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How much do you know about magic?
This is not related to FF exactly and is more of a general roleplay question

For context our group is lvl 5- Consisting of Hunter, Aegis (Tank), Sorcerer and Hexblade

My group was playing a game yesterday and we realized that NOONE chose to specialize in the Face skills (we don't do the talking so much) and Knowledge checks were left vastly bare (we have a few of the- I want to know about this monster- skills, but none of the -Oh look at the lovely architecture- skills)


We end up needing to obtain information on a situation. There is a concealed dungeon in a tower and bla bla bla we go in and there is a pile of ash, some black goo on a table and scorch marks around. My character is a bounty hunter and I extrapolate some information via an AMAZING survival/tracking role (it was over 30 and I did NOT take 20- I was pretty proud of this moment) and found out that: 3 peopleish things *appeared* in this area (ie did NOT use the stairs) they did something and a 4th peopleish thing *appeared* the 3 grabbed 4th and put him on a table, then moved him to the wall, something happened and ashes.

With that information we find out that none of the 3 people are people we have met (feet tracks don't match), that black goo is demon blood, that the 3 did some sorta summoning to get 4th and 4th was killed by a holy weapon. (Various minor spellcrafting, heal and some Knowledge planes/religion)

Awesome! We were moving along. And when I heard "It is demon blood." I thought/said "Oh Blood Biography!"

-so out of character I will admit that I am a little older than my group and have several years more experience with the table top RPG-ing and even with PF I have a couple more years of experience. So this is TOTALLY one of those things where the experienced player knows something that would help, but is not exactly in game information-

And the other players look at me and I go back to my in character self: my guy turns to the sorcerer who I constantly call a *necromancer* and I am suspicious of magic BUT he has been a good friend to me and used his magic to fight spiders and evil and save me from said spidery evil so hey I am LEARNING! "Divine the origins of this creature."
He replies that he does not know how to do that, which is totally cool, as a player I don't expect him to know this spell it is SUPER situational and wouldn't be something I would expect a sorcerer to spend the resource of Spell Known on (unless they were using a blood motif)

As the conversation progresses I suggest a scroll could be purchased that has the appropriate magic for the task and then the sorcerer/player asks: "Would my character know that this spell exists? It isn't the magic that I specialize in and it isn't of a level I can cast"

And I sorta paused... I don't really know. My argument was that we could extrapolate into the real world that I don't know much about aliens, but I know that people believe aliens exist and if I needed to learn more about aliens I could go to a library or google search so more information could be obtained... and re-inserting this into the fantasy world- you might believe there is a spell for everything and thus finding the spell best suited to this might just mean consulting an expert?

Any thoughts? How much about magic would a character be expected to know?
Something like Blood Biography is a non-core, and very situation spell (as you noted), as such I'd say a Spellcraft or Know: Arcana spell could be used to *remember* such a spell existed.

At the same time, as a Bounty Hunter I'm sure such a spell/scroll could come in handy for some of your jobs, so if a check was required maybe you'd have a bonus to it, or if you weren't so knowledgeable on such magic could confer a circumstance bonus on the Mage to *remember* that such a spell exists.

The thin line between OOC and IC is sometimes hard to judge, a lot of stuff can easily be considered common knowledge such as a Fireball Spell or the more iconic ones, but something like Blood Biography, or Blood Money, or any of that stuff might be a bit harder... if nothing else, cause doing weird crap with blood could be frowned upon by non-magiccy types and it might not be a spell that gets toted around a lot.

"And then I destroyed the wall AND all the Undead with a well-placed Fireball!" Is more likely to be retold than "So I was messing around with this blood on the ground, and then I knew stuff about it."
Yeah, I can see a commoner saying something like: "Wizards use fireballs!" and knowing nothing about "Comprehend Languages" but the character in question was a sorcerer, and my thought went along the lines of: "If you use magic every day wouldn't you be aware that there is pretty much a spell for everything? And it is just a matter of finding the right spell?"

It seems like something that should be a part of the Spellcraft skill. Sorta like how 1 rank in Survival means you can always find North. 1 rank in spellcraft should be associated with an approximate knowledge of spells and the existence thereof.
Uh... finding North is a Survival check- if you can beat the DC by taking a 10 with 1 rank you can always find North when not rushed but... normally you'd still have to roll.

Spellcraft can be used to Identify a spell you see being cast, it's recognizing the Somatic and Verbal components used. Knowledge: Arcana, if it doesn't already have the function, would be the one used to determine if you know of a spell's existence. Blood Biography is not the most obscure, but is non-core and a little niche... so if I were GM I'd list its knowledge DC as 15+spell level, in this case I think it's a 1st level spell?

Now, if your Sorcerer has no ranks in Knowledge: Arcana... then he's not a learned caster, and has spent no time researching all the different magics. With spellcraft he can get a spark of understanding
'those movements make me think it's gonna be a big explosion- and that's the arcane word for fire he just muttered!' letting him piece together that a Fireball is being sent his way even if he never knew such a spell existed.

Sorcerers are also not the bookish types by nature, they get their magic from their blood, they did not train to attain it and technically have no control in-game over what magic they obtain, that's purely in the player's hands choosing how the magical blood awakens within. If it was a Wizard with no Spellcraft or Know: Arcana I'd be asking a few questions... since those are key skills needed for any Wizard to identify, read, or scribe down new spells.
There is a special description "Special: If you are trained in Survival, you can automatically determine where true north lies in relation to yourself." So there is no check, you just know it.

The sorcerer has ranks in both Knowledge Arcana and Spellcraft.
So it does... that is... strange >_> I mean it was only like a DC 15 in 3.5 I believe but... huh, alright.

Still, magic is a bit more complicated than directions I'd say, trying to make sense of something that warps reality rather than North which is always the same. Having both skills helps but it likely wouldn't be automatic knowledge unless the GM makes a call like 'you have 8 ranks in Know: Arcana and lived in a friggin magic school/library, if it's a spell you know of it'.

I mean he might know there are divination spells that could help, but knowing specifically of a spell that lets you read blood is just more... out there, I guess.

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