Bard and Intimidate


Rules Questions


7 people marked this as FAQ candidate.

One of my players, an 11th level bard, recently stumbled across an interesting combination of abilities. As a move action, he uses his bardic music to create a Dirge of Doom effect, then follows with a single standard action to intimidate any creature that can see and hear him within 30 feet. As a bard, his intimidate is spectacular, virtually guaranteeing success, and ending with a creature that's frightened. My question is, are we playing this properly, allowing the two fear effects to stack? Dirge of Doom states that it can't cause a creature to become frightened, so my player's line of thinking was that the Dirge made him shakened, and the intimidate made him frightened. Is that right? Or does that particular clause of a fear effect mean that that fear effect doesn't stack with any others?

Thanks in advance if you have an idea. :)

Dark Archive

Intimidate (The skill) to demoralize does not stack with other fear effects and therefore wouldn't function in such a manner.

Liberty's Edge

It's fun for a bard to demoralize opponents with Dazzling Display and such. The skill description doesn't actually say anything about not stacking with other fear effects, so perhaps Carbon is wrong. Or perhaps he knows something I don't.

I'm not sure whether I'd allow that or not. The bard ability doesn't say 'doesn't stack' it says 'cannot make someone frightened'.

Yeah, I'd probably allow it to happen. Makes fear more effective, especially for PC's.

Scarab Sages

Carbon D. Metric wrote:
Intimidate (The skill) to demoralize does not stack with other fear effects and therefore wouldn't function in such a manner.

Where is this rule, please?

Brogue The Rogue wrote:
Is that right? Or does that particular clause of a fear effect mean that that fear effect doesn't stack with any others?

Yes, you're playing it right. Dirge of doom won't increase the level of fear, but Intimidate (demoralize) will.

Dark Archive

Tom Baumbach wrote:


Where is this rule, please?

Right here

Intimidate as a fear effect has an overlapping effect, not a stacking one.

Liberty's Edge

Ah, I see.
Still, should be a long 'shaken' duration!

Scarab Sages

Carbon D. Metric wrote:
Intimidate as a fear effect has an overlapping effect, not a stacking one.

I believe that is in response to stacking multiple (demoralize) effects, not in reference to combining (demoralize) with other fear effects.

Worthy of an FAQ, however.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Its kind of sad when that post existed on Oct 9, 2009. And it couldn't make into any of the erratas since then.

Dark Archive

Maezer wrote:
Its kind of sad when that post existed on Oct 9, 2009. And it couldn't make into any of the erratas since then.

Yeeep. I think this is one of those things that just keeps falling in between the cracks unless the thinking has turned around significantly since then. Which would beg the question why hasn't there been something contradicting THIS ruling since then if that is the case. I think this is a good question for the FAQ whenever they get the downtime to mull through it.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Its a reoccurring problem. I personally think the worst is the Natural weapon with manufactured weapons incurring the twf penalties in the core rules.

They are pretty liberal about saying stuff will be errated via posts and not including it in the errata when they get around to issuing them. It makes you wonder if they really intend to errata the stuff or not.

The infinitely delayed Faq is an issue as well. Though I do understand, erratas/faqs don't make money. And in general they don't make customers happy either (you get you killed my barbarian monk threads, or the recent change involved). So they'd be low on my priority list too.

Thanks for the link though. It was new to me as, I haven't kept up with Frost's post as much as the other staff members.


Great link; thanks for the info, guys. :)

Followup question. In another game I've been thinking about making barbarian that uses Dazzling Display and Intimidating Glare. According to what was just linked, these would not stack to create a frightened effect, correct?


Carbon D. Metric wrote:
Tom Baumbach wrote:


Where is this rule, please?

Right here

Intimidate as a fear effect has an overlapping effect, not a stacking one.

There are two things wrong with this.

One, this was a pathfinder society ruling. Joshua was VERY explicit in saying that PFS rulings were not to be considered Pathfinder rulings. They're valid only for Society play.

Two, this particular ruling is talking only about using Intimidate more than once. It says nothing about combining Intimidate with other fear effects.

Dark Archive

While those are both valid points, they are the only thing we have to run on for now. I think I remember seeing something else about this recently but the search function on these messageboards isn't exactly intelligent. I still say there should be a search field that includes only threads in which piazo employees contributed to.

Liberty's Edge

Hm. Well, it would appear to me that the suggestion is to do exactly as the post says, then. But that no (non-PFS) GM should feel beholden to it, since it's a PFS ruling and not a PFRPG ruling.

Liberty's Edge

In general, fear effects stack; this is true of effects that don't come from the same source. There is a bit of gamesmanship in the idea that, while dirge of doom doesn't stack with other fear, other things can stack with dirge of doom. In the general case, it is a bit of gamesmanship with a long history, though. So, kudos for the player's creativity.

As for Josh's ruling from 2009, I'm not willing to track down the forum based rulings of the various administrators and developers. I appreciate the work that's been done by d20pfsrd group to organize this chaotic mess, but the ultimate solution is for Paizo to clean up their house on the matter. Until that happens, I'll take it as opinion that may be formalized further.

As for Josh's ruling being PFS only: my understanding is that the official line is that PFS follows the standard rules.

**************************************************

As to OP's question: it works by the RAW. It doesn't work by the 2009 opinion of an administrator who no longer is employed by the company. It may not work if your group's style of gaming rejects this type of gamesmanship. Edit: It will work if your group's style of gaming values this type of creativity.


Howie23 wrote:


As to OP's question: it works by the RAW. It doesn't work by the 2009 opinion of an administrator who no longer is employed by the company. It may not work if your group's style of gaming rejects this type of gamesmanship. Edit: It will work if your group's style of gaming values this type of creativity.

Alright, thanks a bunch. :)


So... Still no official ruling on this? Because I was planning to do (almost) the same thing with my Bard, come level 8.

My two cents: as soon as they run out of the Dirge of Doom, they won't be Frightened anymore, so it's not *too* bad. On the other hand, Level 7 Bards start a performance as a move, Level 8 they get the Dirge... So it's pretty gross since you can do it all at once.


holy necro

to answer: there is a FAQ on this not stacking.

However with the ACG a new feat "improved dirge of doom" (and "greater dirge of doom") was introduced, which gives almost exactly this benefit.


Talandor wrote:
to answer: there is a FAQ on this not stacking.

Link? I've seen a dev post, but never anything official like an FAQ. It's a recurring issue, that should probably make its way into errata.


I don't see the FAQ, but the current SRD quotes demoralizing an opponent as not stacking with other effects.

Success: If you are successful, the target is shaken for one round. This duration increases by 1 round for every 5 by which you beat the DC. You can only threaten an opponent this way if it is within 30 feet and can clearly see and hear you. Using demoralize on the same creature only extends the duration; it does not create a stronger fear condition.


1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.

Demoralize does not stack with itself to upgrade the Shaken condition to Frightened - that is clear and uncontroversial.

But by RAW, someone who is Shaken from demoralize and is then given the Shaken condition from another effect, like the Cause Fear spell, will become Frightened. Now, there is a many-years-old dev comment that states that the Shaken that comes from Demoralize does not stack with any other Shaken condition to upgrade to Frightened, but this is nowhere in the rules, and has been causing confusion for years now.

Honestly, it's time for it to either get FAQed, or errataed into the Intimidate skill. Because by RAW a combo such as Demoralize + Cause Fear will result in the Frightened condition.


Ah. Had to go to the rule on fear. I see.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Rules Questions / Bard and Intimidate All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.