I am a new GM playing Pathfinder. I am curious about perception. How can I have the players roll for perception without making them really suspicious? For example, if a trap is in the middle of a room and they fail to perceive it, then they know something is up and probably would be super careful, even though they really didn't notice the trap. Thanks in advance!

  • \$\begingroup\$ I already read that one. Didn't give me the answer I want. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 7 '16 at 1:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ Can you be more specific about what you're looking for that's different? If we can't tell the difference, there's no sense trying to answer the question blindly. \$\endgroup\$
    – user17995
    Mar 7 '16 at 1:42

If you like, you can assume that characters are taking 10 on perception all the time and use this as their check.

If they want to specifically check then you need to give them a reason to take a cautious interest in the trap. That is, there must be something in your description of the room that calls out, subtly or otherwise, "Look at me!"


For traps, if they don't deliberately search, have the unlucky character roll perception right before triggering the trap. If they succeed they can step back.

For detecting an intruder, roll for the intruder's stealth vs. the characters' passive perception. (You can just ask to see the character sheets, if you don't have their passive perception on hand.)

  • \$\begingroup\$ does passive perception exist in Pathfinder? \$\endgroup\$
    – Patta
    Mar 7 '16 at 10:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, it's called "taking 10" and it's just 10+bonuses \$\endgroup\$
    – Julix
    Mar 7 '16 at 10:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ Taking 10 is very different than a passive check. Taking 10 represents, essentially, half-assing the task and being content with "good enough" rather than trying to be exceptional. In all ways, it is an active check, though. RAW, there are no passive checks in Pathfinder. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 15 '17 at 20:03

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