D&D General Perception, Search Rolls, and Game Style (thinking about expectation for how rules play out at the table).


B/X Known World
Asking people about their experiences using skill check vs. "player skill" approaches and to what degree they are hybridized is not the same as asking people to argue about what they'd hate and never do or why it is better or worse than some other way.

My experience with the far end of "player skill" is that it's mother-may-I play and pixel bitching. I hate that and I never want to have to deal with that style of play again.

My experience with the far end of skill checks is that it's removing a huge chunk of immersion and role-playing from the game. I hate that and I never want to have to deal with that style of play again.

I think something in the middle is the only way to go. Something similar to the social interaction rules from the 5E DMG. Something like the DM starts by simply describing the room or situation and sets whatever DC they think appropriate to find the thing. The players describe how they interact with the room. This can make discovery automatic. Then adjust the DC based on whatever the players did or didn't do and then, only if necessary, make a roll. This removes both the pixel bitching and the pure roll.

The style of play where the DM asks for a roll whenever a players asks what their character can see should die in a fire. "I look down the hall, what do I see?" "Make a perception check." The entire table should be permitted to throw whatever's handy at the DM.

Specifically about finding clues, I prefer Call of Cthulhu 7th Editions version of obvious and obscure clues. Anything vital to continuing or completing the mission is obvious and simply given to the characters. Anything that's extraneous but still fun or helpful is obscured and requires poking around, searching, and rolls.

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