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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Increasing Spot checks

    How do I do it? My DM likes to throw critters with ridiculously high hide checks at the party, so I want to counter them.

    I've got a monk (I know... I know...) who's acting as the scout, and he's got a fair modifier himself for hide but I can't find any way to get his spot higher. So far,I've got him with high Wis, maxed Spot skill ranks, and the eagle eyes goggles that give +5.

    What else can I get him?

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    Default Re: Increasing Spot checks

    Masterwork tool for a +2 circumstance bonus, 50gp
    Custom magic item of spot, (bonus^2)*100 gp
    If you're interested in archery at all, the Cragtop Archer PrC from races of stone halves distance penalties to spot.
    If you have feats to spare (unlikely), Skill Focus (spot) and Alertness.
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    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Increasing Spot checks

    The Quick Reconnoiter feat (from CAdv or Dungeonscape) will, at least, let you make more Spot checks, so that some of them might succeed.

    Have the party member with the highest Charisma take a level of Marshal and learn the Inspire Wisdom Minor Aura?
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  4. - Top - End - #4
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    Default Re: Increasing Spot checks

    Masterwork tool?? What are those, glasses? Custom item is subject to DM approval. Feats are an option though. The horizon walker prestige class can give you a +4, but you have to pay a couple odd pre-requisites. Consider taking a 10 whenever you're not in combat, if you think that'll be enough and rolling low might screw you. Or spend a move action for an extra check when you're suspicious.

    I'd say you've done the main things already, and should focus on negating these creatures' ability to hide. First of all, if you're sneaking ahead and haven't been notice, why is the creature hiding?? Creatures don't hide automatically. What's your race? Do you have darkvision? A friendly caster with the spell darkvision? If so, the creature can't use dim light or shadows to hide from you, unless it's magical darkness. Simply checking behind every object can work too, assuming you don't get attacked first: If there's no cover (or concealment) between you and the creature, he can't hide from you regardless of his check. Creatures must have (partial) cover or concealment to hide, unless they have some kind of magical or supernatural ability that says otherwise. If you're in an empty hallway or room, there's nothing to hide behind and the DM makes a creature appear out of nowhere, point it out politely. If not, maybe you can physically eliminate the cover/concealment.
    Last edited by ericgrau; 2009-01-13 at 09:47 PM.

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    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Increasing Spot checks

    Quote Originally Posted by ericgrau View Post
    The horizon walker prestige class can give you a +4, but you have to pay a couple odd pre-requisites.
    Doesn't stack with Eyes of the Eagle that he already has, sadly. Horizon Walker is a decent PrC, but it sure would help a lot if the bonuses it gave weren't [competence].
    Last edited by Draz74; 2009-01-13 at 09:44 PM.
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  6. - Top - End - #6
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    Default Re: Increasing Spot checks

    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonicseige View Post
    ...My DM likes to throw critters with ridiculously high hide checks at the party, so I want to counter them...
    This is just speculation but if I had to guess, my guess would be that however high you get your spot checks then your DM would increase his spot DCs to counter. I suspect that your DM is using an inflation strategy to keep the balance in in the game.

    While I think that DM inflation of skill checks can result in railroading and PCs feeling very underpowered at higher levels, it can be helpful in keeping the balance.

    My conclusion is that no matter what you do your DM will continue to inflate [insert check here] of what ever the party increases or what he/she feels is out of balance.

    If you suspect that your DM is using an inflation strategy what you could do is gather evidence of this occurring. E.g., next level continue to max out your spot checks and see if the spot DCs seem to be increasing. If so, then maybe talk to your DM on the side after session. Maybe he feels that the party is overpowered and this is one way he found to balance things out or maybe he has another reason. The reality is that you will never know in less you ask him.

    Just my two cp.
    Last edited by crimson77; 2009-01-13 at 09:56 PM.
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  7. - Top - End - #7
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Increasing Spot checks

    Actually, I think I could get by with a masterwork spot tool. My character's a warforged. I could totally see him getting some new animatronic eyes.

    But anyway, these are NPC rangers. They've got Hide in Plain Sight.

    And I don't think he's inflating.
    Last edited by AdamSmasher; 2009-01-13 at 10:09 PM.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Increasing Spot checks

    One completely absurd tactic I have used before and almost worked is the cleric spell Helping Hand. If you have a decent physical description of who is hiding, the hand will go right to him or her. The hand is quite visible. You then Glitterdust and laugh a lot.

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    Default Re: Increasing Spot checks

    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonicseige View Post
    Actually, I think I could get by with a masterwork spot tool. My character's a warforged. I could totally see him getting some new animatronic eyes.

    But anyway, these are NPC rangers. They've got Hide in Plain Sight.

    And I don't think he's inflating.
    Ranger HiPS is lvl 17. If these are standard foes for you, with your WBL that you should have, you can afford all sorts of things to kick your Spot check sky-high.
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    Default Re: Increasing Spot checks

    I'll second the Quick Reconnoiter feat, especially if your DM is playing by the RAW:
    Trying to spot something you failed to see previously is a move action.
    Once you fail an initial Spot check, you're usually in a bad place, since by the very nature of the rules neither player nor character will know if they're trying to Spot something they failed to see previously. Quick Reconnoiter gives you one "move action" Spot check instead as a free action each round, so no extra effort on either the player or character should be required; the DM just gets to tell you when any new check is successful. Without QR it's going to require the player to mention that they want to try a new Spot check, and for the character to use a move action for that check, every time -- with no idea if that effort is going to be useful or a waste of time.

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Increasing Spot checks

    I'll seriously consider that feat, having an extra check every round essentially doubles my chances.

    But it is a fairly high level game, we're level 13. What kind of items could I get? Or anything, really.

    Also, and this is just a sidenote, my character is about to get scent. Either a ToB or psionic thing. Either way, is there any way I could make scent more effective? Like being able to tell the direction of a scent with a free action?
    Last edited by AdamSmasher; 2009-01-14 at 07:08 AM.

  12. - Top - End - #12
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    Default Re: Increasing Spot checks

    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonicseige View Post
    Actually, I think I could get by with a masterwork spot tool. My character's a warforged. I could totally see him getting some new animatronic eyes.

    But anyway, these are NPC rangers. They've got Hide in Plain Sight.

    And I don't think he's inflating.
    You're fighting camouflage not HiPS:
    Quote Originally Posted by SRD
    Hide in Plain Sight (Ex)

    While in any sort of natural terrain, a ranger of 17th level or higher can use the Hide skill even while being observed.
    Quote Originally Posted by SRD
    Camouflage (Ex)

    A ranger of 13th level or higher can use the Hide skill in any sort of natural terrain, even if the terrain doesn’t grant cover or concealment.
    And that's more plausible, since your party is only 13th level. Note that both abilities require natural terrain.

    I searched core and all I found was the 120k robe of eyes and the 15.5k onyx dog. Either you need splatbooks or you need another way around this. I think skill focus: spot and/or alterness might actually be a worthwhile consideration if this happens every fight and you don't plan on leaving natural terrain.
    Last edited by ericgrau; 2009-01-14 at 10:24 AM.

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    Default Re: Increasing Spot checks

    Item Familiar.
    Obtain Familiar (Hawk)

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    Default Re: Increasing Spot checks

    If the DM is optimizing his creatures for hide checks, stop making spot checks. Start making Listen checks.

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    RedKnightGirl

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    Default Re: Increasing Spot checks

    Forget spotting altogether. Put the fighter out front and forget about the whole thing.

    Put your effort into increasing other abilities that the DM isn't trying to get you on. That should take care of things.

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    Default Re: Increasing Spot checks

    You could allows get Obtain item Familiar.

    Edit: try to get tremore sense 60 somehow
    Last edited by Demons_eye; 2009-01-14 at 11:37 AM.
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    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Increasing Spot checks

    Quote Originally Posted by Demons_eye View Post
    You could allows get Obtain item Familiar.

    Edit: try to get tremore sense 60 somehow
    Item Familiar is indeed an easy way to skyrocket your Spot check, if your DM allows it (I wouldn't).

    I doubt you'll find an easy way to get Tremorsense 60', but Boots of Tremorsense will get you Tremorsense 30' for 15 rounds/day, and they're only 5000 gp (MIC).

    Hopefully the rangers don't have the Darkstalker feat, or Tremorsense won't help.
    Last edited by Draz74; 2009-01-14 at 11:57 AM.
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  18. - Top - End - #18
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    NinjaGuy

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    Default Re: Increasing Spot checks

    Hmm, Deities and Demigods offers a 5' blindsight as a feat (page 49), maybe you could just run around a lot with that, you have the speed after all

    Edit: although it does probably mean that you have to be a deity, which in itself would mean you would not have to worry about level 13 rangers, so nevermind.
    Last edited by metagaia; 2009-01-14 at 11:58 AM.
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    Default Re: Increasing Spot checks

    If you're going psionics...

    There's the crystal mask of discernment, the crystal mask of insightful detection, the eyes of expanded vision (although you'll have to give up your goggles), the third eye of awareness, the third eye of sensing, and the touchsight power (which you should try to acquire a psychoactive skin of ASAP). There's also the psychoactive skin of proteus, which can grant you racial bonuses to Spot and Listen checks, and can give you numerous other abilities as well.

    Once you become an actual manifester, grab a psicrystal. They have a form of 40' blindsense, and can see past all manner of concealment, darkness, and so on. Change its 1st level feat from Alertness to Lifesense (from Libris Mortis), and once it gains full-on telepathy, grab the Mindsight feat (from Lords of Madness).

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    Default Re: Increasing Spot checks

    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonicseige View Post
    What else can I get him?
    Raptor's Mask (MIC p. 210, 3500 GP) provides a +5 bonus on Spot checks, but occupies the same slot as your Eyes of the Eagle. However, the bonus is untyped, so it will stack with a competence bonus, and there are a lot of other competence bonus items out there. For example, Hawkfeather Armor (MIC p. 19, 12175 GP) or Helm of the Hunter (MIC p. 194, 9000 GP) both give a +5 competence bonus to Spot. A bit cheaper than the Raptor Mask + Helm of the Hunter would be Third Eye Aware (MIC p. 140, 10000 GP) for a +10 competence bonus to Spot.

    Chronocharm of the Celestial Wanderer (MIC p. 85, 500 GP) will also let you reroll a failed Listen or Spot check 1/day.

    A potion of Embrace the Wild (Dru 2/Rgr 1) should cost about 50 GP if you can get it from a ranger. Blindsense 30' and +2 untyped bonus on Listen and Spot checks for 10 minutes. A potion of Divine Insight (Clr 2/Pal 2) would give you a +8 insight bonus on your next skill check. A potion of Guidance of the Avatar (Clr 2, WotC website spellbook archive) would give you a +20 competence bonus on your next skill check. 300 GP for a 2nd level potion.

    If you have a feat available, Shape Soulmeld: Keeneye Lenses would give you a +4 insight bonus to Spot checks.

    Another option might be picking up some kind of tremorsense, blindsense, or blindsight. Dragonborn of Bahumat that take the Mind focus gain blindsense 30' when they reach 15 HD. In the MIC, there's Boots of Tremorsense (p. 79, 5000 GP) or Blindfold of True Darkness (p. 75, 9000 GP). More Incarnum stuff: Landshark boots bound to your feet chakra can give you tremorsense 10' + 5'/essentia, and Yrthak Mask gives you a limited blindsense 10' + 10'/essentia.

  21. - Top - End - #21
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Increasing Spot checks

    I'm slightly confused. Do items of +skill add to the bonus given by the masterwork toolkit? In other words: if I have lockpicks +5 (which must of course be masterwork, since they are magic), and then I obtain some unenchanted masterwork lockpicks, I get +7 to pick locks?

    I had always assumed that the magic items subsumed the masterwork bonus, but would still give the +2 if you were caught in an anti-magic field.

  22. - Top - End - #22
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    AssassinGuy

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    Default Re: Increasing Spot checks

    Quote Originally Posted by Riffington View Post
    I'm slightly confused. Do items of +skill add to the bonus given by the masterwork toolkit? In other words: if I have lockpicks +5 (which must of course be masterwork, since they are magic), and then I obtain some unenchanted masterwork lockpicks, I get +7 to pick locks?

    I had always assumed that the magic items subsumed the masterwork bonus, but would still give the +2 if you were caught in an anti-magic field.
    The answer is right in the rules if you care to look:
    Tool, Masterwork

    This well-made item is the perfect tool for the job. It grants a +2 circumstance bonus on a related skill check (if any). Bonuses provided by multiple masterwork items used toward the same skill check do not stack.
    Stacking

    In most cases, modifiers to a given check or roll stack (combine for a cumulative effect) if they come from different sources and have different types (or no type at all), but do not stack if they have the same type or come from the same source (such as the same spell cast twice in succession). If the modifiers to a particular roll do not stack, only the best bonus and worst penalty applies. Dodge bonuses and circumstance bonuses however, do stack with one another unless otherwise specified.

  23. - Top - End - #23
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Increasing Spot checks

    Burn down everything. Let no stone lay upon another stone. Apply Continual Flame liberally. Since there is no cover or concealment your enemies will be unable to Hide unless it's foggy.

    If it's always foggy, give up.

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    Default Re: Increasing Spot checks

    Quote Originally Posted by Tacoma View Post
    Burn down everything. Let no stone lay upon another stone. Apply Continual Flame liberally. Since there is no cover or concealment your enemies will be unable to Hide unless it's foggy.

    If it's always foggy, give up.
    He's already said that they've got Camouflage. Removing all cover and concealment won't help as long as they're in a natural environment.

    I suggest finding a way to get blindsense, or increase your Listen checks.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Increasing Spot checks

    Quote Originally Posted by Mando Knight
    He's already said that they've got Camouflage. Removing all cover and concealment won't help as long as they're in a natural environment.

    I suggest finding a way to get blindsense, or increase your Listen checks.
    This is what I'm saying. You burn down their natural environment until it becomes as blasted and waste as the moon. Does the moon count as a natural environment? I guess camouflage is meant to work anywhere there are no angular lines like in a city or dungeon?

    So ... really the issue here is that his enemies are effectively Invisible. Is the DM just using the same Camouflage monsters because they're common in your area? Or does it seem like every monster everywhere is Camouflaged?

    EDIT: I second the motion to put points into Listen, except that it appears a single-person variant of Silence 15' Radius will put your listening out of business. Listen also has a range penalty.
    Last edited by Tacoma; 2009-01-14 at 05:42 PM.

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    NinjaGuy

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    Default Re: Increasing Spot checks

    How about a medallion of detect thoughts, affordable at 12,000gp and will at least let you know if there are creatures in any 60ft cone. Not to mentions it's potential RP uses.
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  27. - Top - End - #27
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    Default Re: Increasing Spot checks

    I don't think his party is capable of leveling entire forests, except maybe after a long dry season.

    Listen has all the problems that spot does. Essentially everyone in the world already has HiPS, camouflage and invisibility vs. listen. It requires no cover or concealment or observation pre-reqs. I included invisibility b/c listen only reveals the presence of a creature not his location, unless you beat the DC by 20. Even then he still has concealment, etc. against you and you still can't see him; you only know which square he's in. Just like spot vs. invisibilty... well, ok, sans the +20 bonus . But those rangers aren't invisible anyway. And other than that there's really no difference. You're basically telling the ranger, "Ha! This ability sucks against everyone, not just you!"

    I second detect thoughts, at least as a possible option. It is a good but underappreciated scouting spell. You can ask a friendly caster to scout with it or get the medallion.
    Last edited by ericgrau; 2009-01-14 at 11:33 PM.

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    Default Re: Increasing Spot checks

    I would suggest a radically different marching order. If you have Rangers trailing you they shouldn't be close enough to use tremorsense to see them. They could be 80-100 ft behind you which ups their Move Silently by 8-10, likely negating any benefit from Taking 10. Drop back 20 or 30ft and then make spot checks. If the Ranger's are equal level you should start having a better shot at finding what you're looking for.

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    MonkGuy

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    Default Re: Increasing Spot checks

    skill focus (spot) +3 to spot checks
    alertness (+2 on spot and listen checks)
    be an elf (+2 on spot checks (although this one probably isn't possible for you))

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    Default Re: Increasing Spot checks

    Who cares if a bunch of Rangers ambush you? They get a free Standard Action against you. Then you roll for Initiative. And that's pretty much it. If your PC can't deal with one round of being attacked, he wasn't going to survive long anyway.

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