This skill is used to listen for approaching enemies and to detect someone sneaking up on you.
Classes: Barbarian, Bard, Druid, Monk, Ranger, Rogue; Arcane archer, Arcane trickster, Assassin, Duelist, Dwarven defender, Harper agent, Neverwinter Nine, Pale master, Red dragon disciple, Shadow Thief of Amn, Shadowdancer
Requires training: No
Special: Standing still provides a +5 bonus to listen; A ranger gains a +1/5 levels bonus on Listen checks when using this skill against a favored enemy; an elf, gnome or halfling has a +2 racial bonus on listen checks; half-elves and gray dwarves have a +1 racial bonus on Listen checks; the master of a bat familiar receives +3 to listen checks.
Use: Automatic (although characters will make a listen check more often if they are in detect mode)
There are not a great deal of known variables when it comes to the stealth system. The core opposed skill check would be regarded as:
Listener: 1d20 roll + listen skill + bonuses (such as from wisdom, from race feats)
Target: 1d20 roll + move silently skill + bonuses.
- Checks are made 6 times a round by Elves (Keen Senses) and once a round by other Races as of v1.22. Note there is some debate as to whether Elves actually perform 6 checks per round with the Keen Sense feat - it may actually be less and there appears to be no evidence confirming the specific number either way.
- As of v1.23, Invisible targets are "Silent" or a Listen check cannot detect them.
It is unknown if these variables impact on the skill:
- Armor usage by both people
- The proximity of the two people
- If moving helps or hinders the checker, or the target's listen or move silently checks.
- If search affects the distance, the frequency or the bonuses to listen (as well as spot)
- If Etherealness actually allows people to hear you (technically, according to D&D, Etherealness puts you on another plane of existence).
- If, once heard, a target can ever be "unheard" again at a later time, even if attacked
- If being allied with the target changes the check, or if the check is done at all if the ally is on your side
There are area-based listen and spot skill penalties or bonuses which can be applied which are known about, and obviously apply to each and every check made.
This skill is never implemented in a conversation check, and has no known use apart from rare encounters with enemies who use the stealth skill.
DnD 3.5 comparison
The skill can be used for almost anything at the DMs discretion where the PCs wish to listen for something. The DC to hear the sound is set by the DM according to a set of tables listing types of noise and modifying factors which may hamper or enhance hearing.
- How Stealth and Detection works