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Invisibility and Stealth are one of the great cat & mouse games within Pathfinder. There are lots of ways to cancel Invisibility or Stealth, but it's not always clear if the opponent has them.

So imagine you're an invisible rogue with 3 targets. One of them has permanent True Sight, but you don't know this. It's your turn and you're picking a target. You want to pick the target that will be surprised because that's most of your damage.

So you ask the DM, "do any of them see me"?

Is there anything RAW on how to resolve this scenario?

  • Is this is Perception check? (DC estimates?)
  • Is this just a Bluff / Sense Motive opposed roll?
  • Do we require PCs and NPCs to actively Bluff when they do see somebody invisible, but want to pretend that they don't?
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  • \$\begingroup\$ Wait True sight don't differentiate Invisible people from Visible people right ? So you and your GM should play that like a normal encounter right ? \$\endgroup\$ – Saffron Jun 26 '14 at 8:10
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The designers could've gone nuts trying to come up with specific rules on this, because it's a situation that's subject to so many potential modifiers.

Personally, I'd handle the general case as a Perception check...you're trying to observe your potential targets for signs that they might know you're there. And unless those targets have some reason to think in terms of an invisible opponent, it shouldn't be that hard a check...people have this tendency to do things like stop and look around (or at least hesitate) if something seems amiss, and you'd either have to be an awfully quick thinker or else expecting an invisible opponent not to give it away with a reaction of some kind.

Now, in your specific case the Bluff/Sense Motive opposed roll seems appropriate, if the target is in fact trying to disguise the fact that they've seen you. (If they aren't, the Perception check should show that easily unless you completely muff it.)

So...Perception first, then if needed Bluff/Sense Motive. The former check should be quick, no more than a few game seconds unless you're being paranoid; the latter check, however, would probably take a little longer so if time was a factor you'd have to decide if the time spent was worth it. If the target hesitates or looks around for a moment, then goes back to seemingly normal activity, it's up to you to decide how paranoid to be, but that needs to be a deliberate action on your part and not just something automatic.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I think this answer sums it up eloquently. It can be properly illustrated by a South Park episode, season 8, episode 1, when Cartman believes he can turn invisible by taking off his clothes (a la Mystery Men), and his self-delusion is somewhat validated when the crowd he attempts to "sneak past" is too shocked to even show a reaction to a naked boy "sneaking" across a stage. It is only when someone in the crowd actually reacts to him that Cartman realizes that he is indeed visible to everyone. \$\endgroup\$ – Finni McFinger Jun 26 '14 at 18:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ It's funny, I was thinking of Perception check as well. Just edited the question with that. Any guesses on the DC? Looking at the list of Perception DCs, it seems more and more like the wrong thing. Even the general case of "have you been noticed" seems much closer to the Sense Motive - Hunch description. \$\endgroup\$ – Gates VP Jun 26 '14 at 21:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ @GatesVP: Against average folk...the ones without training or experience with invisible foes...I'd probably go as low as 5. Perhaps against an experienced mage, you could justify 15 or higher (depending on what level we're talking about here). But since Perception is explicitly about using the senses to notice details, I'd stick with it as an opener. \$\endgroup\$ – Stormhound Jun 27 '14 at 3:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ I disagree here. Anyone using magic that reveals invisibility almost certainly considers an invisible opponent a possibility. At that point it seems to me sense motive is the relevant check (assuming the person is trying to let the invisible character think he's undetected. If he's not trying I would go no higher than DC5 if that.) \$\endgroup\$ – Loren Pechtel Feb 10 '15 at 5:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ Surely this would be insight? If the target is pretending they don't see you, they are making a deception check, which can be opposed against your insight. \$\endgroup\$ – gburton Feb 19 '17 at 13:29
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Telling if someone is doing something physically is a Perception check. Telling if they are doing something socially is a Sense Motive check. That makes this most likely a Sense Motive check.

The issue with Sense Motive RAW is that it "generally" takes 1 minute to use unless the opponent deliberately makes a Bluff check and has no listed success test DCs below 20. In my games a fairly common use of the Sense Motive skill is to get the general emotional state of someone with whom you are unfamiliar. This is not detailed under the 'common uses' section (Hunch, while close, isn't quite right as this isn't just a 'gut feeling' but the interpretation of specific physical and verbal cues. "You think he's mad" vs "You think he's just really excited" for a yelling person in the street) and so the RAW indicate that the GM is supposed to make it up. While the suggested check time is 1-minute, this takes about the same time as a Perception check. I think the same situation applies in this case, where a simple test based on an immediate impression is appropriate. I use a base DC of 15, replaced with the target's Bluff roll if the target attempts to conceal its awareness/emotional state deliberately and with a -5 or more modifier to the DC if the target is particularly expressive/reactant and -10 to +10 to the DC for the normal range of strength of emotions people are aware they are experiencing.

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