If you play hide and seek, you'd expect to find people by visually recognizing them (toes sticking out), looking for clues (footprints), or making noise (when you hear them move).
I don't know how it works to recognize someone in 5e. Broadly, 5e divides the senses into "seeing" (normal vision, dark vision, blind vision, true vision), hearing and other senses (smell, tremors).
When I read the rules for hiding, it seems to me that you are completely silent, so hearing is useless to discover hidden creatures.
The action to hide is:
When performing the "Hide" action, do a stealth check to try to hide Hiding rules. If you are successful, you will get certain benefits as described in the Invisible Attackers and Targets section later in this section.
There are two parts to hide. First successfully use the hiding rules to hide, then you become "invisible". Right from the start we speak of being "invisible" and not "unheard".
The rules for hiding status:
You cannot hide from a creature that can see you clearly, and You reveal your position when you make noiseB. call a warning or knock over a vase. An invisible creature can always try to hide. There may still be signs of its passage and it must remain calm.
The mechanics clearly share this:
- You cannot hide if you can be seen clearly
- You have to stay calm or give up your position
If you hide, it is assumed that you are calm, unless you make noise. In addition, there are special rules when making noise (you reveal your position). However, if you can be seen, you can't even hide.
The rules say:
Most creatures remain alert to signs of danger in combat When you come out of hiding and approach a creature, it usually sees you. However, in certain circumstances, the DM can hide you when you approach a distracted creature, so you can take advantage of an attack roll before being seen.
Again, the rules say "seen", not "perceived" or "recognized". It seems to me that the rules continue to assume that a hidden creature makes no perceptible sound and therefore cannot be recognized by hearing.
The rules continue:
What can you see One of the main factors in determining whether you can find a hidden creature or a hidden object is how well you can see in an area that can be lightly or heavily obscured, as explained in Chapter 8.
This is very clear text. What you see or cannot see affects whether you can find a hidden creature. Especially light or heavily covered areas.
Slightly or heavily covered areas
The rules for lightly or heavily covered areas are:
A certain area can be slightly or heavily covered. Creatures have in a slightly covered area such as dim light, mottled fog or moderate foliage Disadvantage for wisdom (perception) tests that are based on sight.
A heavily covered area – such as darkness, opaque fog or dense foliage – completely blocks the view. A creature effectively suffers from the blinded state when trying to see something in that area.
Both conditions are purely visual. Again, this seems to indicate that the search for hidden creatures is purely a visual check. Otherwise, most of the time, these conditions would have no effect, since most creatures have ears or other senses. The rules state that this is "one of the main factors", so it is unlikely that "they are meant in the rare case that a creature relies only on sight".
We can also look at the description for Perception:
With your wisdom (perception) test, you can recognize, hear, or otherwise recognize the presence of something. It measures your general awareness of your surroundings and the sharpness of your senses.
Here we have the breakdown:
– Position: vision
– hear: sound
– otherwise: things like tremorsense or other exotic senses
The rules give examples:
For example, you can try to hear a conversation through a closed door, listen under an open window, or hear monsters secretly moving in the forest. Or you could try Job Things that are hidden or easily overlooked, whether orcs are ambushed on a street, Bats hiding in the shadow of an alleyor candlelight under a closed secret door.
Here's an example of how to "hear" secret monsters and "discover" hidden thugs. Hiding is a specific mechanic with their own unique mechanics, a subset of stealth, though stealth testing is required. Again, this seems to imply that "listening" is not useful for discovering a hidden creature. As a further reinforcement we have the mention of "in shadow" which is visual.
Invisible attackers and targets
At the beginning we mentioned that hiding has the advantage of being an invisible attacker. Let’s examine what that means:
Combatants often try to escape their enemies' attention by hiding, casting the invisibility spell, or lurking in the dark.
If you attack a target that you cannot see, you have a disadvantage in the attack roll. This is true if you are Guess the location of the target or aim at a creature that you can hear but not see. If the destination is not where you were aiming, you will automatically miss: But the DM usually only says that the attack failed, not whether you guessed the location of the target correctly.
If a creature can't see you, you have an advantage against attack rolls. If you're hidden during an attack – both invisible and unheard – announce your location when the attack hits or misses.
Here are a few things to consider:
– There is the example of "lurking in the dark", which is purely visual.
– If you can't be seen, there's a downside to the role.
– If you cannot be seen or heard, you have to guess the location and then you have a disadvantage
– Hiding is called "invisible and unheard", which in turn is what we expect that hiding means you don't make a sound.
After carefully reading the rules for hiding, hiding, stealth, perception and light and vision, the conclusion seems clear to me.
This led me to believe that readers are expected to understand that recognizing a hidden creature is a purely visual perception test for ordinary people with no special sense. So things like dim light or darkness would affect these roles.
I have examined every rule that has been discussed in all the hiding sections, but maybe there is something else somewhere. Is there any other information (features, monsters, official adventures) indicating that you can spot a hidden creature by ear?