Empty Threats feat, how does it work?


Rules Questions


So at my table, a swashbuckler triggers his swift free intimidation check on his successful attack.

He has the feat Empty Threats.

Benefit: You can use the Bluff skill to demoralize opponents in combat instead of Intimidate. You can attempt a Bluff check in place of an Intimidate check when using the Dazzling Display feat and feats that list Dazzling Display as a prerequisite. If you use the Bluff skill to demoralize, you cannot use it to feint until the beginning of your next turn, and vice versa.

The PC reads as just 'use bluff for intimidate', plain that.

But with the specifics of Dazzling display and related feats mentioned, this looks to be more specific than the PC's interpretation.
It seems there would be less text about the feat, if it were that simple.

Which is the correct way of reading the feat?


It definitely isn't as simple as "use bluff for intimidate."

However, as long as it is being used in combat, you are allowed to use bluff for intimidate. I would definitely allow him to use it with his swashbuckler "Menacing Swordplay," because it uses up his swift action so he can't riposte on a successful parry (but that's just my character-balance input).

You guys are really just different in how you read feat benefits. You read the extra line, "You can attempt a Bluff check in place of an Intimidate check when using the Dazzling Display feat and feats that list Dazzling Display as a prerequisite," as a restriction of when it can be used, opposed to a clarification (for people who may have otherwise asked the question "can you replace intimidate with bluff in instances where you're modifying your intimidate check").

However, the feat *also* says "You can use the Bluff skill to demoralize opponents in combat instead of Intimidate." You cannot ignore this line. If it was *only* for dazzling display feats, they would have only had the line about dazzling display, because that's all that they would have needed to say. The benefits section would have entirely left out the first line, because it's not necessary for clarification of the feat.

So RAW, any time in combat he is attempting to use the "demoralize opponent" aspect of intimidate, he may instead use his bluff skill (but not at all out of combat to coerce an opponent).

As a general rule though, if a feat is being restrictive, it will say so and use specific words like "this must," "this only functions when," or "this is limited to." Any time restrictive words or clauses are not included, additional information given in the feat should be understood to be an additional benefit or clarifying, not restrictive


Very well, thank you.


More seriously:

1. You may use Bluff to perform the "demoralize" action under the Intimidate skill, and you can use Bluff instead of Intimidate when making any Intimidate checks indicated by Dazzling Display or its descendants.

2. You may not use Bluff for other purposes that involve Intimidate, such as Intimidate's "influence an opponent's attitude" action or the Antagonize feat.

2.5. . . unless those checks are indicated by Dazzling Display or one of its descendants. (I can't think of any examples like that off the top of my head.)

3. You might not be able to use Bluff to demoralize as a result of other, non-Dazzling-Display abilities if they don't involve the normal demoralize action, such as the Warning Shot or Gruesome Slaughter feats, but expect table variation there.


It's definitely not Bluff replaces all uses of Intimidate.

It's possible that you can use Bluff instead of Intimidate for Demoralize actions, but I think that's not even the intention. Else the feat text would have stopped there.

Instead it goes on to talk about Dazzling Display and feats that require it. But Dazzling Display just says to make a check to demoralize enemies, so it wouldn't be necessary to say to replace this specific instance with Bluff since it would be covered it you replaced all Demoralize attempts with Bluff.

I think Empty Threats only replaces Intimidate with Bluff when making a Dazzling Display or other feats that list Dazzling Display as a pre-req.

Alternatively, the words after "You can use the Bluff skill to demoralize opponents in combat instead of Intimidate" add no meaning or detail to how the feat works and should be removed.


Claxon wrote:


It's possible that you can use Bluff instead of Intimidate for Demoralize actions, but I think that's not even the intention. Else the feat text would have stopped there.

Counterpoint: I don't believe the intention is to only allow it with dazzling display & feats with it as prereq, to quote yourself: "Else the feat text would have stopped there." The feat would have simply started and ended with:

"You can attempt a Bluff check in place of an Intimidate check when using the Dazzling Display feat and feats that list Dazzling Display as a prerequisite. If you use the Bluff skill to demoralize, you cannot use it to feint until the beginning of your next turn, and vice versa."

The very existence of the sentence "You can use the Bluff skill to demoralize opponents in combat instead of Intimidate," implies there is more you can do with the feat than just "attempt a Bluff check in place of an Intimidate check when using the Dazzling Display feat and feats that list Dazzling Display as a prerequisite."


Disagree Claxon. The feat allows you to use it on single targets. Dazzling display affects more than one target and it allows you to use the feat along with that.

Blahpers reading is more accurate.

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