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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.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ 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. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zaniel
    Sep 3, 2012 at 1:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ 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. \$\endgroup\$
    – starwed
    Sep 3, 2012 at 18:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ Interestingly, the core rules suggest that you only need a DC20 listen check to pinpoint an invisible creature engaged in combat. \$\endgroup\$
    – starwed
    Sep 4, 2012 at 4:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ 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. " \$\endgroup\$
    – starwed
    Sep 7, 2012 at 1:47

2 Answers 2

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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.

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    \$\begingroup\$ 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. \$\endgroup\$
    – starwed
    Sep 3, 2012 at 18:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ That's why I got a Seeking weapon. Mwahahaha. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zaniel
    Sep 4, 2012 at 3:52
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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.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ 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. \$\endgroup\$
    – starwed
    Sep 4, 2012 at 4:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ @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. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zachiel
    Sep 6, 2012 at 17:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Zachiel This particular check could not have been free, because it is not reactive. \$\endgroup\$
    – starwed
    Sep 6, 2012 at 17:12

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