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On hearing conversations


Rules Questions


Hi everyone,

yesterday in my group the rogue tryed to hear a whispered conversation my characther was having with an NPC.
The conversation happened in a square, in a crowd of moving persons. The rogue was at about 50 feet.

As the rules are written, the DC for such a check would be 15, + 5 (distance), + 2 (crowd). In fact, is an automatic success for a typical 5th level rogue: 5 ranks, +3 (class skill), +2 (elf), +2 (feat).

Did we get this right? It looks very strange than anyone can automatically hear a whispered conversation so easily. The typical 1st level characther would easily hear anyone near him by taking 10.

How do you handle these situations?


Pathfinder kind of messed this particular thing up. In 3.5, it was only a DC 15 check to hear someone whispering, but you had to beat the DC by at least 10 to actually make out what was being said.

So the 3.5 Listen DC would be 15 (whispering), +5 (distance), +2(unfavorable conditions) for a total DC of 22 to hear the whispering, or an effective DC of 32 to actually make out what was said.


Maybe an additional +5 for distracted or he can not take10 (take20 is impossible because you can not listen again and again) and has to roll a dice for perception. Walking/standing on a living street is like fighting .. you have to dodge "enemies" and must always look at your back or are knocked down by a cart etc.

With lvl5 you are leaving the "real" world and enter the heroic world. Everything is possible with a high level :)


Thanks for the replies. Jeraa, I agree with you when you say that PF simplified this rule a bit too much. I must admit that, paired with a very interesting revival of the base classes, PF is beginning to show some limits in its design. Nothing too bad anyway.
Another limit springs to mind, linked to this situation.
The fact that the rogue was trying to lissen (an active action, so a move action) in an envronment that didn't grant him concealment, meant that both the PC and NPC should have seen him as automatically as he could listen to the conversation.
A bit odd, honestly. Admitting that I got the rule right.

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