Role-playing Games Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for gamemasters and players of tabletop, paper-and-pencil role-playing games. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have the Complete Adventurer, and I saw these two feats:

Hear the Unseen
Benefit: As a move action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity, you can attempt a DC 25 Listen check. If successful, you can pinpoint the location of all foes within 30 feet, as long as you have line of effect to them.

Quick Reconnoiter
Benefit: You can make one Spot check and one Listen check each round as a free action.
Normal: Using Spot or Listen in a reactive fashion is a free action, but actively trying to make a Spot check or Listen check requires a move action.

If I have both, do they combine and let me use Hear the Unseen as a free action? I'm assuming they don't, but I wanted to be sure, because of what it says under what normally happens without the Quick Reconnoiter feat.

share|improve this question
I just found in the Complete Scoundrel that I could pick up a skill trick that is better than "Hear the unseen" and is a free action. I'd still like an answer to my question though, if anyone knows. – Zaniel Sep 3 '12 at 1:11
Are you thinking of Clarity of Vision? It is a swift action, not a free action, and usable only once per combat. (That's true of all skill tricks.) So the feat's ability is actually better if you can do it as a free action. – starwed Sep 3 '12 at 18:23
Interestingly, the core rules suggest that you only need a DC20 listen check to pinpoint an invisible creature engaged in combat. – starwed Sep 4 '12 at 4:58
It's DC 0 to get the hunch for a creature in combat or speaking, and "It’s practically impossible to pinpoint the location of an invisible creature. A Listen check that beats the DC by 20 pinpoints the invisible creature’s location. " – starwed Sep 7 '12 at 1:47
up vote 4 down vote accepted

It looks like yes. Quick Reconnoiter doesn't specify the kind of Spot or Listen check you need to make for it to be a free action, so it looks like that combo lets you Hear the Unseen as a free action. There may be errata making Quick Reconnoiter more specific, and I could definitely see many GMs not going along with it, but by RAW it checks out.

share|improve this answer
Worth pointing out that if you pinpoint an invsible enemy, you still have the 50% miss chance etc. You just know which square they're in at the time you use the ability. – starwed Sep 3 '12 at 18:24
That's why I got a Seeking weapon. Mwahahaha. – Zaniel Sep 4 '12 at 3:52

I would argue that no, you cannot use Hear the Unseen as a free action. Simply put, Hear the Unseen specifies that the to use the feat itself, you must take a move action. The fact that you must then make a Listen check as part of that move action does not mean that the Listen check is the move action.

If the feat did not specify that you must take a move action, I would argue that the Listen check is the action, and agree with DuckTapeal.

share|improve this answer
But Quick Reconnoiter allows you to make any listen check as a free action; one feat is allowed to alter how you use another feat. And Hear the Unseen makes it very clear that the move action is used for the listen check. "As a move action... you can attempt a DC25 Listen check." The benefits of the feat follow from the successful listen check. – starwed Sep 4 '12 at 4:53
@starwed you can now make listen checks as free actions, but to hear the unseen you need to use a move action nevertheless. The benefits of the feat follow from a successful listen check and spending a move action. Keep in mind that a listen check cuold have been a free action if it was a passive one (asked by the DM) even without the quick reconnoiter feat. – Zachiel Sep 6 '12 at 17:07
@Zachiel This particular check could not have been free, because it is not reactive. – starwed Sep 6 '12 at 17:12

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.