5E Passive Perception better than Active Perception? - Page 5
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  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by daviddalbec View Post
    For those players that attempt to game the system and say, "I repeatedly search altars, and secret doors, and repeatedly search for monsters, etc." Or come up with some legalistic description which aims at applying their super high passive perception to many situations, do you just ignore them, say the situation is unique, and call for the roll? Seems solid.
    I don't play with people like that to begin with. But as DM I decide whether and when the rules come into play anyway. The players have no recourse to the rules only to whether they play or not.

    If the dungeon is rife with altars everywhere, fine, but that seems edge case as I mentioned above. Searching for secret doors all the time is fine and comes up regularly in my games - but at the cost of being automatically surprised if a lurking monster pops up (can't do both tasks unless a ranger in favored terrain). "Repeatedly searching for monsters" sounds like staying alert for danger to me so that's all good, too. You don't get to find all the secret doors as well though.

  2. #42
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    It really depends on how the DM uses passive checks. Surprisingly, the rulebooks only talk about using passive checks in the players handbook, and the only example ever given is a stealth check against passive perception. There is never any indication to the DM on how and when to use passive checks. This has led to a lot of confusion and different methods.

    According to Crawford, the minimum value of any Peception check is your passive score, since you should have automatically checked against it before requesting the check. I suppose this was the original intent, but I also think that JC is an idiot, so...

    Many DMs choose to ignore passive checks altogether. I'm not a fan of this, because there are abilities (usually feats) that are designed to improve passive scores. If your DM does this, realize that this abilities will be greatly reduced in usefulness.

    I use a method suggested by Mike Mearls, where the DM makes an active check against the player's passive score. This allows the DM to have a check, without letting the players know what it's for (note: many DMs like to randomly roll dice to throw off players anyway). As we play on Roll20, I've created a macro to easily make the check against each players passive score, so I can just describe what they see/know. If a player wants to actively do something that would result in a check that already had a passive check done, I will allow them to do so, potentially giving them a second chance. This method has worked really well for me, and I've expanded it to include knowledge checks as well, so that we don't have to waste a lot of time dealing with those, except when a player is interested in a specific bit of knowledge not mentioned.
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  3. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shiroiken View Post
    but I also think that JC is an idiot, so...
    really?

  4. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by ad_hoc View Post
    really?
    Yup. IMO he's the reason for "rulings not rules." He is (supposedly) trying to appeal to the largest possible group of players. I'm trying to make the best possible game for my group. These are competing goals, especially considering that his DM style seems almost diametrically opposed to my own. Almost every single one of his "rulings" from Twitter I've disagreed with and ignore in my game.* He's probably not an idiot, but as far as D&D is concerned, I consider him so.


    * We actually agreed on the shield mastery ruling, so I'm not surprised he changed his mind.
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  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shiroiken View Post
    Yup. IMO he's the reason for "rulings not rules." He is (supposedly) trying to appeal to the largest possible group of players. I'm trying to make the best possible game for my group. These are competing goals, especially considering that his DM style seems almost diametrically opposed to my own. Almost every single one of his "rulings" from Twitter I've disagreed with and ignore in my game.* He's probably not an idiot, but as far as D&D is concerned, I consider him so.


    * We actually agreed on the shield mastery ruling, so I'm not surprised he changed his mind.
    He is 1 of 2 lead designers and he has a vision for his game that he is sticking to. You're not just seeing his design in his tweets, his design is the game.

    The smart thing to do when you don't like a game is to not play it.

    If you prefer another edition of D&D play that one.

    I get it, the edition you don't like is the most popular of RPG of all time. I hated 4e so I didn't play it or engage with it. It was unfortunate for me that there was no new D&D for me. If it was wildly popular and poised to last for 20 years I would probably be more disappointed. I wouldn't think of the designers as idiots though. Or feel that I was owed a different game. Or bemoan people who do like it.

    Move on, don't hate people for liking something you don't.

  6. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hriston View Post
    I'm not sure what kind of situation you're imagining. I'm only going to consult a character's passive score if they've told me they're looking for something, so I can't imagine a situation where they hit the DC to find whatever it is they're looking for with their passive score but then I'm asking them to roll a check instead. Maybe an example would help.
    (Also for @DEFCON 1)
    Rather than an example, a general principle: I use Passive Perception against other's rolls, but Perception checks against static DCs. There is then no need to sweat each time to decide what to use.

    The only decision I typically need to make is, when rolling, whether the player rolls in the open or I roll for her secretly.

  7. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by iserith View Post
    I agree with Li Shenron on the matter of passive Perception as a "floor." So far as I can tell, the rules only support this being the case in combat and detecting danger (because per the rules most creatures are alert to danger). Or arguably if a character is engaging in a specific task over time (e.g. searching for secret doors while traveling the dungeon) and then opts to be more reasonably specific in a particular instance of searching for secret doors that might also call for an ability check. There is nothing in the rules, however, that suggest you're always alert to danger outside of combat or always searching for secret doors (for example) such that passive Perception would always be on. It's situational.
    I agree with this assessment, but... I kinda feel like the game works better when theres an agreement that the party is always looking for traps/ambushes unless they state otherwise? Like, I get some tasks are going to take too much attention to performe while remaining alert to danger. But unless the whole party is engaged in such activities, it seems a little silly for those available not to be watching for potential danger.

  8. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xetheral View Post
    Hypothetical: Let's say a player has declared that their character is looking for something in particular and describes their method. A second player declares that their character is assisting the first character and describes how. The first character is trained in Perception and has the Observant feat, making their Passive Perception 10 (Base) + 5 (Observant) + 5 (Advantage) + X (Attribute mod) + Y (Prof bonus) = 20 + X + Y. It is thus impossible for the character to roll higher than their Passive Perception. As a DM, in such a circumstance would you ever tell the player of the first character to roll an [Attribute] (Perception) check? Or would you rely solely on the Passive Perception to resolve uncertainty (if any)?
    Heres how I personally run it. Any hidden details in a scene have a DC to detect. If a characters passive Perception is equal to or higher than the DC, I describe any sensory information the character could notice about the hidden detail without actively looking, e.g. feeling a draft coming from a concealed passageway, spotting a trip wire for a trap, noticing dust on a section of flood that isnt ever walked on, etc. If the player wants to investigate further, they describe what their character is doing to investigate, as per the usual conversation of the game. If the action has a reasonable chance of uncovering new information, a reasonable chance of failing to, and a consequence for failing to, Ill call for an ability check. Wisdom if the described action relies on awareness, Intelligence if it relies on deductive reasoning, etc. If the player has a relevant proficiency, such as Perception when looking for sensory details, Investigation when trying to piece information together such as figuring out what the trip wire does, Stonecunning when trying to analyze environmental features worked from stone, etc. they can apply it. So, this 20 PP character would be very likely to get additional information about hidden details in rooms, but might still need to make checks to learn more about those details.
    Last edited by Charlaquin; Thursday, 25th October, 2018 at 07:47 AM.

  9. #49
    Quote Originally Posted by iserith View Post
    This looks like a Wisdom (Perception) check to me, not a passive Perception check. If it's a Search action in combat, the passive Perception is by default the "floor" because the creature attempting to hide will have had to beat that passive Perception score to have been hidden in the first place.

    Observant characters are good at staying alert to danger and noticing things for which they are looking on an ongoing basis (such as while traveling). My character in ToA, due to a combination of things, has a passive Perception score of 29. But that only applies when I'm in the position to notice threats while going about my business. Or, say, if I take my attention off noticing threats and search for secret doors as we move about the dungeon. If I search this one altar right here in a specific fashion one time, then I may have to make a Wisdom (Perception) check and I'd need to roll a 20 to match my passive score (if I remember correctly).
    I think this is played out exactly like it should be. Iserith's got it right IMO.
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  10. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by daviddalbec View Post
    For that case, Crawford does bring up the example of when a PC is sneaking up on someone watching a play. You aren't obscured at all technically, but the DM might find that it is sufficient grounds to consider you to still be invisible. Very similarly what the other poster said about cases where you're passive perception isn't on because you're paying attention to navigating map. I took this a bit further, maybe, and said that every person wouldn't be instantly interested, or aware of every book in a room so as to pick out the false one.

    What I think I'm seeing from you, is that you'd argue that in the case of sneaking up on the play attendent, it would still be possible to model this. Would you say something like that the quarry watching the play is just distracted, equating to some DC increase?
    To me, noticing a book is "fake" is an example of the difference between investigate skill and perception skill. It's a difference between observation and examination and that is how I divide my "scenery" quite often.

    Can an orc in a box be noticed without examining- yes cuz the box only blocks touch and sight but could allow sound and smell to give up the ghost. Depending on the nature of the box, it might provide advantage on the hide check or disadvantage to the perception roll.

    For the sneak up on someone watching a play, I view that as an aid other "help action" by the play and so you get the benefits there to whichever side you want to apply the -5 (passive) or additional die (active.) However, if the individual had declared "watching for trouble, not watching the play" (like security duty) then that would not be the case but it would be rather clear they are not there to watch the play.

    I also tend to do this with cases of "I'm busy" where I font say someone picking a lock or foraging fir food and game cannot use their passive perception to notice noises or smells or new breezes - instead I give them disadvantage on that passive perception.

    I mean, especially in the outdoor activity cases, the idea that foraging, mapping the travel or navigation means you cannot use passive perceptions as a general rule seems a bit off since each of those involved direct study of and/or interaction with the environment that contains these things you might notice. I mean, if I am referencing our position relative to those two hills in the distance you would think I might be the first to notice the riders dust or storm clouds from that direction, right? If I am out trying to hunt down some game, I might be the first to notice the threat of another predator approaching our camp or signs of his recent activity.

    The "choose a task" and that locks out other interactions seems at odds with using rules as resolving scenes with characters and more like a "pieces on gameboard" like say chess where if you are a knight this round you cannot go diagonal but if you are bishop you can etc.

    There may be times when a strict division between action and awareness is called for, where passive perception is better not allowed because of other activities but for me the normal course of events and more commonplace cases would be for either normal perception/passive perception or for disadvantaged perception as opposed to locking out perception on a task basis.

    It reminds me of GMs who insist you declare what you are searching for when you search an area or a desk or a pile.

    THAT SAID it may help if your goal is to emphasize GAME and progression to use such a sort of "pieces and moves" style as it likely keeps things moving if one dispenses with some of that character stuff. Nothing wrong with that. I knew of a Hero RPG game where each session started with team assembled outside of crisis spot getting briefing by unnamed agents. It was done deliberately to get into the fight and action ASAP. I thanked them after one session and left telling them it wasnt the game I was looking for but they had a blast.

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