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Demoralizing opponents with Intimidate skill = fear effect? Mind-affecting effect?


Rules Questions

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9 people marked this as FAQ candidate. Staff response: no reply required. 1 person marked this as a favorite.

This debate came up in my group yesterday when my intimidate-happy barbarian decided to fight a paladin of Imoedae. Apparently this particular paladin was immune to any and all fear effects, and therefore he could not be affected by any status effect that suggests he was afraid. My argument was that although the demoralize effect creates the shaken condition, nowhere in the description of the skill does it say "this is a fear effect" like fear spells would. Furthermore, the demoralize ability has no magical component to it, so saying it's a "mind-affecting ability" would be misrepresenting the ability. A magical or divine defense against magics that instil fear would doubtfully also work against someone trying to scare you manually.

That's my take on the effect, anyway. Is there a clear answer to this?


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

It is a morale effect.


Quote:
At 3rd level, a paladin is immune to fear (magical or otherwise).
Quote:

Fear

Spells, magic items, and certain monsters can affect characters with fear. In most cases, the character makes a Will saving throw to resist this effect, and a failed roll means that the character is shaken, frightened, or panicked.

Shaken: Characters who are shaken take a –2 penalty on attack rolls, saving throws, skill checks, and ability checks.

Frightened: ...

Panicked:...

...


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PRD wrote:
Using demoralize on the same creature only extends the duration; it does not create a stronger fear condition.

I take the above to mean that using intimidate to demoralize actually is a fear effect. Of course, it could certainly have been written more clearly.

There is also circumstantial evidence pointing in the opposite direction, since the 3.5 version of intimidate specifically stated it didn't work on characters who were immune to fear, while the Pathfinder rules removed that sentence:

3.5 SRD wrote:
A character immune to fear can’t be intimidated, nor can nonintelligent creatures.

Of course, the same sentence can also be taken as circumstantial evidence suggesting what the intent of intimidate is.


Karlgamer wrote:
Quote:
At 3rd level, a paladin is immune to fear (magical or otherwise).
Quote:

Fear

Spells, magic items, and certain monsters can affect characters with fear. In most cases, the character makes a Will saving throw to resist this effect, and a failed roll means that the character is shaken, frightened, or panicked.

Shaken: Characters who are shaken take a –2 penalty on attack rolls, saving throws, skill checks, and ability checks.

Frightened: ...

Panicked:...

...

you don;t get a roll to save vs a demoralize check. That leads me to believe a morale effect is different than a fear effect. Also, an intimidate check cannot be used to frighten enemies.


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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Demoralize is a Morale effect.

Immunity to Morale effects is what protects you from Demoralize.


Back Stabbath wrote:
Also, an intimidate check cannot be used to frighten enemies.

The first sentence of the Intimidate skill is: "You can use this skill to frighten an opponent or to get them to act in a way that benefits you."

Here, of course, frighten is used in the normal English sense of the word as opposed to describing the "frightened" condition.


Are wrote:
PRD wrote:
Using demoralize on the same creature only extends the duration; it does not create a stronger fear condition.

I take the above to mean that using intimidate to demoralize actually is a fear effect. Of course, it could certainly have been written more clearly.

There is also circumstantial evidence pointing in the opposite direction, since the 3.5 version of intimidate specifically stated it didn't work on characters who were immune to fear, while the Pathfinder rules removed that sentence:

3.5 SRD wrote:
A character immune to fear can’t be intimidated, nor can nonintelligent creatures.

Of course, the same sentence can also be taken as circumstantial evidence suggesting what the intent of intimidate is.

Yes, that's what made me question the wording. I used to play 3.5 and noticed that rule was conspicuously absent from Pathfinder's rules. I don't see any reason they would omit that part of the intimidate check unless it meant they wanted that limitation gone.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Back Stabbath wrote:
Karlgamer wrote:
Quote:
At 3rd level, a paladin is immune to fear (magical or otherwise).
Quote:

Fear

Spells, magic items, and certain monsters can affect characters with fear. In most cases, the character makes a Will saving throw to resist this effect, and a failed roll means that the character is shaken, frightened, or panicked.

Shaken: Characters who are shaken take a –2 penalty on attack rolls, saving throws, skill checks, and ability checks.

Frightened: ...

Panicked:...

...

you don;t get a roll to save vs a demoralize check. That leads me to believe a morale effect is different than a fear effect. Also, an intimidate check cannot be used to frighten enemies.

It say: "In most cases, the character makes a Will saving throw", not "the character ST against fear effects is always successful".

A paladin is immune against all form of fear, both from a giant using intimidate on him or a spellcaster casting cause fear.
I get that you want more power for your "intimidate happy barbarian" but the paladin immunity is all encompassing.


blackbloodtroll wrote:

Demoralize is a Morale effect.

Immunity to Morale effects is what protects you from Demoralize.

Could you direct me to rules that say this please?


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Please note the "morale" in Demoralize.


I was going to ask BBT the same thing.

There's another piece of circumstantial evidence pointing towards intimidate being a fear effect:

The sentence "Using demoralize on the same creature only extends the duration; it does not create a stronger fear condition." wasn't originally a part of the skill. It was errata'd in, specifically to avoid people using intimidate multiple times to achieve the frightened condition.

That wouldn't have been possible unless intimidate used the rules for fear effects, so the errata was necessary to prevent it.


blackbloodtroll wrote:
Please note the "morale" in Demoralize.

Yeah, but the word "frightened" also appears in the skill description.

I ask because unless I see rules (or an official ruling in this topic) that supports my side my barbarian will sadly be unable to ever scare paladins.

Are wrote:

I was going to ask BBT the same thing.

There's another piece of circumstantial evidence pointing towards intimidate being a fear effect:

The sentence "Using demoralize on the same creature only extends the duration; it does not create a stronger fear condition." wasn't originally a part of the skill. It was errata'd in, specifically to avoid people using intimidate multiple times to achieve the frightened condition.

That wouldn't have been possible unless intimidate used the rules for fear effects, so the errata was necessary to prevent it.

A lot of abilities can give an opponent the flat-footed effect, but that doesn't mean every ability that does so is a feint maneuver.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Actually, I would find it very odd if it weren't a Morale effect.


No, but only fear effects work cumulatively to create stronger fear conditions. If intimidate hadn't been a fear effect, the errata wouldn't have been necessary to prevent the "stacking".


blackbloodtroll wrote:
Actually, I would find it very odd if it weren't a Morale effect.

If it is a morale effect, then it's the only morale effect in the game that provides a negative effect rather than a positive effect.

Except for one, the Mace of Terror. This item states it provides a morale penalty, but also states affected creatures gain the panicked condition (which doesn't give a type to its penalty). I doubt it's intended to give a double penalty, so I'm more inclined to believe that this item is worded incorrectly.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

There are other examples of Morale penalties.


I could find no other examples of morale penalties when I searched the PRD. Perhaps you can enlighten me.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

The Thais from Second Darkness:Children of the Void, create Morale penalties with their Aura of Bravery ability.


Nice. Well, I clicked the FAQ button. Regardless of if it's a fear effect, a morale effect, or something else entirely, it should be clarified.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Indeed.

Lantern Lodge

Doesn't matter what they say I will rule it as mundane fear and thus the paladin gets immunity. Hopefully they will say they same so I doont have to start a list of houserules for every game.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Now, I could see Demoralize as both a fear and morale effect.


Back Stabbath wrote:
blackbloodtroll wrote:
Please note the "morale" in Demoralize.

Yeah, but the word "frightened" also appears in the skill description.

I ask because unless I see rules (or an official ruling in this topic) that supports my side my barbarian will sadly be unable to ever scare paladins.

Actually, there is no "morale" in demoralise, only "moral". Maybe it's a moral effect ;)

In any case, Back Stabbath, I think you're screwed unless someone from Paizo clarifies in your favour.

PS I began reading this thread thinking you were being treated harshly, but given the (admittedly circumstantial) evidence, I'm firmly in the "No" camp now.


littlehewy wrote:
Back Stabbath wrote:
blackbloodtroll wrote:
Please note the "morale" in Demoralize.

Yeah, but the word "frightened" also appears in the skill description.

I ask because unless I see rules (or an official ruling in this topic) that supports my side my barbarian will sadly be unable to ever scare paladins.

Actually, there is no "morale" in demoralise, only "moral". Maybe it's a moral effect ;)

In any case, Back Stabbath, I think you're screwed unless someone from Paizo clarifies in your favour.

PS I began reading this thread thinking you were being treated harshly, but given the (admittedly circumstantial) evidence, I'm firmly in the "No" camp now.

What's done has been done, mostly I ask now because it looks like a rule that really should be clarified if it hasn't been already, not because I'm trying to eek out a small gain in a past event.

And, really, how often does a (generally) good-aligned party fight paladins?


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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I could see a number of CG freedom fighters having to fight many Paladins.


blackbloodtroll wrote:
I could see a number of CG freedom fighters having to fight many Paladins.

Absolutely. I'm pretty sure my game's group LG and the CG PCs would have battled last night if they weren't, you know... PCs.

And sorry Back Stabbath, wasn't suggesting you were trying to pull a swifty and just gain advantage. Just that I intuitively agreed with you, and then changed my mind after reading what rules-folks had to say. :)

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Cards, Maps Subscriber
PRD on Demoralize wrote:
Demoralize: You can use this skill to cause an opponent to become shaken
PRD On Shaken wrote:
as mentioned above, shaken is defined under FEAR.

by the 2 above I'd say that a fear-immune creature is immune to demoralize as well.

also note that Fear is not defined as mind-affecting effect.

Universal Monster Rule on Undead wrote:
Undead are immune to ..., mind-affecting effects (charms, compulsions, morale effects, phantasms, and patterns), ...

so (intelligent) undead are not immune to demoralize ...


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

But, due to one of those cute little peculiarities of the rules, Fear Attacks are all defined as mind-affecting fear effects. But not all fear effects are fear attacks.

Qadira

Demoralize isn't a morale penalty, as Shaken is not labeled as a morale penalty, just a -2 penalty. Shaken is however classified as a mind effecting fear effect.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Seraphimpunk wrote:

Demoralize isn't a morale penalty, as Shaken is not labeled as a morale penalty, just a -2 penalty. Shaken is however classified as a mind effecting fear effect.

Not strictly true:

Conditions wrote:
Shaken : A shaken character takes a –2 penalty on attack rolls, saving throws, skill checks, and ability checks. Shaken is a less severe state of fear than frightened or panicked.
Glossary wrote:

Fear

Spells, magic items, and certain monsters can affect characters with fear. In most cases, the character makes a Will saving throw to resist this effect, and a failed roll means that the character is shaken, frightened, or panicked.

Shaken : Characters who are shaken take a –2 penalty on attack rolls, saving throws, skill checks, and ability checks.

Frightened : Characters who are frightened are shaken, and in addition they flee from the source of their fear as quickly as they can. They can choose the paths of their flight. Other than that stipulation, once they are out of sight (or hearing) of the source of their fear, they can act as they want. If the duration of their fear continues, however, characters can be forced to flee if the source of their fear presents itself again. Characters unable to flee can fight (though they are still shaken).

Panicked : Characters who are panicked are shaken, and they run away from the source of their fear as quickly as they can, dropping whatever they are holding. Other than running away from the source, their paths are random. They flee from all other dangers that confront them rather than facing those dangers. Once they are out of sight (or hearing) of any source of danger, they can act as they want. Panicked characters cower if they are prevented from fleeing.

Becoming Even More Fearful : Fear effects are cumulative. A shaken character who is made shaken again becomes frightened, and a shaken character who is made frightened becomes panicked instead. A frightened character who is made shaken or frightened becomes panicked instead.

Universal Monster Rules wrote:

Fear (Su or Sp) Fear attacks can have various effects.

Fear Aura (Su) The use of this ability is a free action. The aura can freeze an opponent (as in the case of a mummy's despair) or function like the fear spell. Other effects are possible. A fear aura is an area effect. The descriptive text gives the size and kind of the area.

Fear Cone (Sp) and Ray (Su) These effects usually work like the fear spell.

If a fear effect allows a saving throw, it is a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 fearsome creature's racial HD + creature's Cha modifier; the exact DC is given in the creature's descriptive text). All fear attacks are mind-affecting fear effects.

Format : fear aura (30 ft., DC 17); Location : Aura.

Format : fear cone (50 ft., DC 19); Location : Special Attacks.

Fear attacks are all mind-affecting fear effects, but not all fear effects are fear attacks.


Back Stabbath wrote:
you don;t get a roll to save vs a demoralize check.

The save portion is irrelevant to the situation.

Back Stabbath wrote:
That leads me to believe a morale effect is different than a fear effect.

Shaken is a degree of fear.

Back Stabbath wrote:
Also, an intimidate check cannot be used to frighten enemies.

If your opponent is already shaken he then become frightened.

Quote:
Becoming Even More Fearful: Fear effects are cumulative. A shaken character who is made shaken again becomes frightened, and a shaken character who is made frightened becomes panicked instead. A frightened character who is made shaken or frightened becomes panicked instead.
Back Stabbath wrote:
I ask because unless I see rules (or an official ruling in this topic) that supports my side my barbarian will sadly be unable to ever scare paladins.

That's the cool thing about paladins. However, don't assume you can't frighten the player who plays the paladin.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I see it as a Morale effect that creates a Fear condition.

I don't see it as a Fear Effect in and of itself.

Lantern Lodge

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Either way that still results in the paladin being immune.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Paladin is immune to fear, and not just fear effects?

Then he is immune to the negative effects of Demoralize.


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I know he ain't the rules team, but JJ was asked by someone yesterday and replied that yes, paladins are immune to demoralise, FWIW.

Cheliax

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Demoralise applies the shaken condition.

The shaken condition comes under the 'fear' heading.

Paladins of the appropriate level cannot become shaken, frightened, or panicked.

Whether you succeed your Intimidate check or not, the shaken condition that would result from it is negated.

So yeah, +1 for 'It doesn't matter if Demoralise is a fear effect or not; the condition it applies *is* a fear effect, so anyone trying to use it on a paladin (of 3rd level or higher) is SOL.'


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I myself, am not arguing that the Paladin is not immune.

Qadira

i'm merely chipping in that its not a "morale penalty" in the way that Good Hope provides a "morale bonus" on certain checks, as shaken is never given a "morale" quantifier anywhere. This has uses because there are some things that would or could apply / ignore to morale effects and morale penalties.

RAW demoralize: shaken is not quantified with a typed penalty, beyond being a fear effect. Its an unnamed penalty, so its penalty can stack with other penalties.


This came up in a game I was playing in yesterday. We were fighting a giant crab, and I tried to demoralize it. I 'succeeded' (rolled a 20+9), but the GM said that it didn't become shaken. (Please note that I'm not trying to redo the encounter or anything like that. I just want to know the limitations of demoralize, given that I built my character around being an Order of the Cockatrice Samurai.)

I was already under the impression (although not expressly clarified) that shaken was a fear effect, but giant crabs are only immune to 'mind-affecting effects'. Should you be unable to demoralize something that is unaffected by mind-affecting effects?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Answered above. Mechanically, demoralize causes the shaken condition. The shaken condition is defined as a fear effect. A paladin is immune to fear effects.

A house rule might be that a successful intimidate check on a Paladin causes a weird alternate effect, like perhaps taking a withdrawal step 5 feet back in Surprise or something...whatever the "morale effect" you think of would be.

Shadow Lodge

Why is there any debate? The "Shaken" condition is a fear effect.


Yes, it's a fear effect. That's not what I'm asking about.

Is it a mind-affecting effect? Should I be able to demoralize and shake a giant crab or not?


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Shaking a giant crab is easy. You just grapple it, and shake it.

All examples of fear effects other than demoralize I can find in the core rules say that fear is a mind-affecting effect. So, yea, it is.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Yes, fear is a mind-affecting effect.


Cheapy wrote:

Shaking a giant crab is easy. You just grapple it, and shake it.

All examples of fear effects other than demoralize I can find in the core rules say that fear is a mind-affecting effect. So, yea, it is.

Aha. There's the connection that I wasn't making. "Fear is a mind-affecting effect."

Thanks for the clarification.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Barry Armstrong wrote:
Yes, fear is a mind-affecting effect.

Explain Chill Touch.


blackbloodtroll wrote:
Barry Armstrong wrote:
Yes, fear is a mind-affecting effect.
Explain Chill Touch.

"[A]s if panicked" is not the same thing as panicked. If anything, the fact that the spell had to give a pseudo-panicked condition instead of the real thing supports the idea that fear is mind effecting. That is not to say that I fall on either side of the argument, just that chill touch is not really that good of a counter example.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Okay.
Intimidate can create the Shaken condition, and though the Shaken condition is a fear effect, not all fear effects are mind-effecting effects.

Shadow Lodge

Not all fear effects are mind-affecting effects, only those that state they are mind-affecting effects (which, incidentally is most of them).

The general rules for the Fear conditions say nothing about them being mind-affecting.

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