Seek questions


Rules Discussion


Hi,

Ive been trying to wrap my head around this. Not even sure this is a specific P2e question or more about how things are presumed to work in PnP-RPGs and I'm a bit of an novice GM.

Here are some questions i have about Seek:

1) A PC walks into a room. There is no encounter but there is some hidden treasure with a predetermined perception DC. Would you as a GM automatically roll a secret perception check or would you not let the player spot the treasure unless the PC states they are Seeking?

2) Example above; does it really take 1 action out of combat to do a seek on a 10' range around the character? That's 2 seconds. Or is the action only meant to be used in combat to seek for undetected characters etc. If so, how long does Seek take during exploration?

3) I'm playing Age of Ashes right now. In many places it says if the players spend 10 or 20 or even 30 minutes searching a room, they find X (sometimes in combination with perception checks). Would you as a GM tell them these times before they start or just have the PCs decide how much they waste in each room looting?

Any input would be much appreciated.


Hi! Welcome to the Hobby!

1) If the items are hidden in any way, they must specifically declare to be searching or looking around before you roll their Perception checks. Depending on their exploration activity, however, they could have this happen automatically. (They are Searching as they move).

2) Seek is only to detect unseen enemies. It's similar to the above "Searching for stuff" activity. Seeking out of combat is still 1 action to spot creatures that are in your line of sight, but actually searching for items is more time consuming since you have to open containers and rummage around. Probably at least 1 minute if searching for treasure.

3) You do not tell them these times unless they ask (see below), but you also don't need them to specifically declare they're searching 30 minutes. They just have to convey that they plan to search thoroughly or that they'll be searching while someone else is doing Treat Wounds or some other 10 minute activity.

If they say they want to search, you should tell them that "There's a lot of rubble here, it will take at least X minutes for a thorough search". Then if they agree you can let them find the stuff.

It is expected that some of these "hard to find" items will just be missed and never obtained. If the players enter a room and don't make any effort to find them, you have no obligation to help them. If the players are newbies you should probably remind them "Remember there may be hidden loot if you search carefully" a few times during the first dungeon.


I am no expert but in general: If your players aren't in a fight, they are in exploration mode.

Have your players tell you which exploration mode activity they are doing. My table has given me a default exploration mode list that they are doing unless they tell me differently.

Run exploration mode in ten minute chunks of time. Frequently after a fight some of my players will be spending that ten minutes refocusing or doing medicine checks on their teammates. Others might be repairing shields or searching for loot.

1)PC would have to search to trigger the secret roll to see if they found the item. I do a secret roll per player searching (page 480 search activity)

2)Seek is used in combat, in exploration mode it is the search activity.

3)
We are running Age of Ashes right now as well. For the rooms requiring multiple 10 minutes of searching, I provide the players with a narrative like "You have managed to search a third of the room". My players will frequently change what they are doing for each ten minutes.


Flambe, I like that "third of the room" prompt.

Also might need to use similar prompts in rooms that have no loot, if cluttered enough that is.


Awesome. Thanks all for providing clarification on this. For some reason I just didn't think to check the Search exploration activity text since most of these seemed to me to be for "long distance travel" and not walking in a dungeon.

I especially liked the "1/3 of the room" thing and "10 minutes at a time".

And yes, I did mention to my PCs that they are not really searching the rooms for anything... but they seem to be ok with that so far.

Thanks again.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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Flambe wrote:

2)Seek is used in combat, in exploration mode it is the search activity.

Though it might be relevant to remember that all the Search activity does is generate Seek checks, so any benefits they have to Seek will all still apply while they Search.


Zhamer00 wrote:

Hi,

Ive been trying to wrap my head around this. Not even sure this is a specific P2e question or more about how things are presumed to work in PnP-RPGs and I'm a bit of an novice GM.

Here are some questions i have about Seek:

1) A PC walks into a room. There is no encounter but there is some hidden treasure with a predetermined perception DC. Would you as a GM automatically roll a secret perception check or would you not let the player spot the treasure unless the PC states they are Seeking?

2) Example above; does it really take 1 action out of combat to do a seek on a 10' range around the character? That's 2 seconds. Or is the action only meant to be used in combat to seek for undetected characters etc. If so, how long does Seek take during exploration?

3) I'm playing Age of Ashes right now. In many places it says if the players spend 10 or 20 or even 30 minutes searching a room, they find X (sometimes in combination with perception checks). Would you as a GM tell them these times before they start or just have the PCs decide how much they waste in each room looting?

Any input would be much appreciated.

As a GM, I do the following:

A seek action is an intentional searching by the PC, so if the PC is actively searching they're not seeking.

But when the PC walks into the room I will roll a secret perception check to see if they notice something, of course there has to be something to notice. If there is a file in an ordinary filing cabinet that the PC doesn't know exists (the file, they see the file cabinet) and would have no reason to identify the file cabinet as something they should search there is no perception check that would tell them "look in the cabinet". But if there is a hidden safe in the wall, maybe the notice hinges in the wall or something to that effect with a successful check.

If the PCs are searching thoroughly for something I let them have it, for spending the time. This is actually supported by the new rules in PF2, and has the consequence of time. If the party knows they're looking for something they spend time and find it if it's there.

If the PCs are quickly searching I will roll a perception check for them and tell them how much time has passed. If they meet the DC they find it in the first search increment, and if they continue searching I lower the DC to represent additional effort and time spend looking for something.

Sovereign Court

Seek vs. Searching
Searching is an exploration tactic. Those are a subset of all the activities with the exploration trait. Specifically, they describe what you're doing while you're moving. So if you're using Searching as your tactic, you're examining everything before you step into it. By using the Seek action.

Searching the room for X time, or an Y Perception check
I think here the idea is that if you're just passing through the room Searching, there's a chance that you'll find the hidden thing. To see if that chance event happens, you roll Perception. But if you take long enough searching, you'll find it for sure, so no Perception roll is required.


In our age of ashes game in book one (the only book so far that says something about time needed to search) when the party says they are searching the room I told them the amount of time it would need to thoroughly search that room.


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Ascalaphus wrote:

Seek vs. Searching

Searching is an exploration tactic. Those are a subset of all the activities with the exploration trait. Specifically, they describe what you're doing while you're moving. So if you're using Searching as your tactic, you're examining everything before you step into it. By using the Seek action.

Searching the room for X time, or an Y Perception check
I think here the idea is that if you're just passing through the room Searching, there's a chance that you'll find the hidden thing. To see if that chance event happens, you roll Perception. But if you take long enough searching, you'll find it for sure, so no Perception roll is required.

The age of ashes book 1 says they need to spend the time and succeed at the check. Some rooms have separate times and checks for different treasures.

Sovereign Court

Kennethray wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:

Seek vs. Searching

Searching is an exploration tactic. Those are a subset of all the activities with the exploration trait. Specifically, they describe what you're doing while you're moving. So if you're using Searching as your tactic, you're examining everything before you step into it. By using the Seek action.

Searching the room for X time, or an Y Perception check
I think here the idea is that if you're just passing through the room Searching, there's a chance that you'll find the hidden thing. To see if that chance event happens, you roll Perception. But if you take long enough searching, you'll find it for sure, so no Perception roll is required.

The age of ashes book 1 says they need to spend the time and succeed at the check. Some rooms have separate times and checks for different treasures.

I'm still playing the book so I haven't read that, but that sounds to me like it might be one of the several "they were still writing the CRB while writing AoA1" things that have come up. I think the Gamemastery Guide gives a more up to date idea on how to run such situations:

GMG p. 18 wrote:

If the group isn’t in any danger and has time for a really

thorough search, that’s a good time to allow them to
automatically succeed, rather than bothering to roll, or
you might have them roll to see how long it takes before
they find what they’re looking for, ultimately finding it
eventually no matter the result. Conversely, if they stop
for a thorough search in the middle of a dungeon, that’s
a good time for their efforts to draw unwanted attention!


Kennethray wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:

Seek vs. Searching

Searching is an exploration tactic. Those are a subset of all the activities with the exploration trait. Specifically, they describe what you're doing while you're moving. So if you're using Searching as your tactic, you're examining everything before you step into it. By using the Seek action.

Searching the room for X time, or an Y Perception check
I think here the idea is that if you're just passing through the room Searching, there's a chance that you'll find the hidden thing. To see if that chance event happens, you roll Perception. But if you take long enough searching, you'll find it for sure, so no Perception roll is required.

The age of ashes book 1 says they need to spend the time and succeed at the check. Some rooms have separate times and checks for different treasures.

Spoiler:
It's also all completely irrelevant, as the PCs ultimately have all the time in the world to search the citadel, and will inevitably find everything there is to find while cleaning/repairing it.

GMG p. 18 wrote:

If the group isn’t in any danger and has time for a really

thorough search, that’s a good time to allow them to
automatically succeed, rather than bothering to roll, or
you might have them roll to see how long it takes before
they find what they’re looking for, ultimately finding it
eventually no matter the result. Conversely, if they stop
for a thorough search in the middle of a dungeon, that’s
a good time for their efforts to draw unwanted attention!

A blast to the past right here! Though back then you had random encounter tables, too (And rules for how they show up/react). PF2 seems to have moved away from that.

Sovereign Court

I think the lesson in there is more "don't require a roll if the players can retry indefinitely", more than "punish the players if they don't scurry as fast as you like" :P


Hmm, I think it's both.

Give players the thing if they're looking long and hard, but if they're stopping in the middle of a dangerous situation it's a good time to harass them with another encounter.

New player guidelines: Never try to sleep in the dungeon.

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