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

Medic

Neutral Evil
I'm sure you are a saint who never gets annoyed or aggravated with anyone after a week plus of arguing the same points and hitting dead-end after dead-end.

But, sure, I'm the bad guy. Might as well get a tattoo and a theme song at this point.
If I spent a day entangled in an argument on the internet, I would take a moment to remember that the other party's palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy, vomit on their sweater already (mom's spaghetti), then close the thread and probably never bother looking at it again. Heck, I'd do that if I spent more than three posts arguing fruitlessly with someone.

What I'm saying is, it's important to know when to bow out of a discussion that doesn't seem to be going anywhere.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

If this thread has taught me anything it is that more words does not equate to more communication. Oof.

Also, the more specific you feel you have to get to get your audience to understand what you are saying, the less likely that they are listening or engaging in good faith.

It's ironic because it's the forum equivalent of the "pixelbitching" some folks are decrying in this thread.

Maybe we can return to talking about the ACTUAL thread topic, which isn't really about Perception at all: players don't declare dice rolls, they declare actions, and GMs decide on what dice rolls, if any, are necessary. This is an interesting discussion, I think, because we can talk about traditional games versus story games versus player empowerment, with a healthy dose of prep vs "play to find out" thrown in.

This ever tightening spiral discussion about Perception is going nowhere very, very slowly.

There was this thread from several years back with many a solid contribution from some of the DMs sharing in this current thread. And, of course, the not surprising pushback from at least one poster. (As well as me referring to ability checks as "skill checks" in my early years of 5e DMing... ack!)

 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Sure, but again, Wisdom being tied as your second highest stat is pretty important. And getting a 16 instead of a 14 isn't nearly as good as getting proficiency in wisdom saves.
Sure, but getting +1 to wisdom saves, +1 to perception, +1 to animal handling, +1 to insight, +1 to medicine, and +1 to survival is better(in my opinion) than proficiency with wisdom saves.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
If it was easier to get proficiency in Wisdom saves, you'd be seeing people do that as well. I have no data, but I'm willing to bet that people who take Resilient choose Con or Wis more than any other save.
I'll bet a comparable number choose Dex as well, depending on class saves. Int, Str and Cha are saves that I've never seen chose with that feat.
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
I'll bet a comparable number choose Dex as well, depending on class saves. Int, Str and Cha are saves that I've never seen chose with that feat.
Maybe? Dex saves are common, but they usually only prevent damage, right? Con and Wis saves do....other things that can be worse than taking damage.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
FWIW, I can tell you flat out it is CON 90% of the time IME.

The +1 bump often leads to more HP, and out of all the casters and half-casters in the game (67% of classes), only 1 has proficiency in CON saves (the Sorcerer). Only 3 classes (Barbarian, Fighter, and Sorcerer) have CON save proficiency.

In summary:
STR - 4
DEX - 4
CON - 3
INT - 3
WIS - 5
CHA - 5
Looks like you left out Artificer, which has Con and Int as saves, so both those 3's become 4's.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Maybe? Dex saves are common, but they usually only prevent damage, right? Con and Wis saves do....other things that can be worse than taking damage.
Damage prevention, but also a lot of trap saves are dex based and can put someone in a very bad position that they might not be able to escape from. You fall into a resetting pit trap with smooth walls and silence at the bottom and you may never be found.
 


Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
And people have to really learn that some people just don't get much out of some things of this nature. I can get some fun under limited circumstances from figuring out what's going on, but its limited, and actual puzzle solving just bores me to tears. If a GM is really fixed on that sort of thing, we're probably a mismatch, but until that's obvious, I'm probably going to do a lot of things to try to just engage with it on a character level to get to the parts of the game I do like. And I can't imagine I'm alone.

So I'll add here that, for all my defense of "figuring out" challenges, I really don't like traditional D&D dungeon puzzles. You know, the sort of thing like "There are three columns, colored yellow, purple, green. On a pedestal are three gems..."

Blech. I hate those puzzles that have a single solution you're supposed to find, and is invariably too hard or too easy. And if you think of a good idea, there is no "close enough". It's just wrong.

(And, as an aside, why didn't the Archmage just put a good padlock on his laboratory?)

I kind of tune out when that stuff comes along, and let other people solve it. (Or just start hitting it all with my Shatterspike, if I'm playing that character.)

The kind of challenges I am talking about in this thread, and that I think @Charlaquin is talking about also, are not that. Instead of having a single, prescribed solution, it's just...a problem, with open-ended solutions. Maybe there are no good solutions. Maybe the best solution is for the barbarian to rage and then run through the gauntlet, toughing it out. Or maybe they instantly come up with a super simple and obvious solution that the DM didn't think of.

The point is the goal isn't to design a challenge with a specific solution. It's to design a challenge, period. Then see what happens. And I, at least, find that to be way more fun than the traditional single-solution dungeon "puzzle."
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Mod Note:

Someone got reported for making things personal. I came to look, and found it to be true.

I ALSO found there was more than one person guilty of that offense.

Right now, I’m not having the best day, so in order to show myself that I can exercise impartial restraint, I’m asking once, nicely, that said shenanigans stop. Please don’t make me come back.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
You don't have bad ideas, but sometimes they are eclipsed by the rhetoric and combativeness. Your posts made me come around on what I now agree is a flaw with the Sorcerer design (specifically that when subclass abilities are fueled by Ki they are effectively alternate abilities not additional abilities) but man it took me a long time to see past the derisive language and understand the argument.

I won't deny I can be combative, but I don't try and come across as derisive.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
So I'll add here that, for all my defense of "figuring out" challenges, I really don't like traditional D&D dungeon puzzles. You know, the sort of thing like "There are three columns, colored yellow, purple, green. On a pedestal are three gems..."

Blech. I hate those puzzles that have a single solution you're supposed to find, and is invariably too hard or too easy. And if you think of a good idea, there is no "close enough". It's just wrong.

(And, as an aside, why didn't the Archmage just put a good padlock on his laboratory?)

I kind of tune out when that stuff comes along, and let other people solve it. (Or just start hitting it all with my Shatterspike, if I'm playing that character.)

The kind of challenges I am talking about in this thread, and that I think @Charlaquin is talking about also, are not that. Instead of having a single, prescribed solution, it's just...a problem, with open-ended solutions. Maybe there are no good solutions. Maybe the best solution is for the barbarian to rage and then run through the gauntlet, toughing it out. Or maybe they instantly come up with a super simple and obvious solution that the DM didn't think of.

The point is the goal isn't to design a challenge with a specific solution. It's to design a challenge, period. Then see what happens. And I, at least, find that to be way more fun than the traditional single-solution dungeon "puzzle."
Yeah, I agree. I actually try not to plan for any particular solution. I want to create obstacles for the players to overcome creatively, not puzzles for them to figure out the solution to.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
There was this thread from several years back with many a solid contribution from some of the DMs sharing in this current thread. And, of course, the not surprising pushback from at least one poster. (As well as me referring to ability checks as "skill checks" in my early years of 5e DMing... ack!)

Interesting to look back on and see how my thinking and my way of expressing it have changed since then.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
Your argument was that they almost certainly have 14 passive perceptions at most, so they only have a 40% chance of success. My rebuttal is that they could easily have greater than a 14 passive perception. The low chance of success is a product of their party composition and build choices, not something inherent to the scenario of trying to find a hidden goblin or the way I run such a scenario.

If they took Chef they would probably have a 14 passive perception. My argument isn’t that they can’t or shouldn’t have a 14 passive perception, it’s that they could easily have had greater than 14, and your argument hinges on the 14.

My argument does not hinge on the 14. Because my argument was back on the idea of choosing to roll and using Bardic inspiration. You just took exception to my observation that setting an ambush would require multiple perception checks, and would be passive perception, which they already failed at.

You didn't like me positing they were likely to fail passive perception checks against the goblin, and then we got into build discussions. Which, again, sure it is possible we are dealing with some scenario where feats are possible and it is possible that in that scenario where feats are possible the feats taken improve Passive Perception. It is also equally likely that none of that is true. In fact, it is more likely to be true, because there are more reasons to assume there are not feats (the position I took at the start of the example) than that there are feats (your position now), and even if we assume that feats are on the table, there are far more feats that wouldn't change the situation than feats that do change the situation.

I mean, that’s all fine, but you understand I run the game differently, and the resource management game is all part of a big interconnected system, yes? Money is part of that system, it’s one of the resources the players have to manage. Maybe that isn’t your cup of tea, but “the players will always choose to hire NPC help because gold is useless anyway” just isn’t true in my games.

I understand that you run a resource management game, but then again, can they spend gold if they are dead? Probably not, so spending gold to prevent themselves from dying is a safe bet. And ambushes and traps are generally quite deadly, correct?

I don’t think looking for people to help because the dungeon is a dangerous place and you want to insure you have all your bases covered is inorganic.

It is all caused by, from my perspective, altering the rules to force more styles of passive perception than there are people to utilize it. It is a purely mechanical drive, not a narrative one.

I guess, if the purpose of the secret door is to set up ambushes, that might be plausible. I typically use them for short cuts, hiding spaces, and hidden treasure.

So they end up being loud and echoey? Or they have no way to observe the space outside of them, to prevent people from seeing you leave?

I didn’t assume you weren’t looking at the ground, what I did was not assume looking at the ground was your approach to looking for traps.

Right, so until I declared it, I wasn't looking anywhere. I want you to really stop and think about this. You are telling me, in a game without facing and that allows for a 360 degree field of vision, that you could not assume I was looking at anything, because I did not declare it.

This tells me, as a player, that the direction I am looking and the speed I am moving are now going to have to be part of this "reasonable specificity" you talked about, because that is the difference between triggering a trap and getting a chance to spot it. When you talked before about only requiring "reasonably specific" declarations, was speed of movement and direction of their gaze included in that? I can't imagine it was, but can I now risk not declaring those facets when declaring my action? Probably not, that is the difference between auto-failure and a chance.

That was a bad call on your DM’s part. Had it been me, I wouldn’t have assumed you purchased all the supplies you would need before heading out, but I also wouldn’t have just said “ok, 7 days in you run out of food and water.” I would have said something like “are you sure you want to head out before gathering any additional supplies?” because that would obviously be a crazy thing to do.

Yeah, it was so obviously crazy the entire party just assumed we had done so. If you'd asked us we'd have looked at you like you grew a second head and said "No, obviously we gather enough supplies first." That's the point. There are some things that everyone just assumes happens, because no other choice makes any sense.

Well here’s the disconnect, then. A goal is enough for you because you assume the characters have all the necessary information and make the best decisions they can about how to achieve that goal, given that information. That doesn’t work for me because for me making decisions in-character is what the game is all about. I don’t know about you, but to me “roleplaying” means imagining yourself as someone else and/or in a fictional scenario and making decisions as you imagine you or that other person would in that scenario. If I assume you have all the information and make the best decision you can, I have assumed all the roleplaying out of that scenario. As a player, I want to be the one to assess the information that has been conveyed to me via what my character can directly perceive, and try to make the decision I imagine they would make; I don’t want the DM to just assume I make the best decision or ask me to roll a die and then tell me what decision I made based on the result. I’m playing D&D because I want to make those decisions myself. Likewise, when I DM, I don’t want to take the power to make those decisions away from the players.

If they want to provide more information, they are free to. If they don't provide more information, then I fill in the blanks. I don't take any role-playing away from them. But I also don't force them to provide every detail. If they say they search the desk, and I have them roll, because there is yellow mold in the desk drawer. I could just assume, since they didn't say they were being careful, that they weren't careful and opened the drawer, getting a face full of mold. Or, I could look at the die roll, see that they rolled high, and go with them having lightly tugged the drawer, before noticing the faint tendrils of mold around the edges. With the resistance and the mold in sight, they would know the drawer is full.

I took away no role-playing. They still made all their decisions in character, fitting with what they know of the scene. But since they can't possibly know everything, because they are limited to my narration and not their own 5 senses, I give them the benefit of the doubt whenever possible.

But I want to arrive that conclusion myself, not have you spoon feed it to me. I want to immerse myself in the character and try to see the world through their eyes instead of from a detached third-person perspective. Just tell me what my character perceives, I’ll draw my own conclusions from that information. That, to me, is what roleplaying is all about.

It isn't spoon feeding. Just like it isn't spoon feeding to say "you wake up in jail" instead of just describing the location and leaving you to arrive at the conclusion that being in a cell in a hallway full of cells, filled with drunks, is a jail. I'm not taking away your ability to role-play by stating obvious conclusions.

I literally am asking the PCs to bypass it. The traps are there to be overcome. It’s a game, a series of challenges for the players to try to overcome using some combination of skill, strategy, and luck. This and the above are the two components of what an RPG is: roleplaying and game. Immersing yourself in the character and facing challenges through the lens of that character’s perspective, making decisions as you imagine they would do in order to overcome those challenges.

Now, of course, we want the fictional world to have some sense of verisimilitude to it. Obviously whoever set the traps up in-universe didn’t want them to be found. But it’s easy enough to come up with explanations for why the traps are the way they are once we’ve set them up the way we want to create the desired gameplay experience. We can lean on the fact that presumably whoever set up the traps wanted to be able to bypass them themselves, so they would have included ways to do so. Cues that they, as the traps’ designers, would be able to recognize, and teach to anyone else that they wanted to allow past the traps. Then we just contrive scenarios to teach those cues to the players environmentally. In game design parlance, we add a tutorial for the traps.

I think it is the explained away verisimilitude that trips me up. I look for ways to make things more real, not to explain why they aren't real.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
If I spent a day entangled in an argument on the internet, I would take a moment to remember that the other party's palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy, vomit on their sweater already (mom's spaghetti), then close the thread and probably never bother looking at it again. Heck, I'd do that if I spent more than three posts arguing fruitlessly with someone.

What I'm saying is, it's important to know when to bow out of a discussion that doesn't seem to be going anywhere.

Something I've been told more than once, but I find it rude to stop a conversation. I've made exceptions, but Charlaquin has been trying and I don't want to do the discourtesy of not replying. Even if at times it is aggravating.
 

Jay Murphy1

Meterion, Mastermind of Time !
Mapping is explicitly a in-game action performed by a PC in B/X (and every edition of D&D, as far as I know). There are even rules for how you can't do it while running or fleeing pursuit.
Not in Moldvay B/X. It explicitly says the opposite. Have you read it?
 


Cadence

Legend
Supporter
yes. I literally looked it up. It even says characters can't do it while running from a foe, so it has in game rules and impacts on top of calling out the need for PCs to do it. Have you read it?
Page B24 -
1660675043128.png


Edit: and back on B19 -
1660675158260.png
 


Jay Murphy1

Meterion, Mastermind of Time !
Mapping can't be done while running, agreed. This is regardless if you believe the player or the character is actually doing the mapping. On B19 it says "Maps are drawn to help players visualized the area their characters are exploring and to provide a record of sections of a dungeon they have already explored. A good mapper should listen closely to the DM in order to draw a good representation of the dungeon."

In most fantasy I have watched or read there was never a character in the fiction which followed around and mapped everywhere the group went. Because it is something no one needs in real life. You can go in to unexplored areas, wander around and leave without mapping a thing and still being able to know where everything is. You can even describe it to someone who has never been there and they could follow the same path based on just a verbal description.

The map is the same thing as a character sheet, something players use to visualize the fictitious space. Now I know everybody under the sun does not agree, but reading the text this is what Moldvey is saying to me. It is a necessary convenance for playing. Time and Movement give the DM a measuring stick to gauge how much information to release at any given time. The map is the container the players put this information in. A character doesn't need a map because they know where they are in relation to where they have been, just like in real life.
 

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top