Fixing/Improving Recall Knowledge

Rhianni32

Explorer
The 1 action cost is unfortunate, if you ask me. I don't charge PCs for thinking during combat.

However, the failure rate is fine because if you're in encounter mode, somebody's life had better be on the line. And if that's the case, clear thinking isn't always easy.
A few of you have brought up this point...

Why shouldn't thinking take time? 1 action point is 2 seconds. IRL where we are safe and have no pressure there are plenty of times where we are trying to remember an actor from that one movie and its on the tip of your tongue. Let alone the difficulty of fighting that flaming skeleton or 8' tall troll wanting to eat your face.
 

CapnZapp

Hero
Where are you getting these limitations from that players cannot do these things? Recall Knowledge is a Concentrate, Secret activity. There is no Visual trait so I would not expect a visual requirement. One scouting PC could describe a flaming skeleton they saw and report back to the party where skill rolls start happening. There is no maximum range requirement. If the party is on a hilltop a hundred feat away currently in encounter mode because they haven't rolled initiative yet, I don't see why a GM would stop them from rolling a recall knowledge check.
No, you get me backwards :)

I too see no limitations. It's just that if there are no limitations, players will not use Recall when its cost matters. That is, the cost of playing an action matters only when actions are a scarce resource, i.e combat.

So I'm definitely not seeing any rule to prevent hilltop scouting of flaming skeletons. I am questioning the integrity of the system if there aren't any such limitations.

My thought goes:

Either restrict Recall Knowledge only to combat, and many other parts of the rules make sense (getting free bonus Recalls from feats etc) but the game feels more artificial, videogamey.

Or don't restrict it, in which case the highly codified system doesn't make sense. On the other hand, the game feels more intuitive, natural.

But there's something there I can't quite puzzle together.
 

CapnZapp

Hero
I'm not sure that I've ever seen a cleric stop in the middle of fighting a demon, and a thought bubble pops up over her head saying, "wait, can I turn a demon? Does it have turn resistance?"

So yeah, probably a mini-game instead of a part of the action.

The answer to the Captain's question-flurry is, "what would be fun?" There aren't going to be other answers for these, because combat is, itself, a mini-game (primary game?) and the only concrete puzzle piece is: when hit points reach zero, combat ends.

The 1 action cost is unfortunate, if you ask me. I don't charge PCs for thinking during combat.

However, the failure rate is fine because if you're in encounter mode, somebody's life had better be on the line. And if that's the case, clear thinking isn't always easy.
Well, of you don't charge an action, you're basically not running the system. :)

You're only rolling dice to answer the age-old quandary, how to separate player knowledge from character knowledge.

Which is perfectly fine. Just not what I would consider Pathfinder 2 RAW
 

Staffan

Adventurer
If it were me, I'd have "Recall Knowledge" be a martial buffing system, were the player called out facts in a way that aided other members of the party. The exact nature of that fact can be as granular or abstract as you like, but you still have the same concrete result - bonuses to hit, bonuses to AC, reduction of damage resistance, etc. You can still use "Recall Knowledge" to learn specific facts in the systems intended usage if you like, and you need to feed in game information known by the character to the player, but when that well is running dry the action still has usage.
The ranger has a feat chain based around using Recall Knowledge to gain more direct advantages. So I would be wary of extending that to others, because the ranger doesn't really have all that much exciting going for them.

That said, I think one should be more generous with out-of-combat Recall Knowledge checks. I mean, sure, when there's a winged reptile flying at you intending to eat your face, you might have some trouble figuring out whether it's a dragon, a drake, a wyvern, or something else, and what it can do to you ("Was this the one that breathed fire or that had a venomous sting?"). But once the fight is over, or if you can observe the creature undisturbed somehow, that sort of thing should be easier (and not only because you saw what it can do).
 

Celebrim

Legend
The ranger has a feat chain based around using Recall Knowledge to gain more direct advantages. So I would be wary of extending that to others, because the ranger doesn't really have all that much exciting going for them.
I'm always mystified how we went from the class that gets everything, to modern developers not being able to find a good thing for this class to do.

If the Ranger doesn't have a lot of exciting things going on, just make it better than everyone else at using Recall Knowledge - with and without spending feats on it.
 

CapnZapp

Hero
The Ranger is fine.

But the feats are the perfect example of why this might not be so simple to fix.

In general, every time I've just GM'd the way I'm used to, cutting corners, simplifying, saying yes...

... there's a feat that allows precisely that to bite me in the ass.

That is, there's a lot of content that gets invalidated if you try to run the game without all its wrinkles.
 

Staffan

Adventurer
I'm always mystified how we went from the class that gets everything, to modern developers not being able to find a good thing for this class to do.
I blame skills. Well, "blame" might not be the right word, but a lot of what used to set the ranger apart from the fighter back in the day is covered by skills nowadays. Sneakiness, nature stuff, perception (OK, Perception is not a skill per se in PF2, but it's still not something exclusive), and such. So the designers have been reaching for something to make the ranger stand out as something other than a greenwashed fighter/rogue multi-class. PF2 is one of the better attempts,
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
The way I am reading it is that a player should specify what they are specifically attempting to recall. The initial use of Recall Knowledge will usually be an attempt to identify the creature if the player does not know what it is. That attempt will resolve the question of if you can identify it. After that you might attempt to recall specific pieces of information about it. A player should do so by specifying what they want to know. It should not be up to the GM to read the player's mind or have prepared factoids.

Basically each use of Recall Knowledge is answering a question with the first generally being "What the hell is it?"
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
First and foremost question:

How many Recall actions do you envision the heroes spending during the battle?
I have used it occasionally to identify creatures on the first round of combat. I have also wished I could use it during later parts of an encounter when we have been up against creatures with immunities, resistances and weird powers. The Barbarian I have been playing in PFS cannot utilize it while under the effects of Rage.

It definitely is situational, but so are most things in the game including Demoralize, Feint, Trip, and Grapple all of which I have used. It is obviously superior to scout ahead and use it before combat erupts. That's a good thing though. The game should reward you for reconnaissance.
 

CapnZapp

Hero
I have used it occasionally to identify creatures on the first round of combat. I have also wished I could use it during later parts of an encounter when we have been up against creatures with immunities, resistances and weird powers. The Barbarian I have been playing in PFS cannot utilize it while under the effects of Rage.

It definitely is situational, but so are most things in the game including Demoralize, Feint, Trip, and Grapple all of which I have used. It is obviously superior to scout ahead and use it before combat erupts. That's a good thing though. The game should reward you for reconnaissance.
Talk about dodging the question!

How many Recall Knowledge actions do you feel is reasonable to spend in a combat?

I'm looking for a numerical answer. Not necessarily a single exact number. A rough guess is fine. 1? 2? 5? More?

I'm asking because I don't see how we can continue the discussion if I don't have your ballpark.
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
Talk about dodging the question!

How many Recall Knowledge actions do you feel is reasonable to spend in a combat?

I'm looking for a numerical answer. Not necessarily a single exact number. A rough guess is fine. 1? 2? 5? More?

I'm asking because I don't see how we can continue the discussion if I don't have your ballpark.
Well, is this combat a quickie warm- up pre-intermission level - 2 skirmish or a big honking no holds barred boss + minions blow-off at level +1?

I think you are meaning to measure this for a tough fight, one that matters, that will seriously vary depending on knowledge or not - but without that ballpark it's hard to be sure.
 

CapnZapp

Hero
I mean that statements such as "I have used it occasionally to identify creatures" are meaningless. How many Recall Knowledge actions did you spend - exactly? Did you think that expenditure was worthwhile?

Have you played non-raging characters or are you basing your opinion solely on a character the action is clearly not meant for?

A statement such as "It definitely is situational, but so are most things in the game" doesn't say much either. Mostly it comes across as an attempt to relativize, which does not help.

So in order to have a meaningful exchange of ideas it would help to know the expectations of my dialogue partner - if Campbell believes it is okay to spend, say, 5 Recall actions per fight on average, then I would know his expectations are way off compared to mine, and that we probably won't come to any agreement.

In the same vein, if Campbell's experience is that you get all the Recall Knowledge actions you want by scouting ahead, I would expect that to utterly short-circuit the expectation that these actions are used in combat.

But without a more detailed picture, I simply won't know what to say as a response that seems to indicate a poster that thinks the system is reasonable and works well enough.
 

CapnZapp

Hero
Well, is this combat a quickie warm- up pre-intermission level - 2 skirmish or a big honking no holds barred boss + minions blow-off at level +1?

I think you are meaning to measure this for a tough fight, one that matters, that will seriously vary depending on knowledge or not - but without that ballpark it's hard to be sure.
Yes, I'm talking a meaningful fight.
 

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