The situation, as it happened in my last session:

The party started in a tavern not knowing each other. The bard decides they want to climb the local mountain, and attempts to use Fascinate to help convince the other players (and any NPCs they can get) to come with them. Basically bouncing around the room singing at people like a cheesy musical.

Now I know Fascinate lets you target one character plus one for every three levels after first. Their interpretation of this was they can target one character, then, while maintaining it, target another as a separate instance of Fascinate.

My immediate thought is that's just targeting multiple characters, but I'm pretty new as a GM, and even as a player I have no experience with bards.

Is this a reasonable interpretation of Fascination?


From the CRB Bard description and the SRD:

Starting a bardic performance is a standard action, but it can be maintained each round as a free action. Changing a bardic performance from one effect to another requires the bard to stop the previous performance and start a new one as a standard action. A bardic performance cannot be disrupted, but it ends immediately if the bard is killed, paralyzed, stunned, knocked unconscious, or otherwise prevented from taking a free action to maintain it each round. A bard cannot have more than one bardic performance in effect at one time.

(emphasis mine)

So no. Furthermore, fascinated is defined as:

A fascinated creature is entranced by a supernatural or spell effect. The creature stands or sits quietly, taking no actions other than to pay attention to the fascinating effect, for as long as the effect lasts. It takes a –4 penalty on skill checks made as reactions, such as Perception checks. Any potential threat, such as a hostile creature approaching, allows the fascinated creature a new saving throw against the fascinating effect. Any obvious threat, such as someone drawing a weapon, casting a spell, or aiming a ranged weapon at the fascinated creature, automatically breaks the effect. A fascinated creature's ally may shake it free of the spell as a standard action.

Which doesn't give those fascinated any particular compulsion to go mountain climbing with the bard (in fact, it makes doing so impossible).

  • \$\begingroup\$ I think the idea was more fascinating then with the idea of the mountain and something bring at the top. Not really sure, but wet ran with it because as I said, I'm new to GMing and bards :-P \$\endgroup\$ – anTrodaire Feb 8 '17 at 7:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ @anTrodaire Running with it is a fine response. My style is to play by-the-book but that's hardly the only style. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Feb 8 '17 at 9:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ Actually the fascination doesn't directly help with that. The bard can still convince them "the normal way": being a bard usually imply having a high charisma and many social skill. He can roleplay that he uses a bit of magic with that even if it doesn't have a mechanical direct effect. If he is lvl6 or more he can use the suggestion ability which has a real mechanical effect. \$\endgroup\$ – Anne Aunyme Feb 8 '17 at 9:16

The dark wanderer's reply was technically correct, but a little boring. Although your interpretation probably isn't PFS legal, I am pretty sure I don't care. Mechanically, all sources of fascinate work the same. However I would argue that a bard's fascinate does not have the same flavor as other sources of fascinate.

For example hypnotic pattern fascinates creatures with a hypnotic pattern. I always imagine these creatures staring agape at a pattern of dancing lights. There is a visible illusion, and invisible magic screwing around inside their brains.

A bard's fascinate works because the bard is "using his performance." I imagine him singing a song, or performing oratory, or juggling. The audience thinks it is the best song ever, because the bard's magic is screwing with their heads. Visibly they may be rocking with the beat of the song, or dancing in place, or doing some other inane flavor text action that wouldn't qualify as a standard or move action.

All of this is well and good, but none of it actually gets you closer to your goal. None of this gives you any bonuses to diplomacy. When I GM, I assume that people realize when they succeed at a will save. The people getting fascinated, may react badly when they realize you are trying to magic inside their head.

  • \$\begingroup\$ When you hear a very catchy song it can be distracting, but the normal reaction is not to assume it's magic. \$\endgroup\$ – Anne Aunyme Feb 8 '17 at 9:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ Marcus, don't dwell too much if this answer gets downvoted, but in the future try to address questions more directly. In this case, OP asked for the mechanics of Bardic Fascinate, so he could follow the rules with it in the future. RP'ing is of course a fine way to play the game, and I'm not saying its wrong to reference abilities' intent, but on rpg.se we tend to prefer objective over subjective. 'When I GM' answers are better if the question asks for experience related answers because that is Good Subjective. \$\endgroup\$ – Ifusaso Feb 8 '17 at 13:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Marcus, FWIW, I found it helpful, I just don't have the rep to up vote it yet :-P \$\endgroup\$ – anTrodaire Feb 8 '17 at 18:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ @AnneAunyme Fascinate is specifically a supernatural ability. It is magic. \$\endgroup\$ – BobTheAverage Feb 15 '17 at 18:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ That doesn't mean it looks magic. People can hear it, succeed at their save and think: "this song is very catchy, but I have more important to do than listening to it." and not necessarily "oh noes, it plays with my mind, it's magic! Burn the witch!" \$\endgroup\$ – Anne Aunyme Feb 16 '17 at 9:24

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