Observant Explorer Confusion

Rules Discussion

I'm just curious if this was written with an early draft of the rules or something as it seems at odds with the fact that creatures who are attempting to avoid notice roll vs your Perception DC.

Its pretty normal when playing hide and seek for things to switch back and forth between a Stealth check to hide vs Perception DC, and a Perception check to seek vs Stealth DC.

So without that feat, someone in the party would need to be using an exploration activity like Scout or Seek or something when the GM wants to check if the party notices the successfully hidden enemies.

Being successfully hidden means that the enemies were using Avoid Notice in order to make a Stealth check against the party's Perception DC. So that likely happened first. Or was handwaved away as part of the plot setup.

But then the Perception check vs Stealth DC would happen by the player characters as they come into the area.

What it looks like Observant Explorer does is removes the requirement that someone in the party is using Scout in order to qualify for the Seek roll to spot the ambush.

It's the wording that's odd to me. Like it really does read like it's from an unfinished take on the rules and maybe it is since I don't know what the publication order was like. The wording "You can attempt a check to notice hidden creatures attempting to Avoid Notice nearby even if you aren't actively Searching for them. You still need to meet any other requirements to notice a particular creature."

In my (admittedly limited) experience that's not consistent with most writing which would be more along the lines of how many actions it's used and what the DC would be. Especially since the Search Activity doesn't, by RAW, include finding creatures anyway. It seems to introduce unnecessary dice rolls and increase the odds of the creature failing to hide.

Grand Lodge

As breithauptclan stated.

Normally, you cannot even attempt to spot hidden creatures without using the seek action (in tactical mode) or the search activity (exploration mode).

This is functionally similar to trap finder rogue feat, except applies to hidden creatures instead of traps.

Finding some hidden things will require training of some level (trained, expert, master, or legendary) or automatically fail. This is normal in the rules. They don't really define nearby,but I typically run this as about 60feet.

Grand Lodge

Chris_Fougere wrote:

Especially since the Search Activity doesn't, by RAW, include finding creatures anyway.

I would put hiding creatures in the other concealed hazards territory.

To outline these are my issues with it as written.

1. The wording makes it sound like I need to decide if the bad guys are doing Avoid Notice which is an exploration activity. I get what they mean but the wording is clunky and normally PF2 language use is clearer.

2. If the above is the case then that means that the bad guys need to roll Stealth vs. Perception DC and then if they are successful the character with this feat gets to make a roll of their Perception. So two points of failure and back to back rolls on top of that.

3. In case 2 is the DC for the Perception check the Stealth DC of the bad guys or is it the total of their roll? Someone with a +8 stealth would have a Stealth DC of 18 but they could have rolled a 27. If you use the Stealth DC then they are somehow easier to notice? If you use the rolled number then we're into opposed rolls which PF2e seems to take great pains to avoid. More confusing...how would you adjudicate a critical success on their Avoid Notice?

1. If they would be rolling Stealth for initiative, they're Avoiding Notice. Most modules mention what the monsters roll for initiative, and if you're GMing your own adventure you can decide

2. Yes. And? It cost the player a feat

3. No opposed rolls. It's a check against their Stealth DC, which remember might be higher if they're in cover. That's one of the oft forgotten points of cover. Yeah, their Stealth DC might be lower than what they rolled but that's just tough stuff. They might have also failed or crit failed their Avoid Notice check but been in a position where it's impossible to observe them, in which case they're still hidden and the Observant Explorer check might still fail because it's against their Stealth DC, not what they rolled

And finally, Avoid Notice is functionally a Sneak check. There is no crit success effect for Sneak

edit: And the clincher that I think is most important. Observant Explorer only says you can roll to notice hidden creatures. If they succeeded at their Avoid Notice check they're most likely undetected, if not also unnoticed. Not hidden. So the bad situation you describe in 2 might only occur if they fail/crit-fail-while-impossible-to-observe their Avoid Notice check

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