Recall Knowledge

Skills, Feats, Equipment & Spells

How do people feel about Recall Knowledge and where it currently stands? Specifically Monster Identification. Any word if Paizo is going to make any adjustments to this ability for the official release? Knowledge checks use to be extremely effective (PF1), it seems like acquiring knowledge now is much less rewarding as you are getting a lot less information.

I think I've seen in used in play 3 times (in 6 DD adventures)

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So first off, my group has used it a lot to good effect, they used it extensively in Heroes of Undarin and fairly often in ost of the other parts. It has been a lot of fun as well as useful.

Second, I think it bears sticking in the actual RAW effect of Recall Knowledge from PF1 in here:

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.

This really isn't very much different from PF2, which awards identification and a basic piece of info on the monster's abilities on a success, while a crit success imparts more obscure and potentially more useful knowledge.

Now granted in PF1 recall knowledge didn't take an action but I don't really have a problem with that change. In PF1 you also couldn't try the check again after getting a success in an attempt to get more info.

But the reason I put this here was to highlight that the base effect of PF1 recall knowledge actually isn't that spectacular, at least it isn't really anything too special over PF2. I can't speak to other tables but I know this is one of those things that I've seen almost universally houseruled to provide more than it did RAW, which can lead to PF2 recall seeming less useful if you're comparing it to a houseruled PF1 recall knowledge.

But yeah, my group has used recall knowledge quite a bit.

Good points, ya I guess the most significant change was going from a Free action to a single action.

I'll admit I haven't seen my group use recall knowledge much in the Playtest thus far, but then again, I didn't really see them use it much in PF1 either. They seem to have gotten used to the strategy that hitting the thing is effective 98% of the time anyway, so why bother with the details.

As Edge93 pointed out, Knowledge checks in Pathfinder 1st Edition are weak. It gives a bit (or two or three bits if rolled DC+5 or DC+10) of information, but unless we use the computer science definition of bit (answer to a yes-or-no question) the word just means very little information.

Hence, in PF1 I houseruled Knowledge to fit my campaign's emphasis on foreknowledge and preparation. One bit was general information, such as the name and creature type for identifying a monster. The second bit gave all its offensive, defensive, or special abilities. A third bit gave another of those three categories. And everyone received a free-action Knowledge check upon seeing the monster, even out of their turns.

For PF2 I started the playtest with the rules are written, but my wife pointed out that the information was likely to be useless. Monster Identification gave the best-known attributes, not the most useful information.

Playtest Rulebook, Monster Identification, page 338 wrote:

Monster Identification

Identifying monster abilities is one of the most common
uses of Recall Knowledge. The monster’s commonality
sets the difficulty: low for common monsters, high for
uncommon, and severe for rare or unique. Most monsters’
level should be the level of the DC, but you could reduce
the level drastically for really famous monsters. A
character who succeeds identifies the monster and singles
out one of its best-known attributes—such as a troll’s
weakness to acid and fire or a manticore’s tail spikes. On
a critical success, the character gets that information plus
something more subtle, like a demon’s weakness or the
trigger for a reaction.

After a success, further uses of Recall Knowledge can
yield more information, but you should increase the
difficulty each time. Once a character has attempted
an extreme-difficulty check or failed a check, further
attempts are fruitless.

She insisted on houserules again, but she wanted a PF2 flavor. She liked the character backgrounds and wanted my descriptions of information to roleplay off those backgrounds. Shape the information based on what the character would have listened to or learned in the past. A warrior fighter would be interested in attacks and tactics. A scholar wizard would be interested in arcane nature and magical abilities. An acolyte cleric would be interested in similar creatures from scripture and history. An urchin rogue would be interested in how dangerous it is and how valuable its treasure is.

My wife's barbarian Haku Na Matata of a nomadic mountain tribe encounters a giant scorpion (page 102 in the Playtest Bestiary). As a child she had listened to Mountain Lore stories at the campfire. The storyteller told about the day he fought a giant scorpion. He waved his arms to mimic the pincers that grab and the tail that stings with venom. He claimed that its chitin exoskeleton is like hardened hide (here I can mention AC 18 and TAC 14). He said its tail lashed out lightning fast. That hints of its Scorpion Sting reaction Strike. All of this is one story of information about a warrior fighting a giant scorpion. Since the warrior avoided the sting, the listener didn't learn anything about the venom, but maybe a second Recall Knowledge check would recall another event where the tribal healer was helping a victim of scorpion venom and young Haku saw the feebleness of the poisoned patient.

With that level of information, my players often used Recall Knowledge. In fact, I found the Recall Knowledge check convenient for initiative, because it was the first action for most of them. "Something in the water attacks you. You may roll Arcana for Recall Knowledge. Okay, let's make that the initiative roll, because the creature in the water is also trying to figure out what you are. If you rolled for Recall Knowledge that will count as your first action. And the creature's first action."

By the way, I don't understand why the second Recall Knowledge roll after a successful roll has a higher DC. In real life, dredging some information out of my memory helps me unlock my full memories.

Here is some other discussions on Recall Knowledge, copied from Knowledge checks?

Mathmuse wrote:
Atalius wrote:
Is there any way to make knowledge checks vs various enemies? And does it require a single action?

Use Recall Knowledge action (single action, see page 145, 151, 153, 154, 156, or 157) with the relevant skill roll.

Which skill is relevant is ambiguous. We have had some discussions.
August 3, 2018: How do you identify monster in playtest?
August 8, 2018: Recall Knowledge: Which skill applies?

And though Recall Knowledge is a single action, it gives very little information, so multiple Recall Knowledge actions might be necessary to find useful information. And the DC goes up with every check. I houseruled the activity to give a useful amount of information.
October 12, 2018: My house rules
August 2, 2018: Knowledge - monsters seriously, seriously nerfed

We had a hard time using it, both because of the action cost but also because it wasn't clear exactly what information it should give (what are the "best known attributes" of more esoteric monsters that aren't well known in general?), or which knowledge to use when it either wasn't obvious or we didn't just fall back on what it would have been in PF1.

We ended up using it mostly like it worked in PF1, and that worked fine... but it's not RAW at all.

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I don't agree with knowing something costing an action.
What I'm going to do is knowledge checks will cost no action. But if you fail it, you can spend an action to think harder, because gosh you swear you read that somewhere... with a slight increase to the DC for your second try.

Barnabas Eckleworth III wrote:

I don't agree with knowing something costing an action.

What I'm going to do is knowledge checks will cost no action. But if you fail it, you can spend an action to think harder, because gosh you swear you read that somewhere... with a slight increase to the DC for your second try.

I envision it as taking a few seconds to gather your thoughts. A round is 6 seconds. But Recall Knowledge has to give enough information to make it worth that action.

My wife also found a way to abuse it. During the 5-minute breaks in Affair at Sombrefell Hall, the characters made multiple Recall Knowledge checks to remember everything about the monsters that they already encountered and might encounter again in the next wave.

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