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c__beck

Fantasy Knowledge Skils?

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I'm working on my fantasy setting and want to split the Knowledge skill into three. The problem is that I'm not sure how exactly to divide it.

I'm looking at Lore and History, but can't think of a third.

Lore

Lore is the knowledge of magic and the occult. It is the skill that grants boons on magic spells (instead of the Knowledge skill). You roll Lore when you're trying to identify a magical artefact, determine the nature of a magical creature or unravel the effects of an ongoing spell.

History

History is the skill that reminds you of what's come before and how it impacts modern life. Stories of old kingdoms, battles and lost languages are all facets of the History skill. Indeed, a character is assumed to be illiterate unless they have at least 1 rank in History.

Make History checks when you try to recall why an outpost was abandoned, what a mural on the walls is trying to convey or what the appropriate religious rituals are.

 


But what about the third Knowledge skill? I'm going for three because that's a recurring theme when subdividing skills: brawl, melee (light), melee (heavy); driving, operating, piloting; gunnery, ranged (light), ranged (heavy); arcana, divine, primal.

I don't want a Forbidden skill since forbidden things can be magical or mundane (Lore or History). I'm thinking Cultures, as the current analogue of History. But I'm not sold on that one.

Thoughts?

 

(Yes, this is a copy/paste of my Reddit post)

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Occult?

In my science fantasy game, I have ScienceTravel, and Forbidden. And I think those are the sweet spot. A knowledge skill for left-brained bookish characters (the engineers and mages), a knowledge skill for the well-traveled (bards and faces), and a weird knowledge skill for things normal people don't know.

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6 minutes ago, CitizenKeen said:

Occult?

In my science fantasy game, I have ScienceTravel, and Forbidden. And I think those are the sweet spot. A knowledge skill for left-brained bookish characters (the engineers and mages), a knowledge skill for the well-traveled (bards and faces), and a weird knowledge skill for things normal people don't know.

I think your Science and Travel match up to my Lore and History pretty well. One for the brainy characters and one for the inquisitive types. But what would a Forbidden skill be used for? I'm leery of using that because, as I said in the OP, "forbidden things can be magical or mundane".

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History seems kind of redundant.

If you want just three, you could go:

  • Lore, Geography, Underworld
  • Lore, Education, Underworld
  • Lore, Adventuring, Education

In all cases, I'd probably just roll History into either Lore or Geography.

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What I did for my Primevel Thule conversion was to split up the Knowledge skill as well and make sure I've got a specific Knowledge skill for each Magic skill too.  I went with Lore, Geography, Nature, Religion, Education, and Occult.  I linked the Arcana magic skill to Lore, Primal magic skill to Nature, and Divine magic skill to Religion.  When casting spells with those types of magic the ranks in those knowledge skills will help.  So, 2 ranks in Lore will effect say the Burn quality on an Arcane attack spell, but 2 ranks in Religion will not.  If you get what I'm saying.

Hope that helps a bit.

Z

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1 hour ago, Swordbreaker said:

History seems kind of redundant.

If you want just three, you could go:

  • Lore, Geography, Underworld
  • Lore, Education, Underworld
  • Lore, Adventuring, Education

In all cases, I'd probably just roll History into either Lore or Geography.

I've seen good arguments for Lore and Education. Education being history, geography, current events, etc with Lore being myths, religion, magic, etc.

What would fall under Adventuring, though? I think I remember seeing that on the GenCon sheets, but for the life of me I can't think of when you'd roll Knowledge (Adventuring).

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1 minute ago, c__beck said:

I've seen good arguments for Lore and Education. Education being history, geography, current events, etc with Lore being myths, religion, magic, etc.

What would fall under Adventuring, though? I think I remember seeing that on the GenCon sheets, but for the life of me I can't think of when you'd roll Knowledge (Adventuring).

General traveling, geography, knowledge of plants and animals, knowledge of how and where to find proper gear, knowledge of foreign lands, and you could stretch to include underworld knowledge as well.

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39 minutes ago, Swordbreaker said:

General traveling, geography, knowledge of plants and animals, knowledge of how and where to find proper gear, knowledge of foreign lands, and you could stretch to include underworld knowledge as well.

1

How is that different than Survival, Streetwise, or Negotiation? Survival covers "General traveling, geography, knowledge of plants and animals" while Streetwise and Negotiation both cover how/where to find gear. And Streetwise normally covers underworld knowledge, too.

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Knowledge is knowing about something. Knowing how to identify a poisonous plant by its scientific name. Knowing the name of the leader of the thieves' guild. Knowing where the Throat of the World is. Knowing that you need a rope made of chimera leather to bind a sea troll. A scrawny scholar can know all of that.

Survival, Streetwise and other skills are putting all of that into practice. You may not know what the books call that plant, but it makes for a great painkiller (Survival). You don't know who these thugs with the skull tattoos are, but you can talk your way past them just fine (Streetwise). I have no idea where I am, but that mountain was easy to climb (Athletics/Survival).

EDIT: Knowledge is also how you find information, and how you impart information. So you'd make a Knowledge (Adventuring) check to find the name of that one explorer who traveled the Amazon or something, or to teach a bunch of snot-nosed brats about the discovery of the Lost City of Golden Butter Sauce.

Edited by Swordbreaker

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Well, in D&D and Pathfinder, we have a lot of options. Some editions has few skills but here are what already have been created:

Most incidence:

  • Arcana
  • History
  • Nature
  • Religion


Less incidence:

  • Dungeoneering
  • Engineering
  • Geography
  • Local
  • Nobility
  • Planes
  • Investigation

You could try to merge Arcana, Religion and Planes in: Mystic

Nature and Geography into: Nature

History, Nobility and Local into: Lore

Investigation, Dungeoneering and Engineering (and Chemistry/Alchemy) into: Science

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Knowledge Lore: Magic, it’s history and uses.

Knowledge Civilisation: Anything to do with civilisation, it’s history, it’s geopolitical borders both past and present, then also anything reading, writing and maths.

Knowledge Nature: Geography, flora and fauna, weather, the ways of the world such as how a fire spreads, how to identify a reef or rip etc.

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While it's not grouped up under knowledges, isn't Streetwise already its own kind of special knowledge skill? I have added an arcane knowledge skill to represent knowledge of magics and other mystical things, using the modern definition of 'arcane'. I like Lore and Education as subdivisions of knowledge. I consider wilderness information and training under the survival skill.

 

Just my 2 cp.

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