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Check: A Bluff check is opposed by the target’s Sense Motive check when trying to con or mislead. Favorable and unfavorable circumstances weigh heavily on the outcome of a bluff. Two circumstances can work against the character: The bluff is hard to believe, or the action that the bluff requires the target to take goes against the target’s self-interest, nature, personality, or orders.
If it’s important, the GM can distinguish between a bluff that fails because the target doesn’t believe it and one that fails because it asks too much of the target. For instance, if the target gets a +10 bonus because the bluff demands something risky of the target, and the target’s Sense Motive check succeeds by 10 or less, then the target didn’t so much see through the bluff as prove reluctant to go along with it. If the target’s Sense Motive check succeeds by 11 or more, he has seen through the bluff, and would have succeeded in doing so even if it had not placed any demand on him (that is, even without the +10 bonus).
A successful Bluff check indicates that the target reacts as the character wishes, at least for a short time (usually 1 round or less), or the target believes something that the character wants him or her to believe.
A bluff requires interaction between the character and the target. Targets unaware of the character can’t be bluffed.
|Example Circumstances||Sense Motive Modifier|
|The target wants to believe the character.||–5|
|The bluff is believable and doesn’t affect the target much one way or the other.||+0|
|The bluff is a little hard to believe or puts the target at some kind of risk.||+5|
|The bluff is hard to believe or entails a large risk for the target.||+10|
|The bluff is way out there; it’s almost too incredible to consider.||+20|
A bluff is not the same thing as a lie. A bluff is a quick prevarication intended to distract, confuse, or mislead, generally only for the short term. A bluff is not intended to withstand long-term or careful scrutiny, but rather to momentarily deter an action or decision. Bluffs involve attitude and body language. Bluffs often include lies, but they usually aren’t very sophisticated and aren’t intended to deceive the target for more than a few moments.
A lie, on the other hand, is a simple misrepresentation of the facts. Body language and attitude aren’t a big part of communication. The lie may be very sophisticated and well thought-out, and is intended to deceive a character at least until he or she discovers evidence to the contrary. A character should not make a Bluff check every time he or she utters a lie.
Feinting in Combat: A character can also use Bluff to mislead an opponent in combat so that the opponent can’t dodge the character’s attack effectively. If the character succeeds, the next attack the character makes against the target ignores his or her Dexterity bonus to Defense (if the opponent has one), thus lowering his or her Defense score. Using Bluff in this way against a creature of animal intelligence (Int 1 or 2) requires a –8 penalty on the check. Against a nonintelligent creature, feinting is impossible.
Creating a Diversion to Hide: A character can use Bluff to help him or her hide. A successful Bluff check gives the character the momentary diversion needed to attempt a Hide check while people are aware of the character. (See the Hide skill)
Sending a Secret Message: A character can use Bluff to send and understand secret messages while appearing to be speaking about other things. The DC for a basic message is 10. Complex messages or messages trying to communicate new information have DCs of 15 or 20. Both the sender and the receiver must make the check for the secret message to be successfully relayed and understood.
Anyone listening in on a secret message can attempt a Sense Motive check (DC equal to the sender’s Bluff check result). If successful, the eavesdropper realizes that a secret message is contained in the communication. If the eavesdropper beats the DC by 5 or more, he or she understands the secret message.
Whether trying to send or intercept a message, a failure by 5 or more points means that one side or the other misinterprets the message in some fashion.
Try Again?: Generally, a failed Bluff check makes the target too suspicious for the character to try another bluff in the same circumstances. For feinting in combat, the character may try again freely.
Special: A character can take 10 when making a bluff (except for feinting in combat), but can’t take 20.
A character with the Deceptive feat gets a +2 bonus on all Bluff checks.
Time: A bluff takes at least 1 round (and is at least a full-round action) but can take much longer if the character tries something elaborate. Using Bluff as a feint in combat is an attack action.
You can use the Bluff skill to feint in starship combat.
Check: With a successful Bluff check, you mislead another starship so that it can’t dodge your attack effectively. This check is opposed by the target pilot’s Sense Motive check. If you succeed, the next attack your starship makes against the target ignores its pilot’s Dexterity bonus to Defense (if it has one), thus lowering the target’s Defense score.
You cannot use this tactic against a starship that’s flying on autopilot.
Using Bluff as a feint in starship combat is an attack action.
Special: If you have the Starship Feint feat, you gain a +2 bonus on Bluff checks when using the skill to feint in starship combat.
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