HP doesn't affect you in combat either. When a barbarian takes a chunk out of your neck with her teeth, the 'expected' reaction is to drop in a pool of tears and/or blood, not note the loss of 7hp and continue swinging.

Depends on how you are trained.


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Here is the real question: Now what?

I see this problem all the time with games. There is a point where the DM wants the players to Meta Stupid where they DON'T do smart things "because Meta!" and that drives me crazy. Because they are Metaing (is that a word) so that they don't Meta. It is akin to Lawful Good is not Lawful Stupid.

I have been playing this game "including D&D" for 25 years. It is impossible to believe that I will approach each and every encounter as if I have never played before. While I don't memorize the Bestiaries, there is some stuff that I just know.

The characters know it too. I live in a world where bears and snakes are a danger. I know what to do about bears and snakes. I NEVER run into them, but they are there. I am not hunting them, but I know what to do about them. They are not hunting me, but I know what to do about them.

You had better believe that an individual that is planning on running into a troll is going to know a bit about trolls. Just like we tell stories about dangerous things (aliens, bears, terrorists) in the form of movies and books, adventurers talk too.

The knowledge skills are the worst in the game. Difficulty is based on CR, not the likelihood of hearing a great story about one of these creatures. All characters in a "regular" D&D world knows what a dragon is. Does it make ANY sense that a bigger dragon is harder to identify as a dragon than a smaller one? Or that a Red one is harder to identify than a White one?

If it doesn't hurt the game, it doesn't hurt the game.

If the players have the book opened to the troll page during the fight, then that is a different story.

Grand Lodge

But do you know the difference between a Wyvern and a True Dragon? Or a Troll vs a swamp giant? In the real world you may be able to tell a brown bear from a black bear, but which one is more dangerous? In the real world the difference between a cheeta and a jaguar could get you killed, but could the average city dwelling character tell one from the other in less than a second in the middle of a fight?

Grand Lodge

And I'm not even getting into the differences between different snakes and spiders.


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First, remember that everyone can do a DC 10 knowledge check untrained. And you can take 10. That allows most people to identify common monsters up to CR 5. GMs can allow circumstance bonuses for living in an area where the monsters are from, having a background dealing with particular monsters, etc.

RAW, there is no reason for a GM to insist that players don't have common knowledge about common monsters. That's the GM's choice, not the rules.

Second, as a GM, I insist that "separating player knowledge from character knowledge" goes both ways. If the player is missing a piece of information that the character should know, then I tell the player that information and let them change their action. For example, melee characters know that polearms have reach, casters should know what their spells do, clerics should know the tenets of their deity, etc. Players might not know any of these things, but I don't think it's fair to insist that the character can only know what the player knows and nothing more.

And having been the "new person in the group" multiple times, I can tell you that it's not very welcoming to insist that new players memorize every single rule in every single source book before sitting down to a game.

Grand Lodge

Gwen Smith wrote:

First, remember that everyone can do a DC 10 knowledge check untrained. And you can take 10. That allows most people to identify common monsters up to CR 5. GMs can allow circumstance bonuses for living in an area where the monsters are from, having a background dealing with particular monsters, etc.

Well, except that a lot of the time, by the time you know you need to make a check, combat has or is starting...


Lycar wrote:

Obviously, if those 7 HP damage didn't drop the target to or below 0, then the Barbarian merely attempted to 'take a chunk out of his target's neck' and did not actually succeed in doing so.

In the Spycraft rulebook, they have a nice example (from memory).

P: "Let's peek around the corner. I'll be careful and only expose my head."
GM: *rolls* *rolls some more* "The enemy sentry spots you and quickly raises his assault rifle, sending a hail of bullets into your direction. You manage to duck back just in time as bullets whiz past you and blow chunks of concrete out of the corner."
P: "Heh, missed me."
GM: "Mark off 48 points of damage."
P: "But... he missed me?"
GM: "Exactly."

Yeah, I remember that; we were playing Spycraft prior to our current Pathfinder campaign. Vitality points were you getting worn down avoiding damage (despite having damage reduction).


Still comes down to the GM deciding what is considered common knowledge and what isn't.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I would say that it would be common knowledge that regeneration exists, and that it is a form of healing that only certain type of damage, typically fire and acid, will prevent.

I don't think that during combat you could tell the difference between regeneration and fast healing, however once it was 'dead' the fact that it was still getting better would make it obvious that you need some sort of special damage, and fire would be the obvious choice to try first.

So unless they have a history of using fire on everything with fast healing, I would consider them to be using OOC knowledge until they had brought it to negetive hp, and then fire would be reasonable to try.


Are class abilities common knowledge ? Are feats common knowledge ? There aren´t any knowledge tolls that let someone know that druids can shapechange into animals or that how a advanced feat no PC have exactly work.

Grand Lodge

I would assume divine casters would fall under K: religion and arcane casters under K: arcana. Not sure where to put martials in the knowledge skills, but Profession soldier would cover them (don't forget that all the profession skills act as knowledge skills for their areas). I am inclined to put swashbucklers under K: nobility.


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The problem with any real world analogies, is that we have vast swathes of information and education available to ourselves, that, in a faux-medieval style magic world, they probably don't.

The reason we all know silver vs werewolves, is purely down to pop culture (or a Common monster DC, i.e 10 or lower).

Trolls are such a menace to anyone, without the correct knowledge to deal with. That fire kills them should be fairly common knowledge, imho, or at least the common ways to deal with regeneration?

Other stuff is nicely and decently dealt with via various Knowledge checks, though revealing pure rules versus fluffier aspects, is one I've always felt a little uncomfortable in siding for one side or the other! I feel it cheapens the game or story by flat out stating a save mod or AC, but agree that using a fluffier message can sometimes lead to massive problems in interpretation.


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Earthbeard wrote:
Trolls are such a menace to anyone, without the correct knowledge to deal with. That fire kills them should be fairly common knowledge, imho, or at least the common ways to deal with regeneration?

As a GM, I would only consider such knowledge to be "common" if Trolls themselves were somewhat common to the area.

Look at it from the perspective of ethnobiology. A couple of decades ago, some researchers discovered a poisonous bird (yes, bird) in New Guinea. The locals had known about them forever, but western researchers thought the locals were making it up.

To get back on the fantasy side of things, if all the characters come from a Western setting, they probably wouldn't know that Kappa (not the Pathfinder kappa, but the kappa of Japanese folklore) can be immobilized by emptying the water held in the bowl-like depression on the top of their heads. The westerners probably don't know that kappa have tremendous skill at wrestling. However, both of these things would likely be known in a fantasy area that is analogous to medieval Japan because those creatures would be a known hazard.

So, if the party of adventurers all hail from someplace where Trolls are very uncommon, there's no reason that those player would have any special "common" knowledge about them. If they come from an area where trolls are a constant threat (like the Trollmoors in Forgotten Realms, then probably even school children have exhaustive knowledge of the creatures. The degree of "common knowledge" could be anywhere along that spectrum.


Earthbeard wrote:

The problem with any real world analogies, is that we have vast swathes of information and education available to ourselves, that, in a faux-medieval style magic world, they probably don't.

The reason we all know silver vs werewolves, is purely down to pop culture (or a Common monster DC, i.e 10 or lower).

Trolls are such a menace to anyone, without the correct knowledge to deal with. That fire kills them should be fairly common knowledge, imho, or at least the common ways to deal with regeneration?

Other stuff is nicely and decently dealt with via various Knowledge checks, though revealing pure rules versus fluffier aspects, is one I've always felt a little uncomfortable in siding for one side or the other! I feel it cheapens the game or story by flat out stating a save mod or AC, but agree that using a fluffier message can sometimes lead to massive problems in interpretation.

They still had bards and story-tellers and singers and such, though. For example, a lot of myths and fairy tales were oral, and only survive because someone wrote them down before they disappeared. We watch telly and listen to the radio. Pre-radio, everyone would to any (live) performances that were on.


Chief Cook and Bottlewasher wrote:


They still had bards and story-tellers and singers and such, though. For example, a lot of myths and fairy tales were oral, and only survive because someone wrote them down before they disappeared. We watch telly and listen to the radio. Pre-radio, everyone would to any (live) performances that were on.

True, but how much of that relayed information is going to be accurate, as opposed to hyperbole rendered for entertainment value, assumptions, prejudices, or otherwise incorrect?

In an area where Trolls are uncommon, for example, but were known from long ago, there might be legends that "everyone knows" that say that Trolls can be driven away by dissonant music (just happened that the last troll seen in the area had a migraine that the time, and ran from a group of kids learning to play the recorder).


Silver for were creatures, a stake through the heart for vampires, at least. I would think 'trolls regenerate' is up there too.

My first line of defence as GM, though, is to describe the creature, not name it. So they'd see 'a Large humanoid creature, about 10 ft tall' (if that's the right height), and then they can make knowledge rolls, and 'the wounds look to be closing', rather than 'it's regenerating'. I would hope if they're sent to look for trolls specifically, they'd also be told the hazards.

(It helps, actually,that I don't have tokens for everything, so they can't assume that's the actual creature.)

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Here's something that might nudge you in the correct direction. In the "Undead Slayer's Handbook" there is an excerpt that states what EVERYONE on the planet knows about undead creatures. I would compare that list and then see what works for you when comparing a list for the troll or other creatures.

Particularly I would compare the second bullet in the "Undead Slayer's Handbook" to the troll's fire/acid vulnerability.

From the "Undead Slayer's Handbook":

"• Holy water damages undead as though it were acid.
Distributed by goodly religious orders the world over,
holy water is the only line of defense against undead
for many commoners."


So does anyone know if "Giant Hunter's Handbook" says anything to that effect? Trolls are giants after all.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Claxon wrote:
So does anyone know if "Giant Hunter's Handbook" says anything to that effect? Trolls are giants after all.

It kind of does but its just giants in general, not specific to a certain kind.


Chief Cook and Bottlewasher wrote:
Earthbeard wrote:

The problem with any real world analogies, is that we have vast swathes of information and education available to ourselves, that, in a faux-medieval style magic world, they probably don't.

The reason we all know silver vs werewolves, is purely down to pop culture (or a Common monster DC, i.e 10 or lower).

Trolls are such a menace to anyone, without the correct knowledge to deal with. That fire kills them should be fairly common knowledge, imho, or at least the common ways to deal with regeneration?

Other stuff is nicely and decently dealt with via various Knowledge checks, though revealing pure rules versus fluffier aspects, is one I've always felt a little uncomfortable in siding for one side or the other! I feel it cheapens the game or story by flat out stating a save mod or AC, but agree that using a fluffier message can sometimes lead to massive problems in interpretation.

They still had bards and story-tellers and singers and such, though. For example, a lot of myths and fairy tales were oral, and only survive because someone wrote them down before they disappeared. We watch telly and listen to the radio. Pre-radio, everyone would to any (live) performances that were on.

I don't doubt, but look at a lot of Mythical creatures from real world lore, most are chinese whispered style monsters at the best and worst!

The best method really for all involved, is just have a open conversation with your players, on how you wish to utilise Knowledge skills and player vs character information.

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