View Full Version : ? on knowledge checks, monster types and all that jazz

2011-02-16, 07:16 PM
I've been playing an Archivist recently so this is mainly about Dark Knowledge, but it applies to the Knowledge skills as well.

When encountering creatures how are you supposed to determine the creatures type? I don't want the DM to just tell me so i can roll the appropriate knowledge skill. What we ended up doing is having him write down all my knowledge skills and then he just adds the relevant one to my dice rolls. Is there a different/better way to do this?
Also, it seems like dark knowledge sort of assumes that the archivist has heard at least something about every monster in existence, since you always getting at least the minimum bonus. Is there something I'm missing where you must first identify the monster with a straight knowledge check and then use dark knowledge if you succeed? My DM runs a chaotic new world and it kinda bums him out when my character knows about seemingly every creature in existence. Any suggestions here? I'm the only tier 1 in the group so i wouldn't be opposed to dark knowledge being a little more difficult. My other party members might not appreciate the self-gimp though, since i mostly act as a buffer/tactician unless things start really going south.

2011-02-16, 07:21 PM
You say you want to see if you know something about the monster. The DM tells you which Knowledge skill to roll. If you beat the DC, you learn the monster's basic info, including type. Higher rolls will grant you more information. Fail the roll and you know nothing, unless you can't stop yourself (or others) from metagaming.

I don't know about the Archivist stuff, but somebody will probably come along to answer that.

2011-02-16, 07:39 PM
Well, basically, the base Knowledge system D&D has is crap.

Imagine two monsters. One is a creature that only comes into existence when a certain deep sea fish eats a kind of ooze that leaks in from portals to the Abyss. There is only one in existence, no one has ever seen it, it has two hit dice.
The other is an ancient red dragon.
John the Carpenter can tell you what the first is, but not the second.

However, the Knowledge skill also says this:
In many cases, you can use this skill to identify monsters and their special powers or vulnerabilities. In general, the DC of such a check equals 10 + the monsterís HD. A successful check allows you to remember a bit of useful information about that monster.

Notice the bold part. The DM should feel free to change the DC based on how well-known the monster is and maybe just say no if no one's ever heard of it.

2011-02-16, 09:04 PM
Also, Dark Knowledge doesn't have to be about a weakness of that monster in general. It could be something about this specific monster. If it favors its right foot, tell your party to attack its left side. Something like that.

2011-02-17, 01:07 AM
My DM runs a chaotic new world and it kinda bums him out when my character knows about seemingly every creature in existence. Any suggestions here?

Do not consider a Dark Knowledge check to be an informative check. The archivist is instead using its vast knowledge and making useful inferences about how this monster will act due to certain physical features and behaviors. Knowledge checks could give you information, absolutely, though those become more difficult as the creatures progress, and a mention is given (cited here by Eldan) about generality of the check. Rarity of the creature can certainly raise the DC.

As to determining the proper knowledge check, you can do this a few ways. The way you are currently doing this with him having your modifiers is perfect. Further, you can do a basic Int check, DC5+HD, which should be simple but not guaranteed to work, to identify the creature type, perhaps subtype if you beat the check by 5 or more. Or, you can try your hand at guessing what skill to use, which is ill-advised and serves only to make a mechanical version of a largely roleplaying skill into a skill based on metagaming.

Having the DM know the modifiers or telling you explicitly is the most advised since knowledge skills represent what you remember, not a true action.