Hiding requires an opposed roll.

Can a sleeping character hide at all? If they do so, do they roll Hide when they go to sleep (for hiding their sleeping spot, etc.), or do they make an opposed roll every time someone attempts to spot them?


5 Answers 5


I'm often unable to find where my cat is sleeping, so I'd say yes, sleeping characters can still be hidden. I'd say have the character make a single hide check when they go to sleep to establish a DC (you should probably throw in a negative circumstance modifier since they won't be able to adapt to circumstances like an active, conscious hider would). Anything that wants to find them needs to beat that DC with a Spot check to find them.

I don't think I'd let people use any expendable resources to hide while asleep, and I'd probably restrict non-expendable abilities to Ex or Su abilities, although even then it's probably a case by case thing.

  • \$\begingroup\$ So, you'd move away from a rule that opposed checks must be made at the same time. \$\endgroup\$
    – NiteCyper
    Commented Apr 13, 2013 at 22:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NiteCyper Is there a rule that states opposed checks happen at the same time? The SRD doesn't seem to mention it. \$\endgroup\$
    – okeefe
    Commented Apr 14, 2013 at 0:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ I guess that you're right. I suppose that I assumed so because Curmudgeon said it. Although, there is the case of a tie. \$\endgroup\$
    – NiteCyper
    Commented Apr 14, 2013 at 4:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ Whoever sets the DC loses in the event of a tie. If I make a move silently check and get a 22, anyone opposing me needs a 22 or higher to hear me. It's the exact same as if I have an AC of 20; I will be hit by anyone who gets an attack roll of 20 or higher. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 14, 2013 at 20:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ I was (and am) still thinking in terms of opposed skill checks, rather than DCs. \$\endgroup\$
    – NiteCyper
    Commented Apr 15, 2013 at 21:23

I don't think a sleeping character can normally hide while sleeping.

What one can do though is hide before going to sleep. Quoting from the skills section in the SRD (emphasis mine):

When your character uses a skill, you make a skill check to see how well he or she does.

If you hide yourself when you go to sleep, then that's when you make the skill check. When another (N)PC searches for you, that's when (s)he will make the skill check.

So this would amount to a single hide check upon going to sleep, with multiple possible circumstance modifiers that affect the actual DC, e.g.:

  • Having been asleep for a longer period of time may get you circumstance penalties, e.g. the character rolled around and part of his foot stuck out of hiding. This penalty may increase depending on things like how long one has been asleep, how restless you may be (injuries etc).
  • Specific actions to prevent problems (an permanent silence for snoring characters, anyone!?)
  • Contingent invisibility.

For characters that don't intentionally hide before going to sleep there still may be a search check to find them if the sleeper chose an obscure location (like @JoeBedurndurn's cat). I would not include the hide skill for the character to be found though, and just set a DC similar to how you'd set a DC for finding a crate in a large warehouse or finding a specific NPC in a crowd.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ The counter-argument is that the devs didn't account for passive use of the Hide skill, rather than the active that they set rules for. GMJoe's examples set precedents for...this issue. But what is it called? Passive opposed skill checks? It might help to name more examples. For KRyan's side, an example where the option of saving a check is avoided, should be procured. Hide is an example: different observers, different checks. \$\endgroup\$
    – NiteCyper
    Commented Apr 15, 2013 at 21:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ Spot is more passive than Search. Hide is active. Is it the skill to transitively hide someTHING? That seems more like Sleight of hand. CatLord's idea highlights the DEX-key nature of Hide, and how its application in this situation seems nonsequitur. I feel that CatLord's idea is a step in the right direction. Dexterity may have to be justified as bodily discipline in keeping the integrity of one's hiding spot during sleep, the lack of skill check modification over time which relates to the attritional issue that most of us agree (should) factors in. \$\endgroup\$
    – NiteCyper
    Commented Apr 15, 2013 at 21:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan I was responding to your "I do not see any indication that there is ever such a thing as a 'pre-rolled opposed check' like you describe" comment. As you can see, there is such a thing, if only in exceptional circumstances. Now, we need to determine why those circumstances qualify as exceptional and see if hiding before sleeping meets those same requirements. \$\endgroup\$
    – GMJoe
    Commented Apr 16, 2013 at 4:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ "When your character uses a skill, you make a skill check". Simple enough IMHO. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jeroen
    Commented Apr 16, 2013 at 6:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ This might be an appropriate time for the option of using an different ability score from the one normally associated with a particular skill. If one of my players wanted to do this, I'd call for a Hide check using the character's INT modifier, rather than their DEX. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 13, 2016 at 15:08

Characters need to actively use skills, so they cannot hide if they are unconscious. Except maybe if the character in question is a Shadowdancer so much in love with hiding that he sleep-hides in his dreams, but I leave that to your discretion. ;)

So if a character is asleep and someone tries to spot him or her, then this becomes a normal spot check vs circumstances. Depending on how the target is sleeping (dark corners, flat mountain) you might define a certain difficulty to beat.

If a character actually tries to find a place to sleep where he or she is hard to spot, the that character should make the hide check before he or she goes to sleep, which then becomes the DC for the spot check should anyone try to spot later. A mentioned above: no rule says that opposing checks have to be done at the same time, and especially the spot check often requires the game master to make secret rolls to not give away too much of the story just for the rule's sake.


Per rules as written: No

Hide is a free action performed as part of movement. If you are not moving, the hide skill is not free and follows the normal cost of standard skill usage (a move or std action). So unless you are moving in your sleep. you cannot perform hide checks


Source Material

  1. Hide Skill
  2. Spot Skill
  3. Concealment Rules
  4. Cover Rules
  5. Combat Modifiers

For starters, I do agree with Joe's logic but quite frankly, I don't think that the hiding is the issue. I think that you can let the character in question make an INT based hide check, and let the DC reflect a concealment %. Your hide check is essentially a standing DC against any would be detector's Spot check and where Dexterity would allow them to maneuver as they detect enemy movement, Intelligence would allow them to find the best spot to stay still. Concealment rules state that you can get a miss % chance that they only really specify 20%, 50% or 100% for attacking and hitting (treating the Spotter as an attacker in this instance).

Granted, I think that a WIS based "Move Silent" check could be put into place to reflect whether or not the character snores, talks, thrashes in their sleep or whatever, but a Will save with a fairly low (12-15 would be ideal) DC should be a sufficient catch for this occurrence. I say Move Silent because a character accustomed to being quiet even in their waking hours is more likely to develop habits to do so while asleep.

But as close to RAW as I can see:

  • Per 10ft away: -1 to Spot Check
  • If distracted: -5 to Spot check
  • Improved cover: +10 to Hide Check
  • Helpless Defender: Dex = 0 (-5)

Thus their Hide check, or DC to be spotted is based off of a -5 Dexterity which for most characters stops them before they begin without cover/training.

Ex. Sneaky the Dwarven Rogue leaves his seven noisy party members to snooze somewhere less visible. He has the Stealthy feat, and 3 ranks of Hide. When he falls asleep his Hide check is effectively just the 1d20 (3+2-5), but it could be 1d20+10 for good cover. Thog the Barbarian is strolling down the road and for most of the trip Sneaky has full cover. When Thog (who arguably has a +4 spot check) is roughly 20ft away he has line of sight enough putting him at -2 penalty for distance and a -5 penalty for distraction. Pretty steep to roll a -3 Spot against +10 Hide (+0 if the cover level decreases).

  • \$\begingroup\$ Answer entirely reworked to include RAW based solutions. \$\endgroup\$
    – CatLord
    Commented Apr 8, 2014 at 12:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ Are there any rules for how concealment interacts with spot checks? Also, from memory, 50% concealment represents being completely invisible - What should 100% represent? \$\endgroup\$
    – GMJoe
    Commented Apr 2, 2015 at 3:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hiding in a burlap sack is invisible but still hittable even if by accident. If you're completely behind a partition wall it's 100% concealment from the wrong angle. \$\endgroup\$
    – CatLord
    Commented Apr 2, 2015 at 4:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ You seem to be conflating concealment and cover, which are handled as two separate things in 3.5rd edition: Concealment (being hard to see) provides a miss chance rolled seperately from each attack roll, and cover (being behind something) provides a bonus to AC, or makes hitting impossible. In any case, are there any rules that describe how concealment % (not cover) affects spot checks? \$\endgroup\$
    – GMJoe
    Commented Apr 2, 2015 at 5:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ Strictly speaking, no which is why I have a section for as close to the RAW as possible. Conceal % was just a way to make the math less crunchy, making a spot check more or less a ranged touch attack. \$\endgroup\$
    – CatLord
    Commented Apr 2, 2015 at 10:47

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