Is Fear a mind-affecting effect?


Rules Questions

Silver Crusade

I know it sounds like a stupid question, but hear me out. I'm working on a Dazzling Display build and I've run across kinda a tricky question: is fear a mind-affecting effect?

The problem is that there is a lot of conflicting info out there:

For example: The CRB section on fear: No mention of it being a mind-affecting effect.

CRB Glossary:
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.

But then if we look at the Beastiary section on fear attacks and frightful presence, it says fear attacks and frightful presence are mind-affecting

Beastiary:
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.

Frightful Presence (Ex) This special quality makes a creature's very presence unsettling to foes. Activating this ability is a free action that is usually part of an attack or charge. Opponents within range who witness the action may become frightened or shaken. The range is usually 30 feet, and the duration is usually 5d6 rounds. This ability affects only opponents with fewer Hit Dice or levels than the creature has. An affected opponent can resist the effects with a successful Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 frightful creature's racial HD + frightful creature's Cha modifier; the exact DC is given in the creature's descriptive text). An opponent that succeeds on the saving throw is immune to that same creature's frightful presence for 24 hours. On a failed save, the opponent is shaken, or panicked if 4 HD or fewer. Frightful presence is a mind-affecting fear effect.

Format: frightful presence (60 ft., DC 21); Location: Aura.

But then if we look at what the Beastiary called a mind-affecting effect, no mention of fear:

Beastiary:
Immunity to all mind-affecting effects (charms, compulsions, morale effects, patterns, and phantasms).

Furthermore, if we look in the Core Rulebook under Magic, it lists fear and mind-affecting as separate descriptors

CRB Magic Chapter:
[Descriptor]

Appearing on the same line as the school and subschool, when applicable, is a descriptor that further categorizes the spell in some way. Some spells have more than one descriptor.

The descriptors are acid, air, chaotic, cold, darkness, death, earth, electricity, evil, fear, fire, force, good, language-dependent, lawful, light, mind-affecting, sonic, and water.

Most of these descriptors have no game effect by themselves, but they govern how the spell interacts with other spells, with special abilities, with unusual creatures, with alignment, and so on.

A language-dependent spell uses intelligible language as a medium for communication. If the target cannot understand or cannot hear what the caster of a language-dependant spell says, the spell fails.

A mind-affecting spell works only against creatures with an Intelligence score of 1 or higher.

However, despite that whenever we see a fear spell, we see the following:

Any Fear Spell:
School necromancy [fear, mind-affecting]

Which makes me ask, does the fact that all fear spells are mind-affecting mean that fear is mind-affecting or are they separate descriptors for a reason? If fear was a mind-affecting effect, why not just include it and leave out the fear descriptor.

It's all rather confusing because the rules as written don't make a lot of sense. However, if you think about it logically, it doesn't make a lot of sense to be able to intimidate say a mindless construct for example.

So ultimately I'm left asking is fear a mind-affecting effect and it was just oversight that it was left out of mind-affecting effects? Or are Fear and Mind-Affecting really two separate descriptors? For example, since the spells list both Fear and Mind-Affecting, does that mean that the condition (The Fear) is not a Mind-Affecting effect normally, but the way it is being imposed (The Spell) turn it into a Mind-Affecting effect?

Or I guess put another way, is non-magical fear not mind-affecting while magical fear IS mind-affecting? Or is all fear mind-affecting?


Since fear is an emotion, I cannot imagine a case in which is is not mind-affecting. If you have no mind, you have no emotions, so you have no fear.

Why they didn't just say 'anything with the fear descriptor is mind-affecting' ... I couldn't hazard a guess.

Silver Crusade

I've seen a lot of posts doing google searches stating that their is a difference between magical fear and non-magical fear; that it is the magical nature of the fear effect that makes it mind-affecting, otherwise it is just a condition like any other.

Silver Crusade

For the sake of adding information to the problem, does anyone know if there are any creatures other than paladins that are explicitly immune to fear?


I am pretty much sure that everything without an INT-score is immune to any kind of fear, like mindless undead or constructs.


Even if most non-magical fear is not technically "mind-affecting", morale effects are considered mind affecting, as least based on what is said under plant, construct ooze and undead creature types.

PRD wrote:
mind-affecting effects (charms, compulsions, phantasms, patterns, and morale effects)

Dazzling Display I would say causes a morale effect based on the intimidate skill description.

Dazzling Display:
Dazzling Display (Combat)

Your skill with your favored weapon can frighten enemies.

Prerequisite: Weapon Focus, proficiency with the selected weapon.

Benefit: While wielding the weapon in which you have Weapon Focus, you can perform a bewildering show of prowess as a full-round action. Make an Intimidate check to demoralize all foes within 30 feet who can see your display.

intimidate:
Intimidate
(Cha)

You can use this skill to frighten an opponent or to get them to act in a way that benefits you. This skill includes verbal threats and displays of prowess.

Check: You can use Intimidate to force an opponent to act friendly toward you for 1d6 × 10 minutes with a successful check. The DC of this check is equal to 10 + the target's Hit Dice + the target's Wisdom modifier. If successful, the target gives you the information you desire, takes actions that do not endanger it, or otherwise offers limited assistance. After the Intimidate expires, the target treats you as unfriendly and may report you to local authorities. If you fail this check by 5 or more, the target attempts to deceive you or otherwise hinder your activities.

Demoralize: You can use this skill to cause an opponent to become shaken for a number of rounds. The DC of this check is equal to 10 + the target's Hit Dice + the target's Wisdom modifier. If you are successful, the target is shaken for 1 round. This duration increases by 1 round for every 5 by which you beat the DC. You can only threaten an opponent in this way if they are 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.

Action: Using Intimidate to change an opponent's attitude requires 1 minute of conversation. Demoralizing an opponent is a standard action.

Try Again: You can attempt to Intimidate an opponent again, but each additional check increases the DC by +5. This increase resets after 1 hour has passed.

Special: You also gain a +4 bonus on Intimidate checks if you are larger than your target and a –4 penalty on Intimidate checks if you are smaller than your target.

If you have the Persuasive feat, you get a bonus on Intimidate checks (see Feats).

A half-orc gets a +2 bonus on Intimidate checks.


There is a difference between between an ability granting immunity to fear (aura of courage or the like) and the inability to be affected by fear (by having a specific type/subtype or immunity to mind effects, which includes fear effects).

Basically the ability counters a specific immunity (fear), it doesn't grant the ability to influence creatures who are otherwise immune to effects on the mind. Cast fear on a skeleton while within an antipaladins aura, the skeleton is capable of being 'feared' BUT as the fear spell is mind affecting, it never occurs due to the immunity listed in their type block (mind affecting).


Attacks that cause Fear are Mind-Affecting.
Fear itself isn't, Fear is the state of a mind after it has been affected.

So no, Fear itself is not Mind Affecting. Fear is having one of the conditions: Shaken, Frightened, Panicked or Cowering


Elamdri, are you trying to figure out what creatures will be immune to Dazzling Display?

Silver Crusade

GreenMandar wrote:
Elamdri, are you trying to figure out what creatures will be immune to Dazzling Display?

Well I'm honestly trying to figure out if ANYTHING is immune to Dazzling Display. If fear is not a Mind-Affecting Effect, then ultimately the only thing immune to Dazzling Display as per the rules are Paladins, because they are the only thing in the game explicitly immune to fear.

Sczarni

Undead are immune. They aren't affected by morale effects.


There are constructs, oozes, plants, undead and vermin types that are all immune to mind affecting effects.

Fear effects (shaken, frightened, panicked) refer back to fear, fear in the bestiary/rules for monsters refer back to the fear spell. It would seem fear would be considered [mind affecting].


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This doesn't seem so hard.

You have rules in the Bestiary that clearly state that "All fear attacks are mind-affecting effects". Period.

That's a rule. It is all-encompassing for all fear attacks.

The only way to ignore that rule is if you find a particular specific fear attack that says something different. The lack of saying it's a mind-affecting effect is definitely not the same thing as saying that it is NOT a mind-affecting effect.

In other words, the RAW in the Bestiary makes it clear that all fear attacks are mind-affecting and that is therefore always applicable except in a specific case-by-case ability where the RAW explicitly indicates that that one ability is something else. For all fear effects with no such contra-indications, the general rule from the Bestiary is all you need.

Silver Crusade

That seems to be the best argument Blake.

I'm just curious as to why they chose to isolate fear as a separate descriptor from mind-affecting effects. The only reason I can think of is because of Paladins.


However, there is a spell that does have the "fear" descriptor that doesn't include the "mind-affecting" descriptor: Haunting Mists. It would seem that even the effects of the spell (ability damage vs drain for a non-physical ability) would affect undead and was written, possibly, with that in mind.

Just because the Bestiary lists fear attacks and frightful presence as mind-affecting doesn't mean that ALL fear is mind-affecting.

One, why would that gem be buried so deeply in the text and only be included on those two entries with language specific to those two entries?

Two, those descriptions describe a subset of fear. Mind-affecting is a modifier of those particular fear attacks in both of those instances (The authors did not write, "Fear is always mind-affecting".

Three, fear and mind-affecting would be surplusage; they would be duplicative and therefore why include both where one would suffice unless they meant different things?

Since undead immunity does not list fear as one of the proscribed descriptors and the shaken condition is an untyped penalty and therefore not a morale effect; I would argue that demoralizing via intimidate should be a viable option vs undead. (Which relates back to the original discussion RE a Dazzling Display build.)


Unless you find a fear effect that specifically says it's a physical effect, then all fear effects are mind-effecting.


Reads the post title

Fear is the Mind Killer. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration.

Obligatory reference made


Except the beastiary lists it as mind effecting. I'm also sure it is listed somewhere as a moral effect. Its also an emotion which is mind effecting but likely not labeled as such.


I have to go with my head on this one. Can you scare an iron golem?


blahpers wrote:
Can you scare an iron golem?

I can't. But a Rust Monster can.


Whilst we're on the subject, is Intimidate a Fear effect? Or mind-affecting? RAW doesn't mention either, implying not. Which seems a bit silly.


Mudfoot wrote:
Whilst we're on the subject, is Intimidate a Fear effect? Or mind-affecting? RAW doesn't mention either, implying not. Which seems a bit silly.

I think it is more a case of the developers thinking that they had been clear that all morale effects are mind-affecting effects, so they didn't have to specifically say that using intimidate to demoralize someone was a morale effect (basically includes the word already) and thus mind-affecting...

though it can be pretty hard to sell people on my logic there since other mind effects set a precedent of being extraordinarily redundant - such as charm person saying enchantment (charm) [mind-affecting] even though everything in the charm sub-school is already quite clearly mind-affecting.


thenobledrake wrote:
Mudfoot wrote:
Whilst we're on the subject, is Intimidate a Fear effect? Or mind-affecting? RAW doesn't mention either, implying not. Which seems a bit silly.

I think it is more a case of the developers thinking that they had been clear that all morale effects are mind-affecting effects, so they didn't have to specifically say that using intimidate to demoralize someone was a morale effect (basically includes the word already) and thus mind-affecting...

though it can be pretty hard to sell people on my logic there since other mind effects set a precedent of being extraordinarily redundant - such as charm person saying enchantment (charm) [mind-affecting] even though everything in the charm sub-school is already quite clearly mind-affecting.

And the various fear spells are also listed as mind-affecting. A more apt analogy would be that the uses for Diplomacy aren't listed as mind-affecting, but it's pretty clear that (barring strange magicks and the like) they only work on creatures with minds.

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