Campaign of the Month: June 2012
A few clarifications to the Perception skill for this campaign.
From the Core Rulebook:
Most Perception checks are reactive, made in response to observable stimulus. Intentionally searching for stimulus is a move action.
Making a reactive perception check to assess a combat scene is a free action, but due to the brevity of such a “glimpse” at the situation, the DC for such checks are +10. Other modifiers apply as normal.
If they character wishes to take in more of the scene, they may intentionally search for stimulus, as a move action. Such attempts suffer only a +5 modifier to the DC.
Furthermore, one may spend a standard action scanning the scene. There is no modifier to the roll by taking a standard action. In fact, taking a standard action allows a character to note every creature not using stealth to hide, or who had no cover or concealment. He would only need to make a roll against those using Stealth to hide from him, or those who have cover or concealment.
For example, noticing a single visible creature directly in front of you (DC: 0) as a reactive check after bursting open a dungeon door, would be a modified DC: 10 given proper lighting. If that same creature were 30 feet away, the check would be DC: 13.
Each additional creature present will add +5 to the reactive DC. So if there are 25 creatures spread out in a 40 ft. × 40 ft. room, which is lit by a torch near the door (meaning many of the creatures are in dim light (partial concealment)). To see the creatures closest to the door, the reactive DC would be 10 (in order to resist being surprised). To take in all 25 creatures reactively, in order to say, send a fireball into the room with maximum efficacy, would be effectively improbable, and only a roll of a natural 20 would succeed. However, the higher the roll, the more information is disclosed.
Usually surprise checks are the free-action reactive checks. If a character or creature is surprised, by the end of the surprise round (equivalent to a move or standard action), surprised characters are assumed to have taken that round to assess the situation as if they had used a standard action to do so.
An example of play might be…
Rudy the fighter kicks in the door to a kobold lair, described above. The nearest Kobolds are 15 feet away, and Rudy rolls a reactive perception check. His result is a 16. Essentially, on first glance, Rudy sees two enemy kobolds directly ahead of him, and can clearly see there are many more such creatures in the room. On his turn, Rudy decides to use his move action to get a better look at the room. He rolls poorly, resulting in a 5. He still sees what he saw before, but does not get much more information. Finally, Rudy decides he wants to spend his standard action to scan the room, paying more attention to details. At the end of his turn, Rudy would see many kobolds preparing for an upcoming battle, twelve of which are clearly within the glow of the torchlight, and many others scrambling in the shadows beyond the glow radius. In subsequent rounds, he may target any creature he can clearly see, including those in the shadows, but normal concealment penalties apply. In order to spot the rogue skulking along the near wall (who must use the shadows (concealment) or cover to sneak up on him, Rudy would make an opposed perception check vs. the rogue’s stealth check, which is usually always a reactive check (although because it is an opposed roll, the +10 DC does not apply).
Perception Checks While Sleeping
These rules apply only to characters who are sleeping normally.
Sleeping characters automatically add +10 to the DC of the perception check.
So, hearing sounds of battle (DC: -10), within 10 ft. of the sleeping character, would have a DC of 0.
As a house rule, simply making the check means the character heard the noise, but because they were asleep, reacting to the audible stimulus may not be immediate.
- Rolling a natural 1 results in the character sleeping very deeply, too deeply to make sense of the sounds they hear, and incorporating them into their dreams. They will not get another check unless the DC lowers (such as the combat coming closer to them by 10 feet).
- Failing to meet the DC means the character is asleep, and may check next round.
- Meeting the DC or exceeding it by 4 means the character has awakened but is very groggy. They may roll initiative in the following round of combat, but will suffer a -10 penalty to the roll. Until their turn in that round, they are flat-footed (as well as being prone).
- Exceeding the DC by 5 to 9 means the character may roll initiative without penalty in the following round. Until their turn in that round, they are flat-footed (as well as being prone).
- Exceeding the DC by 10 to 14 means the character may roll initiative in the current round, but they will suffer a -10 penalty to the roll. Until their turn, they are flat-footed (as well as being prone).
- Exceeding the DC by 15 or more means the character may roll initiative without penalty in the current round.
If a character is jostled (such as an ally moving (move action) through their square, or combat taking place in the characters square) they automatically wake up can can roll an initiative in the following round.
If another character takes a standard action to rouse the character, they may roll initiative in the current round, but may obviously not take an action before the character who roused them. If the roused character rolls higher than the rouser, they are placed in the initiative order just after the rousing ally.