Recall Knowledge 1 action? 2e


Rules Discussion


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I'm trying to wrap my head around why it is necessary to use an action to recall knowledge during combat. It does seem a bit silly to have an action for this. Any particular reason other than to use an action?


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Not a perfect time comparison, but each action takes about 1.5-2 seconds. You spend 1.5-2 seconds thinking about the thing you are recalling knowledge about because it could be a lot of things and you could easily get things mixed up about the creature. Especially in an inherently hectic and confusing environment, such as a combat where you need to constantly be prepared to avoid attacks and look for openings to move and attack yourself.

For instance, let's say you are fighting a blue-grey creature 3' tall with tentacles and a football-shaped head. Could be a Grindylow or a Mutant Goblin, one of these can shoot ink and swim super fast and the other is drawn to fire and pickles, it might take a second to determine what the creature is and which features it possesses. Now, if you are a lifetime expert on goblinoid physiology you can probably do this more reliably (using Goblin Lore) and faster (using Automatic Knowledge) but if you are just a travelling wizard who knows a lot of things about a lot of things, it probably takes a moment.


Also, flagged to move to Pathfinder Second Edition Rules Discussion forum.


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Paradozen wrote:

Not a perfect time comparison, but each action takes about 1.5-2 seconds. You spend 1.5-2 seconds thinking about the thing you are recalling knowledge about because it could be a lot of things and you could easily get things mixed up about the creature. Especially in an inherently hectic and confusing environment, such as a combat where you need to constantly be prepared to avoid attacks and look for openings to move and attack yourself.

For instance, let's say you are fighting a blue-grey creature 3' tall with tentacles and a football-shaped head. Could be a Grindylow or a Mutant Goblin, one of these can shoot ink and swim super fast and the other is drawn to fire and pickles, it might take a second to determine what the creature is and which features it possesses. Now, if you are a lifetime expert on goblinoid physiology you can probably do this more reliably (using Goblin Lore) and faster (using Automatic Knowledge) but if you are just a travelling wizard who knows a lot of things about a lot of things, it probably takes a moment.

Yet the listed free actions take just as long...including casting some spells and speaking; drawing a weapon which could certainly take longer than the synapses in your brain firing; speaking. Besides, it makes sense that adventurers are "trained" (not in the technical use of the word) to think quickly in combat- hence no facing, too. Just like horses can be combat "trained" to maintain some semblance of control. I don't really buy the cost of recalling knowledge when the PC is basically just thinking. It's not like they're doing a math problem or counting from 1-100.

I think concentrating on a spell is even a free action!


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no good scallywag wrote:
Paradozen wrote:

Not a perfect time comparison, but each action takes about 1.5-2 seconds. You spend 1.5-2 seconds thinking about the thing you are recalling knowledge about because it could be a lot of things and you could easily get things mixed up about the creature. Especially in an inherently hectic and confusing environment, such as a combat where you need to constantly be prepared to avoid attacks and look for openings to move and attack yourself.

For instance, let's say you are fighting a blue-grey creature 3' tall with tentacles and a football-shaped head. Could be a Grindylow or a Mutant Goblin, one of these can shoot ink and swim super fast and the other is drawn to fire and pickles, it might take a second to determine what the creature is and which features it possesses. Now, if you are a lifetime expert on goblinoid physiology you can probably do this more reliably (using Goblin Lore) and faster (using Automatic Knowledge) but if you are just a travelling wizard who knows a lot of things about a lot of things, it probably takes a moment.

Yet the listed free actions take just as long...including casting some spells and speaking; drawing a weapon which could certainly take longer than the synapses in your brain firing; speaking. Besides, it makes sense that adventurers are "trained" (not in the technical use of the word) to think quickly in combat- hence no facing, too. Just like horses can be combat "trained" to maintain some semblance of control. I don't really buy the cost of recalling knowledge when the PC is basically just thinking. It's not like they're doing a math problem or counting from 1-100.

I think concentrating on a spell is even a free action!

The only listed free actions that are not specifically gated behind feats that I see are Release and Delay. Drawing a weapon and sustaining a spell are both 1-action abilities with some class feats modifying them. Casting a spell for the overwhelming majority of spells is 2 actions, with some as 1 or 3 and very few as reactions. I'm not sure which spells are free actions, do you have any examples? The only listed free actions that are not specifically gated behind feats that I see are Release and Delay.

You can train your character to remember information faster in combat, that is the Automatic Knowledge skill feat. Representing you literally remembering relevant information faster than most.


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no good scallywag wrote:
Paradozen wrote:

Not a perfect time comparison, but each action takes about 1.5-2 seconds. You spend 1.5-2 seconds thinking about the thing you are recalling knowledge about because it could be a lot of things and you could easily get things mixed up about the creature. Especially in an inherently hectic and confusing environment, such as a combat where you need to constantly be prepared to avoid attacks and look for openings to move and attack yourself.

For instance, let's say you are fighting a blue-grey creature 3' tall with tentacles and a football-shaped head. Could be a Grindylow or a Mutant Goblin, one of these can shoot ink and swim super fast and the other is drawn to fire and pickles, it might take a second to determine what the creature is and which features it possesses. Now, if you are a lifetime expert on goblinoid physiology you can probably do this more reliably (using Goblin Lore) and faster (using Automatic Knowledge) but if you are just a travelling wizard who knows a lot of things about a lot of things, it probably takes a moment.

Yet the listed free actions take just as long...including casting some spells and speaking; drawing a weapon which could certainly take longer than the synapses in your brain firing; speaking. Besides, it makes sense that adventurers are "trained" (not in the technical use of the word) to think quickly in combat- hence no facing, too. Just like horses can be combat "trained" to maintain some semblance of control. I don't really buy the cost of recalling knowledge when the PC is basically just thinking. It's not like they're doing a math problem or counting from 1-100.

I think concentrating on a spell is even a free action!

Doesn't bother me. "Just thinking" isn't that simple. Supernormal folks like Ken Jennings and Jeopardy James might have Automatic Knowledge. The rest of us typically need a bit of time and effort, especially under pressure, to dredge up the right information in response to a random stimulus.


Think of it as time spent intently observing the creature and trying to recall information and plan how to deal with it instead of running straight in.

Also, don't think of actions as being all the same amount of time. They are more opportunities in the flow of combat. Your 30 foot stride might actually take 4 seconds, but the ranged strike with your javelin might actually happen while you are moving and you then stop and draw your sword and settle into a stance with your final action, and look around for your next target while doing that.

Combat is represented in game turns as happening in a certain sequence, but to the characters much of it is happening simultaneously, and there are sometimes gaps between performing actions.


Yes, and that "just thinking" is sepcifically to find some form of relevant combat knowledge. It isn't just trying to recall it has a name and likes to occasionally use vinegar as a deoderant.

People are far less capable of attacking, dodging and taking in everything that is going on around them without pausing than you are giving them credit for. I recommend you count two seconds, and you will realise just how little a pause a character is getting :P. You don't reasonably get time to think about this while keeping yourself alive.

A fun houserule could be you take a -5 to all ability checks, DCs, AC and attack rolls if you use a free action recall knowledge on your turn that doesn't come from a feat or ability ;) :P

Dark Archive

I agree with Tender Tendrils and Gleeful Grognard. As a professional in this field it takes a bit of time to sort through your thoughts and memories, to draw on experience and . Add in the observation part, the general pandemonium and noise of combat, and it wouldn't be a stretch to say that you'd realistically have to spend several rounds to recall specific pieces of information in the middle of an encounter! :)


The Gleeful Grognard wrote:


A fun houserule could be you take a -5 to all ability checks, DCs, AC and attack rolls if you use a free action recall knowledge on your turn that doesn't come from a feat or ability ;) :P

I like that. I think I'd reduce the penalty to say a -4 or maybe less depending on what they are trying to do. Maybe even include a rider that you take the penalty on any action that uses the information you tried to gain. That would show an "Expert" messing up based on incomplete or hastily remembered information.


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Asgetrion wrote:
I agree with Tender Tendrils and Gleeful Grognard. As a professional in this field it takes a bit of time to sort through your thoughts and memories, to draw on experience and . Add in the observation part, the general pandemonium and noise of combat, and it wouldn't be a stretch to say that you'd realistically have to spend several rounds to recall specific pieces of information in the middle of an encounter! :)

I do find it hilarious that many think it takes the brain sooooo long to process information. Our brains are made to utilize visual data extremely quickly (just see sports). If I see a gorilla charging at me, I'm going to know he's going to either beat me down with his fists or bite me. Doesn't take 3 seconds to think it through- and that's me being a non-combat-trained layperson who sits at a desk.

I'll be making that action a free action for my players in light of the lack of credible evidence to the contrary.


Recall Knowledge can (usually) provide a mechanical benefit to the player/character.

The requirement for this to use an action is a balance issue related to game mechanics. It is not a simulation of reality.


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no good scallywag wrote:
Asgetrion wrote:
I agree with Tender Tendrils and Gleeful Grognard. As a professional in this field it takes a bit of time to sort through your thoughts and memories, to draw on experience and . Add in the observation part, the general pandemonium and noise of combat, and it wouldn't be a stretch to say that you'd realistically have to spend several rounds to recall specific pieces of information in the middle of an encounter! :)

I do find it hilarious that many think it takes the brain sooooo long to process information. Our brains are made to utilize visual data extremely quickly (just see sports). If I see a gorilla charging at me, I'm going to know he's going to either beat me down with his fists or bite me. Doesn't take 3 seconds to think it through- and that's me being a non-combat-trained layperson who sits at a desk.

I'll be making that action a free action for my players in light of the lack of credible evidence to the contrary.

Oh, your characters know about that Gorilla. They just won't necessarily recall the name of the subspecies and the continent that they originate from or the general psi with which they crush the banana-esque fruit that they eat.

So if one of your players want to play a Ranger you are just going to give them something else if they pick up Monster Hunter, the feat that gives them a free Recall Knowledge for their hunt target and is prerequisite for other feats down the line? Or just gonna nerf em all and let the Gods sort em out?

The game is balanced around using actions to do things like recall knowledge. Don't take that away without at least trying it. It creates tense situations when players have to decide if they want to use their actions for knowledge or to try to kill the bad thing that they just can't think of the name of at the moment.


no good scallywag wrote:

I do find it hilarious that many think it takes the brain sooooo long to process information. Our brains are made to utilize visual data extremely quickly (just see sports). If I see a gorilla charging at me, I'm going to know he's going to either beat me down with his fists or bite me. Doesn't take 3 seconds to think it through- and that's me being a non-combat-trained layperson who sits at a desk.

I'll be making that action a free action for my players in light of the lack of credible evidence to the contrary.

Do you innately know the 6-armed giant charging at you with a sword in each hand is going to shoot lightning from their tattoos? Or the Dire Platypus is going to spin around and kick you with a venomous ankle barb? Or the animated jack-in-the-box is going to unleash a sonic shockwave every 18 seconds? Can you clearly differentiate between whether the enormous moving statue is the kind that is hurt by acid normally or the one that is healed by acid (Animated Statue v. Stone Golem)?


no good scallywag wrote:

I do find it hilarious that many think it takes the brain sooooo long to process information. Our brains are made to utilize visual data extremely quickly (just see sports). If I see a gorilla charging at me, I'm going to know he's going to either beat me down with his fists or bite me. Doesn't take 3 seconds to think it through- and that's me being a non-combat-trained layperson who sits at a desk.

I'll be making that action a free action for my players in light of the lack of credible evidence to the contrary.

Your gorilla example illustrates why the rules make a distinction between "basic information" that might be known without attempting a check and the kind of stuff that Recall Knowledge checks are meant to be used for. So your example of knowing on sight that a gorilla is going to womp you with its fists or bite you is within the rules, but not what a Recall Knowledge check is called for to learn - just like you don't have to Recall Knowledge to know that someone with a sword in their hand could attack you with a sword.

Anything plainly obvious and readily apparent is a no-check, GM just tells the players (or players just assume the character gets that info) - it's the stuff that's more esoteric that Recall Knowledge is used for. To keep with the gorilla example, that could be the Frightening Display action - because while being scary is readily apparent, the creature consciously using it's imposing appearance and stature (and thus maybe not just going straight for the clobbering and chomping on you thing) is something that not everyone is going to know about just by seeing a gorilla coming at them.


Another aspect is you're transmitting this information (if you desire) in a clear and concise way to your teammates.

A real world example would be if you stumble upon a bear.
It's obviously a bear and your fight-or-flight instincts kick in because it can obviously maul you to death.
But will it?
It'd take your brain a few seconds to sort out whether it was a black bear or brown bear, which of those is aggressive, whether you should act big with arms spread, play dead, run, climb, or make a loud noise. Which of these is popular nonsense or might even incite it to attack when it wouldn't? Is eye contact bad or was that wolves?
You get to sort through the most important aspect(s) (TBD according to table policy) of that info and tell your hiker buddies all in a few seconds.
That's pretty quick.

And yes, the info is often worth the action, not just w/ peculiar creatures now that most enemies have a cool shtick.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

"Red touch yellow, harm a fellow; red touch black, safe for Jack" is a thing in the real world, after all, and takes a few seconds to run through in your head if you see a striped snake.

I can certainly see it taking a few seconds when you see a chromatic dragon to think, "Blue: that's ... uh .... red is fire, green is acid, black is ... poisonous gas, I think? so blue is -- ELECTRICITY!"


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Joana wrote:

"Red touch yellow, harm a fellow; red touch black, safe for Jack" is a thing in the real world, after all, and takes a few seconds to run through in your head if you see a striped snake.

I can certainly see it taking a few seconds when you see a chromatic dragon to think, "Blue: that's ... uh .... red is fire, green is acid, black is ... poisonous gas, I think? so blue is -- ELECTRICITY!"

Oh my gosh, there almost certainly have to be mnemonics for monster IDing in fantasy worlds. Heck, the science fields have several in the real world.

Just don't sing the one about aberrations out loud around civilians...it tends to drive folks insane.

A stab at one for chromatics

Blue will shoot you, with its lightning
Hiding in the sand, making deserts quite frightening
Green breathes poison, within its forest
It'll hunt you down, and give you no rest
Red is the king, wreathed in fire
Fear the great wyrm, the dragon most dire
Black lurks in the shadows of the marsh,
Its acid will strip your flesh; most harsh
White will savage you, should you go north
Its freezing breath, it'll belch forth

Cheers


Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

See, and I got green and black wrong anyway, working off the top of my head after more than 20 years of playing. I always think green = acid. Red and white are intuitive, the rest of them, not so much.


no good scallywag wrote:
I'm trying to wrap my head around why it is necessary to use an action to recall knowledge during combat. It does seem a bit silly to have an action for this. Any particular reason other than to use an action?

For design space.

The reason behind anything in this game being a certain way is because it facilitates the game playing the way the designers want. If you want to create a game where characters fight, then you need to create a system for determining how they hit. You need system for how much damage they do. Whether you roll it or make it static or use some other method, is completely arbitrary and the decision for one versus the other is based on how it meshes with other design goals.

Recall Knowledge cost an action because doing so facilitates other things working a specific way. A specific example already given is Monster Hunter which grants a "free" RK check when you designate your "Prey". Monster Hunters isn't as useful if the RK check is already free, is it?

There are undoubtedly other reasons why Paizo wanted RK to cost an action. One of them may be that it gives someone something useful to do rather than take an attack at -10.

However, realism is largely irrelevant in game design. If the creator wants X to happen, it happens regardless of how realistic it is. Discussions about it taking 1-2 seconds to recall something have nothing to do with why it works this way. Players initiate these rationalization as a way to deal with cognitive dissonance that results from RPGs which leverage a framework involving "real" humans or elements from normal reality, with rules that contradict that same reality.


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Recall knowledge would be nice if it provided one additional piece of information (two total), to be really worth spending an action.


Atalius wrote:
Recall knowledge would be nice if it provided one additional piece of information (two total), to be really worth spending an action.

To clarify, it's written as a "useful clue", not just some tangential info. So even one piece should have some impact on the situation. My players have found it very useful to spend that action, often chastising themselves for forgetting when they'd had an action to spare.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

Maybe I'm being dumb, but our group was really unimpressed with the idea that you can't Recall Knowledge to identify a monster outside of combat and that once combat starts, you have to wait for your turn and then burn an action to do so. So I did some digging and found...

INVESTIGATE
CONCENTRATE EXPLORATION
You seek out information about your surroundings while traveling at half speed. You use Recall Knowledge as a secret check to discover clues among the various things you can see and engage with as you journey along. You can use any skill that has a Recall Knowledge action while Investigating, but the GM determines whether the skill is relevant to the clues you could find.

Sounds like this would be what's happening while you're in exploration mode. As long as you don't have a situation where you can't see a monster, it's part of the area and you'd use Investigate to roll your appropriate Recall Knowledge check, based on the various things you see... which would include monsters, I'd think.

Our group was comfortable with this. I'm suspecting from the rest of the thread that this isn't intended. If it's wrong... well, this will be one of the first, big, "cannot tolerate playing PF2 as written" rules. The idea that knowing what you know takes the same action economy as making an attack or moving 25 feet is simply not going to fly as reasonable game design... with us.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Wait why wouldn't you be able to make recall knowledge checks out of combat anyway?


I have no idea why you wouldn’t be able to investigate an area for monster clues. The investigate exploration activity seems to cover that quite well.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

Just to be clear, I'm talking about the scenario where you've walked into a room, and you see a monster, but before the GM has called for initiative. You're "investigating" the dungeon at large. You see the monster (because it's not hidden/invisible). Do you legitimately get Recall Knowledge before initiative is rolled?


If the monster also sees you? Probably not, since combat is starting.

If the monster doesn’t see you? Absolutely, you can observe it for as long as you remain hidden.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
Henro wrote:

If the monster also sees you? Probably not, since combat is starting.

If the monster doesn’t see you? Absolutely, you can observe it for as long as you remain hidden.

So here's a slightly-off-topic but related question... does anyone's GMs ever have their monsters spend an action in the first round of combat to Recall Knowledge to figure out what the PCs are?


Anguish wrote:
So here's a slightly-off-topic but related question... does anyone's GMs ever have their monsters spend an action in the first round of combat to Recall Knowledge to figure out what the PCs are?

I GM myself, and sort of? Though not exactly.

My big high-level villains often research the heroes if they are aware of them in order to figure out their weaknesses. In combat I'm planning to make enemy spellcasters spend reactions to recognize the spells PCs cast to potentially gain more information on them.

I think it's worth noting that most monsters often don't have nearly as many options in combat as PCs in 2E, so they don't really need recall knowledge as much. Enemy casters have more reason to use the action, and have more to gain by researching the PCs beforehand.

Liberty's Edge

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Anguish wrote:
So here's a slightly-off-topic but related question... does anyone's GMs ever have their monsters spend an action in the first round of combat to Recall Knowledge to figure out what the PCs are?

Not usually, but then I don't have them know anything about PC capabilities that isn't immediately obvious (like 'the glaive has reach'), either.

If I wanted to have an enemy who targeted their weaknesses, I'd absolutely either have them do advance research (assuming they have reason to do so) or make such checks.


Anguish wrote:
Henro wrote:

If the monster also sees you? Probably not, since combat is starting.

If the monster doesn’t see you? Absolutely, you can observe it for as long as you remain hidden.

So here's a slightly-off-topic but related question... does anyone's GMs ever have their monsters spend an action in the first round of combat to Recall Knowledge to figure out what the PCs are?

I don't usually, 90% of threats thus far have been too unintelligent and the others didn't have any recall knowledge capabilities. They go up against malicious wizards or bards or psychic monsters and I will, but nothing they have fought are the sort of creature who would recall knowledge about them. Similarly, the fighter and the horse in the PC side have yet to recall knowledge about the enemy.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

The entire derailment of my adapted FoP game is based off a failed enemy Recall Knowledge causing an enemy to release the PCs under a NDA.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Anguish wrote:
So here's a slightly-off-topic but related question... does anyone's GMs ever have their monsters spend an action in the first round of combat to Recall Knowledge to figure out what the PCs are?

Not usually, but then I don't have them know anything about PC capabilities that isn't immediately obvious (like 'the glaive has reach'), either.

If I wanted to have an enemy who targeted their weaknesses, I'd absolutely either have them do advance research (assuming they have reason to do so) or make such checks.

As a Q, do you tell the PC's things like monster X obviously has reach ( assuming that it is obvious, not something like extend-o tentacles...)?

To clarify with an example, do they get:
"The 6' Grey skinned humanoid looks up at you and charges to attack"
or
" The 6' Grey skinned hummanoid, which has unusually long arms and has REACH, looks up at you and charges to attack".


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Anguish wrote:
So here's a slightly-off-topic but related question... does anyone's GMs ever have their monsters spend an action in the first round of combat to Recall Knowledge to figure out what the PCs are?

Not usually, but then I don't have them know anything about PC capabilities that isn't immediately obvious (like 'the glaive has reach'), either.

If I wanted to have an enemy who targeted their weaknesses, I'd absolutely either have them do advance research (assuming they have reason to do so) or make such checks.

Henro wrote:

I GM myself, and sort of? Though not exactly.

My big high-level villains often research the heroes if they are aware of them in order to figure out their weaknesses. In combat I'm planning to make enemy spellcasters spend reactions to recognize the spells PCs cast to potentially gain more information on them.

I think it's worth noting that most monsters often don't have nearly as many options in combat as PCs in 2E, so they don't really need recall knowledge as much. Enemy casters have more reason to use the action, and have more to gain by researching the PCs beforehand.

Thank you - both of you - for your replies.

I didn't really mean for a monster to identify who the PCs are, but rather what. Admittedly, PF2 doesn't have a lot of game-stopper abilities tied to ancestry... yet. But I was thinking that - for instance - simply recognizing the PCs are alive, not undead, guides use of things like positive/negative energy. Knowing that goblins are edible and are associated with fire, as an example. I suppose monsters can be assumed to have already encountered every ancestry PCs can draw from, so they draw their experience from off-stage activities while PCs never can; PCs have to take an action to know what they know.

That's really my issue with the rule. But what's written is what's written. Thanks for your time and input.


no good scallywag wrote:


I do find it hilarious that many think it takes the brain sooooo long to process information. Our brains are made to utilize visual data extremely quickly (just see sports). If I see a gorilla charging at me, I'm going to know he's going to either beat me down with his fists or bite me. Doesn't take 3 seconds to think it through- and that's me being a non-combat-trained layperson who sits at a desk.

I'll be making that action a free action for my players in light of the lack of credible evidence to the contrary.

Using your sports example, A) those are controlled scenarios where people practice against said controlled scenario B) lots of team sports actually set themselves up to have people make calls or get space to observe what is going on to make decisions... Basketball, soccer, gridiron, rugby, AFL, squash, tennis doubles.

But that is an apples to oranges comparison, their lives are not on the line and they aren't trying to remember any useful pieces of information about a monster they are not familiar with.
The action specifies that the player learns useful knowledge, knowing that an apes fist can hit things, isn't useful knowledge.

Reflexes and training are one thing, but even professional fighters pause and take stock.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Abd trained reflexes are pretty much already covered by the proficiency system. Recall knowledge might make it so you are never in a situation where the chromstosaur uses its colour vomit but if it does, you get your blink of an eye brain work via your reflex save.


Maybe allow a free action knowledge check at a -5 or so. That's the difference between:
"A gray figure in tattered clothes, with yellowed claws, fangs and red eyes rushes you out of the mist."
and
"A gray figure in tattered clothes, with yellowed claws, fangs and red eyes - your training in religion lets you recognize it as a wight -rushes you out of the mist."

A sufficiently high skill person has the information at their fingertips, whereas someone less skilled has to think a bit...


If one of my players succeeded a recalled knowledge and all they got was the name of the creature they’d probably feel ripped off.

Liberty's Edge

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pad300 wrote:

As a Q, do you tell the PC's things like monster X obviously has reach ( assuming that it is obvious, not something like extend-o tentacles...)?

To clarify with an example, do they get:
"The 6' Grey skinned humanoid looks up at you and charges to attack"
or
" The 6' Grey skinned hummanoid, which has unusually long arms and has REACH, looks up at you and charges to attack".

I wouldn't tell them anything not visible...but Reach involves their arms being, what, 6' long at a minimum? That's pretty noticeable unless they grow in the process of attacking.

And 6' long arms is a detail a person in universe would notice, and a GM is remiss for not informing the players of. Indeed, as a player, I'd be quite upset and think the GM was basically cheating (in a 'pixel b$&#&ing' sense) if they neglected to mention 6' arms on a 6' tall creature. That's something almost impossible to miss in-universe.

So...I give more physical description (or show them a good picture) than you imply here, but wouldn't go out of my way to say the game rule implication (ie: 'it has reach').

Anguish wrote:
Thank you - both of you - for your replies.

You're quite welcome. I'm always happy to be of assistance. :)

Anguish wrote:
I didn't really mean for a monster to identify who the PCs are, but rather what. Admittedly, PF2 doesn't have a lot of game-stopper abilities tied to ancestry... yet. But I was thinking that - for instance - simply recognizing the PCs are alive, not undead, guides use of things like positive/negative energy. Knowing that goblins are edible and are associated with fire, as an example.

The PCs look alive, and most creatures will thus assume that they are (and, once Dhampir is out, that assumption may hurt them). PCs can absolutely do the same, though if they ever run across undead who pass for living, that assumption may hurt them as well.

If the PCs took effort to appear undead for some reason, the enemy would assume they were undead unless they saw through the disguise, made knowledge checks, or otherwise found them out.

Anguish wrote:
I suppose monsters can be assumed to have already encountered every ancestry PCs can draw from, so they draw their experience from off-stage activities while PCs never can; PCs have to take an action to know what they know.

This is not true. PCs need to roll for the GM to provide info to the players. That is the purpose of Recall Knowledge. Now, metagaming is not cool on something like this, so player knowledge shouldn't come into it on things the character has never seen and fought, but if the party have previously fought a troll and recognize it on their own, they can remember to use fire and acid just fine with no rolls. Likewise, they can remember what goblins look like and that they love fire.

Knowing this stuff the first time you fight something is a Recall Knowledge roll, sure, as is all knowledge gained 'off screen', but if you're fighting them subsequently, the rules do not require you the player to forget things that happened 'on screen' as it were.

The difference between this and Recall Knowledge rolls is that it's all assumptions. A Recall Knowledge check would tell you that this specific troll is actually half red dragon and immune to fire, or that the 'goblin' you're fighting is a vampire spawn and won't be as edible as most goblins. But if you're fighting your third troll, nothing necessitates a roll to know how to handle the issue.

Anguish wrote:
That's really my issue with the rule. But what's written is what's written. Thanks for your time and input.

You're going with a pretty weird and restrictive interpretation of the rules, there.

Liberty's Edge

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Henro wrote:
If one of my players succeeded a recalled knowledge and all they got was the name of the creature they’d probably feel ripped off.

Yeah, the Recall Knowledge section specifically says that you get the creature's name, general categorization, and most notable feature (identifying a troll tells you about their regeneration, for example).

Successfully identifying a wight should get you that they're undead and drain life with a touch. Not much more than that, but it should tell you that much.


Atalius wrote:
Recall knowledge would be nice if it provided one additional piece of information (two total), to be really worth spending an action.

A 68-post discussion on that issue can be found at How are GMs determining the result of Recall Knowledge regarding creatures?

Anguish wrote:

Maybe I'm being dumb, but our group was really unimpressed with the idea that you can't Recall Knowledge to identify a monster outside of combat and that once combat starts, you have to wait for your turn and then burn an action to do so. So I did some digging and found...

INVESTIGATE
CONCENTRATE EXPLORATION
You seek out information about your surroundings while traveling at half speed. You use Recall Knowledge as a secret check to discover clues among the various things you can see and engage with as you journey along. You can use any skill that has a Recall Knowledge action while Investigating, but the GM determines whether the skill is relevant to the clues you could find.

Sounds like this would be what's happening while you're in exploration mode. As long as you don't have a situation where you can't see a monster, it's part of the area and you'd use Investigate to roll your appropriate Recall Knowledge check, based on the various things you see... which would include monsters, I'd think.

Our group was comfortable with this. I'm suspecting from the rest of the thread that this isn't intended. If it's wrong... well, this will be one of the first, big, "cannot tolerate playing PF2 as written" rules. The idea that knowing what you know takes the same action economy as making an attack or moving 25 feet is simply not going to fly as reasonable game design... with us.

Yeah, thinking about clues concerning an unknown while you have time before combat makes perfect sense.

Anguish wrote:
Just to be clear, I'm talking about the scenario where you've walked into a room, and you see a monster, but before the GM has called for initiative. You're "investigating" the dungeon at large. You see the monster (because it's not hidden/invisible). Do you legitimately get Recall Knowledge before initiative is rolled?

Wait, that is the opposite! You walk into sight of an opponent and bang, initiative begins. The Perception roll for initiative reflects how fast you can react to spotting the opponent. You don't have time for any more exploration activities. If you think about the opponent, then any time to think comes out of the character's actions.

In my Ironfang Invasion campaign, adapted to PF2, I rewrote the beginning of the first module to fit the PCs into the town of Phaendr better. The rewrite gave tham clues that the Ironfang Legion had invaded the town of Ecru 50 miles away. Due to solid roleplaying, the PCs went scouting for any signs that the legion would attack Phandaer. They have had days to think about the Ironfang Legion and its hobgoblin soldiers. I could have readily treated that as them having made their Recall Knowledge rolls in advance about hobgoblins.

In practice, we are still getting used to the rules and I softballed their first encounter with four hobgoblin soldiers (PF2 Bestiary, page 206) to let them practice all the actions, such as Recall Knowledge, that they could pull off during combat and stealth.

And I had to remind them of details I had already told them the prior week. Sometimes character knowledge is greater than player knowledge.

I did let them draw their weapons during exploration mode, since they headed out of the Taproot Inn in order to investigate news of hobgoblins in the southeast part of town. They had the time.


Anguish wrote:

I didn't really mean for a monster to identify who the PCs are, but rather what. Admittedly, PF2 doesn't have a lot of game-stopper abilities tied to ancestry... yet. But I was thinking that - for instance - simply recognizing the PCs are alive, not undead, guides use of things like positive/negative energy. Knowing that goblins are edible and are associated with fire, as an example. I suppose monsters can be assumed to have already encountered every ancestry PCs can draw from, so they draw their experience from off-stage activities while PCs never can; PCs have to take an action to know what they know.

That's really my issue with the rule. But what's written is what's written. Thanks for your time and input.

That falls under the basic information rule in the preamble of the Recall Knowledge section.

PF2 Core Rulebook, Skills chapter, pages 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. ...

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