"Seems so. Just don't let it notice you beforehand... If it does, the Palace's security level will rise."
The Security Level is a mechanic in Persona 5.
"Well, the security level will go back down if we can beat more enemies without getting noticed."
Palaces are highly guarded by Shadows protecting the Cognition of the Palace. The Security Level starts at 0% but can be raised if the protagonist fails to remain hidden from a non-scripted Shadow fight and is spotted. Additionally, running from a battle (or an enemy runs on their own volition) also increases the Security Level. The difficulty setting determines the rate at which the security meter goes up and down.
If the meter gets to yellow or red, the chance of finding Treasure Demons and Disaster Shadows increases, allowing the party to kill them for loot. However, the encounter rate will also increase and the party may fight several waves of Shadows at a time. When the Security Level reaches 100%, exploration is halted and the Phantom Thieves are forced to retreat immediately from the Palace, meaning they must come back on another day. The only exception to this rule (aside from Palaces after a calling card has been sent) is the Depths of Mementos, as the party will be locked inside it until they defeat Yaldabaoth. The party can lower the Security Level by ambushing Shadows and defeating them.
Revisiting the Palace on another day will reduce the meter a bit as well. The Security Level can also be subsided by Ichiko Ohya's Confidant ability (theoretically Ichiko reports unfavorable scoop about the owner of the current Palace to distract that person from noticing the party's activities in the Palace). If one has connected to the Thieves Guild, a request can be made to reduce the Security Level when it hits 100%.
When the Phantom Thieves send a calling card, the Palace's security meter is fixed at 99% and will not boot the party out even when being discovered and ambushed by an enemy. The party can fight Shadows and lower the Security Level even after the calling card has been sent, although they can only reduce it down to 70%, and it will have no effect on the upcoming boss fight. However, it will stop Shadows from respawning if lowered sufficiently before reaching the Treasure room.
The Palace's current Security Level is depicted via a security meter, which is displayed when using the Third Eye ability. The security meter also features a stylized portrait of the Palace ruler. Depending on whether the Thieves have personally encountered the Palace ruler's Shadow or not when using the ability, their portrait will either depict the ruler's real-world self, partially shrouded in darkness, or the ruler's Shadow Self. Exceptions of this rule are: Suguru Kamoshida, since it is impossible to use Third Eye before meeting his Shadow Self; Futaba Sakura, whose Shadow Self's portrait remains unused, Masayoshi Shido, whose Shadow Self not only has multiple outfits and forms but is also never encountered or even seen before he is actually fought (Even the cutscene in which his Shadow self reacts to his calling card has it remain in darkness.) and Takuto Maruki, whose portrait is represented by a black humanoid figure until he is personally met in the Palace and is not a Shadow Self but a physical human.
Persona 5 Royal
In Persona 5 Royal, the security meter starts at 40% instead of 0%. In addition to this, if the security meter reaches 100%, the Phantom Thieves will not be forced to retreat from the Palace.
After the calling card has been sent, the security meter is fixed at 100% instead of 99%. Fighting shadows will only lower the Security Level down to 80%, rather than 70%.
Ichiko Ohya's Confidant abilities are also altered to accommodate this change; lowering the starting security meter, as well as preventing increase after a successful ambush, etc., unlike in the original where the security meter only lowers after a day has passed.
Persona 5 Strikers
Security Level works very similarly to how it functions in the original Persona 5. The Security Level starts at 0% and increases or decreases depending on the player's actions in the Jail. Security Level resets to 0% when leaving the Jail.
|Action||Security Level change|
|Preemptive attack from an enemy Shadow||+18%|
|Spotted by a searchlight||+14%|
|Fleeing from battle||+13%|
|Spotted by an enemy Shadow (Merciless only)||+5%|
|Winning a battle||-8%|
|Using a Purifying Ash||-10%|
|Using a Mega Purifying Ash||-30%|
Much like in Persona 5, the Security Level can be displayed by activating Third Eye. In this game, portraits of Shadow Selves are not used alongside the Security Level, instead simply displaying a generic alarm icon. The Security Level gauge's color becomes blue, then turns yellow and red once Security Level reaches 30% and 70% respectively.
Once the Security Level reaches 30%, treasure chests will have barriers on them, preventing the party from opening them until the Security Level decreases below 30%. Enemies will also respawn on the map after a few other battles, though this allows the party to battle an infinite number of enemies in a single Jail visit as long as the Security Level is kept 30% or higher. Another benefit of high Security Levels is that the rate of Treasure Demon appearances increases. If the party raises the Security Level to 100%, they will be forced to leave the Jail; however, there are no adverse effects to being forced to leave a Jail early beyond having to restart at a checkpoint. If playing on Merciless difficulty, once the Security Level reaches 30%, the party will not be able to escape from normal battles, with red KEEP OUT barriers appearing as if the party was in a forced encounter.
During key events, such as when the Phantom Thieves are infiltrating the Monarch's castle and after sending the Calling Card, the Jail's Security Level will be fixed at 99%, and will not increase or decrease during this time regardless of the player's actions. The aforementioned effects of high Security Levels also do not apply in this time.
The security level slowly goes up over time while the party is in Mementos. After 8 hours of searching, the security level will reach 100%, and the party will be forced to retreat.
Boss enemies can only appear once per visit after an hour has passed (roughly 12% on the security meter.)
- Persona 5 / Royal