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Tyrael
2007-03-30, 01:00 PM
Hey, all. Quick question here, what do you guys commonly interpret knowledge(local) to be? My DM and I can't seem to come to an agreement over this. I think that since it's local, it should be knowledge about the general local area of a town and such. My DM believes that you can use it to remember information about places you've already been before. But if that's the case, what about the player? Isn't he allowed to remember anything about the places he's been before?

Or are we both off-target? What's your guys' take on it?

Draz74
2007-03-30, 01:02 PM
Hey, all. Quick question here, what do you guys commonly interpret knowledge(local) to be? My DM and I can't seem to come to an agreement over this. I think that since it's local, it should be knowledge about the general local area of a town and such. My DM believes that you can use it to remember information about places you've already been before. But if that's the case, what about the player? Isn't he allowed to remember anything about the places he's been before?

Or are we both off-target? What's your guys' take on it?

RAW, it even lets you know a lot about a new place that you've never been to before when you get there. Make sense? No.

I think your DM's interperetation is very reasonable.

Tellah
2007-03-30, 01:10 PM
I prefer to replace Knowledge (Local) with Knowledge (specific region), with liberal application of the PHB II retraining rules.

Inyssius Tor
2007-03-30, 01:12 PM
Living Greyhawk splits (Local) into a bunch of different geographical areas. This seems perfectly reasonable, so I follow their example (I would say "my group," but I don't currently have one).

clarkcd
2007-03-30, 01:34 PM
Like Inyssius Tor said knowledge: local is meant to be used to know things about a smaller area of the world like a specific town or province/state. Maybe even a country since D&D countries usually aren't as large as RL countries. If it is a large country with many distinct regions (such as RL examples like the United States and Russia) you may not be able to cover the whole country with one skill.

kamikasei
2007-03-30, 01:41 PM
Perhaps it represents a guy who obsessively reads every Lonely Planet guidebook that comes out, but never looks at an atlas; so he can tell you where the best restaurants are found for any city you find yourselves in, but not whether it's north or south of any other city (which would be Knowledge (geography)).

Zherog
2007-03-30, 01:42 PM
RAW, it even lets you know a lot about a new place that you've never been to before when you get there. Make sense? No.

Why doesn't that make sense? I live in the Philadelphia area; what prevents me from knowing details about (for example) Seattle?

Here's what the rules have to say about the skill:


Local (legends, personalities, inhabitants, laws, customs, traditions, humanoids)

So what's that mean?

Want to avoid being arrested for violating some bizarre law? Roll Knowledge (local).

Want to know about a local legend? Roll Knowledge (local).

Want to know how the locals celebrate Mid-Summer Feast (or whatever holiday)? Roll Knowledge (local).

Want to know what famous people live in the area? Roll Knowledge (local).

Want to know the traits and abilities of a particular humanoid type creature? Roll Knowledge (local).

That's what the skill does, really.

I generally agree that narrowing it down to different categories (Eastern US, Western US, Canada, Europe, etc) often makes more sense - Forgotten Realms does it this way, too.

clarkcd
2007-03-30, 01:53 PM
Want to know about a local legend? Roll Knowledge (local).

Don't worry Zherog. If you come to Seattle you don't have to roll. You already know about me. :smalltongue:

henebry
2007-03-30, 02:00 PM
I prefer to replace Knowledge (Local) with Knowledge (specific region), with liberal application of the PHB II retraining rules.

I did this for a while, but decided that it really gave the streetsmart rogue a disadvantage compared to the Ranger with ranks in Knowledge (Natural World). Unless you run a campaign that has a lot of city encounters, Knowlege (Natural World) and Knowledge (Dungeoneering) will outshine it, especially considering that you don't make the ranger differentiate between his knowledge of the creatures of the frozen north and his knowledge of the creatures of some high desert plateau. And if you start subdividing the knowedge skills this way they all quickly begin to pale in comparison with taking ranks in Jump and Balance.

So just mentally rename Knowledge (local) as streetsmarts and you're good to go.

Grey Watcher
2007-03-30, 02:20 PM
I think the reason why it's Knowledge (Local) is because the PHB tends to assume you're playing a mre or less stationary campaign. That you'll be operating out of a single city or town or geographic region from start to finish, which can be fun, but Knowledge (Local) starts to get weird when your campaigns include travel over long distances. You could either split it into Knowledge (Specific Region), or require the guy with Knowledge (Local) skill to make a few Gather Information checks before he can use his skill ranks with regards to the new area.

Gamebird
2007-03-30, 02:22 PM
KNOWLEDGE: LOCAL

What is known of local knowledge by the ignorant:
This is the county of Mill’s Fork. I live in _________ barony/shire. I live in _______ village/hamlet/thorp/steading. It is ruled by __________. We raise __________ agricultural products and ___________ commercial/industrial products. We worship ________.

What is known of local knowledge by most well learned people who do not have ranks in Knowledge (Local):
Names of all the settlements in the barony or shire, names of all the villages in the county, names of all the settlements they pass through on the way to Mill’s Fork.
Capital of the duchy is Raithlin. Capital of the kingdom is Mirhame.
The count’s name is Boris Elderrey of House Jain. The king is Carbry. This is the 8th year of Carbry.
There is a huge green dragon in the Spine Mountains to the west and north. It is seen flying over Mill’s Fork once or twice a year. Smaller green dragons appear from time to time, hunting in the woods, raiding flocks and herds or are seen swimming in the river. About once every ten years, someone in the county kills a green or brownish green dragon.
Wolves are a problem for the area. It is rumored that there are some the size of horses that live west in the hills and are ridden by orcs and hobgoblins. As most people would not know a warg if it bit their face off, there’s no telling if these are normal wolves or wargs. Whether wolves or wargs, they get down into the wooded areas and sometimes raid herds and flocks. They’ve also been known to eat lone shepherds, travelers or anyone else they catch alone in the woods. These aren’t the USA nature conservationalist “there is no historical record of wolves killing anyone in the US” sort of animals. There is a bounty on wolf heads, in addition to the value of their pelt.
Other notable animal threats are bears and cats (lions and cougars). These are much more rare than wolves, but no less threatening. When bears and people cross paths, people sometimes survive by simply running off. Bears rarely attack livestock. Cats on the other hand, will sometimes even attack superior numbers of humans. They range in size up to Large and down to tiny. There are wild cats that look a lot like house cats. There is a bounty on any cat large enough that it is not mistaken for a domestic cat. The heads of caracals (the cats the gnomes have domesticated) may or may not have a bounty, depending on the noble and the situation. Mostly, you just have to prove that you didn’t just off someone’s guard animal and are trying to get money for it.
The east side of the Mill River is untamed wilderness for the most part. There are a number of steadings that have been built along the river in the last 50 years. It’s almost certain they would be rich with adventure leads. In addition to wolves, lions and bears, it has humanoids, hostile fey, dangerous plants, dragons and the occasional undead.
The main humanoids in the area are orcs and goblins, but they never make camps within the county. They do raid the outlying areas from time to time and hold up the remote steadings for “tax money”. They haven’t attacked in force for nearly 100 years, but this is believed to be the happy result of the people of Mill’s Fork beating their ass.
People are really sold on the value of defensive walls and staying inside at night, as well as posting guards. They may be backwards on a lot of their superstition, technology and other tactics, but they’ve figured out enough to shut the doors at night. Between sunset and full dark, all walled communities shut their doors, bar the gates and post guards.
The Byway Oak is a big tree you’ve heard of that lies close to Antium, the next county over. Rumor has it the tree is the biggest in the world and is inhabited by a minor god worshipped by the fey.
The mightiest wizards in Mill’s Fork county are thought to be the Halflings of Reeznob, a hill along the river in the northeast part of the county. Rumor has it also that they’re uppity, arrogant and don’t like anyone taller than 5’.

Local Knowledge (1-4 ranks):
History of rebellions and interesting happenings in the barony.
These things are legal:
o Prostitution
o Gambling
o Drunkenness
o Blaspheming
o Begging
o Drug use
o Being a half orc, ogre, centaur, dragon or something else weird IF you have a permit
o Destroying undead
o Grave robbing
These things are illegal:
o Murder
o Assault
o Threatening
o Theft
o Rape
o Consorting with undead
o Worshipping any god not on the deity list
o Speaking ill of your liege or anyone above you in the line of enfeofment from yourself to the king (note: it’s perfectly legal to speak ill of your neighbor, someone beneath you or a stranger)
o Using any spell or spell-like ability on a person without their consent or that of their legal guardian (note this includes Detect Evil, Cure spells, etc. but not illusions which do not interact with others such as Dancing Lights, Major Image, etc.)
o Being a member of a weird race/species and not having a permit
o Trespass (being on a shire or county road is never trespassing)
Ruins and adventure opportunities in the barony:
o Ruins in the Brandy Swamp, about a half mile north of Brandon. Inhabited by snapping turtles, wyrmling dragons, giant insects and some undead. Good frog fishing though.
o The Dead Woods near White Stone Steading. Many normal animals there are vicious and exceptionally dangerous.
o The cracks and caves along the Carr/Fork ridge at the south end of the Hawkwood barony. They are used as lairs for kobolds, goblins, wild cats, bears, snakes, big insects, wolves, etc.
o The Faerie Ring and standing stone on the top of the Carr/Fork ridge.
o Opened tombs west of Mourne and east of Draughed.
What’s in Mill’s Fork (inns, industries, etc.)
o Inns: Jain’s Inn (good rooms, very good food, passable drink, music or talespinning during meals and shuts down early at 10 pm), Randy Dog (passable rooms, good food, good drink, excellent entertainment, gambling, prostitution and stays open to 2 am or later on party nights), Small Table (maximum height of 5’ for patrons, good rooms, very good food, good drink, poor or no entertainment, stays open to midnight)
o The Paper Mill
o Temples: Every recognized religion has a temple in town with 6-10 clergymen, most of whom labor in a separate commercial or agricultural activity to support themselves. The largest of these are dedicated to Dagda, Aron, Krom, Frey and Mielikki.
Reputation of the count and names/titles of his most important advisors.

Local Knowledge (5-9 ranks):
History of rebellions and interesting happenings in the county.
Penalties for most crimes.
Ruins and adventure opportunities in the county.
What’s in most villages (inns, industries, etc.). “Most” gauged as 10% per rank of knowledge.
Reputation of most barons and those of equivalent status. “Most” gauged as 10% per rank of knowledge.
Details of the count’s family. Boris Elderrey is in his late 50s. He has five children, the eldest of which is his son Bertok, baron of the baronial lands of Mill’s Fork and father of a single daughter, named Janka, who has just recently come of age and is as yet unmarried (though negotiations have been held with various noble houses). Bertok is also the heir apparent. After Bertok, there is a daughter and three sons. Boris’ youngest child is Teague, who has only just reached his 20s. Boris’ brother, Jerris, has had three children: two daughters and a youngest son (who has just reached 30). Both Boris and Jerris’ wives are still living.



Et cetera.

henebry
2007-03-30, 02:40 PM
brief digest of his writeup of Mill's ForkOkay. I think we've all just been shamed. Ouch! Nothing I write up for my campaign comes anywhere close to this level of detail.

Kantolin
2007-03-30, 03:34 PM
As a brief point for knowledge(local)... quite frankly, I'm all for making knowledge skills more appealing at the expensive of realism.

Sure, knowledge(local) helps you wherever you go that's in a city. I'm rather cool with this, as it gives there a hair more incentive to take it. Of course, most classes don't have the skill points to spend there anyway, but that's what house rules are for.

Rad
2007-03-30, 03:45 PM
I agree with the necessity of keeping knowledge(local) generic per game balance with other abilities.
Actually, I doubt that local and geography are important enough on their own not to be merged as well (and local would make more sense as written if you think t as an extension of geography).

I know that the two skills are about different things, this is just to make points put into non-combat skills more worthy.

stainboy
2007-03-30, 04:19 PM
I usually just ignore it. It overlaps way too much with Gather Information, and I can't fathom how someone could have one without the other. Gather Information reflects the basic social skills you'd need to pick up extensive knowledge of, say, a town.

Besides, how often do you roll either one of them? Even combined into one, Gather Information/Knowledge (local) isn't exactly the most useful skill in the game.

Fax Celestis
2007-03-30, 04:29 PM
I usually just ignore it. It overlaps way too much with Gather Information, and I can't fathom how someone could have one without the other. Gather Information reflects the basic social skills you'd need to pick up extensive knowledge of, say, a town.

Besides, how often do you roll either one of them? Even combined into one, Gather Information/Knowledge (local) isn't exactly the most useful skill in the game.

Depends on your campaign. I'm running a mystery campaign right now, and the party has made more rolls for Gather Information and Knowledge (Local) than for all the other things they could roll for combined.

KIDS
2007-03-30, 04:34 PM
Local was split into areas before, but now that it's (reasonably, in order to be even remotely viable) combined into one skill, it applies wherever you go. Where you live you know the local occurences. Where you go you can fairly accurately predict the laws, customs and etc. of the place, you are good at gaining information about it or you have simply heard about it before. It's not hard to RP.

Reinboom
2007-03-30, 04:47 PM
I would double rule:
Your knowledge local checks apply only to areas you've lived extensively at.
As an option however, you may use a gather information check to "fill in" your knowledge local check of a newly entered area.

Unsure how the DCs would work on this, I would say a DC 20 gather information (given you can take 20), to make your knowledge local of that area have a -4 penalty, a DC 25 gather information to make it a -2, or a DC 30 (+10 in gather information, taking 20) to treat that area as a familiar area.

Variable Arcana
2007-03-30, 09:25 PM
Thematically, I like the prevalent answer here: that it applies to one particular region.

Mechanically, the snag comes when the designers decided to take all of the Monster Manual and assign knowledge about each kind of monster to a different knowledge skill. Suddenly, knowing about "humanoid" type monsters became a function of Knowledge(Local) -- even if no individual of the humanoid species in question has ever been heard of in said Local region...

Of course, if you just house-rule "humanoid" into Knowledge(Geography) where it belongs... then there's no problem.

Kultrum
2007-03-31, 09:24 AM
its so you can learn thing you shouldn't ask people about' like say who sells poisons or other such items of ill repute.

Zherog
2007-03-31, 09:36 AM
No, that's Gather Information. I've already posted what the skill covers according to the rules - legends, laws, customs, and so on.

Shiny, Bearer of the Pokystick
2007-03-31, 09:42 AM
Generally speaking, I assume a character with ranks in Knowledge (Local) has one of a few things in his character background: a scholastic background, or a hunger for rumors.

Someone who spends his time in the local library (wizardly or otherwise) is likely to have picked up tales, legends, facts, and etc. regarding far-flung regions of the globe- this is a reasonable/logical explanation for the skill. I've never lived in New York, but I can tell you a good bit about it.

Similarly, someone who spends his time at the local pub or the field where caravans gather, accosting wanderers for stories of their adventures, is equally likely to have picked up the kind of information that Knowledge (Local) encompasses about the areas those travelers have been.

If you consider it in these terms, it makes perfect sense, even in the much-maligned usage regarding Humanoids- they could've been reading or hearing about the elven/dwarven/gianten homelands, after all.

I think the main reason the skill is decried as 'illogical' is because people assume that Knowledge skills represent things you 'just know' rather than (as would be, ironically, logical) the result of research and concerted interest.

On occasion, of course, I do houserule something similar to Gray Watcher's suggestion; while your Knowledge is undoubtedly accurate for the place where you live, books can be outdated and travelers can exaggerate, so a DC20 gather information check is required to make sure you're 'up to date'; otherwise, -4 competance penalty.

I think the name might also be a part of the problem; as I read it, it applies to any given Local area, rather than a specific one.