Exploit Vulnerability DC - Adjusted for rarity?


Rules Discussion


In a discussion about the Thaumaturge with one of my players, the questions about how this ability will exactly work. We want to make sure we are applying things correctly. One thing that jumps out at me though is what exactly it means when it says "Standard DC". I couldn't find anything specific matching that language, so I looked over a few other things.

The feat Diverse Lore has you compare your result to the Recall Knowledge DC and if the original check would also be a success on this Recall Knowledge DC then you get a little more info. This seems to indicate these two checks could have different DCs, I just can't figure out how that would be. The only thing I could think of is that the
"Standard DC" does not take rarity into consideration but that seems a bit too much.

So, does anyone have any details on what it means by "Standard DC"? If you can provide the source of this detail, I would appreciate it. Thank you.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

"Standard DC for its level" refers to level-based DCs. Rarity doesn't factor in at all.

Diverse Lore's RK check would of course factor rarity as normal for recall.


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

No rarity adjustment for exploit vulnerability. Just the level-based DC from the page 503 table, which is commonly referenced as a standard DC for level for all kinds of abilities (like the performance DC a bard would use for Lingering Performance or a Marshal activating their aura feats). Nothing in this mechanic references rarity affecting the DC, and it does not use the mechanics of Recall Knowledge or anything else that does make adjustments based on rarity.

Yes rarity adjustments and any other relevant adjustments for the DC for Diverse Lore. Set the DC with all of the same things you'd take into account to set the DC for a Recall Knowledge check.

Sovereign Court

J Scot Shady wrote:

The only thing I could think of is that the

"Standard DC" does not take rarity into consideration but that seems a bit too much.

That's precisely it. During the thaumaturge playtest it turned out that the rarity DC increase on Recall Knowledge was a huge problem for thaumaturges. A Rare (+5DC) or Unique (+10DC) creature would be almost impossible to get your key class abilities to work against. But the flavor of the thaumaturge is exactly about fighting strange and unknown creatures.

So the way out that Paizo found was to make Exploit Weakness look a lot like Recall Knowledge, but not actually be Recall Knowledge, and not use the same DC modifiers.

So the current situation is that against normal rarity creatures, thaumaturges know as much if not more as other people; and against really rare creatures, a thaumaturge might be the only one who knows anything. That's what they're for.

Dark Archive

Standard DC for a creature's level is just that, the unmodified level-based DC for that creature's level.
That's what exploit vulnerability goes against.
The DC to recall knowledge on that creature is modified by the creature's rarity.
+2 for uncommon, +5 for rare, +10 for unique.


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Ascalaphus wrote:
J Scot Shady wrote:

The only thing I could think of is that the

"Standard DC" does not take rarity into consideration but that seems a bit too much.

That's precisely it. During the thaumaturge playtest it turned out that the rarity DC increase on Recall Knowledge was a huge problem for thaumaturges. A Rare (+5DC) or Unique (+10DC) creature would be almost impossible to get your key class abilities to work against. But the flavor of the thaumaturge is exactly about fighting strange and unknown creatures.

This really speaks more to the problem with Recall Knowledge than anything else. In the typical PF2 adventure the majority of monsters are Rare or Unique. Almost all of the bosses fall into that category. Which is a serious game balance problem, when you consider there are perhaps 10 classes in PF2 with a potential interest in recall knowledge.

Rare is everyday.

Good players will roleplay critical failures on Recall Knowledge.

This really fails Paizo own test of Too Bad To Be True.

Sovereign Court

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Gortle wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:
J Scot Shady wrote:

The only thing I could think of is that the

"Standard DC" does not take rarity into consideration but that seems a bit too much.

That's precisely it. During the thaumaturge playtest it turned out that the rarity DC increase on Recall Knowledge was a huge problem for thaumaturges. A Rare (+5DC) or Unique (+10DC) creature would be almost impossible to get your key class abilities to work against. But the flavor of the thaumaturge is exactly about fighting strange and unknown creatures.

This really speaks more to the problem with Recall Knowledge than anything else. In the typical PF2 adventure the majority of monsters are Rare or Unique. Almost all of the bosses fall into that category. Which is a serious game balance problem, when you consider there are perhaps 10 classes in PF2 with a potential interest in recall knowledge.

Rare is everyday.

Good players will roleplay critical failures on Recall Knowledge.

This really fails Paizo own test of Too Bad To Be True.

Yeah making it work for the thaumaturge is the bronze prize, it would have been gold if Paizo had taken Dark Archive as the opportunity to overhaul RK itself.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Gortle wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:
J Scot Shady wrote:

The only thing I could think of is that the

"Standard DC" does not take rarity into consideration but that seems a bit too much.

That's precisely it. During the thaumaturge playtest it turned out that the rarity DC increase on Recall Knowledge was a huge problem for thaumaturges. A Rare (+5DC) or Unique (+10DC) creature would be almost impossible to get your key class abilities to work against. But the flavor of the thaumaturge is exactly about fighting strange and unknown creatures.

This really speaks more to the problem with Recall Knowledge than anything else. In the typical PF2 adventure the majority of monsters are Rare or Unique.

Pretty sure that is wrong. Adventures use plenty of bog standard monsters out of the bestiary. They also use a certain chunk of uncommon, bespoke creatures. And some are rare, while other boss types may be unique. But rare and unique are not the majority in APs at least. Maybe they show up more in PFS scenarios?


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Don't get me wrong, I think Recall Knowledge has problems, but I don't think rarity is a big part of it. It compounds some of the issues with crit failures but crit failures are the actual problem.


Captain Morgan wrote:
Gortle wrote:


This really speaks more to the problem with Recall Knowledge than anything else. In the typical PF2 adventure the majority of monsters are Rare or Unique.
Pretty sure that is wrong. Adventures use plenty of bog standard monsters out of the bestiary. They also use a certain chunk of uncommon, bespoke creatures. And some are rare, while other boss types may be unique. But rare and unique are not the majority in APs at least. Maybe they show up more in PFS scenarios?

I have a quick look through a couple of Abomination Vaults modules. Every boss was Unique. Most creatures are Uncommon. Rare and Common seem to occur at about the same rate. Obviously different modules are going to be different. When I am considering balance I rate the difficult encounters as being much more important than the easy encounters.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Gortle wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
Gortle wrote:


This really speaks more to the problem with Recall Knowledge than anything else. In the typical PF2 adventure the majority of monsters are Rare or Unique.
Pretty sure that is wrong. Adventures use plenty of bog standard monsters out of the bestiary. They also use a certain chunk of uncommon, bespoke creatures. And some are rare, while other boss types may be unique. But rare and unique are not the majority in APs at least. Maybe they show up more in PFS scenarios?
I have a quick look through a couple of Abomination Vaults modules. Every boss was Unique. Most creatures are Uncommon. Rare and Common seem to occur at about the same rate. Obviously different modules are going to be different. When I am considering balance I rate the difficult encounters as being much more important than the easy encounters.

I just ran a quick tally of the rarity of the encounters in book 1, including hazards. If an encounter includes multiple categories, it counts as 1 of each. Ie, if a unique boss has common minions, it is one for rare and one for common.

Common: 40
Uncommon: 12
Rare: 3
Unique: 9. And of those 9 uniques, a whopping 7 are just unique, named versions of common creatures*, most of which you fight many times.

It probably starts to skew rarer as you get into books 2 and 3, but I doubt the trend truly reverses and if it did it would have a lot of ground to make up. If you remove hazards you probably have like... 30 common creature encounters, which is still more than all the others combined.

I suspect what is giving you this impression is you are only looking at the bespoke, full stat blocks in the book, which definitely skew more towards the less common. But the majority of monsters you fight are straight out of the bestiary.

Maybe if you just looked at the number of specific creatures it could skew different. Ie, if you only count the standard bestiary ghoul once even though it shows up in multiple encounters. But the fact that the same Recall Knowledge roll can carry across multiple fights doesn't really feel like a knock against Recall Knowledge.

*This is a grey area, but there's a pretty good case that if a monster belongs to a more common species you should be able to identify it as that species. It is only a DC 15 to recognize a ghoul. It might be a DC 30 to recognize the ghoul leader's unique attributes, but it shouldn't be a DC 30 to tell it is a ghoul. I'd argue this ruling is within a GM's discretion by RAW, but I acknowledge it one of several issues with Recall Knowledge.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I mean, "rare as often as common" was clearly hyperbole, but ~40% of monsters having some sort of increased DC on their recall knowledge is still a lot, especially when you start looking at characters that won't necessarily max out their RK attribute.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Squiggit wrote:
I mean, "rare as often as common" was clearly hyperbole, but ~40% of monsters having some sort of increased DC on their recall knowledge is still a lot, especially when you start looking at characters that won't necessarily max out their RK attribute.

The bulk of those creatures are uncommon, which is just a +2 increase to the DC. Unique creatures are the only ones with ridiculous DCs, and even then you can usually identify the base creature. (And probably have because you fought a ton of them as minions to get to the named boss.)

And when you start looking at characters that don't max out their RK attribute... I mean yeah, they will be worse? But that's how literally all checks work. RK at least starts at a reasonable baseline. Most other skills rolled against monsters wind up with similar DCs without additional adjustments. Perception, AC, and saves are usually higher than the the Recall Knowledge DC of an uncommon creature. The low save might be less but the high save will be significantly more. Stealth or athletics don't really have it any better there.


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Captain Morgan wrote:

I just ran a quick tally of the rarity of the encounters in book 1, including hazards. If an encounter includes multiple categories, it counts as 1 of each. Ie, if a unique boss has common minions, it is one for rare and one for common.

Common: 40
Uncommon: 12
Rare: 3
Unique: 9. And of those 9 uniques, a whopping 7 are just unique, named versions of common creatures*, most of which you fight many times.

It probably starts to skew rarer as you get into books 2 and 3, but I doubt the trend truly reverses and if it did it would have a lot of ground to make up. If you remove hazards you probably have like... 30 common creature encounters, which is still more than all the others combined.

I suspect what is giving you this impression is you are only looking at the bespoke, full stat blocks in the book, which definitely skew more towards the less common. But the majority of monsters you fight are straight out of the bestiary.

Maybe if you just looked at the number of specific creatures it could skew different. Ie, if you only count the standard bestiary ghoul once even though it shows up in multiple encounters. But the fact that the same Recall Knowledge roll can carry across multiple fights doesn't really feel like a knock against Recall Knowledge.

*This is a grey area, but there's a pretty good case that if a monster belongs to a more common species you should be able to identify it as that species. It is only a DC 15 to recognize a ghoul. It might be a DC 30 to recognize the ghoul leader's unique attributes, but it shouldn't be a DC 30 to tell it is a ghoul. I'd argue this ruling is within a GM's discretion by RAW, but I acknowledge it one of several issues with Recall Knowledge.

I'll accept what I said overstated the problem. The situation is worse at higher levels. You haven't really addressed the problem that every boss fight is against a Unique creature? A minus ten modifier is almost immunity. We all know it is the boss fights that are the difficult ones that really count.

We don't get to change the DC for a creature just because it is a variant of a common creature.

Recall Knowledge is also about the other benefits you get from a successful roll.

Where is the modifier for I encountered the same creature yesterday? Where is the modifier for I found a book on this topic and spent hours reading it up. These things should be recommended in the rules.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Quote:
We don't get to change the DC for a creature just because it is a variant of a common creature.

The GMG says otherwise. The section on Unique things says that a Unique individual isn't any harder to recognize as a member of the general type. Just harder to know about the things that are unique to them.


HammerJack wrote:
Quote:
We don't get to change the DC for a creature just because it is a variant of a common creature.
The GMG says otherwise. The section on Unique things says that a Unique individual isn't any harder to recognize as a member of the general type. Just harder to know about the things that are unique to them.

Please state or link to actual rules. I get your point. But I don't see it in the rules.


Unique
Source Core Rulebook pg. 637 3.0
A rules element with this trait is one-of-a-kind. The DC of Recall Knowledge checks related to creatures with this trait is increased by 10.

The Four Rarities
Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 35
....
Unique elements are one of a kind. You have full control over whether PCs can access them. Named NPCs are unique creatures, though that doesn’t mean their base creature type is unique. For instance, an orc named Graytusk is unique, but that doesn’t mean it would be any harder for a PC encountering her to tell she’s an orc—just to discern specific information about her.

Is this really permission for me not to apply a penalty of 10 to my recall knowledge checks?

Liberty's Edge

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That's certainly how I've run it - it seems pretty clear that it's saying that identifying the orc aspects of her statblock wouldn't have the +10 to the DC. On top of that, it just makes sense - there's no reason why it should be harder to identify a red dragon's breath weapon ahead of them using it, regardless of if they've done enough in the story to get a unique name.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

All that, yes. On top of that, those "unique" bosses are usually surrounded by numerous encounters full of the same creature. As a real example:

Abomination Vaults very minor spoiler:
You probably fought 3 encounters worth of mitflits before you reach their leader, Boss Skrawng. (Who is also backed up by regular mitflits.) You have probably already identified that mitflits are weak to cold iron and demoralize. Even if you never attempt a Recall Knowledge check on the boss himself, you will probably infer the mitflit in the crown shares the same weaknesses. Hence, the unique adjustment wouldn't really matter even if you ignored the GMG and applied it anyway.

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