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Use this skill to notice and find things, whether hearing at a great distance, finding half-buried under a bed, or in the honeyed words of an enemy.


Resistance A perceptive character is harder to deceive or catch unawares. The DC to overcome your Perception Resistance is 10 + your ranks in Perception + your Awareness.


Make a Perception check to notice something. Perception checks generally suffer a penalty for increasing distance between yourself and the target (see Senses in the Character Core for details), as well as for poor conditions (such as poor lighting for a check to spot with vision) or being distracted.

Situation Penalty
Long Ranged Sense with Target two zones away 1 Penalty
Close Ranged Sense with Target one zone away 1 Penalty
Each additional zone distant 1 Penalty
Poor Conditions (low light, background noise, strong scents) 1 Penalty
Very Poor Conditions (very dim light, loud noises, overpowering scents) 2 Penalties

Listen (auditory)Edit

Make a check against a DC based on how loud the noise is or against an opposed Infiltration check. A normal conversation is DC 0, a quiet noise DC 10. Listening through a door is +5 DC, +15 for a solid wall. While you’re asleep, hearing something well enough to wake up is +10 DC.

Spot (visual)Edit

Make a check against a DC based on how visible the object is or against an opposed Infiltration check. Spot is also used to detect someone in Disguise, or to notice a concealed object.

Other SensesEdit

You can make Perception checks involving other sense types as well as various special senses (see Enhanced Senses). Noticing something obvious to a sense is DC 0. Less obvious things are DC 10 or so, hidden things DC 20 or more, and making out details requires you to exceed the DC by 10 or more.


You must be within 10 feet (one range increment) of the area. You can examine a 5-foot-by-5-foot area or a volume of goods 5 feet on a side with a single check.

Search can turn up things like footprints, but does not allow you to follow tracks (see Tracking).

Task DC
Ransack an area to find a certain object. 10
Notice a secret compartment, a simple trap, or an obscure clue. 20
Find a well-hidden secret compartment or trap, or an extremely obscure clue. 25+

Finding Concealed ObjectsEdit

The DC to search for a concealed object is usually based on the Infiltration check of the character who hid it. The GM can assume characters with the time take 20 on their check to conceal an object.


You can use Search to set up surveillance of a particular area, watching from a stationary location. The DC of the subject’s Infiltration check to evade your notice is equal to the result of your Search check.

Extended SearchesEdit

Certain FX (notably ESP, Quickness, and Enhanced Senses) greatly extend the area you can search at once. When searching for something over an extended area, use the following guidelines. Determine the area’s approximate diameter. For each step up the Extended Range Table (starting at 10 feet for twice the normal Search area), move the time required to search the area one step up the Time and Value Progression Table (starting at one minute, the interval above a full round). You can reduce the time required for an extended search by increasing the DC of the Search check: each step down the Time and Value Progression Table, to a minimum of a full round, is 1 penalty. The Quickness FX can also reduce the time for an extended search. You can take 10 and take 20 on extended searches. Taking 20 requires 20 times the base time to search the area, and you can’t reduce the time by increasing the DC if you take 20.

Sense MotiveEdit

A successful Sense Motive check allows you to avoid the effects of some interaction skills. You can also use the skill to tell when someone is behaving oddly or to assess their trustworthiness.


You can use this skill to make an assessment of a social situation. With a successful check (DC 20), you can get a feeling when something is wrong. You can also tell if someone is trustworthy and honorable (or not) with an opposed Perception and Persuasion check.

Notice InfluenceEdit

You can make a Sense Motive check to notice someone acting under the influence of a mental FX. The DC is 10 + the FX’s rank.

Notice InnuendoEdit

You can use Sense Motive to detect a hidden message transmitted via the Persuasion skill (DC equal to the check result). If your check result beats the DC, you understand the secret message. If your check fails by 5 or more, you misinterpret the message in some fashion. If you are not the intended recipient of the message, your DC increases by 5.

Resist InteractionEdit

Make a Sense Motive check to resist or ignore the effects of certain interaction skills, such as Persuasion. If the result of your check exceeds your opponent’s check result, you are unaffected.

Try AgainEdit

You can make a Notice check every time you have the opportunity to notice something new. As a move action, you can attempt to notice something you failed (or believe you failed) to notice previously.

For Sense Motive, you cannot try again, though you can make a Perception check for each interaction attempt against you.


A Notice check is either a reaction (if called for by the GM) or one action (if you take the time to try and notice something).

A Search check takes two actions.

A Sense Motive check may be made as a reaction to notice or resist something. (When that’s the case, the GM may roll the Sense Motive check in secret, so you don’t know if there’s something to notice or not.) Using Sense Motive to evaluate a person or situation takes at least 1 minute.


When several characters try to notice the same thing, the GM can make a single d20 roll and use it for all the characters’ skill checks. Various sensory effects provide modifiers on Notice checks (see Enhanced Senses).

Taking 20 on a Notice check means you spend 1 minute attempting to notice something that may or may not be there.


Most uses of Sense Motive are simple checks, but the GM can allow extended checks in situations similar to those described for Persuasion.

Certain hidden items might require an extended Search check, particularly if they are obscured with layers of concealment. An extended Search can also represent searching a large area for something.


The following Challenges are appropriate for Perception checks:

  • Accurate: In return for 2 penalties to your Perception check, you can treat a normally inaccurate sense (such as hearing) as accurate for one round. A successful check tells you the exact spot a subject occupies. A failed check means you don't notice anything.
  • Lip Reading: By careful observation of the movements of someone's mouth and lips, you can tell what he is saying. Lip reading is 2 penalties to your Perception check. You must be within an adjacent zone to the speaker and be able to accurately see him speak. You must also be able to understand the speaker's language. You have to concentrate on reading lips for a full minute (10 rounds) before making the check, and can't perform some other action during this time. You can move at half speed but not any faster, and must maintain a line of sight to the lips being read. If the check succeeds, you understand the general content of a minute's worth of speech, but may still miss certain details. If the check fails, you can't read the speaker’s lips. If the check fails by 5 or more, you draw some incorrect conclusion about the speech. The GM rolls the Perception check so you don't know whether you succeeded or failed and therefore don’t know whether or not any information you picked up is accurate. You can spend a hero die to re-roll a lip reading attempt, but you do so "blind," not knowing what the original die roll result was (and therefore whether or not you can do better). You can retry a failed attempt at lip reading once per minute.
  • Read Situation: For every penalty you accept to your Perception check, you learn one fact about the situation at hand when evaluating a situation. The GM may tell you things like someone’s apparent goal(s), the nature of an interaction, and so forth.