Pass Without Trace 5e D&D Guide

Pass Without Trace is the most effective spell to enhance stealth. It helps the clever player avoid detection and make sure that no one is in their tracks.

The guidelines of Pass Without Trace can be found in the Players Handbook on page 264.

Pass Without Trace 5e

  • Abjuration 2ndLevel
  • Time to Cast: 1 Action
  • Range: Self
  • Ingredients: V, S, Components: V, S, (ashes from a burnt mistletoe leaf as well as the Spruce sprig)
  • Duration: 1 hour (Concentration)

A haze of darkness and silence emanates from you, obscuring you and your friends from being noticed. For the duration of time, every creature in the 30-foot range of your (including you) receives a +10 bonus on the Dexterity (Stealth) checks.

They are unable to be tracked unless by magic methods. A creature who receives this bonus doesn’t leave footprints or other evidence of its journey.

The description of Pass Without Trace outlines it as the ideal spell to sever a potential tail unless the person who is tracking it is employing magic.

Although the spell is based on an auto-target range and its effects apply to all creatures the spellcaster chooses to keep less than 30 yards. This can be an enormous help when all of the party members need to go in or out of an area peacefully.

How do you obtain Pass Without Trace?

“Pass Without Trace” is a 2nd Abjuration level spell that is available to Ranger as well as Druid base classes solely. 

The spell is accessible for Trickery Domain Clerics as well as Shadow Monks in addition to the subclasses.

It’s not impossible to locate an inscription of Pass Without Trace readily available because it’s a useful spell, but it is at a low level.

Wands and scrolls are a fantastic way to place spells into the hands of the players that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to access. 

Certain classes offer spells or special features that are only available to members of the class.

In this case, if you wish your characters to be more clever or the group themselves decide to do this but do not possess a ranger or druid then a scroll with the spell could work perfectly.

Do you Pass Without Trace Make You Invisible?

It is said that the Pass Without Trace spell makes any entity or group of entities more stealthy. It makes them difficult to track and identify, but it does not render them unnoticeable. 

It doesn’t alter their physical appearance in any way and they’re still easily identified by ordinary means using very low stealth scores.

The concept is that the reward for stealth rolls (+10) will be able to overcome poor rolls despite disadvantages and raise the stealth score above the average creature’s passive perception

If the creature is trying to stealth but the potential spotter is not aware of their surroundings, they should use their passive vision. 

This generally ranges between 13 and 13 for the most intelligent humanoids.

Pass Without Trace is a fantastic spell for getting the edge on a hard target, or scouting as a team in risky situations. 

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Even a fully-plated fighter stands a decent chance of being undetected despite disadvantages on the roll. This isn’t a guarantee, however, and many creatures have methods to defeat the effect.

How Does Pass Without Trace Work?

Pass Without Trace 5e D&D Guide

When you cast Pass without Trace, you send out a “veil of shadows and silence” that hides your presence and that of your companion from other people.

During the spell’s duration (again, this depends on how long you can focus on it, and it can last up to an hour), you and all the creatures you chose within a 30-foot radius get a huge +10 bonus to their Stealth checks.

So, if you want to sneak into a fortress and you and your group need to make a Stealth check, this spell’s +10 to Stealth checks can help you a lot.

Then, magic can’t be used to find anyone affected by this spell. Also, no one can or will leave behind footprints or other signs of their passage.

Can Pass Without Trace Affect Smell?

The appeal of the more streamlined version of 5e is that it renders these kinds of questions irrelevant. 

Some creatures have advantages or bonuses in perception when they are dependent on smell. 

Pass Without Trace doesn’t hinder the abilities of those creatures. It can make the caster and their companions more difficult to learn by utilizing those abilities.

For instance, the group makes use of Pass Without Trace to sneak over wolves who are guarding them. 

It rolls stealth and gives the spell a bonus of +10. The wolves constantly keeping a watchful eye can perceive with a greater advantage since they emit the scent of some kind.

The wolves will need to overcome the stealth roll (with +10) to identify the party. If the party rolls extremely small, the party’s wolves will be likely to miss them using their scent.

Hot Tip

5E is extremely clear regarding what a spell does as compared to what it does not do. 

Creatures who have blindsight are not affected by spells such as Pass Without Trace and Darkness since they aren’t dependent on seeing or hearing the target unless specifically stated within the descriptions.

What is Pass Without Trace Concentration?

Yes, the Pass Without Trace spell is indeed concentrated. This means the person casting the spell must be focused on the spell’s duration to ensure it lasts. 

It also means that the person casting it must stay clear of any other spells of concentration and perform a concentration test in case they suffer any injury.

One scenario to trigger this is combat. The player is likely to make use of a spell or suffer damage, resulting in the player taking a test.

It may also be necessary in the case of exploration, too If the caster falls prey to a trap they’ll have to perform an attempt to make a concentration check. 

Whatever the case, once the spell has ended the spell must be repeated. If the party continues the same path, they must make fresh stealth checks right away, without the bonus.

Magical tracking like Hunters Mark is one way to combat Pass Without Trace. It is also possible to make use to detect active perceptual. 

If the adversaries may know that someone is in the vicinity or is seeking out the suspect activity they must conduct a perception test. 

If someone is asleep or is engaged in another activity other than being watched, they must make use of the passive sense.

Who Can Cast Pass Without Trace?

Classes

Even though Pass without Trace is a very helpful spell, only the Druid and the Ranger classes can use it.

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So, if you plan to do stealth and infiltration missions, it might be important to have one of these in your group. Here is a list of these two classes and where they came from.

Classes that can cast Pass without TraceSource
DruidPlayer’s Handbook, page 64
RangerPlayer’s Handbook, page 89

Pass without Trace is on the list of spells that druids can use. Also, they can cast spells as soon as they reach level one. Rangers, on the other hand, can start to cast spells when they reach level two.

And since you need at least a level two spell slot to cast Pass without Trace, druids can cast it much earlier than rangers because they get level two spell slots at level three and rangers don’t get them until level five.

Also, druids make a list of the spells they want to use, and after every long rest, they can change this list. When they do this, they must spend at least one minute per spell level for each spell on their new list in prayer and meditation.

They pick a number of spells from their spellbook equal to their Wisdom modifier plus their druid level (with a minimum of one spell).

So, for example, a level 3 druid with a Wisdom modifier of +2 can prepare 5 spells from their list of spells, since 2 + 3 = 5.

The number of spells can’t be less than one, so if the same druid has an Intelligence modifier of -3, they can still prepare at least one spell even though the sum of their Wisdom modifier and druid level would be 0.

On the other hand, a ranger’s level determines how many spells they know. This information can be found on page 89 of the Player’s Handbook. Every time the ranger gains a level, he or she can switch out one spell for another.

Subclasses

Even though there are almost twice as many subclasses that can use the Pass without Trace spell as there are classes, three is still a low number. Below is a list of these subclasses and where they come from.

Subclasses that can cast Scorching RayOriginating ClassSubclass SourceClass Source
Circle of the Land (Grassland)DruidPlayer’s Handbook, page 68Player’s Handbook, page 64
Way of ShadowMonkPlayer’s Handbook, page 80Player’s Handbook, page 76
Trickery DomainClericPlayer’s Handbook, page 62Player’s Handbook, page 56

If a Druid in the Circle of the Land chooses the Grassland as their magical connection, they can use the Pass without Trace spell as part of their Circle spells.

Monks who follow the Way of Shadow, on the other hand, can use this spell thanks to the Shadow Arts subclass feature of their class.

Lastly, clerics in the Trickery Domain get this spell as part of their Trickery Domain spells when they reach level three.

Races

The Pass without Trace spell is built into the DNA of some races. The spell is in their blood, so they can do it without even thinking about it.

These races and where they came from are written down below. Remember that Eberron: Rising from the Last War races are only allowed in the Adventurer’s League if the campaign takes place in Eberron.

If you don’t care about AL stuff, ignore this warning and have fun making your character.

Races that can cast Pass Without TraceRacial feature allowing the abilitySource
Elf (Mark of Shadow)Spells of the Mark (needs to have the Spellcasting or the Pact Magic class feature)Eberron: Rising from the Last War, page 49
Genasi (Earth)Merge with StoneElemental Evil Player’s Companion, page 9
Human (Mark of Passage)Spells of the Mark (needs to have the Spellcasting or the Pact Magic class feature)Eberron: Rising from the Last War, page 46

Backgrounds

The Dimir Operative background is the only one that can give a character access to the Pass without Trace spell.

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This background is on page 46 of the Guildmaster’s Guide to Ravnica, so it can only be used in an Adventurer’s League campaign that takes place in Ravnica.

Then again, you can ignore this warning if you don’t care about the Adventurer’s League.

As part of their Dimir Guild spells, people with the Dimir Operative background can use the Pass without Trace spell.

To cast this spell, you would need to already have a spellcasting or pact magic class feature. Once you do that, you can add this spell to your list of spells.

Items

There are two rare magical items that can be used to cast the Pass without Trace spell. These items and where they can be found are listed below.

Notice that the “A.” column tells you if the item needs to be attuned to its user (spoiler alert: all of these items require attunement).

Item NameRarityA.Source
Infiltrator’s KeyLegendaryYesExplorer’s Guide to Wildermount, page 272
Staff of the WoodlandsRareYesDungeon Master’s Guide, page 204

The Infiltrator’s Key, the first item on the list, is a legendary wondrous item. The Staff of the Woodlands, the second item on the list, is a rare simple melee weapon.

Since each item has a long list of other effects, this section will focus more on the Pass without Trace spell.

When you hold the Infiltrator’s Key, you can use it as an action to cast the spell. The item must also be in a state of being awake.

You can also use spells like Change Self, Invisibility, and Knock. If you use this feature to cast a spell, you can’t use the item to cast another spell until the next dawn.

As for the Staff of the Woodlands, you can use it as an action to cast the Pass Without Trace spell without needing to charge it.

That is very useful because you can use it whenever you want. But you still have to focus on the spell with both of these things.

Final Words

There are many scenarios and situations in which Pass Without Trace shines. The fact that it’s only available to certain classes makes it a top choice on the “should be taken” list. 

This makes sure that the classes are distinguished by what they were specifically created to accomplish. 

This is also a good technique for bringing more purpose to your classes and building an atmosphere of unity among the students.

If the Paladin fails to pass stealth due to their heavy armor and heavy armor, the Ranger can be a mentor to them during stealthy scenarios to help them in their journey.

FAQs

What Level is Pass Without Trace?

Pass without Trace is a 2nd-level abjuration spell, so it needs a spell slot of at least level 2 to be cast.

Does Pass Without Trace Make You Invisible?

No, it does not. It only makes your Stealth checks better. Before you can roll for a Stealth check, you usually need a place to hide. If there are no places to hide, there is nothing stealthy about it, and it wouldn’t matter if you cast this spell or not.

Is Pass Without Trace an Aura?

It’s kind of true. In the spell’s description, it says that it makes the caster feel like they are surrounded by a “veil of shadows and silence.” Also, the spell only helps creatures that are within 30 feet of the person who casts it. So, it could be thought of as a person’s aura.

Can Pass Without Trace Stack?

No. The “Combining Magical Effects” section on page 205 of the Player’s Handbook says that the effects of the same spell cast more than once do not add up. So, if two rangers cast Pass without Trace at the same time and a creature is close to both of them, that creature can still only get a +10 bonus to their Stealth check.

How does Pass Without Trace End?

Since it is a concentration spell, the person who casts it can just stop concentrating on it and the spell will end right away. If you want to end it quickly, you can hurt the person casting it, which may cause them to lose focus.