When are Spot and Listen Checks Required?

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Argos
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When are Spot and Listen Checks Required?

Postby Argos » Wed Aug 17, 2005 11:29 am

When should a Spot or Listen check be called for?

Should the Spot check range increment penalty (-1 per 10 feet) come into play when making a ranged attack?
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Postby ronalmb » Wed Aug 17, 2005 11:34 am

If I understand your question correctly, you are asking if you apply the Spot check range increment penalty to ranged attack rolls?

To the best of my knowledge, no you do not. Range attacks already have their own range increment penalty, and I believe that is (10 x rank) feet.

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Spot and Listen

Postby Rivalsan » Thu Aug 18, 2005 4:14 pm

I'd require those checks to notice things that are hidden or hear things that are hard to hear.

For instance - Spotting the one key they needed to open the door in the first Harry Potter book.

Hearing the ninja sneak up behind you ..
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Postby farik » Thu Aug 18, 2005 8:03 pm

Generally spot and listen are used to observe something in the enviorment normally a clue or hint to further the adventure but also commonly they can reveal a trap.

The DC of these checks depends on how challenging the GM wants the encounter to be but distance can be factor as well as cover or other environemental factors..
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Re: When are Spot and Listen Checks Required?

Postby tesuji » Fri Aug 19, 2005 12:49 pm

Argos wrote:When should a Spot or Listen check be called for?

When its not obvious that something was seen or heard.

Argos wrote:Should the Spot check range increment penalty (-1 per 10 feet) come into play when making a ranged attack?


By the rules, attacks are penalized by normal attack roll penalties.

visibility can cause penalties by concealment, but not by range modifiers.
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Range penalties

Postby Rivalsan » Fri Aug 19, 2005 2:56 pm

Dunno there..

If Villain Bob is stealthing his way across a room, and the PC is 50 feet away, its gonna be harder for him to see or hear Bob than it would be if he were 20 feet away.

Applying penalties for distance is entirely appropriate.
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Re: Range penalties

Postby farik » Fri Aug 19, 2005 3:00 pm

Rivalsan wrote:Dunno there..

If Villain Bob is stealthing his way across a room, and the PC is 50 feet away, its gonna be harder for him to see or hear Bob than it would be if he were 20 feet away.

Applying penalties for distance is entirely appropriate.


yes but how much of a penalty will be up the GM the difference between 50 ft and 100 ft in the dark isn't going to be covered by standard range penalties. Range penalties reflect the difficulty of hitting something; it's normally much easier to see things than it is to hit them. For instance as easy as it is to hit the broad side of a barn it's even easier to notice it.
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Re: Range penalties

Postby JSmith99 » Sat Aug 20, 2005 3:41 am

Rivalsan wrote:Dunno there..

If Villain Bob is stealthing his way across a room, and the PC is 50 feet away, its gonna be harder for him to see or hear Bob than it would be if he were 20 feet away.

Applying penalties for distance is entirely appropriate.


Mathematically, there might be no difference, but a higher DC would reflect that more aptly than a range penalty, wouldn't it?

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Postby Hawkmansdaddy » Tue Aug 23, 2005 9:06 pm

In the case of Villian Bob, we're talking about an opposed check; I agree with Rivalsan, in this case the range penalty listed for spot should apply, reducing the chance that Bob will be noticed.

For most any other situation I think it's better and quicker to just use a higher DC for the spot check.

As to some situations that might require a spot check, how about those situations where a goon runs into a crowd to escape the hero, a spot check will determine if the hero loses sight of him. How about when your hero is patroling town from the roof-tops and might not notice the car boosting going on in that alley, make a spot check... Ever have your players ask you "can I tell if he's carrying a concealed weapon?", spot check.

Listen checks are a different story and IME are only used by rogues and elves trying to hear what's going on behind that locked door, but...
your hero is perched on a ledge outside the crime boss' apartment, does he hear the conversation going on inside? make a listen check. Some stealth checks are opposed by listen (like someone sneaking up behind the pc). Ever see Superman suddenly turn his head 'cuz he just heard a scream in another state? that's a successful listen check (and some serious ranks in super-senses).

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Spot or Listen checks

Postby Ice Floe » Mon Sep 12, 2005 10:18 am

It may be easier if you as the GM make the Spot and Listen checks in secret if the players don't specify they are keeping their attention on the surroundings. I have had players state they were watching the door never notice the hidden danger in the shadowy corner...

If you ask the players to make Spot or Listen checks out of the blue, they WILL be on alert and cry foul if you rule they are caught by surprise.

As the GM, you can apply the range penalties due to distance after the fact, to keep things honest. Unless Telescopic Senses are employed, every character, PC or NPC gets the same range modifiers to Spot, Listen, or Search checks. All-Around Sight and other feats will help mitigate the difficulty.
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Re: Spot or Listen checks

Postby Mitchell » Mon Sep 12, 2005 10:25 am

Ice Floe wrote:It may be easier if you as the GM make the Spot and Listen checks in secret if the players don't specify they are keeping their attention on the surroundings. I have had players state they were watching the door never notice the hidden danger in the shadowy corner...

If you ask the players to make Spot or Listen checks out of the blue, they WILL be on alert and cry foul if you rule they are caught by surprise.

As the GM, you can apply the range penalties due to distance after the fact, to keep things honest. Unless Telescopic Senses are employed, every character, PC or NPC gets the same range modifiers to Spot, Listen, or Search checks. All-Around Sight and other feats will help mitigate the difficulty.



From what I've heard, some GMs just roll the dice in advance, and have a sheet with them...They go down the sheet, to figure it out. (Adding in the bonuses of the Heroes, of course...)

Alternatively, they already have the bonuses added in, and it's a sheet for each hero...
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