View Full Version : Bluff = Common Man's 'Jedi Mind Trick'?

2007-06-15, 08:30 AM
So I was thinking last night, could you use Bluff as a kind of 'Jedi Mind Trick'?
For example:
Guard: "I'll need to see your papers"
Rogue making a Bluff: "You don't need to see my papers"
As you can see, it is obviously a lie that the guard doesn't need to see the papers. However, if his ability to pass off this lie as true is good enough, could he make the guard believe it? Granted, the DC may be pretty high but any decent character with Bluff as a class skill could make it. Coupled with the fact that a good 97% of the population won't have many Sense Motive ranks, it could be effective.
Let's look at it from a RAW point of view since some DMs wouldn't allow this.
Is this possible?

2007-06-15, 08:34 AM
By the RAW? Nothing appears to be stopping you from using Bluff this way.

Bluff (Cha)
A Bluff check is opposed by the targetís Sense Motive check. See the accompanying table for examples of different kinds of bluffs and the modifier to the targetís Sense Motive check for each one.

Favorable and unfavorable circumstances weigh heavily on the outcome of a bluff. Two circumstances can weigh against you: The bluff is hard to believe, or the action that the target is asked to take goes against its self-interest, nature, personality, orders, or the like. If itís important, you can distinguish between a bluff that fails because the target doesnít believe it and one that fails because it just asks too much of the target. For instance, if the target gets a +10 bonus on its Sense Motive check because the bluff demands something risky, and the Sense Motive check succeeds by 10 or less, then the target didnít so much see through the bluff as prove reluctant to go along with it. A target that succeeds by 11 or more has seen through the bluff.

A successful Bluff check indicates that the target reacts as you wish, at least for a short time (usually 1 round or less) or believes something that you want it to believe. Bluff, however, is not a suggestion spell.

A bluff requires interaction between you and the target. Creatures unaware of you cannot be bluffed.

Feinting in Combat
You can also use Bluff to mislead an opponent in melee combat (so that it canít dodge your next attack effectively). To feint, make a Bluff check opposed by your targetís Sense Motive check, but in this case, the target may add its base attack bonus to the roll along with any other applicable modifiers.

If your Bluff check result exceeds this special Sense Motive check result, your target is denied its Dexterity bonus to AC (if any) for the next melee attack you make against it. This attack must be made on or before your next turn.

Feinting in this way against a nonhumanoid is difficult because itís harder to read a strange creatureís body language; you take a -4 penalty on your Bluff check. Against a creature of animal Intelligence (1 or 2) itís even harder; you take a -8 penalty. Against a nonintelligent creature, itís impossible.

Feinting in combat does not provoke an attack of opportunity.

Creating a Diversion to Hide
You can use the Bluff skill to help you hide. A successful Bluff check gives you the momentary diversion you need to attempt a Hide check while people are aware of you. This usage does not provoke an attack of opportunity.

Delivering a Secret Message
You can use Bluff to get a message across to another character without others understanding it. The DC is 15 for simple messages, or 20 for complex messages, especially those that rely on getting across new information. Failure by 4 or less means you canít get the message across. Failure by 5 or more means that some false information has been implied or inferred. Anyone listening to the exchange can make a Sense Motive check opposed by the Bluff check you made to transmit in order to intercept your message (see Sense Motive).

See also: epic usages of Bluff.

Varies. A Bluff check made as part of general interaction always takes at least 1 round (and is at least a full-round action), but it can take much longer if you try something elaborate. A Bluff check made to feint in combat or create a diversion to hide is a standard action. A Bluff check made to deliver a secret message doesnít take an action; it is part of normal communication.

Try Again
Varies. Generally, a failed Bluff check in social interaction makes the target too suspicious for you to try again in the same circumstances, but you may retry freely on Bluff checks made to feint in combat. Retries are also allowed when you are trying to send a message, but you may attempt such a retry only once per round.

Each retry carries the same chance of miscommunication.

A ranger gains a bonus on Bluff checks when using this skill against a favored enemy.

The master of a snake familiar gains a +3 bonus on Bluff checks.

If you have the Persuasive feat, you get a +2 bonus on Bluff checks.

If you have 5 or more ranks in Bluff, you get a +2 bonus on Diplomacy, Intimidate, and Sleight of Hand checks, as well as on Disguise checks made when you know youíre being observed and you try to act in character.

It all depends how you interpret the 'Bluff is not a suggestion spell' clause.

2007-06-15, 08:37 AM
No. You cannot use bluff that way.

Green Bean
2007-06-15, 08:43 AM
Technically, yes. However, if I were DMing the game, I would rule that the guard totally believes that you think he doesn't need to see your papers.

2007-06-15, 08:45 AM
That would fall into epic uses of Bluff (produce Sugggestion). Otherwise, my own closest interpretation of Jedi Mind Trick was either Suggestion as a Spell-like ability or a Fascinate/Suggestion Bard Music combination.

2007-06-15, 08:50 AM
Fore reference:

Enchantment (Compulsion) [Language-Dependent, Mind-Affecting]
Level: Brd 2, Sor/Wiz 3
Components: V, M
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Target: One living creature
Duration: 1 hour/level or until completed
Saving Throw: Will negates
Spell Resistance: Yes

You influence the actions of the target creature by suggesting a course of activity (limited to a sentence or two). The suggestion must be worded in such a manner as to make the activity sound reasonable. Asking the creature to do some obviously harmful act automatically negates the effect of the spell.

The suggested course of activity can continue for the entire duration. If the suggested activity can be completed in a shorter time, the spell ends when the subject finishes what it was asked to do. You can instead specify conditions that will trigger a special activity during the duration. If the condition is not met before the spell duration expires, the activity is not performed.

A very reasonable suggestion causes the save to be made with a penalty (such as -1 or -2).

Material Component
A snakeís tongue and either a bit of honeycomb or a drop of sweet oil.

Suggestion is not quite the same thing as what is being asked of Bluff here, though a case could be made either way, I think.

[Edit] For the record, I would handle this sort of Bluff the same way as H_V [i.e. he believes that you believe it].

2007-06-15, 09:26 AM
You'd probably need to reword it a bit for it to work with bluff.

"They're somewhere in my backpack, but I'm kind of in a hurry... can you let me pass through just this once?"

That gives the guard a sort of reasonable reason to not look at your papers. Bluff, I think, would only work with reasonable things like that.

2007-06-15, 09:54 AM
With a high enough bluff check anything is reasonable ... see the examples in the PHB.

2007-06-15, 10:04 AM
Guards would probably have full ranks in Spot and Sense Motive, likely with Skill Focus: Sense Motive. With the way you've worded that, I'd give it a +20 on the DC. Guards might have a 12 or so in Wisdom, so +1 on their Sense Motive check. If they're first level Warriors, that's 2 ranks, +1 wis, +3 skill focus, so bonus is +6. So you'd need a +26 in your bluff just to start out with even odds of succeeding with that whopper. And that's versus a single first-level lackey, who doesn't even have Sense Motive as a class skill. At the point that you have that much in Bluff, you have better things to be doing with your time than worrying about a low-level guard. For example, casting Suggestion.

2007-06-15, 10:12 AM
I'd stop this with the "one round or less" clause. The guard believes that you don't need to show papers (assuming, of course, that you make the +10 or +20 modifier that you get for that). You then have six seconds or less (probably about half what I think you need) to get through the entire alternative protocol (if you're important enough to not need to show papers, you'll have some authorization for that). The guard probably needs to keep records, at the very least; you have one round or less to bluff your way out of every alternative.

Then your first bluff expires, and the guard realizes "wait, what?" and asks you to clarify as to why you don't need your papers.

(edit: noticed the "or less" and added it in)

2007-06-15, 10:22 AM
The only problem with using that clause is that it comes before the 'or' and could be read seperately from the 'making him believe such and such' part.

2007-06-15, 10:58 AM
That, and it says USUALLY one round or less. If you read it as always one round or less, then you prevent people from using it for all types of stuff. Such as "Adventurers? We're not adventurers. Can you put this beer on my tab?"

The Prince of Cats
2007-06-15, 11:30 AM
The outcome of the Jedi Mind trick and a good Bluff usage will be the same; the guard decides that he doesn't need to see your ID.

In practice, it is not waving your hand and saying 'you don't need to see his identification' as much as 'Look mate, do I look or sound like a rebel? Come on, I have lived here for years and Vader will kill me if I don't get him his Lucky Charms on time.'

The main use of bluff would (IMNSHO) be telling a Stormtrooper to go check with the Deathstar, based on the fact that he probably won't check. I mean, bluff is just telling them something semi-plausible that they are either incapable of or too lazy to bother checking. It is how a friend of mine (who was not legally allowed to own a passport at the time) got through customs again and again. Confidence, coupled with facts that vaguely fit will get you through almost anything. (for reference, he was a 6ft lanky git with dark hair who always used the passport of a short fat ginger friend)

Missing Shoe
2007-06-15, 11:37 AM
While bluff isnt a Jedi Mind Trick, it still comes rather close to one depending how it is used. Say for the guard and the papers example, I would allow someone to say "The king gave me permission to pass, so I dont have any papers to show you" or even "Sure here are my papers *hands over wet, fake papers*. Yeah they got a little wet so they might be a little hard to read".

Combined with Glibness( +30 to bluff checks), bluff is a dangerous tool for the right players. Be warned that your DM might not like what you use it for though. (ie Masterwork weapon, natural aura, glibness)

2007-06-15, 11:44 AM
It can totally be a Jedi Mind Trick if you can get your checks high enough. One of the other characters in a game I'm in right now is built around making Bluff checks that meet the +50 DC to act as a shorter-duration version of suggestion. His Bluff modifier is in the triple digits most of the time, though the low triple digits. :smalltongue:

Keeping a character like that from breaking the game takes a pretty decent DM though, so don't be surprised if your DM takes one look at your character and says "no way".

2007-06-15, 12:11 PM
Guards would probably have full ranks in Spot and Sense Motive, likely with Skill Focus: Sense Motive.

I think you overestimate the competence of the average dumb-grunt gate guard.

You did inspire this:
Meet Bob, the Gate Guard!

2007-06-15, 12:40 PM
I've always played so that if there's something a character knows is a lie, you can't bluff no matter how high your modifiers are. So something as bald-faced and direct as "You don't need to see my papers" wouldn't work, it's the guard's job to see your papers. A good bluff with this statement might confuse the guard or throw him off, but he'd still know to some degree that you're swindling him. Instead, bluff checks need to paired with semi-plausible excuses.

2007-06-15, 01:40 PM
That, and it says USUALLY one round or less. If you read it as always one round or less, then you prevent people from using it for all types of stuff. Such as "Adventurers? We're not adventurers. Can you put this beer on my tab?"

I'd only have the bluffed believe the bluff for less than a round if the bluff is completely outrageous. "You don't need to see my identification" is a such a bluff; the guy might even start to wave the PCs through, then realize what they're doing and say "huh, what?" Of course, they might succeed if they can make the requirement to plant a suggestion.

Bluffing something more reasonable (like that the boss will be displeased if you aren't let by as quickly as possible) would get you through with a much easier bluff, as would your Adventurers Bluff (assuming that it isn't obvious that the PCs are adventurers).

2007-06-15, 01:56 PM
Well, I can only tell you what you happen if I were DM.

And I'm assuming he is guarding something semi-significant.
First I'd have the DC to bluff the gaurd worked out before the adventure started- because I know you would try it. I might role a dice, but wanting to be more in control I would just give him a role of 10. Now the modifiers, he gets another +10 because he is a guard are letting people through puts him at considerable risk. Another +1 from his wis. If he is a professional guard another +4 from skill ranks. (Of course if he's really professional with multiple levels and stuff we could get much much higher.)

So DC is 25. Hard but not impossible. Of course, I'd be willing to put the DC up or down 5 by good or bad roleplaying. (Most skills are +/- 2 but bluff is special)

If you say, "My charater tries to bluff his way by the gaurd," that's as bad as RPing gets. Another 5, so lets just say DC 30. So if your a 12th level bard with half way decent Charisma you have a fair shot.

If you look at me and say while waving your hand, "You don't need to see my papers," I will chuckle, but it's still pretty bad RP. DC 29 If your a monk who took all those cross class bluffs just for this moment: DC 26

Now if you were just to say instead, "I'm friends with Leila, you don't need to see my papers." That's decent respetable roleplay, and we'd be at DC 25.

Finially, if you really wanted to be able to pull the jedi mind trick- I'd just make you buy a feat. Then when you bluffed I'd treat it like an NPC trying to bluff. That is I'd try to imagine a resonably good lie for the situation (if one exist) and use those modifiers.