How does perception work when looking for traps?


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The Exchange

thejeff wrote:
Talonhawke wrote:
The Toaster wrote:
But I guess we COULD be playing a "Mother May I?" game and I'll write out the above statement and read it out at each doorway... if that is the way the GM wants to run the game.
Yes a very uncluttered 10x10 shack that would work in. But remember 10x10 is the max and clutter might reduce you maximum searchable area. But if it's bigger then even if the trap is in the 10x10 your standing in your glance around the shack misses it since you weren't limiting the search area.

Really? That's how you'd run it? Asked for what is obviously a Search in non-mechanics language, since he's specifically asking to look, you'd just say "You don't find anything" unless he carefully restricts himself to a 10'x10' area? Rather than point out the larger size or just assume it takes a little longer?

<Evil GM>I'm making all my rooms 10'1"x10'1", just to screw with searchers!</Evil GM>

Relax thejeff - clearly Talonhawke and I are not talking the same langage - or he missed the parts in my post where I said...

"...perform a Perception check on each 10'x10' area..."

"...or lesser area if required..."


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Either way the player said from the door not an area

"I'll take a moment from the doorway to look around more. Anything of note in the room? What junk is on the table? anything hanging on the wall, under the bed?"

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Talonhawke wrote:

Either way the player said from the door not an area

"I'll take a moment from the doorway to look around more. Anything of note in the room? What junk is on the table? anything hanging on the wall, under the bed?"

What does that even mean? You can search an area before you enter it.

Why is your GM being so hostile? The player clearly asked to make as many Perception checks as necessary to adequately search the room.


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Tweedle-Dum wrote:
_Ozy_ wrote:
Snowlilly wrote:
graystone wrote:
I'm not the one that forces the game to either slow to a 10'/rd grid search or you auto-trigger traps [even ones that SHOULD be easy to see]. And remember 'if you call it a trap, it's requires a search action to find'. The GAME determined that the bear trap was in fact a trap. That item has NO conditions for it to be continue to BE a trap. Unless destroyed, it's a trap. Traps can't be found unless you search. Same with open pits being immune to passive perception.

It is you being deliberately obtuse, conflating a mechanical device (the bear trap)with a deliberately placed and concealed obstacle intended to harm or hinder.

The word "trap" is being used in two difference contexts and, while being deliberately obtuse, you are attempting to combine both contexts into a single concept instead of applying common sense.

Except that your common sense breaks down in a game with uncommon abilities.

Sure, we all agree that a DC0 bear 'trap' on a table should obviously be detectable without an active search.

And yet, that DC20 tripwire stretched across the path is just as easy to see for my high level character with a +30 perception as that bear trap is for a 'normal' person. But I've been told, common sense aside, that I can't see that tripwire unless I'm actively searching for it.

So, what's the difference between that bear trap on the table and the wire across the path which makes one 'obvious' and the other 'invisible'?

I told myself not to post on this thread... but I missed my will save...sorry! feel free to ignore my peanut gallery comment...

actually, the "DC0 bear 'trap' on a table" is not noticed - as long as the GM does not mention it. If it is not mentioned by the GM, it's not noticed unless you ask the GM what's on the table and/or he includes it in the "more in-depth" room description.

Judge: "The inside of the old trappers shack is dusty, gloomy and filled with...

Noting about going 10x10 tweedle dum.


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KingOfAnything wrote:
Talonhawke wrote:

Either way the player said from the door not an area

"I'll take a moment from the doorway to look around more. Anything of note in the room? What junk is on the table? anything hanging on the wall, under the bed?"

What does that even mean? You can search an area before you enter it.

Why is your GM being so hostile? The player clearly asked to make as many Perception checks as necessary to adequately search the room.

So then your saying I can enter a room and from the door notice a trap across the room but only after enough time has passed that I would get to the area the trap is in to search it? Do I need to declare which section of the room i am starting in and which way my eyes move go to determine how long it takes.


Talonhawke wrote:

Either way the player said from the door not an area

"I'll take a moment from the doorway to look around more. Anything of note in the room? What junk is on the table? anything hanging on the wall, under the bed?"

So the proper response is something like: "It's only 10'x10', but it's pretty cluttered, so that'll take 2 rounds, alright?"

or even "It's a 20'x10' room, which half to you want to check out first"?

Not, "You don't see anything else." and you waste an action because you attempted an impossible Search of a 20'x10' room.

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Talonhawke wrote:
So then your saying I can enter a room and from the door notice a trap across the room but only after enough time has passed that I would get to the area the trap is in to search it? Do I need to declare which section of the room i am starting in and which way my eyes move go to determine how long it takes.

Only if you really want to. Most people just search the whole room, looking for hidden treasure among the traps.

If you tell the GM you search the whole room, you can search the whole room. It's right there in the last line of the FAQ. How long the process takes depends on the size of the room and how cluttered it is.


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_Ozy_ wrote:
KingOfAnything wrote:
_Ozy_ wrote:
You just don't buy them because you view perception as bounded by normal human limits, no matter what the perception modifier is.
It's not a limit on perception that I'm arguing as justification for the rule. It's a limit on cognition. The difference between noticing a detail, and realizing it is an important detail. Even superman has blind spots (cognitively).

That 'limit on cognition' is something that does not exist in the Pathfinder universe as any penalty on perception skills or modifiers.

You just made it up.

So, once again, what's the DC to smell poison from 10' away?

One must be careful not to invalidate special abilities such as scent with their house rules.

The Exchange

Talonhawke wrote:
Tweedle-Dum wrote:
_Ozy_ wrote:
Snowlilly wrote:
graystone wrote:
I'm not the one that forces the game to either slow to a 10'/rd grid search or you auto-trigger traps [even ones that SHOULD be easy to see]. And remember 'if you call it a trap, it's requires a search action to find'. The GAME determined that the bear trap was in fact a trap. That item has NO conditions for it to be continue to BE a trap. Unless destroyed, it's a trap. Traps can't be found unless you search. Same with open pits being immune to passive perception.

It is you being deliberately obtuse, conflating a mechanical device (the bear trap)with a deliberately placed and concealed obstacle intended to harm or hinder.

The word "trap" is being used in two difference contexts and, while being deliberately obtuse, you are attempting to combine both contexts into a single concept instead of applying common sense.

Except that your common sense breaks down in a game with uncommon abilities.

Sure, we all agree that a DC0 bear 'trap' on a table should obviously be detectable without an active search.

And yet, that DC20 tripwire stretched across the path is just as easy to see for my high level character with a +30 perception as that bear trap is for a 'normal' person. But I've been told, common sense aside, that I can't see that tripwire unless I'm actively searching for it.

So, what's the difference between that bear trap on the table and the wire across the path which makes one 'obvious' and the other 'invisible'?

I told myself not to post on this thread... but I missed my will save...sorry! feel free to ignore my peanut gallery comment...

actually, the "DC0 bear 'trap' on a table" is not noticed - as long as the GM does not mention it. If it is not mentioned by the GM, it's not noticed unless you ask the GM what's on the table and/or he includes it in the "more in-depth" room description.

Judge: "The inside of the old trappers shack is

...

Noting about going 10x10 tweedle dum.

I don't even understand this enough to be able to give any response.

What?

I'm not ignoring it (though I think I am going to give up on the entire thread) - but I don't know what you were trying to say with your post "Noting about going 10x10 tweedle dum.", so, Sorry - no reply at this time.


I will try to be back tomorrow and better focus and coordinate my points better. Work is hell today and I am getting overly frustrated here for no reason which is making me not take time to properly respond. Sorry guys for any unmeant angst or jerkishness I may have presented.


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Talonhawke wrote:
KingOfAnything wrote:
Talonhawke wrote:

Either way the player said from the door not an area

"I'll take a moment from the doorway to look around more. Anything of note in the room? What junk is on the table? anything hanging on the wall, under the bed?"

What does that even mean? You can search an area before you enter it.

Why is your GM being so hostile? The player clearly asked to make as many Perception checks as necessary to adequately search the room.

So then your saying I can enter a room and from the door notice a trap across the room but only after enough time has passed that I would get to the area the trap is in to search it? Do I need to declare which section of the room i am starting in and which way my eyes move go to determine how long it takes.

The player need only say he's searching the area. If the GM needs to know the precise manner of searching being done to determine if the player sets off any hazards or traps, he need only ask the player to be more specific.


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Ravingdork wrote:
The player need only say he's searching the area. If the GM needs to know the precise manner of searching being done to determine if the player sets off any hazards or traps, he need only ask the player to be more specific.

It is however still not clear how searching can be done at a distance, if it can be done that way at all. Do you have to enter the 10'x10' square to search it? Are there limits on what can be found without entering it?

If you do need to enter it, how are traps with in it handled? Especially if you miss them on your Perception check.


Ravingdork wrote:
_Ozy_ wrote:
KingOfAnything wrote:
_Ozy_ wrote:
You just don't buy them because you view perception as bounded by normal human limits, no matter what the perception modifier is.
It's not a limit on perception that I'm arguing as justification for the rule. It's a limit on cognition. The difference between noticing a detail, and realizing it is an important detail. Even superman has blind spots (cognitively).

That 'limit on cognition' is something that does not exist in the Pathfinder universe as any penalty on perception skills or modifiers.

You just made it up.

So, once again, what's the DC to smell poison from 10' away?

One must be careful not to invalidate special abilities such as scent with their house rules.

Pretty sure scent doesn't mean that nobody else can smell anything.

Want to give someone a large perception bonus if they have scent, fine. But you need to come up with a DC unless you make it impossible to actually use that particular sense to 'notice' anything.


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_Ozy_ wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
_Ozy_ wrote:
KingOfAnything wrote:
_Ozy_ wrote:
You just don't buy them because you view perception as bounded by normal human limits, no matter what the perception modifier is.
It's not a limit on perception that I'm arguing as justification for the rule. It's a limit on cognition. The difference between noticing a detail, and realizing it is an important detail. Even superman has blind spots (cognitively).

That 'limit on cognition' is something that does not exist in the Pathfinder universe as any penalty on perception skills or modifiers.

You just made it up.

So, once again, what's the DC to smell poison from 10' away?

One must be careful not to invalidate special abilities such as scent with their house rules.

Pretty sure scent doesn't mean that nobody else can smell anything.

Want to give someone a large perception bonus if they have scent, fine. But you need to come up with a DC unless you make it impossible to actually use that particular sense to 'notice' anything.

Note that I never said that characters without scent couldn't ever smell anything, nor did I even imply it. I merely stated that you don't want to invalidate the scent ability. In short, no matter how high your Perception skill modifier may be, you probably should not have scent-based benefits equal to or greater than a creature with scent (based on your ranks/modifier alone).

The Exchange

thejeff wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
The player need only say he's searching the area. If the GM needs to know the precise manner of searching being done to determine if the player sets off any hazards or traps, he need only ask the player to be more specific.

It is however still not clear how searching can be done at a distance, if it can be done that way at all. Do you have to enter the 10'x10' square to search it? Are there limits on what can be found without entering it?

If you do need to enter it, how are traps with in it handled? Especially if you miss them on your Perception check.

"Do you have to enter the 10'x10' square to search it?" wait, how would this work? In order to check an area for a trap - you need to set the trap off?

Do I, personally, know how to detect a trap? No. Just like I do not, personally know how to Disable one. But it seems to me, that if it were true that a trap is triggered by someone entering an area, but it could not be detected outside that area... then the trap could NOT be detected before it is triggered. And if that where the case, then we would not be having this discussion. So I MUXT assume (and you know what they say about "assume") that a trap can be detected outside of it's trigger area.

[sarcasm]Otherwise it's a haunt[/sarcasm]


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_Ozy_ wrote:

Pretty sure scent doesn't mean that nobody else can smell anything.

Want to give someone a large perception bonus if they have scent, fine. But you need to come up with a DC unless you make it impossible to actually use that particular sense to 'notice' anything.

If it's a thing that can be noticed, then the GM sets a DC. There certainly isn't a generic one for all poisons ("Iocaine powder. I'd bet my life on it.")

If there's a bubbling vat of toxins in the next room, set a DC and make a reactive Perception check.

If there's a poison needle trap in the desk drawer, use the trap rules.

If you don't those are sufficiently realistic (even in a "What should superhuman fantasy characters be able to do?" kind of realism), then house rule it. Wouldn't be the first thing in PF that doesn't make sense to me.


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One must also account for masking scents as well. You might not smell the trace amounts of poison in the trap through all of the dust and rot in the room.

I for one, would never let anyone without scent use Perception to smell trace amounts of anything that wasn't adjacent to them or in their space, unless the odor was particularly strong or obvious (such as a skunk's musk).


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Tweedle-Dum wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
The player need only say he's searching the area. If the GM needs to know the precise manner of searching being done to determine if the player sets off any hazards or traps, he need only ask the player to be more specific.

It is however still not clear how searching can be done at a distance, if it can be done that way at all. Do you have to enter the 10'x10' square to search it? Are there limits on what can be found without entering it?

If you do need to enter it, how are traps with in it handled? Especially if you miss them on your Perception check.

"Do you have to enter the 10'x10' square to search it?" wait, how would this work? In order to check an area for a trap - you need to set the trap off?

Do I, personally, know how to detect a trap? No. Just like I do not, personally know how to Disable one. But it seems to me, that if it were true that a trap is triggered by someone entering an area, but it could not be detected outside that area... then the trap could NOT be detected before it is triggered. And if that where the case, then we would not be having this discussion. So I MUXT assume (and you know what they say about "assume") that a trap can be detected outside of it's trigger area.

[sarcasm]Otherwise it's a haunt[/sarcasm]

Well, sure. That makes sense.

Can I search the 10'x10' area 40' away and find the book hidden in the bookshelf without going up to it? Can I find the needle trap in the desk lock from 40' away and the other side of the desk?

We're back to "You must describe which different things you're searching and where you are and how you're moving", which negates the whole point of having search rules in the first place.

I don't have a good answer.

If I was running it as "You have to enter the area to search it", you would at least get your chance to detect the trap before setting it off.


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Ravingdork wrote:
_Ozy_ wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
_Ozy_ wrote:
KingOfAnything wrote:
_Ozy_ wrote:
You just don't buy them because you view perception as bounded by normal human limits, no matter what the perception modifier is.
It's not a limit on perception that I'm arguing as justification for the rule. It's a limit on cognition. The difference between noticing a detail, and realizing it is an important detail. Even superman has blind spots (cognitively).

That 'limit on cognition' is something that does not exist in the Pathfinder universe as any penalty on perception skills or modifiers.

You just made it up.

So, once again, what's the DC to smell poison from 10' away?

One must be careful not to invalidate special abilities such as scent with their house rules.

Pretty sure scent doesn't mean that nobody else can smell anything.

Want to give someone a large perception bonus if they have scent, fine. But you need to come up with a DC unless you make it impossible to actually use that particular sense to 'notice' anything.

Note that I never said that characters without scent couldn't ever smell anything, nor did I even imply it. I merely stated that you don't want to invalidate the scent ability. In short, no matter how high your Perception skill modifier may be, you probably should not have scent-based benefits equal to or greater than a creature with scent (based on your ranks/modifier alone).

A high perception modifier should let you perceive things that are hard to perceive. The fact that there exists an ability that boosts scent-based perception to a degree that it has a mechanical effect on the game doesn't invalidate this basic concept.

That's like saying a high perception shouldn't invalidate 'keen senses', or 'see invisibility'. It doesn't. But you sometimes get a similar mechanical benefit. For example, you can use perception to pinpoint the square with an invisible person, just like scent.

Does this invalidate scent? Of course not. Should someone with scent get a perception bonus to detect an odor? Of course.


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thejeff wrote:

Well, sure. That makes sense.

Can I search the 10'x10' area 40' away and find the book hidden in the bookshelf without going up to it? Can I find the needle trap in the desk lock from 40' away and the other side of the desk?

We're back to "You must describe which different things you're searching and where you are and how you're moving", which negates the whole point of having search rules in the first place.

I don't have a good answer.

If I was running it as "You have to enter the area to search it", you would at least get your chance to detect the trap before setting it off.

No, we're not back to "You must describe which different things you're searching..." and the Search rules can most certainly be used. You just have to accept that the ability to search certain kinds of areas requires close contact and manipulation and not just rolling a search check from some standing across the room in the doorway.

And yes, I too would assume that a successful search check would find the trap before setting it off. That's rather the point of the successful search check. I would only assume the trap goes off because the PC elected to not search or failed to meet the DC when doing so and then did something that would trigger it.


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Ravingdork wrote:

One must also account for masking scents as well. You might not smell the trace amounts of poison in the trap through all of the dust and rot in the room.

I for one, would never let anyone without scent use Perception to smell trace amounts of anything that wasn't adjacent to them or in their space, unless the odor was particularly strong or obvious (such as a skunk's musk).

We already have perception modifiers for this: masking scents == terrible conditions: +5DC, distance +1 per 10', and so on.

Again, using the perception rules I can hear a whispered conversation, while distracted, in a noisy room, through several closed doors, over 100' away...if my perception is high enough.

Why don't those same modifiers apply to odors, just because we humans rarely use our nose to 'notice' things? This is a perfect example of people trying to impose 'real world' rules on superhuman abilities.

Set a base DC, good rule of thumb is just use the trap or poison DC unless you have a better system, then apply the modifiers. If you want to increase the distance penalty to +1 per 5', or worse, go for it.

So, usually you'll end up with a perception DC in the 20s or 30s, which means that a normal human won't have a chance to smell it. This should satisfy the 'real world' limitations of us normal humans, but should in no way deter someone with a +30 perception modifier from actually being able to use that skill. Give someone with the scent ability a +10 or +20 perception bonus to smell stuff.


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Bill Dunn wrote:
thejeff wrote:

Well, sure. That makes sense.

Can I search the 10'x10' area 40' away and find the book hidden in the bookshelf without going up to it? Can I find the needle trap in the desk lock from 40' away and the other side of the desk?

We're back to "You must describe which different things you're searching and where you are and how you're moving", which negates the whole point of having search rules in the first place.

I don't have a good answer.

If I was running it as "You have to enter the area to search it", you would at least get your chance to detect the trap before setting it off.

No, we're not back to "You must describe which different things you're searching..." and the Search rules can most certainly be used. You just have to accept that the ability to search certain kinds of areas requires close contact and manipulation and not just rolling a search check from some standing across the room in the doorway.

And yes, I too would assume that a successful search check would find the trap before setting it off. That's rather the point of the successful search check. I would only assume the trap goes off because the PC elected to not search or failed to meet the DC when doing so and then did something that would trigger it.

So a search does require entering the area and potentially setting off traps if you don't beat the trap's DC?

Can I take 20 on this search, even though a failure risks setting off a trap?

Or, if I try to search from the doorway, will I find some things, but have to enter and search again to find others?

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Get yourself a GM who can do both.

Player: "I search the room from the doorway"
GM: "This is what you see. You'll have to go in to find more"
Player: "Okay, I enter the room, searching carefully as I go."
Gm: "You find more things!"


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KingOfAnything wrote:

Get yourself a GM who can do both.

Player: "I search the room from the doorway"
GM: "This is what you see. You'll have to go in to find more"
Player: "Okay, I enter the room, searching carefully as I go."
Gm: "You find more things!"

That's fair. And probably how I would do it.

Means it takes even longer to search though.

Do we still assume you're not touching or moving things or does that come under searching automatically? If so, we're back to setting off traps. If not, we have to drop to the next level of "I search the desk. First Taking 20 to check for traps on the outside, then again on opening the various drawers."

Again, I don't know how to handle this. I'm not sure there is a good way, partly because the aims are incompatible: We want to both streamline searching as a character mechanic without wasting player time and put in decision points to keep them from stumbling onto traps they were looking for.


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thejeff wrote:
Bill Dunn wrote:
thejeff wrote:

Well, sure. That makes sense.

Can I search the 10'x10' area 40' away and find the book hidden in the bookshelf without going up to it? Can I find the needle trap in the desk lock from 40' away and the other side of the desk?

We're back to "You must describe which different things you're searching and where you are and how you're moving", which negates the whole point of having search rules in the first place.

I don't have a good answer.

If I was running it as "You have to enter the area to search it", you would at least get your chance to detect the trap before setting it off.

No, we're not back to "You must describe which different things you're searching..." and the Search rules can most certainly be used. You just have to accept that the ability to search certain kinds of areas requires close contact and manipulation and not just rolling a search check from some standing across the room in the doorway.

And yes, I too would assume that a successful search check would find the trap before setting it off. That's rather the point of the successful search check. I would only assume the trap goes off because the PC elected to not search or failed to meet the DC when doing so and then did something that would trigger it.

So a search does require entering the area and potentially setting off traps if you don't beat the trap's DC?

Can I take 20 on this search, even though a failure risks setting off a trap?

Or, if I try to search from the doorway, will I find some things, but have to enter and search again to find others?

Failure of the search doesn't technically cause the trap to go off - doing something that triggers the trap after failing to find the trap does. So taking 20 is perfectly acceptable.

But if you walk in to a room with the intention of searching a bed or desk and there is a trap triggered by walking over a pressure plate - you might set that off if you didn't search for it, find it, and neutralize it (either by disarming it or stepping over it).
If you try to search from the doorway, you might spot something (penalties for distance, of course, apply - as might other circumstance modifiers) if there's something to be spotted. But there may be other things impossible to find from a visual inspection from the doorway - like a love letter under the pillow, a necklace wedged between the bed frame and the wall, a hidden compartment in a desk drawer, or the gas trap that protects it if you don't open it properly. Those require close up search and probably manipulation. So yes, you may need to search again depending on how you do so. You have to use some common sense here. If the player says "I'm searching the room from the doorway," that's one search and it's going to be limited depending on what's findable from the doorway. If another player says they're thoroughly searching everything in the corner and heads over there to do it, they can roll one search (or take 20) for the 10' x 10' area starting in that corner.
Despite the typical rumination of the rule forum, this is actually pretty simple to administer fairly.


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Bill Dunn wrote:


Failure of the search doesn't technically cause the trap to go off - doing something that triggers the trap after failing to find the trap does. So taking 20 is perfectly acceptable.

But if you walk in to a room with the intention of searching a bed or desk and there is a trap triggered by walking over a pressure plate - you might set that off if you didn't search for it, find it, and neutralize it (either by disarming it or stepping over it).
If you try to search from the doorway, you might spot something (penalties for distance, of course, apply - as might other circumstance modifiers) if there's something to be spotted. But there may be other things impossible to find from a visual inspection from the doorway - like a love letter under the pillow, a necklace wedged between the bed frame and the wall, a hidden compartment in a desk drawer, or the gas trap that protects it if you don't open it properly. Those require close up search and probably manipulation. So yes, you may need to search again depending on how you do so. You have to use some common sense here. If the player says "I'm searching the room from the doorway," that's one search and it's going to be limited depending on what's findable from the doorway. If another player says they're thoroughly searching everything in the corner and heads over there to do it, they can roll one search (or take 20) for the 10' x 10' area starting in that corner.
Despite the typical rumination of the rule forum, this is actually pretty simple to administer fairly.

But if I do thoroughly search that 10x10 corner, then I should set off any traps I don't find, right? (Assuming they're triggered by moving things in that area - like the pillow or the desk drawer? And I should automatically do so with a take 20, if a failure would do so.

Or just if that pressure plate is in the corner I'm searching, right?

Or we have to set it up so that I don't automatically open the desk drawer while searching the desk.


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_Ozy_ wrote:

A high perception modifier should let you perceive things that are hard to perceive. The fact that there exists an ability that boosts scent-based perception to a degree that it has a mechanical effect on the game doesn't invalidate this basic concept.

That's like saying a high perception shouldn't invalidate 'keen senses', or 'see invisibility'. It doesn't. But you sometimes get a similar mechanical benefit. For example, you can use perception to pinpoint the square with an invisible person, just like scent.

Does this invalidate scent? Of course not. Should someone with scent get a perception bonus to detect an odor? Of course.

I totally agree. You can allow a lot before the ability becomes invalidated.

_Ozy_ wrote:
We already have perception modifiers for this: masking scents == terrible conditions: +5DC, distance +1 per 10', and so on.

Perhaps, but the scent rules are pretty clear: You can't detect masked odors at all.

Why would someone without scent be able to detect such masked odors better than a creature with scent? I'd argue that they cannot, or at least should not.

Sovereign Court

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thejeff wrote:
KingOfAnything wrote:

Get yourself a GM who can do both.

Player: "I search the room from the doorway"
GM: "This is what you see. You'll have to go in to find more"
Player: "Okay, I enter the room, searching carefully as I go."
Gm: "You find more things!"

That's fair. And probably how I would do it.

Means it takes even longer to search though.

Do we still assume you're not touching or moving things or does that come under searching automatically? If so, we're back to setting off traps. If not, we have to drop to the next level of "I search the desk. First Taking 20 to check for traps on the outside, then again on opening the various drawers."

Again, I don't know how to handle this. I'm not sure there is a good way, partly because the aims are incompatible: We want to both streamline searching as a character mechanic without wasting player time and put in decision points to keep them from stumbling onto traps they were looking for.

I'd say the general assumption is that a character moves into an area and starts touching things. They can also be assumed to be smart enough to look before they touch in the same action. This search will get the character any relevant info they can find.

A character searching visually from the doorway is a specific case. It's an option that is less risky, but may yield less information. You will want to take a closer look at a bookcase, desk, or pile of bones in the room, but for simple areas, it may not be necessary to enter. I would probably highlight areas of interest that the character cannot examine thoroughly from a distance.

Whether you set of a trap when you search will depend on the trigger, but in most cases I'd say no. You can search safely.


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searching from a spot without moving for traps in the area ahead of you, you don't enter it and you find traps.
searching for traps in an area, you enter it, don't touch anything and you find traps.
Searching an area for stuff, you're in the area and you're touching stuff.

Sovereign Court

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Caution is slow going.


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Ravingdork wrote:
_Ozy_ wrote:

A high perception modifier should let you perceive things that are hard to perceive. The fact that there exists an ability that boosts scent-based perception to a degree that it has a mechanical effect on the game doesn't invalidate this basic concept.

That's like saying a high perception shouldn't invalidate 'keen senses', or 'see invisibility'. It doesn't. But you sometimes get a similar mechanical benefit. For example, you can use perception to pinpoint the square with an invisible person, just like scent.

Does this invalidate scent? Of course not. Should someone with scent get a perception bonus to detect an odor? Of course.

I totally agree. You can allow a lot before the ability becomes invalidated.

_Ozy_ wrote:
We already have perception modifiers for this: masking scents == terrible conditions: +5DC, distance +1 per 10', and so on.

Perhaps, but the scent rules are pretty clear: You can't detect masked odors at all.

Why would someone without scent be able to detect such masked odors better than a creature with scent? I'd argue that they cannot, or at least should not.

Because 'scent' does not give a creature a +infinite perception modifier with regard to scent. You can argue that it should be high, equivalent to a +10, +20, or +30. But whatever number you pick, someone with a higher modifier should be able to perceive scent better than, say, a dog. Just like normal humans can't see as well as an eagle...unless they have a +20 perception modifier. Then they can.

Now, just because they can perceive odors better doesn't necessarily mean they get all of the mechanical benefits that go along with the scent ability.

Btw, where are the pathfinder rules regarding detecting and masking odors?


Ravingdork

Perception: "Perception covers all five senses, including sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell."

Scent: "Strong scents, such as smoke or rotting garbage, can be detected at twice the ranges noted above."

Perception: "Notice the stench of rotting garbage [DC]–10
Detect the smell of smoke [DC]0"

Scent detects THE SAME THINGS that perception does, just without the need for a roll and no distance modifiers in it's range. If scent can notice something, perception should also.

PS: I'm also curious about "You can't detect masked odors at all'. If you have a quote for that, I'd like to see it as I've never run across that bit of information.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

You can find the relevant quote in the glossary of the Core Rulebook, last paragraph under Scent.

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.

It would seem that something mild like dust would not spoil one's ability to find trace amounts of poison via scent; an intense rotting smell likely would though.


Of course, if you want to go completely by RAW, though the fluff says odors can mask other scents, it only mechanically outright prevents detection and identification of creatures.

Nonetheless, I would treat it as terrible conditions, with a scaling DC modifier based on the masking scent, just like how you treat loud ambient noise as masking whispers.


Ravingdork wrote:

You can find the relevant quote in the glossary of the Core Rulebook, last paragraph under Scent.

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.

It would seem that something mild like dust would not spoil one's ability to find trace amounts of poison via scent; an intense rotting smell likely would though.

Interesting, I hadn't noticed that part. I'm not sure that it applies to non-scent perception checks though. It might just apply to the automatic detection of smells that the scent ability has and force them to use the normal perception based detection. After all, the last part of the sentence is directed at the scent tracking ability so I suspect the whole thing is just related to the scent ability only.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Seems reasonable.

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