# Listen/Spot: Is 10' not far enough

## What should the distance be?

• ### I think 4E will have a totally different mechanic, so this is a moot poll

• Poll closed .

#### Celebrim

##### Legend
italianranma said:
Now that I think about it, didn't 2nd ed. have something similar to that? Or was that just encounter distances.

Earlier additions had random encounter distances based on environment, plus a flat random chance of achieving surprise with some 'stealthy' types having a higher chance of doing so. Works well as an abstract system or for when neither party is actively trying to hide, but now that we have a skill system we need some way of handing what result occurs from actively being stealthy that makes sense within the framework of that skill system.

And the current system just doesn't cut it.

I have been using a cludged quasi-exponentional system, but it's somewhat hard to count increments and not at all elegant. At the moment, I'd suggest something like RangerWicket's system as the best solution. I'd like to work on something more nuanced, but I need a break in IRL before I get the chance to do some serious rules smithing.

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#### Stalker0

##### Legend
RangerWickett said:
I'd do Close (30 ft.), Medium (150 ft.), Long (800 ft.), and Extreme (beyond 800 ft.) ranges. Have a modifier for each range. Close is +0. Medium is, like, +5. Long is +20. Extreme is also +20, but you have no chance of spotting someone hiding; you can only see people out in the open.

Or something like that.

Yep, or make the numbers even simpler. 100 ft, 500 ft, 1000 ft and be done with it. Most dnd combats are at close range anyway. The current -1/10 is ridiculous, I can't even see a man on the other side of a football field!!

#### JDJblatherings

##### First Post
Insight said:
Listen and Spot are stupid as skills anyway. Who the heck goes around practicing their listen and spot? You can't really get any better at perception. It's sort of an innate ability - you are either good at noticing things, or you aren't. And as people age (especially men), perception tends to get worse, not better.prove it.

Hunters and many soldiers get better at listen and spot. The military trains folks in observing and target recognition all the time.

#### The Souljourner

##### First Post
Celebrim said:
Thus, when something is sufficiently far away, say 100', being an additional 100' away might have an effect on the DC but being an additional 10' away has no real effect. When something is 1000' away, even an additional 100' away is not a particularly significant change.

Well, that's already taken into account by the huge modifiers the person's already getting. 100' away is -10. That's almost an auto failure. An additional 10' adds -1.... going from -10 to -11 is fairly insignificant. You're just not going to hear them either way.

And that's why the linear scale works... because the more and more penalties you stack on, the less they really matter.... it's like kicking a dead horse.

-Nate

#### Kerrick

##### First Post
Hmmm... I definately like the thought that you've put into this system. It shows you've considered why the current spot system is bad and what factors should go into a good one. But for this level of detail, I would expect a much more 'accurate' simulation than I percieve from your current system. I'm going to take it home and study it though. The factors are definately right, if not the exact implementation.
Well, I actually went out and guesstimated distances and sizes of things, to see how far and how well I could actually see things. It may not be completely, exactly, accurate, but I think it works well enough for a game system - I mean, it's abstractions.

Your comment about the Hide skill is interesting; I hadn't thought about adding that into the mix. Right off the top of my head (just a quick and dirty rule) I'd say apply the bonus/penalty to the target's Hide check, and that would be the DC the spotter needs to see it. For example, the party's trying to spot a gnoll ranger hiding 50 feet away in some trees near the road. The gnoll's Medium, so no adjustment, but it's only 50 feet away (Medium range increment is 100), so you could subtract -1. We'll say it's light forest (40 ft. increment) so +1 for distance, for a grant total of +0 or -1 to the gnoll's Hide check to avoid being seen.

#### hong

##### WotC's bitch
Stalker0 said:
Yep, or make the numbers even simpler. 100 ft, 500 ft, 1000 ft and be done with it. Most dnd combats are at close range anyway. The current -1/10 is ridiculous, I can't even see a man on the other side of a football field!!
I solve this issue of people being blind beyond 100' with a simple proviso: the entire machinery of Hide/Spot (including the distance penalty) only applies when someone is actually trying to hide. If they're not making an effort to remain undetected, then Spot is mechanically irrelevant. Whether you actually see them is left to DM judgement, perhaps informed by your Spot skill (ie, I might make a judgement call that if you have Spot +30, you can see someone a mile away in dense scrubland; if you have Spot -1, you might only see them when they're right on top of you).

#### Klaus

##### First Post
I pegged down 20 feet.

Thing is, the DCs need to be scaled.

For instance, DC 0 to see a Medium object or creature next to you. DC 10 (the most basic "I'm looking for someone around") lets you notice a Medium object or creature up to 200 feet away effortlessly. You decide to look, and you find it.

Then you increase the DC for smaller details within the generic frame. Is that Medium creature an elf or a human? Beat the check by 5 and you'll know race and gender. Stuff like that.

#### Celebrim

##### Legend
Kerrick said:
Your comment about the Hide skill is interesting; I hadn't thought about adding that into the mix. Right off the top of my head (just a quick and dirty rule) I'd say apply the bonus/penalty to the target's Hide check, and that would be the DC the spotter needs to see it.

I think your paper suggests something even more elegant as a possibility.

#### airwalkrr

I imagine that if 4e has such a mechanic, it will be greatly simplified. Creatures within close range (up to 6 squares) make Perception checks against each other normally. At medium range (7 to 12 squares), creatures take a -5 penalty on Perception checks against each other. At long range (13 to 20 squares), creatures take a -10 penalty on Perception checks against each other. At ranges further than that, the penalty is -20, up to the limit of the character's sight of course.

This is just an example of course.

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