The are lots of different interpretations.
The simplest way to rule it is spot is for creatures, search is for objects.
Another way to rule it is that spot is for things you notice out of the corner of your eye, and search is for stuff where you have to study carefully one particular object or location.
In the past, when Wisdom was exclusively used for Spot and Intelligence for search it made things a little easier to imagine. You need to be a brilliant detective to search for things well, you need to be attuned to the patterns of nature to spot things well. Now that you could theoretically do a spot check with intelligence or a search check with wisdom in D&D Next, your DM can be a little bit more flexible with unusual situations. If there is ever doubt, next to each skill is a suggested attribute to use for skill checks.So the best is to talk it over and come up with a meaning with your group before you start playing so people don't complain mid-way.
You make Intelligence check when actively searching for hidden things and you make wisdom checks to passively spot hidden things.
Remember this is a public forum where people express their opinions assume there is a “In my humble opinion” in front of every post especially mine.
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Yeah I hope they merge listen, search, and spot back into just one perception skill before the final product hits the shelves. It just takes to much time and causes confusion about what to roll In the last game I was in the rogue was making those three skill checks constantly in every situation it slowed the game down, especially the fact that there is no passive perception yet so he was actually making rolls every 20' or so during a dungeon crawl.
Yeah I hope they merge listen, search, and spot back into just one perception skill before the final product hits the shelves. It just takes to much time and causes confusion about what to roll In the last game I was in the rogue was making those three skill checks constantly in every situation it slowed the game down, especially the fact that there is no passive perception yet so he was actually making rolls every 20' or so during a dungeon crawl.Well that could be handled by the DM pretty easy...The Thief says..."I'm moving slowly and carefully down this hallway looking for any sign of traps or hidden doors, I'll listen at any door I pass before moving on...".The DM rolls 'Search' since the Thief has announced that he's actively LOOKING for these things. Notes the result. The DM also rolls a die for 'Spot' if the DM knows that there's something that the Thief DIDN'T say he was looking for down the hallway - Like the giant spider clinging to the ceiling and to cover the listening at doors.When and if the player character reaches any of the triggers, then the die roll is applied and compared to the DC of the trap or hidden door or whatever.It works a little better than having the DM do the die roll when the Thief reaches the spot where the pit trap in the floor lies... since the players may notice that the DM is rolling a die and assume there's something to look out for at that particular place.