The rogue who couldn't see

I ran a playtest of the Caves of Chaos this weekend, and the players tried to do things the smart way. Once they realized that there were two clerics in the party and many cave entrances in sight, they decided a little scouting was in order. Enter the halfing rogue. While the little guy is very good at stealth and figuring out how to pick a lock, only the fighter actually was perceptive. So while the halfling made is way around the canyon moving from rock to rock - working the shadows - he couldn't notice a thing. By the time he returned to the party he could only tell them what two of the cave inhabitants were - and that was because he sat hidden in front of a few of the caves for 15 minutes.

If skills are simply replaced by Ability checks with a bonus if you have the skill, the system will leave a lot to be desired.  Especially if Wisdom (the basis for perception) is your dump stat. With the d20 edition skills, your attribute was important for a few levels, but eventually overshadowed by the skill points you spent to make sure your rogue could be a lookout as well as a skulker-o-shadows. Granted we didn't see enough of the rules to see if there were level bonuses to your Ability checks a-la 4th edition but one would have hoped they would have shown up on the 2nd or 3rd level advancements.
Interesting.

But isn't hiding equal to perception?


Should be 50/50 all things being equal.


Why would wisdom be a dump stat, if it is important to what you want the character to do?
I think the pre-gen rogues low Wisdom and lack of Perception skill not something I would have done if I was making a Rogue.
The pre-gen rogue had a 8 Wisdom, so -1 on all attempts to notice things - like say a orc face hidden amongst a bunch of dead heads stuck in niches.
I would love to see Rogues get Keen Senses as a class ability, and Elves get something else instead for their race. It would be great if the scout-y type was actually good at spotting things-- traps, ambushes, secret doors.
I think the pre-gen rogues low Wisdom and lack of Perception skill not something I would have done if I was making a Rogue.

Personally I would have made an elf rogue. But they probably didn't want a halfling wizard...

Hopefully, a different theme, and stat selections would yield a scout rogue.
Poor halfling rogues. They couldn't find their way out of a broom closet.
In Pathfinder we got around that by letting a player choose the best of Int or Wis for Perception.

Perception should probably be its own stat, or be calculated without the use of the 6 stats in a vane similar to the issues with Initiative.

If Wisdom is a representation of ones sight, hearing, smell and all that, then how come animals have such low Wisdom scores?  Shouldn't they have 20+?  It really doesn't make sense that ones' sense are solely tied to Wisdom, though, for simplicity sake, I can see why D&d does it that way.

Likewise, I have never seen how the traits of willpower, stubbornness, fortitude (the actual definition, not the D&D one) and the ability to mentally resist magic is tied to how well you can sense things around you.  The idea of Wisdom fostering insight makes more sense, but that justification really doesn't hold up long if one thinks too much about it.

Perception has always been a gray area.  Back in the 2e era, I used perception and it was its own stat.  I can see why D&D wouldn't do it that way, and since it has to be tied to a stat, Wisdom works as good as any other.  Though, one can make the case that people who are described as being bright, perceptive, aware have high Intelligences, thus why choosing the best of the two (Wis/Int) can be justified.
Considering that MOST characters will not be trained in perception (not everyone is going to be a solider), the DC for spotting people should be lowered appropriately. The 8 Wisdom Rogue is thus at a disadvantage, but then again, what are the Dex's on the guys hiding from him? The monsters aren't trained in Stealth, so they'll have a bit of an advantage if they don't have negative Dex mods, but they are still in the realm of possibility. Most people would want the scout to at least have a positive mod to their Wisdom, but the DM should be expecting maybe a +2 on average. If you aren't a Wisdom based class, or have training in notice, you aren't going to be throwing a 16 into one of your non-class stats. Even a 14 is pretty good, so maybe even +1 or even is the 'normal' expectation, with people 'good at it' being 'good at it', instead of assuming the people that are good at something being the average. People good at stuff get auto successes, instead of being able to try, unless it's a challenging task.

Now, having the rogue trained in notice would be very good for a true scout since you'd also get the benefit of their 'take 10' mechanic, but they should still be able to see some stuff even with a neg score on their wisdom. 
I think this just shows the incredibly flawed nature of the skills and abilities which have fixed stats.

Strength for jumping, dex for sneaking, wis for percieving, dex for initiative, balancing and everything rogueish (pick pockets, disabling traps, sneaking etc), wisdom and charisma for social interactions (which leads to the odd behaviour that people with high charisma don't like strangers, because diplomacy is opposed by charisma...), intelligence for all knowledge checks etc.

Most of these should be flexible, with some pointers. I can totally see letting any character use wisdom or intelligence for initiative most of the time, with the possibility of charisma for starting a fight mid-negotiation.

 To me, one would describe a leap as being agile OR powerful. A plan as being cunning OR wise. A search being methodical or inspired.

THAT would fix the playtest rogue. As is, he's pretty poor for finding traps or spotting opponents, which means the only thing he can use stealth for (his entire class benefit, basically) is advantage in combat... which is actually lowering his damage output.
You might consider using the advantage/disadvantage system to 'fix' the rogue perception problem.

For example, award the rogue advantage for perception checks against others when he is hidden. The rationale being that NPCs will act 'normally' rather than cautiously if there is no overt (or even subconcious) reason to feel threatened.
So i'm sitting here reading this thread nodding to the salient points, burning the tinder that my brain is turning into for a solution when it dawns on me what the real problem with this situation is.

The only time a character needs to make a perception check is if he's looking for hidden stuff. The situation presented here has no hidden stuff, that is unless you consider the rogue himself. 95% of all of the creatures in this adventure are not hiding. They aren't trying to avoid detection, they ain't even worried about their neighbors. So what if your rogue can't make a decent opposed roll to find someone who's hiding. he doesn't really need to.  

The biggest problem is finding traps, but I'm inclined to use his intelligence score rather than his wisdom. I thing intelligence is more useful in that situation. He might not be wise enough to remember to search for traps, but he might be smart enough to know where to look.
I think this just shows the incredibly flawed nature of the skills and abilities which have fixed stats.



In fact i think its the opposite. The new Ability Score-independant Skills system offer more freedom than any previously did while having Skills with fixed Stats. For exemple, a character having a Intimidate +3 could use CHA to indimidate, or STR to show brute force or CON self inflict great pain for exemple, all while achieving the same goal, instead of being forced to strickly use CHA to do it like it used to be... Alternatively WIS and INT could be used to observe your surrounding for exemple, where other Skills system tie you to WIS only... For this reason i think the new Skills system is innovative.

Its just that this Rogue Pregen was not the best scout you could haven as testified by Mike Mearls during the latest D&D Next Chat 05/29:

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12:07  Comment From Pentadrone: How will low wisdom rogues be able to scout effectively?
            Feats? Will you be adding skills back into the mix so characters can overcome stat
            deficiencies?

12:08  Mearls: Obviously, the pregen isn't the best scout. We had talked about giving the rogue
            class an extra bonus to finding traps, so that's something we'll look at. The key with the
            rogue will be in making sure that the class does the things people expect. The error might
            simply be in treating Wis as the dump stat for the pregen. We've also thought about letting
            rogues use a different stat to find traps, such as Intelligence. NQ.

Yan
Montréal, Canada
@Plaguescarred on twitter

...In fact i think its the opposite. The new Ability Score-independant Skills system offer more freedom than any previously did while having Skills with fixed Stats.



I think you misunderstood me - I love the ability score independant skills system, and I think it does not go far enough.

The how to play and dm guidelines both spell out that SOME things DO use fixed attributes, and I think that is BAD. ALL skills should be ability score independant, which would instantly solve all of the rogue's problems. Additionally I think that jump distance and initative should be generally tied to a specific stat, but allowed to be variable (I don't see why wisdom and intelligence aren't automatically options for initiative, with specific instances where strength, con or charisma might be allowable)

The rogue should be able to intelligently pick out a hidden trap, while the cleric relies on his intuition to do so.

Now that may leave some stats more dumpable than others, but that's because some stats have basic benefits while others only benefit skills. If stats being dumped is an issue, then that is what needs to change, not forcing the whole in-combat/out-of-combat stat division upon people.

I'm not sure it IS an issue though. Strength, charisma, and intelligence are all stats that can be dumped with little repercussion by many characters. I think the easiest path is to divorce the remaining three from their little zones of impact. Remove the con bonuses to hitpoints (but keep the ones to healing), make initiative (and stealth and trap disabling and pickpocketing) not fixed to dex, make perception allow the use of other stats, and you have a system where you can pick the stats that fit who you imagine your character to be.

Anything is dumpable, and dumping a stat will change how your character behaves, but a lone dump stat won't make them  ineffective in an area.
I would love to see Rogues get Keen Senses as a class ability, and Elves get something else instead for their race.



Rogues already get the best of their roll or a natural 10, whichever is better.  If Perception is important to your rogue, there should be backgrounds other than the Soldier that grant it and, if not, we were promised the ability to create custom backgrounds.  We don't know if rogues schemes will include a Scout (a welcome scheme in my opinion) but schemes may give rogues a second chance to pick up Perception.  While I don't want to take Keen Senses away from the elf to put it in the rogue's sandbox, the elf and rogue do make a solid pairing.
I think you misunderstood me - I love the ability score independant skills system, and I think it does not go far enough.




Sorry bro i definitly misunderstood. I think the ''Flawed'' reference is what led me to think otherwise. 


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Yan
Montréal, Canada
@Plaguescarred on twitter

What about a dual stat dependent system?

Where initiative is Dex and Int

Jump is Dex and Str

Perception Wis and Int

Picking locks is Dex and Int

Hide is Dex and Wis

Diplomacy Wis and Char

Etc

Edition wars kill players,Dungeons and Dragons needs every player it can get.

I generally agree, though skills are more flexible now, as I understand it.

I think init especially could be wisdom (perception), int (tactics), dex (reflexes), or even cha (the quick talking person is already good at thinking on their feet). Though cha is a bit of a stretch, perhaps, at the least it means that at least one of these is likely useful to some character, rather than forcing everyone to use dex.
'That's just, like, your opinion, man.'
Why not assign each skill a set of relevant scores that stack.

This way your combined relevant abilities make up your aptitude.

You would need to inflate DCs a bit to compensate but could leave it static due to the way things are being designed to remain the same throughout level progression.

Edition wars kill players,Dungeons and Dragons needs every player it can get.

I always found wisdom pretty silly as a perception stat and I would switch it to dexterity.

The archetypes that are good at spotting things tend to be the dexterity archetypes. Rogues, rangers, elves, etc. Not to mention rogues need to be able to spot traps...