Sense Motive (Wisdom)
Use this skill to tell when someone is bluffing you, to discern hidden messages in conversations, or to sense when someone is being magically influenced. This skill represents sensitivity to the body language, speech habits, and mannerisms of others.
A successful check lets you avoid being bluffed (see the Bluff skill. You can also use this skill to determine when “something is up” (that is, something odd is going on) or to assess someone’s trustworthiness. Your DM may decide to make your Sense Motive check secretly, so that you don’t necessarily know whether you were successful.
|Task||Sense Motive DC|
|Sense enchantment||25 or 15|
|Discern secret message||Varies|
This use of the skill involves making a gut assessment of the social situation. You can get the feeling from another’s behavior that something is wrong, such as when you’re talking to an impostor. Alternatively, you can get the feeling that someone is trustworthy.
You can tell that someone’s behavior is being influenced by an enchantment effect (by definition, a mind-affecting effect), such as charm person, even if that person isn’t aware of it.
Discern Secret Message:
You may use Sense Motive to detect that a hidden message is being transmitted via the Bluff skill. In this case, your Sense Motive check is opposed by the Bluff check of the character transmitting the message. For each piece of information relating to the message that you are missing, you take a –2 penalty on your Sense Motive check. For example, if you eavesdrop on people planning to assassinate a visiting diplomat, you take a –2 penalty on your check if you don’t know about the diplomat. If you succeed by 4 or less, you know that something hidden is being communicated, but you can’t learn anything specific about its content. If you beat the DC by 5 or more, you intercept and understand the message. If you fail by 4 or less, you don’t detect any hidden communication. If you fail by 5 or more, you infer some false information.
Trying to gain information with Sense Motive generally takes at least 1 minute, and you could spend a whole evening trying to get a sense of the people around you.
- A ranger gains a bonus on Sense Motive checks when