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Scent Woes


Rules Questions

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3 people marked this as FAQ candidate.

So, I'm playing a gnome sorcerer with the arcane bloodline. Whoo-hoo I have a weasel familiar! He's pretty awesome. But I'm trying to understand exactly how the scent ability works. And in searching for an answer, there's some internal disagreement about how this ability works.

PRD Core Scent Glossary:
Scent

This extraordinary ability lets a creature detect approaching enemies, sniff out hidden foes, and track by sense of smell.

A creature with the scent ability can detect opponents by sense of smell, generally within 30 feet. If the opponent is upwind, the range is 60 feet. If it is downwind, the range is 15 feet. Strong scents, such as smoke or rotting garbage, can be detected at twice the ranges noted above. Overpowering scents, such as skunk musk or troglodyte stench, can be detected at three times these ranges.

The creature detects another creature's presence but not its specific location. Noting the direction of the scent is a move action. If the creature moves within 5 feet (1 square) of the scent's source, the creature can pinpoint the area that the source occupies, even if it cannot be seen.

A creature with the Survival skill and the scent ability can follow tracks by smell, making a Survival check to find or follow a track. A creature with the scent ability can attempt to follow tracks using Survival untrained. The typical DC for a fresh trail is 10. The DC increases or decreases depending on how strong the quarry's odor is, the number of creatures, and the age of the trail. For each hour that the trail is cold, the DC increases by 2. The ability otherwise follows the rules for the Survival skill in regards to tracking. Creatures tracking by scent ignore the effects of surface conditions and poor visibility.

Creatures with the scent ability can identify familiar odors just as humans do familiar sights.

Water, particularly running water, ruins a trail for air-breathing creatures. Water-breathing creatures that have the scent ability, however, can use it in the water easily.

False, powerful odors can easily mask other scents. The presence of such an odor completely spoils the ability to properly detect or identify creatures, and the base Survival DC to track becomes 20 rather than 10.

Core Glossary Invisibility:
A creature with the scent ability can detect an invisible creature as it would a visible one.

So given that above, it seems sensible to assume that if a creature with the scent ability detects an invisible creature as it would a visible one, the same action that would be used by a creature to detect a visible creature by sight would also be used to detect an invisible creature by scent. In most cases, that would be no action; I see the creature in front of me, therefore I know the creature is there. No action is required. I smell the creature in range with the scent ability, therefore I know the creature is there. No action is required.

Certainly a creature can't always see a visible creature with vision. If someone is miles and miles away, you can't see them. And certainly a creature with scent can't always smell a creature in the scent range. An overpowering stench can make detection difficult. And I know that the scent range can vary. And I also know that it takes an action or actions to determine where exactly a creature is. But as far as the ping that says a creature is in range in most situations, it should be instant.

My understanding of 3.X was that the detection abilities went in this order of power (weaker to powerful): Scent -> Blindsense -> Blindsight. Scent would make you immediately aware but not tell you where in range -- actions are required to tell you direction until you're within 5 feet. Blindsense would make you immediately aware of a creature in range and tell you where they are -- but concealment still applies. Blindsight mostly functions like blindsense but with the concealment penalty gone.

I totally understand that the perception skill in PF was made to be used for scents -- and that detecting a faint smell or a trace amount of something by smell would require a perception check. But you don't need a perception check in most cases to see a creature within 30 ft of you. You shouldn't need a perception check to smell a creature within 30 ft of you in most cases if you have the scent ability.

After a quick search on the forum I found this from a dev:

James Jacobs says:
People who treat Scent as "autodetect anything within 30 feet" aren't reading the rules for scent properly; nowhere in the rules for scent does it say something like "...most kinds of concealment are irrelevaqnt..." like it does for blindsight. It only says "you can detect opponents by sense of smell, generally within 30 feet." The word "automatic" does not appear in there at all. This is not a rules problem as much as people not paying attention to the words or making assumptions about things that aren't really there, I guess. It doesn't even grant any intrinsic bonus to Perception either. It basically just ALLOWS you to roll a Perception check to notice a non-unusually scented creature by smell. None of that would be fixed by a reorganization of the skills system.

I was very surprised reading this, considering that nowhere have I ever read/seen/heard in 3.X that actions were needed for the detection capability of scent. Maybe I always played it wrong? ):

But then I found this from a dev from a blog about a proposed changed Stealth system. The new system proposed a change to the scent ability that a hidden creature could not be found immediately unless within 5 feet:

Stephen Radney-MacFarland says:
Dragnmoon wrote:
You still need to make clear how someone/thing with Scent can detect a scent (DC? Automatic?)and how and if Stealth affects that.

If it is within range, it is automatic. Stealth doesn't help you when going up against a creature that has scent. That's the long and short of it.

So what's the right answer? I'm totally confused at this point ):

Qadira

This came up at our last society game. Our sorcerer has an animal companion through his bloodline. He was treating his dog as 30 foot radar that told him if anything came within 30 feet.
Until this has been clarified by an official FAQ I think it is way too easy to abuse. I personally am going to be ruling it as
1. If your pet moves at half speed and takes a standard action each round to concentrate on scents then you will be notified if anything comes within the appropriate distance so long as the scent is discernible.
2. If your pet is not consciously paying attention to scent I just set some dcs based off perception for different strengths of scent.
Dc 10: smelly orc standing behind a bush.
Dc 15: normal person standing around the corner.
Dc 20: someone with a strong scent has passed through the area recently.
Feel free to come up with your own dcs.
3. If at any point in time your dogs scent ability is more useful than another creatures blind sense it needs toned down.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I think I disagree with James Jacobs on this one.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Nephril wrote:

3. If at any point in time your dogs scent ability is more useful than another creatures blind sense it needs toned down.

Blindsense lets you pinpoint any creature within range automatically without making a check.

If you allow scent to work as it seems to be written, it's basically a 5 ft blindsense that also acts as a 30 ft radar.

I have yet to find a creature with blindsense with a range of less than 30 ft, so blindsense is superior in every situation, except possibly a creature sneaking up on the dog from upwind, where the scent range might increase to 60 ft. The dog still has a spend a move action to even tell what direction the smell is coming from. Having your dog familiar then go sniffing around the battlefield to pinpoint an enemy by going adjacent to it? You're just begging for your familiar to die.

Qadira

Castarr4 wrote:
Nephril wrote:

3. If at any point in time your dogs scent ability is more useful than another creatures blind sense it needs toned down.

Blindsense lets you pinpoint any creature within range automatically without making a check.

If you allow scent to work as it seems to be written, it's basically a 5 ft blindsense that also acts as a 30 ft radar.

I have yet to find a creature with blindsense with a range of less than 30 ft, so blindsense is superior in every situation, except possibly a creature sneaking up on the dog from upwind, where the scent range might increase to 60 ft. The dog still has a spend a move action to even tell what direction the smell is coming from. Having your dog familiar then go sniffing around the battlefield to pinpoint an enemy by going adjacent to it? You're just begging for your familiar to die.

we are in agreement. my player was suggesting that his animal companion was capable of something akin to blindsense and i had to let them know that was not the RAI of scent and i had to disagree. he handled it well and we continued on playing.

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as FAQ candidate. 1 person marked this as a favorite.

As i read it , this is what happens.

1) Someone gets within 30 feet of you. Your weasel knows they're there... somewhere.

2) The weasel takes a move action to Sniff sniff sniff the air. This automatically lets it know the direction to the thing its looking for.

3) The weasel (if it so desires) can move in the direction of the thing it smells. This allows it to get within 5 feet of the thing it smells, it automatically knows what square the thing it smells is in. More likely the weasel tells you "10 o clock boss" and expects you to walk over and find it, send in the fighter, or just throw an AoE spell in that direction.

So that's an entire full round to get you what blindsense gets you instantly.

I can't figure out what scent actually does by James Jacobs reading. If someone is stealthing near me and I spend a move action and make a perception check I don't get a vague sense of "they're that way" I SEE them. Likewise with an invisible creature i know not only their direction but approximate location. It makes scent worse than having no scent.


1) I'd add: If there is nothing blocking his/it's scent.

Last time we were ambushed in one of our games it was by a dino hiding underwater and when we crossed the water via a bridge it jumped up and attacked one of us with his pounce.
I don't think we had anything with scent with us but even if I don't think it would have been an autodetect, the creature being fully submerged in the running river for who knows how long already.

So I'd say a creature with scent gets a huge bonus to perception checks to detect other creatures. And the bonus should be big enough to make a near automatic success unless there are things that negate the bonus (like being under water or having a scent cloak rubbed onto you.


BigNorseWolf wrote:

As i read it , this is what happens.

1) Someone gets within 30 feet of you. Your weasel knows they're there... somewhere.

2) The weasel takes a move action to Sniff sniff sniff the air. This automatically lets it know the direction to the thing its looking for.

3) The weasel (if it so desires) can move in the direction of the thing it smells. This allows it to get within 5 feet of the thing it smells, it automatically knows what square the thing it smells is in. More likely the weasel tells you "10 o clock boss" and expects you to walk over and find it, send in the fighter, or just throw an AoE spell in that direction.

+1. This is how scent has always worked in my games.

Contributor

Scent isn't sonar or radar. Sonar and radar are sonar and radar.

Scent is the ability to smell things and to track that scent. Wind affects it. Masking scents affect it. Certain pungent scents disable the Scent ability the same way that vision can have the Blinded or Dazzled condition.

I generally don't think about it much because people don't use it much. However, if they do, I'm going to have it work like Scent should work, rather than having a dog have a magic geiger counter implanted in its nose.


Well if for nothing else, it's useful for tracking without ground or visibility penalties. Also, it's useful for when your parties archer tags the bbeg or random enemy with his pheromone arrow. Thanks for the +2 to atk/dmg.

Shadow Lodge

The best way to fool it is in a city. The weasel smells people within 30 feet all.. the.. time. That one happens to be on the roof loading a crossbow bolt and aiming for the wizards sternum can't be discerned through the nose.

For being out in the woods though, anything larger than a mouse is going to get your attention at least. And aren't classes that can either get scent or have friends with them SUPPOSED to be spotting ambushes left and right out in the woods?


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

There are spells to gain scent. Goblins can gain a weak scent.


had a bit of an argument with my play group this weekend over scent.

one of the players is playing a half orc who took the scent feat (or is it a trait)

anyway while fighting troglodytes in a troglodyte den the PCs were in a kind of stand off with several Trogs down a short hall way and neither group willing to rush into the others readied actions.

the trogs split their force and half of them circled around and attacked the party from behind.

when the trogs attacked the party from behind I let the PCs roll perception checks to see if they noticed the approach. one player complained that since the half orc had scent he should have automatically been aware as soon as they came within 30 feet. my argument was that your in a trog DEN. their stench is pretty much everywhere, your not going to automatically notice the scent of incoming trog before they run up and hit you.

ultimately my oppinion is that the SCENT ability is a sense just like sight, or hearing which is a part of the perception skill. It should not be auto detect.

Shadow Lodge

Blue the wolf wrote:
ultimately my oppinion is that the SCENT ability is a sense just like sight, or hearing which is a part of the perception skill. It should not be auto detect.

What exactly is the point of it then? What does it do?


BigNorseWolf wrote:

As i read it , this is what happens.

1) Someone gets within 30 feet of you. Your weasel knows they're there... somewhere.

2) The weasel takes a move action to Sniff sniff sniff the air. This automatically lets it know the direction to the thing its looking for.

3) The weasel (if it so desires) can move in the direction of the thing it smells. This allows it to get within 5 feet of the thing it smells, it automatically knows what square the thing it smells is in. More likely the weasel tells you "10 o clock boss" and expects you to walk over and find it, send in the fighter, or just throw an AoE spell in that direction.

So that's an entire full round to get you what blindsense gets you instantly.

I can't figure out what scent actually does by James Jacobs reading. If someone is stealthing near me and I spend a move action and make a perception check I don't get a vague sense of "they're that way" I SEE them. Likewise with an invisible creature i know not only their direction but approximate location. It makes scent worse than having no scent.

The description of the Perception skill says it quite unambiguously:

PRD wrote:
Creatures with the scent special quality have a +8 bonus on Perception checks made to detect a scent. Creatures with the tremorsense special quality have a +8 bonus on Perception checks against creatures touching the ground and automatically make any such checks within their range.

Tremorsense gives you a bonus on Perception checks and you automatically succeed on the check if something happens within range.

Scent gives you a bonus on Perception checks. No auto-success.

Shadow Lodge

Cpt. Caboodle wrote:

The description of the Perception skill says it quite unambiguously

Except 3 things.

1) thats not mentioned anywhere in the scent special ability
2) The scent ability should be a sentence long if that's the case. (you gain a +8 bonus on perception checks within 30 feet, provided that the stimilus has a scent)
3) There's no call to make a perception check to note a direction (if you make the perception check you see them there)


BigNorseWolf wrote:

Except 3 things.

1) thats not mentioned anywhere in the scent special ability

It is specifically mentioned where it is needed, in the description of the relevant skill. Granted, you don't have many references, but imho it's sufficient.

Player: "Why do you want me to roll perception for scent?"
GM: "Because it says so, here in the skill's description."


If the enemy is hiding use scent. If enemy is visible, no need for scent, since you see them fine. If invisible, scent and use perception, to help gain a +8 for perception to see invisible enemy.

That is what scent is for essentially, to fill in the gap the perception can't, and to boost when using perception.

Shadow Lodge

Cpt. Caboodle wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:

Except 3 things.

1) thats not mentioned anywhere in the scent special ability

It is specifically mentioned where it is needed, in the description of the relevant skill. Granted, you don't have many references, but imho it's sufficient.

Player: "Why do you want me to roll perception for scent?"
GM: "Because it says so, here in the skill's description."

That's a mite circular. You're assuming that scent needs to reference the perception skill because.. scent needs to make perception rolls , so you know it has to reference the perception skill. The +8 in perception is for when you need to smell that lovely hint of bitter almonds in your tea.

Scent hasn't changed its wording much from 3.5 when there was no perception skill to tie it into.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
Cpt. Caboodle wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:

Except 3 things.

1) thats not mentioned anywhere in the scent special ability

It is specifically mentioned where it is needed, in the description of the relevant skill. Granted, you don't have many references, but imho it's sufficient.

Player: "Why do you want me to roll perception for scent?"
GM: "Because it says so, here in the skill's description."

That's a mite circular. You're assuming that scent needs to reference the perception skill because.. scent needs to make perception rolls , so you know it has to reference the perception skill. The +8 in perception is for when you need to smell that lovely hint of bitter almonds in your tea.

Scent hasn't changed its wording much from 3.5 when there was no perception skill to tie it into.

That is your interpretation. It doesn't say so in the skill description.

I refuse to believe that creatures with an excellent sense of smell do not need to make a perception check, just as creatures with an excellent sense of hearing (dogs) or vision (eagles) don't automatically detect everything within the range of their senses.

The way I see it RAW as well as RAI is to roll a perception check when scent is involved.


Scent negates any perception modifier for sight such as invisibility. So the creature with scent would get +8 to the perception roll and the dc would not be increased by invisibility. Instead some other modifiers could apply. Scent cloak for example for a higher dc or having something smelly with him, sweating or bleeding would make the dc lower or give a bonus to perception.
Thats how I see the rules for that.

Andoran

scent, gotta love it. Like BNW's description of how it works. I have a player in society playing 1/2 orc with scent and so has made me look into it more.
do agree James was in error, cause why have scent than. the way I read the rules on invisible is that anyone can get a perception check if within 30feet. so scent should be better.


Umbranus wrote:

Scent negates any perception modifier for sight such as invisibility. So the creature with scent would get +8 to the perception roll and the dc would not be increased by invisibility. Instead some other modifiers could apply. Scent cloak for example for a higher dc or having something smelly with him, sweating or bleeding would make the dc lower or give a bonus to perception.

Thats how I see the rules for that.

This.

BNW & jjaamm, I think you are overrating scent as a sense.

Imaging someone dropping a needle in a 30' radius room. You would give a character in the middle of the room a perception check to notice the sound, with the DC modified for possible background noises. Now if the character had acute hearing, you'd give him a bonus of, say, +8 to the perception test, not let him automatically succeed.

If a very tiny object lay somewhere in the room, you'd make him roll perception to see if he finds it, the DC modified for possible rubble lying around. If he were wearing eyes of the eagle, he'd have a bonus of +5, not an automatic success.

Why would you rule scent differently? If the sense is enhanced, you get a bonus on your perception check, not succeed automatically.
You should modify the DC for distracting smells in the vicinity, and give a +8 modifier for the scent ability.

Of course, if the opponent is really smelly, you should adjust the DC, up to the point where the success is automatic in any case, but that should not be the norm.

Shadow Lodge

Why would you rule scent differently?

Because its specifically listed as a special ability with its own rules along with blind sight, blind sense, and tremor sense; not merely a bonus to perception checks. It is a very toned down and hard to use version of blindsense, which is itself a toned down version of blindsight.


I have to admit, of course, that a dog (with scent) would notice the invisible man standing 20' away from him automatically. That's because the DC to detect him is 2, modified by +20 because of invisibility, -20 because invisibility doesn't count, and the dog gets +8 to the roll because of the scent modifier to perception and +8 because of the perception skill. So thats d20+16 vs. DC 2.

On the other hand, the stealthing rogue (who, by stealthing, tries to be unseen, unheard and unsmelled) with +16 on his stealth skill has a 50% chance to get past the dog unnoticed.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
[scent is] not merely a bonus to perception checks.

But it is! It's a +8 bonus!

BigNorseWolf wrote:
It is a very toned down and hard to use version of blindsense, which is itself a toned down version of blindsight.

The way you rule it, it is not. It would be even better than blindsense. With blindsense, opponents have total concealment, and you are denied your Dex bonus to AC. With your version of scent, you automatically detect invisible creatures within your range, and pinpoint them if they're 5' away - which, by the way, is nonsensical, because invisibility doesn't count anyway.

Shadow Lodge

Sans magic/alchemy there's not much the rogue can realistically do to eliminate their scent. You can come from down wind and there are already rules for that, but there's no mechanism to hide from scent, especially one that can be used on a moments notice as part of a move action.

You also have the kerfuffle where the Dog can perceive the rogue not not perceive him, since the dog did beat him on a perception check but the scent rules say they don't actually see him even on a succsesfull perception check they just know his direction.

Shadow Lodge

The way you rule it, it is not. It would be even better than blindsense. With blindsense, opponents have total concealment, and you are denied your Dex bonus to AC.

-What makes you think I rule scent any differently? Pinpointing someone just lets you know what square they're in. It doesn't change the fact that they're invisible. You still don't get your Dex against an invisible foe even when you know what square they're in. You need blindsight to do that.

Quote:
With your version of scent, you automatically detect invisible creatures within your range

Their PRESENCE, yes. But not their location. Blindsight or blind sense would automatically give you both.

Quote:
and pinpoint them if they're 5' away - which, by the way, is nonsensical, because invisibility doesn't count anyway.

What exactly is nonsensical about it? If you're 5 feet away you know what square they're standing in.

I'm not taking scent's "you detect an invisible creature as you would a visible one" to mean that invisibility is irrelevant to a creature with scent.


Cpt. Caboodle wrote:

I have to admit, of course, that a dog (with scent) would notice the invisible man standing 20' away from him automatically. That's because the DC to detect him is 2, modified by +20 because of invisibility, -20 because invisibility doesn't count, and the dog gets +8 to the roll because of the scent modifier to perception and +8 because of the perception skill. So thats d20+16 vs. DC 2.

On the other hand, the stealthing rogue (who, by stealthing, tries to be unseen, unheard and unsmelled) with +16 on his stealth skill has a 50% chance to get past the dog unnoticed.

I would struggle to see how someone would get their stealth bonus to avoid scent detection.


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Stealth
(Dex; Armor Check Penalty)
You are skilled at avoiding detection, allowing you to slip past foes or strike from an unseen position. This skill covers hiding and moving silently.

I think this is where your interpretation is breaking down. The perception rules definitively cover noticing the significance of smells in the environment, but I agree with Doctoryesninja that the Scent rules are a combat-orientation ability that exists wholly separate from the use of perception to notice a smell.

Scent/Perception vs Stealth can't apply simply because Stealth doesn't allow you to conceal your odor as per the skill description. Consequently the 'using scent to notice an enemy' has to exist outside perception checks.


I know special force troops utilize many different techniques to masking their scent when engaging in stealth. They will spend time getting their scent to match the local scents, it is quite interesting. I could see a stealthy character using their down time to do the same. (A description how is on a free podcast entitled, How to Do Everything.)


Yes. They would. However the Stealth skill itself doesn't mention covering ones scent at all.


Let's not further where stealth came from. It is based on hide and move silently. Brother which was used to prevenIt from scent. There was a feat, called darkstalker, it allowed you to use your hide skill to hide vs their blindsight, scent, and such.
This of course was from 3.5.

Using that as foothold, stealth isn't used for scent, as MC templar showed.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

I don't believe that Scent is an auto-detect feature.

My rationale is:
-There are a lot of smells out in the world, in pretty much every location.
-Some smells are strong, some are not.
-Noticing new scents is easy in a familiar location.
-Noticing new scents is easy in a new location, but interpretting what each is, is less easy.

Animal companion (or any kind of pet with scent) considerations:
-How does the animal companion communicate what they are smelling?
-How does the animal companion know when to alert their "owner" when a new smell enters their "smell" range? That is how does the animal companion determine which smells are dangerous, of interest, etc. to the "owner" (most owners will not care about squirrels, street cats, a delicious smell of partially rotted meat, etc)?

Environmental consideration:
-natural environments have all kinds of scents associated with them, such as animal droppings (hmm, which animals and how many types), vegetation, decomposing material (rotting vegetation, animals, etc), etc
-battlefield environments also have all kinds of scents, such as sweat of those involved in the fight, blood (lots and lots of blood, splattered everywhere), excrement (from wounds to loosened bowels after death), perfumes (to mask the foul smells or simply those worn by some of the combatants), in RPGs there is likely also smells from spells, etc
-whose lair is it? the smells associated with the owners of the location will permiated all over the place, such as their sweat, body oils, cooking smells, housekeeping habits (from slobs to clean freaks), etc. Determining which scents are those of an invisible owner, an owner not present, an owner that has recently left, etc.. may be challenging.

Perception check:
-I agree with James, that you need to make one
-One of the main reasons is to know which smell is important (which of the 50 new scents that are picked up when a new room is entered is the one indicating that there is an invisible opponent beside the dirty laundry hamper?)
-metagame reason: to allow pets and animal companions to communicate the appropriate information to their owners

Scenario:
Orcs rush into a large room where the PCs are. There is a fight. How does the pet with scent know how many orcs there were to know if there is an additional orc hiding in the area? If there are 13 scents, but only twelve bodies, does that mean that there is still on hiding? or does it mean that one of the orcs grabbed the shield of a non-present orc, bringing an additional orc smell with them? How does the pet know? How does the pet communicate the details about an additional scent to their owner? (let's not even start the discussion on how the pet can count)

I have been able to snap a leash onto a guard dog by using scent to my advantage. I used some of the owner's cloths (unwashed), their cologne and with myself being freshly washed (soap smell - same kind as the owner) to be able to "sneak" up on the dog and snap the leash in place (yes, I then jumped back to be out of range of the dog - as the leash pulled him up short). To me, that means PCs and NPCs can also do similar things (like enemies using cologne from the PCs or their allies to have a chance to approach without being detected as enemies - detected yes, but classed as a non-threat).

Conclusion:
Scent can be powerful, but I don't believe it is an auto-detect ability. For game mechanic reasons, a perception check should be done as the simplest way of sorting out all of the variable of the smells that are present and the communication abilities of pets.


Grizzly the Archer wrote:

Let's not further where stealth came from. It is based on hide and move silently. Brother which was used to prevenIt from scent. There was a feat, called darkstalker, it allowed you to use your hide skill to hide vs their blindsight, scent, and such.

This of course was from 3.5.

Using that as foothold, stealth isn't used for scent, as MC templar showed.

So I can't hide (e.g. conceal or cover-up) a scent? If we are going down the semantics route, hiding is not just about visual accuity. One can hide many things. It is most commonly associated with visual senses, but one can hide scents and intangibles such as emotions.

The word "hide" is kind of a loose word.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

There is a spell that defeats scent. It's called negate aroma.


Guy Kilmore wrote:
Grizzly the Archer wrote:

Let's not further where stealth came from. It is based on hide and move silently. Brother which was used to prevenIt from scent. There was a feat, called darkstalker, it allowed you to use your hide skill to hide vs their blindsight, scent, and such.

This of course was from 3.5.

Using that as foothold, stealth isn't used for scent, as MC templar showed.

So I can't hide (e.g. conceal or cover-up) a scent? If we are going down the semantics route, hiding is not just about visual accuity. One can hide many things. It is most commonly associated with visual senses, but one can hide scents and intangibles such as emotions.

The word "hide" is kind of a loose word.

"hide" isn't as loose when you consider its progenitor ability was 'hide in shadows'

I would say you can conceal or cover up scent, with a survival check, when you're being tracked... can you conceal or cover up scent in combat or invisible/ I would say 'not effectively' and 'certainly not with the stealth rules'

This would be venturing into GM fiat and rewarding a player's creativity but not in the territory where a player has a specific ruleset upon which to rely.

To put this in larger context with the OP's discussion, I am with him that in the case of his Trog fight that his player's mechanical benefit from Stealth should have been impacted. There were rulings in earlier editions that specifically called out that the presence of strong smells (stench game effects) overwhelmed and interrupted the scent ability.

I am just strongly on the side that the 'scent' special ability is supposed to be special

Don't think of scent as 'being able to recognize which perfume someone is wearing' or any detection ability that is presently within the capacity of a human being.

The scent special ability is supposed to be borderline supernatural, akin to the best bloodhounds, and its parallels should be 'able to identify a person by smell regardless the environmental circumstances'; 'able to detect the presence of cadavers at the bottom of a nearby body of water' and 'able to smell cancer'

Shadow Lodge

Mistwalker wrote:

Perception check:

-I agree with James, that you need to make one

Then what does scent do? You can get more information off a successful perception check without it.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
Mistwalker wrote:

Perception check:

-I agree with James, that you need to make one

Then what does scent do? You can get more information off a successful perception check without it.

Not trying to be snarky, but: It lets you detect smelly things by sense of smell.

I would rule that it is completely unaffected by invisibility, for instance. (Not RAW, I know; but I think the problem is with the wording of invisibility, not the wording of Scent.)

Like: Invisible assassin is waiting for party. Because he is invisible and standing still, he gets +40 to his Stealth check. Everybody in the party gets a perception check to notice the assassin... but most fail because the DC is 60. The wizard's familiar with Scent, however, is only up against a DC of 20 and has a fair chance of smelling that an unfamiliar humanoid is near. Since no unfamiliar humanoid is seen, alarm bells go off.


MC Templar wrote:
Guy Kilmore wrote:
Grizzly the Archer wrote:

Let's not further where stealth came from. It is based on hide and move silently. Brother which was used to prevenIt from scent. There was a feat, called darkstalker, it allowed you to use your hide skill to hide vs their blindsight, scent, and such.

This of course was from 3.5.

Using that as foothold, stealth isn't used for scent, as MC templar showed.

So I can't hide (e.g. conceal or cover-up) a scent? If we are going down the semantics route, hiding is not just about visual accuity. One can hide many things. It is most commonly associated with visual senses, but one can hide scents and intangibles such as emotions.

The word "hide" is kind of a loose word.

"hide" isn't as loose when you consider its progenitor ability was 'hide in shadows'

I would say you can conceal or cover up scent, with a survival check, when you're being tracked... can you conceal or cover up scent in combat or invisible/ I would say 'not effectively' and 'certainly not with the stealth rules'

This would be venturing into GM fiat and rewarding a player's creativity but not in the territory where a player has a specific ruleset upon which to rely.

To put this in larger context with the OP's discussion, I am with him that in the case of his Trog fight that his player's mechanical benefit from Stealth should have been impacted. There were rulings in earlier editions that specifically called out that the presence of strong smells (stench game effects) overwhelmed and interrupted the scent ability.

I am just strongly on the side that the 'scent' special ability is supposed to be special

Don't think of scent as 'being able to recognize which perfume someone is wearing' or any detection ability that is presently within the capacity of a human being.

The scent special ability is supposed to be borderline supernatural, akin to the best bloodhounds, and its parallels should be 'able to identify a person by smell regardless the...

I GM a game where a character has Scent. I don't really have any problems with it. I tend to run it as hey, you know someone is over there. Can't see them, they got cover or whatever, but they are over there.

I just think as it stands in the rules, it is messy and could be cleaned up for ease of play.

I do think that when they ported Pathfinder from 3.5 this is one of the things that got a little confused in the wash because of how Scent reads with Perception and its own abilities. Also, no where does "Hide" reference "Hide in Shadows". It is a reasonable deduction, but it also could be leading towards a false paradigm.

As to survival, yep, you can use survival to counter tracking, says so in the skill description. Navy seals, dudes at best level 5, have methods and ways that they hide there scent, in combat situations. I think stealth does model that, if one wants it too. I look at kind of like knowledge local, dude knows local stuff, even in a new place. Who knows what things he did in his down time to learn it, but he has the ranks.

But I don't stress it and side on the rule of cool, write now, it is letting my player with scent have his fun. If in another campaign its about getting about bad dudes with strong noses, we would probably revisit stealth and utilize the rules in this way. Good times.

Shadow Lodge

Power Flower wrote:
Like: Invisible assassin is waiting for party. Because he is invisible and standing still, he gets +40 to his Stealth check. Everybody in the party gets a perception check to notice the assassin... but most fail because the DC is 60. The wizard's familiar with Scent, however, is only up against a DC of 20 and has a fair chance of smelling that an unfamiliar humanoid is near. Since no unfamiliar humanoid is seen, alarm bells go off.

Ok, so how does that interact with scent's needing a move action to get the direction and the detection within 5 feet?


This is how I understand scent to work:

There are two invisible creatures approaching the party from opposite directions. Both can be detected using Scent (they have a scent). Creature A is 30 feet downwind while Creature B is 60 feet upwind.
They both roll a 30 stealth (including the +20 for invisibility).

DM asks Player (who has Scent) to make a perception check. Player rolls a 24 and tells the DM he got a 24 but a 32 with Scent.

Player is unaware of Creature A (too far away for scent) but aware that creature B is somewhere nearby. Player takes a move action and notes that Creature B is in the upwind direction and informs the group of this.

When Creature A moves to within 15feet of the player the player will then detect Creature A (assuming an adequate perception roll). At that point the Player may then take a move action to note the direction of Creature A.

Finally, when either Creature A or Creature B enter the 5foot radius of the person with scent that person will become aware of it and be able to pinpoint that creature to the 5foot square it is in. Whether this still requires a perception check or not is in question. Personally, I believe that within 5feet is the only time I think scent works similarly to blindsense.

- Gauss

Edit: To summarize the remaining questions in my mind:

1) Does the scent ability neutralize the invisibility bonus to stealth (+20 moving or +40 stationary)?

2) Does someone with scent automatically pinpoint an invisibile creature within 5feet or does it still require a perception check. (I am on the side of automatic.)


BigNorseWolf wrote:
Power Flower wrote:
Like: Invisible assassin is waiting for party. Because he is invisible and standing still, he gets +40 to his Stealth check. Everybody in the party gets a perception check to notice the assassin... but most fail because the DC is 60. The wizard's familiar with Scent, however, is only up against a DC of 20 and has a fair chance of smelling that an unfamiliar humanoid is near. Since no unfamiliar humanoid is seen, alarm bells go off.

Ok, so how does that interact with scent's needing a move action to get the direction and the detection within 5 feet?

Is this a trick question? I cannot see that they interact at all. Let's go back to the beginning and see where we differ. But first a disclaimer:

In my experience, Scent (at lowish levels anyway) is much more common among monsters than the PCs. Thus I think there is serious potential here for the GM to ruin the players' fun by making it too powerful, rather than the other way around.

BigNorseWolf wrote:

As i read it , this is what happens.

1) Someone gets within 30 feet of you. Your weasel knows they're there... somewhere.

2) The weasel takes a move action to Sniff sniff sniff the air. This automatically lets it know the direction to the thing its looking for.

3) The weasel (if it so desires) can move in the direction of the thing it smells. This allows it to get within 5 feet of the thing it smells, it automatically knows what square the thing it smells is in. More likely the weasel tells you "10 o clock boss" and expects you to walk over and find it, send in the fighter, or just throw an AoE spell in that direction.

So that's an entire full round to get you what blindsense gets you instantly.

I can't figure out what scent actually does by James Jacobs reading. If someone is stealthing near me and I spend a move action and make a perception check I don't get a vague sense of "they're that way" I SEE them. Likewise with an invisible creature i know not only their direction but approximate location. It makes scent worse than having no scent.

I agree completely with your points 2) and 3). I disagree with your point 1). No autodetect, but the ability to notice creatures by scent: requiring a Perception check, but reactively, so that's not an action. If this reactive Perception check fails initially, it repeats every round the skulking creature is within 30' (or it becomes irrelevant, for examble by the skulker attacking). All characters get to make this check, but against an invisible foe no low-level character can beat the DC of even a low-level Stealthing creature (~10 Stealth bonus + take 10 + 20/40 = unbeatable by Perception ~10, even with a roll of 20, even before taking distance and whatnot into account).

Also, as Gauss keeps pointing out, per Perception skill, the Scented creature also gains +8 to detect the Stealthing invisible foe.

Stealth skill wrote:
If people are observing you using any of their senses (but typically sight), you can't use Stealth.

I do see how this sentence could be taken to mean that Scent=autodetect, but I think that interpretation is unreasonable. It is akin to requiring total concealment for Stealth skill to be usable vs. sighted opponents, and ruling that you are automatically detected (by sight) once your opponenst have LOS to you.

BigNorseWolf wrote:
If someone is stealthing near me and I spend a move action and make a perception check I don't get a vague sense of "they're that way" I SEE them.

IF they are detectable by your sight!

You would not SEE an invisible opponent (unless you had see invisibility or somesuch).

You would not SEE someone with total concealment from you, or elsewise out of your LOS altogether...

You COULD "hear soft footsteps over there"... or "see a shadow move on the wall to your left", meaning something moved in the lighted corridor to the right...

Shadow Lodge

power flower wrote:
I agree completely with your points 2) and 3). I disagree with your point 1

Well here's the thing.

1)The creature detects another creature's presence but not its specific location.

2)Noting the direction of the scent is a move action.

3) If the creature moves within 5 feet (1 square) of the scent's source, the creature can pinpoint the area that the source occupies, even if it cannot be seen.

Why do steps 2 and 3 require rolls but not part 1? None of them ask for a roll, and none of them say they're automatic.

Scent was not written to work with perception. Scent is pretty much unchanged from 3.5 when spot and listen were seperate skills and neither of them dealt with a sense of smell.

Quote:
IF they are detectable by your sight!

The next sentence remains Likewise with an invisible creature i know not only their direction but approximate location. It makes scent worse than having no scent.

If you can successfully hear them you know their approximate location. That is MORE information than you get by scent with your reading, which us merely their direction.


Gauss wrote:
This is how I understand scent to work:

Ditto.

Gauss wrote:


1) Does the scent ability neutralize the invisibility bonus to stealth (+20 moving or +40 stationary)?

2) Does someone with scent automatically pinpoint an invisibile creature within 5feet or does it still require a perception check. (I am on the side of automatic.)

1) I say "Yes" is the answer that makes most sense to this question. I do not, however, claim that it is RAW, and the RAI is unclear enough that I think this is a hot FAQ candidate.

2) I say it's not automatic. Basically there are two ways Sniffer, who has the Scent ability, can end up adjacent to Skulker, who is invisible and stealthing:

i) Skulker is very good at Stealth, and snuck up on the unsuspecting Sniffer despite his sensitive nose. Though unstated, Skulker has presumably masked his smell in some way, as any master of Stealth should. If Slinker has gotten this far, why should Sniffer suddenly autodetect him once he gets within 5'?

Spoiler:
I think the flat X' range is a poor design desicion BTW. It would have been better to just say something like "detecting a creature by its smell is DC 10, +x for each intervening 5' of distance (0,5x/5' upwind, 2x/5' downwind). This is in addition to the normal +1 to DC per 10'...", and representing better sense of smell by a greater racial modifier to Perception checks involving smell instead of greater range of Scent.

Yeah, I realize this can't be changed w/o affecting stuff like the Polymorph subschool of spells and would require a major rewrite and ain't gonna happen and I may be totally mistaken for reasons I don't appreciate. But there it is. My opinion.

ii) Sniffer detected Skulker by his sensitive nose, and has sniff, sniff, sniffed his way closer and closer to Skulker's position. He can (reliably) beat Skulker's Stealth and don't really need an autodetect. Also his DC drops by 1 for each 10' closer he gets. (Sniffer is very brave, BTW. He's practically begging for a sneak attack to his face.)

I think the real question on your 2) is whether it requires an action or not. I think the RAI is that it shouldn't, but the RAW is questionable.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

It would seem a true sneak should consider some potions of negate aroma.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Mistwalker wrote:

Perception check:

-I agree with James, that you need to make one
Then what does scent do? You can get more information off a successful perception check without it.

Scent allows you to have the chance to successfully use perception when the sight or auditory modifiers will make it impossible to detect the hidden individual.

Example: Invisible, immobile 10th level rogue with a stealth modifier of +17 (10 ranks, 3 class, 4 attribute) will have a stealth result from 58 to 77. Most PCs and a fair number of creatures will have no chance of detecting that rogue.
Against a creature with scent, the stealth score range changes to 18 to 37, which means that there is a greater chance that they will be detected than when there is no scent involved.

Let's see if I can put this into real world scenarios to help clarify things.
Scenario 1) A lady is getting ready for a date. She showers with scented soaps and shampoo, puts on some scented products (body lotion, creams, etc..) and as a finishing touch, she dabs on a bit of perfume that will compliment the other products that she used. She smells nice. On the way to meet her date, she stops and fills up her car with gas. Now the smell of gas overpowers the other scents. So will her date be able to pick up the smell that she wanted them to smell, or will the gas smell overpower (or overpower it for a while) everything else? The perception check in this case is to pick up the more delicate scents behind the stronger smell of gas.

Scenario 2) Have you ever played where's Waldo? For those who are not familiar with it, there are pictures with Waldo somewhere in them. The hitch is that it is a very full and/or busy picture, with lots going on in it, making it hard to spot Waldo. Once you do spot him, he seems to jump out at you whenever you look at that picture again. The perception check in this case is to sort through all the visual clues/images/distraction/etc. and spot Waldo.

Did that help any?

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