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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Kobold

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    Default What do you lose if some players don't take Perception proficiency?

    So every guide out there recommends Perception proficiency for every character ever. And for good reason. But I'm curious if there are really any consequences if one or two players in the group don't take it. For example, say one player, the squishy Wizard, dumped Perception in favor of Acrobatics to avoid being grappled, would that really impact the group's perception chances? Would it make any difference to the game at all?

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    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: What do you lose if some players don't take Perception proficiency?

    If the party as a whole consistently makes the checks, the impact is (number_of_people_without_proficiency * proficiency_bonus)/(number_of_people_in_party) to the average. The larger the party (or group for the given check), the less of an effect it'll have. Of course, there's a random component anyway (each person is rolling a d20, the range being larger than the effect of proficiency vs. no proficiency) and with enough players you tend to have regression to the mean so everyone's rolls are increasingly likely to offset each other. Having perception also only really makes a difference if you were close to the DC, since if you pass without the proficiency bonus or fail with the proficiency bonus then the proficiency bonus didn't or wouldn't do anything for you (but that's true of all proficiency). I'd say it's good to have, but it isn't the end of the world and the party might benefit more from a player matching their character's abilities, depending on the skill.

    EDIT/tl;dr: Note that this means having proficiency is likely more important for a given character if they tend to have to make checks alone, but less if the DM does group rolls. Either way, though, swapping proficiency for something that will give you notable advantages is probably quite reasonable no matter what (ex. acrobatics, which could be used in and out of battle effectively).
    Last edited by PhantomSoul; 2017-03-20 at 06:52 AM.

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    DwarfFighterGuy

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    Default Re: What do you lose if some players don't take Perception proficiency?

    I've almost always seen at least one character with insane perception skills in almost any party.

    It's gotten to the point where I don't worry about having the skill, and the game goes on just fine.

    Heck, in another edition, think it was still called Spot, I had a paladin with a 7 wisdom who didn't notice anything. It was fine.

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    GnomeWizardGuy

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    Default Re: What do you lose if some players don't take Perception proficiency?

    Heck, I've got characters who dump wisdom. It ain't that bad, and my characters are better elsewhere.

    The guides ain't the end-all-be-all of character creation.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: What do you lose if some players don't take Perception proficiency?

    Quote Originally Posted by Strill View Post
    So every guide out there recommends Perception proficiency for every character ever. And for good reason. But I'm curious if there are really any consequences if one or two players in the group don't take it. For example, say one player, the squishy Wizard, dumped Perception in favor of Acrobatics to avoid being grappled, would that really impact the group's perception chances? Would it make any difference to the game at all?
    The only consequence would be that you'll fail to percieve that the guides are not an end to all, that they are just a personal view of their authors and that they tend to focus on soloing a cooperative game

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Kobold

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    Default Re: What do you lose if some players don't take Perception proficiency?

    Quote Originally Posted by PhantomSoul View Post
    If the party as a whole consistently makes the checks, the impact is (number_of_people_without_proficiency * proficiency_bonus)/(number_of_people_in_party) to the average. The larger the party (or group for the given check), the less of an effect it'll have. Of course, there's a random component anyway (each person is rolling a d20, the range being larger than the effect of proficiency vs. no proficiency) and with enough players you tend to have regression to the mean so everyone's rolls are increasingly likely to offset each other. Having perception also only really makes a difference if you were close to the DC, since if you pass without the proficiency bonus or fail with the proficiency bonus then the proficiency bonus didn't or wouldn't do anything for you (but that's true of all proficiency). I'd say it's good to have, but it isn't the end of the world and the party might benefit more from a player matching their character's abilities, depending on the skill.

    EDIT/tl;dr: Note that this means having proficiency is likely more important for a given character if they tend to have to make checks alone, but less if the DM does group rolls. Either way, though, swapping proficiency for something that will give you notable advantages is probably quite reasonable no matter what (ex. acrobatics, which could be used in and out of battle effectively).
    So you're assuming that the DM is having every player roll perception? In that case, you're almost guaranteed to succeed, proficiency or not, just by sheer number of chances to get a good roll. I was under the impression that the DM is meant to roll once for the enemy and use passive perception for the players, in order to mitigate this problem.
    Last edited by Strill; 2017-03-20 at 06:58 AM.

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    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: What do you lose if some players don't take Perception proficiency?

    Quote Originally Posted by Strill View Post
    So you're assuming that the DM is rolling perception for every player? In that case, you're almost guaranteed to succeed, proficiency or not, just by sheer number of chances to get a good roll. I was under the impression that the DM is meant to roll once for the enemy and use passive perception for the players, in order to mitigate this problem.
    Oh, I interpreted the question as being the players rolling (not that who rolls matters in theory), but all at once, so there's a DC for the party. Like I said, if only one person rolls, the proficiency makes a bigger difference. But note I was answering for regular perception (that's what I understood of the OP), not passive perception.

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    Default Re: What do you lose if some players don't take Perception proficiency?

    I agree that it isn't necessary for everyone to have proficiency in Perception. If the whole party is rolling, there's only a marginal benefit - and if you need to designate a scout, you only need one person to have a big modifier.

    Obviously the unperceptive character will have some problems if they go off on their own or the designated scouts are incapacitated for some reason, but you can still succeed on rolls without proficiency (to a point, made more likely because a fair few Perception checks are opposed, so the DC is variable). And what's the worst that could happen? You stumble into a trap or a surprise ambush? You miss an optional clue or bonus treasure? Not ideal, but probably not the end of the world (I mean, if you get ambushed while alone you're probably hosed, surprise or no). And perhaps whatever other skill you picked makes up for the failed perception check anyway.

    Edit due to entirely-predictable ninjas: if you're rolling active stealth against passive perception (there's a time an place for both approaches, in my opinion), it's even less important for multiple PCs to have the proficiency. It's only the highest one you're counting anyway, assuming the PCs are actually working together and not trying to get each other killed.
    Last edited by Ninja_Prawn; 2017-03-20 at 07:05 AM.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Kobold

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    Default Re: What do you lose if some players don't take Perception proficiency?

    Quote Originally Posted by PhantomSoul View Post
    Oh, I interpreted the question as being the players rolling (not that who rolls matters in theory), but all at once, so there's a DC for the party. Like I said, if only one person rolls, the proficiency makes a bigger difference. But note I was answering for regular perception (that's what I understood of the OP), not passive perception.
    Right, that's what I meant. So you weren't referring to the Group Skill Check rules either. Just every player having a separate chance to pass the skill check, and if any of them pass, they all pass.

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    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: What do you lose if some players don't take Perception proficiency?

    Quote Originally Posted by Strill View Post
    Right, that's what I meant. So you weren't referring to the Group Skill Check rules either. Just every player having a separate chance to pass the skill check, and if any of them pass, they all pass.
    I did mean group skill checks, otherwise the influence of a single player is even less than the one I gave, since they aren't affecting an average roll (or total roll; it's the same).

    EDIT: Just looked up the rules, it seems our group doesn't follow the official Group Skill Check, but we've called it that. For us there's a DC for the party (ex. 75 for a party of 5 to be a bit like a DC of 15) and our rolls are added up. It's not a half of the party passes vs. fails.
    Last edited by PhantomSoul; 2017-03-20 at 07:11 AM.

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    GnomePirate

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    Default Re: What do you lose if some players don't take Perception proficiency?

    Guides are made by min-maxers trying to eeek every advantage out of a class/race. Not sure why people do that since we are not playing a competitive game. I actually had one of my players bitching about us doing a PF game when I said it only takes like 20 minutes to make character and he complained it took far longer as you have to plan the character out over the long term and so on. Dude, the average campaign only lasts 5-7 levels from start, what long term are you talking about and since when is anyone concerned over who is out damaging who?

    Yes perception is a useful skill, but lets face it, in 5e everyone can do everything. The skill set(which I am very vocally against) allows anyone to roll perception whether they are proficient or not, usually its only a minor modifier. Its why I have gotten to the point of making DCs higher for non-proficient characters but I am sure most people don't do that.

    So what will a party lose if everyone doesn't take it? Not a whole lot. Someone will take it and there's your scout. Not taking it means the character is simply better at something else maybe that no one else took.

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    Pex's Avatar

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    Default Re: What do you lose if some players don't take Perception proficiency?

    Nothing.

    Your character is not hopeless doomed to die if it doesn't have proficiency in Perception. Not everything in the world will have a Stealth DC of No.
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    Ettin in the Playground
     
    PirateWench

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    Default Re: What do you lose if some players don't take Perception proficiency?

    The main downsides for not having Perception are a weakness to ambushes and traps. Traps only matter if you are stuck alone, while ambushes at worst stick you with surprise. You won't be a very good scout. But that is about it.
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    Default Re: What do you lose if some players don't take Perception proficiency?

    You lose the ability to avoid surprise. Or rather increase the chance you will be surprised, in an ambush situation. Because surprise is determined on a per character basis.

    As long as you're not front rank, you don't necessarily lose much else. Since front (and occasionally very back) rank characters are the most likely to be in a position where they need to use Perception to notice threats. Per the PHB chapter on adventuring and DM judgement on the situation.

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: What do you lose if some players don't take Perception proficiency?

    Quote Originally Posted by RickAllison View Post
    The main downsides for not having Perception are a weakness to ambushes and traps. Traps only matter if you are stuck alone, while ambushes at worst stick you with surprise. You won't be a very good scout. But that is about it.
    Could be very deadly for low-AC Wizards who are denied Shield (can't use reactions when surprised) though, especially if the attackers count as hidden and/or unseen. Even Bladesingers can be caught without their Bladesong up.

    Then again, Wizards do get to mitigate this by using an Owl or Bat familiar (unless the DM is the sort who forbid spamming actions), and there's always the Alert feat (which works for any class, like the poor unfairly-denied-a-familiar Sorcerer).
    Last edited by NNescio; 2017-03-20 at 09:25 AM.
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    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: What do you lose if some players don't take Perception proficiency?

    it is also important to note that hiding will be on a per-PC basis. the group as a whole may notice an ambush, but until the wizard sees the enemy boss (say, an orc warlord), the wizard cannot cast, say.... hold person on that target.

    which seems like it will come into play at least occasionally.

    massive crippling drawback that you can't recover from? no. but it will have some consequences.

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    Default Re: What do you lose if some players don't take Perception proficiency?

    Honestly, I've found the importance of avoiding surprise varies from campaign to campaign.

    Some DMs will do a 'one Perception check to rule them all' before making the surprise check, to see if the other side is detected at longer range, either against stealth or against a fixed DC. After which the side that detects the other can attempt an ambush the other. I personally consider this to be doubling up on Perception checks, but a DM can call for whatever checks she likes so it's still RAW to do it. Which I had to be convinced of the first time I saw a post suggesting it was RAW. YMMV. But in this case Perception is only important for one or two characters.

    When I first started 5e, I had plenty of DMs that just declare surprise checks based on if they feel the situation warrants two sides bumbling into one another, which makes Perception way more valuable. It's also valuable if you're playing with DMs that have static 'scenes' that don't activate until PCs enter the picture, and therefore creatures can be laying in ambush for the PCs eternally until the suddenly 'trigger' the ambush. Effectively, traps that are actually creatures, but use the surprise rules instead of the detecting a threat rules, meaning individual perception matters more.

    However, I've also played with other DMs that only have surprise situations if one side was going to be intentionally trying an ambush situation against someone they had already scouted out, which made Perception (individually) far LESS valuable for PCs, and insanely more valuable for monsters. Because PCs are typically the ones scouting and invading the monsters home territory. It's still valuable for the front-rank PCs to detect traps, because those are by definition eternally static 'scenes' that don't trigger until a party enters the picture.
    Last edited by Tanarii; 2017-03-20 at 12:26 PM.

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    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: What do you lose if some players don't take Perception proficiency?

    It depends on your class. Anything that might be doing scout type duty at some point should probably have it in order to... well... see anything while scouting. For other stuff, it still depends on the class. A paladin using their ability to sense undead & stuff might do better at actually seeing the undead & stuff. A fighter/barbarian might see the goblins (or whatever) sneaking up to stab their squishy friend. For a wizard/warlock/sorcerer/ranger/etc built around attacking from range, it could be the difference between laying down the hurt & asking questions like "where is it? what are you guys shooting at?"

    Guides usually try to present an example of "optimal" with guidance for how to shade it differently & avoid mistakes. If you look at a guide & decide that the reasons it suggests perception are irrelevant to how you plan to play the character within your group, you will probably be fine; but it would be disingenuous to make a guide that doesn't mention its importance if there is any reason at all that it might be important to the roles the guide helps to to prepare the reader for.

    Guides are just guides, someone had an idea/blundered across something, did some testing, maybe learned some stuff, & scrawled it out for others to learn from and/or improve upon.

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    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Re: What do you lose if some players don't take Perception proficiency?

    Quote Originally Posted by Strill
    So every guide out there recommends Perception proficiency for every character ever. And for good reason. But I'm curious if there are really any consequences if one or two players in the group don't take it. For example, say one player, the squishy Wizard, dumped Perception in favor of Acrobatics to avoid being grappled, would that really impact the group's perception chances? Would it make any difference to the game at all?
    Wizards have neither Perception nor Acrobatics as skill options. So, nothing would change there :p

    That being said, if the party Fighter took Acrobatics instead of Perception? Well, they'd be missing out on approximately 2-6 times they'd have noticed something for every 20 opportunities. i.e. 10% to 30% fewer successes. This is all the worse in that circumstance as Athletics (also available to the Fighter) covers basically all the same scenarios as Acrobatics already.

    Is that bad? Yes, potentially.
    Of note the only classes that even have the Acrobatics or Perception? choice are: Bard, Fighter, Rogue

    Also bearing in mind, only half of all classes even have Perception as an option.

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    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: What do you lose if some players don't take Perception proficiency?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vogonjeltz View Post
    Wizards have neither Perception nor Acrobatics as skill options. So, nothing would change there :p

    That being said, if the party Fighter took Acrobatics instead of Perception? Well, they'd be missing out on approximately 2-6 times they'd have noticed something for every 20 opportunities. i.e. 10% to 30% fewer successes. This is all the worse in that circumstance as Athletics (also available to the Fighter) covers basically all the same scenarios as Acrobatics already.

    Is that bad? Yes, potentially.
    Of note the only classes that even have the Acrobatics or Perception? choice are: Bard, Fighter, Rogue

    Also bearing in mind, only half of all classes even have Perception as an option.
    A lot of backgrounds have the skills you mention & that's before you start picking one with a skill you have to take any other skill or making changes to a background. Pretty much any class can start with just about any skill in place of/in addition to some other "class skill" if they want.

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
    PirateWench

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    Default Re: What do you lose if some players don't take Perception proficiency?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tetrasodium View Post
    A lot of backgrounds have the skills you mention & that's before you start picking one with a skill you have to take any other skill or making changes to a background. Pretty much any class can start with just about any skill in place of/in addition to some other "class skill" if they want.
    Not just that, any background can be customized without permission from the DM to have whatever skills you need. Lots of customization on backgrounds, with the only limitations being you can't create new options (the DM can, and if he does then you can use those for customization) and you can't take the poisoner's kit unless the DM creates a background that has that kit as a proficiency bonus as it is the one tool in the books that isn't in the backgrounds.

    So really, a character has their class and racial skills and then two free skill choices. So you could pick Athletics/Acrobatics and Perception, but then you only have your class skills as options, and skills are the thing that are brutal to pick up.
    Quote Originally Posted by krugaan
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    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Re: What do you lose if some players don't take Perception proficiency?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tetrasodium View Post
    A lot of backgrounds have the skills you mention & that's before you start picking one with a skill you have to take any other skill or making changes to a background. Pretty much any class can start with just about any skill in place of/in addition to some other "class skill" if they want.
    How many backgrounds carry perception? Oh right 1 out of 13.

    5 race options allow for it, and 4 of those are elves (high, wood, dark, and half) and variant humans, so technically that's just 4 out of 15 PHB racial options.

    So yeah, as long as you're comfortable being a sailor Wizard (lol about as common as Drizzts right?) or getting locked out of over 100 race/prof combos, sure.

    Basically what you said wasn't true, but it's important to demonstrate exactly how ridiculous it was.

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    GnomeWizardGuy

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    Default Re: What do you lose if some players don't take Perception proficiency?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vogonjeltz View Post
    How many backgrounds carry perception? Oh right 1 out of 13.

    5 race options allow for it, and 4 of those are elves (high, wood, dark, and half) and variant humans, so technically that's just 4 out of 15 PHB racial options.

    So yeah, as long as you're comfortable being a sailor Wizard (lol about as common as Drizzts right?) or getting locked out of over 100 race/prof combos, sure.

    Basically what you said wasn't true, but it's important to demonstrate exactly how ridiculous it was.
    Heh. You got ninja'd by the counter to this argument.

    Background customization is part of the base rules and does not require gm permission. Amy background can give any two skills and any two of [tools or languages].

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    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: What do you lose if some players don't take Perception proficiency?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vogonjeltz View Post
    How many backgrounds carry perception? Oh right 1 out of 13.

    5 race options allow for it, and 4 of those are elves (high, wood, dark, and half) and variant humans, so technically that's just 4 out of 15 PHB racial options.

    So yeah, as long as you're comfortable being a sailor Wizard (lol about as common as Drizzts right?) or getting locked out of over 100 race/prof combos, sure.

    Basically what you said wasn't true, but it's important to demonstrate exactly how ridiculous it was.
    Wizards get "Choose two from Arcana, History, Insight, Investigation, Medicine, and Religion" for class skills. Any background with one or both of the skills you choose from there (possibly even the ones you don't depending on reading) lets you choose any other skill in place of that background's skill that you already had. There are a lot of backgrounds with at least one of those six skills.
    Spoiler: customizing a background in phb126
    Show

    C u s t o m i z i n g a
    B a c k g r o u n d
    You might want to tweak
    som e of the features of a
    background so it better
    fits your character
    or the campaign
    setting. To custom ize
    a background, you can
    replace one feature
    with any other one,
    choose any two
    skills, and choose
    a total of two tool
    proficiencies or
    languages from the
    sample backgrounds.
    You can either use
    the equipment
    package from your
    background or spend
    coin on gear as
    described in chapter
    5. (If you spend
    coin, you canít also
    take the equipment
    package suggested
    for your class.)
    Finally, choose
    two personality

    and to be honest, looking at that, I think my summary of it was probably a lot more strict than it actually is.

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    Default Re: What do you lose if some players don't take Perception proficiency?

    Quote Originally Posted by RickAllison View Post
    Not just that, any background can be customized without permission from the DM to have whatever skills you need.
    Quote Originally Posted by mgshamster View Post
    Heh. You got ninja'd by the counter to this argument.

    Background customization is part of the base rules and does not require gm permission. Amy background can give any two skills and any two of [tools or languages].
    DMG disagrees and puts background customization in the hands of the DM.

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    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: What do you lose if some players don't take Perception proficiency?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    DMG disagrees and puts background customization in the hands of the DM.
    page 126 of the phb talks about "customizing" a background. page 26 of the dmg talks about "creating" backgrounds. They are entirely different things with different rules. The phb on was posted a few posts up in a spoiler, the dmg section on creating them allows much more freedom. dmg264 talks about the dm using backgrounds as proficiencies, but that's a wildly different thing

    You don't appear to be citing anything specific in the dmg, & the phb section with page number was already quoted quite a bit before you even posted.... I'm just gonna say that you are probably wrongly interpreting something from memory & expecting to see wording that does not exist somewhere. Till you can start citing anything a tiny bit more specfic than "the DMG", I'll leave it at that.
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    GnomeWizardGuy

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    Default Re: What do you lose if some players don't take Perception proficiency?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    DMG disagrees and puts background customization in the hands of the DM.
    Not really. It just gives guidelines for how to create a new background, including a new background feature.

    That doesn't invalidate the customization options for backgrounds in the PHB, where it explicitly states that you can mix and match your background feature, proficiencies, and personality stuff.

    It doesn't say that it replaces the customization options in the PHB nor that a player shouldn't be allowed to change it up following PHB guidelines.

    It's an addition to, not a replacement thereof.

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    PirateWench

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    Default Re: What do you lose if some players don't take Perception proficiency?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    DMG disagrees and puts background customization in the hands of the DM.
    DMG does not disagree. DMG gives rules on creating backgrounds which I addressed already. The DM gets to create whatever features and use whatever tool proficiencies they want while players are restricted to what is possible among the backgrounds that already exist. But we already have a thread for this. RAW, you are wrong; RAI, you are wrong; you can be fine in houserules, because only you know what will improve the quality of play at your table. I can say without doubt that your statement is wrong in terms of actual rules, I just can't say that your rule isn't better.

    Heck, I could believe that your rule improves play because you have to make the skills actually fit the background, but that doesn't make it correct in terms of the general rules for games.
    Quote Originally Posted by krugaan
    All it takes is once:

    "Grandpa, tells us that story about the Ricalison the Great again!"

    Hours later...

    "... and that, kids, is how he conquered the world with dancing lights."

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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: What do you lose if some players don't take Perception proficiency?

    10% or more from their individual Perception checks. I don't recall the math to determine how much having proficiency on more characters increases the overall chance of success.

    When it comes to Passive Perception, only the character with the highest Wisdom and/or Observant feat needs to have proficiency and then either they take care of it, or it's a challenge above the capabilities of the PCs.
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    Troll in the Playground
     
    SwashbucklerGuy

    Join Date
    Feb 2014

    Default Re: What do you lose if some players don't take Perception proficiency?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tetrasodium View Post
    Wizards get "Choose two from Arcana, History, Insight, Investigation, Medicine, and Religion" for class skills. Any background with one or both of the skills you choose from there (possibly even the ones you don't depending on reading) lets you choose any other skill in place of that background's skill that you already had. There are a lot of backgrounds with at least one of those six skills.
    Spoiler: customizing a background in phb126
    Show

    C u s t o m i z i n g a
    B a c k g r o u n d
    You might want to tweak
    som e of the features of a
    background so it better
    fits your character
    or the campaign
    setting. To custom ize
    a background, you can
    replace one feature
    with any other one,
    choose any two
    skills, and choose
    a total of two tool
    proficiencies or
    languages from the
    sample backgrounds.
    You can either use
    the equipment
    package from your
    background or spend
    coin on gear as
    described in chapter
    5. (If you spend
    coin, you canít also
    take the equipment
    package suggested
    for your class.)
    Finally, choose
    two personality

    and to be honest, looking at that, I think my summary of it was probably a lot more strict than it actually is.
    There are actually only 5 (less than half) that have one of those skills. So still contrary to your claim of "a lot". It also pigeonholes the Wizard into whatever skill is being duplicated.

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