Use this skill to notice opponents waiting in ambush, to see a mugger lurking in the shadows, or a sniper hiding on a rooftop by making a quick scan of your surroundings.
The Spot skill is used to notice items that aren’t immediately obvious and people who are attempting to hide. The DM may call for a Spot check by a character who is in a position to notice something. You can also make a Spot check voluntarily if you want to try to notice something in your vicinity.
The DM may make a Spot check in secret so that you don’t know whether not noticing anything means that nothing is there, or that you failed the check.
A successful Spot check when there isn’t anything to notice results in you noticing nothing.
Spot is often used to notice a person or creature hiding from view. In such cases, your Spot check is opposed by the Hide check of the character trying not to be seen. Spot is also used to detect someone in Disguise, or to notice a concealed weapon on another person.
Your Spot check is modified by a -2 penalty for every 10 feet of distance between you and the character or object you are trying to discern. The check carries a further -5 penalty if you are in the midst of activity (a combat scene, a crowded street, a bustling spaceport, and so forth).
You can make a Spot check every time you have the opportunity to notice something in a reactive manner. As a Full-Round Action you may attempt to notice something that you failed (or believe you failed) to notice previously.
A character with the Alertness feat gets a +2 bonus on all Spot checks.
A Spot check is either a reaction (if called for by the DM) or a full round action (if you actively take the time to try to notice something).