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Spot (Wis)

Use this skill to notice bandits waiting in ambush, to see a rogue lurking in the alley, to see through a disguise, to read lips, or to see the monstrous centipede in the pile of trash.

Check: The Spot skill is used primarily to detect characters or creatures who are hiding. Typically, your Spot check is opposed by the Hide check of the creature trying not to be seen. Sometimes a creature isn't intentionally hiding but is still difficult to see, so a successful Spot check is necessary to notice it.

A Spot check result higher than 20 generally lets you become aware of an invisible creature near you, though you cannot actually see it.

Spot is also used to detect someone in disguise (see the Disguise skill), and to read lips when you can't hear or understand what someone is saying.

The Dungeon Master may call for Spot checks to determine the distance at which an encounter begins. A penalty applies on such checks, depending on she distance between the two individuals or groups, and an additional penalty may apply if the character making the Spot check is distracted (not concentrating on being observant).

Per 10 feet of distance-1
Spotter distracted-5

Read Lips: To understand what someone is saying by reading lips, you must be within 30 feet of the speaker, be able to see him speak, and understand the speaker's language. (This use of the skill is language-dependent.) The base DC is 15, but it increases for complex speech or an inarticulate speaker. You must maintain a line of sight to the lips being read.

If your Spot check succeeds, you can understand the general content of a minute's worth of speaking, but you usually still miss certain details. If the check fails by 4 or less, you can't read the speaker's lips, if the check fails by 5 or more, you draw some incorrect conclusion about the speech. Your DM rolls your check secretly in this case, so that you don't know whether you succeeded or missed by 5.

Action: Varies. Every time you have a chance to spot something in a reactive manner (for example, when someone tries to sneak past you while hidden, or you move into a new area), you can make a Spot check without using an action. Trying to spot something you failed to see previously is a move action, To read lips, you must concentrate for a full minute before making a Spot check, and you can't perform any other action (other than moving at up to half speed) during this minute.

Try Again: Yes. You can try so spot something that you failed to see previously at no penalty. You can attempt so read lips once per minute.

Special: A fascinated creature takes a -4 penalty on Spot checks made as reactions.

If you have the Alertness feat, you get a +2 bonus on Spot checks.

A ranger gains a bonus on Spot checks when using this skill against a favored enemy.

An elf has a +2 racial bonus on Spot checks because elves have keen senses.

A half-elf has a +1 racial bonus on Spot checks. Her eyesight is good because of her elven heritage, but not as keen as that of a full elf

The master of a hawk familiar (see Familiars) gains a +3 bonus on Spot checks in daylight or other lighted areas.

The master of an owl familiar (see Familiars) gains a +3 bonus on Spot checks in shadowy or other darkened areas.

Expanded Description - Stormwrack

At sea, spotting another ship without being spotted yourself gives you a great advantage - you can decide whether to seek out or avoid meeting the other vessel. Assuming good visibility (daylight, clear conditions), the basic spotting distance to detect another vessel at sea depends on the height of the observer (swimming, deck, masthead, or flying) and the height of the other vessel or feature. Choose the row corresponding the observer's height of eye and the column corresponding to the size or height of the target. Peaks greater than 5,000 feet high can be seen from quite a long distance.

Swimming: The observer is swimming on the surface.

Deck Height: The observer is on a small boat such as a rowboat or small sailboat, standing on the deck of a larger ship, or hovering about 5 to 10 feet above the water.

Masthead Height: The observer is in a large ship's rigging or crow's nest, or otherwise suspended about 20 to 100 feet above the water surface.

Flying: An observer at least a couple of hundred feet in the air (well above the masthead of even the largest sailing ships).

Check: The DC to spot a vessel or object at the base distance is 20. The best lookout on watch makes the check; if no specific lookout is on watch, the character with the best Spot check makes the check.

If the lookout fails to spot the target vessel at the base distance, the other vessel is automatically spotted once it closes within half the distance given (assuming no magical concealment is involved). For example, two ships normally have an opportunity to spot each other at a range of 12 miles (masthead to masthead); if one vessel fails its check, it automatically spots the other vessel when the range closes to 6 miles or less.

A swimmer encountering another swimmer or low-lying object has an encounter distance of 3d6x20 feet.

Base Spotting Distance By Height
  - Object Observed -
Height of EyeIn WaterSmall BoatSailing ShipHilltop or Peak
Swimming3d6x20 ft.0.5 mile1 mile6 miles
Deck0.5 mile2 miles6 miles12 miles
Masthead1 mile6 miles12 miles25 to 50 miles
Flying1 mile12 miles25 miles100 miles

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