This is born from a... pedantic ... argument.

The argument is, with the spot skill, you take a -1 penalty per 10 feet of distance to the object you are trying to spot. Trying to see the moon on a cloudless night with the moon out would have a penalty of -126.1 million.

I believe this argument is silly, but as written, is this correct?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Pathfinder, but related: How far can characters see? \$\endgroup\$
    – DuckTapeAl
    Oct 3 '15 at 7:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ Removing D&D 3.5 from the title removes all context from the post itself, and forces context to be gleaned from the tags. This is not what tags are for. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tritium21
    Oct 5 '15 at 15:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ Meta discussion here. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 5 '15 at 18:12

The very first line of the skill description reads (roughly translated, I don't own an english book)

You use the spot skill to find characters or creatures that are trying to hide.

So yes, if the moon was a living being actively trying to hide, you would get a huge negative modifier. As the moon is not actively hiding, because it's just a mass of rock, you don't have to roll spot at all.

That said, somebody the size of a moon would probably grant a huge positive modifier, even if it were actively hiding.

Hide modifiers are:

Fine    Diminutive  Tiny    Small   Medium  Large   Huge    Gargantuan  Colossal
+16         +12      +8      +4       +0     -4      -8       -12         -16

The scale ends there, with colossal defined as 64 ft height or more. Given that the moon has the height of twice it's radius of 1737.10 km and a kilometer is 3280.84 feet, that would mean the moon would be 178098.34 categories above colossal. So if it actually did come to live and decide to actively hide in the clouds, he'd indeed stand a good chance not being spotted from earth.

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    \$\begingroup\$ @nvoigt is there some way to fit this humorous look at the "spot" skill in 3.5 into the answer? \$\endgroup\$ Oct 3 '15 at 16:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SuperJedi224 The moon sometimes gains concealment and even total concealment from clouds. (It also occasionally grants the sun and other planets cover.) Further, Elder Evils describes an evil planet (I kid you not) that deliberately enters the campaign planet's orbit "on the dark side of the world, keeping the planet between it and the sun" (23). I think that means, literally, the evil planet is hiding (however, the text doesn't give the evil planet's orbital skulking a game effect, failing to provides its Hide check modifier). \$\endgroup\$ Oct 5 '15 at 15:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ So the moon, if it were hiding, would have a -712,408 modifier to Hide (.34 truncated because everything is truncated in D&D). Unfortunately that doesn't counteract the -126.1 million Spot penalty on the PC to find this hiding moon. I think PCs have Metal Gear Solid guard vision. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 5 '15 at 16:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan So let's grant our sentient moon the ability to summon clouds. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 5 '15 at 18:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ "So yes, if the moon was a living being actively trying to hide, you would get a huge negative modifier." It would also need the cover etc. (dependant on what feats it had) to even attempt to hide in the first place. Interestingly it very good at moving silently... \$\endgroup\$
    – Protonflux
    Oct 8 '15 at 10:15

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