Sense Motive seems... bad.


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Making Sense Motive a simple Perception check erases the line between situational or tactical awareness and knowledge and understanding of human nature—or human psychology. These are two very different skills. Conflating them means the ultra Perceptive, raised by wolves Ranger your player has put together also happens to be equally good at reading people’s intentions? This makes 0 sense to me. Its the only area I’ve run into so far where 5e clearly comes out on top. Insight there is a separate skill from Perception although they are both based on Wisdom. That seems right and logical.

I do like that P2 puts the onus on the Liar to deceive the PCs, rather than waiting for the players to call for a check. This presupposes that the PCs are constantly judging the veracity of the information coming their way which seems believable. And I’ve just gone ahead and let the PCs roll Sense Motive even if they aren't being Lied to even though this isn’t strictly RAW. On p246, it basically says PCs can only call for a roll if they’ve failed to spot a Lie in the first place, and then it is up to the GM.

Am I missing something?


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You are missing the "this is a game" of it all.

"this skill lets your character not get ambushed" and "this skill lets your character not miss clues that the person your dealing with is going to betray them imminently" are not great things to require resources to be spent on because they are so important and so regularly called for during typical game play as to be viewed as mandatory by players - so the PF approach of having these traits automatically assumed as part of every character without costing a resource that could have been placed elsewhere is good for the game play.

And since both those things are, conceptually, about noticing and interpreting clues present in the environment around your character, having them be separate values that both are automatically present on every character is, for the perspective of the game play, a waste of space on the character sheet.

It's a game, not a reality simulator.


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I’d accept that if P2 wasn’t such an incredibly specific game in all other aspects. I’m totally new to Pathfinder, but it doesn't strike me as a “don’t sweat the details” sort of game, except for this one area.

For instance, I was very surprised on how detailed the weapon characteristics were—which I totally love. The detail really makes every weapon feel unique rather than just a certain hit die and damage type.

Seen in this context, it just seems inconsistent that a game that has gone to such great lengths to clearly and narrowly define all other skills/actions would then proceed to conflate Perception and Sense Motive (Insight). They are very different skills that have real implications on who your character is both mechanically and narratively.

For example again, the Ranger who is super attuned to their hunting ground and has great situational awareness shouldn’t automatically be great at seeing through the smooth talking politician, right?

Was this how it was in 1st edition maybe?


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
JamesMaster wrote:

I’d accept that if P2 wasn’t such an incredibly specific game in all other aspects. I’m totally new to Pathfinder, but it doesn't strike me as a “don’t sweat the details” sort of game, except for this one area.

For instance, I was very surprised on how detailed the weapon characteristics were—which I totally love. The detail really makes every weapon feel unique rather than just a certain hit die and damage type.

Seen in this context, it just seems inconsistent that a game that has gone to such great lengths to clearly and narrowly define all other skills/actions would then proceed to conflate Perception and Sense Motive (Insight). They are very different skills that have real implications on who your character is both mechanically and narratively.

For example again, the Ranger who is super attuned to their hunting ground and has great situational awareness shouldn’t automatically be great at seeing through the smooth talking politician, right?

Was this how it was in 1st edition maybe?

It was much, much more specific in first edition. The skill list of PF1 is much more paired down. Google pathfinder skills. The list is too long for me to write.


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OK. So this is a casualty of streamlining the game? Do you like the Perception as Sense Motive? If not, what do you (or anyone else here) plan to do?


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Honestly that politician exanple, you csn just explain it as a gut feeling. This guy whos all smiles and says all the right things... he's like a predator closing in on prey. You can see it in his eyes, hes not your friend. It doesn't have to be a complete understanding of humans, just an idea of knowing when somethings off with the situation.

Grand Lodge

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I’m in favor of it being mixed with perception


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A very wise cleric might still be better at it than your legendary perception ranger who grew up among wolves but might have low wisdom.

And if you want to use psychology to descern lies, I would like to point out the skill feat Lie to Me.


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JamesMaster wrote:
Seen in this context, it just seems inconsistent that a game that has gone to such great lengths to clearly and narrowly define all other skills/actions would then proceed to conflate Perception and Sense Motive (Insight).

It's not inconsistent to apply a "right tool for the job" approach as has been done with Pathfinder.

Where granularity and specificity would detract from the game play, they are avoided (Perception including all manner of "did I sense that" concerns and being automatically at a relevant level for every character) - but where granularity and specificity enhance the game play they are added in (such as weapons having all those traits that make for interesting choices, varied strategies, and a desire to carry different weapons for different situations/purposes instead of using a one-size-fits-all option).


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I am with you on this topic OP.

The idea to cover situational awareness, reaction time, attention to detail and pychological behavior with just one skill is highly debatable even from a game mechanics point of view.

So you get the grizzled war veteran, ace fighter pilot, diligent police detective and see through lies connoisseur of human nature all in one go.


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JamesMaster wrote:
OK. So this is a casualty of streamlining the game? Do you like the Perception as Sense Motive? If not, what do you (or anyone else here) plan to do?

In PF1, Perception was too important compared to other skills. It was "spot traps" and "find hidden treasure" and "find secret door" and "find clues" and "don't die in an ambush" all rolled into one.

I saw a GM trying to fix that by separating things out and adding an Intelligence-based "Search" skill.

This sounded sensible, but it ended up causing problems, like:

(a) It made things harder for characters with few skill points.

(b) The distinction between the two wasn't clear. "I don't want to Search for traps, I want to Perceive them."

(c) Search wasn't well-integrated into the rest of the game. It isn't listed as anyone's class skill and can't be boosted with feats or magic items or spells, it's never mentioned in published adventures, rules for traps, etc.

My advice would be to do nothing. You're likely to break more than you fix.

Or if you do anything, do it on a minor level. ("Hey, since this character has lived alone in the wilderness most of her life, how about saying she gets +2 for perceiving things in the wilderness, and a -2 for sensing motives?")


thenobledrake wrote:

You are missing the "this is a game" of it all.

"this skill lets your character not get ambushed" and "this skill lets your character not miss clues that the person your dealing with is going to betray them imminently" are not great things to require resources to be spent on because they are so important and so regularly called for during typical game play as to be viewed as mandatory by players - so the PF approach of having these traits automatically assumed as part of every character without costing a resource that could have been placed elsewhere is good for the game play.

And since both those things are, conceptually, about noticing and interpreting clues present in the environment around your character, having them be separate values that both are automatically present on every character is, for the perspective of the game play, a waste of space on the character sheet.

It's a game, not a reality simulator.

I agree with this somewhat, but with the current setup, you have no skill feats for perception, as it pertains to social encounters. The closest you have is Lie to Me.


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JamesMaster wrote:
Making Sense Motive a simple Perception check erases the line between situational or tactical awareness and knowledge and understanding of human nature—or human psychology. These are two very different skills. Conflating them means the ultra Perceptive, raised by wolves Ranger your player has put together also happens to be equally good at reading people’s intentions? This makes 0 sense to me.....Am I missing something?

The exact same arguments could have (and I'm sure were) made about combining spot and listen in Pathfinder 1st edition as both those skills use radically different senses. It is ultimately a simplification for game balancing reasons.

I strongly believe if sense motive still existed as a skill, 99% of players in PF2e would take it at least as a trained skill. Both Perception and Sense Motive were extremely popular skills in PF1e in my experience. When you have a single skill which is so strongly a "must have" skill it's better to remove it from the list of choices because it's not really a choice.

I was certainly taken aback when I saw perception and sense motive combined. But after thinking about it for a bit I came to the above realisation and accept Paizo's decision on it.


Strill wrote:
I agree with this somewhat, but with the current setup, you have no skill feats for perception, as it pertains to social encounters. The closest you have is Lie to Me.

That raises two questions: Is there a need for any, and if there is a need for such feats is there a need for them to not be general feats?


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If it makes you feel any better you can take Lie to Me to divorce your sense motive from perception.


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JamesMaster wrote:
Conflating them means the ultra Perceptive, raised by wolves Ranger your player has put together also happens to be equally good at reading people’s intentions? This makes 0 sense to me.

I assume you have the same issue with Athletics. I mean... dead-lifting weight and rock-climbing are dramatically different uses of physical strength that have nothing in common.

Also Deception, where verbal falsehoods requiring agile-minded creation of fiction is blended with creating a disguise, which amounts to knowing how to use make-up.

Point is, for purposes of gameplay we've always had skills that lump thematically similar but mechanically disparate abilities into one roll. It's always been up to the player to decide if their character is good at all applications of a skill. If your character is bad at reading other people but good at spotting distant enemies... don't roll for sensing motive.


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I fully expect this difference to be covered in a Future social book (Intrigue 2e), and mostly by Skill Feats comparable to "Lie to me".
There are already inclings of it with the social Exploration activities in the playtest, but they were never fleshed out sufficiently to make for an interesting System.

But with perception and sense motive, it really Comes down to "Everybody always wanted this skill maxed, so let it scale automatically."


Side note, I think Lie to Me is one of my favorite skill feats because it is both really thematic, and finally allows someone to make a social manipulator that doesn't get really MAD if Cha or Wis isn't their primary.


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DerNils wrote:
But with perception and sense motive, it really Comes down to "Everybody always wanted this skill maxed, so let it scale automatically."

Was this especially true of Sense Motive?

Everyone wants to be good at Acrobatics, because that can stop you from falling into a ravine. But Sense Motive was a skill where you could usually do fine by relying on a single party specialist to make rolls on your behalf.


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Anguish wrote:
JamesMaster wrote:
Conflating them means the ultra Perceptive, raised by wolves Ranger your player has put together also happens to be equally good at reading people’s intentions? This makes 0 sense to me.

I assume you have the same issue with Athletics. I mean... dead-lifting weight and rock-climbing are dramatically different uses of physical strength that have nothing in common.

Also Deception, where verbal falsehoods requiring agile-minded creation of fiction is blended with creating a disguise, which amounts to knowing how to use make-up.

Point is, for purposes of gameplay we've always had skills that lump thematically similar but mechanically disparate abilities into one roll. It's always been up to the player to decide if their character is good at all applications of a skill. If your character is bad at reading other people but good at spotting distant enemies... don't roll for sensing motive.

No. To me those are close enough to gloss over. I realize you can’t have a separate skill for literally everything a PC does.


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Interesting stuff.

The consensus seems to be that Initiative (most of the time), Sense Motive, Perception, and Investigation were all rolled into one because these are things that all players want to be good at. Its kind of a bundle or combo pack of skills for PCs so that they don’t have to allocate resources during character creation.

That makes sense. I don’t like or agree with it, but I understand the choice from a game design standpoint.

My last stab at giving an example to clarify my point would be this. I live in a very rural area. I know plenty of people who are great in the woods. They can point out fox tracks and deer runs that are almost invisible to me. But, put them in an electrics shop in NYC and they get totally hustled. I just think there should be mechanical reflections of a character type like this on the sheet because it goes to the heart of who the PC is. That said, the circumstantial penalty suggested above seems like it would help account for this.

I don’t plan on any sort of house ruling myself. I like to play any new game as close to RAW as I can for a campaign or so before messing with it. I’ve found a lot of concerns that seem like they’re going to be big deals on paper, sometimes disappear at the table and of course the opposite happens too. I’ll be anxious to see how this shakes out with some more play. Any in game examples and analysis would be much appreciated.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Matthew Downie wrote:
DerNils wrote:
But with perception and sense motive, it really Comes down to "Everybody always wanted this skill maxed, so let it scale automatically."

Was this especially true of Sense Motive?

Everyone wants to be good at Acrobatics, because that can stop you from falling into a ravine. But Sense Motive was a skill where you could usually do fine by relying on a single party specialist to make rolls on your behalf.

Sense Motive quite often had the exact same paradigm as Perception in that you only really needed one person to notice a thing but that person could roll low and you'd miss it. Hence it was usually worth having everyone roll for it. (The exception being the surprise round I suppose; Sense Motive rarely called for multiple people to succeed as that did.)

The big difference is that your campaign might not have people lie as often as there were traps, ambushes, or hidden treasure. And the consequences for missing a lie may or may not be as bad. Then again, no player should know how often NPCs will lie to the party ahead of time, which makes for a good case to not make them invest in a skill which will either never come up or will be super relevant.

Silver Crusade

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I'll gladly take Perception over Spot, Search, Listen, and Sense Motive.

Liberty's Edge

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Interesting that apparently no one has problems with the human lie-detector being great at spotting ambushes :-)


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Matthew Downie wrote:
DerNils wrote:
But with perception and sense motive, it really Comes down to "Everybody always wanted this skill maxed, so let it scale automatically."

Was this especially true of Sense Motive?

Everyone wants to be good at Acrobatics, because that can stop you from falling into a ravine. But Sense Motive was a skill where you could usually do fine by relying on a single party specialist to make rolls on your behalf.

Skills like acrobatics often involve a lot more means of mitigating not having a great modifier in them. Yes, everyone wants their character to not fall into a ravine and die - but it's usually pretty clear when there is a ravine coming into play and preparatory measures can be taken to reduce the chances of falling in.

...but a high-consequence sense motive check doesn't have as numerous ways to mitigate the chance of failure, nor is it likely to have as much signaling to its presence.

The old "jokes" about players never trusting any NPCs didn't just come out of nowhere; they came from players getting double-crossed and having no way of seeing it coming other than their own paranoia (at first because there were no formal rules for trying to discern if an NPC was being duplicitous, and then persisting because when formal rules showed up they required a resource that was in short supply and high demand for numerous other also helpful things).


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I can usually tell which NPCs are going to betray me due to inadvertent foreshadowing by the GM...


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I have zero problems with Perception including Sense Motive.

Being able to tell if someone is lying to you involves picking up on many small pieces of information. Eye motion, changes in tone, facial tics, hand movements, body tension, timing of speech, etc. Good liars are adept at not showing these tells, and it becomes harder to pick them up. Sherlock Holmes is the prime example of keen observational skills being used to such an end.

So, is it absurd to me that someone who is able to notice all the fine details of a room at a glance would also be able to pick up on subtle but strange behaviors? Not in the slightest.

If we're talking specifically about someone who has never encountered another humanoid before... not only is that a somewhat contrived case, it can easily be explained by animal instinct. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if there was a trope of a wild child "getting a bad feeling" about someone who intends them ill.

Furthermore, if you want to roleplay a socially clueless character... why are you rolling Sense Motive checks? I can't count the number of times I've told my GM "Yeah, my character believes them at their word" because I was playing such a character.

Anyway, I'm just a big ole fan of the built-in perception and sense motive.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Matthew Downie wrote:
I can usually tell which NPCs are going to betray me due to inadvertent foreshadowing by the GM...

Then we circle back to the point that the skill isn't useful in your campaign, so why leave it as an option on the table? The PF2 skill list at this point is pretty good for only including stuff that is going to be relevant in almost any adventure at this point. Sans Lore, obviously.


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JamesMaster wrote:

My last stab at giving an example to clarify my point would be this. I live in a very rural area. I know plenty of people who are great in the woods. They can point out fox tracks and deer runs that are almost invisible to me. But, put them in an electrics shop in NYC and they get totally hustled. I just think there should be mechanical reflections of a character type like this on the sheet because it goes to the heart of who the PC is. That said, the circumstantial penalty suggested above seems like it would help account for this.

If you want to simulate this, you could get rid of Perception entirely and have everyone roll Nature to be perceptive in a rural environment and Society to be perceptive in an urban environment.

Do some more work and that could make an interesting house rule. Bad simulation for separating book learning from practical experience, but nothing's perfect.

Liberty's Edge

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JamesMaster wrote:
My last stab at giving an example to clarify my point would be this. I live in a very rural area. I know plenty of people who are great in the woods. They can point out fox tracks and deer runs that are almost invisible to me. But, put them in an electrics shop in NYC and they get totally hustled. I just think there should be mechanical reflections of a character type like this on the sheet because it goes to the heart of who the PC is. That said, the circumstantial penalty suggested above seems like it would help account for this.

Honestly, those examples of things the people you're talking about are good at seem like Survival more than Perception. Perception isn't generally for tracking, that's Survival.

And it's very possible to have better Survival than Perception.


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The Raven Black wrote:
Interesting that apparently no one has problems with the human lie-detector being great at spotting ambushes :-)

I imagine a human lie detector would more likely be someone with Lie to Me.

Liberty's Edge

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NA Palm wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
Interesting that apparently no one has problems with the human lie-detector being great at spotting ambushes :-)
I imagine a human lie detector would more likely be someone with Lie to Me.

Yeah, this. Lie To Me is great and solves all my issues with these two things being combined.

It's also, generally speaking, easier to raise past Expert than Perception, so it allows really dedicated lie detectors regardless of Class.


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JamesMaster wrote:
No. To me those are close enough to gloss over. I realize you can’t have a separate skill for literally everything a PC does.

And therein lies the problem. Having rock climbed for a few years, I know full well the details of what it takes to do it, and lumping it in with dead-lifting is far more nonsensical than lumping two observation-based activities.

This is highly personal. Subjective.

What the devs did in both cases is rational and reasonable.


WatersLethe wrote:

I have zero problems with Perception including Sense Motive.

Being able to tell if someone is lying to you involves picking up on many small pieces of information. Eye motion, changes in tone, facial tics, hand movements, body tension, timing of speech, etc. Good liars are adept at not showing these tells, and it becomes harder to pick them up. Sherlock Holmes is the prime example of keen observational skills being used to such an end.

So, is it absurd to me that someone who is able to notice all the fine details of a room at a glance would also be able to pick up on subtle but strange behaviors? Not in the slightest.

If we're talking specifically about someone who has never encountered another humanoid before... not only is that a somewhat contrived case, it can easily be explained by animal instinct. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if there was a trope of a wild child "getting a bad feeling" about someone who intends them ill.

Furthermore, if you want to roleplay a socially clueless character... why are you rolling Sense Motive checks? I can't count the number of times I've told my GM "Yeah, my character believes them at their word" because I was playing such a character.

Anyway, I'm just a big ole fan of the built-in perception and sense motive.

In P2, the Liar rolls against the PCs Perception DC. Players do not have to call for a Sense Motive roll, so they do not have a choice but to be good at both Perception and Sense Motive. I guess I’ll probably get around this by describing the nervousness of the NPCs or something rather than flat out saying, “you think their lying.”

On the other point, you’re right. Such a character could easily SEE these “tells,” but it might be quite another to interpret them. Its just weird to me the P2 doesn’t differentiate. Not a big deal. Just kind of surprise/disappointment in a game I am totally loving otherwise.


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I would personally have liked a much more granular skill list than PF1 (maybe 50ish skills plus knowledges) and a lot more skill ups. But instead we went the more nonsensical route.

I also hate Perception not being a skill anymore. You should need to invest in it, and should be able to invest in it (the general feat that levels it for you doesn't count since it stops at Master).


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sherlock1701 wrote:

I would personally have liked a much more granular skill list than PF1 (maybe 50ish skills plus knowledges) and a lot more skill ups. But instead we went the more nonsensical route.

I also hate Perception not being a skill anymore. You should need to invest in it, and should be able to invest in it (the general feat that levels it for you doesn't count since it stops at Master).

If there had been fifty skills in the CRB then there would have been more skills than skill feats. Like at that point page count becomes a serious issue.


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sherlock1701 wrote:
I would personally have liked a much more granular skill list than PF1 (maybe 50ish skills plus knowledges) and a lot more skill ups. But instead we went the more nonsensical route.

I wouldn't say "nonsensical", as it makes PERFECT sense if you're intent is to streamline and make things as easy for new players as possible.

For myself, I don't hate it or love it: there are times I want to play a game with 10 skills and times I want to play one with 50. I have plenty of issues with the game but a condensed skill list isn't one of them.

On the OP: I'm 100% fine with the combo-platter of sense motive and perception as a non-skills that auto-level. This is one place I'm totally fine with streamlining.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook Subscriber
JamesMaster wrote:
WatersLethe wrote:

I have zero problems with Perception including Sense Motive.

Being able to tell if someone is lying to you involves picking up on many small pieces of information. Eye motion, changes in tone, facial tics, hand movements, body tension, timing of speech, etc. Good liars are adept at not showing these tells, and it becomes harder to pick them up. Sherlock Holmes is the prime example of keen observational skills being used to such an end.

So, is it absurd to me that someone who is able to notice all the fine details of a room at a glance would also be able to pick up on subtle but strange behaviors? Not in the slightest.

If we're talking specifically about someone who has never encountered another humanoid before... not only is that a somewhat contrived case, it can easily be explained by animal instinct. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if there was a trope of a wild child "getting a bad feeling" about someone who intends them ill.

Furthermore, if you want to roleplay a socially clueless character... why are you rolling Sense Motive checks? I can't count the number of times I've told my GM "Yeah, my character believes them at their word" because I was playing such a character.

Anyway, I'm just a big ole fan of the built-in perception and sense motive.

In P2, the Liar rolls against the PCs Perception DC. Players do not have to call for a Sense Motive roll, so they do not have a choice but to be good at both Perception and Sense Motive. I guess I’ll probably get around this by describing the nervousness of the NPCs or something rather than flat out saying, “you think their lying.”

On the other point, you’re right. Such a character could easily SEE these “tells,” but it might be quite another to interpret them. Its just weird to me the P2 doesn’t differentiate. Not a big deal. Just kind of surprise/disappointment in a game I am totally loving otherwise.

I am confused by this because there is the Sense Motive action which does take an action to do:

You try to tell whether a creature’s behavior is abnormal. Choose one creature, and assess it for odd body language, signs of nervousness, and other indicators that it might be trying to deceive someone. The GM attempts a single secret Perception check for you and compares the result to the Deception DC of the creature, the DC of a spell affecting the creature’s mental state, or another appropriate DC determined by the GM. You typically can’t try to Sense the Motive of the same creature again until the situation changes significantly.

Critical Success You determine the creature’s true intentions and get a solid idea of any mental magic affecting it.
Success You can tell whether the creature is behaving normally, but you don’t know its exact intentions or what magic might be affecting it.
Failure You detect what a deceptive creature wants you to believe. If they’re not being deceptive, you believe they’re behaving normally.
Critical Failure You get a false sense of the creature’s intentions.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook Subscriber

Ugh I am rubbish at formatting.


Right. But the Lie action happens first if the NPC or PC is using Deception (p246). Everyone they are lying too automatically Senses Motive via their Perception DC. The GM then has the discretion to allow players to roll Sense Motive IF their characters uncover facts that run counter to the Lie they initially believed. That means the GM, at least according to the RAW, shouldn’t allow rerolls of Sense Motive just because the players are used to treacherous NPCs and playing hunches.

Because I am new to Pathfinder, I think I might be missing something too about how the actions are laid out in the book. Sense Motive is not listed in the Skills section because it is not a Skill, right? Instead, it is listed under Basic Actions in the How to Play the Game section on the Encounter Mode. I was initially turned around by this and thinking that Sense Motive could then ONLY be used in the Encounter Mode. This is wrong, correct? Its an action that seems like it has to be part of Exploration too, right?


Pathfinder LO Special Edition, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I'm in favor of it being mixed into Perception as an abstraction between the two. Being "Perceptive" is a combination of both physical and emotional perception.

There are class features that allow you to specialize in one or the other, gaining bonuses to detect doors and traps, or gaining bonuses to detect lying... so it all works out for me.

More importantly if you wanted to play a character that wasn't very perceptive to physical threats yet can still perfectly play themselves up in the lying game.. You've got the "Lie to Me" skill feat that allows you to use your deception to detect lies.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

You are correct that you can Sense Motive in any mode of play.

You are not correct on how Lie and Sense Motive interact. Using a Sense Motive action is a thing the player decided to do. They don't need the NPC to fail a Lie check first. In fact, the NPC doesn't need to Lie at all. Lie is specifically convincing someone of an untruth. Withholding information does not use the Lie action but you can get a new idea that this is the case with Sense Motive.

This does mean that if someone wants to actively Lie to your face it will be harder if you have a good Perception. (Though as DMW points out spotting tracks is Survival, not perception, and understanding an animals behavior is almost certainly Nature.)

But all that does is make you not believe the Lie. Digging deeper, or interpreting their behavior as you put it, requires choosing to roll Sense Motive. So if you don't want to be able to do this, you just choose not to roll. If you do choose to do this, well,the Sense Motive skill is mostly assessing body language and signs of nervousness, which are actually pretty naturalistic behaviors.

Also, you're free to draw whatever conclusions you want from a successful Sense Motive roll. It really just tells you if something is behaving normally unless you Critically Succeed. And even then it isn't telepathy. You get a get a sense of the creature's true intentions or whether it is being magically affected. It doesn't tell you which of its statements was a lie, for example. That is purely based on their Lie roll.


It is fine for me.

People who are good at spotting liars are good at following details. Visual, auditory and content of discussion.

Mixing in intuition and such also works fine for the raised by wolf folks.

Lie to me works fine, it is just a secondary DC the gm records and compares against instead of the perception DC.

I guarantee we will get an int based variant at some point as well.


What I was pointing out was that, if the PCs failed to detect a Lie by an NPC beating their Perception DCs, then the RAW says I should “usually” only let them make a roll if they’ve discovered new evidence that points to the Lie being a Lie. (P246) I think this wording in the book was meant to discourage players from imposing their paranoia on their characters—although its well earned in most cases.

In practice, I’d just let players call for a roll whenever and maybe assess a circumstantial penalty for initially believing the Lie. If there was no Lie, I’d still have them roll so as not to tip my hand.

Last thing: In 5e, there was a variant rule that allowed you to swap out the ability of a skill if the DM thought it made more sense in a certain situation. Using CON instead of STR with Athletics is the example they used to represent someone swimming a long distance. Its not about the ability to swim, its about the ability to endure .

Does this sort of thing ever happen in Pathfinder? If so, I’d consider swapping INT for WIS on the types of Perception rolls I am talking about here where analysis is a part of the action. Obviously, all other proficiency and other bonuses would still apply, so it should represent a blend of a character’s visual acuity and their mental ability to put what they see into a larger context. Maybe call it an Investigation roll. This wouldn’t require any allocation of resources during character creation, and would be easily implemented at the table as it is in 5e.

Thoughts?


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JamesMaster wrote:

What I was pointing out was that, if the PCs failed to detect a Lie by an NPC beating their Perception DCs, then the RAW says I should “usually” only let them make a roll if they’ve discovered new evidence that points to the Lie being a Lie. (P246) I think this wording in the book was meant to discourage players from imposing their paranoia on their characters—although its well earned in most cases.

In practice, I’d just let players call for a roll whenever and maybe assess a circumstantial penalty for initially believing the Lie. If there was no Lie, I’d still have them roll so as not to tip my hand.

Last thing: In 5e, there was a variant rule that allowed you to swap out the ability of a skill if the DM thought it made more sense in a certain situation. Using CON instead of STR with Athletics is the example they used to represent someone swimming a long distance. Its not about the ability to swim, its about the ability to endure .

Does this sort of thing ever happen in Pathfinder? If so, I’d consider swapping INT for WIS on the types of Perception rolls I am talking about here where analysis is a part of the action. Obviously, all other proficiency and other bonuses would still apply, so it should represent a blend of a character’s visual acuity and their mental ability to put what they see into a larger context. Maybe call it an Investigation roll. This wouldn’t require any allocation of resources during character creation, and would be easily implemented at the table as it is in 5e.

Thoughts?

That isn't how that works. You're conflating the text about how the GM might let an NPC make a Sense Motive roll if they discover contradictory evidence with how Sense Motive can only be rolled once until the circumstances change. That latter rule is what clamps down on player paranoia in that they only get one roll per social encounter. But you can choose to make that roll regardless of whether the NPC succeeded on their Lie. You only get the one roll but the player chooses when to take it.

For a comparable scenario, compare Hide to Seek. A creature is only hidden or unobserved if they succeed on a stealth check against your perception DC. But you can always choose to roll Perception against their stealth DC.

Finally, the rules on sneaking past special senses do indeed say you can swap ability scores as the GM seems appropriate.


Cool. Got it. Thanks for all the help.


Ok, I read the forum and i still completly agree with JamesMaster. I played tones of rule systems and they all handle those things seperatly even the simple ones. I like your system in the most parts but that there is no sense motiv makes the complete social sector empty makes indeed a Hunter better in sense motive than a Bard. Sure its a game but it's a "Roleplay" not a "play". It's like comparing playing music as hobby with playing guitar hero (hobby or a game). I would say it's a hobby for the most people and less a game. If the developer realy think that this as boardgame and not as roleplay you surely lost me there.


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There are design tradeoffs that have to be made.

The current system has a very limited number of skills that are broad purpose. Yes that means that there are cases where a skill is too broad. Such as a character that wants to be good at Climbing also ends up good at Swimming.

An alternative would be to have a bajillion discrete skills for every possible option and hand out a ton more skill boosts. Now you can get a character that is great at Climbing but trash at Swimming - or great at noticing that a person is behaving strangely, but terrible at searching for hidden objects. But that is a lot more to keep track of. The size of the character sheet explodes - as does the length of time it takes to make decisions on which skills to pick. And it means that skill feats have to be tailored to apply to multiple skills or many more new variants of those feats have to be created.


Especially for a game that's not 'about' climbing to the same degree that it's about fighting monsters exploring dungeons. The question of "Can I move here" can be answered with "does it take strength or grace to do it?". Likewise, the game has a relatively low degree of complexity for social interactions because those are specialized pursuits... which is an important reason why Perception sets the Lie DC; since numbers scale in this edition, the defence against a thing that's scales must also scale, so the defence either can't be optional, or the ability itself must be particular in who it is allowed to affect and how.


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I think of it like the Gilligan's Island situation where one asks what sciences the Professor knows. All of them. That's his role. And the Skipper knows everything nautical, though little of that would've been required for the Minnow.
Or for a more recent example, Leverage. What branches of clandestine services is Eliot familiar with? All of them. Hardison knows everything about computing and Sophie knows all aspects of high society. Those are their narrative niches.

Yes, PF2 could be more granular like previous editions, but sometimes it took an inordinate amount of investment for some roles, i.e. thief. Even being athletic could drains one's skill resources dry; better to use magic and ignore all that, focus on the primary skills like Perception & Sense Motive (which as mentioned kind of had to be pulled from skills because most players felt obliged to maximize them anyway, leading to a similarly unrealistic situation).
And in the fantasy genre, there's seldom such granularity anyway. If anything, PF2 (partly due to playtest feedback) allows much more freedom w/ one's skills because of how it altered skill acquisition. If a table wished to break skills down even further or whatnot, they're free to do so, yet that's not the baseline product people aim for. Heck, Perception used to be Spot & Listen several editions ago...and most low-skill PCs spent the bulk of their skill points on those, leaving them inept and making it hard to justify background or flavorful skill choices.

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