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30

Let the loremaster improvise. Start with the premise that "loremaster" doesn't mean "omniscience" or "retrocognition." There are many things that are not written down, not on the grid, were never recorded in lore, or have simply been forgotten or altered with time. Make sure the player has a solid grasp of the themes of the game. When it comes time for ...


22

First of all, it's a Knowledge check Don't lose sight of the fact that the player asked to make a Knowledge check because he or she wants information. There's no way around that. Don't worry about that information breaking the flow. If the player doesn't want to break the flow by getting that information, he or she would not be requesting the check. Tease ...


18

I'm going to take a slightly different tack here, because it sounds like the question is about games where the GM doesn't want to cede the authority to the player to "just make stuff up." And even in games where the GM does, sometimes it's not appropriate. The method I've used, with reasonable success, goes something like this: Keep the information per ...


15

Be unpredictable The reason that the player can do this is that the rules are well-known. In order to avoid this problem, introduce some mystery. When the player rolls a skill check where the quality of the result shouldn't be known by the character, you should also roll (in secret of course). If your roll is in the high half of the die range, then treat ...


14

Sometimes the Rules Are Guidelines... According to the Player's Handbook, "[Y]ou can use [Knowledge skills] to identify monsters and their special powers or vulnerabilities. In general, the DC of such a check equals 10 + the monster's HD. A successful check allows you to remember a bit of useful information about that monster" (78). And there just ain't ...


13

Caveat I do not think this question makes a lot of sense as a system-agnostic question, and I am answering on the basis of systems with which I am most familiar. I strongly suspect that there are other systems where what I say would be flat-out and explicitly wrong. However, there have been claims that 95% of systems handle these things the same way, which, ...


12

This confusion is an inheritance from D&D - particularly the Forgotten Realms. Region-based skills had particular rules in that campaign setting. I believe it was most clearly explained in the 3.0 Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting (Pages 8-9): Character Region The Player's Handbook only requires you to choose a race and a class, but the ...


11

The way I see knowledge (local) working, I consider it to be more of an 'ability to collect and remember information', rather than something you already knew all along. Instead of treating a character with a high local knowledge skill as some sort of clairvoyant know-it-all, I prefer to look at the character as a 'tourist'. Whenever there is downtime they ...


11

In D&D 4e, "fumbling" a skill check on a natural 1 is a house rule only. By the rules as written, a natural 1 on a skill check is not even an automatic failure, much less a fumble — it's just 1 less than a roll of 2. The critical hits and automatic misses introduced in D&D 4e are only in the context of combat, and nowhere else. (This is why ...


10

No action is required From the Rules Compendium pg 130. Action: No action. A character either knows or doesn't know the information.


10

The Rules Compendium p134 leaves the decision up to the DM. If a monster's origin and keyword suggest the use of two different skills, the DM decides which skill can be used to identify the monster, and might allow the use of either skill. One example given is for a Dracolich. Where it suggests that the DM might decide that the undead-ness of the ...


9

To Supplement @Pat Ludwig's answer, I would say that in that case each skill might give you different information about the monster. To continue with the Dracolich example, a Nature check might get you that what you are seeing looks like the skeleton of a rather large dragon, and it shouldn't be moving around like that. Whereas a Religion check might give ...


8

Sure! Just because it's unique doesn't mean the party doesn't have a chance to know something about it that they've picked up through their adventures. Each creature in the Monster Manuals has such information, even the unique ones.


8

There are no, concrete RAW monster knowledge checks in 5e The PHB, MM, and DMG do not mention anything like a monster knowledge check as existed in previous editions. Tied with that is the fact that monster types are not directly tied to skills. As such I can only offer guidelines based on my own experiences with 4e and 5e and what I have done as a GM. Go ...


7

It Depends on the System But for the most part the 'fallibility' of a Knowledge check is a matter of degree rather than outright misinformation. You can see this system in New World of Darkness, D&D 3.5, and Legend - a Knowledge (or Occult, or Academics, or...) check tells you information on a sliding scale of success, usually starting with something ...


7

The Rules Compendium (pg 130) suggests that a successful knowledge check reveals a creature's origin, type, typical temperment and keywords. If the hard DC is met or exceeded, the creature's resistances, vunerabilities and what it's powers do are also known. I would be wary of adding further information to these checks, as there are items and powers ...


7

The typical way to do this is to roll for the player where only you can see the result (such as behind a screen or your hand). Any time you are rolling for hidden information, you're justified in making the roll yourself. Looking for secret doors? You roll, and tell what they do or don't find. Racking their brains to remember something useful about trolls? ...


7

Here's a range of options, suited to different playstyles. Also you can mix-and-match. "You Don't Know": If the player fails a roll, the GM says they don't know. This is probably the simplest approach. What about "botching?" Shouldn't you make it more than just "You don't know." Enh, maybe they still don't know. Even in games that feature special ...


6

There are a number of different mechanics at work here.... Common Knowledge This is used to represent basic background knowledge a character may have because of where they were brought up, what they do for a living etc. This is not a skill, and is checked with a simple Smarts roll. Depending on the exact character background, a modifier can be added to ...


6

There's not a lot to be done here in the general case. The three options you listed are pretty much definitive. You need to push information from the GM to a player, and it's unlikely that you'll know what information needs to be pushed in advance. You could do something crazy, like write up a comprehensive wiki of your campaign world and give the ...


6

Option 3, All the Way! You act like option 3 is a joke, but it doesn't have to be. In my campaigns, most of my players write 2-3 page backstories (of their own volition), and I try to help each of them determine how their background fits into the current campaign. I also end up writing 1-2 paragraphs about each important location, event and NPC for my own ...


5

Looking at some Paizo Adventure Paths (specifically: Jade Regent, Wrath of the Righteous), there are NPCs with Knowledge (local) in their skills. If the intention was for that skill to be tied to an area, it would be listed as Knowledge (placename). Knowledge (placename) certainly makes more sense to me, but it does appear that the intention in the rules ...


5

Updated Monster Knowledge Checks say Powers on Hard DC The current online compendium entry for Monster Knowledge Checks states: DC: The DM sets the DC using the Difficulty Class by Level table, selecting the moderate DC for the monster’s level instead of the level of the character making the check. Success: The character identifies the monster and ...


5

Often I have a bunch of PCs all want to make the check, to get as much intel as possible. So I do the checks in secret and write them notes, with significant failures being rewarded with misinformation, and then am entertained by them trying to divine who is right. "The wizard's usually pretty smart but 'fell taint'? Really? Both Bob and Dave the ...


5

"Is there an efficient way to provide this information?" Yes. Players should generally have an index card with monster defenses (at the very least) in their hands around turn 3. Enough attacks will have been made that the defenses will be obvious and it is an excellent way of speeding up combat. If you have a character who routinely makes monster knowledge ...


5

If the information is solely limited to things the GM has decided - then yes, you are stuck with the mouthpiece issue, as tabletop RPGs are played through conversation, and if only one person can declare facts, then that is what you end up with. However, allowing players to make input can vary greatly in scope, and maybe one of these will work better for ...


4

The Monster Manuals have Lore sections which are good guidelines for the kind of combat information that the PCs can make checks for. Monster Manual, page 19 When a fire archon blazesteel is bloodied, it unleashes a burst of searing flame. It also gains its fiery revenge by unleashing a similar burst when slain. An ash disciple can hurl fire, ...


4

I run that as written: if the players meet or beat the hard DC, I tell them the monster's resistances and vulnerabilities ("Resist 5 fire; vulnerable 5 radiant"), and I'll broadly describe the monster's powers ("It has a daily that can do a lot of damage and grant combat advantage...."). Edited to add: You can always call the D&D hotline to get an ...


4

I mostly play 2e, but my group created Monster Lore LONG before it became vogue. I've been DMing for over 20 years. (No brag, just fact) We use the frequency of the creature as a modifier. In 2e, you had common, uncommon, rare, very rare, and Unique. You made a monster lore check and the modifiers ranged from base to -5 (2e, mind you. For 4e, increase the ...


4

The Truth and... Commonly in my groups, knowledge checks were more or less plot device sources. Due to the higher TN/DC that belonged to obscure information it is entirely easy to say "You once heard..." and the information that was correct from the check I would let them know they were solidly sure of, but there were rumors that nothing they'd experienced ...



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