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bitweever
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Active Perception vs Passive Perception

Mon Mar 23, 2015 11:40 am

You guys ended up with some pretty high Passive Perception scores, so I was struggling with how to use those. Do you, in effect, just always see the DC15 trap if you have a PP of 16? So, after some reading, I think what I'll do is let PP give you general information. For specific information, you'll have to roll. So, you don't automatically know where the hidden goblins are just from your passive perception. You just know that someone's over there. If you want to roll to see if you can pinpoint them, you can, but you'll have to roll for it.

In effect, this may turn out to be the exact same thing as telling you outright, but at least it gives you a slight chance of failure and makes things more interesting.
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Re: Active Perception vs Passive Perception

Mon Mar 23, 2015 5:42 pm

Yeah. That seems reasonable. Passive Perception is just what I would be able to see if I weren't actively looking around. I think the rules call out that "I'm looking around the room for traps" should only let you see things that are in the open, whereas "I'm looking in the bookshelf for traps" would let you see the thing behind the book, or the hinge on the shelf. The former is more "passive" perception and the latter is active.

Passive skills just exist to make things easier for the GM. It helps you know what the players might know, based on how perceptive they are. The rules also suggest that passive versions of other skills also exist, but just aren't common enough to get their own little box on the character sheet. It is, after all, the same as if the "take 10" rule from previous editions were being used. (Note: there is no "Take 20" equivalent in 5e.)
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Re: Active Perception vs Passive Perception

Wed Mar 25, 2015 10:41 am

One thing to keep in mind is that, most creatures who are sneaking (therefore a prime use of perception to find them) confer disadvantage on those seeking them. When rolling dice, obviously, you roll 2 and take the worse one; on passive checks it's a static -5 to your passive score. So, my passive perception of 14 becomes a 9 for the goblin in the underbrush or the rogue in the shadows. If the rogue didn't get above a 9 on his stealth, he deserves to be seen.
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Re: Active Perception vs Passive Perception

Wed Mar 25, 2015 11:11 am

What page?
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Re: Active Perception vs Passive Perception

Thu Mar 26, 2015 5:42 pm

It's in the rules on cover. You need cover (either from objects or lighting conditions) to sneak, usually. Cover also provides disadvantage to those seeking to find you with Perception.
Vision and Light: In a lightly obscured area, such as dim light, patchy fog, or moderate foliage, creatures have disadvantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight.
Further, a goblin rolling a 9 would actually tie my Passive Perception and therefore be hidden from me, since my Perception sets the DC that Sneak rolls against... and ties go to the roller.
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