D&D 5E Perception and Readiness checks. Please Explain!!


I hope it is clarified.

Personally, I like to use the exploration rules' readiness checks most of the time when the group gets close to an encounter area. To me, it seems to work more as a saving throw vs. being surprised.

If the PCs have a stealthy scout (far enough away from the group), I let him or them (if there are more than one) use their Wisdom (perception) to see what they can see.

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First Post
Sword of Spirit wrote:

Which clarifies the real question: What is the distance for detecting other creatures based on hearing? If we know that, the rules appear sufficient to deal with the scenarios. Now, I'm not asking for precise rules. Just some sort of guidance so that DMs have a common frame of reference.

My situation was similar to yours. What I ended up doing was just rolling the encounter distance (I chose 1d20 + 20 x 10) and had both groups roll Readiness checks since no one was really trying to hide. The orcs noticed the PC's torchlight, the PC's heard the orcs moving and talking in the dark. When it was the orcs' turn to act, they decided to hide behind some rocks. They rolled really well on their Stealth checks (17 was the result, I usually just roll once for a whole group of creatures) and the PC's failed their Perception rolls. The PC's lost track of them in the dark, and the orcs attacked them with advantage when they moved closer. I didn't give the orcs surprise because the PC's knew something was there.

Should the orcs have detected the PC's torches farther away? Probably. Should the PC's have heard the orcs at the distance rolled. Maybe. I'm not 100% sure. Was it realistic? Probably not. Did it work out/was it easy to DM/was it still fun? Yes! I really think this is what Wizards is aiming for. It might not be realistic, but it works, and it saves alot of headache trying to figure out exactly when who detects what.

They are good compared to 3e or 4e which provided insufficient rules. I can't recall how it worked before then, but I'd bet the numbers were less satisfying, although they had great random tables and expand expanded info I'm hoping we'll get.

I do agree that 1 minute exploration turns creates that rolling problem. What we experienced in the Mud Sorcerer's Tomb is that there was no reason for anyone *not* to be keeping watch as their action when we explore the dungeon. I'd rather the turns be 10 minutes and the numbers rolled behind the DM screen. And it couldn't hurt if there were additional useful dungeon exploration options beyond keeping watch.

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