How To Calculate Passive Perception In 5E

There are some instances wherein your GM will ask for your Passive Perception; in fact, there’ll be a little area for you to put your Passive Perception yourself! Passive Perception is what GMs use to see if you naturally spot something hidden without your character searching the area. It’s one of the most essential DCs for a GM to know. Let’s take a look below to understand how to calculate this Passive Perception.

How To Calculate Passive Perception

To calculate Passive Perception, remember this formula to calculate:

Passive Perception=10 + Wisdom + Proficiency Bonus (If proficient in Perception) + Any other bonuses to Perception

You can also just use this:

Passive Perception = 10 + Wisdom (Perception)

Other Modifiers To Calculate Passive Perception

Advantage and Disadvantage

There are a few ways to boost your Passive Perception. Like most Passive skill rank, if you have Advantage, then you get a +5. Disadvantage signifies a -5. This means that if you can get Advantage on Perception checks, you actually have 15 + Wisdom. This is essential, especially if your class is a Monk or Cleric who can afford to have high Wisdom. To add, if you can obtain magical items that change Perception, your Passive Perception will be incomparable and a force to beat.

With that, remember that majority of characters that don’t have Darkvision can’t, of course see well in the dark. So when this happens, you’ll get a -5 penalty to Passive Perception for things in the dark.


If you have the Expertise ability, you should double the proficiency bonus you upgrade with the Perception check. Anything that can change your modifier for Wisdom will boost your Passive, even if it says Skill checks.

Observant Feat

Lastly, the best way to boost your eyes while walking around is to obtain the Observant feat. The Observant feat increases your Intelligence or Wisdom, enables you to be a pro at reading lips, and boosts 5 to your passive Wisdom and Intelligence. 

The majority wouldn’t consider this feat really useful or powerful, but if you wish to randomly choose a feat, it’s okay. Use this to obtain 20 Wisdom, and you’d be amazed at your heightened senses! Combining Observant and Advantage on Perception, you can actually get yourself a 20 + Wisdom.


Passive Perception is confusing to understand at first, but it’s a fantastic tool to allow GM’s to dodge continuously rolling Perception in the background. Also, note that Passive Perception doesn’t mean that you roll a minimum of 10 on any given Perception chec

Not only that, make sure to familiarize yourself with your own Passive Perception and sense types. By doing this, you help the GM in many ways if they plan on concealing things from the PCs. What’s more, if you have a scent or Darkvision, you are lucky because your Passive Perception just gets boosted by 5.

Still confused about passive reception? Check out the insightful threads from Reddit and Stackexchange as well as watch the video below to learn more. Happy playing!

Leave a Comment