Passive perception. Thoughts?

What you think about passive perception? Does it add to the game? Is it something you wish that was in the old days? I kind of miss it and I’m thinking of adding it to the game. I love to hear everyone’s thoughts. 


9 thoughts on “Passive perception. Thoughts?

  1. I think Passive Perception was one of the genius innovations 4E added, especially for DMs. Using it, I have a better guideline on what the PCs might or might not notice when casually moving through an area without tipping them off by asking for a roll. I’ve added it to every version of D&D I’ve played since discovering it. I advocate adding it..


  2. I think it allows you to tailor descriptions to the level of detail a character would be able to perceive, which will let them choose to act more effectively without making it obvious that something is there tobe specifically noticed, as opposed to having them roll, fail, be told there is nothing and then decide to perform a full and exhaustive search when they would have no reason to notice they had not noticed something.


  3. I particularly like it because, as a DM, it doesn’t let your party know you are withholding information in the way that a normal roll does. Passive perception is secretive, while a player rolling a 10 for perception would likely know that there was something they were missing, prompting someone else to try to roll a higher perception check. Passive perception does away with this, and the party gets a pretty apt description without ever having to look harder, also making the action of making a perception roll much more deliberate.


  4. I like it as well, but I think, maybe a Passive Perception Mechanic where the DM figures out the Passive Perception, like, at the beginning of the game, he asks each players for there Dex, and add to the base, so then instead of asking “What is your Passive Perception?” the DM asks: “Can you please tell me your Dex?”. It is more secret and easier that way!


  5. I remember experimenting with what became Passive Perception in 3.5 with the “Take 10” and “Take 20” options for certain skills. My old group used to do “Take 10” on Spot & Listen for general senses. We reworded Hide in Plain Sight as a “take 10” to Hide checks and needed to use an action to literally hide and treat it as a “take 20”.


      • Well in D&D 3.5 try implemented Take 10 & Take 20 on some skill checks, using actions or rounds to infer that a character took the time and effort to a task properly. Of course you could not “Take 10” or “20” in combat normally. So for stat blocks and our characters, we also added 10 to our Spot & Listen checks as a DC for creatures to roll Stealth without the DM giving away the fact there were creatures trying to hide from us. So it served to give a numeric representation as a Passive “Perception”. There were many people for many years thinking of simplifying some of the skills to their modern incarnations of Stealth and Perception. I just find funny how the game naturally reached the same conclusions that my group had almost a decade ago. Anyhow, the Take 10 became a sorta norm for Passives now.


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