To port to 5e:Knowledge checks would be useful if the rules worked like 4e:
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Instead, what we have is, "If the DM decides a knowledge check is appropriate, make a check using whatever skill the DM decides against whatever DC the DM has set. If you succeed, the DM will reveal to you whatever information the DM has decided is appropriate."
I generally favor the "rulings over rules" approach, but there's too much of this in the Ranger.
- Type: DC 5
- Name: DC 10
- Tier: DC 15 (Local Threat: CR < 5, Heroic Threat: CR 5-10, Legendary Threat: CR 11-16, Epic Threat: CR 17+)
- Resistances and Vulnerabilities: DC 20
- Special Abilities: DC 25
+5 for Obscure creatures.
+10 for Secret creatures.
I figure knowing the type of a monster should be an easy check. "It is an undead of some kind".
The name I made lower, because it is fun fluff. "You think that is called a dragonshield".
Tier is next; by grouping it by CR-tier, you get a good way to say "that undead is epic tier" vs "it is a zombie like thing". It is also very useful.
Resists/vulnerabilities is the easiest "raw stat" you can grab. "This undead is not vulnerable to radiant".
Finally, at DC 25, we leak stat information "it can drain life, cast spells, multiattack. It has legendary resistance and actions."
DCs do not scale with monster level, but obscurity. If dragons existence is "secret" in this world, +10 to DCs for wyrmlings or ancient ones. I presume that even secret creatures have obscure legends attached to them, or somewhat related creatures you can extrapolate from.
(This creature looks like a dragon. Its scales are gold, and from its scales -- well, based off how wyvern scales develop, it looks like it might be 1000s of years old, but how is that possible?! Dragons are secret, name "Ancient Gold Dragon", DC 20. Given how dragonkin biology works and its size, it appears to be an epic threat (Tier, DC 25).)