D&D 5E The Solution to Perception?

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Supporter
I agree, and in particular with the book you mention. I'm a little more lenient on D&D 5e adventures though simply because I view that as just another DM giving their interpretation of how they use skills to help communicate their vision to the reader. There's always going to be some variation on how ability checks and skills are applied from table to table, so when it appears in a module, I'll grumble but I understand. Still, some DMs take modules to be official statements about how to use the rules, so they carry that forward sometimes to their own detriment.
I've definitely seen this with newer DM's, and once they get it into their heads that DC's of 20+are perfectly acceptable for 1st level characters and that you need to make rolls for everything, of course their players are going to all going to make sure they have the best possible die rolls.
 

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DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
I'm going to stand on them not having enough skills.

If skill are going to exist (and I think they should), there should be both robust coverage and availability.
I agree to this in a certain way of thinking... which is why I use the Alternative Ability Score variant rule. Because that gives me in theory 6 times the number of skills the normal game has (if you multiply a skill by any of the six ability scores I could pair it to when calling for a check.)

Granted, all these "skills" don't have individual names per se, and someone proficient in one skill is actually proficient in all 6 possible combinations... but for the most part using any of the 18 skills in six different ways more than fill things out for my needs. (And it also doesn't hurt that I've added/removed different skills because of the six ability scores making certain combos redundant.)
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
I agree to this in a certain way of thinking... which is why I use the Alternative Ability Score variant rule. Because that gives me in theory 6 times the number of skills the normal game has (if you multiply a skill by any of the six ability scores I could pair it to when calling for a check.)

Granted, all these "skills" don't have individual names per se, and someone proficient in one skill is actually proficient in all 6 possible combinations... but for the most part using any of the 18 skills in six different ways more than fill things out for my needs. (And it also doesn't hurt that I've added/removed different skills because of the six ability scores making certain combos redundant.)
The way I deal with 'infinite skills' is that I provide free game currency at character creation and level up to buy your hobbies and background and you can use that as a roll as a 'skill', or a derived bonus to a related existing skill.

So if you're a baker, you can roll Baker as a skill, or add your Baker Bonus to a check to a Survival check to find food and spices.
 

The way I deal with 'infinite skills' is that I provide free game currency at character creation and level up to buy your hobbies and background and you can use that as a roll as a 'skill', or a derived bonus to a related existing skill.

So if you're a baker, you can roll Baker as a skill, or add your Baker Bonus to a check to a Survival check to find food and spices.

The way it works at our table:

If the PC is trying to find food and spices, and is a baker, they'd be granted advantage on a Wisdom(Survival) ability check (assuming a roll was deemed necessary by the DM in the first place). That keeps it simple, IMO.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
My problem with that -- and advantage as a whole -- is that 1) if anything else grants them advantage (and it will as that's like the one mechanic PCs still have in terms of skills) being a banker means nothing and 2) being a baker doesn't actually make them better at being a baker than someone with a good stat and the random advantage boost.

I frankly like actual bonuses much, much better than advantage and think advantage should be used for extraordinary circumstances like magic
 

Reynard

Legend
My problem with that -- and advantage as a whole -- is that 1) if anything else grants them advantage (and it will as that's like the one mechanic PCs still have in terms of skills) being a banker means nothing and 2) being a baker doesn't actually make them better at being a baker than someone with a good stat and the random advantage boost.

I frankly like actual bonuses much, much better than advantage and think advantage should be used for extraordinary circumstances like magic
I think untrained should grant disadvantage for every skill. You ever seen someone try and make cookies from scratch who has never baked before? Even stuff like athletics should work this way: if you don't believe me, watch some Warrior Dash or Tough Mudder videos...

I also thing sources of advantage and disadvantage should stack. Why not have someone roll 3d20 and take the worst under really trying circumstances?
 

Clint_L

Hero
The problem with perception is that DM's use it wrong.
@Reynard has said it better than me. It's not a system problem, it's a DM problem.
Hmmm...if a lot of people are consistently getting it wrong, might that not suggest that it is, in fact, a system problem? Or at least a communication one?

I tend to agree that perception is overly broad, and making it a skill plus tying it to wisdom makes for some weird story dynamics. Like, it always feels off to me that the bookish Cleric is the party's go-to person for sensing danger in the wilderness, while the barbarian who has spent a lifetime in the wild is terrible at hearing creatures "moving stealthily in the forest" (PHB).

And the fact that it is so widely used speaks to it being something that probably every character should just have, with perhaps a bonus coming from their background via a feat, not their ability scores.
 

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Supporter
Hmmm...if a lot of people are consistently getting it wrong, might that not suggest that it is, in fact, a system problem? Or at least a communication one?

I tend to agree that perception is overly broad, and making it a skill plus tying it to wisdom makes for some weird story dynamics. Like, it always feels off to me that the bookish Cleric is the party's go-to person for sensing danger in the wilderness, while the barbarian who has spent a lifetime in the wild is terrible at hearing creatures "moving stealthily in the forest" (PHB).

And the fact that it is so widely used speaks to it being something that probably every character should just have, with perhaps a bonus coming from their background via a feat, not their ability scores.
Well obviously, the Cleric has a god (or gods) on their side.
 

Clint_L

Hero
Thinking on this more...does perception seem to have more in common with abilities rather than skills? I know WotC won't violate the sacred six abilities, but the ubiquity of perception and the fact that it is such an uncomfortable fit with any of the current abilities suggests that maybe it could be its own sub-ability or something. I don't think it should be tied to wisdom.
 

jasper

Rotten DM
The problem with Perception (as a skill or otherwise) is that it is over used. The GM's job is to be the eyes and ears of the PCs. GMs rely on Perception checks far too often to gate information that should otherwise be available. It doesn't do a good job of modeling the behaviour in the fiction through mechanics when GMs ask for a perception check at every turn.

I think the best solution would to be to use passive perception only, and even then only when highly relevant to the immediate fiction.
With passive perception being 5 + proficiency + modifier
 

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