Recall Knowledge checks encourage metagaming!


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BellyBeard wrote:
...why are they different?

Because in most of the situations that people call metagaming the actions being taken by the character actually do make narrative sense.

The "metagaming is bad" side of the discussion always gets hung up on what the player is thinking rather than looking at the actual narrative though.

That's why there are arguments like "you've never done that before, why are you doing it now?" with the examples of use of a different kind of attack instead of "your character literally can't think that would work" like with this repeated search example.

Here's a test for whether it's actually the narrative that is the problem: if a player that you know had no clue what they were doing chose the same actions in the same scenario, or the same actions were being taken when the player was wrong about them being useful, would you think "this is metagaming"?

If not, then the narrative makes sense, and is not the problem.

Silver Crusade

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

No, because that hypothetical you keep touting is soley that, a hypothetical that only exists in theorycraft when you need a defense, not something that actually plays out.

A player that constantly tries diferrent things or is new and learning is completely different than nearing the campaign's ends you switch from you mmain magical greatsword to an obsidian dagger to use on an undead you've never seen before nor have made no recall knowledges.

There's no randomness or learning there, it's just you know the creature's statblock and switched weapons solely because of out of character knowledge.


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My hypothetical is no more hypothetical than your own, especially since I've actually seen the situations I keep talking about in play before like it seems you have seen your own hypothetical play out before.

Especially given how ultra-specific you keep being with your examples.

And again, I posit that my knowledge as a player should be irrelevant - either a character in a situation doing a thing is fair play, or a character in a situation doing a thing is not fair play, no matter who it is that's playing the character at the time.

Silver Crusade

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

Not how that works, not how people works, it’s the why that is important.

If you have your character act on out of character knowledge and that out of character knowledge is the only reason they act like that then that’s metagaming.


There is no such thing as an action taken by a character that is not because of out of character knowledge, though, so that's not a distinction between "metagaming" and "just playing the game normally."

If you have to read my mind to know whether I'm playing correctly or not, doesn't it seem like your view of what playing correctly is has become a bit unreasonable?

I agree with the phrase "it's the why that is important" - but I think it is the why the character has, rather than the why that the player has that is the one that should be focused on. Especially because it doesn't require mind-reading to actually be accurately assessed.


I think I see the distinction you make. You don't deny metagaming's definition, you just say that metagaming is not bad per se, it is bad if it reduces the pleasure of the players, if it kills the story, etc... But in some situations it can be invisible (as when the metagamed action is logical for your character to make) and other times it's highly desirable (like the bard example given above).


That's one way to put it... but really, I'm saying that the definition of metagaming that most people use is indistinguishable from how the game is played normally, so it's not a useful definition.

As a result, when someone says "that's metagaming" everyone has to stop and evaluate what they even mean - they might have meant "cheating" because a player is doing something their character literally can't or that directly contradicts what is established that their character knows/believes, and it'd have been clearer if they'd have just said "cheating." Or they might be referring to someone just playing the game as normal, but in a way that they have been mislead to believe is wrong.

Effectively, the idea that experienced players have to jump through a hoop like making a Recall Knowledge check before they have their character do something because their experience with the game might mean they know they're making a smart choice, is like a gaming-specific version of "you have to wait 30 minutes after you eat before you go swimming or you will cramp up and drown." Tons of people believe it, but there's no fact behind it - it's just something someone said, likely with a selfish motive behind it, that spread into the collective conscious.


A lot of this comes down to table expectations. Session zero can be a really good idea way to figure out what everyone’s expectations for the game are.

Some more RP-focused tables may have a stricter idea of when metagaming becomes too much, and some may be more hands-off. I feel like most tables would take issue with “I’ve read the module and will act accordingly” though, at the very least if that player tries to obfuscate this.


On the contrary, my table tends to be pretty RP heavy, and honestly, we don't think about "Meta-Gaming" all that much. Once in a great blue moon one particular member will do something completely out of left field for their character and the others will point that out to him, but largely we roll with it.

Why? Because we don't play TTRPG's to rules-lawyer each other constantly at the table. That is reserved for our discord chats between sessions. At the table we joke, we bs and mostly we tell a story. Honestly we could probably dispense with any rule system and just tell a story to each other. PF2 and other systems largely just provide a framework for us to play in, and adds in some randomness.

So what if a player deduces that a foes AC is 21 and uses their hero point to avoid a miss before I can declare it a miss? That's metagaming if I've ever heard of it, and you know, I've never had it give me problems running the game.

I suppose the ultimate question is: At what point are You bothered by Meta Gaming, and what is your reaction? Do you rant at players who make pseudo meta gamey decisions based on information impossible for their character to know, like the AC example above? Because I am certain the same has happened at every one of your tables.


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thenobledrake wrote:
BellyBeard wrote:
...why are they different?

Because in most of the situations that people call metagaming the actions being taken by the character actually do make narrative sense.

The "metagaming is bad" side of the discussion always gets hung up on what the player is thinking rather than looking at the actual narrative though.

The narrative is the same only from an external point of view, "Brian the Bold sheathed his sword and instead swung his torch at the brutish troll." That view gives no motivations.

If we switch the third person limited point of view, then we end up with two separate narratives.
1) "Brian the Bold blinked in surprise. The green-skinned creature before him was a troll, a creature he had heard of only in bard song. Thank the gods, those songs also mentioned the troll's weakness. He sheathed his sword and instead swung his torch at the brutish troll."
2) "Brian the Bold did not recognize the green-skinned creature. Its body was built like an ogre, but its face was more leonine with large, biting teeth. Unlike an ogre or giant, it had made no attempt to drape itself in animal hides as clothing. Nevertheless, by the same urge of destiny that had driven Brian to become an adventurer, he instantly knew what to do. He sheathed his sword and instead swung his torch at the monster."

thenobledrake wrote:

That's why there are arguments like "you've never done that before, why are you doing it now?" with the examples of use of a different kind of attack instead of "your character literally can't think that would work" like with this repeated search example.

Here's a test for whether it's actually the narrative that is the problem: if a player that you know had no clue what they were doing chose the same actions in the same scenario, or the same actions were being taken when the player was wrong about them being useful, would you think "this is metagaming"?

If not, then the narrative makes sense, and is not the problem.

In my mathematical careers, I once spent seven years as a statistican. If a company rejects a black man out of 10 job applications for one opening, that is not significant. If it had an opening every month for five years, and though black people are one tenth of the applicants, it never hired a black person, then we can say that their hiring is clearly biased against black people.

If Brian the Bold has attacked dozens of monsters with his sword alone, except for the time he switched to a club to bash skeletons, and then he switches to a torch against a troll, it is clear that he knows the troll's weakness to fire.

On the other hand, if Jaya the wizard always throws fire, because she loves fire, and she throws fire agains the troll too, that is not significant.

And we have a third hand. Sometimes characters can know that trolls are weak to fire and don't regenerate after fire or acid without a Recall Knowledge check for perfectly good narrative reasons. Maybe they enountered trolls before. Maybe they had Gathered Information in town and were warned about trolls. Maybe trolls and their weaknesses are basic information in that setting. When I GM, cheating by skipping a Recall Knowledge roll would just earn a sarcastic remark, "When did your character become an expert on trolls?" and not merit backing up time to replay that turn properly.

And sometimes, relying on player knowledge is weaker than making the Recall Knowledge check. Most Pathfinder players remember that trolls are weak to fire and can't regenerate after fire damage. But do they remember that trolls can't regenerate after acid damage? That one is more obscure. And Acid Splash has persistent damage on a critical hit, so if the wizard cast Acid Splash, he might be free to cast a different spell the next turn rather than spamming the same Produce Flame cantrip turn after turn until the troll is dead.


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thenobledrake wrote:
BellyBeard wrote:
...why are they different?

Because in most of the situations that people call metagaming the actions being taken by the character actually do make narrative sense.

The "metagaming is bad" side of the discussion always gets hung up on what the player is thinking rather than looking at the actual narrative though.

That's why there are arguments like "you've never done that before, why are you doing it now?" with the examples of use of a different kind of attack instead of "your character literally can't think that would work" like with this repeated search example.

Here's a test for whether it's actually the narrative that is the problem: if a player that you know had no clue what they were doing chose the same actions in the same scenario, or the same actions were being taken when the player was wrong about them being useful, would you think "this is metagaming"?

If not, then the narrative makes sense, and is not the problem.

And again, if a totally new player made a greatsword character and pulled out a torch only when a fire weak creature showed up, I would also ask them why they are doing that. They might give a reasonable answer why they would stop using the sword, in which case we'd proceed as normal. If they are a new player and don't know about the nebulous term "metagaming" they'll probably say they do it because fire stops a troll's regeneration, at which point I'd point out their character doesn't know that unless they make a Recall Knowledge check.

Only the experienced player would know to give a vague answer to try and avoid the spent actions and chance of failure of a Recall Knowledge check. That's using player knowledge to try and gain an action advantage by avoiding using the rules.


I think this is a difficult thing that's different from table to table. I for example, would only really recall knowledge on creatures I have not seen commonly in other APs.

I don't expect my adventurer to be entirely ignorant of the world. Trolls are common threats, if not rumors and their weakness to fire would be stuff of local fables.

Same thing with Fey disliking Cold Iron, and maybe werewolves disliking silver.

However, I am definitely going to recall knowledge when I encounter something that seems particularly odd or uncommon as an enemy.

I'd rather not be punished for having a good memory. I'd be EXTREMELY concerned if the more rare monsters weaknesses were known by players just out of the blue however.

Again, Trolls are common enough. But if someone knows the big bad's elemental or material item weakness just because and specifically yoinks it out....


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I think one element is that allowances have to be made for the natural expansion of player knowledge, recall knowledge is an action with a defined combat cost- people shouldn't be expected to arbitrarily make recall knowledge checks to find out things they already know just to be able to use that knowledge.

If a player knows about the relationship between Trolls and fire, and they drop a fireball without making a knowledge check about trolls, that isn't something that should be punished. The player's knowledge about the system is a skill that can be honed with experience (and technically, study.)

If the GM wants to keep surprising their players, they functionally can't do that by using things their players know about. One compromise is that we could set an expectation the player not ruin the adventure for others by sharing that knowledge with other players verbally even if they use it themselves (like hurling a fireball as soon as they connect that it's a troll, but not telling the rest of the party), and avoid solving situations they know exactly how to solve (lets say, if they're a GM whose flipped through the module before, without intending to get an advantage or even knowing they would ever play it- they can let the other players work out the solution to the puzzle they know the answer to.)

The cool thing about discovery is learning, and while playing a lot of Tabletop games and being in the culture can make that seem harder- the answer is not depending on things like the relationship of Trolls and fire to surprise your players. We should be lenient about experience and just accept that the story isn't about the things players have already discovered in their previous adventures, even with other characters, and treat outright looking-things-up once you know they're a part of the game as a problematic behavior, rather than the possession of the information itself.


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Attempting to respond to several posts here.

You are not being punished for remembering trolls are weak to fire. You in fact have the advantage of knowing useful information will be given to your character with a knowledge check, so are a leg up on someone who didn't know about the weakness.

The fact that troll regeneration can be stopped with fire is not always common knowledge. For example, if a character hails from Osirion where there are no trolls (don't know if that's true in Lore, just making an example), this shouldn't be taken as a given. It's up to the GM to tell the players what their characters know about the enemy without making checks, and up to the players if they want to make checks to learn more.

It's not at all about surprising the players with the troll's weakness, it's about role-playing a character with limited experiences. You make a recall knowledge check so that the character can remember some knowledge; whether the player already knew it or is just learning it, the check still needs to be made. I agree with the idea that characters have heard of trolls before, and may have heard of their powerful regeneration, and may have even heard that stopping that regeneration requires fire or acid. That's what the Recall Knowledge action is there for, to remember those stories you heard years back (and remember which stories were true and which were old wives' tales).

I think there's several issues with the "accept that the story isn't about the things players have already discovered in their previous adventures" idea.

For one, this means you can never replay any adventure path or any adventure at all, including ones that one player has done but nobody else in the group has.

This also means a level 1 8 int barbarian character made by an experienced player is more worldly and knowledgeable than the 20 int level 10 wizard played by a novice to the system.

It means that Recall Knowledge becomes less useful as the player gains more system mastery, and essentially turns knowledge checks into "trap actions" as you learn more out-of-character.


Remember also that the party is composed by 3-5 characters, and by combining their power and knowledge they can achieve different tasks.

Trolls and their vulnerability are part of it.

Nobody pretends that a balanced group rely on the barbarian to know about troll weakness, but other classes could.

And by being able to recall useful stuff about the enemy they are fighting, they will be glad to share their info with the rest of the team ( free action ).

Which means that the barbarian could take out from his back pack a flask of oil, and then try to light it upon the troll. A wizard could swap from dealing double damage with Electric Arc ( let's say 3/4 trolls during thr fight ) and instead focusing one with produce flame.

Same goes with any other class.

If the party is not well balanced and nobody has knowledge about anything, then the problem lies somewhere else.


Trolls are always a weird example since it feels like "you have to burn trolls" would be a thing that would just be common knowledge in a region where trolls are commonly found.

We don't usually make people to recall things that their characters would obviously know (e.g. "the name of head of state in the country I am from") anyway.


Long post with lots of replies, here's hoping I didn't mess up the formating:

Mathmuse wrote:

The narrative is the same only from an external point of view, "Brian the Bold sheathed his sword and instead swung his torch at the brutish troll." That view gives no motivations.

If we switch the third person limited point of view, then we end up with two separate narratives.

There is no inherent cause for the narrative to not be exactly the same regardless of what the player knows about the game.

Mathmuse wrote:
If Brian the Bold has attacked dozens of monsters with his sword alone, except for the time he switched to a club to bash skeletons, and then he switches to a torch against a troll, it is clear that he knows the troll's weakness to fire.

No, that's not actually "clear" - at least not unless Brian's player is actually saying "I know this is a troll, so I'm going to use fire." What it is is an assumption, one that might be correct, but it also might be incorrect - both in the case of the player assuming using fire will be useful right now, and in the case of the GM assuming why the player has chosen now to do the thing his character could have done at any moment.

Also, the "metagaming is a thing and should be avoided" side seems to always push the narrative to what a character "always" does or even "usually" does despite that the reality is these moments which are being discussed are not limited to only once a clear pattern has been established.

Mathmus wrote:
When I GM, cheating by skipping a Recall Knowledge roll would just earn a sarcastic remark, "When did your character become an expert on trolls?" and not merit backing up time to replay that turn properly.

It's not cheating to not take Recall Knowledge actions as the rules do not mandate they must be taken at specific points during play. And if I were at your table just trying to play my character and you were tossing this sarcasm at me for it, I'd do too things: return the sarcasm with a response like "What you mean trolls? Are these not hags?", and then find a GM to play with that doesn't act like being a GM myself requires me to play specific sorts of characters in specific ways.

BellyBeard wrote:
And again, if a totally new player made a greatsword character and pulled out a torch only when a fire weak creature showed up, I would also ask them why they are doing that.

I don't actually believe that, and the rest of your post shows that you didn't read the "you know had no clue what they were doing" part of the post you're responding to.

The-Magic-Sword wrote:
I think one element is that allowances have to be made for the natural expansion of player knowledge, recall knowledge is an action with a defined combat cost- people shouldn't be expected to arbitrarily make recall knowledge checks to find out things they already know just to be able to use that knowledge.

Exactly! Especially because the implication of treating learning about the game like a bad thing is that the longer you play the game the more you have to play your character in very specific ways that artificially increase the difficulty of encounters because you can't just take on the encounter, you first have to dance the dance of proving you're not a bad player.

A task which requires basing choices on player knowledge just as much as the things being touted as "cheating" do, but is different in that doing something the character isn't particularly likely to do isn't the problem - the problem is that you're getting a perceived bonus. (Percevied is the word used because it's not actually a bonus, it's the normal state of the game's balance)

BellyBeard wrote:
You in fact have the advantage of knowing useful information will be given to your character with a knowledge check, so are a leg up on someone who didn't know about the weakness.

Being required to build my character so that it has good chances at recall knowledge checks because I have to constantly make those to prove I'm not playing incorrectly - when another player has no such expectations - sure feels like a punishment to me.

BellyBeard wrote:
The fact that troll regeneration can be stopped with fire is not always common knowledge.

While it is true that no particular piece of lore is always going to be common knowledge based on region or campaign or what have you, I don't think that's the important thought to be having when determining what player's characters do or don't automatically know when you GM. You can choose to approach the game in a way which everyone can just sit down and play and not have to jump through any hoops to make sure that things they learned in the course of having played the game before are proven to be in-character knowledge - or you can choose to make players constantly role-play learning the same information unless you don't use common monster types over and over throughout your campaigns.

BellyBeard wrote:
For one, this means you can never replay any adventure path or any adventure at all, including ones that one player has done but nobody else in the group has.

That isn't actually true. Regardless of how you define metagaming, the replay-ability of an adventure is independent of that. It comes down to the players being honest with the GM that they've played the adventure before, which gives the GM an opportunity to alter details if they wish, and to the players playing the game in good faith - which doesn't require constantly rolling Recall Knowledge checks for their characters to learn what the players already know, but can involve things like a player that's played through the adventure before saying "Okay group, I've done this adventure before so I'm going to save my vote for any "what should we do next" stuff as a tie-breaker, so you guys take the lead."

BellyBear wrote:
It means that Recall Knowledge becomes less useful as the player gains more system mastery, and essentially turns knowledge checks into "trap actions" as you learn more out-of-character.

It really doesn't because there are more than 400 monsters in the first bestiary alone, and more get added to the game constantly. Even GMs are not going to memorize enough of them so that they don't have plenty of opportunities to use the Recall Knowledge action if they want to while playing a character.

Especially because a GM is going to be giving visual descriptions of monsters rather than their names, which makes the accuracy of knowing what you're facing less than 100% - a troll, depending on how the GM describes it, could be confused for another kind of giant, or a hag, or a demon, or even a completely custom monster the likes of which the player has never seen, and that's without the GM deliberately changing what the creature looks like, it just depends on word choice and emphasis.

The only time that Recall Knowledge is even close to a "trap action" is when one is forced upon a player and they have to succeed in order to play their character how they wanted to.

PossibleCabbage wrote:
Trolls are always a weird example since it feels like "you have to burn trolls" would be a thing that would just be common knowledge in a region where trolls are commonly found.

Trolls are indeed a weird example. I think the reason they end up being the example that always comes up is because they kind of always come up in published adventures of the appropriate levels, and have throughout the years, and their weakness isn't even remotely esoteric or unique in nature. So the "it's not metagaming" side can use them to highlight how silly it is to constantly have to prove that the character knows fire will work when fire works on almost everything so no special knowledge is actually required, and the "it is metagaming, and you're a cheater for doing it" side can (though they rarely ever do) leverage the argument that because using fire right away makes the encounter easier than waiting a few rounds to use fire that something unfair has happened.

Plus, there are a lot less examples (in my experience, zero) from people's actual campaigns of stuff like a player seeing a cat-faced humanoid and immediately casting bless on a crossbow bolt and the other genuinely outlandish examples of using the right weapon at the right time without explanation, so those can't be used as examples - though sometimes they do get peppered in to counter-arguments against the idea that a player be allowed to just play the game and use whatever weapons their character has on hand as they see fit.

Sovereign Court

The CRB gives several options to the GM for knowledge actually; it's more refined than in PF1.

1) Some information is just known by everyone. No action or check required to know it. (As decided by the GM, not by a player who remembers the monster from a previous campaign..)

2) Some knowledge is more common than the precise creature. The CRB lists knowing about the terrible deeds of a dragon as an example of something that might be a Simple Trained DC, rather than the dragon's level-based DC which is probably much, much higher.

I think this is also a good approach to knowing stuff about creature types. Knowing details about succubi would be level-DC stuff; but knowing that in general demons are weak to cold iron and good damage could be a Simple DC.

Likewise, knowing that trolls have regeneration could be a level based DC. But once you see the troll actually regenerating, the GM could use a Simple DC to know that most creatures with regeneration should be treated with acid or fire.

3) Level-based DCs, which are appropriate to know about specific types of creatures.

Sovereign Court

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Apart from that, I think there's really multiple answers to how to treat metagaming. After you've been gaming for a couple decades, it feels a bit tedious to still have to pretend to be surprised by regenerating trolls and skeletons that need bludgeoning damage. At some point you have to figure out what kind of game you'd like to play;

- We could go and enforce strict separation of player and character knowledge, perhaps even over-playing how noobish our characters are. This could get kinda camp.

- We can lean on the fourth wall and have a kinda sarcastic campaign where we allow a lot more metagame knowledge and genre savvt to shine through.

- We can kinda play it straight, but don't get too upset if someone whitewashes player knowledge with a good grounded-in-setting argument. ("Gosh, it's regenerating, clearly swords aren't going to cut it. What else can we try? Fire could fully consume the flesh, would be harder to grow back from that." or "Well those skeletons are really bony, my rapier isn't going to work very well, maybe I should try the hammer.")

- Make an effort to use more exotic monsters.

- Change monsters to unexpected variants.

- Theme the party as highly trained professionals, who are expected to know all about the weaknesses of common monsters.


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thenobledrake wrote:
Long post with lots of replies, here's hoping I didn't mess up the formating:

If I want to "win" the game, I just have to buy the adventure, read it, and then do all has to be done to get through it as fast as possible. Would you consider that fair?

To me, it looks like reading a video game solution. I really like to have the complete experience, and someone who's telling me what to do and how to avoid living the real experience is actually killing my pleasure. Someone who gives the creature attributes because he knows them is also killing my pleasure. Trolls have always been a lot of fun, without needing to metagame their weaknesses. Actually, metagaming their weaknesses would just make an ogre out of a troll, which would be sad. Part of the challenge when facing a troll is to discover about it's regeneration.


What do you even mean "win" the game? I have no idea how this is even supposed to be relevant to the discussion at hand.

By the way, reading an adventure before you play it and not telling your GM that's running it for you is cheating - it also has nothing to do with metagaming, despite that a lot of people mistakenly refer to it as metagaming.

And I have no idea who it is that's telling you what to do or changing how you play - all I've done is advocate for people to stop implying that having played the game before and remembering things from doing so makes you a cheater.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
Trolls are always a weird example since it feels like "you have to burn trolls" would be a thing that would just be common knowledge in a region where trolls are commonly found.

Trolls are a level 5 monster. Most villagers are levels 1 and 2. A region where trolls are commonly found will have very few villages to have that common knowledge.

However, that is why I assume that "holy water hurts undead" is basic knowledge. Some undead creatures are level -1 and level 1. They can be common around regular villages and not drive out the villagers.

PossibleCabbage wrote:
We don't usually make people to recall things that their characters would obviously know (e.g. "the name of head of state in the country I am from") anyway.

I remember the example of Recall Knowledge difficulties on page 239:

PF2 Core Rulebook, Skills chapter, page 239 wrote:

Recall Knowledge Tasks

These examples use Society or Religion.
Untrained name of a ruler, key noble, or major deity
Trained line of succession for a major noble family, core doctrines of a major deity
Expert genealogy of a minor noble, teachings of an ancient priest
Master hierarchy of a genie noble court, major extraplanar temples of a deity
Legendary existence of a long-lost noble heir, secret doctrines of a religion

Thus, the rulebook suggests that to know the head of state of any country, including the home country of the PC, would be a DC 10 Recall Knowledge Society check rather than basic knowledge.

I admit that I have not kept track of the current governor of my home state Michigan, since I now live in New York. I just asked my wife, who spent two months in Michigan this year helping care for her mother, and she said, "Is it still Whitman?" The governor is Gretchen Whitmer, so she was close.


Yeah, that's the main thing is everyone being on the same page. I don't mind at all if thenobledrake plays differently from me as long as their group has a consensus on where the player/character separation is.


Mathmuse wrote:
Thus, the rulebook suggests that to know the head of state of any country, including the home country of the PC, would be a DC 10 Recall Knowledge Society check rather than basic knowledge.

I would observe things like "A Chellish PC who lives in Cheliax recalling that Cheliax is ruled by Her Infernal Majestrix Abrogail Thrune II" or a PC recognizing the holy symbol of their own deity are not things which should require rolls.

What that PC would have to roll for is "recalling who the current Supreme Elect of Andoran is" or for a Torag worshiping character to recognize Cayden's Holy Symbol.


thenobledrake wrote:
And I have no idea who it is that's telling you what to do or changing how you play - all I've done is advocate for people to stop implying that having played the game before and remembering things from doing so makes you a cheater.

Well, that's the point we will agree to disagree :)

For me, bringing player knowledge to the game without it to also be character knowledge is cheating.
Using player knowledge to influence what the character is doing is metagaming, and it's also a type of cheat.


Trolls in particular are dangerous and fairly rare for a peasant to run into. There’s probably a bit of dubious information out there in-setting, even though it seems like common information to the player.


SuperBidi wrote:

Well, that's the point we will agree to disagree :)

For me, bringing player knowledge to the game without it to also be character knowledge is cheating.
Using player knowledge to influence what the character is doing is metagaming, and it's also a type of cheat.

You haven't established an actual alternative though.

What a character is doing is always influenced by what the player knows, and that is literally unavoidable without completely taking the player making choices out of the equation.

You're just saying that using player knowledge to do thing A is fine because that's what you want to do, but using player knowledge to do thing B is cheating and the reason you are giving for that being the case is effectively "because I said so."


Mathmuse wrote:
Trolls are a level 5 monster. Most villagers are levels 1 and 2. A region where trolls are commonly found will have very few villages to have that common knowledge.

You forgot that the rules say some information might be known without a check, and that some "especially notorious or famed" information that does call for a check would have a DC that isn't the standard DC based on the creature's level.

So the level of the trolls, and the villagers, is not as relevant to determining who has the knowledge as you have stated it to be.


Henro wrote:
Trolls in particular are dangerous and fairly rare for a peasant to run into. There’s probably a bit of dubious information out there in-setting, even though it seems like common information to the player.

I say depends the the environement.

If we a talking about a Village, our knowledge fonts could be:

- Paesans
- some local hunter
- the Sage of the Village
- folklore

If we are talking about a city

- citizens ( smarter than Paesans )
- a library ( books which could talk about Monsters )
- a Temple or an adventurer shop ( eventually a magic shop )
- guilds ( trained people offering both Services and more knowledge )
- folklore

So depends the place you are in, you could gain some extra info about trolls.

That said, not having seen one of them, you could mistaking one of them for a Giant, an ogre or something else.


thenobledrake wrote:

Long post with lots of replies, here's hoping I didn't mess up the formating:

Mathmuse wrote:

The narrative is the same only from an external point of view, "Brian the Bold sheathed his sword and instead swung his torch at the brutish troll." That view gives no motivations.

If we switch the third person limited point of view, then we end up with two separate narratives.

There is no inherent cause for the narrative to not be exactly the same regardless of what the player knows about the game.

Let's talk narrative.

My wife has many characters in her Elder Scrolls Online account, and they have their own personalities. Arashmya is a crafty thief. Aethel is a drunk warrior. Aurielia is a noble hero. Loreda is an evil schemer. Yet, since the quests in ESO are fixed with few player choices, they all do the same actions on quests. And their actions in group raids on dungeons and trials is determined by their skills and the needs of the group. They all kill the evil cult leader. But Arashmya kills him to loot his headquarters, Aethel kills him for the battle, Aurielia kills him to protect the innocent, and Loreda kills him so that she can try out his evil schemes herself when she has the time. They deal with the humble Argonian merchant. But Arashmya views him as a good contact, Aethel wants to buy things, Aurielia likes to encourage small businesses, and Loreda appreciates that he acts humble to her like Argonians ought to act to Dunmer. The difference is the narrative my wife creates as she talks aloud while playing her computer game.

My wife and many of my other players love to weave a narrative that defines their characters. Are they smart, foolish, ambitious, introverted? Is their typical reaction bold or cautious? Her current animal-whisperer halfling character Sam in my Ironfang Invasion game is a goatherder and stableboy who works for stingy blacksmith Kining Blondebeard. Except he is also a rogue who supplements his income by stealing from travelers who stable their horses with Kining. And he became a rogue because he used to be a slave in Nidal and his name is not Sam. The elf Zinfandel grew up north of the village Phaendar, but he moved to Phaendar to study under the retired Chernasardo ranger Aubrin the Green so that he took could become an esteemed Chernasardo ranger. The gnome Binny is a rogue with Thief racket, Umbral heritage, and Criminal background, but now she makes an honest living as a messenger who runs the roads at night with her darkvision and sleeps during the day.

And these characters live their personal narrative with every action. Zinfandel is perfectly willing to stand beside half-blind Aubrin and use Point It Out so that Aubrin can shoot arrows at enemies rather than use all her actions for her own glory. Sam commands his little Jack Russell terrier dog to flank a wolf rather than save the action for another Strike. My wife could have chosen a more massive dog that could effectively attack on his own; instead, she chose a terrier.

At that level of detail, a Recall Knowledge roll is part of the narrative. It would make a difference whether the character spends an action for Recall Knowledge about a troll or whether the player insists, "Hey, setting trolls on fire is something everybody knows, right?" The former says, "My character learned this. it is part of his story." The later says, "Knowing things is his culture, not his story."

In fact, in the houserules we use in Ironfang Invasion, if Sam successfully rolled Recall Knowledge on a troll encountered in the Fangwood Forest, then I am supposed to tell a story about how Sam learned this. "When Sam was a slave and Dr. Addams was injecting dragon blood into his veins and infusing his cousin Wealday with eldritch essences, he was also experimenting with trying to give troll regeneration to other halfling slaves. That line of experimentation had a high death rate, since the troll blood tended to destroy the other blood in the halfling's veins. Dr. Addams tried mixing the troll blood with Alchemist's Fire and with acid to temporarily weaken it, since troll regeneration is deactivated by fire and acid. The Alchemist's Fire was an immediate disaster that never even got injected. The troll blood died immediately and burst into fire. The mechanics are that trolls have regeneration 20 deactivated by acid or fire, and weaknesses to fire 10." My wife wrote that houserule.

Sam would share the information, but not the story. I expect Zinfandel would make a followup Recall Knowledge check. "Aubrin grumbled about having to fight a troll once. Sam is right about the regeneration, but Aubrin pointed out that even without it, a troll is still hard to kill. Its thick hide is like armor, and cuts that would kill a human barely bother it. She was with more experienced rangers who recommended that she stay out of reach, since its jaws and claws could shred a newbie like her. And out of reach was further back than usual, because trolls are fast. AC 20, 115 hit points, Claw Rend, and speed 30." Yes, I do give out lots of information: that's another part of the houserules.

That's narrative. My players love it and are willing to roll Recall Knowledge for the roleplaying.

thenobledrake wrote:
Mathmuse wrote:
If Brian the Bold has attacked dozens of monsters with his sword alone, except for the time he switched to a club to bash skeletons, and then he switches to a torch against a troll, it is clear that he knows the troll's weakness to fire.
No, that's not actually "clear" - at least not unless Brian's player is actually saying "I know this is a troll, so I'm going to use fire."

Oops. Sorry, I frequently erroneously assume that statistics are clear to other people.


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thenobledrake wrote:
Mathmuse wrote:
Trolls are a level 5 monster. Most villagers are levels 1 and 2. A region where trolls are commonly found will have very few villages to have that common knowledge.

You forgot that the rules say some information might be known without a check, and that some "especially notorious or famed" information that does call for a check would have a DC that isn't the standard DC based on the creature's level.

So the level of the trolls, and the villagers, is not as relevant to determining who has the knowledge as you have stated it to be.

My point was not that the villagers are ignorant about the trolls because they cannot make their own Recall Knowledge rolls. They don't need Recall Knowledge about trolls because they can learn from experience as the trolls raid their villages.

Instead, 2nd-level villagers cannot always defend against 5th-level trolls. The trolls will kill the villagers. Dead villagers tell no tales.

If travelers reach a village with a sturdy wall and firepot catapults that keep away the trolls common in that land, then travelers can learn all about the trolls in casual conversation. But those villagers will be reluctant to leave their well-defended village and spread the word.


It feels somewhat plausible that a village might have had a nearby troll that was causing problems and managed to cobble together 4 3rd level people who dealt with it, and thereby learned that you need to burn trolls. Presumably everyone in the village was hearing this tale for generations.

Silver Crusade

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PossibleCabbage wrote:
It feels somewhat plausible that a village might have had a nearby troll that was causing problems and managed to cobble together 4 3rd level people who dealt with it, and thereby learned that you need to burn trolls. Presumably everyone in the village was hearing this tale for generations.

I’d like to know more about this troll fighting village that makes flesh golems please and thank you.


Rysky wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
It feels somewhat plausible that a village might have had a nearby troll that was causing problems and managed to cobble together 4 3rd level people who dealt with it, and thereby learned that you need to burn trolls. Presumably everyone in the village was hearing this tale for generations.
I’d like to know more about this troll fighting village that makes flesh golems please and thank you.

What's your Society mod? You need to make a secret Recall Knowledge check.

Silver Crusade

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

-2.

I thought the GM rolled that?

And wouldn't this be Gather Information since I'm asking?


Rysky wrote:

-2.

I thought the GM rolled that?

And wouldn't this be Gather Information since I'm asking?

Depends on if there's anyone around to ask on account of the trolls and flesh golems.

Regardless, we should probably stop metagaming before the thread turns on us.

Silver Crusade

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

… I was asking the poster who has potential to be a cabbage...

and *nods*


Mathmuse wrote:
Let's talk narrative.

Seems like you're stuck on the idea that the player knows they are facing a troll in-character and don't want to allow for that player to have any narrative for their character that isn't "my character is doing this because my character knows this is a troll and to use fire."

The narrative of "my character is using fire because that's a massively deadly weapon in their arsenal" just doesn't exist for some reason... and that's weird to me, because it would if you didn't insist that I know this is a troll.

Mathmuse wrote:
Oops. Sorry, I frequently erroneously assume that statistics are clear to other people.

Statistics are irrelevant, you were talking about mind-reading.

You are saying "it is clear that he knows the troll's weakness to fire" without there being any evidence to support that which does not also support every other reason in the world which someone might have for having a character use fire in a given encounter - even if you are correct and that is the reason in a specific case, you're still guessing, so it's not "clear" at all.


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Rysky wrote:
the poster who has potential to be a cabbage...

Mon petit chou, we *all* have that potential.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
thenobledrake wrote:
The narrative of "my character is using fire because that's a massively deadly weapon in their arsenal" just doesn't exist for some reason... and that's weird to me, because it would if you didn't insist that I know this is a troll.

If it is why aren't using it more often and only using it against the troll?

Quote:
Mathmuse wrote:
Oops. Sorry, I frequently erroneously assume that statistics are clear to other people.

Statistics are irrelevant, you were talking about mind-reading.

You are saying "it is clear that he knows the troll's weakness to fire" without there being any evidence to support that which does not also support every other reason in the world which someone might have for having a character use fire in a given encounter - even if you are correct and that is the reason in a specific case, you're still guessing, so it's not "clear" at all.

Did the character intentionally switch to fire? Then yes they know.


Rysky wrote:
If it is why aren't using it more often and only using it against the troll?

Because the first time I tried to use fire the GM started questioning me, accusing me of cheating, and explaining that if I didn't change what I was doing they wouldn't let me keep playing.

This example is a single data point by its very nature, trying to treat it as a full set of data is illogical.

Rysky wrote:
Did the character intentionally switch to fire? Then yes they know.

Have any proof of that? Not just suspicion, not just believe, actual evidence that says "they know" but doesn't also say "...or they just felt like using stuff that's on their sheet."

I will accept any official certificate or other documentation of your ability to read minds, just give me something besides "Oh, I know they know, and It's impossible that I could be wrong about that." Anything, really.

Silver Crusade

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thenobledrake wrote:
Rysky wrote:
If it is why aren't using it more often and only using it against the troll?
Because the first time I tried to use fire the GM started questioning me, accusing me of cheating, and explaining that if I didn't change what I was doing they wouldn't let me keep playing.

No they didn't.

Quote:
Rysky wrote:
Did the character intentionally switch to fire? Then yes they know.
Have any proof of that? Not just suspicion, not just believe, actual evidence that says "they know" but doesn't also say "...or they just felt like using stuff that's on their sheet."

All of your conversations and the moved goal posts over these 3 threads.


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thenobledrake wrote:
Mathmuse wrote:
Let's talk narrative.

Seems like you're stuck on the idea that the player knows they are facing a troll in-character and don't want to allow for that player to have any narrative for their character that isn't "my character is doing this because my character knows this is a troll and to use fire."

The narrative of "my character is using fire because that's a massively deadly weapon in their arsenal" just doesn't exist for some reason... and that's weird to me, because it would if you didn't insist that I know this is a troll.

I haven't used a troll in my games since 2012 in Hook Mountain Massacre during Rise of the Runelords. That is back in PF1 when I allowed a knowledge check as a free action upon seeing a creature, so everyone made a knowledge check. The aquatic troll they fought there was paralyzed with a Hold Person spell, coup de graced, and confirmed dead with a fire cantrip.

We did have mummies with weakness to fire in In Pale Mountain's Shadow during the PF2 playtest last year. I described the mummies as wrapped in bandages, and one player, my wife, made a Recall Knowledge check to confirm that mummies are flammable. She told the others and attacked with a torch. Another player attacked with Burning Hands.

My players were in the habit of using knowledge checks due to easy PF1 rules. SuperBidi opened this thread with the discussion that PF2 encourages skipping the Recall Knowledge action due to the chance of false information. My players decided during the playtest that Recall Knowledge needs to deliver more information in order to be worth the action. However, they prefer a playstyle involving gathering information and planning ahead, so they did not want to give up knowledge checks. Thus, we developed houserules for more informative Recall Knowledge checks. We have been using those houserules during Ironfang Invasion.

I noticed that for spying on the hobgoblin army, we needed more houserules. By the rules as written, taking a Recall Knowledge action or Seek action while hiding ends the hidden condition. The rules are on page 251 under the Stealth skill.

thenobledrake wrote:
Mathmuse wrote:
Oops. Sorry, I frequently erroneously assume that statistics are clear to other people.

Statistics are irrelevant, you were talking about mind-reading.

You are saying "it is clear that he knows the troll's weakness to fire" without there being any evidence to support that which does not also support every other reason in the world which someone might have for having a character use fire in a given encounter - even if you are correct and that is the reason in a specific case, you're still guessing, so it's not "clear" at all.

Imagine that Brian the Bold started at 1st level using shield and longsword. He fought goblin warriors, goblin commandos, a bugbear thug, sewer ooze, giant centipedes, a quasit, a bloodseeker, a fire mephit, skeleton guards, and a deinonychus at 1st level. He used his sword against all of them except that he used shield bash against the skeleton guards when his sword was ineffective and another party member rolled Recall Knowledge and told the party that skeletons have resistances cold 5, electricity 5, fire 5, piercing 5, and slashing 5.

At 2nd level, he fought velociraptors, crocodiles, a pteranodon, a bunyip, an ankhrav, a giant mantis, and a griffon. He used a sword against all of them except had to switch to a shortbow against the flying pteranodon and griffon. At 3rd level he fought several animated statues, a gargoyle, a snapping flytrap, an arboreal warden, a sod hound, a lion, xulgath stalkers, a xulgath leader, and two owlbears. He used his sword against all of them. The cleric in the party made a Recall Knowledge check and attacked the arboreal warden with her torch, but Brian stuck with his sword.

At 4th level, Brian the Bold fought a barghest, dire wolves, a mimic, an ogre glutton, and a troll. He used his sword against all of them except that against the troll he sheathed his sword, borrowed the cleric's torch, and attacked the troll with the torch.

This list statistically establishes that Brian the Bold does not switch weapons on a whim. Are the statistics clear now that I laid the data out as evidence?


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I'm wondering if this is just a matter of a social deconstructionist butting heads with more traditional gamer viewpoints.


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Malk_Content wrote:
I'm wondering if this is just a matter of a social deconstructionist butting heads with more traditional gamer viewpoints.

At this point, yeah, essentially. This thread has gone to arguing the semantics of the term, Meta Game, which are based on your personal biases at the best of times.

Doesn't mean there is no point to the discussion, but mostly what can be said on the subject, largely already has been said.


Mathmuse wrote:
Are the statistics clear now that I laid the data out as evidence?

The statistics were never unclear - they were irrelevant.

You have established an example of a situation in which statistic support your conclusion, but you were originally applying that same conclusion and claiming "because statistics" to an example that did not provide the information from which to derive any statistics.

As an example of where your statistics don't apply, to illustrate why I am claiming them to be irrelevant:

Imagine that Brian the Bold started at 1st level and faced numerous enemies using his sword at close range, his bow at long range, and switching to a club a couple of times because there were skeletons.

Then the party finds some alchemist's fire and Brian decides to hold on to a couple. He faces a few sessions worth of encounters using his bow, his sword, and a club again because someone told him not to cut an ooze.

Then, Brian's player sits down to a session, looks over the character sheet and sees the alchemist's fire and silently thinks to himself "I should probably use that some time." The session starts with a fight against skeletons so he uses the club he knows works particularly well for them. Then in the next encounter he throws some alchemist's fire... and has no idea whether the monster he's facing is or isn't a troll.


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I mean we can go to great contrived lengths to create absolving scenarios but I dont think that is actually useful. For the most part we can occams razor to see if something was meta gaming.


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thenobledrake wrote:
Mathmuse wrote:
Are the statistics clear now that I laid the data out as evidence?

The statistics were never unclear - they were irrelevant.

You have established an example of a situation in which statistic support your conclusion, but you were originally applying that same conclusion and claiming "because statistics" to an example that did not provide the information from which to derive any statistics.

As an example of where your statistics don't apply, to illustrate why I am claiming them to be irrelevant:

Imagine that Brian the Bold started at 1st level and faced numerous enemies using his sword at close range, his bow at long range, and switching to a club a couple of times because there were skeletons.

Then the party finds some alchemist's fire and Brian decides to hold on to a couple. He faces a few sessions worth of encounters using his bow, his sword, and a club again because someone told him not to cut an ooze.

Then, Brian's player sits down to a session, looks over the character sheet and sees the alchemist's fire and silently thinks to himself "I should probably use that some time." The session starts with a fight against skeletons so he uses the club he knows works particularly well for them. Then in the next encounter he throws some alchemist's fire... and has no idea whether the monster he's facing is or isn't a troll.

Let me quote my original comment #110 above.

Mathmuse wrote:

If Brian the Bold has attacked dozens of monsters with his sword alone, except for the time he switched to a club to bash skeletons, and then he switches to a torch against a troll, it is clear that he knows the troll's weakness to fire.

On the other hand, if Jaya the wizard always throws fire, because she loves fire, and she throws fire agains the troll too, that is not significant.

I never said, "because statistics." Instead I claimed that Brian the Bold almost exclusively used his sword in enough battles to statistically establish a typical behavior.

Also, I already covered the case of a character who routinely attacks with fire with the Jaya example. Why not use her as an example instead of overwriting my Brian example with a Brian who behaves differently? Or create a new example with a new name?

Why would Brian the Second, while facing a creature that looks like it could rip him to shreds (I would mention the jaws and claws in my decription), drop his sword and shield to free up two hands to take off his backpack and dig out an Alchemist's Fire. Given two actions to retrieve the Alchemist's Fire and one to throw it, he won't have an opportunity to retrieve his shield before the troll attacks. That is not whimsical, that is suicidal.

On the other hand, if Brian the Second kept the Alchemist's Fire on his belt, so that he can draw it in one action with one hand, then he already signaled to the GM that he was ready to use Alchemist's Fire. Thus, using it would not be an unexpected break with past behavior. If the player had failed to mention this to the GM, he could still show the GM his character sheet to confirm that the Alchemist's Fire was on Brian the Second's belt.


Since that day, the brave adventurer was known as Brian the metagamer... The savior of the world.

But this, is another story.

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