Metagame Like You Like To


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I don't work with animals. I don't study them.

However, I can recognize virtually every single one in my country and in fact most of them around the world. I know which ones are poisonous, which ones might want to eat me, which ones have unpleasant defenses, which ones are found in which habitats, which ones are related to others, what animal kingdom they're from, what common ancestors they had. I even know animals that existed for the past few hundreds of millions of years. I'm moderately educated and interested about nature, but there's nothing special about my knowledge. It comes from living in our world and having a natural curiosity about it.

I’m primarily the GM, and there’s very little people consider metagaming that I care about. It’s unrealistic to think that a twenty year old adventurer doesn’t know the common plants and animals of their world or even the fantastic monsters and their rumored powers. Whose grandma didn’t tell them stories of fairies and goblins and trolls and dragons, demons and witches, wizards and, well, all kinds of fantastical elements?

If a character wants to roleplay that they know or don’t know something their player has learned, I’m fine with it. You don’t have to pretend for the 20th character that you don’t know trolls need to be burnt to prevent them from coming back. It’s ok to get better at playing the game. Or don’t. Roleplay whatever floats your boat, but don’t harangue the other people at our table about it.

I see a lot of discussion around how to handle recall knowledge and other abilities to learn things like these. I don’t handwave those things off if a player doesn’t know them or want their character to know them and wants to use the ability for me to tell them. I have lots of new monsters that make the abilities worthwhile and rewarding. For those who are sticklers about having no metagaming knowledge, why do you do it, and do you think that’s more fun?

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


Oh, I'll also post our bestiary, magic item rule: No looking up magic items or monsters at the table. If you know something, fine, but no looking up all the stats, saves, etc. That's not in the spirit of our game.


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We don't need three threads for these discussions.


Thanks for taking the time to moderate the forums and cut out the nonessential discussions. We need more people like you to be concerned about what other people want to talk about and discourage posts in order to become a stronger community.


Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Is this a rules question, or a discussion of your homebrew adjustments to the rules?

Or just a statement of principles for your GMing style.


The DM of wrote:
For those who are sticklers about having no metagaming knowledge, why do you do it, and do you think that’s more fun?

I want to hear from people who are strict about no metagaming. I provided my GM opinion as the context.


CrystalSeas wrote:

Is this a rules question, or a discussion of your homebrew adjustments to the rules?

Or just a statement of principles for your GMing style.

I was about to ask the same.

However, recall knowledge is imo an excellent tool, which should by the way used only in specific circumstances:

- during an encounter, when in a couple of seconds you have to realize what you are fighting and recall info about it. It is usually a moderate task, but there can be exceptions.

- to get informations about difficult stuff. A druid could be able to identify basic plants and animals even without a check ( or a low dc check, if you want to mark the difference from a trained character and an untrained one ), while could require a way deeper knowledge to identify a Rover Drake.

Remember also that recall knowledge doesn't require training, so it is something available to all characters.

And if the task is easy there won't be any issue.

Personally I like to make a good use for it, and at our table, even outside the combat, people even forgo the roll if the subject is not something their character could know.

I say that it is only about common sense, even if, I guess, somebody could find this statement offensive.

Sczarni

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Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Flagged for... General Discussion? Homebrew?


Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Nefreet wrote:
Flagged for... General Discussion? Homebrew?

Yeah, me too.


I'll add some more context. Nowhere in the rules does it say if you see a red dragon, you have to pretend you don't know it breathes fire. That's an obvious one, but GMs and players who believe you have to pretend you don't know anything about a monster, why do you do it, and do you think that’s more fun?

If you want to post that this shouldn't be discussed or you have an opinion about what category this belongs in, how about not posting? You can ignore it or flag it without derailing.


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Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
The DM of wrote:
Thanks for taking the time to moderate the forums and cut out the nonessential discussions. We need more people like you to be concerned about what other people want to talk about and discourage posts in order to become a stronger community.
The DM of wrote:
If you want to post that this shouldn't be discussed or you have an opinion about what category this belongs in, how about not posting? You can ignore it or flag it without derailing.

When you post in a public forum, you don't get to control who else posts or how they want to reflect on your post.

Discussions are open to anyone who has a comment whether or not it narrowly follows the content of the original post

They can even engage in metaposting by pointing out that the thread belongs in a different forum.

If you're looking for a discussion about which of two options is "more fun" you're going to get the full array of opinions. And it's dangerously close to derailing into wrongbadfun arguments.

Sarcasm is difficult to differentiate from intentional hostility in a web post, and deliberately posting hostile responses to individuals can get your posts removed on these boards


You should familiarize yourself with the forum rules. Derailing a thread is not welcome here. Please participate in another thread and stop attacking mine?


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Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
The DM of wrote:
You should familiarize yourself with the forum rules. Derailing a thread is not welcome here. Please participate in another thread and stop attacking mine?

You know, I can't find the Community Guideline about derailing. But I did find one about baiting.

Posts or threads made solely to provoke a strong negative reaction or conflict do not contribute to the inviting place we'd like our community to be.

The topic isn't a question about how a rule works. It's a general discussion about styles of play, which specifically asks people who play differently than you why they play that way and why they find it fun to do so.

It's been flagged to be moved to a more appropriate forum.


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I agree. There's definitely harassment and baiting going on here. You win. I'll shut it down.


Edit: Didn't see the above posts. Removing mine.

Sczarni

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Starfinder Charter Superscriber

When someone flags a thread to be moved, and states which Forum they're flagging it for, it's more of a suggestion for the Moderator who's moving it, not the Original Poster (since they can't move the thread themself).

This has been an educational PSA from your friendly Forum Tengu.

Sczarni

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Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Anyways, back on topic, anyone can recall knowledge in this game. A PC with 10 Int who's Untrained in Lore (Dragons) can absolutely try to recall what that childhood fable they heard two decades ago detailed. They could also try to Gather Information to find out that the dragon they're about to face recently burned down a village.

That's built into the game to give every character an equal opportunity to use in-character knowledge, and limit out-of-character metagaming.


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I agree with the OP.

The problem is that PF really doesn't have any concept of common knowledge. No real guidance about what should be common knowledge or not. Red dragons breathing fire is pretty iconic and easy to remember, but maybe if dragons are supposed to be super rare in setting that shouldn't be? I do think the whole issue ends up a bit overblown, but it would be cool if the books talked a little bit more about that.

The lack of regional knowledge as a concept also really bugs me. Sure, maybe we can argue troll regenerations shouldn't be common knowledge in setting, but if you're from some part of the world where trolls are much more common maybe it should be, at least for you? But there isn't. By the book a scholar from Absalom is going to always know more practical knowledge about the beasts of Avistan than an Ulfen warrior who grew up there. At least, according to the book as written.

The end result to these ambiguities is people erring on the side of caution and we end up with characters that don't know anything about anything until they roll for it. Sounds silly to me, but if that's how people like to play it.

I do sort of wonder though how much of the issues being brought up here are more academic than practical. I've seen a lot more fretting over what PCs should and shouldn't know online than at most actual tables I've played at.

Nefreet wrote:
Anyways, back on topic, anyone can recall knowledge in this game. A PC with 10 Int who's Untrained in Lore (Dragons) can absolutely try to recall what that childhood fable they heard two decades ago detailed.

They could 'try', but it's impossible for that PC to know that an Ancient Red Dragon can breathe fire following the standard rules for Recall Knowledge.

They'd have a small but possible chance to successfully identify an Arbiter Aeon can shoot electricity from its body though.

Which highlights another oddity about the way Recall works in this game. Our unworldly, uneducated peasant is more likely to know about strange extraplanar observers than dragons, because dragons are harder to kill.


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swoosh wrote:
They could 'try', but it's impossible for that PC to know that an Ancient Red Dragon can breathe fire following the standard rules for Recall Knowledge.

That's not exactly true because the standard rules for Recall Knowledge include both of the following bits of text:

"You might know basic information about something without needing to attempt a check" - p.238

"You might adjust the difficulty down, maybe even drastically, if the subject is especially notorious or famed. Knowing simple tales about an infamous dragon's exploits, for example, might be incredibly easy for the dragon's level, or even just a simple trained DC." - p.505

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
thenobledrake wrote:
swoosh wrote:
They could 'try', but it's impossible for that PC to know that an Ancient Red Dragon can breathe fire following the standard rules for Recall Knowledge.

That's not exactly true because the standard rules for Recall Knowledge include both of the following bits of text:

"You might know basic information about something without needing to attempt a check" - p.238

"You might adjust the difficulty down, maybe even drastically, if the subject is especially notorious or famed. Knowing simple tales about an infamous dragon's exploits, for example, might be incredibly easy for the dragon's level, or even just a simple trained DC." - p.505

Yep yep.


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The DM of wrote:
You don’t have to pretend for the 20th character that you don’t know trolls need to be burnt to prevent them from coming back.

No, but it's not much effort if you do.

Metagaming:
GM: "It's a large green humanoid with claws."
Player: "I put my sword away and get out a flask of alchemist's fire."
GM: "Why?"
Player: "My character is random and whimsical. He does things like that sometimes."
GM: "He didn't when he fought the ogre last week."
Player: "I don't think you're getting the 'random' part."

Not metagaming:
GM: "You hit the large green humanoid with your sword. You notice that its flesh is starting to heal rapidly."
Player: "Gosh, it can regenerate? Gee, maybe we should try hitting it with fire or acid or something like that, eh?"

Metagaming (example using PF1 rules):
GM: "This lanky fiend’s mouth is filled with sharp fangs, while great bat-like wings stretch from its scaly hide."
Player: "I've read that one guys, it's a Nabasu. DR 10/cold iron or good. Your sword's +3 when raging so you should be OK. I switch to my cold iron arrows."

Not metagaming:
GM: "This lanky fiend’s mouth is filled with sharp fangs, while great bat-like wings stretch from its scaly hide."
Player: "OK, that looks like one of those horrible things I carry around special arrows to hurt. I don't have the knowledge skills to identify it so I'll randomly pick an arrow with a d20 and see how effective it is. 1-10 silver, 11-20 cold iron."


Alternative version of this scenario:

Not metagaming:
GM: "It's a large green humanoid with claws."
Player: "I get out a flask of alchemist's fire." (not wasting an action putting the sword away, can hold that in one hand for later).
GM: "Why?"
Player: "...so I can throw it at the monster?"
GM: "No, I mean why now and not when you fought the ogre last week."
Player: "I dunno. Why didn't you give the ogre last week an axe instead of club?"
GM: "I don't know what you're getting at. Just tell me why you all of a sudden want to use alchemist's fire"
Player: "Well, I've had it on my sheet a while, and I figured why not now. Can I throw it at the monster now?"

Or you can just shorten the whole thing to the player saying "Why not?"

Especially because this is clearly a green hag so the fire doesn't even matter, what's the big deal?


thenobledrake wrote:

GM: "It's a large green humanoid with claws."

Player: "I get out a flask of alchemist's fire." (not wasting an action putting the sword away, can hold that in one hand for later).
GM: "Why?"
Player: "...so I can throw it at the monster?"
GM: "No, I mean why now and not when you fought the ogre last week."
Player: "I dunno. Why didn't you give the ogre last week an axe instead of club?"
GM: "I don't know what you're getting at. Just tell me why you all of a sudden want to use alchemist's fire"
Player: "Well, I've had it on my sheet a while, and I figured why not now. Can I throw it at the monster now?"

The player could say that, but it would be a bad faith answer. He's trying to trick the GM. This is frowned upon at most tables.

Having said all that, as GM I'd go out my way not to put players in situations where they have to pretend not to know things.

"A troll is a common creature so with your knowledge check of 10 you know it can regenerate unless hit by fire or acid."

"OK, with that check you know nothing at all about ancient red dragons. However, that is enough to know that baby red dragons are immune to fire and breathe cones of fire, and you could guess that ancient dragons are similar."

This is easier when knowledge checks are a free action...


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Matthew Downie wrote:
This is easier when knowledge checks are a free action...

Even easier still when you don't assign a DC and call for a check, and instead use the part of the rules that says you might know basic information without a check - then you just label the "obvious if you've played the game or anything like it before" information as basic information that you know without a check.


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Matthew Downie wrote:


This is easier when knowledge checks are a free action...

I actually just give my players basic knowledge like that for free, no prompting. I've found that largely it only speeds up the game and allows the players more freedom.

I mean really *gets up on soapbox* Do we want to live on a Golarion that doesn't allow you to just throw alchemists fire at a random creature for no discernible reason? You can take my Alchemists fire from my cold dead hands!


One of my players has a dozen years of fencing experience, so he shows me how he attacks the monster and I consider it an automatic critical hit, as obviously he knows that's the best way to do it.


Matthew Downie wrote:
thenobledrake wrote:

GM: "It's a large green humanoid with claws."

Player: "I get out a flask of alchemist's fire." (not wasting an action putting the sword away, can hold that in one hand for later).
GM: "Why?"
Player: "...so I can throw it at the monster?"
GM: "No, I mean why now and not when you fought the ogre last week."
Player: "I dunno. Why didn't you give the ogre last week an axe instead of club?"
GM: "I don't know what you're getting at. Just tell me why you all of a sudden want to use alchemist's fire"
Player: "Well, I've had it on my sheet a while, and I figured why not now. Can I throw it at the monster now?"

The player could say that, but it would be a bad faith answer. He's trying to trick the GM. This is frowned upon at most tables.

Having said all that, as GM I'd go out my way not to put players in situations where they have to pretend not to know things.

"A troll is a common creature so with your knowledge check of 10 you know it can regenerate unless hit by fire or acid."

"OK, with that check you know nothing at all about ancient red dragons. However, that is enough to know that baby red dragons are immune to fire and breathe cones of fire, and you could guess that ancient dragons are similar."

This is easier when knowledge checks are a free action...

I prefer using the checks as part of a possible action trade, and I like to enhance the system by also creating my own monsters

- enhancing/modifying existing sheets, to give similar appareances but slightly different in terms of perks

- create new enemies the characters have never seen ( so the would really consider recall knowledge checks ).

Giving them as free action would simplify the game by removing one action trade possibility.


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SuperBidi wrote:
One of my players has a dozen years of fencing experience, so he shows me how he attacks the monster and I consider it an automatic critical hit, as obviously he knows that's the best way to do it.

One of my players has twenty years of experience as a lawyer, so they tell me which argument they support and that side wins.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
thenobledrake wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
This is easier when knowledge checks are a free action...
Even easier still when you don't assign a DC and call for a check, and instead use the part of the rules that says you might know basic information without a check - then you just label the "obvious if you've played the game or anything like it before" information as basic information that you know without a check.

And what info would that be?


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Note the reason why you recognise most animals the world over is because you live in a modern society in which things like high quality animal documentaries are likely part of your upbringing.

Even famous Renaissance sculptors got the legs of lions wrong because they never actually saw them and just copied their dog.


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Malk_Content wrote:

Note the reason why you recognise most animals the world over is because you live in a modern society in which things like high quality animal documentaries are likely part of your upbringing.

Even famous Renaissance sculptors got the legs of lions wrong because they never actually saw them and just copied their dog.

Another example is how the hippo is basically named “River Horse” despite looking nothing like a horse . Information was neither perfect or widespread back then

Find the Path podcast do a good job on this . They have Osiriani character who are utterly bewildered when an Inner Sea NPC mentions and describes a Bear and recently were utterly baffled when I spell created a snow/frost effect on the ground as they had only ever grown up in a desert

Sovereign Court

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thenobledrake wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
This is easier when knowledge checks are a free action...
Even easier still when you don't assign a DC and call for a check, and instead use the part of the rules that says you might know basic information without a check - then you just label the "obvious if you've played the game or anything like it before" information as basic information that you know without a check.

Pathfinder 2 gives you some neat new "official" options for this actually.

Declaring some knowledge "free" (no action and no roll required)

CRB p. 238-239, Recall Knowledge wrote:

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.

That's quite a lot of leeway for the GM to declare some knowledge automatic. If the GM is saying "oh everyone here knows about trolls and regeneration" that's fine. But that's the GM's decision to make. It's still not okay for the player to just decide that his character knows that because he knows it.

Decoupling some knowledge from the level-based DC

For example, as regards the traditional "I don't know what that big red critter is but the small red critter is a baby dragon":

CRB p. 505, Recall Knowledge wrote:

You might adjust the difficulty down,

maybe even drastically, if the subject is especially notorious
or famed. Knowing simple tales about an infamous
dragon’s exploits, for example, might be incredibly easy for
the dragon’s level, or even just a simple trained DC.

A "simple trained DC" is 15, completely separate from the dragon's level. It's not a stretch to say that in a country where dragons played a big role in history, you can use Simple DCs to know the color coding scheme for dragons (black=acid, red=fire etc.)


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I hadn't even noticed this part of the post earlier on:

Matthew Downie wrote:
The player could say that, but it would be a bad faith answer. He's trying to trick the GM. This is frowned upon at most tables.

There is no indication that the player is not answering honestly.

The assumption that the player is answering in bad faith is, itself, bad faith. Bad GM, no mindreading, no cookie.

Rysky wrote:
And what info would that be?

Oh, you know... stuff like what a goblin looks like, or how to tell an orc and a bugbear apart, or how to identify trolls on sight and to remember to use fire on them - which is clearly common knowledge in-setting because these things are functionally immortal if people don't know to burn them and also massively warlike and destructive but haven't overrun entire nations yet, and anything else that would cause an experienced player within your group to have to play their character differently than a complete newb would in a given situation.

Ascalaphus wrote:
<snipped for space>

Thanks for taking the time to go more in depth on what I had mentioned.

Sczarni

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Starfinder Charter Superscriber
thenobledrake wrote:
Rysky wrote:
And what info would that be?
Oh, you know... stuff like what a goblin looks like, or how to tell an orc and a bugbear apart, or how to identify trolls on sight and to remember to use fire on them

Are you the GM?


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Nefreet wrote:
Are you the GM?

Despite the relevancy of this question being dubious at best, I am going to answer:

Yes, I am the GM. My ratio of session as a GM to session I get to just play a character in has been about 300:1 despite me wishing I could get to play more.

And since some of those sessions as a player have involved arguments that only happened because of what the other GM assumed I was thinking while trying to just play my character, and calling me a "cheater" and yelling about "metagaming", I came to my current conclusions about the whole thing being a completely useless concept.

In the example of a party at camp being attacked by a troll and the fighter that was tending the fire choosing to attack with the burning bit of wood that was in his hand rather than go grab his sword, which I'm sure many folks have encountered over the years it's been discussed online, I was the player of the fighter and until the GM started having a fit about what I was doing not being fair, I wasn't certain it wasn't an ogre that was attacking.


thenobledrake wrote:


In the example of a party at camp being attacked by a troll and the fighter that was tending the fire choosing to attack with the burning bit of wood that was in his hand rather than go grab his sword

That's different from seathe your sword to draw a torch, light it and the Strike with it.

As for the idea, if the character happened to do this before, i see no problem ( starting to swing bandits or wolves with a torch instead of drawing a sword and fighting with it ).

I would have allowed him to to the same even with a troll.

Sczarni

Starfinder Charter Superscriber
thenobledrake wrote:
Nefreet wrote:
Are you the GM?
Yes, I am the GM.

Cool. Then obviously you've decided that knowledge I quoted earlier is common and your players do not need to make those rolls.


HumbleGamer wrote:
That's different from seathe your sword to draw a torch, light it and the Strike with it.

I know it is. I'm not the one that ever made the scenario "I'm going out of my way to use fire" - that is the way the people that insist using fire on a troll without first proving your character knew that would be a good plan chose to frame the scenario to make it seem more like there's clearly something "wrong" happening.

HumbleGamer wrote:
As for the idea, if the character happened to do this before...

Why is precedent necessary? Does that mean I'm just out of luck if the very first time I'm in a situation I want to use fire instead of my sword in happens to be one that involves a troll?

Also, if I have to have done something "before" in order for it to be allowed... how do I ever do anything? Do I have to make a list for the GM to approve that says "these are all things which my character has done at some point prior to the campaign starting"?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

No, just don't use hypotheticals that only exist in a vacuum and don't stand up to any amount of scrutiny.


Again, your hypotheticals are no less hypothetical than mine - and all of mine are based off of my own actual play experience, so the only thing hypothetical about them is the "if this happened at your table" part.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Claiming yours aren't a hypothetical because you did them in your campaigns isn't much of a defense given the situation.

(unless I misunderstood what "my own actual play experience" meant)


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The DM of wrote:

I don't work with animals. I don't study them.

However, I can recognize virtually every single one in my country and in fact most of them around the world. I know which ones are poisonous, which ones might want to eat me, which ones have unpleasant defenses, which ones are found in which habitats, which ones are related to others, what animal kingdom they're from, what common ancestors they had. I even know animals that existed for the past few hundreds of millions of years. I'm moderately educated and interested about nature, but there's nothing special about my knowledge. It comes from living in our world and having a natural curiosity about it.

One thing that doesn't hold up to scrutiny here, but I think is interesting to explore, is the assumption of the actual level of information and education the average person on Golarion has access to. Don't get me wrong, we have gauges, and there are schools, apprenticeships, etc.

But for me, it's a hard sell that someone coming out of Sandpoint would recognize even 15% of Varisian fauna (especially as some of its fauna is from places like Leng), and that's assuming they were educated. The opportunities you likely used to learn those things (formal education, traveling, safely observing the wilderness) are something a person living in say a desolate war-torn wilderness full of monsters would never have. How many ogres has a level one PC read about or observed up close? There is no way your knowledge is just osmosis in the sense you think it is. You only know about animals that existed millions of years ago because thousands of people worked hard to get you that information, and then literal millions struggled to deliver that information to you through the hard fought process of funding things like schools. There's a lot I feel you're taking for granted. No one did Valeros that favor. No giant shoulders for him to stand like we have.

It just feels *odd* idk. And you probably still only possess that information on animals in broad strokes. It would be truly impressive for amateur enthusiast who doesn't study animals to be able to differentiate various obscure relatives of the Sydney Funnelweb.


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An even more interesting conundrum: What if you decide to specifically avoid using a creatures weakness simply because you don't have the proper skill to know what it's weakness is, even if that action would then change your "standard" actions?

Say for instance a Dual Wielding rogue with a Sap and a Dagger decides not to use the Sap against a Skeleton, simply because he feels that would be "meta gaming" to take advantage of the Skeleton's weakness, and therefore leads with his dagger instead, even though throughout the parties combats he's led with the Sap.

Is that meta gaming?

RE: The DM of & MadMars, that discussion is basically pointless. The fact is that neither of you are from a middle ages agrarian society with limited access to formal education, so what is the point of trying to figure out how fast information would disseminate/ how accurate information would be in one? After all there is Magic in the world, people have access to teleportation or long range magical communication. Sure, nobody is walking around with all of the information ever thought of by any person like we do (smart phones and all that), but who's to say that information doesn't make it's way around Golarion faster or more accurately than it did in the middle ages of Earth?

Someone brought up the idea that people painting Lions in the middle ages would mess up the legs and just copy a dog. Well, I'm pretty sure just about any caster with access to a summon Animal spell can summon a Lion or a bear or a badger or... etc.. regardless of where they are from. So would you require a recall knowledge check to make sure they know what they are summoning and tell that player that they can't do that if they don't happen to know what a Lion is?

At the end of the day, the rules are there to enable our fantasy worlds, not cripple them. Ignore pointless checks, keep the game moving and make sure your players are having fun. Otherwise you may as well hang up the campaign, cause if it's not fun, you shouldn't be playing it.


beowulf99 wrote:

An even more interesting conundrum: What if you decide to specifically avoid using a creatures weakness simply because you don't have the proper skill to know what it's weakness is, even if that action would then change your "standard" actions?

Say for instance a Dual Wielding rogue with a Sap and a Dagger decides not to use the Sap against a Skeleton, simply because he feels that would be "meta gaming" to take advantage of the Skeleton's weakness, and therefore leads with his dagger instead, even though throughout the parties combats he's led with the Sap.

Is that meta gaming?

RE: The DM of & MadMars, that discussion is basically pointless. The fact is that neither of you are from a middle ages agrarian society with limited access to formal education, so what is the point of trying to figure out how fast information would disseminate/ how accurate information would be in one? After all there is Magic in the world, people have access to teleportation or long range magical communication. Sure, nobody is walking around with all of the information ever thought of by any person like we do (smart phones and all that), but who's to say that information doesn't make it's way around Golarion faster or more accurately than it did in the middle ages of Earth?

Someone brought up the idea that people painting Lions in the middle ages would mess up the legs and just copy a dog. Well, I'm pretty sure just about any caster with access to a summon Animal spell can summon a Lion or a bear or a badger or... etc.. regardless of where they are from. So would you require a recall knowledge check to make sure they know what they are summoning and tell that player that they can't do that if they don't happen to know what a Lion is?

At the end of the day, the rules are there to enable our fantasy worlds, not cripple them. Ignore pointless checks, keep the game moving and make sure your players are having fun. Otherwise you may as well hang up the campaign, cause if it's not fun, you shouldn't be playing it.

Of course it's pointless, that's what it makes it fun to argue about! I don't personally run it either way, and have never had the issue in a campaign. But why not have fun entertaining the question? It's so boring to just shut it down and not explore the idea.

For the record though I wouldn't make a PC roll a knowledge check for something super basic, and don't worry, my games and worlds are very fun! Have you considered sometimes people have fun playing the game a different way?


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True, I love a good round of what if and all that. I was just providing my opinion on the whole subject to be honest, not trying to shut down the discussion.


beowulf99 wrote:
True, I love a good round of what if and all that. I was just providing my opinion on the whole subject to be honest, not trying to shut down the discussion.

That's fair, I'm sorry if that came off accusatory. I didn't so much mean that you would do so out of malice, just that calling it pointless felt like it was invalidating the exercise (to me.)

I *would* be willing in any case to be that while info travels faster in Golarion than in Middle Ages/Early Modern Earth, it probably goes more slowly than Modern Earth. I think stuff like rolling to identify a simple lion in any case probably doesn't belong in the game, although having a character choose to roll could be fun if they were trying to ham it up as someone from a very different society or background.


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We have two other threads, What Skill do you use to Identify a Troll? and Recall Knowledge checks encourage metagaming! , that already talk about metagaming in Recall Knowledge checks. Let me give an example of metagaming that does not involve Recall Knowledge.

In Palace of Fallen Stars during my Iron Gods campaign, the players split up before entering the city of Starfall in order to avoid detection by their enemies, the Technic League, whose headquarters was in Starfall. I ended up having to write several independent adventures for one or two characters because they did not regroup. I even asked for suggestions: Inconspicuous PCs Unmotivated in Palace of Fallen Stars.

The strix skald Kirii, disguised as an assimar cleric named Dove, had made contact with criminal organizations in the slums while aiding the poor in the slums. The city guard had rounded up 25 rioters and was going to deliver them to the Technic League as slaves. The criminal gang wanted four of their people involved in the riot rescued from jail before they were sent to the Technic League. Kirii asked the rest of the party for help (hurray!) but the fighter Kheld and his wizard cohort Juran said they wanted more information about the jailhouse before helping. Unwilling to wait, Kirii proceeded alone. It was a simple matter of carefully sneaking into the jail while invisible, using Dimension Door while holding hands through the cell bars with the four people, and then handing them disguises in the alley they had teleported into.

Suddenly, Juran appeared in the alley. He had been following Kirii invisibly and now he wanted to help. I scolded the player for having a character wander around a guarded area without making Stealth checks, because he had not told me that Juran followed Kirii. Kirii agreed to make a second jailbreak with Juran providing more teleportation through walls with his teleportation school abilities. They got all the rioters out of jail and into the streets, where several of them where promptly captured again because they had no disguises and the guard were actively searching for the first four escapees.

I view Juran's player as metagaming. He was willing to skip the mission to avoid risk to his characters; for example, a Technic League technomancer could have been in the jailhouse. Thus, he waited until Kirii identified and faced all the risks and then showed up to claim a riskless victory for himself. I believe he broke the rules about informing the GM about character activity because he did not want to commit himself while the scenario still had unrevealed risk. I was miffed, but except for that one scolding, I kept it to myself. He had belatedly turned a solo scenario into a duo scenario, after all. And Juran did not get paid, since the criminal gang was paying only for the original four.


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That is certainly meta gaming, but sort of from a different cloth. Not informing your GM of your intentions or actions is pretty verboten, which in a sense means that those actions should not have occurred in the first place. Generally speaking unless a player has Very good reasons for doing so, not informing the GM of an action at my table means it simply did not happen.

The easiest solution is to waive him out of the scene, since he showed little enough interest in joining the venture in the first place, the rest of the rioters be damned.

Or go the route you did, allow Jeran to insert himself into the scene at an opportune moment and then roll with it for the sake of the story.

However that is very different than the first batch of examples given in the Knowledge Check thread. Deciding to not use a Recall Knowledge check can't be a meta gaming decision. Any character should be able to figure out whether they have enough information on a creature to try to remember a specific fact about it practically instantly, or to decide whether thinking about that specific fact is worth your time.

For instance: I am a Casino Dice dealer by trade. I work with numbers at a rapid pace for hours a day and have a good math sense under my belt. If my player on my table challenges me to solve a complex differential equation however, I'll probably bow out and ask an expert, as that is not in my wheel house. It would take precisely as much time to come to that conclusion as it would for him to finish saying "equation", as in a Craps game you don't have time for that sort of tomfoolery 99% of the time. If instead they asked what a particularly complicated bet pays, I may consider answering, but could still refuse if I don't currently have time to explain the payout to them, at least until the game slows down for betting or the shooter craps out.

If my career was a TTRPG, would me deciding not to answer that question, even if I know the answer up front, because I don't have time (actions) to spend on it be meta gaming?


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Mathmuse wrote:
I view Juran's player as metagaming.

I view what happened in that scenario as cheating.

Calling it "metagaming" just muddies the definition of the phrase and confuses discussions on the matter.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
thenobledrake wrote:
Mathmuse wrote:
I view Juran's player as metagaming.

I view what happened in that scenario as cheating.

Calling it "metagaming" just muddies the definition of the phrase and confuses discussions on the matter.

It’s not muddied, it’s a venn diagram that looks like a circle.

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