Age of the Apocalypse
Knowledge (forbidden lore)
You know That Which Should Not Be Known. You have had horrible supernatural experiences and read forbidden tomes, learning truly dark secrets that have challenged everything you thought you knew. Since these revelations defy logic or commonly accepted fact, it does not matter how intelligent or wise you are when using this skill—only how much you have been exposed to these dark secrets.
Check: Answering a question about the horrible deities and secrets that lurk at the edges of reality has a DC of 10 (for easy questions), 15 (for elementary questions), or 20–30 (for difficult or really tough questions). Unlike in other fields of study, there are almost no really easy questions associated with this dark knowledge.
You can use this skill to identify monsters and their special powers or vulnerabilities. In general, the DC of such a check equals 10 + the monster’s HD. A successful check allows you to remember one piece of useful information about that monster. For every 5 points by which your check result exceeds the DC, the GM can give another piece of useful information.
The GM can decide which monsters are subject to the Knowledge (forbidden lore) skill and which monsters are subject to one of the standard Knowledge skills. For example, the GM may rule that Knowledge (the planes) is still the relevant skill for learning or knowing about outsiders, rather than allowing them to be identified by Knowledge (forbidden lore).
However, in this campaign, aberrations and oozes should be able to be identified by Knowledge (forbidden lore) rather than by Knowledge (arcana) and Knowledge (dungeoneering), respectively.
Action: Usually none. In most cases, making a Knowledge check doesn’t take an action—you simply know the answer or you don’t.
Try Again: No. The check represents what you know, and thinking about a topic a second time does not let you know something that you never learned in the first place.
Special: You cannot gain ranks in this skill by spending skill points. You can only gain ranks by reading forbidden tomes or encountering horrible creatures. Each rank you gain in this skill permanently reduces your maximum Sanity by 1 point: The more you know about the horrible truths underlying reality, the less capable you are of leading a normal life. A character’s first episode of temporary or indefinite insanity bestows 2 ranks in the Knowledge (forbidden lore) skill, thereby lowering his maximum Sanity by 2 points. Each time a character fails a Sanity check and endures another episode of insanity, he gains an additional rank in Knowledge (forbidden lore).
For example, Caldark has 1 rank in Knowledge (forbidden lore) after reading a strange manuscript. She then steps outside, sees a chaos beast, and goes indefinitely insane, her raving mind failing to understand the strange creature. Since she has never gone insane before, her player adds 2 ranks in Knowledge (forbidden lore) to Caldark’s character sheet. Caldark’s Maximum Sanity is now 96 (99 minus 3 ranks of Knowledge [forbidden lore]).
You cannot take the Knowledge (forbidden lore) skill during character creation. However, the skill has no maximum rank; your level does not limit the number of ranks in Knowledge (forbidden lore) that you can acquire.