Yes, which is one of the two reasons I keep saying "encounter" in our debate, and why I stress that a city or the moon is not generally an encounter.Branduil said:Looking more closely at the rules, it says "a penalty applies on such checks." What does it mean by such checks? Spot checks to determine the beginning of an encounter.
EXACTLY my point. It's NOT about hide checks. It's about starting an encounter, in general, regardless of hiding or out in the open. Same stuff as in the DMG.In other words, only in this specific use of the spot skill does the penalty apply. It says nothing about a penalty for opposed Hide checks,
Now that part makes no sense. The rule is a distance rule. Of course it is about spotting things at a distance. That's all the rule is about in fact.or spotting things father in the distance.
No, sorry, may in that context is not an "this rule is optional". It's an alert to be prepared for such an happenstance, and how it is adjudicated. Optional rules are pretty well spelled out, and are usually in a sidebar. That's a skill check rule right there, so it is no more optional than any other rule. "May" is in fact used in a LOT of places in the rules, where the context is that it's not an option just a normal use of the word "May".And it seems this use of spot checks is entirely optional: "The Dungeon Master MAY call for spot checks."
If your argument is that the spot rule about distance is optional, I think you will be all alone in that one. It's not a strong argument in my opinion (and I suspect in just about everyone else's as well).So really I don't see how this optional use of the spot skill relates to the telescope argument at all.