Perception: The Case Against Wisdom

There have been a lot of complaints about the "blind rogue," which WotC has acknowledged, but I think it's symptomatic of a larger issue, which is that Perception is based on Wisdom. Actually, in Next, it's more that Perception checks are Wisdom checks, possibly with a modifier.


Personally, I've never liked that, but in other editions I could live with it, because skill training was so significant. In Next, the ability score is more emphasised, and that has some odd side effects, like that rogues aren't very good at noticing things, even traps, while clerics are awesome at it.


I have some alternate proposals that might work better for Next. In all cases, I assume that rangers and rogues get appropriate class bonuses.

Option 1: Perception is the highest between Int, Wis, and Cha.


Pros:
- Some characters that should be bad at perception--specifically brute-types--are.
- Rogues can have high perception via Cha or Int, and rogues usually have one of those as a secondary stat (except thug-types).
- Fighters who want to be perceptive can choose to be canny, intuitive, or have leadership abilities as a "side effect."
Cons:
- Casters still have the highest base perception checks--not just clerics and druids, but also wizards and sorcerers. Paladins and bards will also be good.
- Characters become more homogeneous in this regard: few characters will be bad at perception.
- Perception goes up overall, which weakens Stealth, and effectively deflates DCs overall.



Option 2: As above, but at a -1 inherent penalty.


e.g. mental stats of 12,16,11 means a base Perception of +2 (16=+3,-1=+2).
Pros:
- As above, and more or less removes the inflation problem.
Cons:
- As above, but:
- Mathematically a bit more cumbersome and unintuitive.
- While the average perception may be about the same as now, maximum and minimum perception go down. This makes high DC's harder to meet and lower DC's easier to fail to meet.



Option 3: Perception is base +0, period.


Pros:
- Puts everyone at the same baseline without artificially tying it to something arbitrary, that the player made high for some other reason (like casting).
- Characters with class or background bonuses become the best, as they should be.
Cons:
- Removes all individual variation other than from class and background. If the party has no rogues, rangers, or soldiers, everyone's exactly the same.
- Totally arbitrary.
- Perception goes down overall, by a lot, making Stealth more powerful and effectively inflating DCs.



Option 4: Perception is base +2, period.


Pros:
- As above, and removes the deflation problem.
Cons:
- As above, but even more arbitrary and confusing.



Option 5: Perception is a seventh attribute.


Pros:
- Maintains balance and diversity.
- Intuitive and clear.
- Could be used as the basline for initiative, helping with the "Dex is too important" problem.
Cons:
- It's not traditionally D&D (except from some optional material in 1e and 2e supplements).
- Creates havoc with point buys and saving throw balance.


"Edison didn't succeed the first time he invented Benjamin Franklin, either." Albert the Alligator, Walt Kelly's Pogo Sunday Book  
The Core Coliseum: test out your 4e builds and fight to the death.

Kindly explain how it is Charisma would have anything to do with noticing hidden things or reacting quickly and appropriately to an otherwise-unexpected event.  For reaction I could see the the argument for Dexterity. For searching I can see the argument for Intelligence. Of course, the Dexterity example is more in-line with a Dexterity save against a peril that wasn't perceived ahead of time, leaving Wisdom and Intelligence as reasonable stats to base active searching off of.

If there is no specific tie-in for Charisma and perception, would you also support a Strength- or Constitution-based perception alternative purely in the name of cross-class stat balance?

As for the issue of the blind Rogue, I think that making a well-rounded master thief that excels at all facets of his vocation is the same as with any other class. Dump stats hurt.  A foolish Wizard or a stupid Cleric would similarly find themselves disappointing those around him regularly. If you want a Rogue that is deft, cunning, alert, and charming, he'll likely need to be either weak or sickly.
Galoti,

Hit the nail on the head.

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

I think the problem is lumping it all onto one stat all the time.  In other game systems the GM makes the call of what stat applies in a given situation with some guidelines from the books.  If skills are being de-emphasized in favor of stats I think it would be wise to not tie down every situation to a single stat 100% of the time but rather allow the situation to determine when the dexterous thief but foolish thief notices something for the sagely but slow cleric.

Of course going the other direction, adding in some class abilities or some feats could also allow foolish thieves the chance to be more observant perhaps allowing them to substitute another stat for wisdom or giving them bonuses to their rolls.

Edit:  To be clear I certainly understand the reflex save argument, but I certainly don't want to be the thief who is setting off traps with their face and then hoping the trap requires a reflex save.  Often times you don't even get a reflex save if you are caught flat footed.
Kindly explain how it is Charisma would have anything to do with noticing hidden things or reacting quickly and appropriately to an otherwise-unexpected event.

What do quick reactions have to do with anything?  That's not part of Perception.  But to answer your question, 1) Between Int, Wis, and Cha, all mental aspects of a character should be covered, so Perception could reasonably be the best of those, and 2) Charisma is in part a "sense of self," which is where Sorcerer casting and Cha saves come from, and I can easily see someone who is self-attuned being environmentally aware.
As for the issue of the blind Rogue, I think that making a well-rounded master thief that excels at all facets of his vocation is the same as with any other class. Dump stats hurt.  A foolish Wizard or a stupid Cleric would similarly find themselves disappointing those around him regularly. If you want a Rogue that is deft, cunning, alert, and charming, he'll likely need to be either weak or sickly.

Except that noticing things is part of what defines a rogue!  They're supposed to be party scouts, and they can't do that if they have no Perception.  They're especially supposed to find traps.  They should be good at noticing things about people, too--the Observation nonweapon proficiency was originally (in 2e) granted to thieves, and I believe bards.  In 1e and 2e, the Listen at Doors ability was specifically granted only to thieves, and to no other class (except, in 2e, bards).  Rogues can be sickly, or frail, or clueless, and even being charming is part of some rogue archetypes and not others, but being perceptive is not only part of the core concept but part of the basic assumptions in D&D historically.

"Edison didn't succeed the first time he invented Benjamin Franklin, either." Albert the Alligator, Walt Kelly's Pogo Sunday Book  
The Core Coliseum: test out your 4e builds and fight to the death.

Seems to me like there are a couple of issues here.
1, How to make Int and/or Wis worthwhile stats.
2. How to make perception "logical".

First, the matter of worthwhile stats. While there is no way to 100% balance every stat, it's clear that Str, Dex, and Con have a signficant value in combat. Cha can have a significant value in social interaction. Int and Wis only seem to have significant value in the case of spellcasters, and for other classes they can dump low rolls there and suffer very little for it. While not a deal-breaker, having some stats much better than others has certain drawbacks. In a perfect world, any player whose character has a low stat should feel some regret and have to work to play a character with a flaw. The game needs to have more ways to make Int and Wis valuable, and making lore checks or being able to read or speak languages is certainly a step in the right direction. Having perception fall into the Int or Wis realm is also a step in the right direction.

What about logic? Well, one could combine Int & Wis into "brains" or "smarts" or something like that, with the intent of letting everything mental fall under that one stat, but I think we lose something along the way. D&D has had 6 stats for 35+ years and there should be a really strong reason to change something so fundamental. So the question becomes: which stat is the most logical for perception? We probably all envision the stats a little differently, but I always thought of Int as the ability to master scholarly things while Wis is the abilty to master common-sense things. Being a geologist is a matter of Int while being a plumber is more Wis. This has been a huge part of my rationalle for 30 years of using Wis as my perception stat. Int is the absent-minded professor who fails to notice things around him. Wis is the person who is in tune with his surroundings.

Just my two coppers on the issue. :-)

Marv (Finarvyn) Master of Mutants (MA and GW) Playing 5E D&D and liking it! OD&D player since 1975

Kindly explain how it is Charisma would have anything to do with noticing hidden things or reacting quickly and appropriately to an otherwise-unexpected event.

What do quick reactions have to do with anything?  That's not part of Perception.  But to answer your question, 1) Between Int, Wis, and Cha, all mental aspects of a character should be covered, so Perception could reasonably be the best of those, and 2) Charisma is in part a "sense of self," which is where Sorcerer casting and Cha saves come from, and I can easily see someone who is self-attuned being environmentally aware.


Charisma is, in part, a sense of self. Perception is, broadly put, a sense of the other. You're arguing against your position here.

A for quickly reacting to unnoticed things, one of the key uses of perception (listen, spot, notice, whatever the rules iteration calls it) is to avoid being surprised in any mechanically-important way. In a ruleset where being surprised is a -20 to initiative, a successful perception check is effectively a +20 bonus to initiative. It's a narrow application of a very broad and supremely useful skill, but it's there.

As for the issue of the blind Rogue, I think that making a well-rounded master thief that excels at all facets of his vocation is the same as with any other class. Dump stats hurt.  A foolish Wizard or a stupid Cleric would similarly find themselves disappointing those around him regularly. If you want a Rogue that is deft, cunning, alert, and charming, he'll likely need to be either weak or sickly.

Except that noticing things is part of what defines a rogue!  They're supposed to be party scouts, and they can't do that if they have no Perception.  They're especially supposed to find traps.  They should be good at noticing things about people, too--the Observation nonweapon proficiency was originally (in 2e) granted to thieves, and I believe bards.  In 1e and 2e, the Listen at Doors ability was specifically granted only to thieves, and to no other class (except, in 2e, bards).  Rogues can be sickly, or frail, or clueless, and even being charming is part of some rogue archetypes and not others, but being perceptive is not only part of the core concept but part of the basic assumptions in D&D historically.


A thief steals things. A rogue doesn't conform to societal expectations. There's no explicit "perceptive" connotation on either term. Many species of adventuring rogue are expected to be perceptive, this is true.

To put it into terms of MAD, the rogue is much like the Fighter.  A Fighter must be strong to fulfill his role as a dealer-of-damage in melee.  He must also be hearty and hale to survive close contact with enemies long enough to fulfill his role as a melee combatant. Two abilities.  If he wishes to also be an effective archer, he will need to be dextrous.  Similarly a Rogue must be dextrous and nimble to use his finesse weapons and perform delicate work with his hands, and he must be wise to adequately ascertain what threats lay in his path. Two abilities.  Compare this to the Paladin or Cleric and you see that the Rogue is let off rather easily.

In earlier editions Thieves were always encouraged to have a high Intelligence stat, but if we aren't looking at a system where Intelligence guarantees a steady stream of extra skill bonuses, I don't see why a 5e Rogue should treat it as his secondary stat any more.  Pick pocks? Dexterity. Hide in shadows? Dexterity? Spot the hobgoblin ambush before it's too late? Wisdom. The playtest Rogue is set up for failure in this department, to be sure.

All that throws aside the time-honored stereotype of the foolish thief that steals his fortune and then falls asleep in the getaway car (clearly a low Wisdom).
Int = memory and language
Wis = perception and detailed creativity
Cha = will and relationships
Int = memory and language
Wis = perception and detailed creativity
Cha = will and relationships




On INT: every core book I ever read explicitly mentions that it also includes logic, capacity to reason and solve puzzles.

In terms of balancing stats, there's another thread on the subject: community.wizards.com/dndnext/go/thread/...

I'm not sure i'm getting my point across, so let me use an analogy of some different noncombat tasks. Envisioning just the character roles--what you think the archetypal member of that class should be like, based on your imagination and the tradition of the D&D game--which classes should be best at which of the following tasks? The point is not to argue specific rankings--it's to establish a framework for discussion.


Say the job was to smash a door down. Using the 11 classes in the 3.5e PHB, I might rank them something like this, from most suited to least suited:
1. Barbarian
2. Fighter
3. Paladin
4. Ranger
5. Monk
6. Cleric
7. Druid
8. Bard
9. Rogue
10. Sorcerer
11. Wizard


Easy enough, right? Even though the physical attackers are near the top, there are still some differences in archetype. For instance, rogues probably have about the same average Str as clerics across editions, but I personally think of them as a lot less smash-y. However, there's a pretty close correspondence between being thematically smash-y and having high Str (which is what the actual ability to smash down a door is based on).


Let's try a harder one: Convincing a gate guard to let the party through without properly authenticated permission. Let's leave out the intimidation approach for now. Here's my list:
1. Bard
2. Rogue
3. Paladin
4. Cleric
5. Sorcerer
6. Wizard
7. Monk
8. Druid
9. Ranger
10. Fighter
11. Barbarian


The correspondence is a little looser here. The sorcerer is a lot lower than its Cha would suggest, because I think of sorcerers as blasters, not talkers. Also paladins and clerics are usually much better than rogues in practice, but that doesn't fit with my image. Also there isn't really any difference in the whole range from wizards to barbarians in practice, but I'd personally be much more likely to let the wizard to the talking. However, overall, there's still a rough correlation between Cha and my envisionings here.


Now, the job is to understand a conversation being whispered 30 feet away from the other side of a closed door. Who gets to put their ear to the door? My choice, based on my conceptions of the classes:
1. Ranger
2. Rogue
3. Bard
4. Monk
5. Druid
6. Barbarian
7. Fighter
8. Sorcerer
9. Wizard
10. Cleric
11. Paladin


When perception is based primarily on Wisdom, that list isn't even remotely close. The paladin, who in my mind shouldn't be able to hear anything over the sound of his own armor and rarely pays attention to anything but his own holiness and watching the rogue, is actually close to the top in practice. The quiet, ovesrvant, and alert rogue, who had a whole class feature for this in AD&D, is in practice usually close to the bottom. In fact, other than the ranger and monk, none of these are at all close to where I think they should be.


When imagination and expectation don't mesh with mechanics, it at least bears addressing.

"Edison didn't succeed the first time he invented Benjamin Franklin, either." Albert the Alligator, Walt Kelly's Pogo Sunday Book  
The Core Coliseum: test out your 4e builds and fight to the death.

Int = memory and language
Wis = perception and detailed creativity
Cha = will and relationships




On INT: every core book I ever read explicitly mentions that it also includes logic, capacity to reason and solve puzzles.



Logic, and reason, and other modes of cognition are aspects of language. (Technically semiotics.) You can talk about the “language of math” for example, and it too is a mode of cognition.

Puzzles are often a combination of memory and language.
If all abilities can do anything, then theres no point having abilities in the first place.

If players want a perceptive Rogue, then they MUST build a Dex-Wis Rogue. Since this archetype is a popular part of the D&D tradition, this specific option should be probably be an appealing choice.

Dex-Wis Rogue = Spy
Dex-Cha Rogue = Trickster
Int = memory and language
Wis = perception and detailed creativity
Cha = will and relationships

+1 because it's a post that says Cha = will.


Instead of trying to take away one of the few things Wis has going for it, why not make Wis more useful for Rogues? Maybe let them use it for some other checks like lore. Since Wis is often associated with "street smarts" it'd make sense that a rogue would use it instead of Int.
A part of the fix will be to give rogues an innate perception bonus, or even more theme/background options available for rogues that have perception bonuses as part of the package.

Edit: Or allow a theivery check as a substitute for a perception check if it's related to classic theif skills.


My players really hated the fact that perception is looking like its going to be based on Wisdom.   They complained about it for over hour, and grumbled everytime they had too make a roll.

Im not sure if I like it myself either... im undecided at best.    I guess its really going to come down to just how can I aquire bonuses to raise my perception rolls.   No one wants to be surprised all the time..... 

Lets face it,  not being able to spot things is going to royally anger most people.  Being bad at spotting traps, ambushes, and general awareness is bad enough.   But being bad at finding secret stuff.... that angers alot of players.  

Secret doors, secret chests,   hidden treasure....   all these things players want to be able to stack some bonuses so they can find the goodies.   And unless your playing a Wisdom heavy class,  having to put a high number in wisdom isnt always going to be an option.  

So again,  what will players be able to take to offset low wisdom scores... so they wont get mad because yet again they failed to find the hidden treasure.  It may sound lame.... but its a fact..... it will happen....


When perception is based primarily on Wisdom, that list isn't even remotely close. The paladin, who in my mind shouldn't be able to hear anything over the sound of his own armor and rarely pays attention to anything but his own holiness and watching the rogue, is actually close to the top in practice. The quiet, ovesrvant, and alert rogue, who had a whole class feature for this in AD&D, is in practice usually close to the bottom. In fact, other than the ranger and monk, none of these are at all close to where I think they should be.


This sounds more like an argument for more Rogue characters to have a good Wisdom stat and to make armor penalties apply to perception checks than any argument against Wisdom as the basis of perception tests. 3.x Rogues are awesome at Listen and Spot checks when they have high Wisdom scores. Better than Clerics and Paladins because they're class skills for the Rogue and the Rogue has a ton more skill points per level.

Considering the frequency with which observation checks are made in my playgroup, a normal conversation during character creation is "Ok, folks, do we have at least two people who can spot stuff?"  This is regardless of game system. Fantasy, sci-fi, horror, you name it, we make sure we've got a fighting chance to notice things. This means in 3.x and PF games we always always always have at least a couple characters with reasonable Wisdom stats.

Basically it just boils down to arranging your character to suit your expectations of that character. If you want to be highly educated but cannot bear to invest in Intelligence for some reason, you're in a pickle. Something will have to give. There was the 2.5 (Skills & Powers) approach of splitting each stat into two sub-stats, but I don't recommend it. I found having twelve core stats to be a bit cumbersome. And Intuition was under Wisdom in that scheme, too, which is unacceptable to you.


My players really hated the fact that perception is looking like its going to be based on Wisdom.   They complained about it for over hour, and grumbled everytime they had too make a roll.


I take it they would be upset if it were based on any other stat they wanted to treat as a point dumpster.

Secret doors, secret chests,   hidden treasure....   all these things players want to be able to stack some bonuses so they can find the goodies.   And unless your playing a Wisdom heavy class,  having to put a high number in wisdom isnt always going to be an option.  


You only need one character in a cooperative party to spot the secret door, secret chests, and hidden treasures. If one succeeds, everybody does.
Instead of trying to take away one of the few things Wis has going for it, why not make Wis more useful for Rogues?

Wait, what?  Wis has few things going for it?  Now that Fort is split between Str and Con saves, and Con has much less impact on HP than in previous editions, I'd go so far as to say that Wis is the second-most useful stat, after Dex.  Wis saves are the second-most common, after Dex, and their effects are frequently debilitating rather than just damage.  And Perception is by far the most-used skill check.
A part of the fix will be to give rogues an innate perception bonus, or even more theme/background options available for rogues that have perception bonuses as part of the package.

The former option fixes rogues being bad at Perception, but it doesn't help clerics and druids being the best, followed by paladins, rangers, and monks.  That's not quite a backward list, but it's close.

The latter doesn't help anything.  It means that the best perceivers will be clerics and druids with the right background.  Right now an elven cleric soldier is the most perceptive build possible.  Using the pregen stat spread, such a character would have, for instance, a 75% chance of finding a DC 17 trap.  The halfling rogue--and it bears reminding that this was the iconic character for the job in 1e and 2e--has a 30% chance.  That's just wrong.

"Edison didn't succeed the first time he invented Benjamin Franklin, either." Albert the Alligator, Walt Kelly's Pogo Sunday Book  
The Core Coliseum: test out your 4e builds and fight to the death.

Let's just give more non-class-specific uses to INT, CHA and CON and it's all solved.
Make missile weapons based on wisdom instead of dexterity.

Now you can make a dextrous rogue who uses finesse weapons, or a perceptive rogue who uses a bow. 
After reading this I actually prefer perception base +0, and the dm and player can make the call on what attribute bonus might be most appropriate. I too am not thrilled clerics make de facto better perceivers than thieves.
"The worthy GM never purposely kills players' PCs. He presents opportunities for the rash and unthinking players to do that all on their own." --Gary Gygax
After reading this I actually prefer perception base +0, and the dm and player can make the call on what attribute bonus might be most appropriate. I too am not thrilled clerics make de facto better perceivers than thieves.



I agree.   Monsters could have modifiers...Awesome perception +8, good perception +5, above average +3, etc.

 

A Brave Knight of WTF - "Wielder of the Sword of Balance"

 

Rhenny's Blog:  http://community.wizards.com/user/1497701/blog

 

 

After reading this I actually prefer perception base +0, and the dm and player can make the call on what attribute bonus might be most appropriate. I too am not thrilled clerics make de facto better perceivers than thieves.




Yes stats are not balanced right now, but such a big change is uneeded when the Rogue rolls at least 10 on everything.
Int = memory and language
Wis = perception and detailed creativity
Cha = will and relationships

+1 because it's a post that says Cha = will.


Instead of trying to take away one of the few things Wis has going for it, why not make Wis more useful for Rogues? Maybe let them use it for some other checks like lore. Since Wis is often associated with "street smarts" it'd make sense that a rogue would use it instead of Int.



I think Rogues can use Wisdom to create disguises. Because perception is necessary to pay attention to sensorial details. Same with forging documents and so on.

This disguise (like looking old when one is young, female when one is male, or so on) is to fool perception. Its different from trying to influence someone while communicating.

Make missile weapons based on wisdom instead of dexterity.

Now you can make a dextrous rogue who uses finesse weapons, or a perceptive rogue who uses a bow. 



I could live with that. Maybe especially for distant shots far beyond Close-Quarter combat.
We houseruled in 3.x that it was the higher or Int or Wis.
Wisdom I think is a great stat for perception (although i'd be the first to say that I don't like the name)

I think the problem is moreso that clerics use wisdom- and it seems to me that is the failing.  Just look at this description from the How to Play
 Wisdom reflects how attuned you are to your surroundings, representing general perceptiveness, intuition, insight, and other, less tangible senses. Wisdom is also important for understanding divine edicts and expectations.



Everything about that makes sense to me- except the divine edicts and expectations part.  I really dig the idea of a high WIS monk, since he'll be all zen and catch arrows and whatnot- but with clerics it bugs me.

I'm a total fan of rogues choosing to dump STR, CON, INT, WIS, or CHA- I love the imagery evoked by any of these choices.  The issue I have is - I have far more often seen a priest who is too "in tune" to what he's doing to be perceptive of anything going on around him.  This is especially true of the evil priests meticulously working their ritual and not noticing the adventurers stumble into his home.

So I would say no- leave perception where it is, but figure something else out for cleric castings- I don't really think tieing them to INT or CHA is a good answer either- it just doesn't work for me as being based on the same stat that gives you intuition and perception- which i feel are great together. 
Please collect and update the DND Next Community Wiki Page with your ideas and suggestions!
Take a look at my clarified ability scores And also my Houserules relevent to DNDNext
We houseruled in 3.x that it was the higher or Int or Wis.



I agree with this

This rogue has the scheme of thief. His skills are related to stealing things (hiding and dealing with locks and traps). I can see intelligence being a 'sometime' skill tied to traps and locks. A trap (or lock) could be dex based (not particularly complex, but requires steady careful hands to disable without tripping) or could be in based (not particularly difficult to deal with, but complex enough that you have to figure out what you are supposed to do ...]. I.e. dex would be picking a lock, but int might be a combination lock. Disabling a trap by reaching past a bunch of trip wires to get to an off switch would be dex, but cutting the trip wires in the right order might be Int based).

A scout would likely have a different skillset. Stealth would still be there, but stealth and maybe trap MAKING could be skills for that type of rogue. A swashbuckler might be the charisma type, with bluffing, acrobatics and insight perhaps. The rogue is quite wide in terms of it's type of skills.

Also, it should be noted, that in terms of scouting, even the 'blind' rogue is fine if he's spying on people that aren't bothering to hide. If monsters are hiding and waiting for an ambush, they are apparently already aware of the party, and scouting is less likely to be succesful.

Regardless, the rogue does get knack as of level 2, so if nothing else, it can help him in scouting. If you do grab perception through some method, your minimum of 10 to roll for it will make up for any lack in the wisdom department. Int should likely work as a 'sometimes' ability in terms of searching. While wisdom is noticing/awareness, int would apply in the case of 'thinking about where to look'. For trap finding, it's "where would I put the trap" kind of logic problem. 
Disabling a trap by reaching past a bunch of trip wires to get to an off switch would be dex, but cutting the trip wires in the right order might be Int based).



You could also argue that "feeling" the lock as in sensing just which section of it you need to nudge more than the last one would be perception and thus wisdom based.

I think this should be a set of options for trap or lock making that the DM has (use DEX, INT or WIS based on what you want the focus of the trap/lock to be)- thus allowing characters other than just the rogue to be useful at dealing with them- while letting the rogue always be useful (since they've got the skill bonus)

I think the pregen rogue's -1 wis modifier is just a mistake.  An unwise rogue will end up dead.  No matter how dexterous they may be, their luck will run out if they never see things coming.
Please collect and update the DND Next Community Wiki Page with your ideas and suggestions!
Take a look at my clarified ability scores And also my Houserules relevent to DNDNext

I think the pregen rogue's -1 wis modifier is just a mistake.  An unwise rogue will end up dead.  No matter how dexterous they may be, their luck will run out if they never see things coming.



Except of course, the rogue, especially in the group of pregens, wouldn't be scouting. Until level 2, he doesn't have the ability to see in the dark, and everyone has better perception (2 clerics with great wisdom, a fighter trained in perception, and an elf with keen senses). So, you would mostly keep the rogue back (probably hiding behind you), and bringing him up when you find a trap or door. Or, if the party 'hears' monsters ahead, they might send the rogue forward at that point ... where the rogue doesn't need to make much of a perception check, since the monsters are likely not hiding. Even if someone is trying to hide from the rogue ... they are likely rolling on a straight Dex, so it's not an impossible task on an opposed roll. It may be hard to spot something with a fixed DC, but if it isn't a trap, it's probably a hidden door or treasure or something. 

It's possible to be the 'unwise' rogue ... but the party has to realize the rogue is a flake and not rely on him to be their eyes when everyone else is better at it than him. [even the cat familiar]  
@WaltKovacs

Very good point! We're just used to the idea of the thief being the scout- which she hasn't been since she's terrible at it.

The more I've thought about this tho, the more I'm liking the idea of clerics casting off CHA- force of personality and spirit (plus the benfit of being better at resisting things that try to overcome your sense of self/independence)  Here's my latest write-up.

My idea of WIS: How perceptive your character is of the world around him, and how he can make use of that. Useful for scanning areas for slight differences, noticing behavioral "openings" your oponents have, determining what someone wants, if their lying, and what lies would appeal to them.  High WIS characters are able to resist being tricked into things.

My idea of CHA: How forceful your character's personaliy is and how strong their influence can be.  Useful when attempting to: cow a weakened enemy to surrender, convey the importance of your statements, or inspire (or incite) groups of people to action.  High CHA characters are able to resist being compelled to do something they do not want to do or feel is wrong.
Please collect and update the DND Next Community Wiki Page with your ideas and suggestions!
Take a look at my clarified ability scores And also my Houserules relevent to DNDNext
Wisdom I think is a great stat for perception (although i'd be the first to say that I don't like the name)

I think the problem is moreso that clerics use wisdom- and it seems to me that is the failing.  Just look at this description from the How to Play
 Wisdom reflects how attuned you are to your surroundings, representing general perceptiveness, intuition, insight, and other, less tangible senses. Wisdom is also important for understanding divine edicts and expectations.



Everything about that makes sense to me- except the divine edicts and expectations part.  I really dig the idea of a high WIS monk, since he'll be all zen and catch arrows and whatnot- but with clerics it bugs me.

...

So I would say no- leave perception where it is, but figure something else out for cleric castings- I don't really think tieing them to INT or CHA is a good answer either- it just doesn't work for me as being based on the same stat that gives you intuition and perception- which i feel are great together. 

Good point. Wisdom makes less sense. You convinced me.



The Cleric should probably use Charisma as the prime ability.

Charisma = willpower and rapport

Charismatic Clerics are certainly tenacious, with enduring personalities, and abilities to persevere against obstacles.

Moreover, a Cleric must have a good rapport with fellow ideologues (superiors, followers, and so on), be reasonably skilled at diplomacy.

Charismatic people always have good *intuition about people*. They feel when something is in tune with other people, and when something feels wrong or provocative.

I feel the Empathy/Insight skill - meaning one is in tune with other people - should be a Charisma skill. Thus it is possible to eliminate ambiguity between “exploration” Wisdom (that attends to sensorial details and intuition about the external environment), versus “social” Charisma (that attends to relationships, social interactions, personal influence, and strong sense of self). 

Finally, the Cleric develops a personal “rapport” with the ideology (philosophy, spiritual tradition, or other cause), internalizing it as their self-identity. Again suiting Charisma.



It is fine if a Cleric can get a domain (or a theme) that uses Wisdom as an auxiliary ability. Then this kind of Cha-Wis Cleric would also be highly observant with a Zen-esque “in the moment” flavor.
@Haldrik

actually I have taken to splitting the persuade vs bluff idea, where CHA governs persuade, and WIS governs lying- see my last post and tell me what you think. 
Please collect and update the DND Next Community Wiki Page with your ideas and suggestions!
Take a look at my clarified ability scores And also my Houserules relevent to DNDNext
I feel the *cleanest* way to distinguish between the mental abilities is as follows: Wisdom is physical-skills and mental agility, Charisma is people-skills and mental endurance.

Intelligence (mental Strength): recall memory (sorta like “lift weight”, it determines the “size” of Wisdom and Charisma skills)

Wisdom (mental agility) = physical environment: sensorial details, awareness, compensating for blindness, intuiting the presence of an object, noticing the physical presence of a creature, tracking/reproducing sensorial details, creating a forged document, creating physical disguises, creating sensorial illusions, artistic skill, and so on.

Charisma (mental endurance) = social environment: rapport, friendship/intimidation, fascination/fear, attractiveness/rage, being in tune with people, empathy, influence, sense of self, willpower, strength of personality, distinctive individual identity, pursuasion, charm, compulsion, group leadership, morale, cause, collective goal, courage, force surrender, persistance.



Regarding “pursuade” versus “lying”, I totally agree!

Pursuading someone requires Charisma.

But telling lies, requires keeping track of physical details, so it is a Wisdom check.
beautifully put- i love it!
Please collect and update the DND Next Community Wiki Page with your ideas and suggestions!
Take a look at my clarified ability scores And also my Houserules relevent to DNDNext
@NancyButtpeach  - wow I just wrote that lol

I agree it's too much of a sacred cow to try and alter in DNDNext, here's what I wrote up on ability score definition.  How does it grab your Buttpeach?  *snicker*
Please collect and update the DND Next Community Wiki Page with your ideas and suggestions!
Take a look at my clarified ability scores And also my Houserules relevent to DNDNext

There have been a lot of complaints about the "blind rogue," which WotC has acknowledged, but I think it's symptomatic of a larger issue, which is that Perception is based on Wisdom. Actually, in Next, it's more that Perception checks are Wisdom checks, possibly with a modifier.


Personally, I've never liked that, but in other editions I could live with it, because skill training was so significant. In Next, the ability score is more emphasised, and that has some odd side effects, like that rogues aren't very good at noticing things, even traps, while clerics are awesome at it.



All such complaints really say, to me, is "I can't optimise my rogue to kick arse, because I have to put a good score in Wisdom as well!" The solution is simple: don't use Point Buy. :-p


Rogues get an additional +3 to find traps. With a Wisdom score of 10 (i.e. average), that gives them +3. Clerics do not get this, meaning rogues are still the best trap-finders. Clerics may be great at spotting other things, but for traps, the rogue has the edge. A rogue who doesn't neglect Wis and has a +1 in it has the same Find Traps skill as a cleric with an 18 in Wis.


Wisdom make the most sense, because it's about innate knowledge, not logical reasoning or persuasive ability. Also, I hate the whole idea of optimisation, where every class only needs about 3 high scores to work. If you have a dump stat, it should represent a fundamental weakness. There's an easy way to get around it: simply balance things so that a rogue with a dex of anything less than 16 won't fail every time. Bear in mind that a high ability score - anything over 15 - is supposed to be a remarkable thing, it shouldn't be as common as muck. An Int score of 16 is probably similar to a straight-A student, while 18 is an academic overachiever who goes on to become a professor (think Albert Einstein) - the very best of the best in that field. Allowing dump stats that have no effect on your character's abilities encourages finely tuned powerbuilds, as everyone strives for that one score of 18 - why not, when you can safely ignore everything else?

Everything expressed in this post is my opinion, and should be taken as such. I can not declare myself to be the supreme authority on all matters...even though I am right!
Basic problem: "Wisdom" sounds like something a sage should have. Picture one old, nearly blind and deaf wise man with a long white beard.
PF beta gave Halforcs +2 STR, +2 WIS, -2 INT. Because the mechanical consequences fit halforcs, not because you would describe orcs as wise, eh?

So, remember what attributes do for a system. If they are just something that contributes to your damage like they do in video games, you can remove them entirely, replace their effect by the level of the char. If they do no more than that in a PnP, remove them and use skills for stuff.
In D&D they contribute by linking stuff. A hard melee fighter can also easily be good at swimming and climbing and carry more stuff. Makes sense.
So, what is perception linked with? Reflexes and archery, eh?
So, my two solutions:
1. Perception is in Dex. Easy one.
2. Dex and Wis become Agility and Perception. Formulas become: Damage is Str, Melee hitting Str + Agi, Range Hitting Agi + Per, not sure what to do with Evasion (but hey, Str is still Damage. I'd even go farther and remove Con, basing HP on Str.). Perception is not needed for casting. (tough one might rule that hitting with ranged spells is based on Int + Per) (As for Sense Motive, put that to Cha, reasoning Cha is social stuff)
Another positive thing about this is the monk business - you expect some zen guy to have Wisdom but not necessarily Perception. The monk is now wise by character background, not by his stats, making him some more well rounded char, reducing the MAD

..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />On INT: every core book I ever read explicitly mentions that it also includes logic, capacity to reason and solve puzzles.


That's the reason we have the dumb warrior clichee.
There's no mechanical reason why a fighter should take int so he doesn't. If you feel forced to play a low int character dumb (other than uneducated) then mechanics hurt fluff.
Basic reason to seperate "solve puzzles" from the int stat is that you don't do solve puzzle checks, you solve them as a player.
(yeah, using 4e you'd build that guy as a warlord but... meh. That's not quite the flavor I want. I don't see why knowing books and solving puzzles should be correlated.)

The more I've thought about this tho, the more I'm liking the idea of clerics casting off CHA- force of personality and spirit (plus the benfit of being better at resisting things that try to overcome your sense of self/independence)


Sound fine, +1
Basic problem: "Wisdom" sounds like something a sage should have. Picture one old, nearly blind and deaf wise man with a long white beard.



While I agree I'd rather see Wisdom become "Perception" I don't see that happening in the confines of dnd.  The six stats they've had for almost 40 years are probably not going anywhere.  Take a look at my suggestion on Wisdom:

WIS: Your ability to make sound judgement calls (intuition) and how well you to perceive the world around you (perception). It covers how well you notice slight differences such as air coming from cracks in a stale air passage or mis-matched stonework. Also you may use it to notice and expose an opportunity an opponent gives to strike.  You will use it to aid in detecting lies and determining what someone wants or wants to hear.  A high wisdom will protect you from being duped and many trap triggered effects that require you to notice them before its too late.
Used for attacks that rely on perception above all other things (guns and some other precision attacks that aren't based on coordination)



Also about warriors not needing INT, I'd argue that every stat should be useful to every character (regardless of class abilites). Making a choice to forgo one stat and "dump" it should FEEL like a choice.  I outlined in my other post how every ability score should have good uses AND defenses that matter so players can get mechanical reflections in their character's builds- as well as encouraging "optimized" builds to feel the effect of having a dumped stat.
Please collect and update the DND Next Community Wiki Page with your ideas and suggestions!
Take a look at my clarified ability scores And also my Houserules relevent to DNDNext
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />Also about warriors not needing INT, I'd argue that every stat should be useful to every character (regardless of class abilites). Making a choice to forgo one stat and "dump" it should FEEL like a choice.  I outlined in my other post how every ability score should have good uses AND defenses that matter so players can get mechanical reflections in their character's builds- as well as encouraging "optimized" builds to feel the effect of having a dumped stat.



I totally agree with that. I would like there to be some mechanical benefit for a fighter to have a high Int score as well. That's why I liked the idea of 3rd edition's Expertise (and the feats that follow it) requiring an Int score of at least 13...granted, it makes every fighter have their Int as 13, but at least it gives them a reason to not neglect the stat.

Of course, we don't know how skills work yet, so if certain skills require Int then that could be an incentive - if the character intends to use that skill, they need a decent score in that ability.

If you want to use Point Buy to max out Strength to 18, then you should be made to feel the effects of your 8 Charisma or 8 Intelligence that results from this in some way.
Everything expressed in this post is my opinion, and should be taken as such. I can not declare myself to be the supreme authority on all matters...even though I am right!
It is an interesting issue.  When abilities and classes are tied to stats it has weird consequences.  In this case with wisdom= perception that means that clerics are neaturally the most perceptive class. Does that make sense, which class should be the most perceptive naturally? Is the problem more what classes are tied to wisdom or is it what abilities are tied to wisdom?  

I personally like the idea of decoupling more abilities from attributes, not as many things tie to them as much as people think.   There are perceptive unwise people, wise unperceptive people, dumb people who are fluent in multiple languages, smart people who only know one and suck at that.  I can see the benefit of simplicity and lumping a wide range of things under wisdom, intelligence etc because the task is not physical but it frequently ends up having odd consequences.  
Sign In to post comments