Perception Rolls

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Rigon
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Perception Rolls

Post by Rigon »

Ive been thinking about perception rolls in my games. I've been basing them on Wisdom, but I'm not sure I like that. So, what I was thinking was to change it to a d20+level+the average of PC's mental attribute bonuses+any racial modifiers. The CB for the check would be based on class, since I think some classes are more perceptive than others. Base 12 classes would be ranger, rogue, assissin, barbarian, illusionist, druid, and bard. The base 18 classes are fighter, monk, wizard, cleric, knight, and paladin.

An example: A 5th level elven ranger with Int 13, Wis 16, and Cha 11. The player asks if his character preceives anything out of the ordinary as he is scout a trail for the party. He rolls a d20 and gets a 4. His perception roll would be a 12 (4 for the roll + 5 for level + 1 for average + 2 for racial mod) and since he is a ranger, his CB is 12. He would make a CL 0 check.

What do you think?

As always, suggestions and comments welcomed.

R-

Edit: Illusionist added to Base 12 group per Rikitiki's suggestion.
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Re: Perception Rolls

Post by Rikitiki »

Interesting concept. But, if I were doing it, I'd put the Illusionist into the
base 12 slot: after all, in order to create and maintain believable illusions,
the Illusionist would be a quite perceptive person generally. They'd be
noting things in the real world, how they look, move, act, etc, in order
to later craft effective illusions of them.
Just my $0.02.

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Re: Perception Rolls

Post by Rigon »

Rikitiki wrote:Interesting concept. But, if I were doing it, I'd put the Illusionist into the
base 12 slot: after all, in order to create and maintain believable illusions,
the Illusionist would be a quite perceptive person generally. They'd be
noting things in the real world, how they look, move, act, etc, in order
to later craft effective illusions of them.
Just my $0.02.
Good point. I think I will put the illusionist in with the Base 12 group. Thanks.

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Re: Perception Rolls

Post by Aramis »

I completely agree with the idea of separating perception from the Wisdom stat, as you know. I have always hated that.

Making perception class based is an excellent idea, especially within the C&C rules context, but there may be a slight hitch.

Generally, perception checks will apply to things that are hidden/hard to notice/obscure etc. Depending on how broadly one interprets this, _all_ classes will have their niche for perception. E.g. the characters, chased by a lumbering zombie horde, are trapped in a library and must very rapidly find an obscure volume of Pixie Erotic Limericks (author: J. Braun) to activate a secret door. In a library situation it would seem the academic wizard and cleric types (and bards) would be more suited to "quick-noticing" than a druid or barbarian. Conversely, if there is an orc ambush awaiting around the curve in the road, the wizard or cleric would not be particularly perceptive. Similarly, there is no reason to think druids or bards would be better at noticing hidden doors in a dungeon than wizards and fighters

So I would make it a bit more situational, but generally, for things like ambushes and hidden doors/hidden treasures assassins and rogues and rangers should definitely be prime since noticing and not being noticed is their business...and business is good.

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Re: Perception Rolls

Post by Pilgrim »

I've always struggled with setting up a good Perception mechanic and usually defaulted to an average of (DEX+INT+WIS) or simply added a Perception Attribute all its own and rolled it up just like the rest.
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Re: Perception Rolls

Post by Rhuvein »

Good thread.

I also think that some perception checks should be INT rather than WIS. Not sure how that would fit into the above calculations . . but I thought I would throw that out there.

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Re: Perception Rolls

Post by Rigon »

Aramis, you bring up some good points, but that also adds a level of complexity I don't know that I would want to add.

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Re: Perception Rolls

Post by zarathustra »

I also tend to favour intelligence as the perception trait but that may be a hangover from other games, C&C has some subtle and some major differences in interpretation (willpower as cha, which i like for example).

I don't have "a perception rule" exactly in my games. I rule on the fly using judgement on the situation, this allows me to adapt to circumstances - such as the mentioned library search I'd make priests/wizards/bards, maybe rogues prime i that search & others secondary (unless they had some background quirk). Int bonus could be added for this one.

Spotting a hidden trail in the woods I might decide elves, rangers, druids & barbarians are prime. Wis bonus can be added.

All PC's can add level & an ability mod (int or wis, depending on circumstance)

So I have a consistent method, just adjusted for circumstance. Players can understand how it will work & it should be able to cope with the myriad bizarre scenarios rpg's can throw up.

CL is also variable.

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Re: Perception Rolls

Post by finarvyn »

Rigon wrote:Ive been thinking about perception rolls in my games. I've been basing them on Wisdom, but I'm not sure I like that.
I love using Wisdom as the basis for Perception checks, but my reason is a combination of logic and metagaming.

A huge difference between INT and WIS (to me) is that INT is pure knowledge, but WIS is what you do with that knowledge, so in my mind WIS is a measure of how one can interact with the world around him. That's the logical explaination.

From a metagaming standpoint, I look at all six stats and ask how they are used. STR, DEX, and CON are clearly useful for combat, so I hate to give them any additional benefits. The three traditional "dump stats" are INT, WIS, and CHA. INT is benificial with language and communication, as well as for many knowledge checks. CHA can be extremely useful in social interactions, which I know some campaigns de-emphasize. WIS just doesn't seem to get much that it can do, so putting Perception as a part of WIS feels "right" to me. And since I started playing it this way, my players have put a lot more value in high WIS characters.

Just how I do it.
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Re: Perception Rolls

Post by Rigon »

Right now, I use Wis for perception checks, but have experienced clerics and druids who are better at noticing things than rangers or rogues. So instead of having a group of classes that use a Base 12, I'll leave the Base 12 bsed on conditional situations. Wizards would gain it in a library, rogues in a back alley, rangers in the wilderness. That way all classes can have a fair chance of being the better observer from time to time.

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Re: Perception Rolls

Post by Lurker »

Rigon wrote:Right now, I use Wis for perception checks, but have experienced clerics and druids who are better at noticing things than rangers or rogues. So instead of having a group of classes that use a Base 12, I'll leave the Base 12 bsed on conditional situations. Wizards would gain it in a library, rogues in a back alley, rangers in the wilderness. That way all classes can have a fair chance of being the better observer from time to time.

R-

R.

I'm with you on that. I use Wis (for the same reason that Finar uses it) but modify it as the situation warrants it. I've even thought of expanding it to letting fighter types notice things about their opponents -fighting style, best way to attack or defend relative level etc - with a perception check. It kind of makes it beneficial for the fighters to go to the guild area or watch the tilting list while in town. That way 3 weeks later when they see knight X in the middle of the melee they will know he is a strong swordsman but gets rash if the fight takes too long (making it beneficial to fight defensively for a min or 2)

The thing I never liked was the idea that clerics are best at perception just because wis is their prime.
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Re: Perception Rolls

Post by Just Jeff »

I like using Wisdom with the base depending on the situation, and not just by a class. A fighter on the battlefield is probably going to use base 12, but if that same fighter is highly motivated by profit and the possibility of making it, he might also be base 12 to notice money changing hands under a table in a tavern.

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Re: Perception Rolls

Post by Lord Dynel »

I had problems with this for a while, too. Maybe it was my anal-retentiveness (not saying any of you are) or who-knows-what it was, but the perceived problem of clerics and druids being better at perception than rogues, or other classes, kind of bothered me. I even thought (and drew up) a new class skill for rangers, rogues, and assassins called "Notice (wisdom)" until I realized that those classes wouldn't really benefit from such a class skill unless they took wisdom as a prime stat.

Then it hit me. I don't hear as many issues arising from fighters being able to make strength checks better than other classes, or wizards being able to search better than others, or rogues being able to jump better. Clerics have the benefit if having wisdom prime, which - if you feel that a perception check should be made via wisdom - should give them a benefit should give them a benefit as well. Again, I had the same problem. Then I realized that I don't complain when other classes shine in their prime-related spotlights, so why am I now? If i really want a perceptive rogue, should I not make his wisdom prime?

I know that one argument to this might be that perceiving things should be a common skill available to all, irregardless of prime. Or that certain classes (rogues, rangers, and assassins) should be better at it than others. I can address this by saying that there doesn't have to be a SIEGE check for everything. If something's amiss, the CK is well within his rights to adjudicate whether or not the ranger (or rogue or assassin) saw the clue (or hidden figure) or not. A roll is not necessary. But if the CK feels it is, and feels wisdom is the stat to be rolled against, then I feel it's only fair for those who have wisdom prime to have an advantage.

One last thing to consider. Hiding is a check, made by the "hider.". If he fails that check, then PCs should spot him/her right away. Otherwise, he/she is using their skill well and shouldn't be perceived. As far as items hidden, the same mechanic can be used. Give the item a hide check against a TN equal to 18 (objects don't have wisdom prime :)) but give them a bonus equal to their size (maybe follow the 3.x size modifiers?). Just a thought for those who feel a roll needs to be made but don't like the current way it's rolled. :)
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Re: Perception Rolls

Post by ArgoForg »

Great thread! In our games, I've gotten to the point of allowing the player to use their highest mental attribute, but I may consider using something different (I'm not to the point of wanting to add another ability score yet). It struck us as not right that the clerics and paladins of the world always had a comparatively easier time at seeing the 'out of the ordinary' than other sorts that didn't pull Wisdom as a prime.
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Re: Perception Rolls

Post by finarvyn »

Rigon wrote:Right now, I use Wis for perception checks, but have experienced clerics and druids who are better at noticing things than rangers or rogues.
What about this: let everyone roll a perception roll and if 50% or more of the entire party makes a successful roll then "the group" percieves. Gets rid of the problem of one awesome perception guy and everyone else saying "why bother, since he will detect things anyway."

I can't remember where I got this idea -- maybe from 4E. Anyway, I'm sure someone will recognize it and let us all know its source.
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Re: Perception Rolls

Post by Piperdog »

I guess I get this because I played Gurps for so long, where IQ represents all mental and emotional faculties. Wisdom to me is more of an empathic connection, a grasp of the unseen world around them, with higher scores giving greater intuitive hunches and gut feelings about places, people, situations, etc. Intelligence to me has been not only about recall, memorization, and raw intellect, but of observational astuteness. To compromise, and much to the hapiness of my players, I allow perception rolls to be made with either wisdom or intelligence. I have toyed with making siege checks for visible clues to be Int based, but decided to be more of a free love kind of hipster and let folks the best of either ability. So the high wisdom character gets a strong feeling, a hunch, about a clue or the high int character analytically deciphers where the clue is......whether it's markings on a wall or something moving behind the bushes.....and arrives at the same conclusion.

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Re: Perception Rolls

Post by Rigon »

I think the reason I am leaning toward an average of mental attributes is because of how I view perception checks in the first place. To me perception is the stuff that PCs don't necessarily know they are aware of.

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Re: Perception Rolls

Post by Lord Dynel »

It's all good, in the end. Both Rigon's and Piper's ideasare viable, in my (meaningless :P) opinion. As long as you have a method that you feel is fair and makes sense to you and your group, that's all that really matters! :)
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Re: Perception Rolls

Post by kreider204 »

Great discussion. I'm thinking about the following house rule:

Perception rolls are made with either Intelligence or Wisdom, whichever is better (taking into account primes and modifiers). Rogues and assassins may also use Intelligence in place of Wisdom for their relevant class abilities (Listen and Case Target, where applicable).

Thoughts?

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Re: Perception Rolls

Post by vivsavage »

I've been thinking about doing this:
Each race starts with a base perception bonus (Humans, dwarves, and 1/2 orcs: +8, elves and gnomes +10, Halflings +9... or something like that). Everyone has a challenge base of 18. There are no primes.
You get a +2 bonus to your roll depending on whether you have knowledge in an appropriate area. For instance, a ranger might get a bonus for detecting the presence of a faked bird call, while a rogue would get a bonus for noticing a cheating gambler.

I'm sure it needs work, but I've never liked the idea of perception being based on an ability score. It seems to make more sense to base it off your own knowledge. My fighter might have a higher Wisdom score than a wizard, but I don't think that should give him the edge over the wizard in noticing the subtle use of magic or something like that. Just a thought.

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