The Carrion Crown
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In Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 Edition play, there was a ‘Spot’ skill and a ‘Search’ skill. In Pathfinder this is united under the single skill of ‘Perception’
Generally skill use takes a Standard Action.
Simplifying this further, I will assume that everyone ‘takes 10’ on perception when moving at standard speed and not engaged in other activities, for example, walking or riding along.
If engaged in simple generic activities (engaged or focused on a conversation, eating and so forth) then a -5 penalty to that ‘take 10’ score.
If you wish to search for something, got to special effort to spot something or are engaged in activities that use your standard action (combat or using another skill) then a perception roll applies.
When I ask for your perception, there is no need to roll – simply take your perception skill modifier and add 10 to it.