Opinions: Thinking about an Awareness/Perception stat, what do you think?

I'm thinking of decoupling some of the aspects of wisdom and forming them into a new awareness or perception stat. Namely the stuff that relates to sight/sound/touch

I've never been comfortable with what I've seen as a bloated ability score (in terms of usage), I mean wisdom drives spell casting for divine casters, act as your will power (for related saves), helps you detects lies, and somehow allows you to more easily see the guy hiding in the shadows.

I've seen alot of examples that sort of fly in the face of this logic such as: the bodyguard that isn't exactly giving sagely advice but keen eyed; or how Gandalf, legendary for his wisdom, was not perceptive enough to notice Pippin messing with the well in Moria.

I know by the D&D description wisdom fits the bill, but traditional definitions of wisdom don't imply that people have better awareness of their surroundings (I checked both Wikipedia and the Merriam-Webster dictionary)

I'd likely couple things like search, spot, listen, track and read lips into the new stat while leaving stuff like sense motive and scrutiny with wisdom.


Let me know what you guys think, any feedback at all is helpful! Thanks!

Awareness should be whatever skilled is called for, I never like the generic perception checks based on wisdom as a catch all. In the same sense, initiative should be based on the same type of skill awareness versus always being dexterity. So if dungeoneering was a skill, the that person would be more aware and have a good initiative bonus in underground setting. However that would be radical departure from D&D.
Awareness should be whatever skilled is called for, I never like the generic perception checks based on wisdom as a catch all. In the same sense, initiative should be based on the same type of skill awareness versus always being dexterity. So if dungeoneering was a skill, the that person would be more aware and have a good initiative bonus in underground setting. However that would be radical departure from D&D.



And yet it makes perfect sense in 5E to ask for a wisdom check and allow them to add their dungeoneering skill die to it.....



Carl
The simplest fix would be to rename "wisdom" to "perception" - it still fits for making Heal checks or Sense Motive, since seeing those physical clues is such a big part of it - and then move the cleric's spellcasting stat and most willpower-type wisdom saves over to charisma.

The metagame is not the game.

It would work as an ability score, but seems a bit thin on the ground.  Maybe add in initiative or something to beef it up.

If your concern is that Wisdom has too much, I think the better method would be to allow the player to choose which ability score to use.  Several of them are easy to justify.  Dex=sharp eyesight.  Con=healthy eyesight.  Int=know where to look.  Wis=same as normal.  Str and Cha may be a bit harder to justify. 
This is great feedback guys!

I understand that adding an ability score will make an already mathy game more mathy (which is good for some but not all). Is the idea of having a ability score less appealing than say a redirection of stats usage (as Saelorn suggested) or optional variant stat usage (as OleOneEye suggests)?
It could be a wisdom, intelligence, dexterity, charisma, constitution or strength check with the dungeoneering skill dice or bonus  depending on the circumstances, although strength and constitution is the hardest to match up.
This is great feedback guys!

I understand that adding an ability score will make an already mathy game more mathy (which is good for some but not all). Is the idea of having a ability score less appealing than say a redirection of stats usage (as Saelorn suggested) or optional variant stat usage (as OleOneEye suggests)?



A lot of it depends on your personal opinion as informed by the manner in which you play the game.  For myself, Wisdom has never been an overloaded ability score.  You may very well have a different experience.
The simplest fix would be to rename "wisdom" to "perception" - it still fits for making Heal checks or Sense Motive, since seeing those physical clues is such a big part of it - and then move the cleric's spellcasting stat and most willpower-type wisdom saves over to charisma.



100% agree here.

I'd even be fine going one step further. Core 6 ability scores renamed:
Strength, Constitution, Agility, Perception, Intellect, Spirit

Fortitude Defense = (Str score + Con Score)/2
Refelx Defense = (Agi scroe + Per score)/2
Will Defense = (Int score + Spi score)/2
The simplest fix would be to rename "wisdom" to "perception" - it still fits for making Heal checks or Sense Motive, since seeing those physical clues is such a big part of it - and then move the cleric's spellcasting stat and most willpower-type wisdom saves over to charisma.



100% agree here.

I'd even be fine going one step further. Core 6 ability scores renamed:
Strength, Constitution, Agility, Perception, Intellect, Spirit

Fortitude Defense = (Str score + Con Score)/2
Refelx Defense = (Agi scroe + Per score)/2
Will Defense = (Int score + Spi score)/2


Wizards base their spells on Intellect, as normal.
Clerics and other divine spellcasters base their spells on Spirit, which now carries that role for the old Wisdom score.
Sorcerers and other innate casters base their spells on Constintution (magic's in the blood, you know). 
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The simplest fix would be to rename "wisdom" to "perception" - it still fits for making Heal checks or Sense Motive, since seeing those physical clues is such a big part of it - and then move the cleric's spellcasting stat and most willpower-type wisdom saves over to charisma.



100% agree here.

I'd even be fine going one step further. Core 6 ability scores renamed:
Strength, Constitution, Agility, Perception, Intellect, Spirit

Fortitude Defense = (Str score + Con Score)/2
Refelx Defense = (Agi scroe + Per score)/2
Will Defense = (Int score + Spi score)/2



An interesting suggestion. In this setup what would you suggest using for your social atribute?
Fortitude Defense = (Str score + Con Score)/2
Reflex Defense = (Agi score + Per score)/2
Will Defense = (Int score + Spi score)/2

While I do like the ability names better, even the traditional ones work fine with a little reconditioning.
Fortitude Defense = (Str score + Con Score)/2
Reflex Defense = (Dex score + Wis score)/2
Will Defense = (Int score + Cha score)/2

And I would go one step farther and have Wisdom be used for projectile weapon attacks (maybe have Dex for short range, and Wis for long).

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The simplest fix would be to rename "wisdom" to "perception" - it still fits for making Heal checks or Sense Motive, since seeing those physical clues is such a big part of it - and then move the cleric's spellcasting stat and most willpower-type wisdom saves over to charisma.



100% agree here.

I'd even be fine going one step further. Core 6 ability scores renamed:
Strength, Constitution, Agility, Perception, Intellect, Spirit

Fortitude Defense = (Str score + Con Score)/2
Refelx Defense = (Agi scroe + Per score)/2
Will Defense = (Int score + Spi score)/2



An interesting suggestion. In this setup what would you suggest using for your social atribute?



Spirit. Spirit is basically Charisma minus any association people might have to physical appearance (and probably with a greater emphasis on force of personality) + some aspects of Wisdom (that never really made sense belonging to wisdom in the first place).
The simplest fix would be to rename "wisdom" to "perception" - it still fits for making Heal checks or Sense Motive, since seeing those physical clues is such a big part of it - and then move the cleric's spellcasting stat and most willpower-type wisdom saves over to charisma.



100% agree here.

I'd even be fine going one step further. Core 6 ability scores renamed:
Strength, Constitution, Agility, Perception, Intellect, Spirit

Fortitude Defense = (Str score + Con Score)/2
Refelx Defense = (Agi scroe + Per score)/2
Will Defense = (Int score + Spi score)/2



An interesting suggestion. In this setup what would you suggest using for your social atribute?



Spirit. Spirit is basically Charisma minus any association people might have to physical appearance (and probably with a greater emphasis on force of personality) + some aspects of Wisdom (that never really made sense belonging to wisdom in the first place).



I completely agree with Saelorn, but I could even go one step further. Four abilities:

• Agility
• Endurance
• Perception
• Spirit

I see Strength as physical capacity, how much one can carry. I see Intelligence as mental capacity, how much one can remember.
Dragon magazine presented Perception as a 7th ability score option along with an NPC class called the Sentinel more than 20 years ago during Advanced D&D.  It was a fun idea then.  We used it along with Comeliness as another ability score as well.

We had Str, Dex, Con, Int, Wis, Cha, Perception, and Comeliness.

If ability scores were determined randomly and not mixed or assigned, then it wouldn't hurt if ability scores had different values.  The opportunity to assign ability scores or to use point buy systems leads towards min/maxing and the need to balance each score againt the others.

More ability scores and decreasing the difference between the highest and lowest scores would help solve these problems.  

People just don't like to adapt to rolls.  They want to create a concept first and build that character rather than have a group of ability scores and then build a character with those.
I actually liked it when scores were 3d6.  But 4d6 drop the lowest or 3d6 (reroll 1's) could work.

I would prefer the following:
1 = -4
2-3 = -3
4-5 = -2 
6-7 = -1
8-13 = 0
14-15 = +1
16-17 = +2
18-19 = +3
20 = +4 
21 = +5
22 = +6
23 = +7
etc. 
−∞ (0)

−3 (1-3)
−2 (4-6)
−1 (7-9)

+0 (10-12)
+1 (13-15)
+2 (16-18)

+3 (19-21)
+4 (22-24)
+5 (25-27)
Dragon magazine presented Perception as a 7th ability score option along with an NPC class called the Sentinel more than 20 years ago during Advanced D&D.  It was a fun idea then.  We used it along with Comeliness as another ability score as well.

We had Str, Dex, Con, Int, Wis, Cha, Perception, and Comeliness.

If ability scores were determined randomly and not mixed or assigned, then it wouldn't hurt if ability scores had different values.  The opportunity to assign ability scores or to use point buy systems leads towards min/maxing and the need to balance each score againt the others.

More ability scores and decreasing the difference between the highest and lowest scores would help solve these problems.  

People just don't like to adapt to rolls.  They want to create a concept first and build that character rather than have a group of ability scores and then build a character with those.



Very interesting, do you happen to know which issue that might have been in?

Also very awsome input guys, this has given me alot of food for thought.
I'd grown concerned mostly out of my own experience where it was generally the cleric that was being posted as guard over say our fighters (it seems odd to me that the class you'd expect to be a guard was less adept at being one than the priest in the church) because of the generally higher peception (In 3.0/3.5). Now in 5e. with the skill system being... different it seemed to exacerbate the problem.

One other question: How often in practice do you guys actually meddle with the core stats?
Dragon magazine presented Perception as a 7th ability score option along with an NPC class called the Sentinel more than 20 years ago during Advanced D&D.  It was a fun idea then.  We used it along with Comeliness as another ability score as well.

We had Str, Dex, Con, Int, Wis, Cha, Perception, and Comeliness.

If ability scores were determined randomly and not mixed or assigned, then it wouldn't hurt if ability scores had different values.  The opportunity to assign ability scores or to use point buy systems leads towards min/maxing and the need to balance each score againt the others.

More ability scores and decreasing the difference between the highest and lowest scores would help solve these problems.  

People just don't like to adapt to rolls.  They want to create a concept first and build that character rather than have a group of ability scores and then build a character with those.



Very interesting, do you happen to know which issue that might have been in?

Also very awsome input guys, this has given me alot of food for thought.
I'd grown concerned mostly out of my own experience where it was generally the cleric that was being posted as guard over say our fighters (it seems odd to me that the class you'd expect to be a guard was less adept at being one than the priest in the church) because of the generally higher peception (In 3.0/3.5). Now in 5e. with the skill system being... different it seemed to exacerbate the problem.

One other question: How often in practice do you guys actually meddle with the core stats?


I believe it was #89.

We used perception and comeliness during 2E but those were optional systems so it wasn't exactly meddling.

I've used various other ability scores in home grown campaigns as well.  Lately, I've been sticking with the 6.  I don't think they are sacred.  The only problem is that if players can choose their stats (point buy)  or put their highest rolled score in any ability, each ability score needs to have a utility weight that is balanced against the others.

if ability scores are determined in a more random fashion, any one ability score can have a greater or lesser weight and it doesn't matter. 
The simplest fix would be to rename "wisdom" to "perception" - it still fits for making Heal checks or Sense Motive, since seeing those physical clues is such a big part of it - and then move the cleric's spellcasting stat and most willpower-type wisdom saves over to charisma.

100% agree here.

I'd even be fine going one step further. Core 6 ability scores renamed:
Strength, Constitution, Agility, Perception, Intellect, Spirit

Fortitude Defense = (Str score + Con Score)/2
Refelx Defense = (Agi scroe + Per score)/2
Will Defense = (Int score + Spi score)/2

An interesting suggestion. In this setup what would you suggest using for your social atribute?

Spirit. Spirit is basically Charisma minus any association people might have to physical appearance (and probably with a greater emphasis on force of personality) + some aspects of Wisdom (that never really made sense belonging to wisdom in the first place).

I like it.  Spirit works well for the classes traditionally associated with Cha, and many that use Wis as well.

I've tried to work a "Cunning" score into the mix a few times over the years.  Having Cunning instead of Perception might work, and could be used for typical perceptiveness plus a few other uses like finding and disabling traps, and maybe even some ranged attacks, making it both thematically and mechanically appropriate for rogues... I always felt roguish Int was fundamentally different from wizardly Int and should probably be represented by separate scores, but other than that the change would be mostly cosmetic I think.

"I want 'punch magic in the face' to be a maneuver." -- wrecan

Dragon magazine presented Perception as a 7th ability score option along with an NPC class called the Sentinel more than 20 years ago during Advanced D&D.  It was a fun idea then.  We used it along with Comeliness as another ability score as well.

We had Str, Dex, Con, Int, Wis, Cha, Perception, and Comeliness.

If ability scores were determined randomly and not mixed or assigned, then it wouldn't hurt if ability scores had different values.  The opportunity to assign ability scores or to use point buy systems leads towards min/maxing and the need to balance each score againt the others.

More ability scores and decreasing the difference between the highest and lowest scores would help solve these problems.  

People just don't like to adapt to rolls.  They want to create a concept first and build that character rather than have a group of ability scores and then build a character with those.



Very interesting, do you happen to know which issue that might have been in?

Also very awsome input guys, this has given me alot of food for thought.
I'd grown concerned mostly out of my own experience where it was generally the cleric that was being posted as guard over say our fighters (it seems odd to me that the class you'd expect to be a guard was less adept at being one than the priest in the church) because of the generally higher peception (In 3.0/3.5). Now in 5e. with the skill system being... different it seemed to exacerbate the problem.

One other question: How often in practice do you guys actually meddle with the core stats?

The Perception Ability Score was introduced in Dragon Magazine Issue #133.

Comeliness was included in the AD&D 1st Edition Unearthed Arcana rulebook.

The Sentinel class was in Dragon Magazine Issue #89.

Dragon magazine presented Perception as a 7th ability score option along with an NPC class called the Sentinel more than 20 years ago during Advanced D&D.  It was a fun idea then.  We used it along with Comeliness as another ability score as well.

We had Str, Dex, Con, Int, Wis, Cha, Perception, and Comeliness.

If ability scores were determined randomly and not mixed or assigned, then it wouldn't hurt if ability scores had different values.  The opportunity to assign ability scores or to use point buy systems leads towards min/maxing and the need to balance each score againt the others.

More ability scores and decreasing the difference between the highest and lowest scores would help solve these problems.  

People just don't like to adapt to rolls.  They want to create a concept first and build that character rather than have a group of ability scores and then build a character with those.



Very interesting, do you happen to know which issue that might have been in?

Also very awsome input guys, this has given me alot of food for thought.
I'd grown concerned mostly out of my own experience where it was generally the cleric that was being posted as guard over say our fighters (it seems odd to me that the class you'd expect to be a guard was less adept at being one than the priest in the church) because of the generally higher peception (In 3.0/3.5). Now in 5e. with the skill system being... different it seemed to exacerbate the problem.

One other question: How often in practice do you guys actually meddle with the core stats?


I believe it was #89.

We used perception and comeliness during 2E but those were optional systems so it wasn't exactly meddling.

I've used various other ability scores in home grown campaigns as well.  Lately, I've been sticking with the 6.  I don't think they are sacred.  The only problem is that if players can choose their stats (point buy)  or put their highest rolled score in any ability, each ability score needs to have a utility weight that is balanced against the others.

if ability scores are determined in a more random fashion, any one ability score can have a greater or lesser weight and it doesn't matter. 

See above...

why dont you check out the optional skills and powers books from 2nd edition they broke down each ability score into 2 sub scores you could adjust
The problem I have with a skill perception is that you make it a skill tax unless you want to be essentially blind.  I'm much more inclined to use a full other Ability Score which can be raised and lowered than to add yet another skill, even if it is in addition to what we currently have.

Of course, in most cases Wisdom and Con work just fine for perception/notice-style checks for my games (Con for 'do you wake up when that noise is made?' checks).  While Wisdom might not be the best name for the stat, the qualities that are implied and the definition given seem more than adequate.

"Lightning...it flashes bright, then fades away.  It can't protect, it can only destroy."

Dragon magazine presented Perception as a 7th ability score option along with an NPC class called the Sentinel more than 20 years ago during Advanced D&D.  It was a fun idea then.  We used it along with Comeliness as another ability score as well.

We had Str, Dex, Con, Int, Wis, Cha, Perception, and Comeliness...

... Also very awsome input guys, this has given me alot of food for thought.
I'd grown concerned mostly out of my own experience where it was generally the cleric that was being posted as guard over say our fighters (it seems odd to me that the class you'd expect to be a guard was less adept at being one than the priest in the church) because of the generally higher peception (In 3.0/3.5)...

We added Comliness and Perception as they came along. Skills (non-weapon proficiencies) might add to the Perception check if applicable (we're using 2e).

As for the Cleric guarding the fighters -- we have a "watch rotation" set up for each group, and make sure to have the casters on 1st or last watch (so they can get uninterrupted sleep) and we're sure to have at least one PC skilled at ranged attacks on each watch. Depending on the situation, one or both watchers might get a Perception roll if something's out there (or they think there might be).

We also allow Perception rolls for certain classes (the archer notices that the bows you got from the Elves were of Dwarf make), certain backgrounds (the scholar sees an ancient tome casually concealed in the pile of current literature), etc. I dare say it's the most-used roll outside of combat, and even gets used IN combat from time to time.

In memory of wrecan and his Unearthed Wrecana.