High DC Knowledge checks

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My Int-monster sage can get some knowledge skills up to +39. The Knowledge
skill description in the PHB says that "really hard" questions are DC 30.
Thus, if this really are the highest possible DC, all he needs is +29 to be
guaranteed to answer any question (except, presumably, those the DM declares
by fiat to be beyond even this sage's knowledge. If he can take 10 (and the
PHB doesn't say he can't as far as I can tell), then he only needs +20 to
answer any question.

The SRD description says identifying a monster is DC 10+HD. So with +20 for
Knowledge(nature) he could identify up to a 20 HD forest creature. I know
monster HDs can get very high HD, e.g. 48HD for the Tarrasque, and likely
higher for some dragons. So he'd still fail on "touch monster"
identifications -- but presumably if he fails such a check and doesn't
recognize it, he would know "I don't know what it is, but I'm sure it's a
really tough critter".

The Epic Skills section of the SRD says there are no "epic level" applications
with higher DCs. Does anyone know of other sources of high-DC knowledge
checks, or negative modifiers to knowledge checks?
--
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David Alex Lamb wrote:

> My Int-monster sage can get some knowledge skills up to +39. The Knowledge
> skill description in the PHB says that "really hard" questions are DC 30.
> Thus, if this really are the highest possible DC, all he needs is +29 to be
> guaranteed to answer any question (except, presumably, those the DM declares
> by fiat to be beyond even this sage's knowledge. If he can take 10 (and the
> PHB doesn't say he can't as far as I can tell), then he only needs +20 to
> answer any question.
>
> The SRD description says identifying a monster is DC 10+HD. So with +20 for
> Knowledge(nature) he could identify up to a 20 HD forest creature. I know
> monster HDs can get very high HD, e.g. 48HD for the Tarrasque, and likely
> higher for some dragons. So he'd still fail on "touch monster"
> identifications -- but presumably if he fails such a check and doesn't
> recognize it, he would know "I don't know what it is, but I'm sure it's a
> really tough critter".
>
> The Epic Skills section of the SRD says there are no "epic level" applications
> with higher DCs. Does anyone know of other sources of high-DC knowledge
> checks, or negative modifiers to knowledge checks?

Okay, I might be remembering wrong, but you can't Take 10 on a knowledge
check. Information is random, and you can never be guaranteed of knowing
something. It's not like making an item. However, I have no references,
so that means squat. The RAW supports your view.

The #1 adjuster to knowledge is a situtational modifier. If you have the
History of Rome in front of you, you can answer some very obscure
questions about the Empire with little or no ranks. However, running
into a unique creature should have a huge penalty as there is NO
KNOWLEDGE available, even if you have 100 ranks. Between that is DM
judgement. The skill DC's are guidelines, rather than fixed rules, as
circumstances can and will vary.

CH
 
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In article <d33f7v$egk$1@knot.queensu.ca>,
David Alex Lamb <dalamb@qucis.queensu.ca> wrote:
>... So he'd still fail on "touch monster"
>identifications

Sigh. That's "tough monster" of course.
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In article <t5d5e.52$fZ5.165@mencken.net.nih.gov>,
Clawhound <none@nowhere.com> wrote:
>David Alex Lamb wrote:
>
>> My Int-monster sage can get some knowledge skills up to +39. The Knowledge
>> skill description in the PHB says that "really hard" questions are DC 30.
>Okay, I might be remembering wrong, but you can't Take 10 on a knowledge
>check. Information is random, and you can never be guaranteed of knowing
>something. It's not like making an item. However, I have no references,
>so that means squat. The RAW supports your view.

I had a vague impression I might have been wrong on Take 10 for Knowledge
skills, but I couldn't find anything in the PHB or DMG.

>The #1 adjuster to knowledge is a situtational modifier.

I just wish the main source had given some better guidelines other than just
that 20 and 30 were "really hard" questions.
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David Alex Lamb <dalamb@qucis.queensu.ca> wrote:
> My Int-monster sage can get some knowledge skills up to +39. The
> Knowledge skill description in the PHB says that "really hard"
> questions are DC 30. Thus, if this really are the highest possible
> DC, all he needs is +29 to be guaranteed to answer any question
> (except, presumably, those the DM declares by fiat to be beyond even
> this sage's knowledge. If he can take 10 (and the PHB doesn't say he
> can't as far as I can tell), then he only needs +20 to answer any
> question.

You can't Take 10 on Knowledge checks; they're too hit and miss.

> The SRD description says identifying a monster is DC 10+HD. So with
> +20 for Knowledge(nature) he could identify up to a 20 HD forest
> creature. I know monster HDs can get very high HD, e.g. 48HD for the
> Tarrasque, and likely higher for some dragons. So he'd still fail on
> "touch monster" identifications -- but presumably if he fails such a
> check and doesn't recognize it, he would know "I don't know what it
> is, but I'm sure it's a really tough critter".

The fact that it's 60 feet tall, covered in armor plating, has massive
horns and is current *charging you* is probably enough of a hint, even
without a skill check.

> The Epic Skills section of the SRD says there are no "epic level"
> applications with higher DCs. Does anyone know of other sources of
> high-DC knowledge checks, or negative modifiers to knowledge checks?

Non-core, I suppose, but circumstance penalties for dealing with
somethign foreign is entirely possible. For instance, taking a
Dalelander and dropping him in Kara-Tur, there's a good chance that his
social (and many knowledge) skills should suffer at least a little bit.
It's hard to make a good Diplomacy check, or Knowledge(Nature) check,
when you've never seen or heard of the creatures you're dealing with.


Keith
--
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keith.davies@kjdavies.org bad habit shared between Norman invaders
keith.davies@gmail.com and Saxon barmaids!"
http://www.kjdavies.org/ -- Frog, IRC, 2005/01/13
 
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David Alex Lamb wrote:
> My Int-monster sage can get some knowledge skills up to +39. The
> Knowledge skill description in the PHB says that "really hard"
> questions are DC 30. Thus, if this really are the highest possible
> DC, all he needs is +29 to be guaranteed to answer any question
> (except, presumably, those the DM declares by fiat to be beyond even
> this sage's knowledge. If he can take 10 (and the PHB doesn't say he
> can't as far as I can tell), then he only needs +20 to answer any
> question.

You can't take 10, because Knowledge checks aren't an action - you either
have the knowledge or don't.

> The SRD description says identifying a monster is DC 10+HD. So with
> +20 for Knowledge(nature) he could identify up to a 20 HD forest
> creature. I know monster HDs can get very high HD, e.g. 48HD for the
> Tarrasque, and likely higher for some dragons. So he'd still fail on
> "touch monster" identifications -- but presumably if he fails such a
> check and doesn't recognize it, he would know "I don't know what it
> is, but I'm sure it's a really tough critter".

It's 10+HD to know what it is and one piece of useful information, with one
extra piece of information for every 5 points by which you beat the DC. If
you assume that individual attack forms and special qualities can be
considered separate "chunks" of information, you'll still need to get well
beyond the basic 10+HD check in order to get a good idea of the capabilities
of a creature with lots of racial features.

> The Epic Skills section of the SRD says there are no "epic level"
> applications with higher DCs. Does anyone know of other sources of
> high-DC knowledge checks, or negative modifiers to knowledge checks?

Unfamiliarity is a common negative modifier. If you're part of the first
successful expedition to a new continent and you come across a creature that
doesn't exist on your home continent, you'll need to do a lot better than
10+HD to recognise it, for instance. Maybe 20+HD to make an educated guess
based on comparison to more familiar creatures.

--
Mark.
 
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In article <3bl6s7F6fs1idU1@individual.net>,
Mark Blunden <m.blundenATntlworld.com@address.invalid> wrote:
>David Alex Lamb wrote:
>> My Int-monster sage can get some knowledge skills up to +39.
>> ... If he can take 10 (and the PHB doesn't say he
>> can't as far as I can tell), then he only needs +20 to answer any
>> question.
>
>You can't take 10, because Knowledge checks aren't an action - you either
>have the knowledge or don't.

Thanks. Where did you find this? The SRD just says:

Taking 10: When your character is not being threatened or distracted,
you may choose to take 10. Instead of rolling 1d20 for the skill
check, calculate your result as if you had rolled a 10. For many
routine tasks, taking 10 makes them automatically
successful. Distractions or threats (such as combat) make it
impossible for a character to take 10. In most cases, taking 10 is
purely a safety measure -you know (or expect) that an average roll
will succeed but fear that a poor roll might fail, so you elect to
settle for the average roll (a 10). Taking 10 is especially useful in
situations where a particularly high roll wouldn't help.


>> The SRD description says identifying a monster is DC 10+HD. So with
>> +20 for Knowledge(nature) he could identify up to a 20 HD forest
>> creature. I know monster HDs can get very high HD, e.g. 48HD for the
>> Tarrasque, and likely higher for some dragons. So he'd still fail on
>> "touch monster" identifications -- but presumably if he fails such a
>> check and doesn't recognize it, he would know "I don't know what it
>> is, but I'm sure it's a really tough critter".
>
>It's 10+HD to know what it is and one piece of useful information, with one
>extra piece of information for every 5 points by which you beat the DC. If
>you assume that individual attack forms and special qualities can be
>considered separate "chunks" of information, you'll still need to get well
>beyond the basic 10+HD check in order to get a good idea of the capabilities
>of a creature with lots of racial features.

Right. So for identifying creatures, the sky is the limit.

>> The Epic Skills section of the SRD says there are no "epic level"
>> applications with higher DCs. Does anyone know of other sources of
>> high-DC knowledge checks, or negative modifiers to knowledge checks?

>Unfamiliarity is a common negative modifier. If you're part of the first
>successful expedition to a new continent and you come across a creature that
>doesn't exist on your home continent, you'll need to do a lot better than
>10+HD to recognise it, for instance. Maybe 20+HD to make an educated guess
>based on comparison to more familiar creatures.

Do you have any guidelines for modifiers IYC?
--
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Mark Blunden <m.blundenATntlworld.com@address.invalid> wrote:

>Unfamiliarity is a common negative modifier. If you're part of the first
>successful expedition to a new continent and you come across a creature that
>doesn't exist on your home continent, you'll need to do a lot better than
>10+HD to recognise it, for instance. Maybe 20+HD to make an educated guess
>based on comparison to more familiar creatures.

Am I the only one who thinks 10+HD doesn't make a lot of sense?
Why are high hit-dice monsters more obscure? I would think dragons,
for example, would be easy to remember. If you read about something
nasty enough to defeat an army, you're going to remember. If you
read about a type of kangaroo rat native to an obscure part of
the continent, you're not likely to remember much.

I can understand why HD was chosen, especially since it makes
the DC go up as the PCs and their opponents get more powerful.
Although maybe CR would be better for that particular justification.
But something simple works best, and HD are pretty simple.
They don't really represent anything even vaguely related to
how hard it is to learn or remember facts about the creature,
though.

Does the MM still have an indication of how common the
various monsters are? Did it ever, or am I misremembering?
Using something like that, along with the preferred terrain
of the monster, could result in something that makes more
sense. Be a lot of work, though, and it might not end up
at all balanced for character level.

I dunno. It's just weird, man.

Pete
 
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On a related note, the MSRD description of Knowledge explicitly states
that one may Take 10, but not Take 20.



... Roger Carbol ..
 
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In article <d33rp6$lu5$2@news3.bu.edu>,
Peter Meilinger <mellnger@bu.edu> wrote:
>Mark Blunden <m.blundenATntlworld.com@address.invalid> wrote:
>
>>Unfamiliarity is a common negative modifier. If you're part of the first
>>successful expedition to a new continent and you come across a creature that
>>doesn't exist on your home continent, you'll need to do a lot better than
>>10+HD to recognise it, for instance. Maybe 20+HD to make an educated guess
>>based on comparison to more familiar creatures.
>
>Am I the only one who thinks 10+HD doesn't make a lot of sense?
>Why are high hit-dice monsters more obscure?

I noticed that; the tarrasque is a rare creature, but it's probabl famous.

>Does the MM still have an indication of how common the
>various monsters are? Did it ever, or am I misremembering?

The original AD&D manual had them, if I am remembering correctly. The SRD
doesn't.
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> >Does the MM still have an indication of how common the various

> >monsters are? Did it ever, or am I misremembering?

>

> The original AD&D manual had them, if I am remembering correctly. The

> SRD doesn't.

> --

Even so, this doesn't really solve the problem. It makes sense that one
would learn properties of generic groups (such as all bears are omnivores)
early, but not properties of species (such as the American Black Bear eats
salmon (or whatever)). In this case, the difficulty of the knowledge check
depends on the specificity of information required. The more common a
species is, the more likely you are to have encountered the specifics of
that species.

At the same time, the more interesting a creature is, the more likely one is
to know tidbits about that creature. For example, it is (I assume) common
knowledge that the playpus is a mammal that lays eggs. This species is by no
means common, but it is interesting (because it is an exception). In a world
with dragons and demons, I'd guess that power (or HD) equates roughly to
interesting. Moreover, power and frequency are (loosely) negatively
correlated. There are fewer 50HD creatures than 1HD creatures.

For play-balance (encouraging ongoing Knowledge skill development), using HD
to determine DC is probably a good idea. In reality though, HD probably
subtracts from DC (at least across generic groups). No doubt about it,
knowledge skills are hard to model.

Peter
 
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In article <slrnd5as3u.rb.keith.davies@kjdavies.org>,
Keith Davies <keith.davies@kjdavies.org> wrote:
>You can't Take 10 on Knowledge checks; they're too hit and miss.

That makes sense, but as I asked Mark: where is this written down?
--
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On 7 Apr 2005 17:48:22 GMT, Peter Meilinger <mellnger@bu.edu> wrote:

>Mark Blunden <m.blundenATntlworld.com@address.invalid> wrote:
>
>>Unfamiliarity is a common negative modifier. If you're part of the first
>>successful expedition to a new continent and you come across a creature that
>>doesn't exist on your home continent, you'll need to do a lot better than
>>10+HD to recognise it, for instance. Maybe 20+HD to make an educated guess
>>based on comparison to more familiar creatures.
>
>Am I the only one who thinks 10+HD doesn't make a lot of sense?
>Why are high hit-dice monsters more obscure? I would think dragons,
>for example, would be easy to remember. If you read about something
>nasty enough to defeat an army, you're going to remember. If you
>read about a type of kangaroo rat native to an obscure part of
>the continent, you're not likely to remember much.

I think it has to do with unfamiliarity. There aren't a lot of
high-HD creatures around so people know less about them.

On other other hand, for things like dragons I think I would let them
be identified at low DC's suitable for when they were small.
Likewise, their powers could be identified based on when they gained
the power. When you're facing the Great Wyrm it's a more powerful
version of the Wrymling--anything the Wyrmling has, it also has. That
doesn't mean you'll get to identify it's later powers.
 
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"Mark Blunden" <m.blundenATntlworld.com@address.invalid> wrote in message
news:3bl6s7F6fs1idU1@individual.net...
> David Alex Lamb wrote:
>> My Int-monster sage can get some knowledge skills up to +39. The
>> Knowledge skill description in the PHB says that "really hard"
>> questions are DC 30. Thus, if this really are the highest possible
>> DC, all he needs is +29 to be guaranteed to answer any question
>> (except, presumably, those the DM declares by fiat to be beyond even
>> this sage's knowledge. If he can take 10 (and the PHB doesn't say he
>> can't as far as I can tell), then he only needs +20 to answer any
>> question.
>
> You can't take 10, because Knowledge checks aren't an action - you either
> have the knowledge or don't.

What the Hell? Of *course* you can Take 10 for a Knowledge check. Whether
or not it is an action only has to do with the time required to make a
check.

--
^v^v^Malachias Invictus^v^v^

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishment the scroll,
I am the Master of my fate:
I am the Captain of my soul.

from _Invictus_, by William Ernest Henley
 
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David Alex Lamb <dalamb@qucis.queensu.ca> wrote:
> In article <slrnd5as3u.rb.keith.davies@kjdavies.org>,
> Keith Davies <keith.davies@kjdavies.org> wrote:
>>You can't Take 10 on Knowledge checks; they're too hit and miss.
>
> That makes sense, but as I asked Mark: where is this written down?

That's the part that's giving me trouble. I don't know where it's
written down.

I know it *is*, I just haven't found it yet.


Keith
--
Keith Davies "English is not a language. English is a
keith.davies@kjdavies.org bad habit shared between Norman invaders
keith.davies@gmail.com and Saxon barmaids!"
http://www.kjdavies.org/ -- Frog, IRC, 2005/01/13
 
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Keith Davies wrote:

> David Alex Lamb <dalamb@qucis.queensu.ca> wrote:
>
>>In article <slrnd5as3u.rb.keith.davies@kjdavies.org>,
>>Keith Davies <keith.davies@kjdavies.org> wrote:
>>
>>>You can't Take 10 on Knowledge checks; they're too hit and miss.
>>
>>That makes sense, but as I asked Mark: where is this written down?
>
>
> That's the part that's giving me trouble. I don't know where it's
> written down.
>
> I know it *is*, I just haven't found it yet.
>
>
> Keith

Bardic Knowledge says that you can't Take 10 or Take 20. However, that's
Bardic Knowledge. That's closely related to Knowledge, but not the same
thing.

CH
 
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Keith Davies wrote:
> You can't Take 10 on Knowledge checks; they're too hit and miss.

That's true for Lore checks, but there is no analogous rule for
Knowledge checks, AFAIK. It's the bard/loremaster stuff that's hit &
miss.
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http://www.szonye.com/bradd
 
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David Alex Lamb wrote:
> In article <3bl6s7F6fs1idU1@individual.net>,
> Mark Blunden <m.blundenATntlworld.com@address.invalid> wrote:
>> David Alex Lamb wrote:
>>> My Int-monster sage can get some knowledge skills up to +39.
>>> ... If he can take 10 (and the PHB doesn't say he
>>> can't as far as I can tell), then he only needs +20 to answer any
>>> question.
>>
>> You can't take 10, because Knowledge checks aren't an action - you
>> either have the knowledge or don't.
>
> Thanks. Where did you find this? The SRD just says:
>
> Taking 10: When your character is not being threatened or
> distracted, you may choose to take 10. Instead of rolling 1d20
> for the skill check, calculate your result as if you had rolled a
> 10. For many routine tasks, taking 10 makes them automatically
> successful. Distractions or threats (such as combat) make it
> impossible for a character to take 10. In most cases, taking 10 is
> purely a safety measure -you know (or expect) that an average roll
> will succeed but fear that a poor roll might fail, so you elect to
> settle for the average roll (a 10). Taking 10 is especially
> useful in situations where a particularly high roll wouldn't help.

It stems from the description of using the skill:

Action: Usually none. In most cases, making a Knowledge check doesn’t
take an action—you simply know the answer or you don’t.

The knowledge you have is essentially pre-determined - you simply roll at
the time in order to discover what it is. Since there's no action involved,
it can't be modified by circumstances at the time you make your check.

>>> The SRD description says identifying a monster is DC 10+HD. So with
>>> +20 for Knowledge(nature) he could identify up to a 20 HD forest
>>> creature. I know monster HDs can get very high HD, e.g. 48HD for
>>> the Tarrasque, and likely higher for some dragons. So he'd still
>>> fail on "touch monster" identifications -- but presumably if he
>>> fails such a check and doesn't recognize it, he would know "I don't
>>> know what it is, but I'm sure it's a really tough critter".
>>
>> It's 10+HD to know what it is and one piece of useful information,
>> with one extra piece of information for every 5 points by which you
>> beat the DC. If you assume that individual attack forms and special
>> qualities can be considered separate "chunks" of information, you'll
>> still need to get well beyond the basic 10+HD check in order to get
>> a good idea of the capabilities of a creature with lots of racial
>> features.
>
> Right. So for identifying creatures, the sky is the limit.
>
>>> The Epic Skills section of the SRD says there are no "epic level"
>>> applications with higher DCs. Does anyone know of other sources of
>>> high-DC knowledge checks, or negative modifiers to knowledge checks?
>
>> Unfamiliarity is a common negative modifier. If you're part of the
>> first successful expedition to a new continent and you come across a
>> creature that doesn't exist on your home continent, you'll need to
>> do a lot better than 10+HD to recognise it, for instance. Maybe
>> 20+HD to make an educated guess based on comparison to more familiar
>> creatures.
>
> Do you have any guidelines for modifiers IYC?

No, I'm afraid I generally just wing it, choosing a modifier that seems
sensible based on the circumstances. As Peter Mellinger mentions in his
reply, the HD basis of the check doesn't always make logical sense - though
it works fairly well in game-balance terms - so you just have to try and be
sensible about it, and try to be consistent.

--
Mark.
 
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In article <3blbdsF6icck7U1@individual.net>,
Mark Blunden <m.blundenATntlworld.com@address.invalid> wrote:
>David Alex Lamb wrote:
>> In article <3bl6s7F6fs1idU1@individual.net>,
>> Mark Blunden <m.blundenATntlworld.com@address.invalid> wrote:
>>> David Alex Lamb wrote:
>>>> My Int-monster sage can get some knowledge skills up to +39.
>>>> ... If he can take 10 (and the PHB doesn't say he
>>>> can't as far as I can tell), then he only needs +20 to answer any
>>>> question.
>>>
>>> You can't take 10, because Knowledge checks aren't an action - you
>>> either have the knowledge or don't.
>>
>> Thanks. Where did you find this? The SRD just says:
>> [snip]
>
>It stems from the description of using the skill:
> Action: Usually none. In most cases, making a Knowledge check doesn’t
> take an action—you simply know the answer or you don’t.

Maybe I'm dense today (not that other days are much better): I see how this
says that knowledge checks are not actions, and probably saw it when I read
the Knowledge description, but: where does it say that non-actions can't take
10? It wasn't in the take 10 part of the SRD (in the snipped bit).
--
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Mark Blunden wrote:
>>It stems from the description of using the skill:
>> Action: Usually none. In most cases, making a Knowledge check doesn't
>> take an action -- you simply know the answer or you don't.

David Alex Lamb <dalamb@qucis.queensu.ca> wrote:
> Maybe I'm dense today (not that other days are much better): I see how this
> says that knowledge checks are not actions, and probably saw it when I read
> the Knowledge description, but: where does it say that non-actions can't take
> 10? It wasn't in the take 10 part of the SRD (in the snipped bit).

I don't think it implies what he think it implies. I also think various
posters have the Knowledge skill confused with the Bardic Lore feature,
which does not let you take 10.
--
Bradd W. Szonye
http://www.szonye.com/bradd
 

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"Bradd W. Szonye" <bradd+news@szonye.com> wrote in message news:<slrnd5b0jo.ccj.bradd+news@szonye.com>...

>
> I don't think it implies what he think it implies. I also think various
> posters have the Knowledge skill confused with the Bardic Lore feature,
> which does not let you take 10.

What on earth would taking 10 on a Knowledge skill represent?
Considering something slightly, but not so hard that you might confuse
yourself? That is crazy talk!

I guess it would make sense to take 10 if you were providing a synergy
bonus to someone actually doing an action (using the Complete
Adventurer rule on sharing synergy skills) but IMHO in general it is
nuts.

Mark
 
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In article <slrnd5b0f0.ccj.bradd+news@szonye.com>,
Bradd W. Szonye <bradd+news@szonye.com> wrote:
>Keith Davies wrote:
>> You can't Take 10 on Knowledge checks; they're too hit and miss.
>
>That's true for Lore checks, but there is no analogous rule for
>Knowledge checks, AFAIK. It's the bard/loremaster stuff that's hit &
>miss.

Thanks! Then there is less of a change to the Sage description; I have to
figure out what to do about monster checks, but can plan on Take 10 if he's in
his comfy study.

He'd have to roll (sometimes) if using the magical scry/telepath device to
advise a party in real-time.
--
"Yo' ideas need to be thinked befo' they are say'd" - Ian Lamb, age 3.5
http://www.cs.queensu.ca/~dalamb/ qucis->cs to reply (it's a long story...)
 
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Clawhound <none@nowhere.com> wrote:
> Keith Davies wrote:
>
>> David Alex Lamb <dalamb@qucis.queensu.ca> wrote:
>>
>>>In article <slrnd5as3u.rb.keith.davies@kjdavies.org>,
>>>Keith Davies <keith.davies@kjdavies.org> wrote:
>>>
>>>>You can't Take 10 on Knowledge checks; they're too hit and miss.
>>>
>>>That makes sense, but as I asked Mark: where is this written down?
>>
>>
>> That's the part that's giving me trouble. I don't know where it's
>> written down.
>>
>> I know it *is*, I just haven't found it yet.
>
> Bardic Knowledge says that you can't Take 10 or Take 20. However,
> that's Bardic Knowledge. That's closely related to Knowledge, but not
> the same thing.

I'd swear that I've seen somewhere that you can't Take 10 on Knowledge
checks. I *know* you can't Take 20 (Retry: no, from the description).

This is going to bug me now.


Keith
--
Keith Davies "English is not a language. English is a
keith.davies@kjdavies.org bad habit shared between Norman invaders
keith.davies@gmail.com and Saxon barmaids!"
http://www.kjdavies.org/ -- Frog, IRC, 2005/01/13
 
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Keith Davies wrote:
>
> I'd swear that I've seen somewhere that you can't Take 10 on Knowledge
> checks. I *know* you can't Take 20 (Retry: no, from the description).
>
> This is going to bug me now.

I'm having the same problem; I was certain I'd read
this...until I couldn't find it.

-Bluto
 
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On 7 Apr 2005 17:48:22 GMT, Peter Meilinger <mellnger@bu.edu> scribed into
the ether:

>Mark Blunden <m.blundenATntlworld.com@address.invalid> wrote:
>
>>Unfamiliarity is a common negative modifier. If you're part of the first
>>successful expedition to a new continent and you come across a creature that
>>doesn't exist on your home continent, you'll need to do a lot better than
>>10+HD to recognise it, for instance. Maybe 20+HD to make an educated guess
>>based on comparison to more familiar creatures.
>
>Am I the only one who thinks 10+HD doesn't make a lot of sense?
>Why are high hit-dice monsters more obscure?

Rarity, most likely. How many normal people are going to know the
difference between a Balor and Pit Fiend? They are very similar in
appearance. The basic rule of thumb makes sense, but there are going to be
some pretty obvious exceptions....

> I would think dragons, for example, would be easy to remember.

....like that

>If you read about something
>nasty enough to defeat an army, you're going to remember.

Well, as an example, there is Hannibal and his elephants. Lots of people
"know" that Hannibal used elephants to win battles. What most people do not
know is that most of them died of starvation in the alps, and that the
romans killed the few that were left by the second battle after they had
gotten over their fear of the unusual. Reading a battlefield account might
give you some insight into a rare, powerful beastie, but such things are
typically light on the details and innaccurate in parts (real world heroes
who were reported to be a couple feet taller than they really were, or to
slay men by the hundreds, etc).

Anyone can recognize a dragon...but how many folks will know that a blue
dragon's breath is a line and a red dragon's breath is a cone? That's where
knowledge comes in.

>Does the MM still have an indication of how common the
>various monsters are? Did it ever, or am I misremembering?

My first printing 3.0 MM does not have this. The older rules did, but
skimming them would show that as a general rule, the more HD something had,
the rarer it was. I think it was removed to avoid placing restrictions on
the DM, and because it was kind of pointlessly redundant.