When will the monsters hear the marching party?

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I've been thinking lately of making perception as real as possible and I began to think about my player's characters moving around the catacombs they are currently in.  No one is rolling a stealth checks, they are simply in a marching order and just walking around.  How do I figure out when their enemies would hear them?  Are there numbers to go by when it comes to how loud a person in scale armor is while walking, what about leather?  I do understand that it would be based off the enemies passive perception and that there are penalities to it like for every 10 squares it's a -2 etc, but I need some way to know when they hear the party and vice-versa. 

And thoughts?
~Will
Enemies would be aware of someone tromping in their dungeon roughly after first combat (clash of swords carries really deep in narrow stone tunnels), so no surprise rounds for anyone unless players start stealthing by (monsters will still know someone is somewhere in their home, but not sure where or how close after successful stealth).

Heck, after first combat they might start sending more patrols or some such.
I've been thinking lately of making perception as real as possible and I began to think about my player's characters moving around the catacombs they are currently in.  No one is rolling a stealth checks, they are simply in a marching order and just walking around.  How do I figure out when their enemies would hear them?




Ideas

♦ People walking around in a hostile environment try to be as quiet as possible (unless your PCs are actually RPing they are singing Dwarven drinking sounds at the top of their lungs of course .. chances are they are not though ;)  Use their passive Stealth scores for a basic idea, and then assign the party Stealth score as the lowest (not the average) number.  Chances are unless they are a group of ninjas, most monsters will have passive Perception scores higher than this number.  Tell them they might want to sent a silent scout or two ahead if they really want to get the drop on anything.  Try not to mention Dopplegangers off-hand ;)

♦ One way to think about using skills like Perception is on an encounter basis.  Instead of having a 'realistic' simulated dungeon environment, just have monsters become aware (or not) of the PCs when an encounter with them has begun (usually you decide this in an arbitrary manner)

♦ PCs three rooms and hundreds of feet away from a bunch of dire rats and their wererat master don't know the monsters are there and neither should the monsters ... of course as the DM you can rule the wererat is constantly spying on the party because he has normal mundane rats tracking them.  And so on - monsters usually equip their lairs with 'intelligence services' of some kind or other

♦ Use line of sight and 10 squares as what your basic Perception roll indicates.  Longer distances take a -2 penalty (and it is up to you to keep increasing this) but in the end it comes down to DM's judgement.  If you go out into the woods, how close did that deer get to you before you saw it?  Chances are it saw you a lot earlier ... now what if it is not a deer but a highly intelligent green dragon?  What if you are really an Elf Ranger with as high a Perception as anyone can have at their level who has lived in the woods all his life?   'Realism' becomes hard to judge!

♦ Another way to think about when the monster's become aware of the PCs is the one I use myself as a DM: whenever I choose, and I choose it so that it makes sense to me and is also 'fair' to the players.  My players like to have a fight every now and then were they can surprise and set an ambush.  They also don't like being surprised all the time.  Chances are your group will have its own 'mood' in this regard and when you learn it, just wing it

Cheers!



How do I figure out when their enemies would hear them?

There are no actual rules for this, so the DM will have to adjudicate it on his own. However, the paradigm for D&D (especially 4e) is that each encounter is a isolated scenario with no interaction between them, and that the starting conditions are mostly spelled-out. The PC's being noisy is fairly standard, and typically just means that there is no chance for the PC's to have a surprise round (which is usually the case anyway). The monsters may be expecting trouble, but unless they have some way to hide, initiative will be rolled as normal.

Still, you could decide to have the monsters hide in order to obtain a surprise round; there are plenty of rules for that.
> Use their passive Stealth scores for a basic idea, and then assign the party
> Stealth score as the lowest (not the average) number.

Given that 4E emphasizes group action rather than "worst of...", I'd say use the average. If you want to be a little more detailed, consider it a passive group check - they remain unnoticed if at least 50% of the party would succeed at Stealth with a 10. (Likewise, they automatically detect the enemy as soon as least 50% of the party would succeed at Perception with a 10.)
I'm thinking the lowest passive stealth will work for me.  I actually impliments this into my game Saturday and it really gave the group an incentive to use their stealthy assassin to scout ahead a bit at times.  When it comes to averaging, it doesn't seem realistic because those who are quieter aren't going to cover up the Dragonborn Fighter walking around in Scale Armor in a dungeon with stone floors.  Over time I think I'll fine tune this a bit and get a better idea of perception in different situations and I plan on making a sheet of paper with tons of variables dealing with different types of walls, doors, the echoing related to stone in comparison to plaster or wood walls, etc.  I've seen a few lists already, but hopefully as time goes by I'll add to my own as I learn from experience.