I apologize in advance if this has already been answered, but I could not find a previous question addressing this.

I am playing a Rogue for the first time (Lvl.2) and I would (obviously) like to optimize my ability to Sneak Attack.

In the RAW I can't find anything that would prevent me from Feinting from a distance. I understand that the benefit of denying enemy Dex bonus to AC only applies to my next melee attack.

Example: On my first round I have the initiative and I take a shot with my short bow from 30' while my enemy is Flat-Footed, to get a ranged Sneak Attack. I then use my move action to Feint from that distance (utilizing my Improved Feint feat).

On my next round I close the distance while drawing my sword (Move Action) and get a Sneak Attack against my foe, who has lost his Dex bonus to AC due to my successful Feint.

I have spoken to other players in my group who seem to think the GM will nerf this. I want to be able to articulate why this is OK for me to do per RAW.


3 Answers 3


The default range of Feints is ambiguous, but it was likely intended for melee.

By RAW, Feint can be done at any distance, but only provides melee benefits.

As you pointed out, the Core Rulebook does not explicitly say that Feints must be performed in melee range. The rules of Feinting don't involve a melee weapon or a combat maneuver check. However, the benefits of a successful feint only apply to melee attacks; the target is not denied their Dex bonus against ranged attacks by default.

Feinting is a standard action. To feint, make a Bluff skill check. 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. If successful, the next melee attack you make against the target does not allow him to use his Dexterity bonus to AC (if any). This attack must be made on or before your next turn.

These rules were written around 2009 when Pathfinder 1e was first released, although the later revisions of the Core Rulebook never addressed this directly.

But, Feint was probably intended to be a melee action by default.

While the Core Rulebook text doesn't support this claim, and later errata doesn't specify it either, there is evidence that it is the case. The Paizo authors likely neglected to clarify this in their rulebook because their editing process is notoriously sloppy.

  1. The feat Ranged Feint from the Ultimate Intrigue expansion (2015) explicitly that feints are normally only usable with a melee weapon.

Normal: You can feint only with a melee weapon, and only against a creature you threaten with that weapon.

  1. The archer fighter archetype (Advanced Players Guide, 2010) gets a special ability to perform feints with a bow within 30 feet. While the wording is a little strange, it does imply that feinting from a distance is an exception rather than the normal rule.

At 3rd level, an archer can choose one of the following combat maneuvers or actions: disarm, feint, or sunder. He can perform this action with a bow against any target within 30 feet, with a –4 penalty to his CMB.

In a paizo.com discussion thread, the author Jason Nelson clarifies this further:

I wrote the APG fighter archetypes, and the implication I intended to convey was that you could both perform the feint and BENEFIT from the feint with your bow. It would seem a little silly to let them do the feint but not get any advantage from it, but if the RAW seems overly ambiguous and you're looking for RAI that's it.

  1. Pathfinder 1st edition was originally based on Dungeons & Dragons 3.5, and many of the rules in the Core Rulebook are directly copied from the original system without copying all the explanations. In the D&D Player's Handbook (p. 155), feinting is explicitly limited to melee range:

As a standard action, you can try to mislead an opponent in melee combat so that he can't dodge your next attack effectively. To feint, make a Bluff check opposed by a Sense Motive check by your target.

The full section on Feinting in D&D 3.5e is almost the same as in Pathfinder 1e.


Not usually

Unfortunately, the Feint rules are pretty vague. However, note the feat Ranged Feint, which specifies

Normal: You can feint only with a melee weapon, and only against a creature you threaten with that weapon.

Other Feint feats and abilities specify creatures within your range, but the Ranged Feint feat spells it out the most clearly. This is in line with what a feint actually is.

a deceptive or pretended blow, thrust, or other movement, especially in boxing or fencing.

  • \$\begingroup\$ OK, but nothing in the Bluff skill rules or the combat rules for Feint state those things... plus, Ranged Feint is different in that it allows the following attack to be made with a ranged weapon, as opposed to a melee weapon. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 17, 2022 at 3:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JimmyFix-it I see what you're saying, but that doesn't change the text from Ranged Feint about how normal feinting is supposed to work. Hence why I point out that the basic rules about Feint are vague. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 17, 2022 at 13:08


The Feint feat is notoriously ambiguous, but it says nothing about whether fainting from a distance is allowed or not, so when in doubt, you can probably do it. However, I would check with your GM just in case, as anything the GM says is law.


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