Avoiding the passive perception trap.

Kzach

Banned
Banned
I'm sure others have realised this but to date I haven't quite figured a way around it. What I'm talking about is the character with a high perception who can virtually never be caught by a trap. They make traps pointless.

So either you put in a trap that is too high for the level of the party, or all your traps become pointless additions and therefore free XP for the group. How do DM's out there avoid this problem?
 

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Most traps in 4E can't be circumvented with a single Perception check. The PC may gain a bonus, or recognize what the trap is, but they still have to get past it/get around it/disarm it/defeat it.
 

Hussar

Legend
Would it not be possible to add circumstantial penalties to perception checks based on the situation? For example, something as simple as poor lighting could tack on a -2 circumstance penalty.

Or, could you not just adjust the DC of the trap slightly to reflect your party's abilities?

I'm not familiar enough with the specifics of 4e mechanics, but, doesn't jacking up your perception this high require some investment by the character? You could just reward that investment and accept that traps are something they are very strong at.
 

catsclaw227

First Post
Most traps in 4E can't be circumvented with a single Perception check. The PC may gain a bonus, or recognize what the trap is, but they still have to get past it/get around it/disarm it/defeat it.
This. I have a high perception druid in my party and I give him lots of perception tidbits, but disarming/dealing with a trap is a totally different bird.
 

Fedifensor

Explorer
I'm sure others have realised this but to date I haven't quite figured a way around it. What I'm talking about is the character with a high perception who can virtually never be caught by a trap. They make traps pointless.

So either you put in a trap that is too high for the level of the party, or all your traps become pointless additions and therefore free XP for the group. How do DM's out there avoid this problem?
Or, you recognize that the player chose to focus on Perception, and reward him for it by letting him find the traps. Just don't give out XP for them (unless the DC is high enough that he will fail with passive Perception).

Also, as mentioned above, finding a trap doesn't mean you can disable a trap. In the middle of a combat, it's quite possible for a character to be knocked into an active trap by an enemy. If there is the potential for this to happen, then the trap is a threat and thus worth XP. The same applies if the trap blocks the only way to proceed in the adventure, and thus the party needs to figure out a way to disable or bypass it.
 

Kzach

Banned
Banned
Or, could you not just adjust the DC of the trap slightly to reflect your party's abilities?

I wouldn't want to punish a player simply for having a good score in a skill.

The problem is that some characters can have such high perception skills that they'll effectively never fail to detect a trap that falls within their level range.
 

Asmor

First Post
Step 1: Subtract 10 from perception DC of trap.

Step 2: When the time is relevant, roll a d20 and add that to the DC. Compare to PCs' passive perceptions.

Thus, you preserve the chance of failure, keep all the benefits of a passive DC, and PCs with high bonuses get a meaningful reward.
 

Jack99

Adventurer
Carric in my campaign has around 38 passive perception, causing all level appropriate traps to be worth little. The rest of the party calls him (with affection) "The Sonar". I left him find a lot of traps. Makes him happy and takes nothing away from my enjoyment. There are still plenty of traps that are lethal even though you know they are there.
 

vagabundo

Adventurer
Lot of goodies in this thread and my take: sometimes the perceiving of the trap is too late.

And your player has challenged you to come up with something inventive.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
I guess the gist of it is: the 4E designers made it easy to create Perception-machines as characters because most people don't find it fun to have to search each square for traps, thus bringing the game to a crawl.

In other words, PCs auto-finding traps and making simple pressure plate traps irrelevant is just part of the heroic experience.

I truly believe that if both DM and players actually like getting random spears through their bodies they should create a party where nobody is playing a character trained in Perception.

Either that, or go play another game.
 


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