D&D General "I make a perception check."

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
That's fine. But a good amount of this thread seems to be putting down players and DMs who choose to not follow RAW in this instance. If the player just wants to declare a check, roll the dice, and the DM is fine with this, then go for it. I guess I'm just surprised by so many posts here by DM who don't simply shrug their shoulders and go "sure" if a player wants to do so. The game is minimally impacted, and the player is happy. Even though I'm usually a fairly RAW DM, I guess I'm a bit unusual with not minding this at all...
That the game is minimally impacted is the point of contention here. I think pretty much everyone who prefers the players to describe actions rather than just ask to make checks feels it does have a significant impact on their games. It certainly does on mine.
 

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Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
The rules i quoted specifically say the repeated use of a skill. So, yes, a detailed search every 10 feet.
So it takes hours for the party to go down a 100 foot passage? Because detailed searches of both sides every 10 feet is going to take forever.
So, yes, the PCs are moving slowly and suffer whatever consequences might happen for focusing on searching. The rules do not indicate any different use of the skill, only a different procedure in determining the result of the skill use as a way to save time. Or, when the DM wants to keep the results secret. Again, no changes in the actual way the skill is used in play are indicated.
The absolutely do differentiate between active uses and passive uses. Every physical task is one that can be/is done repeatedly so there could be no ability checks if passive checks invalidated them like you are saying.
 
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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Were the DMG and PHB written by the same people? The DMG seems to back up the passiveness of things mire like the sage advice, and in contrast to how the PHB seems to read to many.

The DMG feels like passive perception is kind of like AC. You just get to use it when stealthed against by a person or object.

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Most of these are examples of the other way the PHB suggests using passive ability checks: when the DM wants to determine the result secretly.
 

Reynard

Legend
So it takes hours for the party to go down a 100 foot passage? Because detailed searches of both sides every 10 feet is going to take forever.
I think that is kind of the intent. In other words passive checks aren't meant to give you a free pass on spell durations and wandering monster checks, but just reduce the number of rolls.
The absolutely do differentiate between active uses and passive uses. Every physical task is one that can be/is done repeatedly so there could be no ability checks if passive checks invalidated them like you are saying.
I think we are having a disagreement over something we can't actually determine with certainty re: RAW. I apologize if I got a little insistent. You do you and ill do me and I bet we both have fun games.
 


Reynard

Legend
Well since this a rant thread...

What the eff is up with separating Investigation and Perception? They're the same damn thing.
I get what they were going for but I don't feel like they stuck the landing. Perception is seeing the bloody knife and the old ledger and the letters from an angry business associate, while investigation is putting them all together to figure out who the next victim is. But that's super narrow, so they expanded it.

it is extra weird for rogues, because they have three separate "I deal with the trap" skills and it ultimately just slows down play.
 

Celebrim

Legend
I'm not saying you should. I'm saying that those here who say it should never be done and act as if it's some horrible bad thing might just want to consider that some players might prefer to do that, and some DMs are fine with them doing so.

I'm perfectly fine with a table whose process of play includes a proposition filter that accepts bare Moves as proposition without a transcript of play or interaction with the fiction. If there is a table that wants to play that way and it makes them happy, then they can do so.

But that's not my table. You learn to roleplay, and you learn to interact with the fiction, or you can just leave. It's not like I have a shortage of players. If you aren't going to be entertaining*, I'm going to be happier without you and maybe you'll be happier somewhere where they are happy with, "I use Persuade on the Guard" as a proposition.

I will say that players that don't role-play IME are usually players with low self-esteem and who lack confidence in their social skills. And in my experience, prodding them to enter into the role and inhabit it and offer social propositions in character and trust their ability to do so tends to be therapeutic and builds self-confidence. It usually starts out a bit painful, and it usually involves a lot of stuttering at first and people telling me, "I'm not that good at this.", and a lot of me saying, "You're doing fine", but it generally works out. They as I say, "put points on their [real life] character sheet". The build skills and they become better players all around. Arguably my best RPer in my current group started out as the shyest and least confident to act in character.

So I'm not going to apologize for "forcing" players to learn to play well. It's worked out really well over 40 years and it brings me so much joy to watch players come out of their shells and turn into just beautiful role-players with shining moments of awesome.

*No body wants to watch a table with propositions like "I use Persuade on the Guard" and no acting and no engaging transcript of play. Matt Mercer doesn't become famous if he has those players. So why would should I want to participate in that?
 

Celebrim

Legend
What the eff is up with separating Investigation and Perception? They're the same damn thing.

There is a difference in seeing something and recognizing the importance of what you see. Generally Perception deals with animal instincts and reflexes. It's how good your senses are, how alert you are to the slightest sounds and motions, and so forth. Special Forces operators, snipers, and cats have high Perceptions.

Investigation is the skill of interpreting your perceptions intelligently. It has to do with how much of what you can see you can understand when you attention is focused on it. Hercule Perot and Sherlock Holmes have high Investigation. You can have both, but it's not contradictory to be good at one and bad at the other.

There are often parallel divisions in other systems between "Notice" and "Comprehend".
 




Celebrim

Legend
You might not want to watch it, but PLENTY OF PEOPLE play that way, for a number of reasons. ;)

I'm aware of that. I started my post by conceding that. I'm just saying I don't really want to watch you do that either.

But beyond that, if feel there is an ethic of reciprocity here. I've never yet met the player that didn't prefer that I act out NPCs in character and personify them with voices and personality. I've never yet met the player that truly preferred the GM shouldn't be trying to create evocative and memorable NPCs through acting them out in character. I've never yet met the player that preferred for me to say, "The NPC tells you a funny joke" compared to the NPC actually telling them a funny joke. I've never yet met the player that preferred the GM didn't make them laugh, didn't like being so empathetic to an NPC that they developed protective feelings toward them and so forth. If you are going to demand or even just prefer that your GM be "a good GM" by doing those things, you have some obligation to respond in kind as a player.

Now, again, if for whatever reasons you don't care that your GM is never in character, and you are happy for them to speak to you in Moves rather than engaging with the fiction, and you don't care if they narrate evocatively then OK, you all have fun at that table.

But if you reflect and think to yourself, "Yeah, I did enjoy when the GM spoke in character as that NPC and acted out the character, and I laughed and it made the game better.", then at least consider responding in kind.
 
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DND_Reborn

Legend
But if you reflect and think to yourself, "Yeah, I did enjoy when the GM spoke in character as that NPC and acted out the character, and I laughed and it made the game better.", then at least consider responding in kind.
A lot of players aren't comfortable with it, especially if their DM does it well because they feel like they won't do as well and are embarrassed, which leads them to play with more action statements than narratives. I've seen it dozens and dozens of times...
 

Celebrim

Legend
A lot of players aren't comfortable with it, especially if their DM does it well because they feel like they won't do as well and are embarrassed, which leads them to play with more action statements than narratives. I've seen it dozens and dozens of times...

So? This is exactly what I'm talking about. I've also seen that a lot.

So help them to become comfortable with it.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
Someone who can see through invisibility won't automatically detect you in the pantry. It's harder to hear you through a closed door than if you are standing out in the open.

No one has mentioned seeing through invisibility at all until you, just now.

Also, it maybe harder to hear you through a door, but what if you are (as the example said) wearing full plate armor? What if when you tried to shut the door from the inside, you smacked it against your armor for lack of room. This why you still need to roll stealth, not just auto-pass.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
Given that I try my best not to leave out details when describing the environment, there is nothing else to see from the vantage point where you entered the room. What else would you like to do?

So, you are saying that there is nothing hidden in the room? Or are you saying "I want to try and detect hidden things" isn't good enough to roll to detect hidden things.

Do you simply tell people things like "there is an assassin hidden in the wardrobe" as soon as they enter the room? I certainly doubt it.

"hidden—both unseen and unheard"

If someone says their PC hides in a pantry, closes the door, and stays quiet, I am not going to automatically call for a Dex(Stealth) check when an NPC lumbers into the room. Unless circumstances, such as tight quarters in said pantry, warrant it.

Same with someone who is Invisible in the room who says they are staying quiet before the NPC comes along.

Homebrewing is fine, but RAW that isn't how it works. And supposedly the high stealth character still needs to roll, because the paladin spoke up first and took a good hiding spot, which the rogue now has no option to use. Which now makes stealth like a jeopardy buzzer, first to speak gets to auto-pass, no regard to the character's skills.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
But I’m not asking “how do you look.” I’m applying the rules for determining what you perceive when you look for danger (a passive Perception check) and narrating the results. This is something that it’s assumed your character is doing all the time, so I would have included that narration in my description of the environment. If for some reason you suspect there may be danger beyond what you already noticed with your passive perception, and you want to do something to try to find it, you’ll need to tell me what that is. You already tried looking around. It’s up to you to come up with something else if you want to do something else.

But this is the problem. Other than "Looking for danger" how else do you look for danger? Get too specific, and you are just making an investigation check, not a perception check.

Or you risk asking the wrong question, and getting false positives.

P: "I step partways forward, paying special attention to the wardrobe."
DM: "You don't see anything near or in the wardrobe"
P: "Okay, I finish stepping into the room and head towards the chest"
DM: "The assassin's blade stabs you in the back, he was behind the door. You didn't look there."

And maybe YOU would never do that, but I've met people who WOULD do that, and the more people like that a player has met and played with, the more likely they are going to want to be as vague as possible, so that they cover as many possible avenues as they can. This is why I never see someone say "I check the floor for mechanical traps" they say "I check for traps" to indicate they are checking in 360 degrees for all possible traps
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
You mean like recalling lore? You say what you hope to learn (e.g. “I want to know about religious significance the idol might have”) and where your character might know that information from (e.g. “I think back to my training as an acolyte.”)

“Anything of interest” is a perfectly valid thing to search for, as is “danger.” If you really don’t know how to look for something, I have to wonder what would happen if you ever lost your keys or the like.

See above. Just state what you want to know and where your character might have learned it from.

OKay, but let me give you a counter example here.

You have finished describing an idol. The cleric, who was an acolyte in their backstory, holds up the die and asks "Religion?" Do you really need them to say "I want to think back to my training as an acolyte of the Sun Lord to see if I have heard anything about this idol before."? I mean... it is very obvious they are asking about the idol, and that they are asking if they have run across it in their studies, whether as an acolyte or later.

Because the Religion skill proficiency doesn't actually require or state anything about HOW they gained the proficiency. Did they study religious texts? Were they trained by a bard? Did they just grow up and speak to a bunch of old priests? The skill itself doesn't require anything about how you got it, so why am I required to specify why I might know something about something I've never seen before.

The goal is only half the story; I also need to know the approach.

But why? Knowledge and perception and insight are completely passive. And by that I mean, I don't make "knowledge" checks in real life by doing any specific action. I just know what I know. If I need to do an action, like pulling out a book or searching my phone, then I'm doing research. And generally, if I have access to research materials, the DM calls for an investigation check to go through them, not a knowledge check. I don't walk into a room and perceive things by taking any specific action. In fact, most of the actions I've seen laid out for "perception" are either altering the environment (throwing in a torch to illuminate the room) or are investigation. Neither of which is meant by a perception check. If I'm listening to someone talk, I don't reach out and grab their face to see if they are lying, or write down their words and reread them to see if they are lying, I'm already doing the pertinent action. Listening and looking.

A lie can be thought of as the social equivalent of a trap. In order for the players to react to it, it needs to be telegraphed. So what I would do is describe something “off” about the NPC’s behavior, which indicates to the players that there’s something going on, and gives them something to act on.

By doing what? What action can they possibly take if you have clued them off by saying the NPC is "unusually sweaty" or something. You've either given them enough clues they are just looking to confirm via insight, or they are looking for insight to give them the truth. But most players want to roll to find out if they missed any clues that the person was lying.

And it is really hard to look at me acting like the NPC and determine if they are lying, because of course I'm lying, I'm trying to act and I'm a bad actor.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
Well since this a rant thread...

What the eff is up with separating Investigation and Perception? They're the same damn thing.

No, and I think this is the biggest problem with the perception debate we've been having.

Perception is "what do I see, what do I smell, what do I hear"

Investigation is "now I'm going to start poking and moving things and interacting with the environment"

These are fundamentally different.

I get what they were going for but I don't feel like they stuck the landing. Perception is seeing the bloody knife and the old ledger and the letters from an angry business associate, while investigation is putting them all together to figure out who the next victim is. But that's super narrow, so they expanded it.

Huh? Where did you get that interpretation from? Sure, you can use it for that, that's basically how it works for illusions, but an Investigation check is often... investigating a scene in detail, not just "can I use the clues to come to a conclusion"
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
But this is the problem. Other than "Looking for danger" how else do you look for danger? Get too specific, and you are just making an investigation check, not a perception check.
An investigation check is most definitely not just a more specific perception check at my table. I mean, for one thing I call for the ability and let the player determine if one of their proficiencies applies, so it’s really just a wisdom check, to which you can decide if you think your perception or investigation proficiency (or some other proficiency or no proficiency at all) applies. But, by default the investigation skill is a specific application of the intelligence ability. According to the PHB, “an Intelligence check comes into play when you need to draw on logic, education, memory, or deductive reasoning” and proficiency in the investigation skill applies “When you look around for clues and make deductions based on those clues.” In contrast, Perception is a specific application of wisdom. The PHB says “A Wisdom check might reflect an effort to read body language, understand someone's feelings, notice things about the environment, or care for an injured person” and perception proficiency applies when you try to “spot, hear, or otherwise detect the presence of something.” In other words, Perception is for finding the clues, investigation is for deducing their meaning.
Or you risk asking the wrong question, and getting false positives.

P: "I step partways forward, paying special attention to the wardrobe."
DM: "You don't see anything near or in the wardrobe"
P: "Okay, I finish stepping into the room and head towards the chest"
DM: "The assassin's blade stabs you in the back, he was behind the door. You didn't look there."
I don’t see anything unreasonable in that exchange.

Well… Except I guess for the part where the assassin successfully stabs the PC in the back without initiative being rolled or an attack roll being made. But I don’t think that was what you were meaning to use the example to illustrate.
OKay, but let me give you a counter example here.

You have finished describing an idol. The cleric, who was an acolyte in their backstory, holds up the die and asks "Religion?" Do you really need them to say "I want to think back to my training as an acolyte of the Sun Lord to see if I have heard anything about this idol before."?
Yes. From them holding up the die and saying “religion?” I can reasonably surmise that they want to know something about the idol, and that they think their proficiency in religion would be applicable if a roll is required. But they have not conveyed any information about what they want to know, nor have they provided me with enough information to determine whether the attempt to learn that information could succeed or not.
I mean... it is very obvious they are asking about the idol, and that they are asking if they have run across it in their studies, whether as an acolyte or later.
Asking what about the idol though? Are they asking if they’ve run across it in their studies? If so, they could simply say that, instead of relying on me to correctly guess that instead of making a different assumption. Maybe I think they’re asking if it depicts a god they’re familiar with. Maybe I think they’re asking if it displays any signs of having been desecrated. Point is, I can’t read their mind, nor am I interested in trying to guess what they meant.
Because the Religion skill proficiency doesn't actually require or state anything about HOW they gained the proficiency. Did they study religious texts? Were they trained by a bard? Did they just grow up and speak to a bunch of old priests? The skill itself doesn't require anything about how you got it, so why am I required to specify why I might know something about something I've never seen before.
I’m not asking where they acquired their proficiency, I’m asking where they imagine their character might have learned the information they want to know about the idol. Doing so gives me something to assess to determine if the action can succeed or fail and what check to call for if both are possible, and it reveals an interesting detail about the character’s backstory.
But why? Knowledge and perception and insight are completely passive. And by that I mean, I don't make "knowledge" checks in real life by doing any specific action.
You don’t make checks in real life at all. They’re a gameplay concession, used to resolve uncertainty.
I just know what I know. If I need to do an action, like pulling out a book or searching my phone, then I'm doing research. And generally, if I have access to research materials, the DM calls for an investigation check to go through them, not a knowledge check.
Again, I just call for an Intelligence check in either case and let the player determine if one of their proficiencies applies.
I don't walk into a room and perceive things by taking any specific action. In fact, most of the actions I've seen laid out for "perception" are either altering the environment (throwing in a torch to illuminate the room) or are investigation. Neither of which is meant by a perception check.
When you walk into a room, I describe anything you can perceive that isn’t hidden, and use your passive perception to determine if you notice anything that is hidden. That’s how the rules indicate that such general “looking around” should be resolved. If for some reason you suspect there is still something hidden that you missed with your passive perception, you have to do something if you want to find it, and you need to tell me what it is you do. Is what you do altering the environment? Will an Intelligence (Investigation) check be needed to resolve it? I can’t know until you tell me what it is you do.
If I'm listening to someone talk, I don't reach out and grab their face to see if they are lying, or write down their words and reread them to see if they are lying, I'm already doing the pertinent action. Listening and looking.
Great, and for that you get to apply your passive ability (skill).
By doing what? What action can they possibly take if you have clued them off by saying the NPC is "unusually sweaty" or something. You've either given them enough clues they are just looking to confirm via insight, or they are looking for insight to give them the truth.
If the players think that me describing the NPC as unusually sweaty is enough to confirm that the NPC is lying, they are free to proceed according to that assumption. I generally advise that it’s smart play to take steps to confirm your assumptions, but that’s the players’ decision to make.
But most players want to roll to find out if they missed any clues that the person was lying.
They didn’t miss any clues. I described what they perceived, as it is the DM’s role to do. They are free to decide what to do with that information. Again, I advise that it’s smart play to try and confirm their assumptions through action, but it’s up to them.
And it is really hard to look at me acting like the NPC and determine if they are lying, because of course I'm lying, I'm trying to act and I'm a bad actor.
Well, I’m a pretty damn good actor, but even so, I don’t want to rely solely on my acting ability to convey clues about a character’s emotional state. For one thing, I’ve played with people who have difficulty reading social cues and I don’t want them to be at a disadvantage because they can’t tell that I’m acting like someone who’s trying to hide something. No, I’m going to describe whatever the cue is, narratively, rather than relying on the players’ real life ability to read my behavior.
 
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