Wednesday, April 15, 2015

"It's a trap!" Finding traps in D&D 5E

My first time as a player, in the not so new D&D 5th Edition, I played my favorite class (of course): a Rogue. Back then, I hadn't read thoroughly the PHB so I made the wrong assumption, by reading the skills list, that my Rogue will be needing Intelligence (Investigation) to look for traps. Imagine my surprise when I tried to look for them and my DM tells me to roll Perception! We argued a little, but at the end I conceded (because you don't want to piss-off your DM =P), and ask him to let me change my character, so that I may have proficiency in Perception instead of Investigation. He agreed.

And that was it. I was going to just accept that now you look for traps with Perception. Even when it felt weird, because (for me), when you're looking for traps... well, you are actively looking for them, right? For me that's "investigating", and it kind of fits the Intelligence stat because you're supposed to know what you are looking for. I mean, when I think about it, if me (the actual real me) was supposed to be in a dark dungeon looking for traps, I will die on the first step because I have absolutely no clue what a trap should look like. It's a know how, knowledge, ergo Intelligence. I consider Perception (and Wisdom) a more intuitive thing, instincts and senses are involved. But anyways, as I said, I was accepting the new system as is. Until running The Rise of Tiamat adventure!

Perception and/or Investigation?

So here I was reading my beautiful new module, when I found out —in the Tomb of Diderius section— that a player can make a Wisdom (Perception) check DC 24 or an Intelligence (Investigation) check DC 18 to find a plate that is part of a trap, but not the trigger. The trigger itself was somewhere else and it required a successful Wisdom (Perception) check DC 22 (I'm not including any details about the actual trap to avoid any spoilers). Now, hold on a second! Why can a character find part of the trap with either Wisdom (Perception) or Intelligence (Investigation)? And why is way easier to do so with the latter? Alright —I said to myself— the actual trap still requires Wisdom (Perception) check to find, let's stick to that. So I kept reading, and three pages later I found another trap, that can be detected with a successful Intelligence (Investigation) check DC 15! What!?