Archives of Nethys

Pathfinder RPG (1st Edition) Starfinder RPG Pathfinder RPG (2nd Edition)

Acrobatics | Athletics | Bluff | Computers | Culture | Diplomacy | Disguise | Engineering | Intimidate | Life Science | Medicine | Mysticism | Perception | Physical Science | Piloting | Profession | Sense Motive | Sleight of Hand | Stealth | Survival


Whether you are a battle-hardened soldier who can freeze a foe’s blood with a glance, a garrulous envoy who can blend into any social situation, or a brilliant technomancer with knowledge about every subject in the galaxy, skills represent some of your most fundamental abilities. At 1st level, you start with a number of skill ranks determined by your class, representing your initial training, and you gain more skill ranks as you gain levels, allowing you to improve in skills you already have or gain new ones.

Perception (Wis)

Source Starfinder Core Rulebook pg. 144
You can use all of your senses (hearing, taste, touch, sight, and smell) to notice danger, pick out fine details, and search for hidden objects or creatures.


You can use Perception to notice things happening around you. This is the most basic task of the Perception skill. It can be used for a variety of reasons determined by the GM. You might attempt a Perception check to see if you can act in a surprise round, to spot something important out of the corner of your eye, or to realize there are hidden creatures nearby (though you can’t notice a creature that is invisible unless it makes itself known; see page 264). A Perception check to notice usually does not involve taking an action, though you must be conscious and have the use of at least some of your senses to do so. The GM determines the DC. You cannot take 20 on a Perception check to notice things.

The DCs for Perception checks to notice things are determined by the GM based on the circumstances and may be adjusted to reflect other conditions. See the search task below for a chart with some example circumstances and their typical DCs.

Pierce Disguise

As a move action, you can use Perception to recognize that a creature has changed its appearance. Sometimes, if you are being particularly alert for those in the area who might be in disguise, the GM might allow you to do this without taking an action. This check is opposed by a Disguise check attempted by the disguised creature. If you succeed, you realize the creature is disguised and not who it seems, but not necessarily who or what the disguised creature is beneath that disguise. If the disguised creature is impersonating a particular individual that you know, the GM might grant you a bonus to your Perception check.

Divination magic or scanners that allow you to see through illusions or holograms do not penetrate mundane and low-tech disguises, but they can negate illusory or holographic components of a disguise.

The DCs for Perception checks to pierce a disguise are adjusted according to how familiar the observer is with the particular individual the disguised creature is masquerading as, as well as other circumstances determined by the GM.

FamiliarityDC Modifier
Close friends–8
Friends or associates–6
Recognizes on sight–4


As a move action, you can use Perception to search for something in particular, such as finding an invisible creature that has made itself known or a hidden creature you know is in the area, or looking for nearby traps or hazards. You can also search an area to find anything of interest that might be hidden or is otherwise not immediately noticeable, such as concealed cargo compartments or hidden treasure. In that case, it takes 1 minute to search an area no more than 20 feet by 20 feet (or smaller, if the GM rules the area is particularly cluttered or complex). The DC is determined by the Stealth check of the creature, by the trap or hazard involved, or by the GM. If you are not in combat, you can take 20 on a Perception check to search.

The DCs for Perception checks to search may be adjusted by the GM based on the circumstances and to reflect other conditions. The following chart provides some example circumstances and their typical DCs.

Hear the sound of battle0
Detect a strong smell0
Hear the details of a conversation0
Notice a creature in plain sight0
Determine whether food is spoiled5
Hear the sound of a Small or Medium creature walking10
Hear the details of a whispered conversation15
Find a typical unmarked cargo hatch15
Hear the sound of an automatic door opening20
Find a typical secret compartment20
Hear a pistol being drawn20
Sense a creature burrowing 5 feet below you25
Notice someone picking your pocketOpposed by Sleight of Hand
Notice a creature using StealthOpposed by Stealth
Find a hidden trapVaries by trap