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I can't find anything on this. Do Flameskulls make any noise, or are they completely silent? In my Ravenloft campaign, a Ranger with 26 Passive Perception asked this because he thought he should be able to detect Flameskulls passing within 30 feet of him through open space. He could see light, but he didn't know it was actually creatures rather than just torch light.

Any word on this?

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This is largely dependent on your game's setting, but according to the Monster Manual:

Yes, they laugh.

Blazing green flames and mad, echoing laughter follow a disembodied skull as it patrols its demesne.

If the flameskulls have a reason to be quiet, they wouldn't make much noise. Perhaps your Ranger could detect the sound of the fire, but nothing is burning from what I've read, so there would not be any significant sound. If the flameskulls are just patrolling, everyone should be able to hear their laughter.

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    \$\begingroup\$ May or may not be worth pointing out that unless a creature is hiding they can generally be spotted by anyone not nose deep in a book or something of that sort. \$\endgroup\$ – Jihelu Jul 15 '18 at 5:19
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Not only should he have heard it, he should have had a LOT of notice.

I'm using DnD Beyond for the description's wording here, but it'd be similar in the books as well:

Blazing green flames and mad, echoing laughter surround an undead flameskull.

First, the light of the Flameskull would be a sign that something is amiss.

Green flames don't generally happen with torches under normal circumstances. It's not that it can't happen, but it's unusual enough that any adventurer, let alone a Ranger, would be more than capable of telling that something is wrong and they should stay on guard.

Let's not forget the Flameskull is self-illuminating.

Depending on how dark the cave was, your Ranger should have been able to make out quite a few decent features of the Flameskull from that distance because of the flames and the fact they wrap around the skull, keeping it well-illuminated. I could understand if the Passive Perception was 16 or under, but your Ranger had a Passive of 26 and the object in question was within 30 feet. Your Ranger should have been able to tell you how many teeth were still in the Flameskull's mouth in those circumstances.

Finally, the "mad, echoing laughter."

Your entire party would have been able to hear this echoing through the environment. Presumably, the party was in the Underdark, which is a sprawling network of caves/caverns/etc. The laughter would have been heard by most of the party before the light could be seen by even your Ranger. If your party is someplace like the Underdark, they'd have a general idea of what to expect and, as a result, would know not to take sounds like that to mean anything less than trouble.

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