Perception (Wis)


Check: Your Perception check is made against either a DC that reflects how quiet the noise is that you might hear, or opposed to your target’s Stealth check.

Perception DC Sound
–10 A battle
0 People talking1
5 A person in medium armour walking at a slow pace (10 ft./round) trying not to make any noise
10 An unarmoured person walking at a slow pace (15 ft./round) trying not to make any noise
15 A 1st level thief using Stealth to sneak past the listener
15 People whispering1
19 A cat stalking
30 An owl gliding in for a kill

1 If you beat the DC by 10 or more, you can make out what is being said, assuming you understand the language.|

Perception DC Modifier Condition
+5 Through a door
+15 Through a stone wall
+1 Per 10 feet of distance
+5 Listener distracted

In the case of people trying to be quiet, the DCs given in the table could be replaced by Stealth checks where the indicated DCs would be the people’s average check results.

Action: Every time you have a chance to hear something in a reactive manner, such as when someone makes a noise or you move into a new area, you can make a Perception check without using an action. Trying to hear something you failed to hear previously is a move action.

Try Again: You can try again to hear something you failed to hear previously with no penalty.

Special: When several characters are listening to the same thing, a single 1d20 roll can be used for all the individuals’ Perception checks.

A sleeping character may make Perception checks at a –10 penalty. A successful check awakens the sleeper.


Check: You must generally be within 10 feet of the object or surface to be searched. The table below gives DCs for typical tasks involving the Perception skill.

Task Search DC
Ransack a chest full of junk to find a certain item 10
Notice a typical secret door or a simple trap 20
Find a difficult non-magical trap (thief only) 21 or higher
Notice a well-hidden secret door 30
Find a footprint Varies2

2 A successful Perception check can find a footprint or similar sign of a creature’s passage but will not let you find or follow a trail. See the Track feat for the appropriate DC.

Action: It takes a full-round action to search a five foot by five foot area or a volume of goods five feet on a side.

Special: At first level, a borderer gains a +1 circumstance bonus to Perception checks when within his favoured terrain. If you have the Investigator feat, you get a +2 bonus on Perception checks.

Restriction: While anyone can use Perception to find a trap the DC of which is 20 or lower, only a thief can find traps with higher DCs.


Check: The Perception skill is used primarily to detect characters or creatures who are hiding. Typically, your Perception check is opposed by the Stealth check of the creature trying not to be seen. Sometimes a creature is not intentionally hiding but is still difficult to see, so a successful Perception check is necessary to notice it.

A Perception check result higher than 20 generally lets you become aware of an invisible creature near you, though you cannot actually see it.

Perception is also used to detect someone in disguise (see the Disguise skill) and to read lips when you cannot hear or understand what someone is saying.

Perception checks may be called for to determine the distance at which an encounter begins. A penalty applies on such checks, depending on the distance between the two individuals or groups and an additional penalty may apply if the character making the Perception check is distracted and not concentrating on being observant.

Condition Penalty
Per 10 feet of distance –1
Spotter distracted –5

Read Lips: To understand what someone is saying by reading lips, you must be within 30 feet of the speaker, be able to see him speak and understand the speaker’s language. This use of the skill is language-dependent. The base DC is 15 but it increases for complex speech or an inarticulate speaker. You must maintain a line of sight to the lips you are trying to read.

If your Perception check succeeds, you can understand the general content of a minute’s worth of speaking but you still usually miss certain details. If the check fails by four or less, you cannot read the speaker’s lips. If the check fails by five or more, you draw some incorrect conclusion about the speech. The check is rolled secretly in this case, so that you do not know whether you succeeded or missed by five.

Action: Every time you have a chance to spot something in a reactive manner you can make a Perception check without using an action. Trying to spot something you failed to see previously is a move action. To read lips, you must concentrate for a full minute before making a Perception check and you cannot perform any other action (other than moving at up to half speed) during this minute.

Try Again: You can try to spot something that you failed to see previously at no penalty. You can attempt to read lips once per minute.

Special: A fascinated creature takes a –4 penalty on Perception checks made as reactions.

If you have the Alertness feat, you get a +2 bonus on Perception checks.


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