Perception Checks – Assigning DCs Creatively

From Richard Game:

What I generally do for my PCs, is that if you do a “general” perception check, I’ll give you a “general” description of what you see. The more detail of a Perception check you want to do, the more detailed of an answer i give (also dependent on the dice roll).

“I want to check out the statue” vs “I want to check the base of the statue for some kind of trap or pressure plate”.

Expanding on that:

If PCs interact with the thing they are searching, they get more information, or the difficulty is easier if they are closer, if they touch it, etc.  They should also specify what they are trying to find out when they are searching (i.e. “is it heavy?”, “does it seem hollow?”, etc).

The dice roll doesn’t have to be “all or nothing” – some detail should always be given.  You might have an arbitrary threshold, modified by proximity or detail of player questioning, as to when a specific juicy detail is revealed.  Keep in mind though, that the adventure is much more interesting if it IS revealed…