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Perception (Wis)

Your senses allow you to notice fine details and alert you to danger. Perception covers all five senses, including sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell.


Perception has a number of uses, the most common of which is an opposed check versus an opponent's Stealth check to notice the opponent and avoid being surprised. If you are successful, you notice the opponent and can react accordingly. If you fail, your opponent can take a variety of actions, including sneaking past you and attacking you.

Detail Perception DC
Hear the sound of battle –10
Notice the stench of rotting garbage –10
Detect the smell of smoke 0
Hear the details of a conversation 0
Notice a visible creature 0
Determine if food is spoiled 5
Hear the sound of a creature walking 10
Hear the details of a whispered conversation 15
Hear the sound of a key being turned in a lock 20
Hear a bow being drawn 25
Sense a burrowing creature underneath you 25
Notice a pickpocket Opposed by Sleight of Hand
Notice a creature using Stealth Opposed by Stealth

The following modifiers to target DCs apply to all Perception skill checks. The modifiers stack with one another, but only the most severe modifier for any one condition applies.

Perception Modifiers DC Modifier
Distance to the source, object, or creature +1/10 feet
Through a closed door +5
Through a wall +10/foot of thickness
Favorable conditions 1 –2
Unfavorable conditions1 +2
Terrible conditions2 +5
Creature making the check is distracted +5
Creature making the check is asleep +10
Creature or object is invisible +20
1 Favorable and unfavorable conditions depend upon the sense being used to make the check. For example, bright light might decrease the DC of checks involving sight, while torchlight or moonlight might increase the DC. Background noise might increase a DC involving hearing, while competing odors might increase the DC of a check involving scent.
2 As for unfavorable conditions, but more extreme. For example, candlelight for DCs involving sight, a roaring dragon for DCs involving hearing, and an overpowering stench covering the area for DCs involving scent.


Most Perception checks are reactive, made in response to observable stimulus. Intentionally searching for stimulus is a move action.

Try Again

Yes. You can try to sense something you missed the first time, so long as the stimulus is still present.


Creatures with the scent special quality have a +8 bonus on Perception checks made to detect a scent. Creatures with the tremorsense special quality have a +8 bonus on Perception checks against creatures touching the ground and automatically make any such checks within their range. For more on special qualities, see Special Abilities.

A spellcaster with a hawk or owl familiar gains a +3 bonus on Perception checks. If you have the Alertness feat, you get a bonus on Perception checks.