Recall Knowledge: Which skill applies?

Monsters and Hazards

Dark Archive

I don’t see a list anywhere for which Skill is required to Recall Knowledge for specific creatures.

If the PCs encounter a Ghoul, is that Religion or Occultism? What constitutes a “creature of Occult significance” anyway? What about Dragons? Humanoids? Otyughs? The creature types used to be listed with the Knowledge skill description, but I can’t find any sort of similar list for the Playtest.

What am I missing?

Dark Archive

From what I've read through and played so far, the answer appears to be, disappointingly, GM discretion.

Which has multiple issues. From a core perspective, while Nature and Religion seem well-defined, Occultism and Arcana, for example, have quite blurred lines. Even my current GM is a little baffled at how to describe, say, and Ooze. Is it Nature, because it can arise naturally? Is it Arcane or Occult in nature? Who could even know?

And from the perspective of organised play, it's a disaster. 'GM Discretion' is throughout this book, and it's exactly what causes the most issues with PFS. One GM might always default to Arcana instead of Occultism unless specifically told not to.

Silver Crusade

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

If they don't specify in an errata or the final book you can at least be safely assured that PFS will have a statement and ruling on it, they wouldn't leave something this open.

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They should just have added the skills as a trait to the monsters, this way you would have the info per Monster at a glance.

We are already discussing this issue here : How do you identify monster in playtest?

I'm dropping this link here so that the devs don't have to run into the same debate twice :)

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Let's analyze this.

Arcana's preamble said, "This skill measures how much you know about alchemy, arcane spells, and the most common magic items. Further, it determines how much information you have on theories about alchemy and arcane energies as well as lore about the creatures associated with them."
Its recall knowledge identifies creatures of alchemical or arcane significance.

Nature's preamble said, "You know a great deal about the natural world, and you can command and train animals and magical beasts."
Its recall knowledge identifies creatures of natural significance.

Occultism's preamble said, "You have a great deal of knowledge about ancient philosophies, esoteric lore, obscure mysticism, and supernatural creatures."
Its recall knowledge identifies creatures of occult significance.

Religion's preamble said, "The secrets of deities, dogma, faith, and the realms of divine creatures both sublime and sinister are open to you. You also understand how magic works, though your training gives a religious slant to that knowledge.
Its recall knowledge identifies creatures with divine significance.

Society's preamble said, "You understand the people and systems that make civilization run, and you know the historical events that make societies what they are today. Further, you can use that knowledge
to navigate the twisted workings of settlements, whether they’re physical, societal, or economic."
Its recall knowledge identifies creatures with complex societies.

The identification categories from Knowledge skill in the PF1 Core Rulebook are:
Arcana: constructs, dragons, magical beasts
Dungeoneering: aberrations, oozes
*Geography: people
Local: humanoids
Nature: animals, fey, monstrous humanoids, plants, vermin
*Nobility: personalities, royalty
Planes: outsiders
Religion: gods and goddesses, undead

People, personalities, royalty, and gods are not creature types, so we can assume those categories of Knowledge identify individuals and cultures rather than species. We can toss out (*) Geography and Nobility and remove gods from Religion, leaving six Knowledge skills, three of which match the names of PF2 skills. The obvious matching puts Knowledge(Arcana) into Arcana, Knowledge(Nature) into Nature, Knowledge(Religion) into Religion, and Knowledge(Local) into Society. That would leave aberrations and oozes from Knowledge(Dungeoneering) and outsiders from Knowledge(Planes) for individual considertion.

However, the creature types in the PF2 Bestiary have changed. They are now traits, and the ones that appear to be creature types are Aberration, Animal, Beast, Construct, Demon, Devil, Dragon, Elemental, Fey, Fiend, Fungus, Genie, Humanoid, Ooze, Plant, Tane, and Undead. Since outsiders are split into Demon, Devil, Elemental, Fiend, and Genie, we can split them among PF2 skills. Also, Nature mentioned magical beasts and the category in the PF2 Bestiary is shortened to Beast, so maybe that creature type moved to Nature.

Fey and tane are First World creatures, so they are weird. Thus, I toss them into occult. If I had my way, Occult magic would be renamed the Weird. (I had suggested Dream in another thread, but Weird literally means "involving or suggesting the supernatural; unearthly or uncanny.")

Good-aligned outsiders do not appear in the bestiary, probably because no party fights them in Doomsday Dawn. Let's add them under the name Angel.

I have little clue about oozes, but they seem a lot like beasts and plants, so I am tossing them under Nature.

Arcana: constructs, dragons, elementals
Nature: animals, beasts, fungus, oozes, plants
Occultism: aberrations, fey, genie, tanes
Religion: angels, demons, devils, fiends, undead
Society: humanoids

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DerNils wrote:
They should just have added the skills as a trait to the monsters, this way you would have the info per Monster at a glance.

I mentioned this to my wife, and she loved the idea. It would save the GM the trouble of paging over to the Skills chapter to associate the creature type with a Recall Knowledge skill.

In addition, the creature type in PF2 is thrown among a list of traits. Relevant identification skll would simply be another trait. The trait list could say, "ID Arcana" or "ID Nature", etc. It would also allow atypical identifications, such as putting vampires under "ID Society" rather than "ID Religion", because some vampires might form complex societies and have little association with religion.

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

That is a great idea DerNils!

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Great list Mathmuse!

I would also consider switching fey (putting them under nature as they were in 1E) with oozes (occultism) as well as elementals (nature) and beasts (arcana).

I really like Dernils Idea.


DerNils wrote:
They should just have added the skills as a trait to the monsters, this way you would have the info per Monster at a glance.

And perhaps their Frequency too (Common, Uncommon, Rare) to align with DCs.

Looks like all those values are constants: frequency, creature level, "type". So, if they are indicated in the stat block, why not just directly state the DC for recalling knowledge? It can still be easily modified if the campaign or circumstance needs it, but for 80% of GMs it will just directly be there without needing to consult a table.

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