What happens when you attempt to identify a creature with the wrong skill?


Rules Questions


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

If I use the wrong skill to identify a creature, can I at least determine what it is not?

For example, if I encountered an undead creature, and made a Life Sciences check, would I then be aware that it is not an aberration, animal, humanoid, monstrous humanoid, ooze, plant creature, or vermin?


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Do you have to decide which to use before you attempt to identify?

I've always played it as:

Player: I want to identify what this thing is.

GM: Okay, roll a _____ check.

I know in PF2 it would be a GM picks the right skill and rolls for you behind the screen, but I'm not sure about Starfinder.


In Starfinder it'snot an action to identify a creature, unlike PF2, so I'm not sure it matters. I would assume you use all of your knowledge that you have to attempt to identify it. And if you fail...you learn nothing.

Technically you can fail to identify the creature and wouldn't know anything about it.

Though I don't GM that way. I always state that you can identify the general creature type (unless your group just doesn't have that knowledge type) and know the basic traits of the category even if you don't know what creature it is specifically.


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Logically the character isn't going "what do I know about this thing among other living things?"
it's more "Given these pieces of evidence, what is this thing and what do I know?"

So I don't think you even CAN roll the wrong skill. If the DM is being a pain about it, just roll the die once and list the result as if each skill modifier was applied in order( "It's a 22 on Engineering, or a 25 on life science, or an 18 on mysticism, whatever applies" )

Heck, when I'm DM'ing and I want to keep the kind of creature secret in PF1(because just knowing a thing is K(religion) is somewhat of a giveaway to its resistances/immunities if its otherwise difficult to tell it's undead), I just ask the players to do that. Don't tell me what the skill is, just read out the effective totals in order and I pay attention to the sequence and pick the numbered slot I need.


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If something is undead and not advertising their undead status, have them wear a holy symbol.

"Make a knowledge religion check

10: Its a god... you think

15: That's Ibra's holy symbol

20: Thats Ibra's holy symbol and you may want to ask him about the previous owner, who he probably ate because he's a ghoul...


BigNorseWolf wrote:

If something is undead and not advertising their undead status, have them wear a holy symbol.

"Make a knowledge religion check

10: Its a god... you think

15: That's Ibra's holy symbol

20: Thats Ibra's holy symbol and you may want to ask him about the previous owner, who he probably ate because he's a ghoul...

Awesome!


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Yeah, under most circumstances I would not require the player to pick which skill. If the character is specifically concealing their true nature in a way that might be relevant, you really should still allow them to make their called check, because a good ( say ) Life Science roll vs a vampire? Would reveal the important fact that "That's not a living creature, that's an undead". At which point they can use other skills for further details.


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I tell my players to roll the appropriate check, but I am tempted to do something different like what is being said here.

-Player sees strange creature
-GameMaster/StarLord describes creatures features
-Player makes a check of his or her choice (engineering, physical science, life science, mysticism)
-if they roll 10 or better in the engineering/wrong skill, they know that the golem is not a robot, so I can tell them to use the appropriate skill.
-if they roll a 1, I might give them inaccurate information.

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