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Pathfinder Reference Document
Pathfinder Reference Document

Perception (Wis)

The acuity of your senses allows you to notice fine details, see danger coming, and tell when people are lying or otherwise behaving suspiciously.

Functions: Discern secret messages, get hunches, notice creatures and details, search locations, sense enchantments, sense motives.

Core Skills: Perception, Sense Motive.

Discern Secret Messages

You can use Perception to detect that a secret message is being transmitted by someone using the Influence skill. Your Perception check is opposed by the sender's Influence check. You take a –2 penalty for each piece of information you lack relating to the message. If you succeed by 4 or less, you know there's a hidden message but don't know its content. If you exceed the DC by 5 or more, you intercept and understand the message. If you fail by 4 or less, you don't detect any hidden communication. If you fail by 5 or more, you might infer false information. See the pass secret message function of Influence on page 60 for rules on sending a secret message.

Action: None. This function is included in the time spent receiving the message.

Try Again: No, though you can attempt a check against another hidden message.

Get Hunches

You can make a gut assessment of a social situation with a successful DC 20 Perception check. You get a feeling that indicates whether something is wrong or if a person is generally untrustworthy, though you don't receive specific information. To attempt to determine whether a particular statement is a lie, use the sense motive function.

Action: 1 minute.

Notice Creatures and Details

You can detect a creature that is using Stealth if you succeed at an opposed Perception check. You can also notice sights, sounds, and other stimuli detectable by your senses. Use the search function of Perception to find hidden objects, traps, secret doors, and other things that take time to detect.

Stimulus Perception DC
Hear a battle–10
Smell rotting garbage–10
Hear details of a conversation0
See a visible creature0
Smell smoke0
Determine whether food is spoiled5
Hear a creature walking10
Hear details of a whispered conversation15
Identify powers of a potion by taste15 + potion's CL
Hear a key being turned in a lock20
Hear a bow being drawn25
Sense a burrowing creature25
underneath you
Notice a pickpocketOpposed by Finesse
Notice a creature using StealthOpposed by Stealth

The DCs of Perception checks to notice (and to search) are modified as indicated in the table below.

Notice Modifiers Perception DC Modifier
Distance to the source, object, or creature+1 per 10 feet
Through a closed door+5
Through a wall+10 per foot of thickness
Favorable conditions–2
Unfavorable conditions+2
Terrible conditions+5
Creature attempting the check is distracted+5
Creature attempting the check is asleep+10
Source, object, or creature is invisible+20

Action: None. This function is largely reactive in response to observable stimuli.

Try Again: Yes.

Conditions: Favorable, unfavorable, and terrible conditions depend on the sense being used. Bright light might be a favorable condition if the check involves sight, while dimmer conditions such as torchlight or moonlight could be unfavorable. Background noise could increase the DC for a check involving hearing, and competing odors could increase the DC of a scent-based check. Terrible conditions could include candlelight impeding a sight check, a dragon's roar drowning out other sounds, or an overpowering stench occluding a subtler smell.

Search Locations

You can thoroughly comb an area, looking for hidden traps, doors, and the like. The same modifiers that apply to Perception DCs to notice (see above) also apply to Perception DCs to search.

Hidden Object Perception DC
Find an average concealed door15
Find an average secret door20
Find a hidden trapVaries by trap

Action: Move. Each move action spent allows you to search a 10-foot-by-10-foot area.

Try Again: Yes.

Sense Enchantments

Determining that a creature's behavior is influenced by enchantment magic requires succeeding at a DC 25 Perception check (DC 15 if the creature is dominated).

Action: 1 minute.

Sense Motives

With an opposed Perception check, you can tell when a creature is lying to you. See the lie function of the Influence skill.

Action: None.

Try Again: No, though you can attempt a Perception check against each lie.