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What I mean by this is when in combat with a creature or creatures how do you allow the player to activate his Bane while keeping character over player knowledge in mind?

For example, In PF I play a 7th level Inquisitor that can use this ability 7 rounds per day. When in a battle with a creature that my Inquisitor has not encountered before (but that I know what it is) how would I go about declaring Bane on said creature? A free "Knowledge __" check?

I realize from a mechanical standpoint that I could just memorize creature types and subtypes, but where is the fun in that? How should I approach this as my character while using the existing mechanics?

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Knowledge checks are the way to go for this one. At the beginning of combat, players should be pretty well trained to ask "What's the knowledge check for that thing over there?"

Knowledge checks take no action:

Action: Usually none. In most cases, a Knowledge check doesn't take an action (but see “Untrained,” below).

Relevant section on the DC for monsters:

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 monster’s CR. For common monsters, such as goblins, the DC of this check equals 5 + the monster’s CR. For particularly rare monsters, such as the tarrasque, the DC of this check equals 15 + the monster’s CR or more. A successful check allows you to remember a bit of useful information about that monster. For every 5 points by which your check result exceeds the DC, you recall another piece of useful information.

Typically the first bit of information they'll want is "Type/Subtype". They can ascertain the approximate type without the check (it is what determines the Knowledge check after all), but if they don't hit the DC they don't know what the heck it is. Now, another player could make the check and shout "That's an x! Fangulor, murder it!" to get around the problem.

Additionally, the Bane ability says nothing about the Inquisitor knowing what the creature thing is (and heck if it's disguised, they might get it wrong).

In summary, if no one in the group can hit the DC for the knowledge check, the Inquisitor can't use their Bane ability. Unless of course as @Erik and @Ace point out the Inquisitor guesses the type correctly. :)

Sources: Knowledge Checks, Bane Ability

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Also, do bear in mind that the inquisitor has a bonus to identify the type/subtype of the creature as per the Monster Lore class feature. This stacks with the inquisitor favored class bonus to knowledge checks to identify creatures as well if the player chose this option. \$\endgroup\$
    – user6074
    Dec 20 '12 at 12:38

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