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So I have avoided playing a caster because I cut my teeth on casters in 5e and 4e and they look more difficult to play in this game.

But I was wondering how important it was to target enemies weak saves (chances of success wise)? and how easy is it on average to guess the right save and have an appropriate spell on hand to make use of it ?


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How easy it is to target the weak save comes down to a lot. Does your team metagame at all? Do you have recall knowledge for it? If your comp had an investigator it’d be a lot easier to attempt it consistently.

As for how important, in my opinion, extremely. This is the big reason people have complained casters have been over nerfed. Now, the reality is, you have to target appropriate saves to succeed when in the previous edition you could pump dcs high enough to spam your favorite spell.

At least that’s my opinion. For the most part my groups have not used save or sucks compared to damage spells, and for the most part, haven’t had to worry about targeting for lack of being effective. I attribute this mostly to them all being new to the game though as opposed to selecting them on power.


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Yeah, to echo what Midnightoker said, a lot depends on the people you play with. My players have often said things like, "Ah, that guy is clearly a wizard, so he probably has a high Will save." I have no problem with this, but plenty of GMs do. (We had, like, 3 threads about this and there's no way I want to rehash all of that again.)

I'm also in the camp that successful Recall Knowledge checks should give you a leg up here and makes for an especially good use of the spellcaster's "third action." But by RAW, the GM isn't required to give out particularly useful information on a success. You might want to know if a monster is particularly quick (with a high Reflex) but your GM might tell you "these creatures aren't native to the region and are known to swallow their enemies whole."

I guess this comes down to table variation, really. Personally, I have my players tell me what they're generally interested in learning with their action and then provide the information depending on the roll. This might be sacrilegious in some circles.


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With most monsters they have one save that will have one save that targeting puts you at actually bad odds of your spell taking effect, one save which has similar odds as those that an attack roll usually has of landing without multi-attack penalty, and one save which has significantly better odds for you than that.

So even if you are guessing fully blind (which you won't be because of basic things like big monster = high fortitude and the like), the odds are in your favor more often than not.

There's some "sticker shock" involved for players that are used to being able to crank up their DC to the point that almost nothing has a chance of actually passing a save, even though saves are rarely as all-or-nothing as they used to be, but things being different isn't (in this case at least) things being bad.


thenobledrake is mostly right, although I'd say there's an added layer of roughness for prepared casters because you're limited by what you've prepared, which is a bigger deal when you can't brute force your way past high saves.


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Conditions have also become a lot more important in PF2, and that includes Spellcasters, because you can’t bump spell DC to ridiculously high amount, and so the alternative is to get them down to your ‘level’.

In regards to saves a ‘Drained’ creature takes a pen to its Fort saves, a ‘Clumsy’ creature takes a pen to Ref saves and a ‘Stupefied’ creature takes a pen to Will saves. ‘Frightened’ inflicts a pen to all saves, but the condition value ticks down each round, making it not long lasting, but very useful as an all encompassing condition.


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Ruzza wrote:
I'm also in the camp that successful Recall Knowledge checks should give you a leg up here and makes for an especially good use of the spellcaster's "third action." But by RAW, the GM isn't required to give out particularly useful information on a success. You might want to know if a monster is particularly quick (with a high Reflex) but your GM might tell you "these creatures aren't native to the region and are known to swallow their enemies whole."

For the record, while the blurb for what Recall Knowledge does in the skill section is much as you have described and is frankly just bad, the action is described separately in the Gamemastery section and is far more explicit on encouraging GM's to give the most relevant and useful information first.


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siegfriedliner wrote:
and how easy is it on average to guess the right save and have an appropriate spell on hand to make use of it ?

Roughly, you'll target the weakest save of a creature based on its description 70% of the time. And most of the time when you failed you'll target it's second weakest save. So, quite easy actually (someone made a test with a bunch of monsters, and knowing how the monster looks and some basic information like undeads having high will is enough for a good guess).

Siro wrote:
‘Frightened’ inflicts a pen to all saves

And Sickened, which is harder to remove than Frightened.


As pointed out by others, even without a Knowledge check you could decide what to use on who.

Big enemy > reflex
Small enemy > Fortitude
Not so smart enemy > will.

About resistances and vulnerabilities is a little different, and given the situation you could find yourself in a difficult position to deal with metagame ( there have been a few threads in the previous weeks concerning the metagame and monsters weaknesses if you want to search them ).

Finally, if you don’t like the base logical approach of saves, you could modify some enemies or create some different creature.

This will push players to rely more on recall knowledge check, and prevent them from get advantages by reading the monsters book.

Also fighting new creatures is always more exciting.

Eventually you could consider the fact that all creatures of the same kind are not equals. An ogre boss could be truppe all day long, but it would be normal to find one more agile than the others.

So a character could find himself in trap, by thinking that all skeletons or Zombies have the same saves.

But all or this requires extra work.

Fortunately I got lucky and my parties, apart from 1 person in the past , didn't abuse of the mechanics.


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

"Critical Success You recall the knowledge accurately and gain additional information or context.
Success You recall the knowledge accurately or gain a useful clue about your current situation."

"For example, Arcana might tell you about the magical defenses of a golem, whereas Crafting could tell you about its sturdy resistance to physical attacks."

I am still of the opinion that a GM not giving pertinent information to the combat is being willfully obstructive and would be willfully obstructive in most scenarios.

The book gives more than enough guidance to suggest USEFUL information.

What I do is ask "what sort of information do you try and recall".

This said, most of the time it shouldn't take a recall knowledge to figure out a creature's saves.

Fort and reflex can be gleamed by physical description or asking a GM whether a creature looks particularly spry or how fast it seems to move. Will is a bit harder but still not impossible.

Also, as for targeting saves. Targeting the weakest save is ideal, but targeting the second weakest is usually decent as well. It is targeting the strongest save that is the problem.


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The Gleeful Grognard wrote:


I am still of the opinion that a GM not giving pertinent information to the combat is being willfully obstructive and would be willfully obstructive in most scenarios.

The book gives more than enough guidance to suggest USEFUL information.

What I do is ask "what sort of information do you try and recall".

I do agree.

And I would add that I would allow the player to recall knowledge in s more specific way.

A sorcerer could be more interested to understand the elemental vulnerabilities of a creature or its immunities instead of stuff about physical damage, unless he deliberately ask to check for that.

Communication and some extra words to enhance the recall knowledge check is imo a good way to deal with them.


I always hear: "Just" target the weak save, as if this would be a recipe for general success (just kidding, statistics tell us it is).

My only problem with this statement is that at low levels you might easily run out of meaningful spells if the enemy just makes one or two above average (and not necessarily lucky) saves. I mean my level 4 cleric has like three 1st grade and three 2nd grade spells, so even when at full spell strength I will barely be able to field 2 spells versus each save.


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siegfriedliner wrote:
and how easy is it on average to guess the right save and have an appropriate spell on hand to make use of it ?

usually it's a 50% guess. It's easy to determine the highest save (big -> fort, smart -> will, small -> ref), but there's no way to determine the smallest one among the remaining two. Eg, it's obvious the highest save of a white dragon is fort, but there's no way to know its smallest save is will.

Depending on your degree of metagame, you may have better results.


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Gaterie wrote:
siegfriedliner wrote:
and how easy is it on average to guess the right save and have an appropriate spell on hand to make use of it ?

usually it's a 50% guess. It's easy to determine the highest save (big -> fort, smart -> will, small -> ref), but there's no way to determine the smallest one among the remaining two. Eg, it's obvious the highest save of a white dragon is fort, but there's no way to know its smallest save is will.

Depending on your degree of metagame, you may have better results.

You forget the cases where both low saves have the same value. So, even if you remove the highest level spell, you have more than 50% chance.

And there are enemies with a very obvious low save, like zombies and Reflex.


siegfriedliner wrote:
But I was wondering how important it was to target enemies weak saves (chances of success wise)? and how easy is it on average to guess the right save and have an appropriate spell on hand to make use of it ?

Yes, it makes a huge difference.

And yes, there is close to zero in-game support for as to give that information to the wizard player without a lot of trial and error.
(You can waste your actions with "Recall Knowledge": you have basically a 50% chance of getting to know one factoid which may or may not be what you want)

Why? Because most players know a lot about D&D/PF monsters by heart.


The Gleeful Grognard wrote:

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

"Critical Success You recall the knowledge accurately and gain additional information or context.
Success You recall the knowledge accurately or gain a useful clue about your current situation."

"For example, Arcana might tell you about the magical defenses of a golem, whereas Crafting could tell you about its sturdy resistance to physical attacks."

I am still of the opinion that a GM not giving pertinent information to the combat is being willfully obstructive and would be willfully obstructive in most scenarios.

The book gives more than enough guidance to suggest USEFUL information.

What I do is ask "what sort of information do you try and recall".

This said, most of the time it shouldn't take a recall knowledge to figure out a creature's saves.

Fort and reflex can be gleamed by physical description or asking a GM whether a creature looks particularly spry or how fast it seems to move. Will is a bit harder but still not impossible.

Also, as for targeting saves. Targeting the weakest save is ideal, but targeting the second weakest is usually decent as well. It is targeting the strongest save that is the problem.

None of this is in the actual game.

By RAW, you need a critical success to learn "something subtler", and most GMs will consider a numerical value such as its Fort save very subtle indeed.

By RAW, you will need two recall knowledge actions on average to glean a "useful fact", and this fact is supposed to be something most long-time D&D gamers already know. I.e. borderline useless stuff.

The examples even include truly useless information: getting to know a manticore has tail spikes is something you would have learned anyway the second you try fighting one.

You have zero RAW support to hand out the info the OP is asking about, the truly gamechanging meta information, such as "is it weaker on AC or Ref saves?" or "what range does it have for its Psychic Suck ability?"

PS. I totally understand why you want to hand out this stuff anyway. My own opinion of Recall Knowledge is that it's so hard to use it simply doesn't get used.

I'm just asking you to cut out the "willfully obstructive" bullcrap. No, a GM that doesn't do it your way isn't "willfully obstructive", he's following the rules as written.


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I posted this back in October over at ENWorld:

Quote:

Another example would be Recall Knowledge. On one hand you have detailed (finicky) regulation, requiring a roll to get hold of each snippet of knowledge regarding a foe's strength and weaknesses. At the same time, there's next to no guidance on what exactly a successful Recall Knowledge should provide!

Furthermore: on one hand I get the impression you're supposed to pay the (heavy) cost of setting aside an action in combat to glean this information. On the other, there are plenty of feats that talk about doing Recall Knowledge at various times. There's even abilities that lets Bards and Wizards get the results from five or six (!) Recalls when they cast a spell.

The overall impression? You're supposed to have this list of useful and not so useful factoids prepared for every monster (resistant to cold, bad reflex saves, lots of hit points, weakness to cold iron, etc etc)...

...and have the players keep track of which such factoids have been "acquired" for each monster.

All this incredible rules detail... for what? The actual "factoids" are still completely undefined and up to the GM to select and list, with zero help from the rules or the monster stat blocks themselves.

Not to mention the horrific expense of it all. Spending an action with a 50% success rate might be something a player would contemplate... if that told him and the entire party everything (or at least much) of what they need to do ("use fire against trolls")... But the Recall Knowledge action specifically calls for a single info snippet!

I have games mastered D&D and other games for thirty years and I can't see - at all - how to run this "subsystem" as written. Instead of spending an awful lot of combat actions on trying to suss out weaknesses, the players simply whale on the monster brute force. They conclude Recall actions are a complete waste of time inside an encounter, and I can't say they're wrong.

And if you can attempt Recalls outside of combat... well, then it would be much simpler to just spill the beans and tell them what they want to know, wouldn't it...? I can't figure it out.

It prompted a separate thread:

https://www.enworld.org/threads/fixing-improving-recall-knowledge.668044


In short: spending an action on Recall Knowledge in combat is not nearly useful enough. Just attack the monster and you will likely find out what you need to do faster. You're likely doing at least some damage while figuring it out, while each RK action deals exactly zero damage, guaranteed.

Remember: even if a single RK action gave ALL information, it would still not always get used. Having roughly a 50% chance (against low-level foes you seldom bother with RK - it's against boss monsters you need it the most, and there the chance of success might be even lower!) of getting a factoid that might or might not be relevant at all.

Out of combat, RK couldn't be more different. There the cost of spending an action is close to zero, so the game needs to (but fails) to explain how this usage is limited, or why characters don't always have perfect knowledge. I consider myself to be a fairly experienced GM but I havent' the faintest clue on how I am supposed to run several RK-related feats in the game: feats that give you a free Recall Knowledge action each day, or give you five(!) Recall Knowledge actions each time you cast a certain spell.

Basically, Recall Knowledge is a mess.

Either the game needed to properly support this "minigame" inside the game where monster stat blocks provide clues to the overworked GM as to what to hand out, and each RK action should probably just provide one such snippet 100% no roll required.

Or it should be a thing you do between combats; that is, much more a traditional "find clues and research information" type of skill.

Currently, half the designers wrote abilities that assume the former, while the other half didn't.

My own verdict: recall knowledge was a nifty idea that simply doesn't work out of the box.


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Here's one of the most level-headed and informative posts.

Celebrim wrote:
You are making the assumption that the developers have thought through his and developed this system organically in play as one that contributed heavily to their enjoyment of play, and my guess is that neither is true. They've neither thought through this nor developed it as a result of lengthy play testing. They just needed a system that sounded good and went with it.

...and obviously I feel this is spot on.

In the interests of being constructive, here's a second excerpt:

Celebrim wrote:

If it were me, I'd have "Recall Knowledge" be a martial buffing system, were the player called out facts in a way that aided other members of the party. The exact nature of that fact can be as granular or abstract as you like, but you still have the same concrete result - bonuses to hit, bonuses to AC, reduction of damage resistance, etc. You can still use "Recall Knowledge" to learn specific facts in the systems intended usage if you like, and you need to feed in game information known by the character to the player, but when that well is running dry the action still has usage.

Quote:
Even then, the elephant in the room remains: why can't the players engineer opportunities to watch and study these monsters from afar and gain the crucial information "for free"? (And once they've beaten their first skeleton or hobgoblin or chuul or whatever, why can't they spend some time making Recall Knowledge actions until they feel satisfied they know everything there is to know in anticipation of meeting another such monster in the future?)

If it is a martial buffing system, all of these problems go away and become opportunities to say "Yes."

"Yes, if you study the monsters from afar for at least X time prior to combat, and have a chance to coordinate plans, with a successful check a party member can begin combat with the Recall Knowledge buff of your choice."

"Yes, if you have encountered and defeated a monster before, then you get a bonus on your recall knowledge check AND you can on the first round of combat get one additional free recall knowledge action."

This also addresses some of your other complaints. How valuable are those feats that enhance your Recall Knowledge action? They might need to be tweaked a little, but potentially, vary.

https://www.enworld.org/threads/fixing-improving-recall-knowledge.668044/po st-7834585

This also discusses the long-term weakness of the system - that once the players have fought and won against a Zlarg or whatever, they know its strengths and weaknesses, and it's just unfun to ask players to ignore their own (meta) knowledge if it gets their new characters slaughtered.


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Because Recall Knowledge isn't just "do I know this", it's "can I recall this at this particular second". If you take a test, you don't have everything you've ever read instantly available at your fingertips (and if you do, why aren't you getting 100% on every test). Recall Knowledge works the same way.

And as a person that actually played PF1, I can guarantee that if Recall Knowledge were a free action, it would be spammed because there's literally 0 downside to not doing so.


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Zapp wrote:
By RAW, you need a critical success to learn "something subtler", and most GMs will consider a numerical value such as its Fort save very subtle indeed.

It entirely depends on the creature in question, but for more than a few, a detail like "is very dim-witted and lacking in willpower" isn't "something subtler" it's the "one of it's best known attributes" part.

Also, you seem to be saying that a GM will want to make the Recall Knowledge action not useful when they have the choice to interpret the rules for it favorably or not... and that's not a rule text problem, that's a GM problem. If you're a GM, choose differently. If you're a player, choose a less antagonistic GM.


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Zapp wrote:
The Gleeful Grognard wrote:

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

"Critical Success You recall the knowledge accurately and gain additional information or context.
Success You recall the knowledge accurately or gain a useful clue about your current situation."

"For example, Arcana might tell you about the magical defenses of a golem, whereas Crafting could tell you about its sturdy resistance to physical attacks."

I am still of the opinion that a GM not giving pertinent information to the combat is being willfully obstructive and would be willfully obstructive in most scenarios.

The book gives more than enough guidance to suggest USEFUL information.

What I do is ask "what sort of information do you try and recall".

This said, most of the time it shouldn't take a recall knowledge to figure out a creature's saves.

Fort and reflex can be gleamed by physical description or asking a GM whether a creature looks particularly spry or how fast it seems to move. Will is a bit harder but still not impossible.

Also, as for targeting saves. Targeting the weakest save is ideal, but targeting the second weakest is usually decent as well. It is targeting the strongest save that is the problem.

None of this is in the actual game.

By RAW, you need a critical success to learn "something subtler", and most GMs will consider a numerical value such as its Fort save very subtle indeed.

By RAW, you will need two recall knowledge actions on average to glean a "useful fact", and this fact is supposed to be something most long-time D&D gamers already know. I.e. borderline useless stuff.

The examples even include truly useless information: getting to know a manticore has tail...

Well the quotes were from the book and when I wasn't quoting from the book I was saying how I ran something or qualifying it as an opinion. So I stand by everything I said.

And yes, given my quotes if a GM gives utterly useless info they are ignoring what the game system tells them to give, again, refer to the quotes I included.

Ti repeat if a GM is running it as recommended they will give pertinent information, it isn't guaranteed to be a save but that wasn't what I was responding to anyway. And even without a recall knowledge check a player can usually glean the rough strength of fort/reflex saves from descriptions alone, even if the player has to ask "how nimble is the elf" mid combat if the GM did not give the information freely.

Because asking for basic sensory information isn't a gameplay mechanic but it is just as core to the game as knowing how far away they are and whether they are wearing a bandolier filled with wands.

Also... one post, you are spamming 3-4 posts each time.


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My party doesn't even bother with Recall Knowledge, and hardly bothered with the previous incarnation in PF1.

They just learn as they go, and remember for the next time they run into the same or similar creatures. Never really caused any problems; nobody died because they didn't know that critter has DR5/silver.


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Zapp wrote:
I posted this back in October over at ENWorld: ...

We have had several threads about Recall Knowledge in the Paizo forums, too.

August 7, 2019, Recall Knowledge
August 18, 2019, Gathering information from Knowledge checks
August 23, 2019, Knowledge in PF2
October 6, 2019, How are GMs determining the result of Recall Knowledge regarding creatures?
October 23, 2019, Recall Knowledge 1 action? 2e
November 27, 2019, Recall Knowledge checks encourage metagaming!

Zapp wrote:

In short: spending an action on Recall Knowledge in combat is not nearly useful enough. Just attack the monster and you will likely find out what you need to do faster. You're likely doing at least some damage while figuring it out, while each RK action deals exactly zero damage, guaranteed.

Remember: even if a single RK action gave ALL information, it would still not always get used. Having roughly a 50% chance (against low-level foes you seldom bother with RK - it's against boss monsters you need it the most, and there the chance of success might be even lower!) of getting a factoid that might or might not be relevant at all.

I had houseruled Knowledge checks in PF1 to give more information, and I made similar houserules for PF2. And my players often use Recall Knowledge as their first action. They like the flavor of their characters winning because they talked to townsfolk, researched details, scouted ahead, and took advantage of their information.

The system I use is narrative: I tell a story about how the character learned the information, based on their backstory. Here is a description I had in Recall Knowledge checks encourage metagaming! comment #130:

"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 [to add more narrative to the game].

Sam would share the information, but not the story. I expect Zinfandel would make a followup Recall Knowledge check. "[Zinfandel's ranger mentor] 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."

Those rules are enough to lure my players into making Recall Knowledge checks.


Mathmuse wrote:
I had houseruled Knowledge checks in PF1 to give more information, and I made similar houserules for PF2. And my players often use Recall Knowledge as their first action. They like the flavor of their characters winning because they talked to townsfolk, researched details, scouted ahead, and took advantage of their information.

I'm curious if your characters actually role played any of that talking with townsfolk, research, scouting, etc., or if it was stuff you had to create on the fly as a GM whenever a player made a successful skill check. (As a DM, that would be more work than I'd be interested in doing 5-10+ times per game session.)

I ask, because this is how I justified a characters knowledge checks for critters the last time I played a character. The character was a Zon Kuthon worshiping half-orc Inquisitor with an intimidate build; his motivation was that the greatest form of pain was the emotional shame that one would feel from being thoroughly intimidated and made fearful by someone. The character carried around a thick journal with him where he took notes about the creatures and individuals he met, noting down things that the creatures seemed afraid of. Every time we went to a new town or village, I made a point of telling the GM that the character was going to spend time at the watering holes for the local adventurers, guards, military, etc., to talk to the people about the creatures nearby so he could learn about what things those creatures feared or avoided. All of this was done with the intent to justify why the only thing the character was interested in when he made a knowledge check was whether or not it was susceptible to being intimidated; the idea being that the character made the effort to learn about creatures, but only focused on that one aspect.


Saldiven wrote:
Mathmuse wrote:
I had houseruled Knowledge checks in PF1 to give more information, and I made similar houserules for PF2. And my players often use Recall Knowledge as their first action. They like the flavor of their characters winning because they talked to townsfolk, researched details, scouted ahead, and took advantage of their information.
I'm curious if your characters actually role played any of that talking with townsfolk, research, scouting, etc., or if it was stuff you had to create on the fly as a GM whenever a player made a successful skill check. (As a DM, that would be more work than I'd be interested in doing 5-10+ times per game session.)

I asked my wife rather than relying on my own impressions. She says that often they roleplay gathering the exact information they use; nevertheless, sometimes they exploit the benefit of the doubt. She might say, hey, when I was talking with a local, we roleplayed only a minute of a longer conversation. That subject might have come up in the full conversation.

Mingling with the townsfolk is their style.
• In our Iron Gods campaign (Iron Gods among Scientists), two of the players chose the Local Ties trait to make their characters live in the starting town Torch. ("We need a winch." "I'll ask Joe. He has a winch." Joe was a dwarf friend that they invented on the spot, because they had dwarf friends and relatives.)
• In the 2nd module, when the party went to investigate the Lords of Rust gang in Scrapwall, they assumed false identities as refugees to move into Scrapwall for a few months and learn about the Lords indirectly.
• In the 3rd module, they reverted to their true identities for going to the town of Iadenveigh, because I made up a letter from one resident of Iadenveigh requeting help from the wizard in Torch. This let them enter Iadenveigh as neighborly fellow villagers rather than freelance adventurers. Later in the module in the Choking Tower, they went into full adventurer style, since that tower had no locals.
• In the fourth module, they explored the valley named Scar of the Spider as adventurers, but took the time to talk to every non-hostile NPC they encountered and allied with two of them.
• In the fifth module, they entered the city of Starfall incognito by reverting to their true identities again, each with a separate mission to mingle. Kirii helped the poor in the slums. Elric made contacts with the local vigilante Mockery, and also joined their enemies the Technic League as a recruit. Kheld purchased a store. Boffin and Val entered as businesswomen for their Torch-based business B&B Alchemical Smelting and the Technic League drafted them to work as high-temperature smiths.
• In the sixth module, they got themselves hired by the final boss villain Unity and spent most of their time repairing the mile-long spaceship Divinity rather than fighting their way through it to reach Unity. They befriended half of Unity' minions in the process.

This mingling is more work on the GM. In our current Ironfang Invasion campaign, I adapted the NPC Aubrin the Green from PF1 stats to PF2 stats, but I also had to create the PF2 stats for unstatted NPCs Kining Blondebeard and Rhyna, because they worked alongside the party more than the module expected; for example, my wife's character Sam worked as a stableboy for Kining.

As for scouting, that is always covered under the game rules under exploration or encounter mode, because scouting has risk. For example, in the sixth module of Iron Gods, after their shift ended they would sneak through the maintenance tunnels in the Divinity. That lead to Stealth checks.

Formal research was for the scholarly characters. Boffin in Iron Gods read every technical manual that she could get her hands on (of course, she learned to read the alien Androffan language). Wizard Corvin in Rise of the Runelords spent a lot of time in libraries.

And the players usually remembered to assign their skill points in the areas that they roleplayed, because that gave the mechanical benefit to their dice rolls. The 1st-level party in my Ironfang Invasion campaign has not yet had any skill increases.


Ubertron_X wrote:
My only problem with this statement is that at low levels you might easily run out of meaningful spells if the enemy just makes one or two above average (and not necessarily lucky) saves. I mean my level 4 cleric has like three 1st grade and three 2nd grade spells, so even when at full spell strength I will barely be able to field 2 spells versus each save.

At low levels spellcasters are just plain weak.

That's just how things are. At least as a cleric you should have some martial capability. And a cantrip perhaps. Use your precious spell slots on utility and buffing, not attacking where you have only a 50% chance of the spell "sticking".

Think of it this way: you have six slots available for utility and defense, but only three for offense. What do you choose?

Things change (and dramatically so) when you level up and have lots of spells. I mean that if you have twenty spells for utility or ten for attacks, missing with an attack is only 10% of your capacity rather than a third. (Not to mention how attack spells can mop up hordes of low-level mooks; not only will the damage be significant against them, your chances of "sticking" the spell will be excellent)

Still, PF2 will likely never be the game PF1 was, where you bring down the big bad evil guy all by yourself with a single spell. Both PF2 and D&D5 seems to make martial characters central. I personally believe that to be a good thing.


Cyouni wrote:
Because Recall Knowledge isn't just "do I know this", it's "can I recall this at this particular second". If you take a test, you don't have everything you've ever read instantly available at your fingertips (and if you do, why aren't you getting 100% on every test). Recall Knowledge works the same way.

Again, you're talking about how the system ought to work. I would have loved it if it did. But it doesn't.

Quote:
And as a person that actually played PF1, I can guarantee that if Recall Knowledge were a free action, it would be spammed because there's literally 0 downside to not doing so.

I didn't suggest it should be.

I suggest the current system, where you have to spend a valuable combat action for a ~50% chance to gain a single info nugget Does. Not. Work.


Mathmuse wrote:
Zapp wrote:
I posted this back in October over at ENWorld: ...

We have had several threads about Recall Knowledge in the Paizo forums, too.

August 7, 2019, Recall Knowledge
August 18, 2019, Gathering information from Knowledge checks
August 23, 2019, Knowledge in PF2
October 6, 2019, How are GMs determining the result of Recall Knowledge regarding creatures?
October 23, 2019, Recall Knowledge 1 action? 2e
November 27, 2019, Recall Knowledge checks encourage metagaming!

Thank you.


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Mathmuse wrote:
Those rules are enough to lure my players into making Recall Knowledge checks.

Thanks. I do not doubt that by replacing the RAW non-complete non-functional system with your own rules, you'll have a great experience.


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Zapp wrote:

At low levels spellcasters are just plain weak.

That's just how things are. At least as a cleric you should have some martial capability. And a cantrip perhaps. Use your precious spell slots on utility and buffing, not attacking where you have only a 50% chance of the spell "sticking".

Think of it this way: you have six slots available for utility and defense, but only three for offense. What do you choose?

As an experienced cleric player I usually have a buff, utility and attack spell memorized at every level. Might change in a debuff or two once I get used to the new system. In former times debuffs were plain bad (in relation to buffs) as buff always went through and debuffs mostly did nothing when the enemy saved. However they changed that and debuffs seem vital to better survive the crazy new "linear level system" they introduced. I still have an occasional attack spell readied because I do want emergency power when the situation calls for it (e.g. when additional spell damage is needed and the party wizard has already done his part).

However I am a little bit annoyed when it comes to the little powergaming parts this game has left. "Just grab the Electric Arc cantrip and you be fine." "Just select the Initmidate or Athletics skill and use it every round you have an action left etc." I don't know if the game designers reckonned that every caster would be able to spam Electric Arc, or players to all have Demoralize and/or Grab, so why can't I play an effective class right out of the box? Why do I always have to select "out of character options" just to be baseline effective? Note that is not about one character being more effective than others, or characters being more effective than a fictive baseline, however to me it feels like the baseline for many of the out of the box characters is simply too low.


Ubertron_X wrote:
However I am a little bit annoyed when it comes to the little powergaming parts this game has left. "Just grab the Electric Arc cantrip and you be fine." "Just select the Initmidate or Athletics skill and use it every round you have an action left etc." I don't know if the game designers reckonned that every caster would be able to spam Electric Arc, or players to all have Demoralize and/or Grab, so why can't I play an effective class right out of the box? Why do I always have to select "out of character options" just to be baseline effective? Note that is not about one character being more effective than others, or characters being more effective than a fictive baseline, however to me it feels like the baseline for many of the out of the box characters is simply too low.

My friend Kevin McPartland, designer of Tahiti: Clan Warfare, Polynesia 750 AD published by 3W (World Wide Wargames) in 1994 and Conquest of Paradise published by GMT Games in 2007, studied Polynesian warfare. It was largely about intimidating the opposing war band with war cries, tattoos, and shows of strength so that they ran away rather than about killing the enemy warriors.

In Pathfinder terms, that means that pre-industrial Polynesian warriors specialized in Demoralize. Likewise, consider the Biblical account of David and Goliath. The giant Goliath, a Large human, was mostly bragging and intimidating the Israelite soldiers, not fighting them.

Warriors using Demoralize frequently in battle is historical.

P.S. Kevin McPartland's newest boardgame, Banish the Snakes, will be published soon: GMT P500, Banish the Snakes.


Mathmuse wrote:

My friend Kevin McPartland, designer of Tahiti: Clan Warfare, Polynesia 750 AD published by 3W (World Wide Wargames) in 1994 and Conquest of Paradise published by GMT Games in 2007, studied Polynesian warfare. It was largely about intimidating the opposing war band with war cries, tattoos, and shows of strength so that they ran away rather than about killing the enemy warriors.

In Pathfinder terms, that means that pre-industrial Polynesian warriors specialized in Demoralize. Likewise, consider the Biblical account of David and Goliath. The giant Goliath, a Large human, was mostly bragging and intimidating the Israelite soldiers, not fighting them.

Warriors using Demoralize frequently in battle is historical.

I never once questened the legitimacy of the tactic per se and thus I have no objections when a mercenary warrior, a tribal barbarian or a thug rogue is using it.

The thing is that everybody seems to assume that every single character would be able to do it as a "meaningful" (3rd) action or that every caster that does not have Electric Arc on his spell list has grabbed it via racial feats in order to be "fully functional".

So I am sorry that I made the roleplay decision to take Diplomacy instead of Intimidation because my follower of Sarenrae likes to talk people into redeeming themselves instead of threatening them. ;)


Ubertron_X wrote:
Mathmuse wrote:

My friend Kevin McPartland, designer of Tahiti: Clan Warfare, Polynesia 750 AD published by 3W (World Wide Wargames) in 1994 and Conquest of Paradise published by GMT Games in 2007, studied Polynesian warfare. It was largely about intimidating the opposing war band with war cries, tattoos, and shows of strength so that they ran away rather than about killing the enemy warriors.

In Pathfinder terms, that means that pre-industrial Polynesian warriors specialized in Demoralize. Likewise, consider the Biblical account of David and Goliath. The giant Goliath, a Large human, was mostly bragging and intimidating the Israelite soldiers, not fighting them.

Warriors using Demoralize frequently in battle is historical.

I never once questened the legitimacy of the tactic per se and thus I have no objections when a mercenary warrior, a tribal barbarian or a thug rogue is using it.

The thing is that everybody seems to assume that every single character would be able to do it as a "meaningful" (3rd) action or that every caster that does not have Electric Arc on his spell list has grabbed it via racial feats in order to be "fully functional".

So I am sorry that I made the roleplay decision to take Diplomacy instead of Intimidation because my follower of Sarenrae likes to talk people into redeeming themselves instead of threatening them. ;)

I remember this phrase from the playtest forums, but for the life of me, I can't remember who said it. It was something like, "It's quickly become apparent that making sure you've built a third action into your character is vital."

I don't think that EVERYONE needs to be out there Intimidating people. I mean, that idea falls away once skill increases start becoming a little more difficult to manage party-wise. Having SOMEONE with a decent Intimidate is fantastic. If your character doesn't have that for roleplay reasons, well... yeah, great! Why would the nice person run around shouting at folks? It helps to have someone who can. The great thing is, it's no one in particular's job. Much like so much of this edition, a lot of classes can fill a lot of roles. It's nice to see fighters having the option to throw out some debuffs now, too.


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I mean the ability costs a valuable action (talking about recall knowledge) either have it cost something less valuable (maybe a reaction? Still wouldn't be worth it IMO) Or simply have the piece of information given be what the player wants. Let's face it an action is a pretty big deal.

Scarab Sages

Atalius wrote:
I mean the ability costs a valuable action (talking about recall knowledge) either have it cost something less valuable (maybe a reaction? Still wouldn't be worth it IMO) Or simply have the piece of information given be what the player wants. Let's face it an action is a pretty big deal.

So far every 2E GM in my PFS lodge, myself included, does give the player the piece of information they wanted on a success. 2E empowers GMs to do this.


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NECR0G1ANT wrote:
So far every 2E GM in my PFS lodge, myself included, does give the player the piece of information they wanted on a success. 2E empowers GMs to do this.

My take is that a single point of information is still seldom worth it. After all, you need to spend two actions on average to gain it. If a combat lasts three rounds, why not simply brute force the monster to death?


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Zapp wrote:
NECR0G1ANT wrote:
So far every 2E GM in my PFS lodge, myself included, does give the player the piece of information they wanted on a success. 2E empowers GMs to do this.
My take is that a single point of information is still seldom worth it. After all, you need to spend two actions on average to gain it. If a combat lasts three rounds, why not simply brute force the monster to death?

The quick answer to this is "Recall Knowledge makes three round combats of 6 round combats." When going up against solo level+2 (or level+3 if your GM is feeling particularly spicy), you're going to want to be aware of how to handle it. Especially since you have three actions in combat.

A wizard in a safe position can make a Recall Knowledge check and then cast a spell. A martial can even Recall Knowledge in place of "3rd action Strike." Finding out if an opponent has an attack of opportunity before risking the attack is infinitely more helpful when that opponent has a 25% chance to crit you. Knowing a weakness or resistance saves countless turns (and makes the very versatile alchemist a touch more powerful).

If brute forcing through Severe or Extreme encounters are working for you, then great! But from the GMs side of things, it would save you all a lot of trouble to spare a second to figure out what you're fighting, especially if you saying things like, "Well, I'll just try and get that 20 with my -10 MAP."


Zapp wrote:
NECR0G1ANT wrote:
So far every 2E GM in my PFS lodge, myself included, does give the player the piece of information they wanted on a success. 2E empowers GMs to do this.
My take is that a single point of information is still seldom worth it. After all, you need to spend two actions on average to gain it. If a combat lasts three rounds, why not simply brute force the monster to death?

There are tons of tactics working fine, I think it's better not to be forced in doing a specific action. If your character has +16 in Arcana, then Recall Knowledge, if your character has +85 at brute forcing, then brute force. All options are fine.


One thing I find interesting is that a large number of people seem to be stumbling into boss monsters and having to fight them immediately, with no warning. The save roulette against build up encounters feels fine to me, but most published adventures I have played through usually give some foreshadowing/description of the major villains and allow the party to start putting a plan together before encountering the boss for the first time.

It feels like if you are making knowledge checks about dragons in the first round of your party’s first encounter with a dragon, things have gone very wrong.

Again, I don’t think every encounter needs foreshadowing, and the occasional big scary monster getting the drop on the party can be fun, but those are also encounters the party should reasonably be able to flee from and come back more prepared. However, if it is an adventure defining encounter that is supposed to be a real challenge, those are most fun when the players get enough clues to try to prepare for in advance.

As far as needing things to do on a third action, I am glad that movement and taking cover are really useful actions, especially for casters.


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Ruzza wrote:

The quick answer to this is "Recall Knowledge makes three round combats of 6 round combats." When going up against solo level+2 (or level+3 if your GM is feeling particularly spicy), you're going to want to be aware of how to handle it. Especially since you have three actions in combat.

No.

First off, a single factoid does not mean that massive of a change.

Then, you only have a 50% shot at learning something. That might not be the gamechanger you're envisioning. Even if there exists such a magic bullet, you're far from assured you can exploit it.

Even then, this would only be true if all monsters you fight share the same hidden weakness.

Not to mention all the other issues with the mechanic. What about repeat fights against the monster (perhaps over different campaigns)? What about a GM not perfect enough to realize THIS info-nugget must be dropped first?


Unicore wrote:

One thing I find interesting is that a large number of people seem to be stumbling into boss monsters and having to fight them immediately, with no warning. The save roulette against build up encounters feels fine to me, but most published adventures I have played through usually give some foreshadowing/description of the major villains and allow the party to start putting a plan together before encountering the boss for the first time.

Actually the reason we make that assumption is that otherwise Recall is truly broken.

If you know the monster's identity when there is no time pressure, simply spam all the Recall Knowledge actions you need.

Another huge fuzzy issue with the mechanic is that it is incredibly unclear when and where you can use it. And repeat it.

There are mentions of "free" Recalls in the morning or during spell casting. There is no hard rules on what the prerequisites are.

Is it enough to know you're facing a "Troll"? Must you be able to observe that particular troll? Do you need to enter encounter mode?


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Zapp wrote:
Unicore wrote:

One thing I find interesting is that a large number of people seem to be stumbling into boss monsters and having to fight them immediately, with no warning. The save roulette against build up encounters feels fine to me, but most published adventures I have played through usually give some foreshadowing/description of the major villains and allow the party to start putting a plan together before encountering the boss for the first time.

Actually the reason we make that assumption is that otherwise Recall is truly broken.

If you know the monster's identity when there is no time pressure, simply spam all the Recall Knowledge actions you need.

Another huge fuzzy issue with the mechanic is that it is incredibly unclear when and where you can use it. And repeat it.

There are mentions of "free" Recalls in the morning or during spell casting. There is no hard rules on what the prerequisites are.

Is it enough to know you're facing a "Troll"? Must you be able to observe that particular troll? Do you need to enter encounter mode?

I think that you are getting a little off topic of the original post, but I think you might need to talk to your GM or talk to your players if you are a GM about what the recall action is and what it is supposed to be used for at your table. The idea that it can only be used in encounter mode breaks deep RPG conventions about how characters learn things.

Instead of thinking it needs to be limited to encounter mode, or else be infinitely repeatable is a bad assumption. This is an aspect of role playing games that will always require GM arbitration, and can take some time to learn. However, the general principle I have seen applied over and over again at many many tables is that you make a recall knowledge check if you can explain how or where your character might have learned something, and then you can only make a new check if you take active action to learn it if you didn't know it. A whole subsystem of research was developed for PF1 and might come back into PF2, but even if it doesn't, the point of knowledge skills and using them in game is to help move players along in the adventure they are playing through, and that can include learning how to fight the villains they will be facing.

Obviously it is no fun if the GM gives nothing away ever, just as it is no fun if the GM gives everything away at the start of the adventure without making the party work for it. Information about saves and how to effectively fight the monsters is in the same ball park as having the party learn the secret clues to solve a mystery or appease a king. Largely, the pacing for this is going to be too campaign dependent to make restrictive rules that must apply all the time.

Is it enough to know your facing a troll? Often times yes, if that troll is just a troll and not going to be THE troll that the entire adventure centers around. If it is the Troll, then you probably do want your PCs interacting with it before the big confrontation, even if that interaction is not directly face to face. If THE troll has picked up defenses against its traditional weaknesses, you probably want the PCs to be able to learn that before they commit 100% to the battle to defeat it. Maybe that is by having it attack the village they are in early on, and wipe the floor with town defenses designed to defeat trolls, with the PCs having to focus their attention on saving townsfolk from the burning buildings they thought would protect them from the troll, only to later hunt this troll down using new means that they find/make/discover. Figuring out that THE troll is fire resistant just by looking at it one time in a battle probably should be pushing a level of proficiency far above that available to characters facing a troll for the first time. All of this is pretty subjective stuff however.


Mathmuse wrote:
Zapp wrote:
I posted this back in October over at ENWorld: ...

We have had several threads about Recall Knowledge in the Paizo forums, too.

August 7, 2019, Recall Knowledge
August 18, 2019, Gathering information from Knowledge checks
August 23, 2019, Knowledge in PF2
October 6, 2019, How are GMs determining the result of Recall Knowledge regarding creatures?
October 23, 2019, Recall Knowledge 1 action? 2e
November 27, 2019, Recall Knowledge checks encourage metagaming!

Zapp wrote:

In short: spending an action on Recall Knowledge in combat is not nearly useful enough. Just attack the monster and you will likely find out what you need to do faster. You're likely doing at least some damage while figuring it out, while each RK action deals exactly zero damage, guaranteed.

Remember: even if a single RK action gave ALL information, it would still not always get used. Having roughly a 50% chance (against low-level foes you seldom bother with RK - it's against boss monsters you need it the most, and there the chance of success might be even lower!) of getting a factoid that might or might not be relevant at all.

I had houseruled Knowledge checks in PF1 to give more information, and I made similar houserules for PF2. And my players often use Recall Knowledge as their first action. They like the flavor of their characters winning because they talked to townsfolk, researched details, scouted ahead, and took advantage of their information.

The system I use is narrative: I tell a...

Kind of reminds me of the old TV show Kung-Fu and the joke... "I'll throw a punch so slow, you can have a flashback if you want to..."

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