Spot or Listen?

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Spot or Listen?

Post  DarthKittyBoo on Wed Apr 27, 2011 2:02 pm

When choosing between the two feats- opinions on how to handle that?

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Re: Spot or Listen?

Post  Rhine Jive Click on Wed Apr 27, 2011 3:32 pm

I don't think anyone knows for certain. We all have anecdotes of this-and-that; personally I had a character with 100+ Listen be unable to detect an enemy I knew was stunned in stealth a few inches from me, for long enough that the stun wore off. Then again, some people tell me Listen is better for a melee character. Why? I dunno!

One thing I can say is that the argument for Listen being better because you can hear around corners is a bit dodgy. I remember times with that same character (though unbuffed the Listen was in the 70's) when I would AFK in the barracks with someone in stealth on the other side of the central pillar; the character in question wasn't buffed, nor was it a mountain of DEX in any way (I'm not entirely sure they had ranks in stealth at all, but let's assume they did), yet I could only detect it a slim part of the time. What happens is you roll each round, and the DC is their Move Silently + a distance factor that means it's very unreliable in even a small map like the barracks; if you succeed a roll, you can see a transparent character but if you fail the next round, they disappear again - so that boosted stealth DC you're faced with is something you have to be able to pass reliably for this feature of Listen to be much use, and that's hard to get on all but a few builds.

But then again, these are just my experiences with these skills. Sometimes they each worked like a charm, other times I can't understand how badly they failed me. I guess what I'm saying is take what you hear with a grain of salt, because I've heard people proclaim Spot and Listen as the "best" choice for various reasons and often it was nonsense, or the scripts said otherwise. I can't help you choose any better than that, but I wanted to point out that if you're counting on hearing around corners, it's not all some people make it out to be.

Any detect is better than no detect, though.

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Re: Spot or Listen?

Post  Professor Plum on Wed Apr 27, 2011 4:04 pm

I wouldn't bother with either, unless you're an elf and will end up with extremely high detect. (Or will actually use detect mode, Or you're worried about junk-sneakers.)

If you listen someone, they'll still be able to sneak attack you. They won't if you spot them. So generally speaking listen isn't advisable unless you have uncanny dodge / defensive awareness. Spot also can't detect people outside of your LoS.

The bonus's and penaltys for each of them are slightly different, but will roughly equate to the same in most situations. (You might want to visit nwn wiki if you want to check them all)

Alot of the other reasons for difference don't exist here (One sided hide bonuses / self-silencing)..

It really boils down to preference and the final build.

IMHO, it's not worth it unless you're wisdom based and are investing a few feats into it. Even then, you will barely ever see anything that is focussed on hiding. (It may be worth dumping some INT and getting some CON, it'll serve you much better)
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Re: Spot or Listen?

Post  J. Persinne on Wed Apr 27, 2011 4:23 pm

Hide is easier to boost than move silently. This means that generally speaking, listen is more reliable than spot.

However, you lose AC to an opponent that you've only heard unless you have blind fight.

Hence my rule of thumb: melees and archers, listen. Other characters, spot.

Rogues don't really frighten me enough to niggle over the sneak attack detail.
Professor Plum wrote:IMHO, it's not worth it unless you're wisdom based and are investing a few feats into it. Even then, you will barely ever see anything that is focussed on hiding. (It may be worth dumping some INT and getting some CON, it'll serve you much better)
I agree with this, though. Not too long before the public release, Moth altered all the areas to have a -10 Spot/Listen penalty. Unless your detect skill is going to be exceptionally high, spotting anyone makes for a losing proposition.

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