View Full Version : Cheap & Easy Ways to boost Sense Motive [3.5]

2010-06-25, 09:54 AM
So, I'm playing a bard 2/warlock 1, and I'm looking for ways to boost my Sense Motive. Here's what I'm working with so far, using 32-point buy:

Silverbrow Human (middle-aged)
DEX 14
INT 16
WIS 10
CHA 18

1. Dragonfire Inspiration
F. Able Learner
F. Melodic Casting
3. Versatile Spellcaster

So what can I do by way of feats, spells, invocations, or items to boost Sense Motive? Also, do Silverbrow Humans get the bonus feat? I know it mentions they don't get bonus skill points, but no mention of the feat.

EDIT: If it helps, I'm planning on going 3 Warlock/4 Bard/x Eldritch Theurge/y Sublime Chord/?, possibly seeker of the song.

2010-06-25, 10:04 AM
Unless it states otherwise, it remains a human. So yes, they do get the free feat.

As for Sense Motive...Well, you'd want a higher wisdom to start as it is WIS based... But that's not too big a deal.

There is of course Skill Focus: Sense Motive. *yawn*
Nimbus of Light (BOED) gives +2 to Sense motive and Diplomacy, however only with good creatures.

Ray of light: Gives +2 to alot of things, including skill checks. Its a bard spell at level 1.

Third Party: Moongoose has a thing called character concepts. Typically gets a small bonus that is counter by a penaty.
There are a few for bards such as Ambassador
+2 competence bonus to Bluff, Diplomacy, and Sense Motive. They also get 200 gp a month from boss.
PENALTIES: You must choose one patron. Can be from a organiosation or nation. You are basically their bitch. If you stop being bitch, you lose all bonuses.


Sorry. My hip is really hurting bad right now. (Due for a hip replacement this year. And I'm freaking 25 years old...). Once my pain killers kick in, I'll cross my bedroom to look through more books. Sorry it isn't much.

2010-06-25, 10:19 AM
Traits from Unearthed Arcana, Item Familiar. :smallwink:

2010-06-25, 10:24 AM
Thank you both for your input. Now I'm wondering, is it worth the investment, or should I just grab some scrolls of zone of truth?

Basically, I'm playing a cop. Problem is, with my current +5, any liar worth their salt can fool me. I'm not liking that for interrogations, so should I just pop up a zone whenever I'm questioning them?

Dracons, sorry for your situation. Here's hoping that medicine kicks in soon.

2010-06-25, 10:29 AM
Masterwork Tool. Of some kind.

2010-06-25, 10:38 AM
Masterwork Tool. Of some kind.

A Polygraph?

2010-06-25, 10:39 AM
Thank you both for your input. Now I'm wondering, is it worth the investment, or should I just grab some scrolls of zone of truth?

Basically, I'm playing a cop. Problem is, with my current +5, any liar worth their salt can fool me. I'm not liking that for interrogations, so should I just pop up a zone whenever I'm questioning them?

Scrolls have weak DCs, and a Will save lets them lie, so I wouldn't go with that unless you know they are low-level and probably have low enough saves that it'll work (in which case your +5 might be sufficient) or you have a way to lower their saves beforehand. I imagine neither are often the case.

Reasonable masterwork tools:
Some of magical lie detector (assuming normal feudal-esque setting, or a real lie detector if a modern setting) to be a Masterwork tool. Or, if high tech (or magic), something that registers changes in breathing and heartrate to help you see when someone is likely lying; maybe glasses that display such data.

Magic Item Compendium has rules for crafting items that give +10 circumstance (?) items. I think they are 10000 gp, but I'm not sure. So not really cheap and it's by DM permission.

2010-06-25, 10:50 AM
A Polygraph?

Nah, a lie detector.

You could ask your DM if you can homebrew a feat that gives you +2 to sense motive and +2 to another skill you'll need for your job.

Scroll of Zone of Truth are probably worth the investment. You'll bump into a charismatic thug or a drug dealing sorcerer sooner or later, and even if you optimise your sense motive check, they'll still fool you with some luck.

Oh, and don't forget that you'll usually get a +5 bonus to your Sense Motive check. (After all, criminals are 'hard to believe', so you'll be suspicious.)

2010-06-25, 10:54 AM
The best interrogators are Clerics, who use Discern Lies, have classess in that Inquisitor PrC and possibly cast Bestow Curse on the subject to get his Wisdom to 1.

But for your chosen class combo... It's very un-optimized in this regard. And in others as well. *cringe*

2010-06-25, 11:22 AM
Improvisation (Bard 1, Spell Compendium). It gives you a floating Luck bonus pool that is scaled to your Bard caster level and can be used for pretty much anything. The duration is pretty limited, but it can be ridiculously useful.

Inquisitor psionic feat gives you +10 when you expend your psionic focus.

Andromalius vestige (Binder 5, or Binder 3 with Improved Binder feat) gives you a +4 to Sense Motive, Appraise, and Spot, plus you always notice when someone uses Slieght of Hand on you, and you get Locate Item, See Invisibility, 2d6 Sneak Attack, and Tasha’s Hideous Laughter. There are also vestiges which grant Read Thoughts and similar abilities.

Charming Veil soulmeld gives you a bonus to Sense Motive and Read Throughts.

Truthseeker Goggles soulmeld gives you a bonus to Sense Motive, Search, and Gather Information = 2 + (2*essentia invested).

Comp Adventurer pg 102 also gives an additional use to Sense Motive. If you pass a certain DC, you can assess your enemy's CR. This is often useful in battles with humanoids, as you can figure out the "boss" enemy before combat even starts so that you can target him. Appraise and/or Detect Magic often helps with this as well, as the boss tends to carry the most treasure.

I would also say that Warlock/Bard is a horrible combination. I would go with Psion (telepath), Cleric, Binder, or Incarnate, in that order.

2010-06-25, 12:51 PM
I know bard/warlock isn't optimal, but I:
1. Haven't got a chance to play a Dragonfire Inspiration bard before.
2. Have never played a warlock.
3. Cooked up a backstory where the fluff of the two classes seems to merge well.

I was thinking of just playing him straight 'lock, but it seems lacking in the way of skill points. I'm not trying to play a skill monkey, just a face/blaster...faceblaster! Also, I'm playing with a dread necromancer and a lurk, so I don't think I need to bring my most optimized character. Lastly, thanks again for all the suggestions. I may want to boost CON to take advantage of Shape Soulmeld.

2010-06-25, 04:13 PM
If you're using Eberron rules, there are some cool options for you.

The Least Mark of the Sentinel grants you a +2 Bonus on Sense Motive Checks, in addition to it's other benefits.

As a Bard, you also have access to the Master Inquisitive Prestige Class. (All that's needed for entry is 6 Ranks in Gather Information and Sense Motive, 3 Ranks in Search, and the Investigate feat.)

Master Inquisitives gain Zone of Truth, Discern Lies, and True Seeing as SLAs, Contacts that they can call upon, and bonus feats related to the job. It's basically the Detective PrC.