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edwardavern

Knowledge Checks - keep the "Simple"?

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Hi all

 

I'm planning a campaign for my PCs using the world Auratera (Nexus of Power, p48).  Near the beginning of the campaign I plan to find out how much the PCs have heard about the planet using a Knowledge (Lore) or Knowledge (Outer Rim) check.  Have they even heard of it?  Have they come across some arcane reference to it in an old text, or once met a spacer who claimed to have been there?

 

You get the idea.

 

Anyhow, I've always found that difficulty dice on this sort of Knowledge check can be a problem, specifically with regards to Threat.  Do you sow false information?  Do you withhold information?  In that case, presumably you have to work out the base level of information you would provide, call that Success + 3 Threat, and work up from there...which seems convoluted.  And what about failing with Threat - what the hell does that do?

 

So, I was thinking of just making all these checks "Simple" - i.e. no difficulty dice - and then dispensing information based on the number of successes and advantages rolled.  But I wanted to get some opinions on this first.  Can anyone see any obvious pitfalls?  Has anyone else had similar issues with Knowledge checks, or come up with some solutions?  Let me know your thoughts.

 

Thanks in advance.

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Respectfully, I disagree.

 

"[THREAT] may be spent by the GM to allow him to omit a vital detail about the subject at hand, while [DESPAIR] may be used to seed the character with misinformation and outright falsehoods.

Edge of the Empire Core Rulebook, page 122

 

That's it.  That's all the information that's given on adjudicating Knowledge skills.  Nothing about failure.  And omitting vital details or seeding false information is fine enough, when the situation calls for it, but if we're just finding out what the characters know...

 

...

 

...hold on...

 

...actually, I think I've realised my problem.  I shouldn't be making them roll for this, should I.  Because they can't actually fail.  Maybe I should just decide what they know.  I could even give each player differing amounts of information, based on what their Knowledge skills are.

 

That's better, right?  Right?

Edited by edwardavern

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Sure.

 

You decide all the information about the planet they can potentially know.  You decide the basic what everybody knows.  Then you parse out the information based on how well they roll, or disinformation, as the case may be.

Edited by 2P51

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I might give each player a short-ish handout. Much of the info on each would be identical, just from different POVs and contexts, but then each would also contain a nugget or three of differing yet pertinent info, then sit back and see if my players actually communicate with each other.

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Basically, I have always interpreted it as success on a knowledge check means they know a good a fair bit about the thing in question, whether it be a planet, the black market, etc. and a failure would indicate they have very little information on it. Threats with a success would, as the book states, cause you to omit potentially important details, but they still might get the overall picture, while threats on a failure would indicate that they know absolutely nothing, and perhaps, if they are questioning others for the information, anger the people they question.

 

But if you just want to tell them about the planet, that should work fine.

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There's an episode of the order 66 podcast that deals a lot with knowledge checks and how to adjudicate them. 

 

 

Here it is, episode 32: "And Knowing is Half the Battle"

 

http://ia902501.us.archive.org/28/items/Episode32AndKnowingIsHalfTheBattle/Episode%2032%20-%20And%20Knowing%20is%20Half%20the%20Battle.mp3

Edited by GroggyGolem

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You actually seem to have a pretty strong grasp on how to use knowledge rolls.

 

Threat:

When my players roll threat in a knowledge roll, I ask myself 'what might bite them in the butt later?'  Usually I omit an inconvenient detail, and promtp some sort of comedic effect with that detail coming up later.

 

Simple Rolls:

If you're worried about threat or failure, a simple roll will work fine, but it's kind of just a distraction.  Whenever there's no narrative tension, I usually opt to leave the dice alone.  So you may as well...

 

...Not Require a Roll:

The one possible pitfall of not requiring a roll would be if you have a player that's invested effort (xp, game time, ect) into being able to make those rolls effectively.  But even if you have such a Player Character, you could make it clear that his/her investment is why the party has such accurate intelligence.

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I would not recommend bypassing Knowledge rolls. Many character types are based on using Knowledge skills to some degree, and any move to devalue such skills may push the campaign away from such characters. This isn't really a good thing IMO, but if you and your group have already decided you collectively don't want to use knowledge skills (and the characters based upon such), then go for it.

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I would not recommend bypassing Knowledge rolls. Many character types are based on using Knowledge skills to some degree, and any move to devalue such skills may push the campaign away from such characters. This isn't really a good thing IMO, but if you and your group have already decided you collectively don't want to use knowledge skills (and the characters based upon such), then go for it.

 

That's not quite what I was going for.  I like to use Knowledge skills...but for this specific one I was struggling with how to adjudicate Threat, Failure and Despair.  However, I did suggest "I could even give each player differing amounts of information, based on what their Knowledge skills are", which would mean that having those skills would still provide additional bonuses.

 

Looking back on it, I've realised that a big part of my problem with this check is that the Knowledge is quite arcane - it should be a Daunting check, at least, by traditional difficulties - but in reality that's going to deliver my PCs a whole lot of Threat, which I don't think they deserve and which I don't know how to deal with.  So I'm now leaning towards simply dropping a few hints to those PCs who actually have Knowledge (Lore) or Knowledge (Outer Rim), and not bothering to roll.

 

I absolutely do not want to do away with Knowledge skills - I love the idea of them, and I really want to use them.  It's just that I struggle with them sometimes, as a GM and as a player, and I'm trying to get the best mileage out of them in the Campaign I'm about to start.

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