The feat "Observant" states that when this feat is taken, the player's passive perception/intelligence increase by 5



  • You have a +5 bonus to your passive Wisdom (Perception) and passive Intelligence (Investigation) scores. These "Passive" skills are used when you are just being generally observant, not when you are actively searching for something.

However, when proficiency is taken in a skill, you only start with a +2 bonus, so if you are actively trying to search for something, you only get the +2 proficiency. Is that correct? To me, this seems a bit... unbalanced. Is this right?

  • \$\begingroup\$ How exactly do you mean "wonky"? You always get your ability score bonus to a given skill, and add your proficiency bonus if you're proficient in it. A feat is exactly what it is - "something that requires great skill" \$\endgroup\$ – Jamie Brace Feb 1 '17 at 13:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ Edited to clarify \$\endgroup\$ – Ben Feb 1 '17 at 13:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ The wording is still a little strange - are you under the impression that you only get a +2 to skills you are proficient and nothing else, or do you know that you is a +2 on top if the ability score modifier for the skill? \$\endgroup\$ – Jamie Brace Feb 1 '17 at 13:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ If this seems imbalanced to you, consider what bonuses would other feats confer if chosen in place of Observant (eg. completely new actions or bonus actions, spellcasting ability). This is a high bonus, but commensurate. \$\endgroup\$ – Szega Feb 1 '17 at 13:49

It's not strictly higher, just higher on average. By default, your passive perception equals 10 + any modifiers you'd add to the roll. With the feat, you instead get 15 + any modifiers. However, when rolling, you could still roll 16-20, making the result higher. This feat just makes you more aware when you're not actively trying to look out for something.

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