What does Knowledge(Occult) encompass?

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relativistic
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What does Knowledge(Occult) encompass?

#1 Postby relativistic » Fri May 18, 2012 6:49 pm

I was wondering what people use Knowledge(Occult) for. I've generally been using it to cover knowledge for everything from magic spells, to supernatural creature weaknesses, to identifying if someone is a harrowed or a walking dead.

That actually is quite a wide range of things. I could see an expert in supernatural creatures no knowing what the remedy for a curse is, for example. You also run into weird things, like is knowledge of Maze Dragons a "knowledge occult" roll, or a survival roll since they are considered natural in the Maze?

I'm not saying the broad scope is a bad thing, its worked fine. However, I could see a benefit of categorizing things differently. I was just wondering if others interpret what it covers differently.
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GranFalloon
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#2 Postby GranFalloon » Fri May 18, 2012 7:16 pm

In my game I've decided it encompasses a whole mess of things. Pretty much anything supernatural, but that's because I generally find knowledge skills boring, so rather than encourage players to burden themselves with lots of knowledges, I let them be pretty darn broad. Of course, I will let different skills cover the same thing. Knowledge of a Maze Dragon could be covered by Occult, Survival, or Common Knowledge, though Common Knowledges will usually take a fat penalty, unless the character's background fits (and then it's just a small penalty).

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VonDan
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#3 Postby VonDan » Fri May 18, 2012 7:36 pm

When i was in JHS there was a weird girl who tried to use her Knowledge(Occult) to make special brownies that included her own fingernails to try and get a popular guy to like her

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#4 Postby GranFalloon » Fri May 18, 2012 11:31 pm

VonDan wrote:When i was in JHS there was a weird girl who tried to use her Knowledge(Occult) to make special brownies that included her own fingernails to try and get a popular guy to like her


Hm... we didn't do that until college, and it was Knowledge (Herbalism).

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#5 Postby skylion » Sat May 19, 2012 7:12 am

I let the type of character determine the roll. A huckster, by dint of his or her study of hexes has a great deal of occult knowledge; so why not just let them make a Common Knowledge roll with the Marshall giving out bonuses as needed.

A martial artist has probably heard some esoteric stories, but not as detailed as a huckster, so the bonus would not be that large.

A normal cowpoke or even a Mad Scientist must acknowledge that the world of the supernatural even exists, so no CK roll for them: they have to take the skill.
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#6 Postby Osiris Risen » Mon May 21, 2012 8:42 am

I use Knowledge: Occult to cover spells, rituals, and "classical" horror monsters like werewolves, zombies, vampires, demons, etc.

I invented Knowledge: New Zoology (essentially Cryptozoology) for rare naturally occurring creatures like Jackalopes, Sasquatches, Rattlers, Maze Dragons, Wendigos, Yetis, Loch Ness Monsters, giant animals, etc. The Explorers Society is featured pretty prominently in my campaign, so these sort of creatures come up quite a bit. It may be less useful as a skill if you don't intend to use many of them.

Depending on the situation, there may be some overlap between the two Knowledge skills. There's also the unfortunate circumstances when the Reckoners base a monster on old folk legends, so knowing all about El Chupacabra for example may leave you misinformed and potentially worse off than those who know nothing of the folk stories.

Since many abominations are entirely new monsters created by the Reckoners, they would be unknown to either "classical" occult knowledge or New Zoologists. I don't want my players able to immediately identify and know the weaknesses of my Big Bads, especially when they're something nobody has ever even seen before. So they're not covered by either Knowledge skill, but I may give hints or point out similarities to known creatures if they roll well enough.

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relativistic
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#7 Postby relativistic » Sun May 27, 2012 2:39 am

Thanks for the comments.

I like the Knowledge(Cryptozoology) idea. I'll consider that when starting future campaigns, if I think such things will come up a lot that it makes sense to differentiate.
Running Deadlands Reloaded,The Flood:

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