Intimidate. Fear, or Morale effect.


Rules Questions

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Grand Lodge

67 people marked this as FAQ candidate. Answered in the FAQ. 5 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Is the use of the Intimidate skill considered a Fear effect, Morale effect, or something else?

Scarab Sages

FAQ'd. This comes up all the time.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Imbicatus wrote:
FAQ'd. This comes up all the time.

Same. Makes a huge difference. Labeling it a fear or mind affecting ability really limits it.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Bluff and Diplomacy are not Charm, or Compulsion effects, but this skill, seems to get some descriptors added, that I don't feel are supported by RAW.

The skill can be used to create Fear Conditions, like Shaken, but I don't think that's the be all, end all, of declaring what kind of effect it is.

Grand Lodge

blackbloodtroll wrote:

Bluff and Diplomacy are not Charm, or Compulsion effects, but this skill, seems to get some descriptors added, that I don't feel are supported by RAW.

The skill can be used to create Fear Conditions, like Shaken, but I don't think that's the be all, end all, of declaring what kind of effect it is.

What do bluff and diplomacy have to do with charm and compulsion? Shaken is a fear condition, which is what demoralize creates. If some creature is immune to fear, why would you demoralize them since they can't be shaken?


Certainly the demoralized condition appears to be a fear effect. Though I don't think initimidate by itself is a fear effect or a morale effect.

Scarab Sages

Demoralize can apply other status effects, such as sickened.


Imbicatus wrote:
Demoralize can apply other status effects, such as sickened.

Sorry, you're right. The shaken effect caused by a normal demoralize would be worthless against a fear immune creature, but if your demoralize somehow caused sickened then I guess you would be fine.

How does one use demoralize to cause sickened?

I built a bloodrager that used cornugon smash, and hurtful, with the cruel weapon ability. The combo would cause sickened and shakened, but I don't know of a way to directly cause sickened instead of shaken.

Grand Lodge

Imbicatus wrote:
Demoralize can apply other status effects, such as sickened.

I've never seen anything that can do it. In that case, it should be fine as long as they aren't immune to sickened condition (poison?).

Grand Lodge

Unless you go by the actual root word of demoralize, which would be morale, which would make it a morale effect in addition to whatever status effect it's causing.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Shaken is a Fear Condition, not a Fear Effect.

A Fear Effect could cause one to be Shaken, which is a Fear Condition, but need not be created by a Fear Effect.

Example: The Early Judgment spell can cause a creature to be shaken, but is not a Fear Effect, or even a Mind-Effecting Effect. It does, however, give them a Fear Condition.


But immunity to fear effects would still provide immunity to fear conditions, would it not?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Claxon wrote:
But immunity to fear effects would still provide immunity to fear conditions, would it not?

I don't see why not. It would not make them immune to other possible conditions.


blackbloodtroll wrote:
Claxon wrote:
But immunity to fear effects would still provide immunity to fear conditions, would it not?
I don't see why not. It would not make them immune to other possible conditions.

Right....such as being sickened from a demoralize is what your referring to? Or if not what situation are you referring to?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Claxon wrote:
blackbloodtroll wrote:
Claxon wrote:
But immunity to fear effects would still provide immunity to fear conditions, would it not?
I don't see why not. It would not make them immune to other possible conditions.
Right....such as being sickened from a demoralize is what your referring to? Or if not what situation are you referring to?

Things like the fire damage from Blistering Invective.


I would probably rule in such a situation that immunity to fear effects, which provides immunity to fear conditions (such as shaken) would prevent the fire damage from occuring because you are not effectively demoralized. I would apply it as though the intimidate roll to demoralize did not beat the DC in this case.

However, this is just my opinion. I can now understand the point of this question better. Still, I think this is something that I would determine on a case by case basis.

Blistering Invective basically sounds like you scare someone so bad it burns. But if they can't be scared, they also don't burn.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

The Battle Roar Rage Power's Sonic damage is another example.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

The triggered attack from the Hurtful feat, or the Sickened Condition from Gruesome Slaughter.


Again, in that sort of case I would rule it doesn't work. Basically anything that would say it happens upon a successful intimidate I would rule doesn't work on a creature that is immune to fear effect because they are immune the effect of the demoralize (because I feel that is closer to the intention, but this is just my opinion).

If there were a way to change what demoralize did, to sicken instead of shaken (since it has been stated it could be done but not by what means) then I would rule those abilities work.

But it is not clear how it should really work.

It is merely my opinion that a demoralie action is not successful if the creature is not affected by it. A more literal interpretation of the rules would be that all of the above work because the demoralize action was successful in the sense that you roll and intimidate check an beat the DC, it just has no affect on the creature, but would allow for the riders to activate. However, I disagree with such an interpretation.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

The forced attack by the Boasting Taunt Rage Power, is another example.

You also have to ask if immunity to morale effects has any effect on the ability to be demoralized.


blackbloodtroll wrote:

The forced attack by the Boasting Taunt Rage Power, is another example.

You also have to ask if immunity to morale effects has any effect on the ability to be demoralized.

Usually things that are morale effects are called out as moral effects, but this may have been overlooked. In fact, logically one would think that fear effects would be subsumed by morale effects. As though it were a more specific type of morale effect.

But demoralize does not call itself a morale effect, and despite sharing the root word I find no compelling reason to make it such because of the game rule implications. However, I would not find it unreasonable if it were ruled such.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

If the use of the Intimidate skill itself, is considered a Fear Effect, then fear immunity would negate any use of the skill.

Being immune to the Fear Condition created by a specific use of the Intimidate skill, seems much more appropriate.


blackbloodtroll wrote:

If the use of the Intimidate skill itself, is considered a Fear Effect, then fear immunity would negate any use of the skill.

Being immune to the Fear Condition created by a specific use of the Intimidate skill, seems much more appropriate.

That is what I'm suggesting it is run as. Otherwise intimidation to make someone temporarily helpful would not work against the fear immune. And while fear can play a role in such an interaction, it needn't necessarily. If 4 people surround you and say were going to cave your face in unless you open that door, you may not be afraid of them but prudence might suggest that you open that door because you know you are unlikely to win the fight.


Playing an half-orc inquisitrice who plan to fear every living (or not) thing she can, I'm really interested.

Just for recollection: Bonus to saving throw against fear effect don't apply to the demoralize DC, am I right ? I always felt it wrong.


Bonus to saves against fear don't apply because it's just a set DC. It doesn't make sense to me either, I feel like they ought to get to add such bonuses to the DC but alas they do not.

Grand Lodge

Yeah, bonuses vs fear against intimidate was removed in the changeover from 3.5 to Pathfinder. Honestly not sure why.


Flavor-wise, a bonus to saves against fear should help resist being demoralized, but it doesn't help.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Well, let's just hit the FAQ button on the original post, and see what comes of it.


28 FAQ requests already.


HectorVivis wrote:

Playing an half-orc inquisitrice who plan to fear every living (or not) thing she can, I'm really interested.

Just for recollection: Bonus to saving throw against fear effect don't apply to the demoralize DC, am I right ? I always felt it wrong.

+1 to this


1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.

3.5 stated: Your Intimidate check is opposed by the target’s modified level check (1d20 + character level or Hit Dice + target’s Wisdom bonus [if any] + target’s modifiers on saves against fear).

PF states: The DC of this check is equal to 10 + the target’s Hit Dice + the target’s Wisdom modifier.

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

Pathfinder Intimidate says nothing about fear immunity, or that mindless creatures cannot be intimidated.

IMO, Intimidate in Pathfinder is not a fear effect, and this was deliberate to make the skill more useful. YMMV.


Faq because I too think that intent is immunity to fear is immunity to intimidate.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
shroudb wrote:
Faq because I too think that intent is immunity to fear is immunity to intimidate.

Do you mean immunity to the Fear Condition caused by the use of Intimidate to Demoralize, or any use of Intimidate?


I feel that, from a flavor point of view, Intimidate causes you to act against your best interest because you are afraid. It impairs your thinking. If you are a creature that can't be scared, then intimidate should not do anything.

A vampire may do what you want when you threaten them with a holy avenger, but it will only do that because it is the rational choice at the time.

Also, the fact that PF is missing the fear effect language that was there in 3.5 might mean that they just forgot it. This happend a lot in other sections of the rules.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Making it a Fear effect has a lot repercussions, and opens up new rules question though.

Making it simply give a Fear Condition, could work better.


What sort of rules questions? I think the condition is wierder. Sometimes an effect will give several conditions, and its wierd to only be partially immune.


blackbloodtroll wrote:
shroudb wrote:
Faq because I too think that intent is immunity to fear is immunity to intimidate.
Do you mean immunity to the Fear Condition caused by the use of Intimidate to Demoralize, or any use of Intimidate?

no i mean in general.

intimidate is scarring someone to obey basically imo.
being mmune to fear should make you immune to being scarred.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Do you mean scared?


I feel it shouldn't be a language-based effect. Dazzling display isn't about using words, but swinging your sword (or any other weapon you took successively weapon focus and Dazzling display for).

Making it apply a fear condition seems a better workaround, as BBT propose.

A FAQ on applying bonus to saving throw against fear effect on demoralize DC doesn't seems to be a bad thing too, even if intimidating is kinda hard already.

Dark Archive

Also added to FAQ request. I play an intimidate (BloodRager / Thug) as well; and am also curious if I can go around frightening paladins with ease when I am bored.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I don't see why Paladins would not be still immune to the Shaken and Frightened Condition.


FAQed. Good question.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Again, I suggest others to FAQ this.


Pathfinder Maps Subscriber

Is the use of the inimidate skill a mind-affecting effect ? Can a character intimidate a construct ? (and FAQ'd)


Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

This could really use some clarification. I know the PDT is looking at ACG these days, but I think this is a relevant question still.

As an aside, are fear effects considered mind-affecting? Common sense dictates yes, but I can't find anything to support that rulewise.

Paizo Employee Official Rules Response

16 people marked this as a favorite.
blackbloodtroll wrote:
Is the use of the Intimidate skill considered a Fear effect, Morale effect, or something else?

Answered in FAQ.

FAQ wrote:

What makes something a fear effect? What about a morale effect?

Fear effects include spells with the fear descriptor, anything explicitly called out as a fear effect, anything that causes the shaken, frightened, or panicked condition, and all uses of the Intimidate skill. Intimidate, in particular, is a mind-affecting fear effect, so fearless and mindless creatures are immune to all uses of Intimidate.

Morale effects, unlike fear effects, so far have not had a descriptor or a call-out. Anything that grants a morale bonus is a morale effect. For example, the rage spell grants a morale bonus, so a creature immune to morale effects would be immune to the entire spell, including the –2 penalty to AC.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Beautiful. Thank you, PDT.


Indeed. Thank you for the response.

Grand Lodge

Glad to see that the ruling on it has stayed consistent from 3.5.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I appreciate the response. I noticed the "last updated" line still says 12/19/14 for the CRB on the FAQ page. If it's just a timing thing, cool. Otherwise I figured I'd mention it here.

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