A DM's problem with knowledge checks

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Hello everyone,

I'm currently DM'ing a great group of players but one of them is having an issue that I wanted to share with the board and see what kind of feedback we could get.

The problem is that when it comes to knowledge checks (nature, arcana, religion, etc) this players character excells at getting high results.  He built his character around the premise of having a high amount of knowledge, and so, has all of the knowledge skills trained.  I believe the lowest he has is +10 to his roll.

Now this creates an interesting dynamic.  The recommended DC's for the level the party is currently on (7) is 11 for low, 16 for medium and 23 for hard.  Meaning that, with a little luck he will almost never see a medium range roll total, especially in Arcana where he has something like +15 or something.  The player's issue that he wants to feel more of a challenge when it comes to knowledge checks and wants to feel more of a difference between low, medium and high DC's.

Now on my side of things I've proposed that the possible issue that he's having is that I can't remember the last time he actually rolled low enough on a knowledge check (he has utility stuff to reroll etc.) to only beat a medium DC.  He mechanically can't get the low DC only either other than by rolling a natural 1 on his die which in the current group means automatic failure.  Natural 20 means auto success of course.  I've also suggested that I could set custom DC's specifically for his character as raising the DC's for everyone is unfair to others in the party.  But I'm not sure that would actually fix the problem.

As an added note, the player is roleplaying a character that is a young teenager.  Around 12 years of age or so.  I don't want to use the roleplay of the character as a barrier.  That being said I've noticed that the party is starting to mechanically rely on the 12 year old wizard for everything knowledge related.  I've somewhat worked on this issue by giving roleplay knowledge check to specific players.  Like when the party was hearing drum calls in the plains, I gave the half-orc barbarian a chance to roll for knowledge since it made the most roleplay sense.  Having the 12 year old wizard roll history on that and the rest of the party watching seemed lackluster and I wanted to give the barbarian a chance to shine.

The player has told me that he understands that even though he specializes in knowledge, that it does not make his character omniscient.

Anyway I'm curious to know what the board thinks of all this.
"Non nobis Domine Sed nomini tuo da gloriam" "I wish for death not because I want to die, but because I seek the war eternal"

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)

Personally if you as DM and the player both want something to change a little you might be able to turn a lot of his "skill" into intuition.  Basically rather than knowing everything he logically deduces a lot of things.  Another thing you could do, but would be more time consuming, is set higher DCs for specific knowledge check (IE You need a Nature DC25 to know this really obscure fact).
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hey Matyr, thanks for the prompt reply.

I can propose the idea of having the player deduce things logically but what would that change exactly and how would we make it work ?

Raising DC's is something I don't really want to do because then that only further causes the party to depend on the wizard for this stuff.  When the Elf Ranger starts depending on the 12 year old wizard to track bad guys through a forest, it takes some of my immersion away.
"Non nobis Domine Sed nomini tuo da gloriam" "I wish for death not because I want to die, but because I seek the war eternal"

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)

hey Matyr, thanks for the prompt reply.

I can propose the idea of having the player deduce things logically but what would that change exactly and how would we make it work ?

Raising DC's is something I don't really want to do because then that only further causes the party to depend on the wizard for this stuff.  When the Elf Ranger starts depending on the 12 year old wizard to track bad guys through a forest, it takes some of my immersion away.



How would that even work?  Tracking is a Perception roll ...
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I was saying don't give him full info on the checks, but give him some things that made a lot of sense. Personally I'd try to give him two possible answers to some of the questions and maybe one (or both or neither) is correct but they make sense.
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Need a few pre-generated characters for a one-shot you are running? Want to get a baseline for what an effective build for a class you aren't familiar with? Check out the Pregen thread here If ever you are interested what it sounds like to be at my table check out my blog and podcast here Also, I've recently done an episode on "Refluffing". You can check that out here
Also remember that knowledge checks don't mean absolute knowledge. There's little chance of a character knowing something that he normally doesn't have access too. For example, a woodsman that extremely proficient in temperate climates will have little chance of knowing absolutely everything about permafrost mountainscapes. He might have heard something from other travelers, but until he's been to such a place and experienced it himself, he won't know everything.

You can implement this by working with the other player to fleshen out his character a bit more. What are his expertices? Where did he grow up? Did he have a profession before becoming an adventurer (such as a Wizard's Apprentice?) That way he can give himself some areas for which his knowledge skills apply without penalties and if he thinks his character wouldn't have access to a specific type of knowledge, he can give himself a -10 or -5 penalty to his skill checks.
Heroic Dungeon Master
A few thoughts:

One - Good on your player for focusing on skills instead of combat. Players often nix the skills and focus on combat and ignore the rest of the game.

Two - Support and encourage this. Skill monkeys often rule outside of combat, and that can be okay.

Three - Instead of raising the DCs, give them a more indepth scale. So if you're looking at 11,16, and 23 respectively, make it 11/13/16/19/21/23. This will still allow him to shine, but also allow you to avoid giving too much away.

Four - You WANT your players to succeed, that's the whole point. Don't penalize them when they do.
Seconding Bohrdumb.  This is a good thing, and will hopefully result in the players thinking more tactically about combat when they know what they're facing.  Flavour it as intuition, booklearning, or ignore the flavour and regard it as game balance.  He's invested a lot in the skills, he should be rewarded for doing so.

Worth noting, though, that you don't have to just provide bald statblock info on the creature features - describe the creature in depth and detail, say what it does in-world, as well as, or instead of, mechanically.
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.
@ Bohrdumb

1.  He's playing a control wizard, saying he's focusing on skills instead of combat is probably not accurate haha ;)

2.  I do support and encourage it for everyone at the table, the problem is that the player isn't content with beating every knowledge check.  He on average rolls between 20-25 and if he doesn't roll high enough to his tastes, rerolls or boosts his result with his utility powers if he can.

3.  I don't really want to raise the DC's since that would make it unfair for the rest of the party.  I do like the idea of spreading out the DC's however like I explained, the problem isn't that the DC's don't provide enough info it's that the character always beats the hardest DC.  So having more DC's in between 11 and 23 won't really help all that much.

4.  I've also never penalized any player for succeeding on a DC.  I do, of course, want the game to be rewarding for everyone at the table.

@ Matyr

That is an interesting option.  I'll present it to the player and see what he thinks.



@ SpacyRicochet

Thanks for your post.  I think that the player and me also agree that just because the character has really high knowledge with a lot of things it doesn't mean that the character knows everything.  For example recently they came upon a lost underground city and although the player in questions character was able to use history to figure out some things about it, I didn't give him everything even though he rolled very high simply because it's a lost city.  He just got there.  I didn't feel that giving the player everything right away was appropriate.  I had another situation where the party was moving through a recently built tunnel and the player tried to recognize the architecture.  He once again rolled very high and I gave him basic information but I wanted to create a kind of dread about where they might be heading so I told him he had a bad feeling and the answer was on the tip of his tongue but he just couldn't find it.  Afterwards I gave him insight checks to see if he could figure it out. 

His character is actually the most fleshed out among the group.  He's playing a young girl who is the daughter of the leader of a countries military secret police (he created this).  He spent the last years cloistered in study.  Not allowed to leave her father's estate. 

So basically his response when I've pointed out in emails that based on his own roleplay he might not be able to know things about the outside world, is that the whole point of knowledge skill checks is to allow him to roll and see if his character knows things his roleplay might not allow him to know normally.  So to me it just seems like circular logic sort of.  He roleplays a cloistered child but via his super high knowledge checks he expects to know everything about the world and yet gets frustrated when those same super high knowledge skills, that he invested in, grant him the answers.

I want to make the player happy but I don't want to cause problems for the rest of the table.

"Non nobis Domine Sed nomini tuo da gloriam" "I wish for death not because I want to die, but because I seek the war eternal"

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)

Seconding Bohrdumb.  This is a good thing, and will hopefully result in the players thinking more tactically about combat when they know what they're facing.  Flavour it as intuition, booklearning, or ignore the flavour and regard it as game balance.  He's invested a lot in the skills, he should be rewarded for doing so.

Worth noting, though, that you don't have to just provide bald statblock info on the creature features - describe the creature in depth and detail, say what it does in-world, as well as, or instead of, mechanically.



So the suggestion then, is to create more detailed information for knowledge checks ?  Sure I can try to provide more information I suppose.  But his gripe is that he feels he always gets the same amount of information, which is to say everything.  Giving him a more detailed everything might not be the answer here.
"Non nobis Domine Sed nomini tuo da gloriam" "I wish for death not because I want to die, but because I seek the war eternal"

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)

Not more detailed information, but more vibrant description.  Instead of 'Dominate' 'can control your mind through its alluring gaze/slimy tentacles/whatever', for instance.

However, there does come a point when you can only do so much.  If he's not happy having got all the information about a critter in the most interesting way, then he's never going to be.
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.
Not more detailed information, but more vibrant description.  Instead of 'Dominate' 'can control your mind through its alluring gaze/slimy tentacles/whatever', for instance.

However, there does come a point when you can only do so much.  If he's not happy having got all the information about a critter in the most interesting way, then he's never going to be.



Ok, I'll give that a try and see what happens.  Thanks much for your input !  I appreciate it.
"Non nobis Domine Sed nomini tuo da gloriam" "I wish for death not because I want to die, but because I seek the war eternal"

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)

The problem is that when it comes to knowledge checks (nature, arcana, religion, etc) this players character excells at getting high results.

This is not a problem. This is an opportunity. It is an in-game justification for anyone at the table knowing anything about the monsters. I like it when the scholar in the party gets a high roll, because I can very quickly strike a bit of fear into everyone as I recite the powers.

Here are the PHB essentia, in my opinion:
  • Three Basic Rules (p 11)
  • Power Types and Usage (p 54)
  • Skills (p178-179)
  • Feats (p 192)
  • Rest and Recovery (p 263)
  • All of Chapter 9 [Combat] (p 264-295)
A player needs to read the sections for building his or her character -- race, class, powers, feats, equipment, etc. But those are PC-specific. The above list is for everyone, regardless of the race or class or build or concept they are playing.
The problem is that when it comes to knowledge checks (nature, arcana, religion, etc) this players character excells at getting high results.

This is not a problem. This is an opportunity. It is an in-game justification for anyone at the table knowing anything about the monsters. I like it when the scholar in the party gets a high roll, because I can very quickly strike a bit of fear into everyone as I recite the powers.




And that's what I do, the problem, if you read through the rest of the post, is that the player is unhappy with this.  Not me.  He's unhappy that he constantly gets high results for his knowledge check rolls and most if not all of the information.
"Non nobis Domine Sed nomini tuo da gloriam" "I wish for death not because I want to die, but because I seek the war eternal"

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)

The player created a problem for himself that he can't solve himself? That is weird, jaja.

Knowledge checks are strange. Its like DM create some informacion and then you hide it and if they roll for it and succeed, you give it to them. If they never roll or dont succeed, this is a waste. But what this player is saying is he wants to waste some of that information by not succeeding all the time? What is the benefit to anybody? To know something is interesting because it mean you can act on it. To not know means nothing.

In a game that I play in sometimes the DM makes us state an actoin based on knowledge checks and then we roll to see if the action is successful based on this knowledge. It is like a check to say if the knowledge is correct or not insted of if you know the knowledge or not. If you have success in the roll then you were right about the knowledge and your action is successful too. It makes the knowledge check have more value I think and also when you fail it is better result because something can happen instead of "no you don't know anything." That is boring.

So maybe you can just give him all the information he wants or needs but when he actually rolls is when he is acting with this information. Then you can make the DCs higher or lower if it harder or easier.

I dont know if this helps but maybe gives you some ideas. 
And that's what I do, the problem, if you read through the rest of the post, is that the player is unhappy with this.  Not me.  He's unhappy that he constantly gets high results for his knowledge check rolls and most if not all of the information.



"Doc.  It hurts when I do this."  "Then stop doing that."

If your player is frustrated that he always succeeds his checks, it seems that simplest answer would be to tone down the skill optimatization.


Though it sounds to me that the problem your player as expressed is only a symptom of a bigger, more fundamental problem.  So it's introspection time. 

Your player, not you, needs to figure out why he feels the way he does.  He needs to seriously ask himself why he is so frustrated at succeeding at what he is invested so much to succeed at?  Or to tackle the same query from a different direction, what goal(s) was he attempting to obtain from kill optimization that is currently not being fulfilled.  Then, only after he has a solid answer to the previous, he needs to then ask himself what could possibly be done at the game table, either on his part and/or your part, to better the situation.

And with the actual problem identified, it should be a relatively simple thing to address it.




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He's unhappy that he constantly gets high results for his knowledge check rolls and most if not all of the information.

The knowledge checks should not be the challenge. Indeed at that level, I would likely never have him roll (i.e. just provide the information), and provide a challenge via other means.

Now, if the player simply desires knowledge related challenges, this can still be done. Example from Raiders of the Lost Ark:
"While deciphering the markings on the headpiece, Indiana and Sallah realize that the Nazis have miscalculated the location of the Well of Souls. Using this to their advantage, they infiltrate the Nazi dig and use the Staff of Ra to determine the location correctly and uncover the Well of Souls, which is filled with snakes. Indiana fends off the snakes and acquires the Ark"

Although this scenario involves knowledge a great deal, very little of the challenge involved knowledge.


He's unhappy that he constantly gets high results for his knowledge check rolls and most if not all of the information.

The knowledge checks should not be the challenge. Indeed at that level, I would likely never have him roll (i.e. just provide the information), and provide a challenge via other means.

Now, if the player simply desires knowledge related challenges, this can still be done. Example from Raiders of the Lost Ark:
"While deciphering the markings on the headpiece, Indiana and Sallah realize that the Nazis have miscalculated the location of the Well of Souls. Using this to their advantage, they infiltrate the Nazi dig and use the Staff of Ra to determine the location correctly and uncover the Well of Souls, which is filled with snakes. Indiana fends off the snakes and acquires the Ark"

Although this scenario involves knowledge a great deal, very little of the challenge involved knowledge.





This is an interesting point.  I like the idea of adding layers to knowledge skill challenges and the like.  If you could, I would appreciate a little more guidance with maybe some examples of using this kind of strategy.  If you're game, feel free to PM or post here since others might also find it interesting.


"Non nobis Domine Sed nomini tuo da gloriam" "I wish for death not because I want to die, but because I seek the war eternal"

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)

You say you're worried that raising knowledge DCs will make things unfair to the other players. But how often do they actually want to make those checks, regardless of whether they've got a scholar with them? My players almost never make knowledge checks to identify creatures, for example, not even if they're trained in the required skills. 

What I'm trying to say is: if you suspect that the wizard is the only one who'll make a check (Arcana to identify a magical device, for example), you can safely increase the skill DC. If it's an outlandish device created by the gods and the wizard is level 5, there's no way you should use even the hard DC for level 5. Level 15 sounds more like it. I mean, even if the cleric is also trained in Arcana, what are the odds he'll recognize an interplanar dreamcatcher from one of the outer planes? 
Also remember that knowledge checks don't mean absolute knowledge. There's little chance of a character knowing something that he normally doesn't have access too. For example, a woodsman that extremely proficient in temperate climates will have little chance of knowing absolutely everything about permafrost mountainscapes. He might have heard something from other travelers, but until he's been to such a place and experienced it himself, he won't know everything.

You can implement this by working with the other player to fleshen out his character a bit more. What are his expertices? Where did he grow up? Did he have a profession before becoming an adventurer (such as a Wizard's Apprentice?) That way he can give himself some areas for which his knowledge skills apply without penalties and if he thinks his character wouldn't have access to a specific type of knowledge, he can give himself a -10 or -5 penalty to his skill checks.


The answer is perfect .This knowledge person might know something general but nothing too particular.Also knowledge from practise has huge difference.A ranger has knowledge of forests since he lived,grow up and practised there but a wizard might just have read for forests doesn t mean he can track like a ranger.Though as 12 year old kid (miracle kid probably)he has a lot of limits since he has no experience.Remember that in such checks details can make huge difference .Why giving details to someone who s not specialized with the current subject.Even ancient mages with high general knowledges don t know everything.
He's unhappy that he constantly gets high results for his knowledge check rolls and most if not all of the information.

The knowledge checks should not be the challenge. Indeed at that level, I would likely never have him roll (i.e. just provide the information), and provide a challenge via other means.

Now, if the player simply desires knowledge related challenges, this can still be done. Example from Raiders of the Lost Ark:
"While deciphering the markings on the headpiece, Indiana and Sallah realize that the Nazis have miscalculated the location of the Well of Souls. Using this to their advantage, they infiltrate the Nazi dig and use the Staff of Ra to determine the location correctly and uncover the Well of Souls, which is filled with snakes. Indiana fends off the snakes and acquires the Ark"

Although this scenario involves knowledge a great deal, very little of the challenge involved knowledge.

This answer is perfect. Just because someone knows something doesn't mean that doing anything about it is easy. Don't make the challenge just about the DC, but about either being able to make the check in the first place, or utilizing the information garnered by the check.

Here's something else to consider: In that example, Indy and Salla are just standing around thinking and talking. But Indy (and other smart adventuring characters) are often called upon to use their knowledge in stressful situations (which is the only time dice should be rolled anyway). Play this up, and don't let the character just stand around making knowledge checks. Some knowledge checks can only be made from certain locations, such as in front of an inscription or within short range of the effect under study (see, for example the demonic portal challenge in Dungeon Delve 11 and DMG 2). Getting to and staying in those locations in combat becomes the challenge.

Pile on penalties. Loud noises, heady vapors, hypnotic chanting, dazzling lights, poisons, diseases etc. can penalize skill checks, and multiple penalties always combine. You don't have to do this in every encounter, but if knowledge is going to play an important role, then it's appropriate to challenge it. The monsters themselves might even know that it's important to disrupt this guy's ability to spout knowledge, and specifically try to neutralize him.

Make it cost. Sure, just recalling information is a free action, but there's plenty of precedence for knowledge skills actually involving action. It's okay to give the player a choice between using a standard action on an attack or on figuring out the effect that gives the monster the ability to teleport around the room. Along those lines, it's also acceptable to make it a skill challenge. In that case, even if you limit the character to a single free action (which is the DM's prerogative), and even if the player converts all his actions to take more arcana checks, it's still going to take him at least a full round to make all the checks required in challenge. Which, if he can only make them while standing in a pool of acid in full view of the enemy, might make it a bit challenging.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

He's unhappy that he constantly gets high results for his knowledge check rolls and most if not all of the information.

The knowledge checks should not be the challenge. Indeed at that level, I would likely never have him roll (i.e. just provide the information), and provide a challenge via other means.

Now, if the player simply desires knowledge related challenges, this can still be done. Example from Raiders of the Lost Ark:
"While deciphering the markings on the headpiece, Indiana and Sallah realize that the Nazis have miscalculated the location of the Well of Souls. Using this to their advantage, they infiltrate the Nazi dig and use the Staff of Ra to determine the location correctly and uncover the Well of Souls, which is filled with snakes. Indiana fends off the snakes and acquires the Ark"

Although this scenario involves knowledge a great deal, very little of the challenge involved knowledge.

This answer is perfect. Just because someone knows something doesn't mean that doing anything about it is easy. Don't make the challenge just about the DC, but about either being able to make the check in the first place, or utilizing the information garnered by the check.

Here's something else to consider: In that example, Indy and Salla are just standing around thinking and talking. But Indy (and other smart adventuring characters) are often called upon to use their knowledge in stressful situations (which is the only time dice should be rolled anyway). Play this up, and don't let the character just stand around making knowledge checks. Some knowledge checks can only be made from certain locations, such as in front of an inscription or within short range of the effect under study (see, for example the demonic portal challenge in Dungeon Delve 11 and DMG 2). Getting to and staying in those locations in combat becomes the challenge.

Pile on penalties. Loud noises, heady vapors, hypnotic chanting, dazzling lights, poisons, diseases etc. can penalize skill checks, and multiple penalties always combine. You don't have to do this in every encounter, but if knowledge is going to play an important role, then it's appropriate to challenge it. The monsters themselves might even know that it's important to disrupt this guy's ability to spout knowledge, and specifically try to neutralize him.

Make it cost. Sure, just recalling information is a free action, but there's plenty of precedence for knowledge skills actually involving action. It's okay to give the player a choice between using a standard action on an attack or on figuring out the effect that gives the monster the ability to teleport around the room. Along those lines, it's also acceptable to make it a skill challenge. In that case, even if you limit the character to a single free action (which is the DM's prerogative), and even if the player converts all his actions to take more arcana checks, it's still going to take him at least a full round to make all the checks required in challenge. Which, if he can only make them while standing in a pool of acid in full view of the enemy, might make it a bit challenging.



Thanks for your post Centauri, I've given the player the options suggested and I'll see what he says.  I can and will make an effort to try out the above though as that adds more layers to the game and more life at the table.
"Non nobis Domine Sed nomini tuo da gloriam" "I wish for death not because I want to die, but because I seek the war eternal"

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)

I would appreciate a little more guidance with maybe some examples of using this kind of strategy.

Some examples:
- Start adventures say, by stating that some impossibly hard research has allowed him to discover a secret underground warren. It's technically just fluff (no XP or roll), but it's PC relevant fluff that should make him feel good about his PC's mental prowess.

- Skip knowledge rolls and just provide the information (again, much like fluff). If it's something that a different character should know, you can describe them as knowing it instead.

- Don't award skill challenge successes for auto-knowledge (or just be okwith some skill challenges not requiring as many rolls). If you are using a pre-made skill challenge that involve knowledge check, continue as if it was successful (but award no success to the tally... instead add another opportunity for success with a different skill).

- Occasionally allow the PC something fantastic, like access to the Monster Manual stats/description for a creature.
thanks mcvincent !  I'm still waiting for the player to respond but this could help. 
"Non nobis Domine Sed nomini tuo da gloriam" "I wish for death not because I want to die, but because I seek the war eternal"

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)

Sounds like your group is experiencing a bit of the "Skill Paradox" (a player invests in a skill because it's an area of the game they want to spend more time on, ironically leading to faster task resolution via skill check). I imagine what your player wants is more time spent on knowledge-themed challenges, much as @mvincent points out. My advice is the same:

Create logic puzzles based on lore the wizard PC uncovers
Use the wizard's knowledge as background leading to their next adventure
Have the wizard discover a great historical/archaeological find which fills in gaps in the campaign world's history, or discover treasure which at face value is worth very little but to the right collector could be worth a fortune
Present subtle clues, like ancient coinage types, recurring names ancient dead wizards, and other things that only someone highly trained in knowledge skills would pick up on
Introduce forbidden tomes of lore in a dungeon (these offer permanent +2 modifiers to knowledge skills pertaining to their specific topic, but have a magical curse connected to them)
Present a puzzle/trap which requires the Wizard's knowledge...and requires taking action on that knowledge, e.g. statues which must have the right order of spells cast upon them (great, so the wizard knows the order...but he lacks some of the spells)
Have the Wizard's knowledge check open up a moral dilemma...for example uncovering history that disgraces the paladin's family...should it be revealed or kept secret? 

Etc. 
thanks for your post aaronil, good examples all around and sure to give me ideas to try !
"Non nobis Domine Sed nomini tuo da gloriam" "I wish for death not because I want to die, but because I seek the war eternal"

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)

This is not a problem. This is an opportunity. It is an in-game justification for anyone at the table knowing anything about the monsters. I like it when the scholar in the party gets a high roll, because I can very quickly strike a bit of fear into everyone as I recite the powers.

And that's what I do, the problem, if you read through the rest of the post, is that the player is unhappy with this.  Not me.  He's unhappy that he constantly gets high results for his knowledge check rolls and most if not all of the information.

Doh! I am sorry for not respecting your post enough to read all of it before shooting my mouth off. And thank you for your measured and patient response.
Here are the PHB essentia, in my opinion:
  • Three Basic Rules (p 11)
  • Power Types and Usage (p 54)
  • Skills (p178-179)
  • Feats (p 192)
  • Rest and Recovery (p 263)
  • All of Chapter 9 [Combat] (p 264-295)
A player needs to read the sections for building his or her character -- race, class, powers, feats, equipment, etc. But those are PC-specific. The above list is for everyone, regardless of the race or class or build or concept they are playing.
no problem at all Seeker95, I didn't take any offense.
"Non nobis Domine Sed nomini tuo da gloriam" "I wish for death not because I want to die, but because I seek the war eternal"

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)

About having different DC for different characters: The Wizard has just read a lot of books. If it is a rare monster in the forest it might be poorly described in books and there might be no drawings of it. Thus, take a look at what kind of die roll a hard DC would normally require, and adjust the DC for the nature check so that the hard DC actually is hard. On the other hand, the party ranger might have met a similar monster or heard second- or thirdhand about it, and the DC might then be adjusted so it has a similar chance of success. Of course, talk to all of your players before doing that kind of thing. Do the other player's like having the wizard taking care of all the knowledge checks, or are they perhaps frustrated that knowledge checks are "wizardtime"?

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My experience is strictly as a player (and lurker of this forum), but I lost interest in my very first character partly due to his lack of relevant skills (and more so due to a lack of personality). One time we cleared a necromancer's cave. My fighter ended up restrained in a trap with ongoing fire (but thankfully had higher regeneration value) and had to wait for the bard to make the arcana checks to let him climb up. Later they had to do arcana checks to figure out how to use a portal to get to the final battle. He just stood around spamming total defence for lack of useful options. Those are the only times I can remember D&D being boring. Fortunately, my DM convinced me to at least make a try to "push the button" to send my character through the portal, and he rolled rather high and succeed.
About having different DC for different characters: The Wizard has just read a lot of books. If it is a rare monster in the forest it might be poorly described in books and there might be no drawings of it. Thus, take a look at what kind of die roll a hard DC would normally require, and adjust the DC for the nature check so that the hard DC actually is hard. On the other hand, the party ranger might have met a similar monster or heard second- or thirdhand about it, and the DC might then be adjusted so it has a similar chance of success. Of course, talk to all of your players before doing that kind of thing. Do the other player's like having the wizard taking care of all the knowledge checks, or are they perhaps frustrated that knowledge checks are "wizardtime"?

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My experience is strictly as a player (and lurker of this forum), but I lost interest in my very first character partly due to his lack of relevant skills (and more so due to a lack of personality). One time we cleared a necromancer's cave. My fighter ended up restrained in a trap with ongoing fire (but thankfully had higher regeneration value) and had to wait for the bard to make the arcana checks to let him climb up. Later they had to do arcana checks to figure out how to use a portal to get to the final battle. He just stood around spamming total defence for lack of useful options. Those are the only times I can remember D&D being boring. Fortunately, my DM convinced me to at least make a try to "push the button" to send my character through the portal, and he rolled rather high and succeed.




This is one spot I feel 4e really missed the mark. Classe. Cant equally contribute outside of combat without the DM creating scenarios to do that.

If you find pkayers are bummed standing around, take a look at their char sheets and figure out how to play to their strengths. 
This is one spot I feel 4e really missed the mark. Classe. Cant equally contribute outside of combat without the DM creating scenarios to do that.


Because the fighter (2+int skills) is a great contributor outside of combat compared to the rogue (8+int skills) or the wizard (a spell for every occasion)?

Sometimes people blame the edition for problems that are not at all its fault -- at least not unique to it.  The DM providing an encounter that could only be overcome with Know: Arcana was a problem in execution, not with the game.
From what I've heard other editions might have done this even more, but I agree. However, I should point out that I talked to my DM about how I felt about that particular part, and since then we have managed to work really well together and I currently LOVE the character I have and the adventure we are playing.
From what I've heard other editions might have done this even more, but I agree. However, I should point out that I talked to my DM about how I felt about that particular part, and since then we have managed to work really well together and I currently LOVE the character I have and the adventure we are playing.



And that's really the important part, a player's enjoyment. Glad you got it worked out!
I am glad too

And I do not want this thread to be dreailed, I just posted the anecdote as an example of what could be a problem. If everyone except the wizard loves that knowledge checks are wizardtime, then no reason to change that part.