Size bonuses to Perception


Skills & Feats

Liberty's Edge

First let me apologize, if this belongs in the new rules section please move it there. I placed it here as it seemed to me as simply a new use of an old systematic, Size bonus/penalty.

I've been thinking that the size bonuses/penalties applied to Stealth, should be applied to Perception as well.

I totally understand why it is easier for a cat, size tiny, to hide from a human, size Medium, or harder for a Storm Giant, size Huge, to hide from the same. However, why should it be easier for a Storm Giant to percieve another Storm Giant than it is for a human to spot another human. Likewise why should cats have a harder time finding each other than the above mentioned pair of humans.

Please don't bring racial bonuses into this. This is an idea about size bonuses and I didn't feel like scouring my books for examples of races that bear no bonuses or penalties to perception.


I agree, it's no different than the paired size modifiers to AC and to-hit. Balance-wise, it'd make halflings unfairly effective Rogues (+4 to stealth and perception), but in reality it'd be much easier to notice the cracks in a wall that indicate a secret door if they were twice the relative size.


Actually, this idea makes a lot of sense. I agree with it.


Makes sense, yeah. Now, where are the numbers? Do you get a simple penalty to Perception by your size?


I think if you lowered the size modifier to Stealth, then made the size modifier to Perception commensurate, the compromise would be ideal.

Perception/Stealth modifier
+8 Fine
+6 Diminutive
+4 Tiny
+2 Small
+0 Medium
-2 Large
-4 Huge
-6 Gargantuan
-8 Colossal

Hence, a halfling would receive a +2 on Stealth and Perception checks while an ogre would receive a -2 on Stealth and Perception checks.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

airwalkrr wrote:

I think if you lowered the size modifier to Stealth, then made the size modifier to Perception commensurate, the compromise would be ideal.

Hence, a halfling would receive a +2 on Stealth and Perception checks while an ogre would receive a -2 on Stealth and Perception checks.

Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.


Darrien wrote:
airwalkrr wrote:

I think if you lowered the size modifier to Stealth, then made the size modifier to Perception commensurate, the compromise would be ideal.

Hence, a halfling would receive a +2 on Stealth and Perception checks while an ogre would receive a -2 on Stealth and Perception checks.
Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.

Seconded, and swiped

Grand Lodge

graywulfe wrote:


I totally understand why it is easier for a cat, size tiny, to hide from a human, size Medium, or harder for a Storm Giant, size Huge, to hide from the same. However, why should it be easier for a Storm Giant to percieve another Storm Giant than it is for a human to spot another human. Likewise why should cats have a harder time finding each other than the above mentioned pair of humans.

Whoa, wait, what? No, halflings get stealth bonuses because they're small and can more easily find things to hide behind or in. Giants get stealth penalties, because their friggin huge! It's not about perephial vision of a giant missing the halfling hiding a foot away from his big toe. It's about cover, shadows, ect. You hide a halfling in 4 foot tall grass, there's no reason another halfling looking into that field should have a better chance of finding him than a human or giant. If anything a giant should get bonuses to find the halfling because he's has a higher view.

Or what about a giant hiding in the shadows, its dark, the halfling can't see very well. He get a bonus to see a giant in near pitch blackness just because he's smaller? Probably not.

I'm sorry Graywulfe I'm sure you had good intentions with this new idea, but it honestly makes no sense to me. Maybe I'm not quite understanding your examples.

Dark Archive

I don't like the idea. It would make it even harder for large creatures to perceive smaller creatures. And while the rules at the moment make it more difficult for a halfling to spot other halflings, they also make it more difficult for a halflings to kill each other. Unless you also want to change this, modifying a creatures hit points based on size, it might be best just to live with some kind of awkwardness. Being small is already quite advantagious for rogues. Adding a perception bonus on top of it, there will be little reasons not to play small rogues.


Wow, this is intensely seconded.


Jadeite wrote:
I don't like the idea. It would make it even harder for large creatures to perceive smaller creatures.

Not at all, according to my chart. An ogre would get a -2 to notice a halfling who gets a +2 to hide, which is a net +4 bonus for the halfling, who under the current rules simply gets a +4 to hide. It is mechanically similar (in some cases identical) in the case of creatures of differing sizes hiding from each other while at the same time preventing the absurd notion that it is more difficult for a giant to hide from another giant than it is for a halfling to hide from another halfling simply because of their size.


airwalkrr wrote:
Jadeite wrote:
I don't like the idea. It would make it even harder for large creatures to perceive smaller creatures.
Not at all, according to my chart. An ogre would get a -2 to notice a halfling who gets a +2 to hide, which is a net +4 bonus for the halfling, who under the current rules simply gets a +4 to hide. It is mechanically similar (in some cases identical) in the case of creatures of differing sizes hiding from each other while at the same time preventing the absurd notion that it is more difficult for a giant to hide from another giant than it is for a halfling to hide from another halfling simply because of their size.

The ability to hide in reality is very much dependent on both size and training. Perception, on the other hand, is almost entirely about training and experience. For instance, most folks hardly notice ants; however, here in Texas, people not only notice them but can usually identify the type from a distance (due to the necessity of avoiding fire ants).

Another example is someone who is not used to being around toddlers stumbling clumsily into said rug-rats, while school teachers usually notice the ankle-biters and manage to not kick the kids (unintentionally, at least).

Perception is almost never affected by the size of the observer, only the observed - and yes, cats are quite good at hiding from each other.


Michael Donovan wrote:

The ability to hide in reality is very much dependent on both size and training. Perception, on the other hand, is almost entirely about training and experience. For instance, most folks hardly notice ants; however, here in Texas, people not only notice them but can usually identify the type from a distance (due to the necessity of avoiding fire ants).

Another example is someone who is not used to being around toddlers stumbling clumsily into said rug-rats, while school teachers usually notice the ankle-biters and manage to not kick the kids (unintentionally, at least).

Perception is almost never affected by the size of the observer, only the observed - and yes, cats are quite good at hiding from each other.

I think it's the same idea that gives Small things a +1 to attack: everything else to them is bigger. If you are 4 feet tall, it's easy for you to see something 20 feet tall, but to him you seem to blend in with tablelegs. You hear his every large step, but your foot patters are so far from his ears, he can barely make them out.

Important note though:
THIS CAN ONLY APPLY TO AUDIAL AND VISUAL PERCEPTION.
No reason for the other three.


Michael Donovan wrote:

Perception is almost never affected by the size of the observer, only the observed - and yes, cats are quite good at hiding from each other.

I strongly disagree. The larger you are, the more likely you are to overlook details. My memory isn't so bad that I have forgotten my younger years when the world seemed so much bigger than I was and it took two hands just to hold a hamburger. I noticed a lot more details back then. Many things are simply "beneath me" now. Take a marble sometime and examine it under a magnifying glass. Though it appears round and smooth, up close there are a lot of imperfections which you would be more apt to notice if you were small.

And cats are quite good at hiding from each other because cats are good at hiding period. They are incredibly limber and agile which lets them get to places most creature their size cannot. An iguana is about the same size, but not nearly as nimble and no good at hiding without a jungle or a mud pile to conceal him. If you notice, even 3.5 rules reflect this by giving cats a racial bonus to both Hide and Move Silently. So a cat is not a good example.

Grand Lodge

airwalkrr wrote:
Jadeite wrote:
I don't like the idea. It would make it even harder for large creatures to perceive smaller creatures.
Not at all, according to my chart. An ogre would get a -2 to notice a halfling who gets a +2 to hide, which is a net +4 bonus for the halfling, who under the current rules simply gets a +4 to hide. It is mechanically similar (in some cases identical) in the case of creatures of differing sizes hiding from each other while at the same time preventing the absurd notion that it is more difficult for a giant to hide from another giant than it is for a halfling to hide from another halfling simply because of their size.

Ok, then why have a clunkier mechanic for something that works the same? Assume the halfling's +4 is because of the differences.

Though all in all, it still doesn't make sense to me that a person can see and hear better just because he's smaller.

Liberty's Edge

Ok here's another idea to get away from the I'm smaller so I see better problem, which I don't personally think is a problem but I believe in compromise.

base the stealth bonus on difference in size.

1 size larger -4
same size +0
1 size smaller +4

extrapolate from there.

graywulfe


Diodric wrote:
Ok, then why have a clunkier mechanic for something that works the same?

I was responding to someone who raised an objection because they mistakenly believed my suggestion would let halflings be better at hiding from large creatures than before. I was pointing out that it does not. The rule I recommend is remarkable simply because it retains the same relative ability for a halfling to hide from an ogre while dispensing with the rather silly notion that it is more difficult for an ogre to hide from an ogre than it is for a human to hide from a human.

Example: An ogre with 10 Dex and no ranks in Stealth has a -4 to Stealth checks. A human with 10 Dex and no ranks in Stealth has a +0 to Stealth checks. This makes sense from a human's perspective. However, consider if the spotter is an ogre. An ogre with 10 Wis and no ranks in Perception has a greater chance of seeing his fellow ogre with 10 Dex and no ranks in Stealth than a human with 10 Wis and no ranks in Perception has of seeing his fellow human with 10 Dex and no ranks in Stealth. All other things being equal, creatures of the same size should have the same relative probability of seeing each other.


graywulfe wrote:

Ok here's another idea to get away from the I'm smaller so I see better problem, which I don't personally think is a problem but I believe in compromise.

base the stealth bonus on difference in size.

1 size larger -4
same size +0
1 size smaller +4

extrapolate from there.

graywulfe

Though mechanically results would be identical, I would prefer a static system like the one I suggested because a variable system like the one you suggest because it requires fewer on-the-fly adjustments that slow down the game.


airwalkrr wrote:
Diodric wrote:
Ok, then why have a clunkier mechanic for something that works the same?

I was responding to someone who raised an objection because they mistakenly believed my suggestion would let halflings be better at hiding from large creatures than before. I was pointing out that it does not. The rule I recommend is remarkable simply because it retains the same relative ability for a halfling to hide from an ogre while dispensing with the rather silly notion that it is more difficult for an ogre to hide from an ogre than it is for a human to hide from a human.

Example: An ogre with 10 Dex and no ranks in Stealth has a -4 to Stealth checks. A human with 10 Dex and no ranks in Stealth has a +0 to Stealth checks. This makes sense from a human's perspective. However, consider if the spotter is an ogre. An ogre with 10 Wis and no ranks in Perception has a greater chance of seeing his fellow ogre with 10 Dex and no ranks in Stealth than a human with 10 Wis and no ranks in Perception has of seeing his fellow human with 10 Dex and no ranks in Stealth. All other things being equal, creatures of the same size should have the same relative probability of seeing each other.

I disagree with your premise on this though I see it is linked to the to hit combat bonus that small things are given. IMO in the example you gave you effectively said that when an ogre tries to hide, whether it is from a human, or another ogre it does so at -4. Well that makes sense to me because the ogre is big. Why should an ogre be more able to hide from another ogre than from a human?


To make it "realistic", obstacles (and area attacks BTW) should also have a size conscriptor (is this the right word?).

An ogre trying to hide behind a small rock will surely have more difficulties than a pixie.

OFFTOPIC: The same for stuff like fireball.
A medium fireball launched at a giant or an old dragon would be the same as a "normal missle shot"
On the otherhand, the same fireball shot at a group of... ants (sorry), would be just like armageddon.

Dark Archive

Werecorpse wrote:

Why should an ogre be more able to hide from another ogre than from a human?

Because ogres are well known for being stupid and unable to perceive hidden people? All they do is quoting little rhymes.

To exagerate the proposed rule a bit, why should a colossal dragon have a problem to spot another somehow hidden colossal dragon?


I think the problem is not the size of the "hider" but the lack of appropriate hiding places/obstacles the bigger they get.


Jadeite wrote:
To exagerate the proposed rule a bit, why should a colossal dragon have a problem to spot another somehow hidden colossal dragon?

OOT: The small village of Clymphhof was a prospering farming community - until two great wyrms decided to play hide-and-seek between the barns...

OT: Bigger creatures are easier to spot, even to other bigger creatures. That's all there is to it.
The way it is handled, ruleswise, it works. No need to improve, imo.

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airwalkrr wrote:
graywulfe wrote:

Ok here's another idea ...

1 size larger -4
same size +0
1 size smaller +4
Though mechanically results would be identical, I would prefer a static system like the one I suggested because a variable system like the one you suggest because it requires fewer on-the-fly adjustments that slow down the game.

I agree. Keep it the same as Stealth. The less variety we have in bonuses and systems the better. I'm always going to prefer something that works exactly like an existing part of the game. Lowers the learning curve and all.

Good idea, by the way.


Werecorpse wrote:

I disagree with your premise on this though I see it is linked to the to hit combat bonus that small things are given. IMO in the example you gave you effectively said that when an ogre tries to hide, whether it is from a human, or another ogre it does so at -4. Well that makes sense to me because the ogre is big. Why should an ogre be more able to hide from another ogre than from a human?

An ogre is big RELATIVE to a human. Relative to another ogre, it is medium-sized.

You misunderstand my system if you think an ogre is more able to hide from another ogre than a human.

Example: Under my system, an ogre with a Dex of 10 attempts to hide and rolls a 10. After his size modifier, his result is 8. Another ogre with a Wis of 10 comes along and makes a Perception check to see him. The new ogre must roll a 10 or higher to see the hiding ogre because, as a large creature, he takes a -2 on his Perception checks. Then a human with a Wis of 10 comes along and makes a Perception check to see the ogre. The human must roll an 8 or higher to see the ogre because, as a medium character, he takes no penalty on his Perception checks.

So you see, a human still has a better chance of spotting an ogre than another ogre. And a halfling has an even better chance. But a halfling doesn't hide better from another halfling than a human does from another human.


Jadeite wrote:
To exagerate the proposed rule a bit, why should a colossal dragon have a problem to spot another somehow hidden colossal dragon?

Because relative to each other, the dragons are both medium sized. From a colossal dragon's perspective, he is medium sized, humans are fine, ogres are diminutive, storm giants are tiny, and purple worms are small.


Fischkopp wrote:

OT: Bigger creatures are easier to spot, even to other bigger creatures. That's all there is to it.

The way it is handled, ruleswise, it works. No need to improve, imo.

If we travel to giant land where every thing is giant-sized, why would that make sense? Are you saying giants can't play hide and seek in a giant-sized house because they have arbitrarily been deemed to large to hide effectively?

Sovereign Court

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airwalkrr wrote:
So you see, a human still has a better chance of spotting an ogre than another ogre. And a halfling has an even better chance. But a halfling doesn't hide better from another halfling than a human does from another human.

So they cancel out, like the attack and AC bonuses for size. I'm okay with that. I'm also okay with big creatures being easier for everyone to see, including other big creatures.

Now in giantland, well that a different story...


graywulfe wrote:
I've been thinking that the size bonuses/penalties applied to Stealth, should be applied to Perception as well.

Thank you! Someone else noticed how inconsistent it is that size doesn't affect listen/spot/perception! For a while now I've been HRing exactly what Airwalkrr suggested. I don't enforce the rule with PCs because it is somewhat nitpicky, but all my NPCs and monsters follow the +/-2 per size category standard.

TS


I don't think a size mod for perception is a good way to handle it. I think it's best to make size adjustments to the pereception DC on a case by case basis. Sometimes relative size differences make it easier to spot something, but not always. There's the whole "can't see the forest for the tress effect".

A stone giant in a rocky area is probably at least as hard to find as a hobbit hiding in the tall grass. The stone giant might even be harder to find, because he looks like stone, while a hobbit is not made of grass.

Sometime, something that is bigger than you can be harder to spot if it is well camouflaged or just unexpected. For example, there's the "we thought we were on an island but it turned out to be the back of a giant critter" trope.

If the edges of something big are outside your area of focus, you might not recognize it for what it is. Like those picture games where you have to guess it's an elephant by looking at a closeup of its nostril.

If a human and a hobbit are standing next to each other and trying to spot something that is larger than both of them, I dont' think the hobbit would have much of an advantge from being two feet shorter.


Michael F wrote:
A stone giant in a rocky area is probably at least as hard to find as a hobbit hiding in the tall grass. The stone giant might even be harder to find, because he looks like stone, while a hobbit is not made of grass.

This is where those circumstantial racial bonuses come in. I can't remember off the top of my head if stone giants have +8 to Hide checks made in natural stone surroundings, but I know a lot of animals have stuff like that.

Michael F wrote:

Sometime, something that is bigger than you can be harder to spot if it is well camouflaged or just unexpected. For example, there's the "we thought we were on an island but it turned out to be the back of a giant critter" trope.

If the edges of something big are outside your area of focus, you might not recognize it for what it is. Like those picture games where you have to guess it's an elephant by looking at a closeup of its nostril.

And this is where those Knowledge (usually nature) DCs come in to replace Hide checks. A lot of plants have this ability because you have to look for unusual traits rather than movement or size. If a DM doesn't want his PCs to immediately realize that they're on the shell of a zaratan rather than an island, nobody (reasonable) would criticize him for calling for K (nature) checks rather than Spot checks.

Michael F wrote:
If a human and a hobbit are standing next to each other and trying to spot something that is larger than both of them, I dont' think the hobbit would have much of an advantge from being two feet shorter.

If a hobbit and a human are fighting each other, the chances of them hitting each other aren't going to be that different and yet we have size mods for both AB and AC.

TS


Quadrupled! perception/stealth bonus based on size makes complete sense....

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