Identifying a Creature Type = Automatic?


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So, I know that you have to do a knowledge check to know the abilities of various creatures. However, can you identify a creature's type without any roll at all? Does the game assume that you know what a vampire (for instance) is, but you may not know the strengths and weaknesses of a vampire?

Or is it a roll of a 10 to ID a creature. Closest thing a found to answer my question was

Identify a common plant or animal; Nature 10.

So would this be the same for all creatures, however, you just change the type of Knowledge Skill you use?

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

With the games I've ran, the base Knowledge DC is needed for the base creature information (race/type/subtype and all basic information with that).

"Oh, that's a demon. You know..." and give the information for the Demon subtype". Usually also give the name of the creature, such as a Maralith, just to make it easier.

I provide additional information for each 5 above the Knowledge DC (think this already mentioned in the skill description), such as Maraliths are know to enchant and very proficient with their swords. And/or Maraliths have SLAs, with true seeing and unholy aura. I kinda pick and choose what bits of information to provide based on what I think would be the most-common fact known about a Maralith and continue with individual facts towards the lesser-common facts. Whether a fact is common, or less common, is kinda of arbitrary based upon my personal opinion, but it's worked for my group so far.

Hope this helps.


I do something similar to ckdragons. When the PC's encounter something they have to roll the their knowledge check vs the DC as described in skill. This allows them to identify what the creature is. I also throw in one of sections in the creatures Stat Block (Defense, Offense, Statistics etc.), I let my players choose which section. Then for every 5 over the Base DC they can roll I allow them to choose an additional section.

Now that being said I also do just read it out as written. I try to jazz it up with some Tolkin'esc description as if they were remembering something they read from some old tome or folklore, so they still have to kinda guess the mechanics (though I try to make it pretty easy or obvious, especially if they have encountered something similar in their characters past).


For every 5 over, the players know one bit of info, I let the players choose what they'd like to know... special attacks, defenses like aura's, immunities (1) or resistances (again, 1), potent spells or SLA's, etc... fluffed out descriptively.


To identify a creature (which is what type it is) is normally DC 10+CR. Officially I'm unaware of anything that lets you know it's type without knowing what it is at an easier DC.

So yes, that little thing is a dragon, and the big thing that looks like is is unknown type.


ironically you need to do a knowledge check to identify a creature type, which you need to identify which knowledge skill you need to use to identify the creature


So let me get this straight. Ten dogs are lined up side by side. You make your knowledge check to know that the first dog is a dog. You then need to repeat this nine more times to realize that all the animals in front of you are dogs?

You want to go and buy a horse. You have to make a knowledge check to even know that what you are buying is a horse?

You know how to speak human, elven, and orcish, but you may not even know what a human, elf, or orc is?

These are the consequence of requiring a knowledge check for just identifying type (not strengths, weaknesses, and other useful info) of a creature?


Driver 325 yards wrote:

So let me get this straight. Ten dogs are lined up side by side. You make your knowledge check to know that the first dog is a dog. You then need to repeat this nine more times to realize that all the animals in front of you are dogs?

You want to go and buy a horse. You have to make a knowledge check to even know that what you are buying is a horse?

You know how to speak human, elven, and orcish, but you may not even know what a human, elf, or orc is?

These are the consequence of requiring a knowledge check for just identifying type (not strengths, weaknesses, and other useful info) of a creature?

pretty much and its super dumb


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

We have the possibly contradictory bit of information that a monster knowledge check for a common monster is 5 + CR, or just 5 for a creature that is common and not very dangerous (CR < 1).

The physical description of a creature by itself can eliminate some possible creature types (as a creature that looks and acts like a human clearly isn't an animal, while one that looks and acts like a dog clearly isn't a humanoid, assuming no disguise/illusion/polymorph effects are messing things up) but won't necessarily pin down the exact creature type (as the guy who looks human might actually be a vampire or an aasimar, for example -- one being an undead and the other being a native outsider).


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Driver 325 yards wrote:

So let me get this straight. Ten dogs are lined up side by side. You make your knowledge check to know that the first dog is a dog. You then need to repeat this nine more times to realize that all the animals in front of you are dogs?

You want to go and buy a horse. You have to make a knowledge check to even know that what you are buying is a horse?

You know how to speak human, elven, and orcish, but you may not even know what a human, elf, or orc is?

These are the consequence of requiring a knowledge check for just identifying type (not strengths, weaknesses, and other useful info) of a creature?

It makes sense in certain situations. A lot of dragons don't have Knowledge (Arcana) and can't make the roll to identify a dragon. Consequently, the half-dragon template can be applied to any living, corporeal creature (i.e. Anything with a pulse). It follows that the draconic method of progenerating the species is through luck and persistence.


David knott 242 wrote:

We have the possibly contradictory bit of information that a monster knowledge check for a common monster is 5 + CR, or just 5 for a creature that is common and not very dangerous (CR < 1).

The physical description of a creature by itself can eliminate some possible creature types (as a creature that looks and acts like a human clearly isn't an animal, while one that looks and acts like a dog clearly isn't a humanoid, assuming no disguise/illusion/polymorph effects are messing things up) but won't necessarily pin down the exact creature type (as the guy who looks human might actually be a vampire or an aasimar, for example -- one being an undead and the other being a native outsider).

Wow, the monster knowledge check is contradictory. It is also goofy. Why is it harder to recognize a CR5 vampire than it is to recognize a CR10 vampire?

IF the 5+CR is the real standard, then maybe it is only a 5 to identify the type of creature and the +CR is to understanding the extra bits of information.


Driver 325 yards wrote:

So let me get this straight. Ten dogs are lined up side by side. You make your knowledge check to know that the first dog is a dog. You then need to repeat this nine more times to realize that all the animals in front of you are dogs?

You want to go and buy a horse. You have to make a knowledge check to even know that what you are buying is a horse?

You know how to speak human, elven, and orcish, but you may not even know what a human, elf, or orc is?

These are the consequence of requiring a knowledge check for just identifying type (not strengths, weaknesses, and other useful info) of a creature?

I would would say that yes, this is technically correct. BUT... what isn't being factored into your assertion is that it is ultimately up to the GM to decide the DCs for all your examples. Even necessary to identify the MANY MANY common things not in the Beastieries.

That Horse your trying to buy? I'd say DC 3 Nature or Local. You decide to roll, have no bonuses and not Int bonus, then sure, you might mistake it for a Donkey.

Those ten dogs? I'll set that DC at 5, but you'll get a +2 bonus since your from the area on the first one. Then, since you recognized the first I'll give you another +2 bonus to identify the next since it looks so similar to the first, and then the next,and next.

Also, taking 10 is a rule designed to help make this process just background noise in all but the most unusual cases.

The skill system is just the framework to adjudicate how to do the things, but common things are not likely to be a problem because it's a system with the flexibility to let the GM decide what will be easy or difficult for PCs to identify.


Driver 325 yards wrote:

So let me get this straight. Ten dogs are lined up side by side. You make your knowledge check to know that the first dog is a dog. You then need to repeat this nine more times to realize that all the animals in front of you are dogs?

You want to go and buy a horse. You have to make a knowledge check to even know that what you are buying is a horse?

You know how to speak human, elven, and orcish, but you may not even know what a human, elf, or orc is?

These are the consequence of requiring a knowledge check for just identifying type (not strengths, weaknesses, and other useful info) of a creature?

these are all examples of the DC 5 +cr which the dumbest can make by taking ten. thus all the commoners buying horses know it's a horse


Chess Pwn wrote:
Driver 325 yards wrote:

So let me get this straight. Ten dogs are lined up side by side. You make your knowledge check to know that the first dog is a dog. You then need to repeat this nine more times to realize that all the animals in front of you are dogs?

You want to go and buy a horse. You have to make a knowledge check to even know that what you are buying is a horse?

You know how to speak human, elven, and orcish, but you may not even know what a human, elf, or orc is?

These are the consequence of requiring a knowledge check for just identifying type (not strengths, weaknesses, and other useful info) of a creature?

these are all examples of the DC 5 +cr which the dumbest can make by taking ten. thus all the commoners buying horses know it's a horse

there are some abilities and drawbacks that prevent rolling knowledges untrained and others that prevent taking 10 so with those you cant even take 10 to figure out what your own species is


Driver 325 yards wrote:

So, I know that you have to do a knowledge check to know the abilities of various creatures. However, can you identify a creature's type without any roll at all? Does the game assume that you know what a vampire (for instance) is, but you may not know the strengths and weaknesses of a vampire?

Or is it a roll of a 10 to ID a creature. Closest thing a found to answer my question was

Identify a common plant or animal; Nature 10.

So would this be the same for all creatures, however, you just change the type of Knowledge Skill you use?

Best you get I think is Knowledge (Planes) DC 20: Identify a creature's planar origin

That lets you know whether something is an Outsider with a good chance of success. There are edge cases where something is a Native Outsider and you might suspect it is not an outsider since your check would tell you it is from the Prime Material Plane.


Chess Pwn wrote:
Driver 325 yards wrote:

So let me get this straight. Ten dogs are lined up side by side. You make your knowledge check to know that the first dog is a dog. You then need to repeat this nine more times to realize that all the animals in front of you are dogs?

You want to go and buy a horse. You have to make a knowledge check to even know that what you are buying is a horse?

You know how to speak human, elven, and orcish, but you may not even know what a human, elf, or orc is?

These are the consequence of requiring a knowledge check for just identifying type (not strengths, weaknesses, and other useful info) of a creature?

these are all examples of the DC 5 +cr which the dumbest can make by taking ten. thus all the commoners buying horses know it's a horse

Not if the Human, Elf, or Orc is a 6th level barbarian. Something about those high level barbarians that makes identifying them beyond normal capabilities.

Also, the horse is an animal and according to the charts it is a DC 10 to identify a common animal. Something about those animals that are more difficult to identify than a common aberration.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Driver 325 yards wrote:
Chess Pwn wrote:
Driver 325 yards wrote:

So let me get this straight. Ten dogs are lined up side by side. You make your knowledge check to know that the first dog is a dog. You then need to repeat this nine more times to realize that all the animals in front of you are dogs?

You want to go and buy a horse. You have to make a knowledge check to even know that what you are buying is a horse?

You know how to speak human, elven, and orcish, but you may not even know what a human, elf, or orc is?

These are the consequence of requiring a knowledge check for just identifying type (not strengths, weaknesses, and other useful info) of a creature?

these are all examples of the DC 5 +cr which the dumbest can make by taking ten. thus all the commoners buying horses know it's a horse

Not if the Human, Elf, or Orc is a 6th level barbarian. Something about those high level barbarians that makes identifying them beyond normal capabilities.

Also, the horse is an animal and according to the charts it is a DC 10 to identify a common animal. Something about those animals that are more difficult to identify than a common aberration.

Actually, as per the Knowledge skill, the DC is 5 + CR to identify a common creature. So a light horse would be DC 6. Even a heavy horse is DC 7. Heck, a goblin is DC 6!

Further, anyone can make a Knowledge skill check if the DC is 10 or less. No ranks needed (again as per the skill description).

While I agree with some earlier posts it doesn't make a lot of sense that some commoner with an INT 10 can't identify a horse 50% of the time, but then again we are playing a game of magic, dragons, demons, and gods. So we work within the rules, and need to throw common sense out the window sometimes. ;-)

Scarab Sages

Driver 325 yards wrote:

So let me get this straight. Ten dogs are lined up side by side. You make your knowledge check to know that the first dog is a dog. You then need to repeat this nine more times to realize that all the animals in front of you are dogs?

You want to go and buy a horse. You have to make a knowledge check to even know that what you are buying is a horse?

You know how to speak human, elven, and orcish, but you may not even know what a human, elf, or orc is?

These are the consequence of requiring a knowledge check for just identifying type (not strengths, weaknesses, and other useful info) of a creature?

Which is why I run it with a little common sense. If it's a new creature they're not likely to have run into before they make a check or the character has learnt something new (more skill ranks, higher int) They can ask to make a check to see if they know something more. If they've run into before especially regularly no check is required. If it looks like a dog, sounds like a dog and acts like a dog you'll know it's a dog. Even if it's really a shape changing creature from outerspace or a blink dog.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Failing a knowledge check does not magically erase any knowledge about the creature that you had before. Succeeding adds to it


I tend to go with, as a general rule players only roll on stuff if there is a chance of success or a chance of failure. So just like you don't bother to ask a party of seasoned adventurers to make climb or acrobatics checks to get over a 4 foot wall, cut off any need to make knowledge checks for "is this a dragon, a fish, or an ooze" by just describing the thing using the appropriate word.

If the player asks something silly like "is the dragon a dragon" you can make them roll though.


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To be fair, the higher level you attain, the less human you seem to be.

"That angry guy with the axe just got kicked off a cliff by a giant! He seems a little annoyed about it. Is he a demon?"


Hi,
so I have a question related to this post. So one of my players wants to use the 2nd level spell "Alter Self" to assume the form of a Sewer Troll that has 10 ft reach with its two natural claw attacks and additional perks like scent, darkvision, and lowlight vision.

To be honest I do not feel comfortable to allow a character to just assume any humanoid form just because the player has checked every humanoid race to identify the races with the best mechanic benefits.

So based on your suggestions to identify the type/subtype of the creature, what DC would you use so the character knows which benefits a certain humanoid race (or other monster if other polymorph spells are used) provides, e.g. number of attacks, movement, vision, special senses?

Thanks

Scarab Sages

In regards to that Djadugar remember alter self's limitations and requirements . . .

Components V, S, M (a piece of the creature whose form you plan to assume)
If the form you assume has any of the following abilities, you gain the listed ability: darkvision 60 feet, low-light vision, scent, and swim 30 feet.

So he'll need a piece of sewer troll every time he wants to transform and a case could be made he will only get darkvision, low light vision, scent and claws but not its number of attacksm, regeneration or any other abilities. Even if he does get its natural attacks usually those are in place of weapons so while he can make 2 claw attacks they'll be instead of his normal BAB or magical weapons and the like. At least as I understand it.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Driver 325 yards wrote:


Wow, the monster knowledge check is contradictory. It is also goofy. Why is it harder to recognize a CR5 vampire than it is to recognize a CR10 vampire?

IF the 5+CR is the real standard, then maybe it is only a 5 to identify the type of creature and the +CR is to understanding the extra bits of information.

For templated creatures or creatures with class levels I typically use the base CR, i.e. a vampire is CR+2 so the DC would be 12 to get basic vampire info. I do not give any information about the class levels a creature has based on a knowledge check unless the creature innately has those levels (i.e. Dragons with spell casting)


Senko wrote:

In regards to that Djadugar remember alter self's limitations and requirements . . .

Components V, S, M (a piece of the creature whose form you plan to assume)
If the form you assume has any of the following abilities, you gain the listed ability: darkvision 60 feet, low-light vision, scent, and swim 30 feet.

So he'll need a piece of sewer troll every time he wants to transform and a case could be made he will only get darkvision, low light vision, scent and claws but not its number of attacksm, regeneration or any other abilities. Even if he does get its natural attacks usually those are in place of weapons so while he can make 2 claw attacks they'll be instead of his normal BAB or magical weapons and the like. At least as I understand it.

in addition he will be a medium size troll so no 10 foot reach


Lady-J wrote:
Chess Pwn wrote:
Driver 325 yards wrote:

So let me get this straight. Ten dogs are lined up side by side. You make your knowledge check to know that the first dog is a dog. You then need to repeat this nine more times to realize that all the animals in front of you are dogs?

You want to go and buy a horse. You have to make a knowledge check to even know that what you are buying is a horse?

You know how to speak human, elven, and orcish, but you may not even know what a human, elf, or orc is?

These are the consequence of requiring a knowledge check for just identifying type (not strengths, weaknesses, and other useful info) of a creature?

these are all examples of the DC 5 +cr which the dumbest can make by taking ten. thus all the commoners buying horses know it's a horse
there are some abilities and drawbacks that prevent rolling knowledges untrained and others that prevent taking 10 so with those you cant even take 10 to figure out what your own species is

Imagine the dumb bandit raider running into the stables that is on fire and full of smoke, he is trying to steal horse in the confusion of the bandit raid. He jumps on a horse and rides it out of town, only to be laughed down by his companions when he get out of the battle and fire and smoke only to realize he stole a donkey instead of a horse.

Sound like an entertaining and believable story? There is your failed DC 5 skill check.

Same thing applies if he got in a fight in the stable; the chaos of battle, another body in his way, he just hit it with his axe and kept going, he never stopped to look to see if it was the halfling sheriff or just an unlucky human child.

Some of the more absurd situations can be explained away by taking a ten or applying appropriate circumstance bonuses. Remove the ability to take ten and reverse those circumstance bonuses and these absurd points start to look more plausible.

...Except for the DC 10 limit on untrained knowledge checks. Not sure about that one.


Lady-J wrote:
in addition he will be a medium size troll so no 10 foot reach

Medium sized sewer trolls have 10-ft. reach with their claws, their size has nothing to do with it.


Senko wrote:

In regards to that Djadugar remember alter self's limitations and requirements . . .

Components V, S, M (a piece of the creature whose form you plan to assume)
If the form you assume has any of the following abilities, you gain the listed ability: darkvision 60 feet, low-light vision, scent, and swim 30 feet.

So he'll need a piece of sewer troll every time he wants to transform and a case could be made he will only get darkvision, low light vision, scent and claws but not its number of attacksm, regeneration or any other abilities. Even if he does get its natural attacks usually those are in place of weapons so while he can make 2 claw attacks they'll be instead of his normal BAB or magical weapons and the like. At least as I understand it.

Good thing a simple Spell Components Pouch has an infinite number of Sewer Troll Pieces then huh?


Avoron wrote:
Lady-J wrote:
in addition he will be a medium size troll so no 10 foot reach
Medium sized sewer trolls have 10-ft. reach with their claws, their size has nothing to do with it.

weird, they still wouldn't get the reach tho as its not one of the qualities granted by alter self


DM Livgin wrote:
Lady-J wrote:
Chess Pwn wrote:
Driver 325 yards wrote:

So let me get this straight. Ten dogs are lined up side by side. You make your knowledge check to know that the first dog is a dog. You then need to repeat this nine more times to realize that all the animals in front of you are dogs?

You want to go and buy a horse. You have to make a knowledge check to even know that what you are buying is a horse?

You know how to speak human, elven, and orcish, but you may not even know what a human, elf, or orc is?

These are the consequence of requiring a knowledge check for just identifying type (not strengths, weaknesses, and other useful info) of a creature?

these are all examples of the DC 5 +cr which the dumbest can make by taking ten. thus all the commoners buying horses know it's a horse
there are some abilities and drawbacks that prevent rolling knowledges untrained and others that prevent taking 10 so with those you cant even take 10 to figure out what your own species is

Imagine the dumb bandit raider running into the stables that is on fire and full of smoke, he is trying to steal horse in the confusion of the bandit raid. He jumps on a horse and rides it out of town, only to be laughed down by his companions when he get out of the battle and fire and smoke only to realize he stole a donkey instead of a horse.

Sound like an entertaining and believable story? There is your failed DC 5 skill check.

Same thing applies if he got in a fight in the stable; the chaos of battle, another body in his way, he just hit it with his axe and kept going, he never stopped to look to see if it was the halfling sheriff or just an unlucky human child.

Some of the more absurd situations can be explained away by taking a ten or applying appropriate circumstance bonuses. Remove the ability to take ten and reverse those circumstance bonuses and these absurd points start to look more plausible.

...Except for the DC 10 limit on untrained knowledge checks. Not sure about...

also most people cant take 10 on things in stressful situations so if a village gets attacked by goblins and no one has a rank in the knowledge skill they probably wont be able to identify that they are being attacked by goblins


Lady-J wrote:
also most people cant take 10 on things in stressful situations so if a village gets attacked by goblins and no one has a rank in the knowledge skill they probably wont be able to identify that they are being attacked by goblins

Apply a narrative and this doesn't sound so silly. "They came in the night, demons I tell you!" said the backwoods farmer.

The adventures looked from one to the other "Short, about waist high? Kinda green? Really liked fire?" ask Valeros, taking the lead on this one.
"Yes, as I said; demons!" exclaims the villager.
"No. Not demons. Goblins." sighs Valeros, he always gets burned on these ones.
"Goblins, we don't get them around these parts. Only backwoods villages get those. We haven't had goblins for generations!"

Scarab Sages

Lady-J wrote:
Avoron wrote:
Lady-J wrote:
in addition he will be a medium size troll so no 10 foot reach
Medium sized sewer trolls have 10-ft. reach with their claws, their size has nothing to do with it.
weird, they still wouldn't get the reach tho as its not one of the qualities granted by alter self

Its a gray area the reach is granted by its extra long claws which are a part of the form he's assumed so I'd say more of a GM call unlike say a troll's regeneration.

@Anzyr
I wouldn't allow it to be in a wizards pouch in my game. Common material components like horse or dog hair sure but not the flesh of a sewer troll. Sure its technically not an item that "has a specific cost, divine foci or a foci that can't fit in" but still that's more because troll flesh is priceless you can't just stroll into a local butcher and buy it.

Still I suppose another GM call situation but still feels like an abuse of RAW to me. Its intended to allow cheap easily available components like bird droppings to be available to the character without their needing to find a handy seagull every few adventures. If your going to start insisting that it contains the flesh of a creature that's a rare threat you may as well research a spell that has a material component of "A handful of diamond dust" that fits in and doesn't have a specific cost. How many GP is in a handful? Well it depends on the hand a 5'6 slender elven woman's hands are going to be a lot smaller than the 6'4 half orc male and without a specific cost the bag holds as you say "an unlimited amount" but its a component that otherwise meets the requirements. So you just keep pulling "handfuls of diamond dust" out of your bag then sell a set amount e.g. 1kg of it in town. A handful has no set cost but once you've measured it out so you have a full 1kg then you can put a price on that.


Senko wrote:
Lady-J wrote:
Avoron wrote:
Lady-J wrote:
in addition he will be a medium size troll so no 10 foot reach
Medium sized sewer trolls have 10-ft. reach with their claws, their size has nothing to do with it.
weird, they still wouldn't get the reach tho as its not one of the qualities granted by alter self

Its a gray area the reach is granted by its extra long claws which are a part of the form he's assumed so I'd say more of a GM call unlike say a troll's regeneration.

you don't get natural attacks with alter self either

Scarab Sages

You do. It's in the magic rules for the polymorph school. You get what's listed in the spell, plus what's listed for polymorph school magic.

Magic wrote:

Polymorph: a polymorph spell transforms your physical body to take on the shape of another creature. While these spells make you appear to be the creature, granting you a +10 bonus on Disguise skill checks, they do not grant you all of the abilities and powers of the creature. Each polymorph spell allows you to assume the form of a creature of a specific type, granting you a number of bonuses to your ability scores and a bonus to your natural armor. In addition, each polymorph spell can grant you a number of other benefits, including movement types, resistances, and senses. If the form you choose grants these benefits, or a greater ability of the same type, you gain the listed benefit. If the form grants a lesser ability of the same type, you gain the lesser ability instead. Your base speed changes to match that of the form you assume. If the form grants a swim or burrow speed, you maintain the ability to breathe if you are swimming or burrowing. The DC for any of these abilities equals your DC for the polymorph spell used to change you into that form.

In addition to these benefits, you gain any of the natural attacks of the base creature, including proficiency in those attacks. These attacks are based on your base attack bonus, modified by your Strength or Dexterity as appropriate, and use your Strength modifier for determining damage bonuses.

If a polymorph spell causes you to change size, apply the size modifiers appropriately, changing your armor class, attack bonus, Combat Maneuver Bonus, and Stealth skill modifiers. Your ability scores are not modified by this change unless noted by the spell.


one assumes there is one automatic identification of abilities, your own race.


Driver 325 yards wrote:
David knott 242 wrote:

We have the possibly contradictory bit of information that a monster knowledge check for a common monster is 5 + CR, or just 5 for a creature that is common and not very dangerous (CR < 1).

The physical description of a creature by itself can eliminate some possible creature types (as a creature that looks and acts like a human clearly isn't an animal, while one that looks and acts like a dog clearly isn't a humanoid, assuming no disguise/illusion/polymorph effects are messing things up) but won't necessarily pin down the exact creature type (as the guy who looks human might actually be a vampire or an aasimar, for example -- one being an undead and the other being a native outsider).

Wow, the monster knowledge check is contradictory. It is also goofy. Why is it harder to recognize a CR5 vampire than it is to recognize a CR10 vampire?

IF the 5+CR is the real standard, then maybe it is only a 5 to identify the type of creature and the +CR is to understanding the extra bits of information.

Never include class levels in CR for purposes of knowledge checks.

Conversly, a successful knowledge check won't reveal class levels.


Volkard Abendroth wrote:
Never include class levels in CR for purposes of knowledge checks.

So what's the knowledge check to ID a vampire? The one from the book is CR 9, but that's got 8 class levels.


Azothath wrote:
one assumes there is one automatic identification of abilities, your own race.

Probably not. Alternate racial traits are a thing - just think of all the aasimar and tiefling variants.

Maybe the guy next to you at the bar has low-light vision because his grandparents lived near fey. The guy next to him just really likes working in the fields, and rarely tires. And the bartender? He was actually raised by a pair of gnomes, and has a flick-mace under the counter in case of trouble.

Grand Lodge

Azothath wrote:
one assumes there is one automatic identification of abilities, your own race.

Only the standard features may be known, not the variants.


I think this is going to vary by monster.

A skeleton... yeah that ones pretty obvious. Vampire, not so much.

Dark Archive

I'd set the DC for identifying a common race at 5, based on this line: "For common monsters, such as goblins, the DC of this check equals 5 + the monster's CR." As the lowest CR a creature can have is lower than 1, I'd set the DC at 5.

Vampires and such are a bit trickier. Usually, you'd go end up with at least a CR of 6, and vampires aren't that common so I'd set the DC at 16 for all vampires. You can create a CR4 Kobold Commoner Vampire at CR4 which would screw this up.

Say the players screw up the roll by 5 or more, would you give the players false information about the monster?


the David wrote:

I'd set the DC for identifying a common race at 5, based on this line: "For common monsters, such as goblins, the DC of this check equals 5 + the monster's CR." As the lowest CR a creature can have is lower than 1, I'd set the DC at 5.

Vampires and such are a bit trickier. Usually, you'd go end up with at least a CR of 6, and vampires aren't that common so I'd set the DC at 16 for all vampires.

How about dragons? If you know that a baby red dragon breathes fire, you can probably guess that an ancient red dragon would do the same.


The rules have no saying in that, does the player have any agency to knowing which knowledge roll was rolled.

Hidden rolls leading to "None of you know what it is" do not reveal the creature type.

Dark Archive

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Matthew Downie wrote:
the David wrote:

I'd set the DC for identifying a common race at 5, based on this line: "For common monsters, such as goblins, the DC of this check equals 5 + the monster's CR." As the lowest CR a creature can have is lower than 1, I'd set the DC at 5.

Vampires and such are a bit trickier. Usually, you'd go end up with at least a CR of 6, and vampires aren't that common so I'd set the DC at 16 for all vampires.

How about dragons? If you know that a baby red dragon breathes fire, you can probably guess that an ancient red dragon would do the same.

Sure, so you've got a DC of 16 for a red dragon. This will only tell you about the abilities of a wyrmling red dragon though. You can only find out about that acient red dragon's melt stone ability by rolling a 29 or higher.


Driver 325 yards wrote:
So let me get this straight. Ten dogs are lined up side by side. You make your knowledge check to know that the first dog is a dog. You then need to repeat this nine more times to realize that all the animals in front of you are dogs?

In the world of Golarion (and heck, eve here on Earth) there are a variety of different things that look like dogs that aren't actually dogs....

Of course, you can make an assumption that all the rest are dogs because you identified the first one and the others look similar.

The Barghest whelp will probably thank you.


You know I've never bothered to learn the Knowledge rules beyond 'untrained rolls are capped at ten'. This thread indicates I made the right decision. My approach is to let the player read the stat block/text for the creature usually for a number of seconds =d20+skill. I increase this time for players with reading difficulties and decrease this time if the creature is a bit more obscure. I'm sure to point out that what's in the stat block is what they think they know of the creature and even then the stat block is only for a 'typical' example of that creature; the stat block covers the broad strokes but the specific creature the party is making a check on might have different stats or abilities.


Matthew Downie wrote:
Volkard Abendroth wrote:
Never include class levels in CR for purposes of knowledge checks.
So what's the knowledge check to ID a vampire? The one from the book is CR 9, but that's got 8 class levels.

Whatever the base creature + template comes out to. I assume human base, so DC 12 unless the vampire is using the Disguise skill. This is still beyond the abilities of anyone lacking Knowledge: Religion.

The alternative is arguing that high level humans are unrecognizable as human by anyone lacking ranks in Knowledge: Local.

Given the vampire's weaknesses, I would assume most would disguise their true nature, necessitating an opposed perception check prior to the Knowledge: Religion check.


DM Livgin wrote:
Lady-J wrote:
also most people cant take 10 on things in stressful situations so if a village gets attacked by goblins and no one has a rank in the knowledge skill they probably wont be able to identify that they are being attacked by goblins

Apply a narrative and this doesn't sound so silly. "They came in the night, demons I tell you!" said the backwoods farmer.

The adventures looked from one to the other "Short, about waist high? Kinda green? Really liked fire?" ask Valeros, taking the lead on this one.
"Yes, as I said; demons!" exclaims the villager.
"No. Not demons. Goblins." sighs Valeros, he always gets burned on these ones.
"Goblins, we don't get them around these parts. Only backwoods villages get those. We haven't had goblins for generations!"

I'd like to borrow this story, because I think it is a great example of how the identify DC should be done.

"Common" is a relative term. A commoner in a village that have never been raided by goblins may need that check. While I bet the people of Sandpoint can automatically identify a goblin on sight with no check required.

I am not fond of the 'rule' DC 5+CR to simply identify a creature, since it doesn't give any usefull information. And I'd like to suggest that sometimes it's better to ignore certain rules when NPCs are involved IF is it for the sake of a good narrative. Otherwise one can find mechanichally impossible to believe that "Yipping demons have been spotted and even attacked miners and guards alike".

Also, when you are attacked by a pack of wolves leaded by a vampiric direwolf is it better to roll once for every same kind of creature. One DC 10+1 for wolves and another DC 10+3+2 for the leader.

I'd like to point out that the DC to identify the 'creature features' between a lvl 1 and a lvl 20 warrior orc is the same. There's a book that have rules to identify features that are not gained through hit dice.

Every time a PC is given certain information about a creature she should be allowed to remember that information.

I've ran out of time and I'm leaving this post incomplete. I'll try to share more of my opinion after weekend.

Cheers everyone!

Scarab Sages

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I don't know if I should be embarrassed but I saw a mule in real life for the first time last year, and I thought it was a horse. I realized something was odd about it, but not enough to think it's not a horse. I expected mules to look more like donkeys, but apparently mules are a lot bigger with smaller ears. So that could be an example of failing identification for a common creature.

An NPC might try to pass off a drafthorse as a warhorse, etc. Or warg hide among wolves or large dogs

We actually skip the first roll and just ask for the correct knowledge roll. That breaks some immersion but moves things along.


Berti Blackfoot wrote:

I don't know if I should be embarrassed but I saw a mule in real life for the first time last year, and I thought it was a horse. I realized something was odd about it, but not enough to think it's not a horse. I expected mules to look more like donkeys, but apparently mules are a lot bigger with smaller ears. So that could be an example of failing identification for a common creature.

An NPC might try to pass off a drafthorse as a warhorse, etc. Or warg hide among wolves or large dogs

We actually skip the first roll and just ask for the correct knowledge roll. That breaks some immersion but moves things along.

We're talking about *types* here though right? Last I checked the Types were: Abberation, Animal, Construct, Dragon, Fey, Humanoid, Magical Beast, Monstrous Humanoid, Ooze, Outsider, Plant, Undead, and Vermin.

Since I believe you would conclude upon seeing a mule, zebu, donkey, elephant, goat, horse, zebra, and giraffe "each of these is an animal" without laboring under the impression that it might be a plant or a humanoid; I believe the type is the sort of thing we can give for free in most cases.

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