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House Rules


The following house rules link the "perception" skills (listen, spot and search).

  • The listen, spot and search skills are linked, having the same number of ranks. When you spend a skill point on listen, for instance, your spot and search skills increase at the same rate. (You may still have a different total bonus to your roll, however, due to different applicable ability bonuses, circumstance bonuses, bonuses from feats, etc.)
  • If any one of listen, spot or search is considered a class skill for you, then all three are.

In order to "convert" an existing character over to this new "system":

  • Any character that currently has ranks in just one of listen, spot or search should move them over to perceive instead. If a character has ranks in two or more of these skills, then determine which skill has the most skill points invested in it; move the skill points from that skill to perceive. The remaining skill points invested in the other skill(s) may be re-spent as the player sees fit (within normal rules and limitations).
  • For monster entries, the DM may still use Listen, Spot or Search bonuses, as appropriate, without necessarily having to rewrite all the monster statistics. Animal companions, familiars, and any NPCs that advance along with the PCs should use the new "perceive" rule instead.

Design Notes: The purpose of this change is to do away with the phenomenon of a character being excellent at, say, noticing a rat hiding in the bushes (with a spot check), but being absolutely incapable of finding a rat figurine hidden in the bushes (with a search check). In many game systems, just a single "perception" or "cognition" check would be called for a PC to notice clues or detect ambushes - but in d20 the "perception" skills have been divided at least three ways. This house rule is an attempt to consolidate it a bit more.

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