Knowledge Devotion and Collector of Stories

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Ok, so I’m looking at the feat Knowledge Devotion from complete champion and the gist of it is that you make knowledge checks for the types of creatures you have relevant knowledge skills for, and gain an insight bonus on attack and damage rolls based on the result. The fluff of the feat says that “You can use your knowledge to exploit your foes’ weaknesses and overcome their strengths”, which seems to me that you get the basic benefits of knowing things about your enemy relative to the check result with the addition of the bonus to attack and damage (i.e you don’t make a knowledge: arcane check to identify an adult green dragon, and then make a second check to gain the benefits of the feat).


Provided that the feat works this way, the skill trick collector of stories came to mind which gives you a +5 bonus once per encounter in order to identify creatures and their traits with the appropriate knowledge skill. Would it be right to assume that the skill trick collector of stories would allow you to apply the bonus to the knowledge devotion feat? I figure that since you can only make use of the skill trick once an encounter and you can use the feat apparently without even an action that it wouldn’t be unbalancing to apply it in such a fashion, but I’d also like a little input from someone else before I start making plans to use it as such.


Thanks in advance for any input.

This is one of those combo's that hover annoyingly about in the lists of potentially awesome things, ever in question. The majority of stuff I've read about this is "Ask you DM,".

As a DM myself who works to keep characters on roughly their assumed power level I'd say no, two skill points for a moderate damage and to-hit boost is FAR too cheap. However, I know that I'm one of the more restrictive of DMs when it comes to the power scaling of their players and that this combo might very easily be allowed in other games, especially one's who have higher tier play than my own.
As a DM I would say the feat and skill trick cannot be used in conjunction. The reason for this is that the Collector of Stories trick specifically says that it can be used to identify a creature, it's special abilities and vulnerabilities. This is a basic knowledge check and is used for individual creatures. So, if there are multiple different creatures of the same type in an encounter you'd have to do a knowledge check on each one to get information about it, but could use your Collector of Stories trick on only one of those checks.

Knowledge Devotion gives you a bonus against creature types, not individual creatures. So, if there are several creatures of the Undead type in an encounter,, you make one Knowledge check and apply the achieved bonus to all Undead for the duration of the encounter.

Short answer, Knowledge checks to ascertain creature abilities and weaknesses followed by the Knowledge Devotion check to determine combat bonuses.
Although it doesn't appear to be completely legit (as Collector of Stories is referencing a specific use of the knowledge skill, while Knowledge Devotion creates its own, related, use of the skill), I haven't found it unbalancing. It amounts to an extra +1 attack/damage from Knowledge Devotion for a single creature type (as the skill trick only works once per combat).

Knowledge Devotion itself is more problematic (largely due to it being free in that it doesn't require an action). If you're okay with Knowledge Devotion's basic effect, then the Collector of Stories augment isn't going to hurt any more than the feat itself.

Incidentally, the same justification can be extended to the Archivist's Dark Knowledge. This also covers the same caveat - if the archivist isn't hurting your game, then Archivist Collector of Stories / Dark Knowledge won't either.

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These are NOT all my creations! The lead authors are identified as follows: [TS] Tempest Stormwind, [AR] Andarious Rosethorn, [RT] Radical Taoist, [SN] Sionnis, [DH] DisposableHero_, [SH] Seishi.

[TS] The Pinball Brothers: Large And In Charge (Melee, Lockdown, Charge, Juggling)
[TS] Ashardalon Reborn: I Will Swallow Your Soul (Melee, Fear, Negative Levels, AoE, Theme)
[AR] "A"-Game Paladin: Play That Funky Music, Knight Boy! (Team Support, Melee, Theme, Single-Class)
[RT] Uncanny Trapsmith: Get in, make it look like an accident, get out. (Skillmonkey, Stealth/Scout/Infiltration, Unorthodox Methods, Theme)
[AR] Wizsassin: *Everything* is permitted. (Spellcaster, Support, Sneak Attack, Utility)
[TS] Phantom Rush: General Gish Gouda. (Gish, Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Early-Entry PrC)
[TS] Storm Knight: Another kind of gish. (Melee/"Gish", Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Unorthodox Methods)
[TS] Inevitable Nightmare: The weapon you only have to fire once. (Melee, "Unorthodox" Methods (no charging), Reliability)
[AR] Captain Constitution: The number one threat to America. (Melee, TOUGHTOUGHTOUGH, Defense, Theme)
[AR] Nuker: I casts the spells that makes the peoples fall down! (Spellcaster, damage, blasting, damage)
[TS] Dread Lord of the Dead: Let the Reaping Begin! (NPC-only, Variable (combat/casting/leadership), Iconic Villain, Theme)
[AR] Heavy Crusader: No Rest. No Mercy. No Matter What. (Melee, Damage (No charging), Variable, Theme).
[TS] Gun Fu: It's bullet time (Ranged, THEORETICAL, Twin weapons, Theme)
[RT] Face First: We should talk. (Psionic, social, mind-control, info-management)
[SN] Chaingun Porcupine: Never Enuff Dakka. (Ranged, Skirmishing, Spike Damage, Incarnum)
[RT] Always On Edge: The Mortal Draw deals death. (Melee, Generalist, Dungeoneering, Stunt)
[AR] Feral Druid: Real feral taste. Zero druid calories. (Melee, offense, damage, murder)
[RT] Rusty!: Man's Best Friend (Sentry, Support, Backup, Rearguard)
[RT] The T3 (Tashalatora Triple Threat): My Kung Fu is More Powerful (Hybrid, Flex-Function, Melee, Caster)
[RT] The #1 Snoipah: Boom. 'Eadshot. (Caster, Theme, Spike, Trapscout)
[AR] Dreamblade: Rest in Pieces. (Melee, Damage, Single-Class, Combo/Momentum)
[AR] Evasion Tank: “When fighting angry blind men, is best to stay out of the way.” (Melee, Tank, Unorthodox Methods (attack negation), Theme)
[DH] Psycarnum Warrior: ↑↑↓↓←→←→BA Start (Melee, Tank, Psionics, Incarnum, 1337 h4x)
[AR] Heavy Weapons Elf: WHO TOUCHED MY BOW? (Ranged, Cohort, Damage, Unorthodox Methods (ranged ToB))
[RT] Gnowhere Gnome: A little man who wasn't there (Caster, Stealth, Single-Class, Elusive)
[AR] Uberflank: I got your back. (Melee, support, stunt, teamwork)
[TS] Flip the Bird: Everyday I'm shuffling (Ranged, harrier, unorthodox methods (ranged ToB / off-turn movement), support)
[DH] Eat Sleep Gank: Real Ultimate Power (Stealth, Assassination, Spike, Magic Versatility)
[AR] Slash and Burn: Mind, Body, Blade, Flame / Aspects of a greater whole / which delivers death. (Melee, Theme (flex-style), Damage, Stunt)
[RT] Edge of the Light: Cut, Fade to Black (Melee, Defense/Offense, Momentum, Tactical)
[RT] Quiet Murder: Cut throats, not corners. (Melee, Stealth, Harrier, Tactical)
[TS] Wand Overdrive: Say Hello to my little friends. (Caster, support/artillery/variable, wand specialist)
[RT] God Hand: What did the five fingers say to the face? (Melee/Gish, Unarmed, SAD, Theme)
[AR] Zero Buff Time Gish: Try to keep up! (Gish, Speed, Movement, Opportunity)
[TS] Robo Tackle: I Am Iron Man. (Melee, setting-specific (Eberron), positioning, theme, stunt)

[TS] Holy Fire: Just getting warmed up! (Casting, damage, theme (fire), theme (sacred), blasting)

[TS] Groundhog Mage: ♪Let’s do the time warp again♪ (Casting, stunt, setting-specific (Faerun), spell stamina / versatility, spontaneous wizard)

[RT] Captain Charisma: All she wants to do is dance (Hybrid (melee/support), SAD, Theme (criticals), Theme (flex-style))

[TS] Assassin's Speed: A blade in the crowd (Melee (technical), iaijutsu, SAD, theme (Assassin's Creed), tutorial)

[RT] Something for Everyone: A.K.A. The Last Sorcerer RT Will Ever Build (Caster, Damage, Trapscout, Takedowns)

 

Want to see how the entire group rolls?
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Seishi: I think it might be fun to have a one-off [game] tuned fairly, but with the intention of wiping the party. 

DisposableHero_: if [my campaign] has taught me nothing else, it is that with this group, nothing tuned fairly will ever wipe the party

RadicalTaoist: I've been throwing **** at this group that's 5 levels over CRed in DFN, and have yet to wipe the party.

Actually, the end of the Knowledge Devotion description says that the benefit is an Extraordinary Ability. The PH has "use an Extraordinary Ability" as a Standard  Action that does not provoke an attack of opportunity. So, despite the many (Ex) abilities that are just straight bonuses, it would be RAW to expect a PC to use a Standard Action to gain the benefit of this feat. 
Actually, the end of the Knowledge Devotion description says that the benefit is an Extraordinary Ability. The PH has "use an Extraordinary Ability" as a Standard  Action that does not provoke an attack of opportunity. So, despite the many (Ex) abilities that are just straight bonuses, it would be RAW to expect a PC to use a Standard Action to gain the benefit of this feat. 


I would dispute this, as the feat does not contain an action type and is technically part of the Knowledge skill, which does not require any action at all. But if you're using it as a standard action, then my point is merely augmented: Collector of Stories isn't 100% legit in this combination, but it definitely will do no more damage to the game than Knowledge Devotion already does. If you are sticking completely to the published rules, your summary above (using Collector to boost ID checks, which are made individually, and using Devotion on the creature type as a whole) is still perfectly fine; I'm just arguing that allowing Collector to link to Devotion isn't going to break the game.

...Btw, does anyone else find it odd that the DCs to identify monsters are based on HD rather than notoriety or some similar effect?
How realistic is this?

"Sir, what is that thing?"
[Rolls 20 vs DC 10] "That, good sir, is Xanthopan morgani, "Morgan's Sphinx", a rare, nocturnal moth native to Madagascar. Known for its ridiculously long proboscis, it feeds on, and pollinates, several species of long-flowered orchids in the area. In 1868, Darwin saw the orchids and posited that there must exist some creature that could pollinate them, in effect 'predicting' the creature's existence forty years before its actual discovery."
"And what about that thing over there, sir?"
[Rolls 20 vs DC 50] "Umm, no idea."
"Sir, it's huge, red, scaly, and breathing fire."
[DM takes pity and allows another roll, 20 vs DC 17] "Still don't quite know. Reminds me of a red wyrmling, but they're much smaller."
At least Knowledge Devotion is a fixed DC.

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These are NOT all my creations! The lead authors are identified as follows: [TS] Tempest Stormwind, [AR] Andarious Rosethorn, [RT] Radical Taoist, [SN] Sionnis, [DH] DisposableHero_, [SH] Seishi.

[TS] The Pinball Brothers: Large And In Charge (Melee, Lockdown, Charge, Juggling)
[TS] Ashardalon Reborn: I Will Swallow Your Soul (Melee, Fear, Negative Levels, AoE, Theme)
[AR] "A"-Game Paladin: Play That Funky Music, Knight Boy! (Team Support, Melee, Theme, Single-Class)
[RT] Uncanny Trapsmith: Get in, make it look like an accident, get out. (Skillmonkey, Stealth/Scout/Infiltration, Unorthodox Methods, Theme)
[AR] Wizsassin: *Everything* is permitted. (Spellcaster, Support, Sneak Attack, Utility)
[TS] Phantom Rush: General Gish Gouda. (Gish, Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Early-Entry PrC)
[TS] Storm Knight: Another kind of gish. (Melee/"Gish", Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Unorthodox Methods)
[TS] Inevitable Nightmare: The weapon you only have to fire once. (Melee, "Unorthodox" Methods (no charging), Reliability)
[AR] Captain Constitution: The number one threat to America. (Melee, TOUGHTOUGHTOUGH, Defense, Theme)
[AR] Nuker: I casts the spells that makes the peoples fall down! (Spellcaster, damage, blasting, damage)
[TS] Dread Lord of the Dead: Let the Reaping Begin! (NPC-only, Variable (combat/casting/leadership), Iconic Villain, Theme)
[AR] Heavy Crusader: No Rest. No Mercy. No Matter What. (Melee, Damage (No charging), Variable, Theme).
[TS] Gun Fu: It's bullet time (Ranged, THEORETICAL, Twin weapons, Theme)
[RT] Face First: We should talk. (Psionic, social, mind-control, info-management)
[SN] Chaingun Porcupine: Never Enuff Dakka. (Ranged, Skirmishing, Spike Damage, Incarnum)
[RT] Always On Edge: The Mortal Draw deals death. (Melee, Generalist, Dungeoneering, Stunt)
[AR] Feral Druid: Real feral taste. Zero druid calories. (Melee, offense, damage, murder)
[RT] Rusty!: Man's Best Friend (Sentry, Support, Backup, Rearguard)
[RT] The T3 (Tashalatora Triple Threat): My Kung Fu is More Powerful (Hybrid, Flex-Function, Melee, Caster)
[RT] The #1 Snoipah: Boom. 'Eadshot. (Caster, Theme, Spike, Trapscout)
[AR] Dreamblade: Rest in Pieces. (Melee, Damage, Single-Class, Combo/Momentum)
[AR] Evasion Tank: “When fighting angry blind men, is best to stay out of the way.” (Melee, Tank, Unorthodox Methods (attack negation), Theme)
[DH] Psycarnum Warrior: ↑↑↓↓←→←→BA Start (Melee, Tank, Psionics, Incarnum, 1337 h4x)
[AR] Heavy Weapons Elf: WHO TOUCHED MY BOW? (Ranged, Cohort, Damage, Unorthodox Methods (ranged ToB))
[RT] Gnowhere Gnome: A little man who wasn't there (Caster, Stealth, Single-Class, Elusive)
[AR] Uberflank: I got your back. (Melee, support, stunt, teamwork)
[TS] Flip the Bird: Everyday I'm shuffling (Ranged, harrier, unorthodox methods (ranged ToB / off-turn movement), support)
[DH] Eat Sleep Gank: Real Ultimate Power (Stealth, Assassination, Spike, Magic Versatility)
[AR] Slash and Burn: Mind, Body, Blade, Flame / Aspects of a greater whole / which delivers death. (Melee, Theme (flex-style), Damage, Stunt)
[RT] Edge of the Light: Cut, Fade to Black (Melee, Defense/Offense, Momentum, Tactical)
[RT] Quiet Murder: Cut throats, not corners. (Melee, Stealth, Harrier, Tactical)
[TS] Wand Overdrive: Say Hello to my little friends. (Caster, support/artillery/variable, wand specialist)
[RT] God Hand: What did the five fingers say to the face? (Melee/Gish, Unarmed, SAD, Theme)
[AR] Zero Buff Time Gish: Try to keep up! (Gish, Speed, Movement, Opportunity)
[TS] Robo Tackle: I Am Iron Man. (Melee, setting-specific (Eberron), positioning, theme, stunt)

[TS] Holy Fire: Just getting warmed up! (Casting, damage, theme (fire), theme (sacred), blasting)

[TS] Groundhog Mage: ♪Let’s do the time warp again♪ (Casting, stunt, setting-specific (Faerun), spell stamina / versatility, spontaneous wizard)

[RT] Captain Charisma: All she wants to do is dance (Hybrid (melee/support), SAD, Theme (criticals), Theme (flex-style))

[TS] Assassin's Speed: A blade in the crowd (Melee (technical), iaijutsu, SAD, theme (Assassin's Creed), tutorial)

[RT] Something for Everyone: A.K.A. The Last Sorcerer RT Will Ever Build (Caster, Damage, Trapscout, Takedowns)

 

Want to see how the entire group rolls?
[All] Party Optimization Showcase: Dead for Nothing
[TS/RT/AR] Optimization Article: The Flash Step
[RT] Optimization Article: Kung Fu Witchcraft

 

Seishi: I think it might be fun to have a one-off [game] tuned fairly, but with the intention of wiping the party. 

DisposableHero_: if [my campaign] has taught me nothing else, it is that with this group, nothing tuned fairly will ever wipe the party

RadicalTaoist: I've been throwing **** at this group that's 5 levels over CRed in DFN, and have yet to wipe the party.

I agree the combo doesn't break the game. I do think the wording lends to separate rolls though considering the difference between individual creatures and creature types. If you want the roll to count toward all creatures of the type you use your Collector of Stories Trick on then that would be fine.

I've observed on these types of forums that people put much more credence on RAW than anything else, whether that be common sense, intent, etc. 

Regarding Knowledge check DCs: Yes, that's pretty silly that they did that, but I'm not sure what else they could have used. 2nd edition at least had an entry for rarity for each monster, but even using that to assign a modifier would not take into account notoriety. I suppose you could homebrew something to fix it.
...Btw, does anyone else find it odd that the DCs to identify monsters are based on HD rather than notoriety or some similar effect?
How realistic is this?

"Sir, what is that thing?"
[Rolls 20 vs DC 10] "That, good sir, is Xanthopan morgani, "Morgan's Sphinx", a rare, nocturnal moth native to Madagascar. Known for its ridiculously long proboscis, it feeds on, and pollinates, several species of long-flowered orchids in the area. In 1868, Darwin saw the orchids and posited that there must exist some creature that could pollinate them, in effect 'predicting' the creature's existence forty years before its actual discovery."
"And what about that thing over there, sir?"
[Rolls 20 vs DC 50] "Umm, no idea."
"Sir, it's huge, red, scaly, and breathing fire."
[DM takes pity and allows another roll, 20 vs DC 17] "Still don't quite know. Reminds me of a red wyrmling, but they're much smaller."
At least Knowledge Devotion is a fixed DC.



I myself tend to think of it as the check wants to be tied to CR, but there wasn't an easy formula for determining that. I give it modifiers based on how prevalent the creature is and they get a good guess anyway. When it comes to identifying legendary beasts, I usually chalk up the higher DCs to ignoring false claims about them.

-10 Very common (rats, native peoples, sheep, oxen)
-5 Slightly common (bears, elk, orcs)
+5 Rare (Svifneblin, penguins, albinos)
+10 or more (Half dragon oak trees, miniature giant space hamsters, entirely new species)

"Yrthak? Never heard of them. No what you've got there is a dragon."
"Looks like a HUGE white bear! Must be some sort of magical beast!"
"He came at me with a knife. I don't know if he was an elf or a human or something else, all I know is he was quicker than wet ice."
"It looks like a dragon I once saw, but I never thought they could get so... BIG. Must be a Dire Dragon!"
"If it looks like a moth, and acts like a moth, and is small like a moth, and isn't magical. Then it's a moth."
I would dispute this, as the feat does not contain an action type and is technically part of the Knowledge skill, which does not require any action at all. But if you're using it as a standard action, then my point is merely augmented: Collector of Stories isn't 100% legit in this combination, but it definitely will do no more damage to the game than Knowledge Devotion already does. If you are sticking completely to the published rules, your summary above (using Collector to boost ID checks, which are made individually, and using Devotion on the creature type as a whole) is still perfectly fine; I'm just arguing that allowing Collector to link to Devotion isn't going to break the game.

As seems to be a trend in this place, the only thing I can say here is "what Tempest said."

I, personally, always allowed it, simply because they look like they should be compatible, and it's not like it's a real problem.
...Btw, does anyone else find it odd that the DCs to identify monsters are based on HD rather than notoriety or some similar effect?
How realistic is this?

"Sir, what is that thing?"
[Rolls 20 vs DC 10] "That, good sir, is Xanthopan morgani, "Morgan's Sphinx", a rare, nocturnal moth native to Madagascar. Known for its ridiculously long proboscis, it feeds on, and pollinates, several species of long-flowered orchids in the area. In 1868, Darwin saw the orchids and posited that there must exist some creature that could pollinate them, in effect 'predicting' the creature's existence forty years before its actual discovery."
"And what about that thing over there, sir?"
[Rolls 20 vs DC 50] "Umm, no idea."
"Sir, it's huge, red, scaly, and breathing fire."
[DM takes pity and allows another roll, 20 vs DC 17] "Still don't quite know. Reminds me of a red wyrmling, but they're much smaller."
At least Knowledge Devotion is a fixed DC.

I always just eyeball what it should be, based on the "Aragorn is sixth level" benchmark(For material plane stuff, at least), and modified by the "not obscenely stupid" rule, of every commoner and their puppies know what a dragon, overall, looks like and that they shoot crap out of their mouth, but said commoners might need a higher than standard roll to recognize, say, a girraffe.
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I think the Knowledge skill works fairly well for monsters, but you have to remember that the knowledge available to most commoners isn't backed up by mass media or modern schooling (which give us fundaments like the basic appearance of a dragon, and the fact that flies don't spontaneously generate from refuse) while D&D is full of creatures that look similar based on their descriptions even before that information passes through a dozen different people.

The HD-based Knowledge check DCs are also designed to identify monster special abilities rather than everyday information (things like regular butterflies don't even have creature statistics), and higher HD has a general correlation with higher CR and consequent rarity; despite their being anagrams, the typical world has many orcs, but few rocs.

But even with these ideas in mind there are still some problems, because it's just a basic guideline that doesn't account for things like templates, creatures with advanced HD, or the age categories of true dragon.  Though perhaps for the true dragons the basic DC for identification should be from their wyrmling form (since we don't identify other creatures based on their age), it's also true that they have more advanced abilities at higher age categories, so knowing the difference between the powers of a red wyrmling and a great red wyrm is meaningful.

How did you find a picture of a half-pyroclastic dragon indricothere?

The kraken stirs. And ten billion sushi dinners cry out for vengeance. - Good Omens

Co-Author of the Dreamfane, Euralden Eye, Fulminating Crab, Gajuisan Crawler, Gruesome LurkerIronglass Rose, Sheengrass Swarm, Spryjack, Usunag, and Warp Drifter, and author of the Magmal Horror from Force of Nature.

My most popular campaign item; for all your adventuring convenience.
Zauber's Mutable Rod: This rod has a number of useful functions that make it easier to live in the wilderness. It is made of polished wood, with five studlike buttons on one end. Each button produces a different effect when pressed. Unless otherwise noted, the rod’s functions have no limit on the number of times they can be employed. When button 1 is pressed, one end of the rod produces a small flame, equivalent to a candle. When button 2 is pressed, the rod unfolds into a two-person tent, complete with bedrolls and warm blankets. When button 3 is pressed, the rod becomes a one-handed hammer, suitable for pounding pitons into a wall. When button 4 is pressed, the rod becomes a sturdy iron spade. When button 5 is pressed, the rod becomes a wooden bucket able to hold 2 gallons of liquid. Once per day, it can be commanded to fill with fresh water. If the rod is seriously damaged or broken in any of its alternate forms (button 2, 3, 4, or 5), it reverts to its basic rod form and cannot be activated for 24 hours. Moderate conjuration; CL 9th; Craft Rod, minor creation; Price 375 gp; Weight 2 lb.
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