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D&D 5E Cloak of Elvenkind - Advantage to Stealth AND -5 to passive perception?

Which is not correct.
Yes, it is correct. To rely on something, it needs to be the primary sense used.

Examples of the absurdity created by your interpretation:

B is trying to find A (via the Search action). In each of the following examples, A is a Wood Elf, and is currently hidden [unseen and unheard] and wears a Cloak of Elvenkind.

1) A is hidden, and peering around a tree, 30' away from and observing B, preparing an ambush.

2) A is hidden, 10' away from B and invisible.

3) A is also a Warlock, and is hidden in the radius of a Darkness spell, 30' away from B.

4) A is hidden in rain (light obscurement) and 30' away from B.

Using your logic, B has disadvantage on perception checks to locate A, when A is unseen but visible (hiding behind a tree and peering around, or hiding in a downpour), but OTOH when B is totally impossible to be seen (invisible, in darkness) there is no disadvantage, and the Perception check is made normally (as per the Search action and locating hidden creatures).

In other words, your interpretation of the word 'rely' leads to absurd outcomes Mine doesn't. My interpretation is therefore to be preferred.
 

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jgsugden

Legend
...
In other words, your interpretation of the word 'rely' leads to absurd outcomes Mine doesn't. My interpretation is therefore to be preferred.
And yet, mine is RAW using the common interpretation of words.

Any interpretation leads to some results that require adjudication. That is the entire reason they put so much onus on the DM to adjudicate rather than going with lengthy rules that attempt to cover every contingency.

Further, think about what you do when someone is sneaking up to you in the dark. What do you do? You focus on sounds. You pay more attention to sounds.
 

Yes, it is correct. To rely on something, it needs to be the primary sense used.
Almost everyone uses sight as their primary sense. Adventurers are an outlier since their job often involves paying attention to sounds and smells, especially when crawling around in caves and dungeons, but they probably go back to sight primary whenever they feel safe.
 

Almost everyone uses sight as their primary sense.
Not for every task requiring perceiving something you dont.

And yet, mine is RAW using the common interpretation of words.
No, it isnt.

The common interpretation of 'rely' is 'is this sense the central/main pillar.'

In most cases when detecting a hidden creature, seeing that creature is not the main sense used (and in many cases it's not used at all).

Further, think about what you do when someone is sneaking up to you in the dark. What do you do? You focus on sounds. You pay more attention to sounds.
Your interpretation leads to a Perception check (via the Search action) to detect this creature being made normally, as long as you dont turn around and look at them and listen only, relying on hearing.

However if the observer instead turned around, and stared straight at the hidden creature using sight and hearing (presume the 'sneaker' is a Skulker in dim light) the observer suddenly gets disadvantage to the Perception check, due to dim light.

Heck, all I need to do to thwart your ruling is close my eyes when I need to make a perception check. Then I am not relying on sight at all, and I make the check normally.

So your interpretation is wrong.
 


Hriston

Dungeon Master of Middle-earth
In the REAL WORLD, I am going to sneak up on you. It is foggy outside. I start out hiding behind a wall when you are facing away from me. When I walk out from around the wall and try to quietly approach you, there are a few things that might happen. I might reach you before you detect me, but that isn't likely as I am about as stealthy as an elephant. You might hear me before I reach you. You might turn and see me before I reach you. You might smell my manly musk before I reach you. There are lots of ways that individually I could first be detected.
There are rules around all this. First, the DM determined that I could not see you clearly behind the wall, so you were allowed to hide there. Evidently, you were far enough away from me to be detected or you won a contest with my ability to detect you through non-visual means, because you remained hidden there. Then, when you came out of your hiding place, the DM determined that you could remain hidden because I was distracted. So no, I could not turn and see you because I am distracted. If I wasn't, I would turn and see you immediately. The DM decides this, not an ability check.
 

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