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Sense Motive
Skill Tricks
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Sense Motive (Wis)

Use this skill to tell when someone is bluffing you, to discern hidden messages in conversations, or to sense when someone is being magically influenced. This skill represents sensitivity to the body language, speech habits, and mannerisms of others.

Check: A successful check lets you avoid being bluffed (see the Bluff skill). You can also use this skill to determine when "something is up" (that is, something odd is going on) or to assess someone's trustworthiness. Your DM may decide to make your Sense Motive check secretly, so that you don't necessarily know whether you were successful.

TaskSense Motive DC
Sense enchantment25 or 15
Discern secret messageVaries

Hunch: This use of the skill involves making a gut assessment of the social situation. You can get the feeling from another's behavior that something is wrong, such as when you're talking to an impostor. Alternatively, you can get the feeling that someone is trustworthy

Sense Enchantment: You can tell that someone's behavior is being influenced by an enchantment effect (by definition, a mind-affecting effect), such as charm person, even if that person isn't aware of it. The usual DC is 25, but if the target is dominated (see dominate person in Chapter 11: Spells, Player's Handbook), the DC is only 15 because of the limited range of the target's activities.

Discern Secret Message: You may use Sense Motive to detect that a hidden message is being transmitted via the Bluff skill. In this case, your Sense Motive check is opposed by the Bluff check of the character transmitting the message. For each piece of information relating to the message that you are missing, you cake a -2 penalty on your Sense Motive check. For example, if you eavesdrop on people planning to assassinate a visiting diplomat, you take a -2 penalty on your check if you don't know about the diplomat, if you succeed by 4 or less, you know that something hidden is being communicated, but you can't learn anything specific about its content. If you beat the DC by 5 or more, you intercept and understand the message. if you fail by 4 or less, you don't detect any hidden communication. If you fail by 5 or more, you infer some false information.

Action: Trying to gain information with Sense Motive generally takes at least 1 minute, and you could spend a whole evening trying to get a sense of the people around you.

Try Again: No, though you may make a Sense Motive check for each Bluff check made against you.

Special: A ranger gains a bonus on Sense Motive checks when using this skill against a favored enemy (see page 47, Player's Handbook).

If you have the Negotiator feat, you get a +2 bonus on Sense Motive checks.

Synergy: If you have 5 or more ranks in Sense Motive, you get a +2 bonus on Diplomacy checks.

Expanded Description - Complete Adventurer

You can assess the combat prowess of an opponent, identifying particularly dangerous or vulnerable foes.

Assess Opponent: As a standard action, you can use Sense Motive to ascertain how tough a challenge an opponent poses for you, based on your level and your opponent's CR. This skill check is opposed by the opponent's Bluff check. To attempt this task, your opponent must be visible to you and within 30 feet. If you have seen the opponent in combat, you gain a +2 circumstance bonus on the check.

The accuracy of the assessment depends on the amount by which your Sense Motive check result exceeds the opposed Bluff check result. On a successful Sense Motive opposed check, you can gain the following information:

Opponent's CRAssess Opponent Result
4 or more less than your level/HDA pushover
1, 2, or 3 less than your level/HDEasy
Equal to your level/HDA fair fight
Equal to your level/HD plus 1, 2, or 3A tough challenge
Exceeds your level/HD by 4 or moreA dire threat

A successful assessment reveals that your foe belongs in one of two adjacent categories (for example, "Easy" or "A fair fight"). If your Sense Motive check result exceeds the opposed Bluff check result by 10 or more, you can narrow the result down to a single category.

By contrast, if the target's Bluff check result equals or slightly exceeds your Sense Motive check result, you gain no useful information. If the target's Bluff check result exceeds your Sense Motive check result by 5 or more, you may (at the DM's option) gain a false impression, believing your opponent to be much stronger or weaker than he really is (equal chance of either). If the target's Bluff check result exceeds your Sense Motive check result by 10 or more, your assessment is off by at least two categories (for example, a dire threat might be assessed as a fair fight).

Special: The Combat Intuition feat grants a +4 bonus on Sense Motive checks made to assess opponents. It also enables you to narrow your assessment of your opponent's combat capabilities to a single category. Finally, it allows you to accomplish this task as a free action.

An opponent that is particularly vulnerable to your typical attack routine (for example, a vampire facing a high-level cleric of Pelor) registers as one category less challenging; one who is resistant to your typical attack routine (for example, a golem opposing a rogue who relies heavily on sneak attacks) registers as one category more challenging.

Try Again: You can use this skill on a different opponent each round.

Skills Index
Character Creation