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    Lightbulb [3.x] Potential House Rule: 4e-like Passive Checks and Saving Throws

    Let's face it. Sometimes... players can be really... really... stupid.

    When I look at their character's ability scores and skills, in-character they wouldn't automatically be that stupid or ignorant. A player will sometimes do things like see a pit that seems to be sparkling at the bottom and have their character jump right in to get the "jewels" without checking the pit for traps or even check how deep it is. Their character would -- in-character -- automatically question it (essentially a DC 3 wisdom or dungeoneering check), but the player might not. That is player stupidity. When a player does something really stupid, it hurts everyone. It hurts that player because their character might instantly die or otherwise "lose". It hurts the other characters because they might instantly be a man down in a tough situation. Finally, it hurts you as GM because their stupidity might derail or even ruin your entire campaign because that PC might be important (perhaps even really important) to the story. We've all seen it happen time and time again. Sometimes it works out for the better in the end... but often, it doesn't.

    Now, if you're a "killer GM" and revel in it successfully and everyone's having fun, that's one thing, but personally I try to ascribe to the philosophy of "The game is 10% about the GM, 90% about the players." I'm not going to hand them an automatic victory, but I want them to succeed and have fun in-general. Thus, to alleviate player stupidity and ignorance when their character wouldn't be that stupid or ignorant, I've implemented "passive" ability checks, skills, and saves similar in nature to 4e's passive perception and insight.

    The goals here are:
    1. To allow me as GM to first and foremost justifiably "give away" free plot-relevant/useful information that their character would know,
    2. To help players see the benefits of having a higher value in various ability scores with the intention of helping them learn to roleplay their character's scores,
    3. To have justification for balking when a player wants to have their character do something that -- based on ability scores and skill modifiers -- the character simply wouldn't "do" (because of prior knowledge and intuition) without at least thinking it through first, and
    4. To provide a clear mechanical distinction between a PC "actively" trying to do something and "passively", unknowingly, or automatically applying trivial effort.


    Only the GM keeps track of these passive values, and references them when they don't want to ask a player to roll some kind of check (as that would be suspicious and could break game flow by haphazardly cluing-in the player to what they should be doing). A passive check value is equal to 5 (the "easy" DC rating) + the character's relevant modifiers for that kind of check. Passive checks should only come into play whenever something would automatically trigger that the character wouldn’t or couldn’t know to "actively" attempt to beat its DC. They should never come into play when the player actively tries to do something or directly asks the GM a question. (Use the normal rules for checks when the player actively attempts something). Even in-combat, the creature has to take prerogative to use an active check (with the exception of saving throws, see below).

    Abilities

    Passive Strength = Muscular impressions (compare passives)
    Quote Originally Posted by SRD > The Basics
    Strength measures your character’s muscle and physical power.
    Creatures can on-sight tell whether another creature is significantly stronger or weaker than themselves from basic evidence. How much stronger or weaker is often unclear, but as long as it’s significant in one direction or the other, you can at least make a ballpark estimate. If a creature can clearly observe another creature’s physique to a significant extent, he automatically makes a Passive Strength opposed check against the other creature. If the other creature’s Passive Strength is at least 3 higher than his own, he automatically gets an impression that the creature is "very strong" (or some other suitable expression). Likewise, if the other creature is at least 3 lower, he automatically gets an impression that the creature is "weak". The GM can express this as blatantly as noticing pure rippling muscle to as subtle as a toned body, depending on how significant the difference is in passive strength. What matters is how much qualitative emphasis the GM provides. The player should never receive a numeric value of the difference.

    Passive Dexterity = Gracefulness impressions (compare passives)
    Quote Originally Posted by SRD > The Basics
    Dexterity measures hand-eye coordination, agility, reflexes, and balance.
    Creatures can on-sight tell whether another creature is significantly more or less graceful than themselves from basic evidence. How much is often unclear, but as long as it’s significant in one direction or the other, you can at least make a ballpark estimate. If a creature can clearly observe another creature’s physique to a significant extent, he automatically makes a Passive Dexterity opposed check against the other creature. If the other creature’s Passive Dexterity is at least 3 higher than his own, he automatically gets an impression that the creature is "very agile" (or some other suitable expression). Likewise, if the other creature is at least 3 lower, he automatically gets an impression that the creature is "clumsy". The GM can express this as blatantly as noticing its lithe and streamlined body to as subtle as seeing it has soft hands. What matters is how much qualitative emphasis the GM provides. The player should never receive a numeric value of the difference.

    Passive Constitution = Hardiness impressions (compare passives)
    Quote Originally Posted by SRD > The Basics
    Constitution represents your character’s health and stamina.
    Creatures can on-sight tell whether another creature is significantly more or less hearty than themselves from basic evidence. How much is often unclear, but as long as it’s significant in one direction or the other, you can at least make a ballpark estimate. If a creature can clearly observe another creature’s physique to a significant extent, he automatically makes a Passive Constitution opposed check against the other creature. If the other creature’s Passive Constitution is at least 3 higher than his own, he automatically gets an impression that the creature is "virile and sturdy" (or some other suitable expression). Likewise, if the other creature is at least 3 lower, he automatically gets an impression that the creature is "sickly". The GM can express this as blatantly as noticing a tough exterior to as subtle as getting an impression that he'd last longer in a drinking contest. What matters is how much qualitative emphasis the GM provides. The player should never receive a numeric value of the difference.

    Passive Intelligence = Automatic Puzzle Hints
    Quote Originally Posted by SRD > The Basics
    Intelligence determines how well your character learns and reasons.
    By the GM remembering the rough difficulty ratings of the different DC values, Passive Intelligence allows the GM to automatically give the player hints about a puzzle or puzzling scenario that will at least get the player on the right track towards a solution. For example, upon seeing a suspicious shallow hole in a wall, a Passive Intelligence that beats DC 5 (the "easy" difficulty rating) could mean the character determines that it’s meant to have a pole or quarterstaff inserted into it. These checks usually involve Passive Spot and Passive Listen checks as a means to automatically locate clues.

    Passive Wisdom = Common Sense / Campaign Memory
    Quote Originally Posted by SRD > The Basics
    Wisdom describes a character’s willpower, common sense, perception, and intuition.
    Players often forget really basic things about the campaign that their character would not forget, such as NPC names, their party’s most significant capabilities, who had the MacGuffin at the moment and what the MacGuffin can do, or even basic common sense about the world around them and what anyone would have learned from growing up in the campaign world. Passive Wisdom checks allow the GM to have mechanical justification for reminding players about things their characters would automatically remember as a matter of living their lives up to this point. The DC set for these checks indicates how easy or hard it would be to remember that detail.

    Passive Charisma = Personality Impressions (compare passives)
    Quote Originally Posted by SRD > The Basics
    Charisma measures a character’s force of personality, persuasiveness, personal magnetism, ability to lead, and physical attractiveness.
    You can on-sight tell how much force of personality another creature has from basic evidence. How much is often unclear, but as long as it’s significant in one direction or the other, you can at least make a ballpark estimate. When a creature enters your line of sight, you automatically make a Passive Charisma opposed check against the other creature. If the other creature’s Passive Charisma is at least 3 higher than yours, you immediately notice the creature as if it had "a great presence" (or some other suitable expression). Likewise, if the other creature is at least 3 lower, he automatically gets an impression that the creature is "pathetic". The GM can express this as blatantly as describing everyone in the room suddenly turning to face it or as subtly as describing the creature as having a jolly demeanor and warm smile. What matters is how much qualitative emphasis the GM provides. The player should never receive a numeric value of the difference.

    Senses

    Passive Senses start at 10 instead of 5 to denote the reasonable exception of assuming that the PCs are always taking 10 on those skills.

    Passive Spot = Seeing things automatically

    To actively look for something is a normal "active" spot check. To determine whether a character spots it without even trying, it’s a Passive Spot check.

    Passive Listen = Hearing things automatically

    To actively listen out for something is a normal "active" listen check. To determine whether a character hears it without even trying, it’s a Passive Listen check.

    Passive Sense Motive = Determining lies automatically

    To actively try to discern a lie (such as through interrogation) is a normal "active" sense motive check. To determine a lie without even trying (such as in normal every-day conversation), it’s a Passive Sense Motive check.

    Education

    Passive Knowledge (field-specific) = Recognizing on-sight something either anyone would know or something you'd automatically know.

    Actively taking a second to try to remember something within a specific field of interest is a normal "active" knowledge check within that field. To remember something from it just popping into your head, it’s a Passive Knowledge check within that field. You still have to have ranks in a knowledge skill to passively remember things within that field above a DC 10.

    Passive Spellcraft = Identifying magical effects automatically

    Often, you can identify a magical effect on-sight without having to actively try to dig into your memory to intuit or recall its name. The ability to do so is represented by your Passive Spellcraft check. This is basically a way for you to not have to actively roll to identify really recognizable magical effects. You still have to have ranks in spellcraft to make Passive Spellcraft checks.

    Passive Psicraft = Identifying psionic effects automatically

    Often, you can identify a psionic effect on-sight without having to actively try to dig into your memory to intuit or recall its name. The ability to do so is represented by your Passive Psicraft check. This is basically a way for you to not have to actively roll to identify really recognizable psionic effects. You still have to have ranks in psicraft to make Passive Psicraft checks.

    Saves

    When you're fighting for your life, every saving throw is active. Before your first turn in combat though, your adrenaline isn't pumping yet, so you use passive saving throws. Even out of combat, if you can't be aware that an attack might conceivably happen, you can't defend yourself as actively as when you know it's coming. Basically, a wrecking ball trap that blindsides you would use a passive save, but if you're aware of the trap and are actively trying to dodge it, you use an active save.

    Passive Fortitude = Initial saving throw against poison and disease

    When you initially save against a poison or disease (or ravage or affliction, see BoED page 34), you couldn't possibly know what’s happening, so you can’t "steel yourself" against the attack. Thus, saving throws you make against poison and disease are a Passive Fortitude save (and you receive no notification of a successful save) until you fail such a fortitude save. Once you know that there’s something to save against (by failing a save), every save after that is an active fortitude save. Your autonomic immune system controls your Passive Fortitude save, not your subconscious, so you only use Passive Fortitude versus poison and disease (all other fortitude save effects are obvious, so they use active fortitude saves).

    Passive Reflex = Dodging something they couldn't see coming

    If you can’t possibly perceive something coming at you that would require a reflex save, you must use a Passive Reflex save. Once you’re aware that there’s something to dodge, you make normal "active" reflex saves as normal. Instances of Passive Reflex saves are relatively rare because usually effects that would require a reflex save at least make some kind of noise or alert some other sense. Of course, if you’re deaf and/or blind, these might happen a lot more often.

    Passive Will = Automatically bypassing willpower attacks

    There are minor things that would annoy, distract, or drain you of your ability to stay focused and centered. Additionally, some attacks on a person’s will can’t be detected until it’s too late (such as being dominated by surprise). In these cases, the person makes a Passive Will save. Once you’re aware of an attack on your willpower, you can "steel yourself" against future attacks and make normal will saves.

    What I Want To Know:
    1. PEACH about the system as a whole
    2. How to better use this existing premise to accomplish its stated goals
    3. Other mechanical methodologies a GM can use to justify giving away free information
    4. Suggestions to improve upon the language or better describe the circumstances which would call for a passive check/save
    5. Suggestions for expansions (additional uses) of a passive check/save


    What I Don't Want To Hear:
    1. Stuff about how much 4e and anything like it "sucks"
    2. Whining about the premise of passive checks in D&D 3.5
    3. Stuff about killer GMs being a positive thing
    4. Whining about the premise of splitting up save opportunities based on whether you can "steel yourself" against it
    5. Whining about how situational or relatively useless some of the passive ability checks can be compared to the others
    Last edited by Maginomicon; 2014-02-07 at 08:45 AM.
    The Real Alignments Handbook, Save Points & Strife
    4e-Like Passives for 3.5e, Comprehensive Spell Points Tables, Line-of-Sight vs Line-of-Effect
    Rule #1 for conversing with me: As soon as you use all-caps for an entire statement or clause, you lose.
    Rule #2 for conversing with me: RAW-tards and other close-minded folks automatically lose.

    If you're complaining about the OP's premise, please... stop, as you're probably not helping.

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    Default Re: [3.x] Potential House Rule: 4e-like Passive Checks and Saving Throws

    ... did the opening paragraph just make a reference to that horrible Tom Hanks movie, Mazes and Monsters?

    "Frelick jumps in, how much treasure do I get?"

    "...." o_o

    "The pit is filled with gem encrusted spikes..."

    I can tell you I tend to go with the "Passive" checks for Spot, Listen, etc automatically as a house rule. Works well. The people who invest in it are rewarded without slowing down the game to constantly say "Do I hear...?" and the like. No one at my tables has complained about it. I found the scouts are more effective without slowing down the game, as mentioned. Good times all around.

    I like the idea of the passive stat comparison. Should play out well on my gut feeling. If I get a chance to DM soon I'll try it out, see how it works out.
    Currently sick as a dog and unable to focus properly. Will heal soon.

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    Default Re: [3.x] Potential House Rule: 4e-like Passive Checks and Saving Throws

    Quote Originally Posted by ArcturusV View Post
    ... did the opening paragraph just make a reference to that horrible Tom Hanks movie, Mazes and Monsters?

    "Frelick jumps in, how much treasure do I get?"

    "...." o_o

    "The pit is filled with gem encrusted spikes..."
    What better way to demonstrate player stupidity than with one of the dumbest player moves in recorded visual memory?

    Quote Originally Posted by ArcturusV View Post
    I like the idea of the passive stat comparison. Should play out well on my gut feeling. If I get a chance to DM soon I'll try it out, see how it works out.
    It's important to note that a Passive opposed check here is not simply comparing their ability scores. It instead accounts for modifiers to a roll that could beat a DC 5 (DC 8 in the Bell Curve Rolls variant). Thus, for someone's opposed Passive ability check to be 3 higher than yours, they'd likely require a bonus on "ability checks" with that ability (which is a relatively rare category compared to "ability-based checks"). Otherwise, they're just working with their ability modifier and so to have a Passive ability check that high they'd require an ability score 5 or 6 points higher than yours.
    Last edited by Maginomicon; 2013-10-25 at 10:23 AM.
    The Real Alignments Handbook, Save Points & Strife
    4e-Like Passives for 3.5e, Comprehensive Spell Points Tables, Line-of-Sight vs Line-of-Effect
    Rule #1 for conversing with me: As soon as you use all-caps for an entire statement or clause, you lose.
    Rule #2 for conversing with me: RAW-tards and other close-minded folks automatically lose.

    If you're complaining about the OP's premise, please... stop, as you're probably not helping.

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    Default Re: [3.x] Potential House Rule: 4e-like Passive Checks and Saving Throws

    I find that "are you sure?" or "just gonna jump right in, huh?" are usually enough to make the players reconsider. And they can even come up with something cooler than what I thought of, to assess the situation.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
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    Default Re: [3.x] Potential House Rule: 4e-like Passive Checks and Saving Throws

    This is a good idea, and I find that groups often allow active checks in place of where passive checks would streamline the whole thing. On occasion, one of my DMs will ask for an Intelligence check to remember critical information, or a Wisdom check to not do something so blatantly stupid that everyone at the table groans. But a passive version of the two would help.

    I'm not sure that Passive Spot works. When you're actively looking for something, that's a Search check, not Spot. Spot is passive just by its nature as a skill.

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    Default Re: [3.x] Potential House Rule: 4e-like Passive Checks and Saving Throws

    Quote Originally Posted by Kazyan View Post
    I'm not sure that Passive Spot works. When you're actively looking for something, that's a Search check, not Spot. Spot is passive just by its nature as a skill.
    Search is up close ("You generally must be within 10 feet of the object or surface to be searched."). Spot is farther away than that. Note that Hide isn't opposed by Search, but by Spot, even though searching a room.

    (Besides, the point of Passive Spot is that you aren't actively trying to spot something. It's a matter of distinguishing "being on the lookout" Spot from "passing through" Spot.)
    Last edited by Maginomicon; 2013-10-25 at 12:28 PM.
    The Real Alignments Handbook, Save Points & Strife
    4e-Like Passives for 3.5e, Comprehensive Spell Points Tables, Line-of-Sight vs Line-of-Effect
    Rule #1 for conversing with me: As soon as you use all-caps for an entire statement or clause, you lose.
    Rule #2 for conversing with me: RAW-tards and other close-minded folks automatically lose.

    If you're complaining about the OP's premise, please... stop, as you're probably not helping.

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    Default Re: [3.x] Potential House Rule: 4e-like Passive Checks and Saving Throws

    I don't like passive saves from a kinaesthetic perspective. Yes, the numbers are the same, but the 'feel' is different. Active saves feel like you are actively resisting the effect, which makes it 'feel' like I have more control over the situation.
    Quote Originally Posted by Calanon View Post
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    Default Re: [3.x] Potential House Rule: 4e-like Passive Checks and Saving Throws

    Quote Originally Posted by Maginomicon View Post
    Other mechanical methodologies a GM can use to justify giving away free information
    Characters with a spiritual or metaphysical link of some kind can be used for this purpose. For example, the Spirit Shaman has a spirit guide that only they can see - this can be used by the DM as a vehicle for delivering hunches, hints or premonitions and dissuade (or encourage) certain courses of action. To a lesser extent, familiars, animal companions, psicrystals, intelligent items and special mounts can be used for this purpose as well.

    There are also naturally prophetic/precognitive characters, such as Oracles, Seers and Diviners. These can get flashes of insight without having to ask for one specifically. You can even give "gut feelings" to particularly observant rogues and rangers, or "dramatic sense" to bards.
    Last edited by Psyren; 2013-10-25 at 01:11 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
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    Default Re: [3.x] Potential House Rule: 4e-like Passive Checks and Saving Throws

    Quote Originally Posted by Ravens_cry View Post
    I don't like passive saves from a kinaesthetic perspective. Yes, the numbers are the same, but the 'feel' is different. Active saves feel like you are actively resisting the effect, which makes it 'feel' like I have more control over the situation.
    The whole point is that you don't necessarily always have control over the situation. Any time your mind and body can't steel yourself, some of your defenses are down.

    Furthermore, the numbers aren't the same anyway. They start at 5 and go up. To give an example, here's a typical ogre mage's passive values

    {table=head] Aspect | Original | Passive Value
    Strength | 21 | 10 |
    Dexterity | 10 | 5 |
    Constitution | 17 | 8 |
    Intelligence | 14 | 7 |
    Wisdom | 14 | 7 |
    Charisma | 17 | 8 |
    Spot | +10 | 15 |
    Listen | +10 | 15 |
    Sense Motive | +2 | 7 |
    Spellcraft | +10 | 15 |
    Fortitude | +7 | 12 |
    Reflex | +1 | 6 |
    Will | +3 | 8 |
    [/table]

    This means a typical ogre mage (before other situational modifiers apply)...
    • Will appear really strong from the perspective of anyone with Passive Strength 7 or lower (most commoners fit this category),
    • Has average agility compared to a commoner,
    • Will appear really hardy from the perspective of anyone with Passive Constitution 5 or lower (most commoners fit this category),
    • Will automatically receive clues/hints up to DC 7,
    • Will automatically have common sense and detailed memory up to DC 7,
    • Will appear charismatic (if he chooses) from the perspective of anyone with Passive Charisma 5 or lower (most commoners fit this category),
    • Will automatically spot anything within 150 feet and beat a Hide check of 15 or lower,
    • Will automatically hear anything within 150 feet and beat a Move Silently check of 15 or lower,
    • Will automatically see through lies told with a bluff check of 7 or lower,
    • Will automatically identify all 0-level spell effects,
    • Will out-of-combat automatically beat poison and diseases with a save DC of 12 or less,
    • Will out-of-combat automatically accomplish any feats of natural reflexes (such as catching a ball) up through DC 6 but not beat any reflex-save spells, and
    • Will out-of-combat automatically overcome all annoyances up through DC 8 but not beat any will-save spells.


    A number of nifty things come out of this right off the bat for an ogre mage:
    1. We have a ogre mage's daylight seeing distance and conversational hearing range as a constant number, making accidental encounter distance much easier to calculate.
    2. We have a solid number that describes the quality of an ogre mage's immune system.


    A number of other effects might also be in play. For example, if an ogre mage had as many ranks in Knowledge Arcana as Spellcraft, he would automatically identify on-sight any construct, dragon, or magical beast with 5 HD or less.
    Last edited by Maginomicon; 2013-10-27 at 02:43 AM.
    The Real Alignments Handbook, Save Points & Strife
    4e-Like Passives for 3.5e, Comprehensive Spell Points Tables, Line-of-Sight vs Line-of-Effect
    Rule #1 for conversing with me: As soon as you use all-caps for an entire statement or clause, you lose.
    Rule #2 for conversing with me: RAW-tards and other close-minded folks automatically lose.

    If you're complaining about the OP's premise, please... stop, as you're probably not helping.

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    Default Re: [3.x] Potential House Rule: 4e-like Passive Checks and Saving Throws

    So this is like taking a 10 except you don't need permission/character awareness and it is only a 5?

    So when does the NPC Rogue need to sneak past the PC Rogue's passive spot and when do they need to sneak past the PC Rogue's active spot (spot rolled in secret by the DM)?
    Last edited by OldTrees1; 2013-10-27 at 02:49 AM.

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    Default Re: [3.x] Potential House Rule: 4e-like Passive Checks and Saving Throws

    Quote Originally Posted by OldTrees1 View Post
    So this is like taking a 10 except you don't need permission/character awareness and it is only a 5?

    So when does the NPC Rogue need to sneak past the PC Rogue's passive spot and when do they need to sneak past the PC Rogue's active spot (spot rolled in secret by the DM)?
    Well, if the PC rogue is vigilantly on watch/lookout, they're actively looking, so that's always an active spot check (even if rolled secretly by the GM). If the PC rogue is just standing around not doing anything, it's passive spot. If they're standing around talking to the party, it's passive spot AND they're distracted (at GM's discretion), so they take a -5 to their passive spot (bringing their base passive spot to 0). Same goes for passive listen.

    This allows for stealth to be slightly more effective based on the circumstances, and take some of the luck out of it by making your hide/move silently have to beat a flat number instead of an opposed roll.
    Last edited by Maginomicon; 2013-10-27 at 11:42 AM.
    The Real Alignments Handbook, Save Points & Strife
    4e-Like Passives for 3.5e, Comprehensive Spell Points Tables, Line-of-Sight vs Line-of-Effect
    Rule #1 for conversing with me: As soon as you use all-caps for an entire statement or clause, you lose.
    Rule #2 for conversing with me: RAW-tards and other close-minded folks automatically lose.

    If you're complaining about the OP's premise, please... stop, as you're probably not helping.

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    Default Re: [3.x] Potential House Rule: 4e-like Passive Checks and Saving Throws

    I may be drifting into What I Don't Want To Hear territory but honestly this seems to me that it'll just encourage your players to be making active checks all the time, i.e. announcing "I'm still stealthing and spotting and listening!" every couple of steps, and not wanting to interact with anything in-character so that they don't take the "distraction" penalty.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
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    Default Re: [3.x] Potential House Rule: 4e-like Passive Checks and Saving Throws

    Quote Originally Posted by Psyren View Post
    I may be drifting into What I Don't Want To Hear territory but honestly this seems to me that it'll just encourage your players to be making active checks all the time, i.e. announcing "I'm still stealthing and spotting and listening!" every couple of steps, and not wanting to interact with anything in-character so that they don't take the "distraction" penalty.
    This. If letting my passive checks/saves do the work puts me at a 25% disadvantage vs. actively rolling, you can bet I'm going to actively do anything that I'm not extremely confident of my modifier for, and in a high-risk situation (like, say, being in a dungeon) not even then. Hello massive game slow-down.

    Of course, for passive saves I wouldn't even have than option most of the time, so you're basically saying that you've arbitrarily increased a large number of DCs by 5.

    Oh, and assuming that these rules apply equally to NPCs (and if they don't, then most of this subforum probably has a few choice words for you):
    1. Play a Beguiler.
    2. ???
    3. Profit.
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    Default Re: [3.x] Potential House Rule: 4e-like Passive Checks and Saving Throws

    Quote Originally Posted by Sith_Happens View Post
    This. If letting my passive checks/saves do the work puts me at a 25% disadvantage vs. actively rolling, you can bet I'm going to actively do anything that I'm not extremely confident of my modifier for, and in a high-risk situation (like, say, being in a dungeon) not even then. Hello massive game slow-down.

    Of course, for passive saves I wouldn't even have than option most of the time, so you're basically saying that you've arbitrarily increased a large number of DCs by 5.

    Oh, and assuming that these rules apply equally to NPCs (and if they don't, then most of this subforum probably has a few choice words for you):
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    What part of "Don't Want to Hear" didn't you get? If someone is so paranoid in-character that they're slowing the game down, the rest of the party won't tolerate it and the GM certainly won't. It's unproductive and problematic (i.e. unsolvable) to bring up those issues, that's why it's in the "Don't Want to Hear" category. Furthermore, if you're going to actively destroy your in-character potential activity by being so paranoid in-character, then you've earned what happens to your character really. Therefore, it only truly slows the game down if you want it to slow the game down.

    Besides, you said yourself that it's relative to whether you're confident in your modifier. That makes even your own concerns situational at best and annoying at worst (you "break even" if you force the issue, so it can only make things better to implement passives). It'd be up to the GM how often you're allowed to reroll your active checks. Passive checks have the additional benefit that a GM can design situations that automatically beat (or automatically lose against) the party's passive values depending on whether they mechanically want something to automatically happen or not.

    Additionally, of course they should apply to NPCs as well. Lower tiers deserve nice things.
    Last edited by Maginomicon; 2013-10-27 at 01:28 PM.
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    Default Re: [3.x] Potential House Rule: 4e-like Passive Checks and Saving Throws

    Quote Originally Posted by Maginomicon View Post
    What part of "Don't Want to Hear" didn't you get? If someone is so paranoid in-character that they're slowing the game down, the rest of the party won't tolerate it and the GM certainly won't. It's unproductive and problematic (i.e. unsolvable) to bring up those issues, that's why it's in the "Don't Want to Hear" category. Furthermore, if you're going to actively destroy your in-character potential activity by being so paranoid in-character, then you've earned what happens to your character really. Therefore, it only truly slows the game down if you want it to slow the game down.
    What I'm saying is that the difference between 5+modifiers and 10+modifiers incentivizes that kind of behavior. It's a simple fix anyways: just up the passive check value by five and the problem is gone.
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    Default Re: [3.x] Potential House Rule: 4e-like Passive Checks and Saving Throws

    Quote Originally Posted by Sith_Happens View Post
    What I'm saying is that the difference between 5+modifiers and 10+modifiers incentivizes that kind of behavior. It's a simple fix anyways: just up the passive check value by five and the problem is gone.
    It is not a simple fix. As usual, trying to make a simple fix is lazy and problematic. Upping the passive base to 10 instead of leaving it at 5 (8 if using the Bell Curve Rolls variant) makes it essentially the same as taking 10 on something, which creates more problems than it solves (hence, problematic). Further, it'd still be a solid number, not a roll. "Incentive" or not, in the original system there was nothing stopping you from being paranoid and asking for a spot check every round anyway, so if you force the issue in-game, nothing changes from the original (no one will tolerate that kind of behavior).

    There is nothing wrong with letting the stealthy character stealth a little easier when it would be reasonable that they could do so. If you aren't paying attention (which is what a passive spot/listen means), you aren't paying attention.
    Last edited by Maginomicon; 2013-10-27 at 02:34 PM.
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    Default Re: [3.x] Potential House Rule: 4e-like Passive Checks and Saving Throws

    Sith is right that this incentivizes... for lack of a better term, anal-retentive play though. If I'm ever told "if you had been making an active spot check, you'd have seen that guy" or "you were bantering with party member X so I applied a distraction penalty to your listen," then it feels to the players like they screwed up and fell into a trap, and if they're ever in a dangerous situation again - which is most of the time - then repeatedly announcing that they're making active checks on everything is going to be the logical result.
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    Default Re: [3.x] Potential House Rule: 4e-like Passive Checks and Saving Throws

    In summary this rule would be:

    The ability to take 5.
    A -5 penalty to all unmentioned checks (and some mentioned checks if the DM nerfs them from active to passive).


    The benefit is basically:
    A -4 required ranks on checks that are built to be always passed (UMD for example)
    No risk of a natural 1 on saves if a 5 would have passed.

    The penalty is either:
    A -5 penalty to lots of checks
    or
    Annoy the DM and Players by reminding the DM that you are doing everything actively.

    Now obviously passives can't be as if a 10 was rolled. But a 5 seems like a buff for annoying players and a nerf for everyone else.

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    Default Re: [3.x] Potential House Rule: 4e-like Passive Checks and Saving Throws

    Quote Originally Posted by OldTrees1 View Post
    In summary this rule would be:

    The ability to take 5.
    A -5 penalty to all unmentioned checks (and some mentioned checks if the DM nerfs them from active to passive).


    The benefit is basically:
    A -4 required ranks on checks that are built to be always passed (UMD for example)
    No risk of a natural 1 on saves if a 5 would have passed.

    The penalty is either:
    A -5 penalty to lots of checks
    or
    Annoy the DM and Players by reminding the DM that you are doing everything actively.

    Now obviously passives can't be as if a 10 was rolled. But a 5 seems like a buff for annoying players and a nerf for everyone else.
    What? Unless I'm reading your post wrong... No. You might want to re-read the OP?

    It doesn't nerf anyone's checks, it removes the rolls themselves by assuming the roll is 5 under specific GM-controlled circumstances. If anything, it'd be more accurate to summarize it as "the GM forces you to unknowingly take 5 on specific situational checks and certain non-combat saves". By default, no other passive checks exist than the ones described, although a GM might determine that an unlisted passive check would make more sense on rare occasion (such as a passive craft check to recognize shoddy workmanship).
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    Default Re: [3.x] Potential House Rule: 4e-like Passive Checks and Saving Throws

    Quote Originally Posted by Maginomicon View Post
    What? Unless I'm reading your post wrong... No. You might want to re-read the OP?

    It doesn't nerf anyone's checks, it removes the rolls themselves by assuming the roll is 5 under specific GM-controlled circumstances. If anything, it'd be more accurate to summarize it as "the GM forces you to unknowingly take 5 on specific situational checks and certain non-combat saves". By default, no other passive checks exist than the ones described, although a GM might determine that an unlisted passive check would make more sense on rare occasion (such as a passive craft check to recognize shoddy workmanship).
    Those GM controlled circumstances used to be 1d20(RAW D&D) but are now 5(potential house rule)

    If a Rogue goes into a dungeon the DM rolls 1d20 for spot/listen(RAW).
    If a Rogue goes into a dungeon the DM uses the take 5 for spot/listen(House Rule).
    This is a penalty of -5.5 (difference between 1d20 and 5)
    OR
    If a Rogue goes into a dungeon then the player repeatedly reminds the DM that they are actively making the passive spot/listen checks.(House Rule)

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    Default Re: [3.x] Potential House Rule: 4e-like Passive Checks and Saving Throws

    Quote Originally Posted by OldTrees1 View Post
    Those GM controlled circumstances used to be 1d20(RAW D&D) but are now 5(potential house rule)

    If a Rogue goes into a dungeon the DM rolls 1d20 for spot/listen(RAW).
    If a Rogue goes into a dungeon the DM uses the take 5 for spot/listen(House Rule).
    This is a penalty of -5.5 (difference between 1d20 and 5)
    OR
    If a Rogue goes into a dungeon then the player repeatedly reminds the DM that they are actively making the passive spot/listen checks.(House Rule)
    No... it's not. A roll has an intrinsically different function from a fixed value. Even in the original rules, "taking 10" is 0.5 below the average of the 1d20 roll (demonstrating how making that kind of comparison is flawed at best).
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    Default Re: [3.x] Potential House Rule: 4e-like Passive Checks and Saving Throws

    A Rogue has a spot modifier of +10.
    50% of the time they would notice a DC 20 trap if the DM rolled.
    0% of the time they would notice a DC 20 trap if the DM used the take 5.
    By changing the 1d20 roll to a static 5, the DM decreases the effective skill of the Rogue for any non trivial checks.
    This is the nerf I am referring to.
    Last edited by OldTrees1; 2013-10-27 at 04:21 PM.

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    Default Re: [3.x] Potential House Rule: 4e-like Passive Checks and Saving Throws

    Quote Originally Posted by OldTrees1 View Post
    A Rogue has a spot modifier of +10.
    50% of the time they would notice a DC 20 trap if the DM rolled.
    0% of the time they would notice a DC 20 trap if the DM used the take 5.
    By changing the 1d20 roll to a static 5, the DM decreases the effective skill of the Rogue for any non trivial checks.
    This is the nerf I am referring to.
    Ex...cept that a rogue uses the search skill to do that, which is always an active roll.
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    Default Re: [3.x] Potential House Rule: 4e-like Passive Checks and Saving Throws

    Quote Originally Posted by Maginomicon View Post
    Ex...cept that a rogue uses the search skill to do that, which is always an active roll.
    Pardon my example, I forgot that only some traps can been seen with a spot check (and ambush "traps").

    The math was my point.
    Last edited by OldTrees1; 2013-10-27 at 05:02 PM.

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    Default Re: [3.x] Potential House Rule: 4e-like Passive Checks and Saving Throws

    Quote Originally Posted by OldTrees1 View Post
    Pardon my example, I forgot that only some traps can been seen with a spot check (and ambush "traps").

    The math was my point.
    And? What of it?
    Quote Originally Posted by SRD > Using Skills > Difficulty Class
    {table=head]Difficulty (DC) | Example (Skill Used)
    Very easy (0) | Notice something large in plain sight (Spot) |
    Easy (5) | Climb a knotted rope (Climb) |
    Average (10) | Hear an approaching guard (Listen) |
    Tough (15) | Rig a wagon wheel to fall off (Disable Device) |
    Challenging (20) | Swim in stormy water (Swim) |
    [/table]
    It makes sense that even with a +10 modifier on a skill check, you can only off-hand automatically succeed on things that are up through "tough" difficulty without even trying. Likewise, not being able to auto-succeed without even trying for "challenging" tasks also makes sense. If anything, passives give the creature a +4 bonus to the context (+5 in the Bell Curve Rolls variant) because otherwise they'd have to get their modifier up high enough that the roll itself would be a waste of time.
    Last edited by Maginomicon; 2013-10-27 at 05:33 PM.
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    Default Re: [3.x] Potential House Rule: 4e-like Passive Checks and Saving Throws

    There are 3 cases of checks: Easy (modifier +5), Medium(modifier +10) and Hard(modifier +15)
    Your house rule (when applicable) makes easy checks automatic but make medium and hard checks fail.

    [RAW] Easy 80%, Medium 55%, Hard 25%
    [House Rule] Easy 100%, Medium and Hard 0%

    The house rule is a net nerf for players unless it is restricted to only Easy checks (then it is a buff).

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    Default Re: [3.x] Potential House Rule: 4e-like Passive Checks and Saving Throws

    Quote Originally Posted by OldTrees1 View Post
    There are 3 cases of checks: Easy (modifier +5), Medium(modifier +10) and Hard(modifier +15)
    Your house rule (when applicable) makes easy checks automatic but make medium and hard checks fail.

    [RAW] Easy 80%, Medium 55%, Hard 25%
    [House Rule] Easy 100%, Medium and Hard 0%

    The house rule is a net nerf for players unless it is restricted to only Easy checks (then it is a buff).
    There's nothing wrong with making the easy checks auto-succeed but making more difficult checks auto-fail in specific circumstances. Even so, you're assuming here that you can't take your modifier any higher than +5. It doesn't take much effort at all to get to +5 for an average DC, and you don't have to be an optimizer to to get to +10 for a tough DC even at low levels. Most level 1 rogues that put ranks in Knowledge (Local) will have at least a +6 to their Passive Knowledge (Local) value, bringing it high enough to start automatically recognizing humanoids by HD (which means a lot for humanoids; of the 57 humanoids listed in the MonsterFinder, 18 have 1 HD or less, 10 have 2 HD, 10 have 3 HD, 5 have 4 HD, etc.).

    You seem to be trying to put up the numbers as your defense, but in practical in-game use those numbers don't tell the whole story anyway. It is not a net nerf for players. It might be a net nerf for commoners, but that's fine because unless you have an odd GM no PC is going to be using NPC classes. Even the NPCs aren't going to care because their whole gist is "not specializing" in anything but everyday tasks and so it's fine for them to have low passive values.
    Last edited by Maginomicon; 2013-10-27 at 08:46 PM.
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    Default Re: [3.x] Potential House Rule: 4e-like Passive Checks and Saving Throws

    By (modifier+5) I mean DC 23 if the skill modifier was 18. (23=18+5)

    Also I would point out that I never said passive checks were wrong. I said that as they stand (take 5) they weaken players more than the buff players (hence the benefit/penalty evaluation and the phrase "net nerf"). In order to balance this house rule you would need to increase the automatic number. Obviously you can't increase it to 10 (as I said before).

    Sidenote: I would appreciate less hostility considering you requested PEACHing.
    Last edited by OldTrees1; 2013-10-27 at 09:40 PM.

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    Default Re: [3.x] Potential House Rule: 4e-like Passive Checks and Saving Throws

    Quote Originally Posted by Maginomicon View Post
    Upping the passive base to 10 instead of leaving it at 5 (8 if using the Bell Curve Rolls variant) makes it essentially the same as taking 10 on something, which creates more problems than it solves (hence, problematic).
    Name one problem that it creates. Especially when nothing's stopping me from taking a few seconds exactly once ever to say "Unless I say otherwise, consider me to be taking 10 on all my [X] checks" anyways. Oh look, I just obviated half your houserule.
    Last edited by Sith_Happens; 2013-10-28 at 01:57 AM.
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    Default Re: [3.x] Potential House Rule: 4e-like Passive Checks and Saving Throws

    Quote Originally Posted by Sith_Happens View Post
    Name one problem that it creates. Especially when nothing's stopping me from taking a few seconds exactly once ever to say "Unless I say otherwise, consider me to be taking 10 on all my [X] checks" anyways. Oh look, I just obviated half your houserule.
    Which makes me wonder: does this houserule ban taking 10?
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