Use this skill to hear approaching enemies, to detect someone sneaking up on you from behind, or to eavesdrop on someone else's conversation.
Check: Your Listen check is either made against a DC that reflects how quiet the noise is that you might hear, or it is opposed by your target's Move Silently check.
Your DM may decide to make the listen check for you, so that you don't know whether not hearing anything means that nothing is there, or that you failed the check.
|A person in medium armor walking at a slow pace (10 ft/round) trying not to make any noise.
|An unarmored person walking at a slow pace (15 ft/round) trying not to make any noise)
|A 1st-level rogue using Move Silently to sneak past the listener
|A cat stalking
|An owl gliding in for a kill
|¹ If you beat the DC by 10 or more, you can make out what's being said, assuming that you understand the language.
|Listen DC Modifier
|Through a door
|Through a stone wall
|Per 10 feet of distance
In the case of people trying to be quiet, the DCs given on the table could be replaced by Move Silently checks, in which case the indicated DC would be their average check result (or close to it). For instance, the DC 19 noted on the table for a cat stalking means that an average cat has a +9 bonus on Move Silently checks. Assuming an average roll of 10 on 1d20, its Move Silently check result would be 19.
Action: Varies. Every time you have a chance to hear something in a reactive manner (such as when someone makes a noise you move into a new area), you can make a Listen check without using an action. Trying to hear something you failed to hear previously is a move action.
Try Again: Yes. You can try to hear something that you failed to hear previously with no penalty.
Special: When several characters are listening to the same thing, the DM can make a single 1d20 roll and use it for all the individuals' Listen checks.
A fascinated creature takes a -4 penalty on Listen checks made reactions.
If you have the Alertness feat, you get a +2 bonus on Listen checks.
A ranger gains a bonus on Listen checks when using this skill against a favored enemy (see Ranger (PH)).
An elf, gnome, or halfling has a +2 racial bonus on listen checks, thanks to the keen ears with which members of those races are blessed.
A half-elf has a +1 racial bonus on Listen checks. Her hearing is good because of her elven heritage, but not as keen as that of a full elf
A sleeping character may make Listen checks at a -10 penalty. A successful check awakens the sleeper.
Sound doesn't behave underground the way it does on the surface. Water and stone carry it in ways that open air doesn't. Words and noises sometimes travel far from the individuals who made them to the ears of unfriendly creatures who would otherwise have remained unaware of the intruders' presence.
To those who have learned the ways of sound in the earth's heart, an echo from the sound of an enemy's misstep can be sweet music to their ears. Years of training have taught many underground explorers how to tell an enemy's location and distance from the echoes they hear.
Check: With a successful DC 25 Listen check, you can listen to echoing sounds and determine how far away the individuals making them are, within 10% of the distance between you and those individuals.
Action: Each check takes 1 full round of listening.
Try Again: No.
Expanded Description - Stormwrack
Water is a better conductor of sound than air; sound waves propagate faster and attenuate less over distance. However, land creatures don't necessarily hear well underwater, because it's very difficult to establish direction and discriminate the components of a sound if your ears are intended for hearing through air, not water.
Background Noise: Adventurers in or around water often have to contend with significant background noise - the sound of the surf, the slap of water on a boat's hull, the rush and break of wavelets even in calm waters, or the rushing of a river or stream. If either the listener or the origin of a sound is in an area of background noise, the DC of any Listen checks increases as shown below. Sounds that pass over or through such conditions are also affected.
Check Modifiers: Sound carries through water extremely well; penalize the listener's Listen check by -1 per 30 feet instead of -1 per 10 feet for sounds transmitted through water. Sound also carries well over water (for example, a person on shore shouting to someone on a boat); penalize listen check by -1 per 20 feet instead of the normal increment of -1 per 10 feet.
For purposes of this list, a land creature is a creature that does not possess a swim speed or the aquatic subtype.
|Listener or sound in light sea or moderate river
|Listener or sound in light surf, moderate sea, or loud river
|Listener or sound in heavy surf or thundering river
|Per 30 feet of distance underwater
|Per 20 feet of distance over water
|Land creature underwater