D&D 5E Beast master wants to use pet to get +5 to passive perception

Stalker0

Legend
So here’s the scenario. I have a player who is a beast master ranger (knowing that they tend to be a bit weak).

In general he wants to use his wolf to stand sentry most of the time, “use the help action” to give him advantage on perception checks (which then translates to a +5 to passive perception).

he already has a very high passive perception (observant) so this would definately push him into the “very high” territory.

what do you think, is that a reasonable way to use an animal companion?
 

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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
So here’s the scenario. I have a player who is a beast master ranger (knowing that they tend to be a bit weak).

In general he wants to use his wolf to stand sentry most of the time, “use the help action” to give him advantage on perception checks (which then translates to a +5 to passive perception).

he already has a very high passive perception (observant) so this would definately push him into the “very high” territory.

what do you think, is that a reasonable way to use an animal companion?
I mean yeah, seems legit.
 





billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him) 🇺🇦🇵🇸🏳️‍⚧️
I don't think it makes much sense to actively help on a passive skill check so I'd be going with a no on that one. But I'm also pretty strict about the applicability of passive skill use because they are, otherwise, too abuseable.
 

Shiroiken

Legend
It's pretty good, and while it may seem obnoxious on paper, it will play out differently in game. This use of Passive Perception is only useful to avoid surprise, which means that the PC isn't doing another travel activity. This means they're not: tracking, foraging, or navigating, which are things the ranger normally takes care of.
 

toucanbuzz

No rule is inviolate
RAW it's allowed because the Wolf is able to use the Perception skill on its own to detect dangers. Therefore, it can Help another, and I can't see any world in which an animal companion only exists for combat purposes.

I'd limit it to what an animal can actually assist with, however (threats it can sense with sight/smell/hearing). Checks to notice other things (magical sensors, my backpack has been moved, etc.), the wolf wouldn't be much use. Same would apply for Familiars if you're going down the road of Find Familiar being allowed to give pretty much a permanent +5 to passive perception.

I don't think it makes much sense to actively help on a passive skill check...
RAW using the Help action is converted to a +5 to a passive check. However, the rules are more guidelines, and I don't begrudge a table if the group says that's a little too good.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
Player basically wants a character that Spider-Sense their way to notice most danger. In my mind, there's nothing wrong with that. All it really means is that you as a DM just won't use "Get a jump on the party!" as a standard operating procedure for your encounter design for this group because it's rarely going to work.

So instead... you just adjust your SOPs with how you deal with them. Don't use sneaking/surprise against them except to either 1) let the Ranger use their "special toy" of a really high PP occasionally by sending sneaking creature(s) every once in a while that you know going in are going to be spotted straight away... and 2) Get to create that massively good "assassin" type of character that has Stealth up the wazoo to finally get the drop on the party that one time. Because that will hopefully shock the Ranger into action and make this enemy really important to them-- being the one thing the Ranger wasn't able to spot. Insta-BBEG. (Especially if you use the "assassin" to take out the animal companion at some point to really drive it home to the Ranger that no matter how good you are at something, there will always be that one person that's better.)

(This is the same sort of thing I go with when you have a party entirely made up of creatures with Darkvision-- just remove "sneaking up on the party in darkness" from my SOPs in encounter design for this group. They aren't going to really work, so no reason to keep banging my head against the wall trying to make it work.)
 

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