I have a little question. My players are following a group of bandits, but the players are not hiding, they are even riding horses. They reach a beach where the 5 bandits are preparing a boat to retreat; 2 of the bandits are paying attention to see if someone comes, and the other 3 are just talking. My questions are:

  • The 3 Bandits talking use their passive perception to try to see the players, right?
  • The 2 Bandits that are paying attention roll for perception to see the players?
  • If my players doesn't go in Hide, just riding the horses to the beach, whats the DC the bandits must roll?
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think this question should give you the answer to who is using active/passive perception: rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/48256/… \$\endgroup\$
    – diego
    Apr 25, 2017 at 16:22
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Possible duplicate of Passive Perception confusion \$\endgroup\$
    – ShadowKras
    Apr 25, 2017 at 17:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ I have edited your question to help with the English in a few places. Please review the result, and make sure it still says what you want it to say. If it does not, please edit it again to make it "just right." @ShadowKras I see this question as "what do I roll/when do I roll/what's the DC for this check" sort of question. (And there are probably questions on that as well). \$\endgroup\$ Apr 25, 2017 at 18:33

2 Answers 2


Don't bother yourself with rolls for such things. The PCs are not hiding, the bandits have sentries, then they would automatically spot the PCs.

Next time, the PCs may think about hiding... Right now they are obvious as heck.

Putting it a different way would your PCs scream and moan if the situation was reversed? (Mine would).

Now if you want to know how FAR they bandits would notice the PCs would depend on terrain. I have used a "highest Perception check multiplied by 10 or 20 feet" to start encounters.


I would say no need to roll, they would be spotted by the sentries. The PHB gives options for travelling in the "activity while travelling" section. On top of the "marching order" the additional option is "stealth" (so the PCs have an option to avoid issues like this)

While traveling at a slow pace, the characters can move stealthily. As long as they’re not in the open, they can try to surprise or sneak by other creatures they encounter.

so if your party hasn't explicitly stated a stealthy travel then the sentries would spot them (pointless having sentries looking for people on horses talking away otherwise)- if the bandit sentries aren't hiding then I would say they spot each other (giving the sentries advantage if they acted) or allowing a passive party spot if the sentries do nothing, but either way the bandits aren't surprised. If the sentries were hiding then this would make things more difficult on a passive spot depending on what the sentries actually did.

If it is a stealthy travel then I would then say it is down to who spots who first on a roll - passive vs active - afterall the sentries are actively looking vs just moving slowly.


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