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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Orc in the Playground
     
    RangerGuy

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    Jul 2018

    Default Knowledge Checks

    Under the knowledge skill it says PCs can know a bit of useful information about the monsters they are facing. How do y'all handle that? I know it says for every 5 above you get to know something extra, but which something?

    5 above lets the PCs know the strengths, 10 above lets them know SLAs, 15 above lets them know weaknesses?

    How do y'all go about this?

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Knowledge Checks

    The exact words are "a successful check allows you to remember a bit of useful information about that monster". To me, that sounds like it means an individual ability or weakness. It has occurred to me before that this means that there are certain creatures that no character could know everything about (barring optimisation shenanigans or epic levels) even using the 10+CR rule, never mind with the 10+HD rule. I wonder if this is intentional though, that even the most learned 20th-level Wizard isn't supposed to know everything about everything.

    As for what order to put them in, in general I'd say most obvious or visible first; for example, anyone who's ever seen a red dragon fight knows they breath fire.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Titan in the Playground
     
    ElfRangerGuy

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    Default Re: Knowledge Checks

    The way we do it in my group is the DM allows us to ask a certain number of questions based on our roll. So, for example, we can ask about a monster's DR, or SR, or energy resistances/immunities, or what its most notable special attack is.
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  4. - Top - End - #4
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: Knowledge Checks

    I never liked how the rules handle it. the stronger a monster is, the more difficult is to know stuff about it. meh. so you need a 37 to knowledge to know that a great wyrm red dragon can spit fire. and if you get to 42, you can even know he's vulnerable to cold. brilliant. who would have ever guessed?

    I think a realistic check should depend on how rare or well understood the monster is in that campaign. dragons are very showy and famous, it shouldn't be hard to know stuff about them. drows live in the underdark and never go to the surface and most people never even heard of them.
    It should also depend on how iconic is a particular trait of the monster. even a dumb commoner should know that red dragons breath fire and are vulnerable to cold. but knowing which spell-like abilities they get according to age? that could actually be a DC 37 knowledge check.

    Given that players can't help metagaming, though, I made it canon that somebody wrote the "great encyclopaedia of monsters and dangerous creatures", a handy guide containing all the relevant informations for fighting such creatures that can easily be found on any library. and that professional adventurers aren't morons and they took a reasonable time studying it. this justifies any meta-knowledge the players have about the monster.
    Last edited by King of Nowhere; 2019-08-24 at 09:30 PM.
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  5. - Top - End - #5
    Orc in the Playground
     
    RangerGuy

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    Default Re: Knowledge Checks

    What do y'all think about RAW vs. RAI on this one?

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Asmotherion's Avatar

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    Default Re: Knowledge Checks

    Quote Originally Posted by King of Nowhere View Post
    I never liked how the rules handle it. the stronger a monster is, the more difficult is to know stuff about it. meh. so you need a 37 to knowledge to know that a great wyrm red dragon can spit fire. and if you get to 42, you can even know he's vulnerable to cold. brilliant. who would have ever guessed?

    I think a realistic check should depend on how rare or well understood the monster is in that campaign. dragons are very showy and famous, it shouldn't be hard to know stuff about them. drows live in the underdark and never go to the surface and most people never even heard of them.
    It should also depend on how iconic is a particular trait of the monster. even a dumb commoner should know that red dragons breath fire and are vulnerable to cold. but knowing which spell-like abilities they get according to age? that could actually be a DC 37 knowledge check.

    Given that players can't help metagaming, though, I made it canon that somebody wrote the "great encyclopaedia of monsters and dangerous creatures", a handy guide containing all the relevant informations for fighting such creatures that can easily be found on any library. and that professional adventurers aren't morons and they took a reasonable time studying it. this justifies any meta-knowledge the players have about the monster.
    i get your dragon example but a peasant may very well have seen a red dragon once and assume all dragons breath fire. Or be unable to distinguish between dragon species.

    You can also get a chec for a younger version of the same Dragon; you may find out some abilities to a certain age...

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  7. - Top - End - #7
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Jowgen's Avatar

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    Default Re: Knowledge Checks

    I handle it that a DC 10 gives you the traits of the type of creature.

    For example, religion 10 allows you to recognize an undead and know about the non-living, crit immune, negative/positve energy kinda stuff. If you fail that you might know some truths, but otherwise be under some kind of common misconception.

    Making the DC 10 + CR check lets you know the name of the creature and what is written in the basic fluff text, but no specifics.

    From then on I handle the information in intervals of 5, going by how distinctive a specific feature is. If a creature has spellcasting or is straight up immune to something by means other than (sub)typing, that is included in beating the DC by 5. It basically gives you a general idea of the enemy's main capabilties.

    Beating it by 10 gives you more specifics on its main abilities, like the level of its spellcasting or how its attacks work exactly. Some parts may be left out, but you now have a pretty good idea of how to go about fighting this kind of creature.

    Beating it by 15 is enough to give you a general run down of all its capabilities. For a standard member of this particular creature type, you know each thing it can do in pretty good detail.

    Beating the DC by a full 20 essentially lets you look at its stats screen. You know if this individual creature exhibits special traits normal members don't, you know what its good/bad saves and ability scores are, and so forth.

    In the case of templates, I run a separate check with all DCs increased by 5.

    In the case of creatures that have significant advancement tables, like Dragons, I base the DC on the weakest version, but you don't learn about the abilities they gain during advancement unless you beat that DC as well; so for example you might know everything there is to know about a Wyrmling, and have an idea of how an adult differs from it, but have no idea how a great wyrm differs from an adult.
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  8. - Top - End - #8
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    OrcBarbarianGuy

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    May 2018

    Default Re: Knowledge Checks

    For these DCs, keep in mind that I usually run low level games. I would adjust the DCs as needed the higher we go and the stronger the monster


    A DC 10+CR shows basic knowledge any average person would have (IE. "This is the zombified corpse of a troll, an unliving lumbering hunk of flesh with no vulnerable organs")

    DC 15+CR would give you advanced knowledge (IE. "A zombie takes reduced damage from bludgeoning attacks", skeletons less from slashing, a ghoul's touch can paralyze a foe)

    DC 20+CR gives you knowledge only survivors of that monster would know ("The rotting corpse of the troll likely lacks the pain receptors that allow it to regenerate, but conversely reduces its natural weakness to fire", a ghoul can inflict a deadly fever that turns others into ghouls, a shadow is the incorporeal cursed soul of the long dead, trolls will regenerate if not slain by fire, etc)

    Something like that.
    Last edited by 16bearswutIdo; 2019-08-27 at 02:27 PM.

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