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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Investigation vs. Perception

    Hey all,
    Just trying to figure out when to use one vs. The other.

    My big question is with regards to searching. This came up in one of our games recently while looking for loot or traps.

    So i was curious, how have they come up in your games? Has anyone actually used investigation?

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    LucianoAr's Avatar

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    Default Re: Investigation vs. Perception

    perception is anything that you have too look for or see regarding your senses. if you can find a secret door, trap, thing written, someone lurking in the shadows.

    investigation is anything you have to make a logical pattern to get to. disable a trap, find a clue to a riddle, etc

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    Shadow's Avatar

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    Default Re: Investigation vs. Perception

    Think of perception as things that you can notice, more intuitively.
    Think of investigation as things that you can figure out/research, more intellectually.

    For instance, spotting a trap would be perception, but figuring out how it works would be investigation.
    Noticing the secret door would be perception, but figuring out how to open it would be investigation.
    I'm sure you're familiar with perception. Investigation also covers things like finding the passage in the dusty old tome which references the monster you're researching, etc.

    Make more sense now?
    Last edited by Shadow; 2014-11-23 at 11:23 PM.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Griffon

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    Default Re: Investigation vs. Perception

    Whenever the difficulty can be described as "it's hard to [insert one of the 5 senses]" you're dealing with perception.

    1. The rogue hiding in the darkness is hard to see.
    2. The whispering in the other room is hard to hear.
    3. The poison in the drink is hard to taste.
    4. The distant smoke is hard to smell.
    5. The fingers of the pickpocket are hard to feel.

    These are all perception.

    When you're rolling to come to a conclusion based on things that are already sensed, that's investigation.

    Some problems can be solved by either, depending on how you go about it. For instance, if you want to find the pirate among the group of men: Perception - I look for the man that smells like the sea. Investigation - I look for the man with a sailor's walk.

    If you want to find the trap door: Perception - I feel around the room for a crack in the wall, or a breeze coming from somewhere. Investigation - I look for a spot where the brick pattern suggests a secret door, or I figure out based on the dimensions of the rooms where a secret passage might be hidden.

    In my games, loot and traps generally fall into the "use either" category. Investigation's exclusive niche is usually when we're looking for information, rather than physical things. For instance: How many people live here? Can I figure out anything from these records we found? Can I determine where they are getting their supplies from examining their storeroom? Do their arms and armor suggest they are part of a particular group? It's not as good as perception in a combat heavy campaign, but is super useful if your campaign has mysteries to solve.

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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Investigation vs. Perception

    Thank you all. This is more or less how I interpretted things, but wanted some more clarification.

    Seeing as how myself and most of my party is proficient in perception, and only our wizard (who is inconsistent about showing up) is the only one with investigation, I'm trying to foresee how things will go for us.

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    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Investigation vs. Perception

    It seems like there's some ways that they both can be used for the same task. Perception is "after examining the wall here, I found the secret door Baron Von Mustache used," while investigation is "Baron von Mustache ran into his study and is now gone. Based on his height and where it would make the most sense to hide a secret door, we should pull this candlestick (secret door opens)." I would make the investigation DC about 5 higher than the perception DC and give advantage or disadvantage pretty freely based on knowledge (or lack thereof) of the subject (Baron Von Mustache, in this case).

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    Default Re: Investigation vs. Perception

    Frankly, I think its a BS contrivance. Rogues are traditionally Dex/Int based. They wanted Rogues to be good at finding traps. So they made up Investigation.

    Personally, I just allow players to use the higher of their Int or Wisdom for Perception, which covers everything related to noticing stuff.

    In my ideal 5.5E, Intelligence would cover everything related to memory and mental fortitude (ie, all Will Saves and all Lore/Knowledge stuff), Wisdom would cover everything related to perception and senses (Initiative, Perception). But that would require too much alteration to the metagame for my current group

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Investigation vs. Perception

    Quote Originally Posted by Person_Man View Post
    Personally, I just allow players to use the higher of their Int or Wisdom for Perception, which covers everything related to noticing stuff.
    I too am a fan of applying the higher of X stats to skill checks, if only for the purpose of variety in chracter builds.

    Athletics and acrobatics are two others I see as basically interchangeable. Also, why is nature intellect only but not wisdom? Why is insight wisdom only, when intellect ought to let someone logically discern a lie?

    There really should be alternate rules for this kind of thing.
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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Investigation vs. Perception

    Quote Originally Posted by Easy_Lee View Post
    Also, why is nature intellect only but not wisdom? Why is insight wisdom only, when intellect ought to let someone logically discern a lie?

    There really should be alternate rules for this kind of thing.
    Maybe the DMG will have additional rules? But yeah I run into this as the Survival/woods guy of the group. I have survival and animal handling, but no proficiency in Nature by choice, since my Intelligence is a 9. Maybe I can convince my DM to allow Survival to substitute.

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    Default Re: Investigation vs. Perception

    Hoard of the Dragon Queen and Rise of Tiamat both include sections where the PCs can use either Perception or Investigate to notice things. One of them runs with a higher DC than the other, I can't recall which at the moment.

    In the spirit of Intelligence being somewhat of a measurement of reason/logic/memory and Wisdom being somewhat more of a measurement of intuitive/instinct, I would say that one might apply Investigate checks when one is taking one's time to search an area, or reason about a situation, and one might apply Perception/Insight to notice something on the spur of a moment.
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  11. - Top - End - #11
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    Default Re: Investigation vs. Perception

    This idea that Perception is more passive and that Investigation is more of an active thing doesn't really jive with the Observant feat, as it adds to both passive Investigation and Perception scores.

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    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Re: Investigation vs. Perception

    Quote Originally Posted by Scirocco View Post
    This idea that Perception is more passive and that Investigation is more of an active thing doesn't really jive with the Observant feat, as it adds to both passive Investigation and Perception scores.
    Passive investigation is putting observed clues together to reach an otherwise unknown conclusion.

    Passive perception is putting sensory cues together to notice something.

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    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: Investigation vs. Perception

    My entire party is low Int and no one has this skill. How badly do you think that will hurt us? I'm okay with us having flaws and not being good at everything and having to find ways around those flaws. It's a role-playing challenge as well as a tactical challenge. But my party seems to be playing this down as being nearly irrelevant. I think it's a real flaw.

    They've fluffed Int as "book smarts" which I get. It doesn't mean you're an idiot if your Int score is low. But they're also saying investigation can be role-played around almost altogether. Int has become a total dump stat for the entire party because we don't have anyone who has it as a primary or even secondary stat. Is that something that 5e has done to the stat?
    If you cast Dispel Magic on my Gust of Wind, does that mean you're disgusting?

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    Zombie

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    Default Re: Investigation vs. Perception

    Quote Originally Posted by Dalebert View Post
    Int has become a total dump stat for the entire party because we don't have anyone who has it as a primary or even secondary stat. Is that something that 5e has done to the stat?
    Int has become a total dump stat for 5e in general. :) (Exception: Wizards)

    Seems cruel to punish players for not wasting precious character construction points on Int when the value is abysmally low compared to maxing your primary stats.

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: Investigation vs. Perception

    Quote Originally Posted by odigity View Post
    Int has become a total dump stat for 5e in general. :) (Exception: Wizards)
    That's kind of the impression I had. I feel like they should have put a little more emphasis on it. I feel like there shouldn't be any dump stats. Every choice should matter to some extent. In 3.5 if you dumped Int, your skills suffered, which I thought made sense. People did it who didn't care that much about being skill monkeys. Now only very specific skills suffer, skills which you likely won't take anyway if you're not an Int-based char.

    Seems cruel to punish players for not wasting precious character construction points on Int when the value is abysmally low compared to maxing your primary stats.
    It's not punishment. It's just being realistic. Every single one of us made it a dump stat, which is fine. That's just playing our characters rationally because it's not key for any of us. I'm just saying that it will logically be a shortcoming at least circumstantially and we will have to learn to deal with it. I don't think it's completely trivial. Like I said, I enjoy finding ways to face challenges based on our flaws. We're not supposed to be perfect and good at everything.
    Last edited by Dalebert; 2014-11-26 at 10:30 AM.
    If you cast Dispel Magic on my Gust of Wind, does that mean you're disgusting?

    In real estate, they say it's all about location, location, location. In D&D I say it's about action economy, action economy, action economy.

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    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Re: Investigation vs. Perception

    Bit late to the party but heh.

    I had this discussion with my party recently and we came to the conclusion that investigation demanded interaction of some kind. Like:

    Spotting the rogue hidden behind the coach while standing in the door -> Perception
    Finding the rogue hidden behind the coach while walking around and picking stuff up -> Investigation

    This worked in most scenario's so far and made us conclude that investigation DC's in these situations would be (much) lower. It makes the investigation skill much more useful and a much broader skill.

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    SamuraiGuy

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    Default Re: Investigation vs. Perception

    I like the idea of letting characters make Wisdom(Investigate) or Intelligence(Perception) rolls under certain circumstances.

    For Insight, I think you tell someone is lying to you by certain "tells" - flushed skin, shifty eyes, and the like, so I'm OK with that remaining Wisdom only. Realizing that the story you are being told is logically inconsistent is something the players need to do, in character.

    I don't think Investigate is a bogus skill. There's definitely some use in-game for "OK, I see the crossbow mounted to fire down the hall - and it's triggered by ... oh, there's the pressure plate". Or "I saw the bad guy go through a door right here ... the opening mechanism can't be far ... oh, press this brick while pulling down on that sconce". To say nothing of the more traditional uses of "I need to find in the scrolls in the library of Minas Tirith a description of the One Ring".

    Unless you want to run a Scooby Do campaign where the triggering mechanism for secret doors is found by bumbling idiots tripping over their own feet and randomly actuating the door, in which case may your Scooby snacks be tasty.
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    Lizardfolk

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    Default Re: Investigation vs. Perception

    Personally I think perception (wis) is BS.

    I don't care how experienced you are at finding something what really matters is two things.

    1: How physically good is your eyes, ears, nose, and possible taste (you know when you smell something and then can taste it...). Constitution makes a ton more sense for spotting an object, since constitution is more about how healthy you are. Defense against [Blind] isn't a will save now is it? You can have all the experience in the world but if your senses just don't work... Well you won't be noticing anything.

    2: Using your intelligence to take in clues and come to a conclusion. You know that when people are hiding in a cold area that if you look for steam then you may be able to find where their head is at. A lot of this is text book knowledge more so than you needing to experience it for you to understand it.

    So Constitution and Intelligence should be the main abilities that govern what you can find/see.

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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Investigation vs. Perception

    Quote Originally Posted by odigity View Post
    Int has become a total dump stat for 5e in general. :) (Exception: Wizards)

    Seems cruel to punish players for not wasting precious character construction points on Int when the value is abysmally low compared to maxing your primary stats.
    If you have the choice to put points into it at character creation and you don't, that's a choice you make.

    It's not cruel to have a game that has investigations and intelligence challenges. Intelligence has value, you have to weigh that against maximising your primary stats. Bane of the min/maxer.
    "If I went around saying I was an emperor just because some moistened bint threw a scimitar at me, they'd put me away..." - Dennis, aged 37 - Executive Officer of the Week, Anarcho-syndicalist commune, somewhere in Britain.

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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Investigation vs. Perception

    Quote Originally Posted by odigity View Post
    Int has become a total dump stat for 5e in general. :) (Exception: Wizards)

    Seems cruel to punish players for not wasting precious character construction points on Int when the value is abysmally low compared to maxing your primary stats.
    To be fair, int is useful if you take the nature skill for the sake of extracting poisons. It's niche, dependent on the DM sending poisonous critters your way, but can show up from time to time.
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    ElfPirate

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    Default Re: Investigation vs. Perception

    Quote Originally Posted by odigity View Post
    Int has become a total dump stat for 5e in general. :) (Exception: Wizards)

    Seems cruel to punish players for not wasting precious character construction points on Int when the value is abysmally low compared to maxing your primary stats.
    It's not punishing at all; just raising the value of Int so it's no longer abysmally low.

    So much depends on what kinds of stories the group wants to play, though. If they're mostly interested in heavy action and being big damn heroes, then Int is less important than if they want a campaign focused on investigating and solving mysteries.

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    Default Re: Investigation vs. Perception

    Quote Originally Posted by Person_Man View Post
    Frankly, I think its a BS contrivance. Rogues are traditionally Dex/Int based. They wanted Rogues to be good at finding traps. So they made up Investigation.
    I don't think it's particularly well implemented, but I wouldn't call it a contrivance. Consider the difference between Spot and Search in earlier editions of D&D - one represents just noticing something, the other ones ability to actively seek things out.
    I would really like to see a game made by Obryn, Kurald Galain, and Knaight from these forums.

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    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Re: Investigation vs. Perception

    Quote Originally Posted by Dalebert
    My entire party is low Int and no one has this skill. How badly do you think that will hurt us? I'm okay with us having flaws and not being good at everything and having to find ways around those flaws. It's a role-playing challenge as well as a tactical challenge. But my party seems to be playing this down as being nearly irrelevant. I think it's a real flaw.

    They've fluffed Int as "book smarts" which I get. It doesn't mean you're an idiot if your Int score is low. But they're also saying investigation can be role-played around almost altogether. Int has become a total dump stat for the entire party because we don't have anyone who has it as a primary or even secondary stat. Is that something that 5e has done to the stat?
    I don't think so. Without any intelligence based skills and low ability modifiers for int, your party will be entirely reliant on observed/observable information and putting their own conclusions together.

    Int skills and checks cover:
    Lore about spells and other magic stuff(!) (items, symbols, the planes); Lore about Historical events(!), people, recent wars(!), past disputes(!); Lore about your natural world; Lore about Religions, Cults, and Deities; and the ability of your characters to find information deliberately(!).

    Those are actually some fairly important aspects. Intelligence is important for recognizing whose banner those soldiers are fighting under; What does this strange symbol near the site of a murder victim mean?; Who rules the city of X?; Is this plant safe to eat?; Are those Priests down there friendly or unfriendly?; Why is this rock glowing? ; Is it safe to pass under this glowing symbol?; What killed this animal? What killed this man?; Where is the weak point in the tunnel that I can hit to collapse it?; How valuable is this loot?(!); Can I put together a convincing disguise?;

    So you're probably going to have difficulty when it comes to understanding what is going on (unless your DM takes pity on you), and on getting the right information to act on. I personally consider that fairly significant, although there are ways around alot of it or mitigate it somewhat (Charisma checks to get gossip or news can help you get some current events, and you the players could piece that together; Wisdom checks to see if this is a good idea or not, sort of helps; high constitution to survive when you make egregious mistakes because you didn't recognize what those glowing symbols meant, etc...)

    I could see alot of situations where your characters get killed just because nobody knew what something meant or the lore behind it.

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    Kurald Galain's Avatar

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    Default Re: Investigation vs. Perception

    Quote Originally Posted by Socko525 View Post
    Hey all,
    Just trying to figure out when to use one vs. The other.
    They serve the exact same function in gameplay. Characters with a decent wisdom will use perception, and characters with better intelligence will ask to use investigate to do the same thing. This is just a remnant from an earlier playtest, which decoupled skills from attributes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    I don't think it's particularly well implemented, but I wouldn't call it a contrivance. Consider the difference between Spot and Search in earlier editions of D&D - one represents just noticing something, the other ones ability to actively seek things out.
    The difference between Spot and Search was already artificial; this is why both 4E and PF folded them both into the same skill.
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    MindFlayer

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    Default Re: Investigation vs. Perception

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    They serve the exact same function in gameplay. Characters with a decent wisdom will use perception, and characters with better intelligence will ask to use investigate to do the same thing. This is just a remnant from an earlier playtest, which decoupled skills from attributes.


    The difference between Spot and Search was already artificial; this is why both 4E and PF folded them both into the same skill.
    Search and spot, the difference is entirely artificial.

    However, when researching the Duke's bloodline to determine his heir, it will *always* be investigation, never perception.

    When trying to identify what colors the ship is sailing under from 2 leagues away, it will *always* be perception, never investigation.

    Perception is exactly that, sensory perception, and is about seeing / hearing / smelling / tasting / feeling something. Investigation is about identifying clues and information and putting them together to find an answer. Sure, there are situations where they might overlap, but they are most certainly not the same thing, in the same way that investigation might sub out for a Knowledge: Nature check (researching the answer to find it since you don't know it already), but it is certainly not the same thing as Knowledge in general.

  26. - Top - End - #26
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    Kurald Galain's Avatar

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    Default Re: Investigation vs. Perception

    Quote Originally Posted by GiantOctopodes View Post
    However, when researching the Duke's bloodline to determine his heir, it will *always* be investigation, never perception.
    So what you're saying is that investigation is the equivalent of a knowledge check in 3E, or library use in Call of Chthulhu.

    That works, but I get the impression that the most common use for investigation is searching a room, which has a 100% overlap with perception.
    Guide to the Magus, the Pathfinder Gish class.

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    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: Investigation vs. Perception

    That works, but I get the impression that the most common use for investigation is searching a room, which has a 100% overlap with perception.
    It's not the same thing and they don't use the same abilities. Looking for difficult to find things in weird places is about analyzing what you're looking at, touching, etc. to figure out how "one of these things is not like the others". This drawer is too shallow for how big it looks on the outside. There's a fine line in the wall that's a little different from the rest of the wall. You might perceive these things and not think anything of it. It's a kind of detective work to figure out something useful about that sensory information.

    Last night I had to use Investigation to discover a secret compartment in a desk drawer and it seemed appropriate. Another character found a secret door nearby the same way.

    I know it kind of sucks because Int is such a common dump stat now, as Odigity pointed out earlier. Seems like people want it to be completely irrelevant but not quite. I found out we do have one character who is at least proficient in it though he doesn't have a high Int.
    Last edited by Dalebert; 2014-11-27 at 11:19 AM.
    If you cast Dispel Magic on my Gust of Wind, does that mean you're disgusting?

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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Investigation vs. Perception

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    So what you're saying is that investigation is the equivalent of a knowledge check in 3E, or library use in Call of Chthulhu.

    That works, but I get the impression that the most common use for investigation is searching a room, which has a 100% overlap with perception.
    Perception is spotting the secret door. (Senses)

    Investigation is working out that you pull the book on the bookshelf to activate it. (Logical thinking)
    "If I went around saying I was an emperor just because some moistened bint threw a scimitar at me, they'd put me away..." - Dennis, aged 37 - Executive Officer of the Week, Anarcho-syndicalist commune, somewhere in Britain.

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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Investigation vs. Perception

    Quote Originally Posted by Easy_Lee View Post
    I too am a fan of applying the higher of X stats to skill checks, if only for the purpose of variety in chracter builds.

    Athletics and acrobatics are two others I see as basically interchangeable. Also, why is nature intellect only but not wisdom? Why is insight wisdom only, when intellect ought to let someone logically discern a lie?

    There really should be alternate rules for this kind of thing.
    They already have a paragraph regarding a variant ruling for using skills with different abilities, so there's already a precedent for this sort of play style.
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    Lizardfolk

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    Default Re: Investigation vs. Perception

    l'm starting to think that Search, Spot, Listen, and Smell need to be racial traits instead of skills.

    Edit:

    Each race gets their own +0 to +3 to each one. Training in the skill gives you your proficiency bonus to that skill.

    Elf:

    Search: +1
    Spot: +3
    Listen: +2
    Smell: +0

    As an elven rogue I pick up search and listen as my perception skills. I'm level 1 and thus get Search: +3, Listen: +5.When I pick up expertise I grab Listen thus causing me to gain Listen: +6.
    Last edited by SpawnOfMorbo; 2014-11-27 at 05:54 PM.

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