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The Kobold 5th level ancestry feat Grovel has two key benefits. The first of these is straightforward enough - it allows the Kobold to feint from a 30 foot range - an unambiguous and clear advantage.

The other component however, is a bit less straightforward - it causes the feint to work against the targets Will DC instead of Perception.

I’ve seen claims that this is generally beneficial and that Will DC’s are almost always lower than Perception DC’s, but is this true? I haven’t seen the actual data anywhere, and when I grabbed a dozen monsters at random from AoN just now, I found it much closer to 50/50, but the sample was far from representative.

So, the fundamental question is, what percentage of (non-mindless) creatures have lower Will than Perception? Because the answer to that drives a significant amount of Grovel’s value for a Kobold that isn’t trying to stay at range.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ IMO, the ability to feint against a lower DC for even 20% of targets sounds like an unambiguous and clear advantage. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 20, 2023 at 21:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MooingDuck the question isn’t is it good - it’s how good is it. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 21, 2023 at 1:46

2 Answers 2

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49%

Based on this database of 2,288 monsters.

This is the largest category - 19% have lower Perception than Will and 32% have the same.

Of course, this doesn't help your decision since the only monsters that matter are the monsters your kobold will encounter - not all the monsters that they never encounter.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Out of curiosity did you filter out those creatures immune to Mental/Emotion effects? \$\endgroup\$ Jan 19, 2023 at 23:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ Note: that database doesn't seem to be up to date (it seems to be missing all monsters published after Abomination Vaults). Importantly, though, it includes all three Bestiaries, and I hardly expect the percentages to change even minorly. But if you're relying on this for a later AP, there's a chance the number is slightly misleading. \$\endgroup\$
    – ESCE
    Jan 20, 2023 at 1:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @LessPop_MoreFizz nope. I’ll leave that as an activity for the interested reader. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dale M
    Jan 20, 2023 at 9:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ FWIW both Feint and Grovel are mental so only the Emotion immunity would really matter here, and there probably isn't a statistically significant number of those. \$\endgroup\$
    – brandon
    Jan 20, 2023 at 18:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ @brandon if all of the creatures with higher will than perception have mental immunity, that materially changes the results. Grovel is emotion, but Feint is not. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 20, 2023 at 19:14
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Pretty Good Even at 50/50

I'm not sure about the actual statistics between creatures having higher Will saves or Perception (the creature building rule tables suggest they're roughly equal), but upgrading the range on Feint from 5 feet to 30 is quite the benefit.

Even if your kobold isn't trying to stay at range this allows them to attempt the check before darting into melee, which could cause a change in plan if they critically failed the check and are flat-footed against that creature's melee attacks. Instead they could keep distance from that foe so they don't suffer the penalty, and can try again next turn and only rush in when it's advantageous to do so.

Beyond that, this ability doesn't replace the kobold's ability to Feint in the traditional way. Effectively this means your kobold can decide based on the target whether they go against Will or Perception, so even if there's no statistical average benefit to either they can make a guess and target the weaker defense.

With abilities like an investigator's Strategic Assessment or just background/context clues as to which defense is lower this should be a net advantage even when only used in melee range.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, I was maybe not clear enough; the benefits of ranged feint are unambiguous. I’m not asking for an evaluation of that. I’m specifically interested in trying to quantify the other half of the feat. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 19, 2023 at 23:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ @LessPop_MoreFizz - might help to change the title of the question to a more direct "Is Will DC commonly lower than Perception DC?" or something like that. \$\endgroup\$
    – ESCE
    Jan 20, 2023 at 1:03

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