D&D General What's wrong with Perception?

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Supporter
Something I noticed in the "what don't you like about 5e?" thread was a few people griping about players going out of their way to take Perception. I'd run into this a few years back when I played Pathfinder 1e as well. I'm not really sure what the problem is with players wanting to be good at noticing things, so I was wondering if maybe people would help me understand their point of view on the topic.

D&D especially is a game where not noticing something can end up with your character getting in serious trouble, so it seems to me that everyone would want the ability to not blunder into traps or be snuck up on by Bugbears.
 

log in or register to remove this ad


tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
Something I noticed in the "what don't you like about 5e?" thread was a few people griping about players going out of their way to take Perception. I'd run into this a few years back when I played Pathfinder 1e as well. I'm not really sure what the problem is with players wanting to be good at noticing things, so I was wondering if maybe people would help me understand their point of view on the topic.

D&D especially is a game where not noticing something can end up with your character getting in serious trouble, so it seems to me that everyone would want the ability to not blunder into traps or be snuck up on by Bugbears.
It exists & by existing consumes activities that should be covered by other skills.

  • Want to see a magic trap? don't use arcana, use perception
  • Want to see a hunting trap? don't use survival, use perception
  • Want to see if the NPC is hiding the ball in three card monte? Don't use slight of hand or something, use perception
  • Want to see if the tripwires are positioned so you can maneuver through? Don't use acrobatics, use perception
Then you have the lack of skills like culture/streetwise engineering & appraisal to further shift things to perception in many cases.
 

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Supporter
It exists & by existing consumes activities that should be covered by other skills.

  • Want to see a magic trap? don't use arcana, use perception
  • Want to see a hunting trap? don't use survival, use perception
  • Want to see if the NPC is hiding the ball in three card monte? Don't use slight of hand or something, use perception
  • Want to see if the tripwires are positioned so you can maneuver through? Don't use acrobatics, use perception
Then you have the lack of skills like culture/streetwise engineering & appraisal to further shift things to perception in many cases.
So it's just the fact that you feel there should be more skills that are more narrowly defined?
 

rooneg

Adventurer
It also encroaches into stuff more reasonably covered by Investigation, because players feel like they need to be good at Perception, so they’ll use every trick in the book to get you to let them use it instead of Investigation (see also everyone who wants to use Acrobatics when Athletics is really more appropriate because their DEX based character didn’t bother to take Athletics).
 

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Supporter
It also encroaches into stuff more reasonably covered by Investigation, because players feel like they need to be good at Perception, so they’ll use every trick in the book to get you to let them use it instead of Investigation (see also everyone who wants to use Acrobatics when Athletics is really more appropriate because their DEX based character didn’t bother to take Athletics).
I've encountered a disconnect with Athletics and Acrobatics. Back in 4e, I had a DM who asked for Athletics checks for everything, and I finally had to ask him one day what I could use Acrobatics for, and he blinked and said "that's a skill?". LOL.
 

DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
IME maybe 50% of PC have proficiency in perception.

IMO perception shouldn't be a skill, you are either naturally perceptive or you aren't. It should always be "passive" (yeah, the REAL meaning, not the garbage WotC labelled that as...), operating in the background.

When you want to be "active", make it Investigation.

As for Athletics and Acrobatics, those are VERY different skill-sets IMO and I've never had any confusion on that front, unlike the horrid Perception/ Investigation issue.
 

rooneg

Adventurer
I've encountered a disconnect with Athletics and Acrobatics. Back in 4e, I had a DM who asked for Athletics checks for everything, and I finally had to ask him one day what I could use Acrobatics for, and he blinked and said "that's a skill?". LOL.
I always run into people wanting to use Acrobatics for climbing. Climbing stuff is like half the point of the Athletics skill.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
So it's just the fact that you feel there should be more skills that are more narrowly defined?
Partly. Perception makes it difficult to use the situationally relevant skill to see/notice something related to that skill because it's a skill to see/notice anything even when the thing you are seeing/noticing already has a skill.

edit: having big gaps in the skills means that shoving noticing stuff into relevant skills instead of perception is difficult because the skills don't exist & the PCs can't affird them even if I add them
 
Last edited:

EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
It, like Dexterity, is too good to pass up. If you can get it, you always should. If you can't get it, you should look for a way to get it. It is always useful to have more people with good Perception--unlike, say, Athletics or Acrobatics, where only 1-2 people really need it (and the 2 is just so you can avoid the "our one Athletics dude is out of commission!" issue.)

Consider if Initiative were a skill that players could become proficient in. Absolutely all characters would want it. There would never be a character who doesn't want it.

PF2e had the right idea, making it a distinct, derived attribute like Initiative.
 

Remove ads

AD6_gamerati_skyscraper

Remove ads

Upcoming Releases

Top