Skills >

Bluff (Cha)

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You know how to tell a lie.


Bluff is an opposed skill check against your opponent’s Sense Motive skill.

Table: Bluff Modifiers
Circumstances Bluff Modifier
The target wants to believe you +5
The lie is believable +0
The lie is unlikely –5
The lie is far-fetched –10
The lie is impossible –20
The target is drunk or impaired +5
You possess convincing proof up to +10

Common Uses

Convey Secret Message

You can use Bluff to pass hidden messages to another character without others understanding your true meaning. The DC of this check is 15 for simple messages and 20 for complex messages. If you are successful, the target automatically understands you, assuming you are speaking in a language that it understands. If your check fails by 5 or more, you deliver the wrong message. Other creatures that hear the message can decipher the message by succeeding at an opposed Sense Motive check against your Bluff result.

Action: Delivering a secret message generally takes twice as long as the message would otherwise take to relay.

Retry? Yes. Secret messages can be relayed again if the first attempt fails.

Deceive or Lie

If you use Bluff to fool someone, with a successful check you convince your opponent that what you are saying is true. Bluff checks are modified depending upon the believability of the lie. The following modifiers are applied to the roll of the creature attempting to tell the lie. Note that some lies are so improbable that it is impossible to convince anyone that they are true (subject to GM discretion).

Retry? If you fail to deceive someone, any further checks made to deceive them are made at a –10 penalty and may be impossible (GM discretion).

Feign Harmlessness

Source: PPC:Giants

It’s often useful to attempt to convince your enemies you are no threat to them.

Check: You attempt to convince your target you are harmless through your actions and posture. If you are at least one size category smaller than your target and have taken no effective offensive actions that your target has seen, you gain a +5 circumstance bonus on this check. Even if you have proven yourself capable of dealing damage, an effort to present your previous success as a one-time fluke takes only a –10 penalty on the check.

Action: Taking steps to appear harmless requires a full-round action, though a GM may require more involved Bluff attempts to take longer.

Retry? You can attempt to feign harmlessness to the same target again, but each previous failed check increases the DC to convince your target by 5. This increase resets after 1 hour has passed.

Unofficial Extras!

The following rules ideas are from publishers other than Paizo. Use at your discretion!

Below are several additional ways to use Bluff.

Fast-Talk: You can attempt to tell a lie to a target so quickly that it goes unquestioned. Doing so requires half the normal time to convince the target, to a minimum of one standard action, but in doing so you take a –10 penalty on your Bluff check.

Feign Injury: Whenever you are dealt damage, you can make a Bluff check as an immediate action to convince foes you have been injured to a different extent than you truly have been, opposed by a Sense Motive check. You can appear to be uninjured, mildly injured (with more than half your total hit points remaining), significantly injured (reduced to less than half hit points), disabled (at 0 hit points), dying (at negative hit points), or dead. For each step away from your true condition you pretend to be, you suffer a cumulative –2 penalty on your Bluff check. If you pretend to be dying or dead, you must fall prone accordingly (a free action).

Quick Secret Message: You can attempt to deliver a secret message in no more time than it would normally take to deliver openly, but you take a –10 penalty on your Bluff check for doing so.

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Feint in Combat

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.

Perform Inconspicuous Action

Source PPC:SpyHB

You can avoid drawing attention to yourself when performing conspicuous actions such as picking up an object in a museum where handling the exhibits is frowned upon but not a matter of grave concern, or closely studying someone across a room at a party.

Action: You attempt the Bluff check as part of performing the action you wish to render inconspicuous. Normally, you must take twice as long as normal to perform the action in order to make it inconspicuous. A standard action becomes a full-round action completed just before the start of your next turn and a free, immediate, move, or swift action becomes a standard action.

Check: Your Bluff check is opposed by observers’ Sense Motive checks. You can’t attempt the check if your very presence is suspicious (which you could prevent by altering your appearance with the Disguise skill).

Suggest Course of Action

Source: Giant Hunter’s Handbook

You can use Bluff and Diplomacy together to make a request of a creature, without it even realizing you have made the request.

Check: You can gradually coax a target into thinking a suggestion is entirely its own idea, making the creature more likely to act on the idea than if you had suggested it outright. You discuss topics subtly relevant to the request, asking leading questions and narrowing the scope of the conversation so that the target eventually decides to take a specific action you have led it to.

You first attempt a Bluff check to convince the target that your request was actually its idea. This is always treated as far-fetched circumstances, resulting in a –10 penalty on the check. If successful, you then attempt a Diplomacy check to make the request of the creature, treating its attitude toward you as indifferent for this single request (regardless of its actual attitude).

Action: Planting the notion and then coaxing a target into suggesting the notion himself each require at least 1 minute of continuous interaction. This can be difficult to arrange with a hostile or unfriendly creature.

Actions Used

  • Convey Secret Message: Delivering a secret message generally takes twice as long as the message would otherwise take to relay.
  • Deceive or Lie: Attempting to deceive someone takes at least 1 round, but can possibly take longer if the lie is elaborate (as determined by the GM on a case-by-case basis).
  • Feign Harmlessness: Attempting to appear harmless is at least a full-round action, possibly more.
  • Feint in Combat: Feinting in combat is a standard action.
  • Suggest Course of Action: at least 1 minute of continuous interaction.


  • Familiar A spellcaster with a snake familiar gains a +3 bonus on Bluff checks.
  • Feats If you have the Deceitful feat, you gain a +2 bonus on Bluff skill checks. If you have 10 or more ranks in Bluff, the bonus increases to +4.

Bluff Unchained

Source PFU

About This Section Optionally, a character who reaches 5, 10, 15, or 20 ranks in a skill unlocks various bonuses and abilities unique to that skill. The unchained rogue uses these rules extensively, but others can gain access to them with a new feat.

In this system, characters unlock additional abilities when they attain 5, 10, 15, and 20 ranks in a skill. The skill unlocks system interfaces with the unchained rogue to make the rogue the true master of skills.

Skill unlocks give characters new abilities and ways to use their skills upon reaching 5, 10, 15, and 20 ranks in a skill. Any character with the Signature Skill feat can earn skill unlocks for a single skill, and they are a prime feature of the revised version of the rogue who uses her rogue’s edge ability to gain skill unlocks for several of her most iconic skills. Alternatively, you might make skill unlocks a universal part of the game, but you should be aware they add significant power and flexibility to skills, so giving them for free to all classes would grant power boosts to other highly skilled classes such as the investigator and bard, particularly in comparison to the rogue. Another alternative is to eliminate access to the Signature Skill feat, limiting skill unlocks to rogues and rogues alone.

With sufficient ranks in Bluff, you earn the following.

5 Ranks: The penalty to Bluff a creature after a failed check is halved unless you failed by 5 or more.

10 Ranks: You take no penalty to Bluff a creature after a failed check unless you failed by 5 or more.

15 Ranks: Creatures magically attempting to read your thoughts, detect your alignment, or reveal when you are lying must attempt a caster level check (DC = 11 + your ranks in Bluff ) or the effect reveals nothing.

20 Ranks: As a full-round action, you can make a suggestion (as the spell, maximum duration 1 hour) to a creature within 30 feet (Will negates, DC = 15 + your Charisma modifier). A creature that saves against your suggestion is immune to further uses of this effect for 24 hours, and whenever the suggested creature is specifically confronted with proof of your manipulation, it receives another saving throw. This is an extraordinary mind-affecting compulsion.

FastPlay Rules
See this skill in FastPlay format.
Section 15: Copyright Notice

Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook. Copyright 2009, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Author: Jason Bulmahn, based on material by Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, and Skip Williams.