D&D 5E High Passive Perception


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Cyrinishad

Explorer
I'm running published adventures and have yet to see a single NPC with class levels in official materials.

I'm sure there is one somewhere, but they sure are not the default.

As for creating my own, I try to follow the precedent and use ready made NPC stat blocks.

There are no rogue NPCs, but there are Scouts and Assassins. And so on.

I'm sure there would have been NPCs with competitive skill bonuses, had WotC wanted them.

Sent from my C6603 using EN World mobile app

Cap, it feels like you're unnecessarily restricting yourself here... I appreciate your perspective that it would be helpful for WotC to put more stat-blocks of fully-developed NPCs with class levels into their published adventures, but simply because they haven't done so to your satisfaction doesn't mean that they don't exist, or that you shouldn't feel entitled to create them...

Specifically, in the DMG on page 92, it encourages DMs to use monster stat blocks for NPCs and/or give NPCs a class and levels...

I have not played in or run a D&D game in the past 20 years, where NPCs didn't have classes and levels.

Additionally, I have never perceived published adventures as anything other than a basic template or blueprint laid out for the DM, upon which the DM can add or refine elements and tailor it to challenge a particular group of PCs... If 5e was the only edition of D&D that ever existed, I might be more inclined toward your approach. But, when taken within the context of all editions of D&D... Whether it be TSR, WotC, Hasbro, etc... They provide you with the blueprints, materials, tools, etc... But it's up to you to build the house, tailored the way you like it, after all, your group is the one living in it...
 

I fully agree with Cirinishad. No DM should restrict himself (or herself) to what is written in the core books. Adding pc like powers to NPC can and should be done if the need arise. That "need" frequencey should be determined by the DM. I really see no problem in doing more fleshed out NPC once in a while.
 


Triumph_Fork

First Post
Perception is one (if not the most) important skill in DND

So I was told when I first started playing...

There's no wonder why your player specialised in it.

You're going to have to roll with it regardless. He can probably spot things out of the ordinary, but can't necessarily detect what it is exactly (like with Intelligence). They'll notice where a spot looks clean, but only a character with high Investigation knows what a secret door looks like. They could notice a branch snap, and vines move to attack the party, but only a character with high Nature can know what kind of creature it could be, and it's possible weaknesses.

That being said, it's not a game breaker.

Monsters
Did you have ambushing monsters? Let the rest of the party be surprised and let this defensive player not be. It's part of the game. There are ways to get around perception... Maybe an area is Magically Silenced? Invisible enemies? Now, don't go writing in 10,000 encounters with silenced, invisible enemies but if you NEED some monster(s) to ambush the party in part of the story, then I'd do it.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
Cap, it feels like you're unnecessarily restricting yourself here... I appreciate your perspective that it would be helpful for WotC to put more stat-blocks of fully-developed NPCs with class levels into their published adventures, but simply because they haven't done so to your satisfaction doesn't mean that they don't exist, or that you shouldn't feel entitled to create them...

Specifically, in the DMG on page 92, it encourages DMs to use monster stat blocks for NPCs and/or give NPCs a class and levels...

I have not played in or run a D&D game in the past 20 years, where NPCs didn't have classes and levels.

Additionally, I have never perceived published adventures as anything other than a basic template or blueprint laid out for the DM, upon which the DM can add or refine elements and tailor it to challenge a particular group of PCs... If 5e was the only edition of D&D that ever existed, I might be more inclined toward your approach. But, when taken within the context of all editions of D&D... Whether it be TSR, WotC, Hasbro, etc... They provide you with the blueprints, materials, tools, etc... But it's up to you to build the house, tailored the way you like it, after all, your group is the one living in it...
I'm not restricting myself, I'm just saying that unless your DM goes though the trouble of creating classed NPCs, and official modules don't, you can expect the PCs to significantly outclass everybody else in the skills department.

I'm just saying this is the 5e default as evidenced by every published adventure so far.

It does not mean you're doing it wrong; only you shouldn't discuss as if it was the default assumption.

It's not. Not having to create NPCs with class levels (treating them like monsters, essentially) is actually a great benefit of 5e over 3e.

It's just a shame this simplified approach also drops any chance of high monster/NPC skill bonuses ☺

Sent from my C6603 using EN World mobile app
 

Eltab

Lord of the Hidden Layer
My AL Monk/Rogue is built to maximize Perception. Because I can't stand "Surprise! Ambush!" fights all the time.
In one module, I saw all the resource-expending fights coming. We could evade some, ambush others, and prepare for the rest.
I couldn't get lost either (careful choice of background) so we moved swiftly through a "trackless swamp" Skill Challenge.
It all meant we got to spend more IRL time facing the BBEG at the end.

As DM...
Don't try too hard to surprise the PCs along the road. (On the rare occasion you do, it will be memorable.)
Don't bother using wandering monsters to delay the PCs.
Can the PC use Perception on a pre-existing Illusion? Hmmm...
Do look for things that use some other skill (Find Traps? Trained with Thieves Tools? Nature?).
Do have smart villains who think about "What if wandering Heroes knock on MY front door?" and use battle tactics appropriately.
Eventually the PCs will get a reputation. THEN have a BBEG plan deliberate counter-tactics to mess them up.
 

jgsugden

Legend
How do you guys handle players with really high passive perception? I have one that got the Observant feat and high Perception already, giving them 21 Passive Perception at level 1... How the hell do I deal with that!? They spot everything at all times...
I agree with some of the great advice here - and am happy to see more posts like it than in the last thread on this topic from a few weeks ago.

PCs are heroes. In this game, we build them by giving them heroic abilities. This player invested his resources in giving his PC a nearly superhuman ability to be observant.

How do you handle it? Celebrate the bleep out of it and make it heroic.

Don't counteract it habitually. Let him use his heroic levels of observation to spot things that everyone misses. When he does, describe it in a cool way - how he spotted, heard, smelled or supernaturally sensed something that everyone else missed.

Does this mean you won't catch the PCs off guard often? Yes. Does that limit your options as a DM for the things the PCs will face? Yes. Is that a problem? No. There are still a thousand and one ways to properly challenge PCs when they know the secrets.

HOWEVER, one fun thing to do is drop in kryptonite for your Superman - but only on rare occasion. Put in those rare villains that can beat even THAT PCs amazing powers of observation, but make sure they stand out. If Superman faces kryptonite in every comic, it gets boring. It just has to be rare enough to catch them off guard and stand out as a major fun event. If your Sherlock Holmes never misses a clue and a high level rogue actually manages to slip by him.... epic moment. If every encounter with rogues features villains under the effects of potions of stealth that give +10 stealth... Sherlock becomes Watson.
 

Gwarok

Explorer
I just reduced the passive perception from base 10 + Skill Mod to 5+ Skill Mod. And if you have disadvantage on perception/investigation for whatever reason that passive does not work. Still makes passive usable and I think just noticing things without actively doing so should be less than a base 10, which is an average roll for active searching, that always seemed odd, especially since Rogue's actually have an ability that makes skill checks a 10 minimum, so obviously having a 10 automatically is seen as a good thing, so don't give it away for free.
 

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