Is it better to Feint or Create a Diversion?


Rules Questions


There are two skill checks: Stealth Create a Diversion and Bluff Feint

Create a Diversion to Hide and Feint in Combat

Create a Diversion to Hide wrote:
You can use Bluff to allow you to use Stealth. A successful Bluff check can give you the momentary diversion you need to attempt a Stealth check while people are aware of you.
Feint in Combat wrote:

You can also use Bluff to feint in combat, causing your opponent to be denied his Dexterity bonus to his AC against your next attack. The DC of this check is equal to 10 + your opponent’s base attack bonus + your opponent’s Wisdom modifier. If your opponent is trained in Sense Motive, the DC is instead equal to 10 + your opponent’s Sense Motive bonus, if higher. For more information on feinting in combat, see Combat.

Action: Feinting in combat is a standard action.

Retry? Yes. You can attempt to feint against someone again if you fail.

Couldn't you just create a diversion as a free action (cause the skill doesn't state that it takes a move or a standard) and 5ft step and sneak attack cause the enemy doesn't know where you are anymore? Or you can feint which takes a standard action so you can't attack until next round. Both use Bluff. they seem very similar.

What are your thoughts?


First, you don't automatically get to sneak attack just because you used Stealth. That's not in the rules anywhere. It's an assumption extrapolated from the Invisibility rules that most people play with, but it's a house rule.

Second, Stealth is not, not, not, Not, NOT, NOT Invisibility. You don't just click a button on your character's keyboard and then vanish from sight like Frodo Baggins. If you want THAT, then get a Ring of Invisibility. A diversion lets you find a place to hide; your diversion gives you the chance to attempt a Stealth check and sneak away, but you're just standing there where the enemy can see you, he knows you're there, and if you don't get somewhere that he can't see you, then all the Stealth in the world won't make you magically invisible.

Your scenario goes like this:
(Rogue and Orc are in combat, adjacent to each other, in normal lighting):
Rogue: Hey, look behind you! (Rolls a Bluff check to create a diversion)
Orc: (Falls for it and looks over his shoulder) What? What's back there?
Rogue: (Rolls a Stealth check and thinks he's invisible now). Nannna nanna boo boo, you can't see me.
Orc: (Looking back at the rogue now) Don't be a ninny, I can see you; you're right in front of me. (swings his axe at the rogue)
Rogue: Hey, no fair. I call foul. You can't do that, I created a diversion and then used Stealth. I'm invisible!
Orc: Nope, I can see you, dolt! (swings his axe at the rogue again)
Rogue: But I'm invisible! I distracted you with a diversion! No fair, no fair!
Orc: What a dope. (swings his axe again, this time hitting the rogue)
Rogue: (falling to the ground, trying to push his innards back into his belly) But I even said "Nannna nanna boo boo...". (Then he dies)
Orc: Loser. I guess he thought he had Hide in Plain Sight...

The way it should really go is this:
(Rogue and Orc are in combat, adjacent to each other, in normal lighting):
Rogue: Hey, look behind you! (Rolls a Bluff check to create a diversion)
Orc: (Falls for it and looks over his shoulder) What? What's back there?
Rogue: (dashes behind the nearest big boulder and rolls a Stealth check - remains quiet while he hides from the orc).
Orc: (Looking back at where the rogue used to be) Damn! I can't believe I fell for that. Now, where'd scrawny little jerk go...


icantfallasleep wrote:
Couldn't you just create a diversion as a free action (cause the skill doesn't state that it takes a move or a standard) and 5ft step and sneak attack cause the enemy doesn't know where you are anymore? Or you can feint which takes a standard action so you can't attack until next round. Both use Bluff. they seem very similar.

If this were the case, then the Feint action would be completely unnecessary. Why use a standard action (or a move action if you burn a feat to learn Improved Feint) when everyone in the world can just use Bluff as a free action to create a diversion and do the same thing?

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
DM_Blake wrote:
First, you don't automatically get to sneak attack just because you used Stealth. That's not in the rules anywhere. It's an assumption extrapolated from the Invisibility rules that most people play with, but it's a house rule.

Don't listen to him, it's in the rules just not as plain as he'd like. Yes, it requires some extrapolation. No, it doesn't require invisibility. Yes, it should be more plain.


claudekennilol wrote:
DM_Blake wrote:
First, you don't automatically get to sneak attack just because you used Stealth. That's not in the rules anywhere. It's an assumption extrapolated from the Invisibility rules that most people play with, but it's a house rule.
Don't listen to him, it's in the rules just not as plain as he'd like. Yes, it requires some extrapolation. No, it doesn't require invisibility. Yes, it should be more plain.

This ignores the normal requirements to enter stealth, you still need to find cover or concealment if you don't have some like HiPS.

Creating a diversion is what lets you obfuscate your move to cover/concealment to then attempt the stealth check, the bluff just happens to be made as part of the same action.


Creating a diversion allows you to ignore the fact that someone is otherwise staring at you. How do you think trying to hide works when someone is watching you walk behind the tree? Not very well. They know you're behind the tree.

So, you can create a diversion (like "Hey, look over there!") so you can instead run behind the tree and use stealth. The other person gets a chance to perceive you though, after you've made your stealth check.

Also, the stealth skill establish you can use a bluff check to create a diversion, but doesn't list an action requirement. That doesn't mean it's automatically a free action. It might be, but it's probably better to actually look at the bluff skill and see what seems like a reasonable thing. Attempting to feint is a standard action with any feats, so it seems like trying to create a diversion should at least be a move action. A free action seems a little too easy. Of course, it's never firmly established anywhere what kind of action it is, so expect table variation.


claudekennilol wrote:
DM_Blake wrote:
First, you don't automatically get to sneak attack just because you used Stealth. That's not in the rules anywhere. It's an assumption extrapolated from the Invisibility rules that most people play with, but it's a house rule.
Don't listen to him, it's in the rules just not as plain as he'd like. Yes, it requires some extrapolation. No, it doesn't require invisibility. Yes, it should be more plain.

That's rude. I don't ever tell people to ignore you, even when you're wrong.

For example, like you're wrong now. It isn't in the rules. I have proof.

Jason Bulmahn, Lead Designer, talking about what they did NOT include in the core rulebook wrote:

Couple of notes I want to add here...

2. Creatures are denied their Dexterity bonus to AC "if they cannot react to a blow" (CR pg 179 under AC). It was our intent that if you are unaware of a threat, you cannot react to a blow. I think we probably should have spelled this out a wee bit clearer, but space in the Stealth description was extraordinarily tight and ever word was at a premium. That said, I think these changes clear up the situation immensely (compared to where they were.. which was nebulous at best).

So why would he say they intended it to work like that but should have spelled it out better if the rule is actually in there?

Answer: He wouldn't.

He clearly admits that this is missing from the core rulebook and hopes his forum post (just over 2 years ago) will clear this up. Since then, they haven't changed it with an official errata so it's still not in the rulebook. If you still want to maintain that it's in there, you're going to need some evidence. And while you're at it, you'll need to refute the Lead Designer himself. The burden of proof is on you.

And don't set about rudely (and inaccurately) undermining the character of other forum posters while you're at it. Tell me I'm wrong if you want, provide evidence if you can, but let's not resort to character defamation in the process.

Sovereign Court

DM_Blake wrote:


So why would he say they intended it to work like that but should have spelled it out better if the rule is actually in there?

Answer: He wouldn't.

Better Answer: Because some people (such as yourself) refuse to admit that the rules work that way because it isn't spelled out explicitly.

It's implicit in the core rules that stealth works that way - just not explicit.

He was pointing out that it probably would have been worth the extra text to make it explicit and avoid such confusion.


I don't think he meant it quite like that DM Blake, so cool your jets a little.


Charon's Little Helper wrote:
Because some people (such as yourself) refuse to admit that the rules work that way because it isn't spelled out explicitly.

In every thread in which this has come up, I have said I play it the implicit way myself. Even before Jason Bulmahn clarified the RAI, even before the Stealth errata, even before Pathfinder was created.

But some people (such as me) like to know the difference between rules, assumed rules, and house rules, especially when we're discussing rules on the Rules Questions forum.

Sovereign Court

DM_Blake wrote:
Charon's Little Helper wrote:
Because some people (such as yourself) refuse to admit that the rules work that way because it isn't spelled out explicitly.

In every thread in which this has come up, I have said I play it the implicit way myself. Even before Jason Bulmahn clarified the RAI, even before the Stealth errata, even before Pathfinder was created.

But some people (such as me) like to know the difference between rules, assumed rules, and house rules, especially when we're discussing rules on the Rules Questions forum.

Fair enough. Though I think of it as being implicit RAW - able to be figured out through basic logic rather than simply RAI - which is figured out through context/similar RAW in other places.

But - that distinction is really one of semantics I suppose.


Charon's Little Helper wrote:
DM_Blake wrote:


So why would he say they intended it to work like that but should have spelled it out better if the rule is actually in there?

Answer: He wouldn't.

Better Answer: Because some people (such as yourself) refuse to admit that the rules work that way because it isn't spelled out explicitly.

Incidentally, I disagree.

If the rule existed in the book, the lead developer would not say "yeah, we MEANT to say that and should have said it better". Instead, he would say "Here on page x in paragraph y it says the following..." and would have ended the discussion with a citation from the book.

The fact that he did the former and not the latter is all you need to know that the rule isn't there.

It should be there. We all play it that way. The devs have said they play it that way and admitted they should have written it that way.

But for now, it's just RAI and house rules. That's all I'm saying.


Charon's Little Helper wrote:
DM_Blake wrote:


So why would he say they intended it to work like that but should have spelled it out better if the rule is actually in there?

Answer: He wouldn't.

Better Answer: Because some people (such as yourself) refuse to admit that the rules work that way because it isn't spelled out explicitly.

It's implicit in the core rules that stealth works that way - just not explicit.

I'm sorry, I'm not understanding. What's "that way"? Are you suggesting that I can use Stealth to stand in plain sight 5' to the left of where I was and get a Sneak Attack, or that I can't?

I admit that I've always played that Stealth was not Invisibility and you needed something to hide behind (absent an ability like Hide in Plain Sight). DM_Blake's first post (the second post on this thread) accurately describes my interpretation.

I also note that, under the interpretation I use, the rogue in the second situation could then use Sneak Attack because, even though the orc is aware of the rogue, he's not aware of the specific threat posed by the rogue -- he doesn't know whether to expect a thrown dagger behind the big boulder, or a sudden stab in the chitlins from the tall grass.

Grand Lodge

It's been pointed out to you in other threads that there is a thread of logic that you can follow via material just in the CRB that does show that you get sneak attack damage for using stealth. Now you'll have to forgive me if I misquote you as this is from memory, but you basically said it's obviously not written if you have to string together random rules to prove your point.

Sovereign Court

Orfamay Quest wrote:
I admit that I've always played that Stealth was not Invisibility and you needed something to hide behind (absent an ability like Hide in Plain Sight). DM_Blake's first post (the second post on this thread) accurately describes my interpretation.

You definitely need cover/concealment to use stealth sans Hide in Plain Sight. DM_Blake & my conversation is about how the rules never explicitly say that you get +2 to hit & ignore a target's dex bonus when you're stealthed without invisibility.


Sorry for the derailment, let's get back on the topic:

Think of Hide and Seek. All the kids start in the same place, talking to each other, deciding who will hide and who will seek. They can all see (observe) each other plainly. Then one person is selected to be the seeker (we'll call this person "it") and he must close his eyes and count to 100 while the rest of the players run off and hide. They find a hiding place (cover or concealment) somewhere and attempt Stealth checks to try to sit there quietly. When the "it" person finishes counting, he starts searching for the hiding people by attempting Perception checks repeatedly until he finds someone.

In this example, everyone starts off "observed". The "it" person becomes distracted (closing his eyes and counting to 100 - a pretty huge distraction to be sure). Everybody then uses that distraction to run off and find places to hide (roll Stealth checks).

Admittedly, the "it" person distracts himself in this example, but it was the Diplomacy and/or Bluff checks of the other kids to convince him to be "it" - in any case, the source of the distraction is irrelevant; if your foe is distracted, you can use that to go find a hiding place and if not, you could try to use Bluff to create a diversion so that you can go find a hiding place.

Note that none of them simply stand there, next to the "it" person, and just try a Stealth check to see if they can hide from him without ever looking for a hiding place (cover or concealment).

This is exactly how the Diversion rules work in Pathfinder - you distract the "it" person (your foe) with a Bluff check and, if it's successful, you run off to find a hiding place (cover or concealment) where you can try to make a Stealth check.

But if you want to make an attack at the "it" person, you need to Feint to make him lose his DEX mod to AC. He sees you, he knows you're there, but if you successfully Feint, he expects you to make one attack but you make a different attack that he didn't expect and he loses his DEX mod to AC against that unexpected attack. At no time in the process of executing a Feint do you ever include a Stealth check because you are "observed" the whole time.

Sovereign Court

Yes - the only way two ways I can think of (off the top of my head) is to use Diversion to attack right away is with either Hide in Plain sight - or by having concealment when next to them. (obscuring mist/smoke pellet etc) And you'd still have to beat their perception.

Even then - I wouldn't allow Diversion as a free action. I'd probably make it a move action which may be combined with actual movement. (normally to run for cover)


What actually is the action to create a diversion to hide?

I really don't know. The rules say nothing about this so we're on our own to figure it out. This thread has some thoughts on it but it's inconclusive.

Is it a free action, or is it a "not really an action, you just do it when you move" (like many Stealth checks)? Almost certainly not. If it is, then whenever cover or concealment is adjacent to the enemy, using Bluff as a diversion is way better than using a Feint. For a free action, you get a Stealth check and then still have a move and a standard action to make an attack, probably a sneak attack with denied DEX to AC. That's too much. You can't do all that with a Feint even after burning a feat for it.

Most Bluff checks take a full round or more. Looking at the Bluff skill, creating a diversion sounds like "Deceiving" which requires a full round. That's too much. You would then only have a 5'-Step to find cover or concealment.

So if it's not a free action and not a full-round action, then it must either be a move action or a standard action.

I personally think it works very much like Feint:

Feint: Standard Action Bluff check to "trick" the enemy into expecting a certain attack but then you attack somewhere else with benefits.

Diversion: Standard Action Bluff check to "trick" the enemy into glancing away so then you dash off to hide somewhere out of sight.

Seems good enough for me.


Isn't it a standard action unless specified otherwise?

I thought that was why things were "standard actions" - because that's the norm.


I don't know if "Standard" is synonymous with "Default", but it often works out that way.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Rules Questions / Is it better to Feint or Create a Diversion? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.