I have been searching ways (with spells and items) to enhance the spot check and ways to enhance the hide check (with spells and items). We have a PC in our campaign maxing out his spot and another maxing out his hide, we noticed that the first player is unlikely to spot the other hiding.

For Hiding an easy combination found is to get a high bonus of +15 (greater shadow), that could stack with the spell camouflage +10 (Spell Compendium 43).

Also it is enough to become invisible and automatically get +20 or +40 bonus to hide checks as written in PH, this can be countered by spells like true seeing, but these have a limited range (in this case 120 ft.).

The same cannot be said for spot checks, the best I have found from manuals is a +10 robes of the eyes (DMG 265), which is very expensive in comparison to the greater shadow bonus mentioned above. some items that give low bonuses like +1 (luck) or +2 (alchemical) could be added.

I wonder if I am missing something or the spot enhancements were thought to be inferior to hide.

Also, as a DM, what would be the implication of creating an item that gives +15 spot - so an equal bonus to greater shadow?


1 Answer 1


From my years of experience as DM in 3.0 and 3.5, Hide is something that only some characters, NPC and monsters use. At the same time, in many situations it is enough for one PC to beat one enemy on Spot vs Hide to ruin ambush, or shout a warning about rogue assassin to deprive him of his sneak attack.

I can't put it in numbers, but Spot increase on one character benefits everyone in the party, and Hide increase benefits only the one that is hiding, and even then only if his party doesn't get seen and spoil the plan. Also, highest spot check in the party determines how far from enemy party sees there's an encounter, so it is applicable to almost every encounter, when only some encounters allow stealth approach. Because of this, I consider +1 to Spot much more valuable bonus than +1 to hide. Players who invest in rarely used skills deserve to shine when opportunity comes.

  • \$\begingroup\$ thank you very much for your reply, what would you do if in one of your campaign a player was taking advantage of this unbalance as a way to be never spotted while hiding in plain sight +leaving no sound nor smells? We are playing epic levels. More than a way to stop the rogue that hides I am trying to find ways to help the other players to spot enemies that hide with the same tactic. Thus I wondered if creating a +15 spot item would be good for the game balance or not. \$\endgroup\$
    – Digius
    Apr 4, 2022 at 4:51
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Digius epic levels are another can of worms. One I generally cannot recommend for inexperienced DM, and one many experienced DMs didn't want to touch. Consider asking a follow up question with that specific information. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mołot
    Apr 4, 2022 at 6:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ thanks, we have this issue since level 10. Probably a question like this would be more for a forum than here. I hope you had a brief answer anyway. Thank you very much again! \$\endgroup\$
    – Digius
    Apr 4, 2022 at 12:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Digius Party had access to Divination since lvl 7. And Alarm spell doesn't care for invisibility or being hidden and is there from level 1. There is a myriad of ways to deal with it, no reason not to be prepared. But that's more open discussion that is, as you noted, better suited for a forum. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mołot
    Apr 4, 2022 at 13:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ Mindsight feat also negates hiding, by the way, still limited range though. \$\endgroup\$
    – nijineko
    Apr 11, 2022 at 21:44

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