Knowledge in PF2


Rules Discussion

1 to 50 of 107 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | next > last >>
Silver Crusade

6 people marked this as a favorite.

One of the things that is bugging me in PF2 is how ineffectual knowledge checks seem to be.

I find that putting down my concerns and soliciting opinions helps me get perspective.

So, comments solicited :-)

The core of my concern is that the rules seem to strongly encourage (if not outright state) that GMs should be very scarce in what information they give out. And GMs seem to be embracing that idea (I've played under several different GMs in PFS so far). Combine that with GMs telling me what they want as opposed to my asking what I care about

When combined with the fact that knowledge checks take a valuable action AND build space AND that critical failures are a thing, especially if your knowledge isn't absolutely maxed out I'm seeing that characters often know next to nothing about what they're facing.

And I'm already seeing a significant rise in metagaming and metagaming accusations as a result. Some consider it metagaming for my cleric to know that many undead take extra damage from positive energy, some don't. Is it metagaming for my character to recognize that a centipede swarm is poisonous when the GM chose to instead tell my character a little about swarm checks on my succesful roll?

Closely related to this is how much information should a GM give out "for free"? I had a GM who refused to give any indication of whether I was hitting enemy weaknesses or resistances on the grounds that my character didn't know how many hit points damage I was doing nor how many hit points the monster had so how would I know? I think that was going WAY too far but I think the rules are actively encouraging that type of reaction.

The game is feeling more adversarial to me as a result. I don't like that. And I don't like that I don't seem to be getting the information to make reasoned tactical choices. One reason to have cold and fire spells is to use the appropriate ones, how can I do that if I can't get the information to let me make that choice?

And so far this is all low level play where monsters only have a small number of abilities. The issue is likely to get a lot worse when facing high level opponents with sometimes well over a dozen things that I'd like to know

Sovereign Court

6 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook Subscriber

A few things:

- In my opinion players should know whether their attacks are fully effective or not. They don’t need the numbers but should at least explain “the creatures seems to shrug off some of the damage you inflicted”.

- unlike PF1 you have to take an action to recall information BUT it does specifically state you will recall something USEFUL. If you aren’t getting something that could be described as useful you have a right to feel cheated.

- I intend to allow a circumstance bonus if a character can demonstrate they have faced these creatures before.

- GMs make me crazy when they just describe that you see “a medium sized creature” with no description. At the very least a picture of the enemy or brief description should be expected. This happened even more in PF1 in my experience.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook Subscriber

A similar question I had:

- do character automatically know the type of creature they are facing and what knowledge skill they can roll? If not it feels like the roll to recall knowledge will often be wasted. Since it is a secret roll does the GM just roll the proper skill if they have it? What if they aren’t trained in the skill? Do they waste their action?

I have so far been playing it they they can clearly identify that the creature “looks like a construct of some sort”. Not sure if that is correct.

If my way of doing it is correct I would allow them to know the basics of that creature type such as healing with negative energy for undead.

Silver Crusade

The ShadowShackleton wrote:

A similar question I had:

- do character automatically know the type of creature they are facing and what knowledge skill they can roll? .

In PF1 I usually gave that information to the players (not characters) for free and told them to roll the appropriate skill.

I'd make exceptions for monsters that appeared different from what they were. So, for example, on encountering a flesh golem I'd say ,"roll a d20 and hand me your character sheet" or ask them what their lowest monster id roll was (many characters have near identical skills in all the monster skills)


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Paul,
Sounds like those GMs were the issue, not the skills.
As Shackleton pointed out, you're supposed to learn something useful.
Heck, look at how useful other skills are in their niches and you can see how useful Recall Knowledge is supposed to be when it comes up. Even Lore.

In the playtest, I always geared answers toward what the character would've studied, so blasters get energy resistances (etc.) while martials get physical resistances. If there were a particularly deadly attack, especially if the monster would be notorious for it, the party would learn about that early, perhaps with an addition like how Basilisk blood can return people to flesh. That's the kind of info that would've stuck!

Of course, it's one piece of knowledge per success so the party usually stopped after a few tries though they did vocally regret when they forgot to attempt at all. And as Shackleton does, I might refresh the player on the basics of that type w/o counting that against the knowledge, if they succeeded that is.
So I find it lame that the GM gave you basic data about swarms rather than data about the actual swarm you're looking at. And w/ Religion, it should be as obvious many Undead take extra damage from positive, much like fiends take extra damage from Good. It's normal, not some special tidbit or esoteric secret.
You're even using an early combat action to do this, so it's not like it's cheap.

And while your PC might not know how many hit points they're doing, they know the relative damage, both to the monster's total and previous encounters. PCs should be able to detect if a small blast gets amplified into something severe.
If the minor persistent damage from an Alchemist's Fire is causing major damage, this Weakness should be obvious.
Sounds like there's overkill in the community to prevent metagaming to the point it's interfering with storytelling & actual gaming.

Shackleton,
I do think your way of doing Recall Knowledge is correct.

Usually the monster's description will tell the party what kind of monster they're dealing with. Often it's obvious to where the GM doesn't have to play coy and hide data. And sometimes there's a false impression.

I have found on occasion I have to ask the player what skills they have and then apply which suited best, without necessarily telling them which I used (depending on success).
There was a living aberration w/ undead aspects for example. The party couldn't tell what it was (and it was a unique hybrid).
I don't recall what skills they rolled, but in that case I would highlight the undead aspects if they rolled Religion and the aberrant aspects if they rolled Occult (since they weren't spiritual undead traits).

Sometimes I keep monster logs so I can collect what data my PC knows about what creatures.
One character had only one entry if I recall:
Devil-Silver, Demons-Iron.
He couldn't actually tell devils from demons, but if somebody told him what a particular monster was, he knew which weapon to pull.
Being a Monk, it didn't matter for very long. :)

Cheers

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook Subscriber

Paul- In those cases I would generally describe the creature and if they make an incorrect guess so be it.

My concern is with GMs who might believe they are following RAW by telling you nothing about a creature unless you took an action.

This was a relatively uncommon problem in PF1 but I have seen it more than once and it may still occur.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook Subscriber

It seems to me a simple solution / rule of thumb would be to automatically give them the creature “type” ie undead, aberration, for free provided they were trained in the relevant skill.

Scarab Sages

3 people marked this as a favorite.

I've had a GM in PFS tell me we were fighting "2 kinds of bugs" without mentioning that one kind was a swarm, until we made a knowledge check. That kind of stuff is only going to get worse this edition, and it's one of the main reasons that Recall Knowledge is one of my big problems with the game. As a GM I now need to to decide what's useful and what isn't, and that's going to vary from player to player.

Players get less info, less reliably.
GMs have more work (again).


I think with how spells are now it's probably really important to give lots of clues about a monster's saves wen describing it.

"It's eyes gleam with a cunning light"
Good will saves

"It's graceful movements seem focused on you to the exclusion of its surroundings "
Good reflex, low will

And so on. Monsters often have very good saves compared to spell DCs, and with the limited spells per day, knowing what to target is more important than ever. Alternatively, allowing Perception or Recall Knowledge to identify weak saves with a success (not a critical success) would be reasonable.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

To be fair, it is a new edition for everyone, so I imagine this GM, and everyone else for that matter, is getting comfortable with the rules and such.

I think we should also consider the rarity of the monsters in when it comes to knowledge. For example a skeleton is Common, so you would likely know quite a bit about it. Given that, I would say Recall Knowledge would dive pretty deep into its characteristics/abilities. In the case you mentioned I would probably adjudicate the Recall by offering all of its Immunities, or all of its Resistances for the single roll.

The more I think about it, for Common monsters, maybe characters know most everything, and a Recall check would be mostly about the specific "Skeletal abilities" or any other unique things "this" skeleton has.

Basically, that's how I am thinking. For the most part I will deal with Recall in relation to the rarity, and the roll itself, of course.

So Uncommon there would more things to learn, and Rarity a bunch of things to learn. Something along those lines.


15 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Not explaining that it's a swarm of small bugs instead of 1 big one is not something the rules are responsible for. That's definitely operator error.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I think that PFS handing out guidelines for how much knowledge to give out would be a good idea. Since the game masters guide hasn't come out yet hopefully there will be guidelines in it.

Liberty's Edge

2 people marked this as a favorite.

The actual rules seem to give more knowledge on a basic success than they did in PF1. Of course, getting additional info is a bit harder (needing a crit rather than just beating the DC by 5), but the level of basic info seems to have gone up (they specify that even a basic check would tell you about a Troll's regeneration and how to stop it, for example).

Scarab Sages

5 people marked this as a favorite.

The thing is, it says 1 piece of info. That's the rule and we're already saying that sucks.


8 people marked this as a favorite.
Angel Hunter D wrote:
The thing is, it says 1 piece of info. That's the rule and we're already saying that sucks.

One piece of useful that moment info is perfectly fine. Knowing they're immune to fire when you're a fire elemental sorcerer is a great thing to discover.

Getting one piece of useless info because the GM is being adversarial is not fine.

Knowing or not knowing you hit a resistance/weakness when you hit a creature isn't in the rules. But I know I wouldn't play with a GM who doesn't tell me 'that attack looks like it did nothing', or 'that attack seemed super effective for some reason' when I hit a creature.

Not knowing a creature is a swarm because 'that's a piece of info' is straight up bad GM'ing.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Without any rolls at all, you should get a decent physical description. Once you start calling out Recall Knowledge actions, you should get something useful, not just dross.

When you're in combat, you should get some idea when DR or vulnerabilities come into play, with no actions required.

Personally, I think Recall Knowledge checks are great DM tools during exploration mode. As DM I call out various checks without waiting for the players to think of doing it. It's a great tool for feeding the players information that their characters should have.

Scarab Sages

3 people marked this as a favorite.

It's far too easy for an adversarial, bad, or just rulebound GM to screw up. That's the problem. Especially in something like PFS where you barely know your player's characters, there's no way to make it consistent. I know GMs that get upset if they show me the monster being made of bones and I say "that looks undead" without a check.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

The main issue, in my experience, with knowledge skills as a means to impart information to the player is that some dingus bad-DM back in the day that had a huge lean towards DM vs. player competitive attitude put forth the idea that there is a thing called "metagaming" and that it is a bad thing and should be avoided, and even punished if it does show up, and defined the term in such a way that literally any player that isn't in their very first table-top RPG experience ever and lacking any knowledge whatsoever about the game rules or game world cannot not be doing it constantly.

And no one said "wait a minute, that's actually nonsense, no, stop." to it.

It is entirely because of this unavoidable thing - the knowledge of a player existing, and thus inherently influencing the way that player approaches the game - being treated as inherently bad that you have GMs jumping through hoops seeking to avoid it and arriving at things like trying to convince a player that their character can't tell that their fire spell had reduced effect against the fire-resistant creature because "your character doesn't know what HP and damage values are." Duh. The player knows those concepts and can use them to understand information that the character does have, which is that the thing they are trying to burn doesn't seem to be all that flammable.

GMs should be provided better advice, and hopefully in the Game Master's Guide they will be even though for many purposes that is entirely too late, how to enable general character knowledge and thus make it so that Recall Knowledge isn't lying when the text for it says "You might know basic information about something without needing to attempt a check"

Silver Crusade

6 people marked this as a favorite.

First, thanks for the comments everybody. I genuinely appreciate the different opinions (even the ones I don't totally agree with :-)).

One thing that I should have made much clearer, I'm certainly NOT blaming any GMs. As was mentioned above, we're all learning the rules, we're all adjusting, we're all spending so much mental energy on that that we're probably making mistakes we wouldn't otherwise be making. And somw of this comes down to the usual "GMs differ in their approach and you'll always dislike some things that any GM does"

When I said that it feels more adverserial I wasn't meaning to imply that the GMs were actually being adversarial. Secret rolls inherently (at least to me) "Feel" adversarial without actually being so.

I think that the single biggest problem with the new rules is that the GM decides what to tell me rather than my asking. The second problem is that one piece of information is just too little, especially when the system is calibrated so that you can't even be fairly sure of making the check.

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook Subscriber
Angel Hunter D wrote:

I've had a GM in PFS tell me we were fighting "2 kinds of bugs" without mentioning that one kind was a swarm, until we made a knowledge check. That kind of stuff is only going to get worse this edition, and it's one of the main reasons that Recall Knowledge is one of my big problems with the game. As a GM I now need to to decide what's useful and what isn't, and that's going to vary from player to player.

Players get less info, less reliably.
GMs have more work (again).

There is literally nothing in the rules that requires them to take such a ludicrous interpretation. Unfortunate I had several GMs in 1st edition who ran things the same way or worse.

Set the example you want to see from others. All you can do.

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook Subscriber
Angel Hunter D wrote:
It's far too easy for an adversarial, bad, or just rulebound GM to screw up. That's the problem. Especially in something like PFS where you barely know your player's characters, there's no way to make it consistent. I know GMs that get upset if they show me the monster being made of bones and I say "that looks undead" without a check.

This is true but it was always true. See my example above of GMs who insist all you can see is that there is “a medium sized creature there” until you can make a knowledge check to identify it. Like literally it is wrapping its tentacles around you before you are thinking “it has tentacles?”

It’s not new to this system. I don’t believe it will be worse in this system once GMs get more comfortable with the new rules and the culture we create around them.

Silver Crusade

4 people marked this as a favorite.
The ShadowShackleton wrote:


It’s not new to this system. I don’t believe it will be worse in this system once GMs get more comfortable with the new rules and the culture we create around them.

Unfortunately, I think that it WILL be worse. I think the rules encourage this to some extent.

I'm very hopeful that it won't be MUCH worse and it won't be at all worse with many GMs but I think it will be worse.

And, even with the best of GMs, it is absolutely true that by the rules one is going to get a lot less information when spending an action than one got in PF1 for free (no taking 10, the math is a LOT tighter and skills actively lower, no getting more information the higher you roll).

Dubious knowledge DOES have the potential of helping a fair bit. Its pretty mandatory for any character who wants to be a knowledge monkey. Which I hate because it, inherently, raises huge Metagame issues (I, the player, will likely know far, far more than 50% of the time which information is right and which is wrong)


3 people marked this as a favorite.
pauljathome wrote:
I'm certainly NOT blaming any GMs.

Why not? Your various examples clearly describe a GM behaving in an adversarial, anti-player fashion, completely irrespective of the game rules.

To not put the responsibility for someone's actions on the person performing those actions is very strange.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

There are also cases where multiple knowledge skills are applicable. When I had this come up, I certainly let the player have the choice of which one they were trying to use, and gave them information that matched up with the skill (the ranger who wanted to use mature about an undead animal got different things than the champion that was using religion)


3 people marked this as a favorite.

This recent post by James Jacobs indicates that the text of the GMG is far from finalized (as he's still hoping to get something into it). So in theory Paizo can be convinced to put a section on Recall Knowledge in and maybe tweak some of these issues ("don't take RAW too literally" etc). So, um... lurkers should speak up and say they want this too! :-)

Silver Crusade

3 people marked this as a favorite.
swoosh wrote:
pauljathome wrote:
I'm certainly NOT blaming any GMs.

Why not? Your various examples clearly describe a GM behaving in an adversarial, anti-player fashion, completely irrespective of the game rules.

To not put the responsibility for someone's actions on the person performing those actions is very strange.

As I said above (and others did too) because right now we're ALL learning the system. I know that I, personally, am running things far more in what I think to be a RAW style than I normally do because I'm trying to learn what the rules actually are before changing them.

And because I most certainly did NOT get a "Ha ha, I'm the GM and I'm in POWER" vibe from the GM. I didn't think he was trying to be adversarial or anti player, I thought that he was interpreting the rules the way he thought they were while frantically trying to remember what the rules actually were while running a fun game.

In other words, I think that he deserves a lot of slack right now. As do we all

Liberty's Edge

7 people marked this as a favorite.

Let's actually examine the different language between editions, shall we?

PF1 says the following:

PF1 Knowledge Skills wrote:
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.

So...that's really pretty clear that it's one piece of info, plus another one per five to exceed the DC by.

Now, let's look at PF2:

PF2 Creature Identification wrote:
A character who successfully identifies a creature learns one of its best-known attributes—such as a troll’s regeneration (and the fact that it can be stopped by acid or fire) or a manticore’s tail spikes. On a critical success, the character also learns something subtler, like a demon’s weakness or the trigger for one of the creature’s reactions.

Beyond only getting more info on a crit (rather than for every 5 points), and making more explicit that the initial piece should be fundamental to the creature (but potentially really useful...like both regeneration and weakness on a Troll), that actually reads almost identically in terms of what you get.

Frankly, I cannot see any logic to thinking the second of those two paragraphs is more restrictive than the first in the way this thread is complaining about. I am confused and befuddled why anyone would think that the success conditions referred to in those two paragraphs had notably different results.

Silver Crusade

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Deadmanwalking wrote:


Beyond only getting more info on a crit (rather than for every 5 points), and making more explicit that the initial piece should be fundamental to the creature (but potentially really useful...like both regeneration and weakness on a Troll), that actually reads almost identically in terms of what you get.

.

Uh, no.

1) PF2 states unequivocally that the GM decides what information to give. PF1 leaves it open and that seems to have been largely interpreted as player asks

2) in PF 1 the fairly standard wizard has a +9 at level 1, rolling against a DC of say 13 for a CR 3 creature. So gets about 2 pieces of information on average. For no action

3) In PF2 the wizard has a +7 IF it is an int based skill. Vs a DC of say 16 for a CR 2 monster. Ignoring crit fails, that averages to LESS than 1 piece of information. For an action. With a chance of getting a wrong answer so the information is inherently unreliable

4) in PF1 it is reasonably easy to build knowledge monkeys so they're fairly common in PFS. You'll often get multiple people rolling. In PF2 it's the rare non bard character who is good at most knowledge skills so multiple people with good rolls become rare. And lots rolling with low stats yields crit fails a lot of the time.

And the spread in numbers becomes (by design) much bigger in PF1 as characters level up. Masterwork tools, stat items, etc etc. High level characters learn a LOT. Which, given the numbers of abilities of the things they face is a GOOD thing.

Those aggregrate into a pretty massive difference.

Sovereign Court

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook Subscriber

Yes I think it is rampant pessimism to expect this will turn out worse. There was HUGE table variation in 1st edition on knowledge checks from only giving you things you already knew to handing the Bestiary to the players based on a good roll.

I vastly prefer having some mystery with the monsters in a new system. If I as a player know more than my characters I will have the good sense to keep my mouth shut and let everyone learn the hard way.

Silver Crusade

4 people marked this as a favorite.
The ShadowShackleton wrote:
Yes I think it is rampant pessimism to expect this will turn out worse.

Uh, it seems a little unfair to dismiss what I've actually seen occur as "rampant pessimism". I'll note that so far NOBODY on this thread has replied with "in my experience this isn't happening. I've seen characters gain as much information as in PF1".

You seem to think this lack of knowledge is a GOOD thing. Which is a whole different argument than saying it's not a thing

Liberty's Edge

4 people marked this as a favorite.
pauljathome wrote:

Uh, no.

1) PF2 states unequivocally that the GM decides what information to give. PF1 leaves it open and that seems to have been largely interpreted as player asks

Where does it say that? It's not in text I quoted or the text of Recall Knowledge.

pauljathome wrote:
2) in PF 1 the fairly standard wizard has a +9 at level 1, rolling against a DC of say 13 for a CR 3 creature. So gets about 2 pieces of information on average. For no action

Sure. This is true (well, +9 is a super optimized Wizard, but the point stands). And? Your problem, as you've presented it, doesn't seem especially based on number of pieces of info.

pauljathome wrote:
3) In PF2 the wizard has a +7 IF it is an int based skill. Vs a DC of say 16 for a CR 2 monster. Ignoring crit fails, that averages to LESS than 1 piece of information. For an action. With a chance of getting a wrong answer so the information is inherently unreliable

Yes. PF2 is designed to have fewer casually easy checks. But that's not an especially bad problem with Knowledge checks as opposed to anything else and doesn't lead to the issues you're talking about with GMs giving less info on successful checks.

Also, as you level your odds get significantly better, at least in skills you focus on.

pauljathome wrote:
4) in PF1 it is reasonably easy to build knowledge monkeys so they're fairly common in PFS. You'll often get multiple people rolling. In PF2 it's the rare non bard character who is good at most knowledge skills so multiple people with good rolls become rare. And lots rolling with low stats yields crit fails a lot of the time.

This I find deeply untrue. It's pretty easy to build PF2 'knowledge monkeys' with all the Knowledge skills. I expect a plurality of Rogues, all Wizards, and many Alchemists to fall into this category a lot of the time, for example.

Also, since people need to spend actions doing this, people with bad odds probably won't do it at all, mitigating your crit failure worries.

pauljathome wrote:

And the spread in numbers becomes (by design) much bigger in PF1 as characters level up. Masterwork tools, stat items, etc etc. High level characters learn a LOT. Which, given the numbers of abilities of the things they face is a GOOD thing.

Those aggregrate into a pretty massive difference.

They aggregate into player characters getting a little less knowledge than PF1, it's true. But they don't encourage the GM to be more secretive or misleading, or encourage adversarial GMing, which seemed to me to be your primary point of concern.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I definitely haven't seen characters gaining as much information from a check as PF1. I'm pretty sure that's intended, since the skill check DCs in PF1 did not remotely keep up with the amount of skill bonuses that could easily be acquired.

I did have players in a scenario I ran get pretty thorough information on a few monsters they were concerned about, because multiple checks were made.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
pauljathome wrote:
PF2 states unequivocally that the GM decides what information to give. PF1 leaves it open and that seems to have been largely interpreted as player asks

Let's take another look.

PF1 says:

Quote:
A successful check allows you to remember a bit of useful information about that monster.

PF2 says:

Quote:
A character who successfully identifies a creature learns one of its best-known attributes

The text is incredibly similar here, there's nothing about player's choice or anything even like that in either rule.

I think it's more accurate to say that you're looking for reasons to be upset with the PF2 rule and so you're reading into it what you want to.

pauljathome wrote:


Uh, it seems a little unfair to dismiss what I've actually seen occur

Behavior which, again, you describe specifically as adversarial in PF2 and specifically as relying on a benevolent houserule in PF1.

So adversarial GMing in PF2 is worse for the player than GMing with player-friendly houserules in PF1.

That's so weird.

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook Subscriber

I have only run 6 tables so far but from that limited game play experience I can say that the tables who took an action to recall info did far better in their encounters than those who didn't, so barring an alternative ready of how it works, it seems to be quite effective.

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Deadmanwalking wrote:
pauljathome wrote:

Uh, no.

1) PF2 states unequivocally that the GM decides what information to give. PF1 leaves it open and that seems to have been largely interpreted as player asks

Where does it say that? It's not in text I quoted or the text of Recall Knowledge.

Page 506 in identifying creatures. Unequivocal may be slightly strong but "learns one of its best known attributes" seems to very strongly imply to me that the GM decides

As I've said several times, a considerable part of my problem is getting less information. I don't really care whether or not that is by design, I don't like it. One piece of information per action (with harder DCs to get more) is something I dislike. A lot. Compounded with false information I like it even less.

And yes, I'm aware that not playing PF2 is an option. It's one I'm trying to NOT take at the moment.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook Subscriber

To be clear, I am both saying that the action does provide a useful amount of information in PF2 AND that I am happy that it doesn't not provide as much information in PF1, which by the late stages was almost at a point where characters were walking encyclopedias on any threat they may face. It became simply a matter of spinning the damage type wheel and destroying the latest threat with impunity.

Those are not mutually exclusive positions.

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
The ShadowShackleton wrote:
I have only run 6 tables so far but from that limited game play experience I can say that the tables who took an action to recall info did far better in their encounters than those who didn't, so barring an alternative ready of how it works, it seems to be quite effective.

Fair enough. It just hasn't seemed that way to me (from both sides of the table). But hopefully this is at least partially a YMMV

2 questions.

1) did they do as much better as they would in PF1? I know, it's hard to answer but I'd appreciate your gut reaction.

2) what kind of information did you give out on a success? Either hypothetically or from memory, what would you reveal about a centipede swarm?

I already know from above that you agree that I should have gotten for free the fact that disrupt undeads did extra damage to zombies when I actually used it on a zombie.

Liberty's Edge

2 people marked this as a favorite.
pauljathome wrote:
Page 506 in identifying creatures. Unequivocal may be slightly strong but "learns one of its best known attributes" seems to very strongly imply to me that the GM decides

That's a heck of an assumption, IMO.

pauljathome wrote:
As I've said several times, a considerable part of my problem is getting less information. I don't really care whether or not that is by design, I don't like it. One piece of information per action (with harder DCs to get more) is something I dislike. A lot. Compounded with false information I like it even less.

That's unfortunate and you have my sympathies. I don't think it has the other effects you seem to believe it does, but it is unambigously true that you receive fewer discreet pieces of info than you did in PF1.

Personally, I think the intent is for the baseline info to be a bit more expansive to compensate for that (it's strongly arguable that in PF1, Trolls regenerating and what stopped it would be two pieces of info), but that very much is a GM call kind of thing.

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
swoosh wrote:


Behavior which, again, you describe specifically as adversarial in PF2 and specifically as relying on a benevolent houserule in PF1.
.

I'm getting tired of repeating myself, but I've said at least 3 times now that the behaviour was NOT adversarial but it was behaviour that gave the appearance of being adversarial to me.

I prefer the term interpretation to house rule since the rules don't say one way or the other. And it's one that, at least locally and online, seems universal.

Silver Crusade

3 people marked this as a favorite.
The ShadowShackleton wrote:

To be clear, I am both saying that the action does provide a useful amount of information in PF2 AND that I am happy that it doesn't not provide as much information in PF1, which by the late stages was almost at a point where characters were walking encyclopedias on any threat they may face. It became simply a matter of spinning the damage type wheel and destroying the latest threat with impunity.

Those are not mutually exclusive positions.

This crossed with my other reply and more or less answers it.

I actually agree with you about how silly things got at mid to high tiers. I agree that some mystery should remain.

But I also think a character needs to reliably be able to choose tactics. I think the ability to ask questions (or at least indicate what information is key) is crucial both in game terms and for versimilitude. My fire blaster is going to prioritize knowing different stuff than my diplomancer or my enchanter.

Thanks again for the conversation (and thanks to others).

One thing I just realized, I'm still at least partially in the mind set that combats have to end quickly or you're dead. PF2 has more time to experiment in combat. I know that but haven't fully internalized it yet.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook Subscriber
pauljathome wrote:
The ShadowShackleton wrote:
I have only run 6 tables so far but from that limited game play experience I can say that the tables who took an action to recall info did far better in their encounters than those who didn't, so barring an alternative ready of how it works, it seems to be quite effective.

Fair enough. It just hasn't seemed that way to me (from both sides of the table). But hopefully this is at least partially a YMMV

2 questions.

1) did they do as much better as they would in PF1? I know, it's hard to answer but I'd appreciate your gut reaction.

2) what kind of information did you give out on a success? Either hypothetically or from memory, what would you reveal about a centipede swarm?

I already know from above that you agree that I should have gotten for free the fact that disrupt undeads did extra damage to zombies when I actually used it on a zombie.

No worries we may have different play experiences and expectations and that is perfectly reasonable. In answer to your questions:

1) That varies radically depending on the PF1 GM. They certainly didn't get all of the information about a creature but usually something that made a significant difference in the fight.

PF1 example: some GMs would ask you what you want for your piece of information. You answer Special Defences. Some then tell you "They have none", some would tell you one special defence and some would tell you every immunity, resistance etc. they have.

But finding out the ooze you are about to hit with your sword will split into two equal oozes, that is equally valuable info in either system.

2) I can't remember what a centipede swarm does but I would imagine I would give out that it has swarm traits and one valuable piece of information, such that it has a poison attack. If it has any specific vulnerabilities or resistances beyond those for a swarm I would probably give one of those on a critical success.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
thenobledrake wrote:

The main issue, in my experience, with knowledge skills as a means to impart information to the player is that some dingus bad-DM back in the day that had a huge lean towards DM vs. player competitive attitude put forth the idea that there is a thing called "metagaming" and that it is a bad thing and should be avoided, and even punished if it does show up, and defined the term in such a way that literally any player that isn't in their very first table-top RPG experience ever and lacking any knowledge whatsoever about the game rules or game world cannot not be doing it constantly.

And no one said "wait a minute, that's actually nonsense, no, stop." to it.

It is entirely because of this unavoidable thing - the knowledge of a player existing, and thus inherently influencing the way that player approaches the game - being treated as inherently bad that you have GMs jumping through hoops seeking to avoid it and arriving at things like trying to convince a player that their character can't tell that their fire spell had reduced effect against the fire-resistant creature because "your character doesn't know what HP and damage values are." Duh. The player knows those concepts and can use them to understand information that the character does have, which is that the thing they are trying to burn doesn't seem to be all that flammable.

GMs should be provided better advice, and hopefully in the Game Master's Guide they will be even though for many purposes that is entirely too late, how to enable general character knowledge and thus make it so that Recall Knowledge isn't lying when the text for it says "You might know basic information about something without needing to attempt a check"

That isn't what metagaming is.

Metagaming is when you encounter a monster, look up (or remember from your past experiences outside of the campaign) the creature so you know exactly what the monster is (hp and everything) without making any check or doing any in character research beforehand before the fight even began, and exploiting said knowledge, even if it doesn't make sense for the player characters (not the players) themselves to know without a skill-check or research.

Dealing with a troll is generally (and should be) common knowledge in most settings, just like assuming a skeletal creature is undead (because why wouldn't it be unless the "skeleton" is just a carapace or the creature is actually a living beast that is just wearing skeletal bones for protection). And finding out in combat that a creature that's getting hit by fire damage is suffering more from it is not meta-gaming either, that's just obvious observation that's obvious both in and out of character. Frankly, I have never ran into a dm who would punish players for things like that or consider those examples to be metagaming, but it sounds like everyone in these forums suffers from this quite often, and it's rather unsettling.

As a player, I have always tried to separate what I know about monsters in tabletop games from what my character knows about them, since it makes it more fun to roleplay my characters fighting said creatures for the first time in their lives and trying to survive from what they have learned and experienced. And in all honesty, it feels cheap when a more experienced player stats telling the group about an obscure monster's abilities before anyone makes a move or a knowledge check just because the player fought the same monster in a different campaign or used said monster in a campaign he dmed in.

Liberty's Edge

2 people marked this as a favorite.

The troll thing isn't universal knowledge, and should require a Recall Knowledge check, IMO. But aside from that, I agree with BluLion.

The idea that you can't tell a creature's resistances and weaknesses after actually seeing them come into effect is absurd. Of course you can. Assuming a skeleton is undead is also a very reasonable thing to do (though not universally correct...you can make constructs out of bone).

I have never played with a GM who would do some of the, frankly, absurd things that have been mentioned in this thread, nor would I continue playing in such a game. Nor have I ever done such things as a GM, nor would I. I highly doubt most GMs would...the ones who do are just notable enough to get talked about.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

For as long as I have gamemastered, I had an agreement with my players that if they make a serious attempt to gain information, then I will give them some useful information. Thus, their characters talk to townsfolk, research in libraries, translate ancient inscriptions, scout ahead, and commune with gods. It gives more non-combat variety to the campaign. They like roleplaying that way.

For the Knowledge checks in PF1, I houseruled that they gave more knowledge. For an identify check on a creature, I would ask, "Do you want Offense, Defense, or Special Abilities?" Success meant that I would give them all that entire section from the stat block. A higher roll by +5 would give two of the options and a higher roll by +10 meant I handed the Bestiary over to the player to read him- or herself.

I did not have to worry about players metagaming player information into combat, because their characters had access to the information legitimately. Combat was more glorious to succeed at the knowledge check and then apply the knowledge rather than covertly apply the knowledge by seeming coincidence.

Giving the players information shapes the game. If a hostile creature has weakness to fire and the GM does not let them learn this, then it for gameplay it does not have weakness for fire. Even if the creature is hit by a fireball and takes double damage, if the GM does not tell them, then it merely appears to have fewer hit points. For the creatures to have flavor in its defenses, the players have to learn about those defenses.

They could learn by experience rather than Recall Knowledge. If they see a creature fly, then they know it has flying. If the GM says that the fighter's arrow glanced off the skeleton's rib and passed through its empty ribcage leaving just a tiny mark, then the fighter knows that the skeleton resists piercing damage.

The ShadowShackleton wrote:
I vastly prefer having some mystery with the monsters in a new system.

The sense of mystery is enhanced by giving out knowledge of the unknown in earned doses. Forcing the PCs to chip away at a stubborn wall of the unknown for nearly-useless fragments of revelation is not mystery.

Let's check on the exact wording.

PF2 Core Rulebook, Skills, page 238-239 wrote:

Recall Knowledge (Untrained)

To remember useful information on a topic, you can attempt to Recall Knowledge. You might know basic information about something without needing to attempt a check, but Recall Knowledge requires you to stop and think for a moment so you can recollect more specific facts and apply them. You might even need to spend time investigating first. For instance, to use Medicine to learn the cause of death, you might need to conduct a forensic examination before attempting to Recall Knowledge.

RECALL KNOWLEDGE [one-action]
Concentrate, Secret
You attempt a skill check to try to remember a bit of knowledge regarding a topic related to that skill. The GM determines the DCs for such checks and which skills apply.
Critical Success You recall the knowledge accurately and gain additional information or context.
Success You recall the knowledge accurately or gain a useful clue about your current situation.
Critical Failure You recall incorrect information or gain an erroneous or misleading clue.

PF2 Core Rulebook, Skills, page 506 wrote:

Creature Identification

A character who successfully identifies a creature learns one of its best-known attributes—such as a troll’s regeneration (and the fact that it can be stopped by acid or fire) or a manticore’s tail spikes. On a critical success, the character also learns something subtler, like a demon’s weakness or the trigger for one of the creature’s reactions.

The skill used to identify a creature usually depends on that creature’s trait, as shown on Table 10–7, but you have leeway on which skills apply. For instance, hags are humanoids but have a strong connection to occult spells and live outside society, so you might allow a character to use Occultism to identify them without any DC adjustment, while Society is harder. Lore skills can also be used to identify their specific creature. Using the applicable Lore usually has an easy or very easy DC (before adjusting for rarity).

1) You might know basic information about something without needing to attempt a check—That should give the creature type and the skill needed for the Recall Knowledge check. In PF1 I laughed at the information I gave away just by asking, "Make a Knowledge(Religion) roll." That pretty much declared that the creature was undead.

2) Recall Knowledge requires you to stop and think for a moment so you can recollect more specific facts and apply them—"specific" does not mean more detailed. It means falling into a particular category. Does the player get to chose the category?

3) Success You recall the knowledge accurately or gain a useful clue about your current situation.—"Useful" is useful. "Clue," in contrast, means incomplete.

4 A character who successfully identifies a creature learns one of its best-known attributes—One attribute is not much information. "Best-known" is worse, because it means the most obvious attribute rather than the most useful attribute.
WIZARD: I roll 19 to Recall Knowledge about its breath weapon.
GM: The dragon can fly with its wings at speed 150 feet.
WIZARD: I wanted to know its breath weapon before I cast Resist Energy!
GM: That is its third best-known attribute. How about two more Recall Knowledge checks?

Think of how many attributes a creature has. For example, assuming each line is an attribute, Goblin Warrior has:
1. Alignment CE (Small size and goblin species I would put under basic no-roll-necessary attributes)
2. Perception +2 darkvision
3. Language Goblin
4. Skills
5. Ability Scores
* Items (I would put these under Perception rather than Recall Knowledge)
6. AC and saves
7. Hit Points 6
8. Goblin Scuttle ability
9. Speed 25 feet
10. Melee stats with dogslicer
11. Melee stats with shortbow

My guesses for best-known attributes would be:
Best-known attribute: Goblins tend to be chaotic evil. Their tribes often raid innocent farmers and merchants.
2nd best-known: They speak goblin.
3rd best-known: They are sneaky and athletic (Athletics +5, Acrobatics +2, Nature +1, Stealth +5)
4th best-known: They can see in the dark. Also +2 Perception.
Starting this list tells me that I don't want to guess best-known. Specific and useful are easier to judge, especially when the player asks for something specific.

If I let specific and useful override best-known, then a fighter asking about their defenses would get either their AC and saves or their hit points. A paladin asking how about the hostility of a goblin village would get their alignment. Sigh, the most specific and useful information feels like a poor return for training a knowledge-giving skill and spending an action on Recall Knowledge.

However, my players like receiving more information and would rebel if I gave only one line about a creature. My wife had suggested a background-based system during the playtest and I will use that as a houserule.

Her idea is that I explain the results of Recall Knowledge as a story about how the character learned the knowledge. For example, her Mountain-Lore nomad barbarian would receive the information about Goblin Warriors as a campfire story told by older barbarians from her mountain tribe about fighting off a goblin raid. A scholar wizard would remember a one-paragraph out of a dry, academic book discussing the goblin's physical attributes such as size, hardiness, and darkvision. A street-urchin rogue would remember spying from the shadows when someone else encountered a Goblin Warrior and seeing how hard it hit. My wife liked the backgrounds and wanted them to be an everyday part of the character.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

can't you use your knowledge skill multiple times to try and gain more information, I just got my pf2e gm screen and it mentions you can keep retrying until you fail on an "extremely hard" roll. (you only raise the DC when you fail a check)

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook Subscriber
Bandw2 wrote:
can't you use your knowledge skill multiple times to try and gain more information, I just got my pf2e gm screen and it mentions you can keep retrying until you fail on an "extremely hard" roll. (you only raise the DC when you fail a check)

Yep. Which is exactly why you give a Useful piece of information but not a laundry list of everything the creature can do.

Sovereign Court

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook Subscriber

I would consider any GM telling me that learning the alignment of goblins or that they speak goblin was a useful piece of information worthy of my action was gaslighting me to intentionally make the rules seem unplayable.

Seems like a straw man of the highest order. There has not been a whole lot to learn about goblins by rolling dice in any edition.

A useful piece of information about goblins might be that they are able to scuttle into flanking positions or that they love fire and tend to fight chaotically with little regard for each other’s safety.

A better example would be the fact that a black pudding will split in two if you hit them with a slashing or piercing weapon.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook Subscriber

Mathmuse, other than my objection to your goblin example I fully agree that players who do work and research stuff should be rewarded. I have seen a couple examples of that in new PFS scenarios already. You get a clue as to what you may face and have ample opportunity to learn more about them before the fight.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
The ShadowShackleton wrote:
Bandw2 wrote:
can't you use your knowledge skill multiple times to try and gain more information, I just got my pf2e gm screen and it mentions you can keep retrying until you fail on an "extremely hard" roll. (you only raise the DC when you fail a check)
Yep. Which is exactly why you give a Useful piece of information but not a laundry list of everything the creature can do.

My wife broke that during the playtest.

The Doomsday Dawn chapter Affair at Sombrefell Hall had a few NPCs, a professor and three students. They had no attributes except skills (for interacting with them socially), and were described as useless during combat. My wife's elf noble bard browbeat them into making Recall Knowledge rolls about the creatures we fought. Four well-educated people doing nothing but Recall Knowledge three times each round gave a lot of information. And that setting had a library and ten minute intervals of peace and quiet.

The party was still caught by surprise when a new type of creature showed up.

As the GM running the Pathfinder 2nd Edition, I can add requirements, because the rules say, "You might even need to spend time investigating first." For example, if the PC has not seen the dragon, then he won't be able to tell a young dragon from an adult dragon from an ancient dragon. The PC will have to scout to gain a glimpse of the dragon first. And if Recall Knowledge is about specific information, then I can set different DCs for different specific information, based on how well known that information is.

If I wanted to be a truly adversarial GM, then I would repeat information that the party already knows.

GM: Young white dragons breathe a cloud of frost that deals 7d6 cold damage in a 30-foot cone.
CLERIC: But you just told the wizard that!
GM: And now that information is confirmed ... unless you both rolled inaccurate knowledge.

However, as a real GM I assume that "that we don't already hnow" is a specific trait to the information that the character wanted. Unless the cleric deliberately Recalled Knowledge to confirm the information, since maybe the player thought white dragons breathed electricity.

That "specific" property on Recall Knowledge is sounding more and more useful.

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.
The ShadowShackleton wrote:

I would consider any GM telling me that learning the alignment of goblins or that they speak goblin was a useful piece of information worthy of my action was gaslighting me to intentionally make the rules seem unplayable.

I actually disagree. Back in PF1, my diplomancers would OFTEN ask for the "ecology" information on a creature first. The stuff that says their alignment, motivations, etc. I figure its what she'd actually know PLUS it often gave me insight on how to possibly make a deal with the creature (she ALWAYS tried to stop just about EVERYTHING non violently if that was a possibility AND the players were ok with not having a fight).

But I admit that is an edge case.

The more I think about it the more I think that the player being able to ask the question is the one really important thing I want in PF2.

1 to 50 of 107 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder Second Edition / Rules Discussion / Knowledge in PF2 All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.