D&D General What's wrong with Perception?

jasper

Rotten DM
When sometime around late 2016 early 2017 the idea that passive perception was always on, and writers did not start bumping the DC to account for this. As Hriston states perception by the creators became radar.
 

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DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
When sometime around late 2016 early 2017 the idea that passive perception was always on, and writers did not start bumping the DC to account for this. As Hriston states perception by the creators became radar.
Heh... I've had "passive perception" as being always on since it was introduced to the game back in 4E.

As far as writers not accounting for it... if/when I found an issue in one of the adventures I just changed the DC myself in whatever method I felt appropriate at the time. Didn't need anyone to account for it in the writing.
 

jasper

Rotten DM
Heh... I've had "passive perception" as being always on since it was introduced to the game back in 4E.

As far as writers not accounting for it... if/when I found an issue in one of the adventures I just changed the DC myself in whatever method I felt appropriate at the time. Didn't need anyone to account for it in the writing.
My point is. Once it was change, writers and errata should have taken it into account. Everyone knows you can change stuff. Writers Do your job.
 

ehren37

Legend
I always run into people wanting to use Acrobatics for climbing. Climbing stuff is like half the point of the Athletics skill.
Acrobats climb stuff pretty fast too. Springing off some walls up an alley seems a fair acrobat use. Athletics still governs lifting/breaking/swimming if we want to keep it's niche protection.

I don't see any reason more than one skill can't be used for certain rolls. I tend to allow that, and offer two rolls if you're training in both, like using religion or history for knowledge on a religious crusade, or even athletics/history for who won the Dungeonball championship of 3472.
 


Vaalingrade

Legend
Never got the issue between perception and investigation.

Investigation is noticing and inferring things people do such as figuring out where something has actively been hidden while perception is noticing things using available sensory information.

For example, I pride myself on being able to decipher 'idiot logic', such as what led someone to do something stupid or where grocery stores stock things. This is investigation and would lead me to going to the correct aisle.

If I was wandering the aisles and just looking for the item without any idea where to start, it would be perception and would only come up once I Magoo'd my way to that aisle.

Someone with Investigation knows to check for a false bottom to a desk drawer. Someone with perception only gets to check for that if they are actively interacting with the drawer.
 

rooneg

Explorer
Acrobats climb stuff pretty fast too. Springing off some walls up an alley seems a fair acrobat use. Athletics still governs lifting/breaking/swimming if we want to keep it's niche protection.
Acrobats climb quickly because they’re Athletic and Strong ;-)

Seriously, Strength is already one of the worst attributes, it doesn’t need its lunch money being stolen by Dexterity any more than it already has been.
 

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's wildly overused.

D&D 5E is completely wildly over-reliant on it. People often name it as a "god-tier skill" or the like, and that's not a sign of good design, that's a sign of bad design.

Fewer things should require Perception tests, including passive Perception.

It's weird that you don't see a problem from your own description. It's not really optional. At least one, preferably multiple party members need a high Perception, for 5E to function correctly. If you don't, your party is basically Sideshow Bob in the field full of rakes. That's not interesting. That's not engaging. That's not fun. It's not even active - it's literally 90% passive. It's just a dumb must-have thing, that someone in the party either has as a matter of course, or has to sacrifice some stuff to get.

It's much like healing in 2E. It wasn't that people wanted to be "COOL HEALER DUDE", almost no-one did. But someone had to bloody be the Cleric or no-one was getting any healing and you were all going to die. Likewise Perception. Very few people want to be "COOL PERCEPTION DUDE", but unless you have 1+ party members who have high Perception, the game turns into a total farce.

BORING!!!
 
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Acrobats climb quickly because they’re Athletic and Strong ;-)

Seriously, Strength is already one of the worst attributes, it doesn’t need its lunch money being stolen by Dexterity any more than it already has been.
On the contrary it absolutely does.

Acrobatics needs to basically do everything Athletics does when it comes to movement or escaping from stuff, otherwise you're getting into a moronic situation where super-agile characters are terrible at climbing and jumping and so on, because they don't have a ton of STR.

You're totally missing the point re: "lunch money". You're like a nerdy kid bullying another nerdy kid out of his lunch money, when the fat INT/WIS/CHA trio will come around the corner and take both of your lunch monies. The real issue is that either fewer skills should roll off INT/WIS/CHA, or characters who primary STR or DEX need stuff to make up the difference - Expertise, Reliable Talent, extra skill proficiencies and so on.
 


How do we propose to have characters interact without their environment without determining if they notice things?
Like every other RPG?

I mean, dude, I know you've played a lot of RPGs. About 95% of RPGs either don't have Perception or a close equivalent, or do, but it's very rarely rolled, not rolled any tested constantly.

2E didn't have this. It just some situation-specific checks and you talked your way through it. Perception is a boring and wildly overused skill that's 90% passive and reliant on a couple of PCs in the party having it at a high level. Those PCs don't do anything interesting or cool with it, they passively ensure the party gets told stuff.
 

rooneg

Explorer
On the contrary it absolutely does.

Acrobatics needs to basically do everything Athletics does when it comes to movement or escaping from stuff, otherwise you're getting into a moronic situation where super-agile characters are terrible at climbing and jumping and so on, because they don't have a ton of STR.

You're totally missing the point re: "lunch money". You're like a nerdy kid bullying another nerdy kid out of his lunch money, when the fat INT/WIS/CHA trio will come around the corner and take both of your lunch monies. The real issue is that either fewer skills should roll off INT/WIS/CHA, or characters who primary STR or DEX need stuff to make up the difference - Expertise, Reliable Talent, extra skill proficiencies and so on.
I’m sorry, but “INT/WIS/CHA do too much stuff” doesn’t mean it’s reasonable to make STR even less good than it already is, especially taking stuff it does and giving it to DEX, which is already the wonder-stat. Acrobats in reality are incredibly strong people, because it turns out it requires a bunch of physical strength to move your entire body like that.
 

I’m sorry, but “INT/WIS/CHA do too much stuff” doesn’t mean it’s reasonable to make STR even less good than it already is, especially taking stuff it does and giving it to DEX, which is already the wonder-stat. Acrobats in reality are incredibly strong people, because it turns out it requires a bunch of physical strength to move your entire body like that.
You're really just proving my point.

Yes, IRL, you couldn't have like 20 DEX without having like 14 or 16 STR. You also couldn't do a ton of STR stuff without fairly decent DEX and/or tons of CON.

D&D doesn't model that. Instead D&D forces you to "go hard" with one primary stat. You're praising a situation which makes Rogues bad at climbing, and Fighters good at it (and nope, that absolutely does not match reality - most top climbers are short and not all that strong though obviously pretty fit).

The problem is generic skills here combined with the fact that again, you're more concerned about trying to maintain Acrobatics being a do-nothing trash skill than the real problem, which is INT/WIS/CHA skills being completely dominant.
 

rooneg

Explorer
You're really just proving my point.

Yes, IRL, you couldn't have like 20 DEX without having like 14 or 16 STR. You also couldn't do a ton of STR stuff without fairly decent DEX and/or tons of CON.

D&D doesn't model that. Instead D&D forces you to "go hard" with one primary stat. You're praising a situation which makes Rogues bad at climbing, and Fighters good at it (and nope, that absolutely does not match reality - most top climbers are short and not all that strong though obviously pretty fit).

The problem is generic skills here combined with the fact that again, you're more concerned about trying to maintain Acrobatics being a do-nothing trash skill than the real problem, which is INT/WIS/CHA skills being completely dominant.
D&D as it is currently constructed in 5e wants you to go hard on a single stat. That doesn’t mean you have to build it that way. PF2, for example, gives you enough attribute increases that you can quite reasonably max DEX, have a reasonable STR, and not be totally useless at everything else.

As far as making Acrobatics a do-nothing trash skill, I don’t actually think it is, but I do think making it better is somewhat problematic when DEX is already super good for a huge variety of other reasons.
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
It's wildly overused.

D&D 5E is completely wildly over-reliant on it. People often name it as a "god-tier skill" or the like, and that's not a sign of good design, that's a sign of bad design.

Fewer things should require Perception tests, including passive Perception.

It's weird that you don't see a problem from your own description. It's not really optional. At least one, preferably multiple party members need a high Perception, for 5E to function correctly. If you don't, your party is basically Sideshow Bob in the field full of rakes. That's not interesting. That's not engaging. That's not fun. It's not even active - it's literally 90% passive. It's just a dumb must-have thing, that someone in the party either has as a matter of course, or has to sacrifice some stuff to get.

It's much like healing in 2E. It wasn't that people wanted to be "COOL HEALER DUDE", almost no-one did. But someone had to bloody be the Cleric or no-one was getting any healing and you were all going to die. Likewise Perception. Very few people want to be "COOL PERCEPTION DUDE", but unless you have 1+ party members who have high Perception, the game turns into a total farce.

BORING!!!
I suppose that's a fair point, but the kind of responses that spurred me to make this thread was people complaining about players making sure they had proficiency in Perception.

If Perception is the problem itself, one would think the complaints would be less "of course people were taking the Sailor Background" and more "Perception needs a redesign".

Myself, I liked how Perception was an ability score in Earthdawn, forcing you to consider it against all others. Unless you cast spells, of course. Then you wanted lots of it.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
Like every other RPG?

I mean, dude, I know you've played a lot of RPGs. About 95% of RPGs either don't have Perception or a close equivalent, or do, but it's very rarely rolled, not rolled any tested constantly.
Really though?

The only games where I didn't see 'notice stuff' as a thing that came up often was supers games where the deal was 'notice unusual stuff' instead.

Anything that requires investigation or environmental awareness has always tended, in my experience, to have a Notice Things button that you could buy up, tune or get special abilities tagged onto. And believe me, my favorite systems make DMs WAY more sad than just players rolling to notice.

For example: "What do I get from my Metal Sense."

"There's nothing magnetic here."

"Oh, I don't think you understand. I don't have metal detector metal sense, I have Metal Sense. Where here is primarily composed of an element that readily forms covalent bonds. Basically the highlighted part fo this helpful Periodic Table I've bought."

"I hate you."

Another player: "Should... I not ask what my ability to sense the entire electromagnetic spectrum gives me?"

Someone else "Are there any cats within five miles and how fluffy are they?" ~beat~ "What? I had three spare points..."
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
I suppose that's a fair point, but the kind of responses that spurred me to make this thread was people complaining about players making sure they had proficiency in Perception.

If Perception is the problem itself, one would think the complaints would be less "of course people were taking the Sailor Background" and more "Perception needs a redesign".

Myself, I liked how Perception was an ability score in Earthdawn, forcing you to consider it against all others. Unless you cast spells, of course. Then you wanted lots of it.
It's been a lot of use & convinced me that for my next campaign I might remove perception as a learnable skill & replace it with int mod to represent your ability to process the stuff you see & make dumping it have some real penalty.
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
It's been a lot of use & convinced me that for my next campaign I might remove perception as a learnable skill & replace it with int mod to represent your ability to process the stuff you see & make dumping it have some real penalty.
On the one hand, that's great to give Int more stuff to do.

On the other, since you have to have a low score somewhere, it's going to be fun to watch players try and figure out how to be good at everything.

On the gripping hand, it makes Wizards the guys who see everything.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
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.
For me it’s a three-fold problem. One, see the “I make a perception check” thread. Two, players will mangle their concept and beg and wheedle their way into getting it. Three, it’s a useful skill, but players act like their character is guaranteed to die in the first seconds of the game without it. I don’t have a problem with perception as a skill per se, I have a problem with how players treat it, both in-game and in the meta-game. These things bother me. It’s this weird “either you’re perfect or you suck” mentality. Not everyone needs perception. It doesn’t make sense for every character to have it. If the only reason a character has it is because the player thinks it’s mandatory, there’s something wrong.
 


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