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View Full Version : Pet Peeve #2-Intimidate(OR "The Terrifying Gnome and the pushover Orc Barbarian)



Khaladon
2010-06-24, 11:17 PM
Gork the Half-Orc, all 7'2 of his massive frame quivering with rage, the muscles of his mighty arm bulging, slams the prisoner up against the wall again, even harder this time. Bringing his battle scared and tusk-toothed face just inches from the that of the half-elf he growls once more "Listen maggot! If you don't tell us, Right Now, where your sewer scum of a boss is hiding the major's daughter I shall personally rip off your leg and shove it so far down your throat you'll be able to hop while sitting down! "

"Yawn....Hmm, what? Sorry, I must have drifted off there for a second. What did you say?"

About to loose his mind, Gork suddenly feels a tap on his knee. Looking down he spies the party's beautiful Gnome Sorcerer, Bella, looking up at him with a knowing and somewhat superior look on her face "Sorry Mr. 6 Chr, but before you make it easier for our friend here to clip his own toenails with his teeth, how about I give it a shot, hmmm?"

Unable to resist her charm, Gork grunts and let's the prisoner fall to the ground. Eye level now to the man, Bella moves closer to the kidnapper and gives the half-elf a little frown "Now good sir, you'd better tell us what we want to know; after all, you wouldn't want me to get cross with you, would you?"

All blood instantly draining from his face, the terrified criminal sputters, his hands held up in pitiful defense "No! No! Please! I beg you! Don't get cross with me! I'll tell you anything! I swear! Just...Just please stop that little frown thingy you're doing! I beg you! I'll tell you anything you want to know!...." as his frightful blubbering makes further speech impossible for the moment, Bella pats the broken man's shoulder cooing "There There now..." while passing a sarcastic smirk up to the still fuming Gork.

SOOOO......What is UP with That???

It's has Always bugged the crap out of me that Intimidate is based on Charisma.

I understand that Charisma represents "Force of Personality" more than looks, but first of all, that's rarely how it's played. And Secondly and more importantly, there damn well should be some sort of Feat or something that lets a melee character base his Intimidation on Str instead of Chr.

Or even a wizard for that matter, surely someone clever enough should still be able to find a way to intimidate someone, no?

So what you all think?

Jothki
2010-06-24, 11:24 PM
Circumstance bonuses, circumstance bonuses, circumstance bonuses.

Intimidate, like all other social skills, is based on an understanding of how people think and how to manipulate them. Someone with high ranks in Intimidate can make people afraid without needing to pose an immediate physical threat to them.

And Charisma IS force of personality, regardless of how many people use it wrongly.

Doc Roc
2010-06-24, 11:26 PM
Fear immunity is trivially easy to get. As is MA immunity.

Worse for your point, intimidate and barbarians are a marriage made in heaven thanks to imperious+intimidating+instantaneous.

WeeFreeMen
2010-06-24, 11:28 PM
A variant bases it off Str.
I can see how it can be Cha tho, as Cha is not just looks (or at all, depending on your choice). Its the way you handle yourself and the people around you.
Kinda fits with Intimidate, that being said, Intimidate doesn't have to mean physical pain. Bribing someone with intelligence is another way to do it, no "Str" needed.

On the flip side, you have a point (and its bothered me as well). The Barbarian Half-Orc should instill just as much fear in someone when he smashes in a wall, if not more.

We have always played with "Your highest stat" for certain skills. Namely, Intimidate.

Blackfang108
2010-06-24, 11:32 PM
A variant bases it off Str.
I can see how it can be Cha tho, as Cha is not just looks (or at all, depending on your choice). Its the way you handle yourself and the people around you.
Kinda fits with Intimidate, that being said, Intimidate doesn't have to mean physical pain. Bribing someone with intelligence is another way to do it, no "Str" needed.

On the flip side, you have a point (and its bothered me as well). The Barbarian Half-Orc should instill just as much fear in someone when he smashes in a wall, if not more.

We have always played with "Your highest stat" for certain skills. Namely, Intimidate.

I've actually seen a variant to base it off of any stat, depending on how you're trying to intimidate (Quintisential[sp] Barbarian from Mongoose).

Caphi
2010-06-24, 11:36 PM
The OP has an extremely abstracted narration of the skill check that seems to assume that the result of the roll is entirely independent of the events in the world itself. It's pretty weak storytelling.

Khaladon
2010-06-24, 11:40 PM
Circumstance bonuses, circumstance bonuses, circumstance bonuses.

Intimidate, like all other social skills, is based on an understanding of how people think and how to manipulate them. Someone with high ranks in Intimidate can make people afraid without needing to pose an immediate physical threat to them.

And Charisma IS force of personality, regardless of how many people use it wrongly.

Right.

Well, ok, let's put this in a real world situation.

Example A: Kimbo (http://www.kimbo305.com/) stomps up to you and says "Gimme yo wallet fool! NOW!"

or, alternatively,

B: Dr. Phil (http://drphil.com/)(who arguably know at least a little bit more about how people think and how to manipulate them then Kimbo does...well, maybe anyway) steps up to you and says politely "You know, if you think about, you really want to give me your wallet. The sensations of dissatisfaction and despair you have been experiencing are based on your feelings of lack of self worth and the belief that you are not entitled to your success. By giving your wallet to me, you will be reasserting that you don't actually need the money, which will in turn reinvigorate your feelings of desire and make you feel happy and shiny again. So hand it over chump"

So which one do you think you'll be handing your hard earned cash over to quicker? (unless of course you just want to shut Dr. Phil up, which I think we all dream about at least a couple times a month)


(hmm, and btw, I never noticed before how much alike those two look! I'm thinking...love-child brothers??!!)

@Doc Roc: I don't know what those things you refer to are though..they sound interesting.

Reluctance
2010-06-24, 11:41 PM
Barbarians have intimidate as a class skill. Sorcerers don't. Of the PHB classes, the only non-bruiser with the skill is the rogue, and mafia dons are very good at making you crap your pants while they smile at you.

If you're saying that the barbarian should be scary without investing in intimidate, you can't really ignore the skill system on one hand and complain about it on the other.

Also keep in mind that scared people don't always do what's in your best interest. They may lie. They may break down blubbering unintelligibly. They may feel that their only hope is to take you down as soon as you turn your back. Or they might assume you'll kill them once you get what you want and become entirely uncooperative. Knowing just how far to push can be more important than being able to tear someone's arms off with your bare hands.

Mystic Muse
2010-06-24, 11:44 PM
So which one do you think you'll be handing your hard earned cash over to quicker? (unless of course you just want to shut Dr. Phil up, which I think we all dream about at least a couple times a month)

Kimbo. But, I don't have a wallet and never carry money on me unless I'm buying something so it's unlikely he'd get any anyway.:smalltongue:

Khaladon
2010-06-24, 11:46 PM
You make some good points Reluctance, but unfortunately your typical Barb or Fighter doesn't get a whole lot of skill points to invest with...

WeeFreeMen
2010-06-24, 11:46 PM
I've actually seen a variant to base it off of any stat, depending on how you're trying to intimidate (Quintisential[sp] Barbarian from Mongoose).

Really? Thats pretty interesting.
Even Dex? I wonder how that'd work.
However, yeah. We pretty much go off. Str,Int,Cha. As a homebrew for our group.
as previously stated. Fear Immunity wrecks Intimidate, and it really is trivially easy to get.

Khaladon
2010-06-24, 11:48 PM
Well, sure, but at higher levels you have lots of other options to get info anyway. ie divination, telepathy, miracle, wish etc.

This issue really only impacts lower level characters, it is true.

Saph
2010-06-24, 11:50 PM
Barbarians have intimidate as a class skill. Sorcerers don't. Of the PHB classes, the only non-bruiser with the skill is the rogue, and mafia dons are very good at making you crap your pants while they smile at you.

If you're saying that the barbarian should be scary without investing in intimidate, you can't really ignore the skill system on one hand and complain about it on the other.

Yeah, this.

A Barbarian with max-ranks Intimidate should have a higher Intimidate check than a Sorcerer. Given that they also have more skill points than the Sorcerer does, you'd expect them to be good at it.

Secondly, given how dangerous magic can be in the D&D world, are you really sure that it's the guy with the big muscles you should be scared of?

ShneekeyTheLost
2010-06-24, 11:52 PM
Takahashi never had much of a problem intimidating... see sig for amusing details.

However, Barbarians get two major things going for them:

Intimidating Rage + Never Outnumbered = 'everyone make a check'

Imperious Command to make them Cowering = lockdown anything not immune to Fear.

Dracons
2010-06-24, 11:57 PM
Wow Khaladon. You did the exact same argument that an ex player did to me once.

All on Charisma too.

Again, it's amount of skill points put in to skill. So lets do your Sorcerer/Barbarian again, but this time with skill points! All level 7.


Barbarian, with it's 4+int mod in skill points, and while it does have a decent list of skills, imitiadate will be a decent skill. Let's say the barb has a ten intilligence.

Barbarian, putting some skill points in, by level 7 will have, oh lets say 7 points. Not even maxed out. That 6 charisma (which is harsh. I've rarely heard of DM's allowing that low...) that is a whole minus 2 points.

So total ranks: 5.

Then with Sorcerer. Let's say 16 charisma. (Seeing as you gave a extremly low scores to barbarian, I doubt very much said sorercer will have a max score). No points into imidiate.

Total Rank: 3.


They both roll a ten. Barbarian does 15, Sorecer does 13.

So yeah. That half-orc barbarian with a 6 charisma, is still scarier then the 16 charisma gnome.

You want to go into the max ranks?

Barbarian: 10 Ranks for level seven, - 2 for charisma = 8 total.
Sorcerer: 3 ranks for level 7 + 4 for 18 chasima = 7. Hm. Barbarian still scary.

BobVosh
2010-06-24, 11:58 PM
Really? Thats pretty interesting.
Even Dex? I wonder how that'd work.
However, yeah. We pretty much go off. Str,Int,Cha. As a homebrew for our group.
as previously stated. Fear Immunity wrecks Intimidate, and it really is trivially easy to get.

Juggling daggers, flinging them one after another to land next to the ears and then just playing with the last dagger. Assuming the guy is tied to the wall or stand next to it or something.

Defiant
2010-06-25, 12:00 AM
Gork the Half-Orc, all 7'2 of his massive frame quivering with rage, the muscles of his mighty arm bulging, slams the prisoner up against the wall again, even harder this time. Bringing his battle scared and tusk-toothed face just inches from the that of the half-elf he growls once more "Listen maggot! If you don't tell us, Right Now, where your sewer scum of a boss is hiding the major's daughter I shall personally rip off your leg and shove it so far down your throat you'll be able to hop while sitting down! "

"Yawn....Hmm, what? Sorry, I must have drifted off there for a second. What did you say?"

About to loose his mind, Gork suddenly feels a tap on his knee. Looking down he spies the party's beautiful Gnome Sorcerer, Bella, looking up at him with a knowing and somewhat superior look on her face "Sorry Mr. 6 Chr, but before you make it easier for our friend here to clip his own toenails with his teeth, how about I give it a shot, hmmm?"

Unable to resist her charm, Gork grunts and let's the prisoner fall to the ground. Eye level now to the man, Bella moves closer to the kidnapper and gives the half-elf a little frown "Now good sir, you'd better tell us what we want to know; after all, you wouldn't want me to get cross with you, would you?"

All blood instantly draining from his face, the terrified criminal sputters, his hands held up in pitiful defense "No! No! Please! I beg you! Don't get cross with me! I'll tell you anything! I swear! Just...Just please stop that little frown thingy you're doing! I beg you! I'll tell you anything you want to know!...." as his frightful blubbering makes further speech impossible for the moment, Bella pats the broken man's shoulder cooing "There There now..." while passing a sarcastic smirk up to the still fuming Gork.

Wrong.

The half-orc stomps the ground in childish defiance. "Tell me, tell me, tell me what I want!!" His poor charisma and use of intimidate leaves much to be desired. He starts roaring in frustration, but the prisoner is unphased.

He's not going to tell some dumbass the secret lore he's worked so hard for! If this half-orc was going to kill him, he'd be dead already.

The gnome sorceress taps the half-orc on the shoulder, and ushers him out, head shaking in unbelief.

"Now listen..." she makes perfect and unyielding eye contact, "you're going to tell me what you know..." her head tilts slightly "or the consequences will be dire."

Her eyes squint, peering right through the prisoner's soul. "Trust me," she finishes him off, as he is now absolutely certain that she means it and has the capacity to do it.

The prisoner has been intimidated.


You see, being a strong dumbass doesn't yield much intimidating power. It takes force of personality and actual knowledge of intimidation to truly get a person to cooperate.

I mean, it's one thing to fear for your life, and to have a dumbass offer you a deal in exchange for your life (which might be unfavourable for him in the end given his weak bargaining skills) - arguably a diplomacy deal. It's another to be intimidated into doing something.

Intimidation is where you put that extra oomph. Sure, be a prisoner, and you already know that your life is at stake. But intimidation would actually make you afraid, of your captors specifically, rather than just of the situation.

Beorn080
2010-06-25, 12:01 AM
-snipped-

Dr. Phil is using a Diplomacy check in that case. His intimidation would be based on the fact that he knows LOTS of marines, and it would be a shame to lose a kneecap from 3 miles away. Now please hand over the wallet.

I do agree with OP, to a degree. At 1st level, with the Barb likely having a Cha penalty and the Sorc maxing it, plus maybe a +Cha race, the Sorc would probably do a bit better. After maybe 4th level, the Barb's skill ranks should have caught up, plus masterwork bonus for the weapon. After 5th, the Barb should be doing very well, since its a lot cheaper to pump a skill then it is to pump straight ability scores.

Grumman
2010-06-25, 12:03 AM
It's not the game's fault that Bella's player and the DM are bad roleplayers who are making no attempt to construct a logical narrative. Any sorceress with ranks in Intimidate should at least know of a few scary spells with which to intimidate people, and a prisoner being threatened by a half-orc barbarian is at least going to think he's calling the barbarian's bluff, not falling half asleep.

Gametime
2010-06-25, 12:14 AM
It's not the game's fault that Bella's player and the DM are bad roleplayers who are making no attempt to construct a logical narrative. Any sorceress with ranks in Intimidate should at least know of a few scary spells with which to intimidate people, and a prisoner being threatened by a half-orc barbarian is at least going to think he's calling the barbarian's bluff, not falling half asleep.

Maybe the prisoner is just aware of Rule One: "Never act incautiously when confronted by a little bald wrinkly smiling man gnome spellcaster!"

Tar Palantir
2010-06-25, 12:17 AM
And, as this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZhFJ7VSqrE) shows quite well, it's not what you say, it's how you (don't) say it.:smallwink:

Runestar
2010-06-25, 12:17 AM
It's not the game's fault that Bella's player and the DM are bad roleplayers who are making no attempt to construct a logical narrative.

What does a logical narrative have to do with anything? It is not like they will affect your final intimidate check. :smallwink:

Khaladon
2010-06-25, 12:18 AM
To All: Please understand the story was simply an attempt to make an amusing exaggeration of the matter. Apparently I wasn't too successful at it. :smallamused:

@Dracons: Damn you MATH! Damn you to Hell!!!!!

@Most of the rest of you: Again, this matter is really only an issue at lower levels. But even still, with their usually limited intelligence and therefore limited amount of skill points, isn't there usually more important skills melee-ers are putting their points into? (Jump, Climb, Survival, Swim come to mind...)

But otherwise there also have been some very interesting and even persuasive arguments made here. My held peeve may be on less solid ground here...keep up the good work! :smallwink:

Thrice Dead Cat
2010-06-25, 12:31 AM
A good scene that shows how CHA determines Intimidate can be found in the end of season one of the 2005 series of Doctor Who.

Spoilered for just that.

Ninth Doctor: ... No.
(Everyone present, Daleks included, turn and stare at the Doctor)
Dalek: Explain yourself!
Ninth Doctor: I said no.
Dalek: What is the meaning of this negative!?
Ninth Doctor: It means "No".
Dalek: But. She. Will. Be. Destroyed!
Ninth Doctor: No! 'Cause this is what I'm gonna do, I'm gonna rescue her! I'm gonna save Rose Tyler from the middle of the Dalek fleet! Then I'm gonna save the Earth! Then, just to finish off, I'm gonna wipe every last stinking Dalek out of the sky!
Dalek: But you have no weapons! No defences! No plan!
Ninth Doctor: Yeah. And doesn't that scare you to death? ...Rose?

Reluctance
2010-06-25, 12:57 AM
Jump, Climb and Swim all suck, and are made completely useless once flight enters the picture. Assuming an Int-dumping, Cha-dumping fighter, what skills do you see as being more useful? Handle Animal? Craft?

Barbarians have a couple of skills worth mention; Listen is good, and Survival has its uses. But then, Barbarians have a base of 4 skill points. If your sample character is limited to 6 Int and 6 Cha, ask yourself how many professional interrogators have moderate to severe mental retardation.

I will grant that there's something silly about the size based bonus to Intimidate, but it goes both ways. On the one hand, it's silly that someone who towers over the average person at 7'11" has only ranks and Cha modifier to work with, while someone who hits 8' exact has +4 on top of that. On the other hand, the halfling calmly mentioning how unfortunate it would be if you had an accident can also be quite chilling. And effective.

Ravens_cry
2010-06-25, 01:09 AM
I am not sure if this feat exists, or one like it, in 3.5, but Pathfinder has a feat called Intimidating Prowess (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/feats/intimidating-prowess-combat---final)that allows you to add your strength modifer in addition to your charisma intimidate checks. A Pathfinder Half Orc Paladin with the Bully trait (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/traits/social-traits-1/bully) and that feat becomes, very, very, scary.

Doc Roc
2010-06-25, 01:09 AM
I will grant that there's something silly about the size based bonus to Intimidate, but it goes both ways. On the one hand, it's silly that someone who towers over the average person at 7'11" has only ranks and Cha modifier to work with, while someone who hits 8' exact has +4 on top of that. On the other hand, the halfling calmly mentioning how unfortunate it would be if you had an accident can also be quite chilling. And effective.

Gnomes are scary! Also, Saph's point regarding the fact that it's not a class skill for sorcerers is useful, as well as the note that you know what?

Casters are bloody terrifying in D&D. Gnome casters? Practically walking nightmares.

Touchy
2010-06-25, 01:16 AM
I am not sure if this feat exists, or one like it, in 3.5, but Pathfinder has a feat called Intimidating Prowess (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/feats/intimidating-prowess-combat---final)that allows you to add your strength modifer in addition to your charisma intimidate checks. A Pathfinder Half Orc Paladin with the Bully trait (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/traits/social-traits-1/bully) and that feat becomes, very, very, scary.

The bully trait is fan content, there is even a picture to point this out.

Ravens_cry
2010-06-25, 01:18 AM
The bully trait is fan content, there is even a picture to point this out.
It still in the PF-SRD, talk to your DM to find out if the Bully trait is right for you.
Warning: May cause, drowsiness, nausea, and uncontrollable fits of homicidal rage.

Ranos
2010-06-25, 01:51 AM
Yeah, as said earlier, that half-orc is as scary as a common bully. That gnome is a ****ing psycho. He's Jack ****ing Bauer.

There's a saying in interrogation: "violence perceived is violence achieved." You don't want someone screaming. You want him asking questions, asking. "what is he doing with that knife?".

-Now, why would you disappoint me like this ? That hurts me. That hurts me LIKE THIS ! (Cuts deeply into his own finger with a demented smile on his lips)

Asking, "if he'll do that to himself, what will he do to me?"

-That is a sharp knife. (sprays blood all over the target's face, who's too bat**** scared to move at this point)

Mostly you want him asking, "how do I make this stop?"

CubeB
2010-06-25, 01:56 AM
It's true. Charisma is based on force of personality.

Characters with low Charisma simply don't have the force of personality to excel on intimidate checks, while characters with high charisma know exactly what buttons to push.

In the example you gave earlier, a better and more realistic use of the intimidate check would be the following.


SCENE: The storage room of the local tavern, late evening.
THE PLAYERS
Gork: The Fearsome Half-Orc Barbarian.
Bella: The sly but beautiful gnomish sorceress.
Dathian: The weaselly half-elf rogue.

Prior to this scene, a group of bandits led by Dathian attacked the inn the party was resting at. Bella managed to subdue most of them with a sleep spell, while the others surrendered or were knocked out with subdual damage. Through interrogating the rest of the party, they've found out that Dathian is the leader. Bella and Gork adopt a good cop bad cop routine to convince Dathian to spell the beans.

ACTION!

Dathian sits slumped over in a chair, as the spell binding him in unconsciousness wears off.
Dathian: Ugh... Damn Wizards.
Bella:Sorceress, actually.

Dathian looks up to see Bella, sitting casually at a nearby table. Behind her stands Gork, standing stoically with a massive club in his hand, never taking his eyes of the prisoner. Gork and his Club has been prestidigitated to appear to have been recently stained with blood.
Bella:I'm so glad you've finally come to. I do hope my spell didn't spoil your evening too much.
Gork:Mistress Bella; When do I get the chance to smash this puny assassin's head in?
Bella pats the half-ork's knee.
Bella: Now now... curb your rage for the moment, Gork. I know you're upset about being ambushed, but that's no excuse for you to kill all of them...
Dathian: A-all of them?!
Bella: Yes. Gork here flew into one of his barbarian rages. We tried to stop him...
Gork: (Malicious Grin) It was worth it to see the look on their faces as they fell...
Bella: Gork! Behave yourself!
Gork: (Still grinning at Dathian) I apologize, Mistress Bella...
Dathian: D-dead... they're all dead...
Bella: Don't cry. It'll be okay. I promise that we won't hurt you.
Dathian: R-really?
Bella: Of course! All you have to do is tell us who sent you.
Dathian:: (Hesitating) And... if I don't tell you...?
Gork: (Grinning) Then she leaves you with me.
Dathian: Okay! Okay! I'll talk!
Bella: I knew you'd see it our way.


In the above situation, Bella and Gork Cooperated to wear down Dathian's defenses.

In this instance, it doesn't really matter if it's Bella or Gork making the final check. Their actions and roleplaying are what make this work.

First, let's look at the circumstance bonuses:

Dathian is Helpless: Dathian has no means of defense. This automatically reduces his chance of resisting by a significant amount.

Intimidating Appearance: Bella, despite having a high charisma, is not that intimidating on her own. However, Gork (Who in addition to being taller and visibly stronger than Dathian, also appears to be soaked in blood) is terrifying. He gets a bonus on his intimidate check simply for his currently blood soaked appearance and his behavior. The fact that Bella seems to be the only thing holding him back also stacks the odds in their favor.

Bella made a successful Bluff check: This really helps if you assume that Gork is the one making the Intimidate check, and Bella is the one making the Bluff check. Dathian believes that Gork brutally murdered his comrades, and the Prestidigitated blood adds to the story's credibility. This makes Gork all the more fearsome in Dathian's eyes.

The scenario works both ways. If you assume that Bella makes both checks, then Gork's presence provides a circumstance bonus.

If you assume Gork took ranks in Intimidate, then you assume that he has practiced the steely eyed stare and the "I'm gonna kill you" tone of voice, and that it was Bella who provided the circumstance bonus.

Either way, the major component of either check is the circumstances in which they occurred. It's much more realistic than the OP, anyway.

Ravens_cry
2010-06-25, 01:56 AM
Yeah, as said earlier, that half-orc is as scary as a common bully. That gnome is a ****ing psycho. He's Jack ****ing Bauer.
She doesn't scare NPC, but my gnome witch scares the party.

Dracons
2010-06-25, 02:00 AM
Oh yeah. Size.

In that case, that gnome sorcer final check would be 3 against most creatures since most are medium are larger. My bad.

Lycanthromancer
2010-06-25, 02:04 AM
homicidal rage.At first I thought that said hemorrhoidal rage.

I'd be pretty ticked off, too.

John Campbell
2010-06-25, 02:21 AM
Personally, my favorite ever Intimidate was with a rogue who was physically unprepossessing. He had a decent Str, but it didn't show much... he was one of those wiry guys who's all flat fast-twitch muscle, and was a fair bit stronger than he looked. His Cha was a bit higher than his Str, and he'd maxed Intimidate. It went kind of like this:

I closed the door behind the paladin and knight as they left, and turned back to face our prisoner. "So, now that those idiots aren't protecting you anymore, we can really get down to business. You have a choice here." I drew an ordinary steel dagger. "You can tell me everything that you think I might possibly want to know, fully and honestly, and when I'm done with you, I'll cut your throat with this dagger. You'll die, and maybe someone cares enough to get you raised or something. If not, you'll proceed on to whatever afterlife you've earned and spend eternity there. Or," and at this point, I drew another dagger with my other hand, one like a shard of inky black stone that reflected no light, "you can keep your mouth shut, or lie to me, and when I find out - and I will find out - I'll kill you with this dagger, and devour your soul like I did your friend's, and you'll be utterly annihilated, beyond the ability of even the gods to recover. It's up to you."

Intimidation's more than just grunting and flexing. (And there was, incidentally, no Bluff check involved in that.)

On the flip side, I'm currently playing a half-orc ranger/barbarian with a 20 Str before rage, and an 8 Cha. I put points into Intimidate, but I pretty much never roll checks. If some short-tooth doesn't do what I tell him to, I don't waste time trying to browbeat him into submission. I just kill him and tell the next one to do what I want. You don't have to pile the corpses very deep before they're scrambling all over themselves to cooperate.

Either that or you get a big fight. It's a win-win situation.

Amphetryon
2010-06-25, 04:59 AM
The Feat, for the curious, is Might Makes Right. There is also the Menacing Brute Prestige Class in Races of Destiny, which can allow the big lug to intimidate folks in the way the OP described.

Yuki Akuma
2010-06-25, 05:12 AM
Someone with low Charisma and high Strength might be imposing, but he's not very good at expressing himself. So he might scare someone, but he's not going to get much out of it.

Unless he studies intimidation explicitly, by spending skill points on it. Guess what Charisma-based skill Barbarians have as a class skill?

Roderick_BR
2010-06-25, 05:51 AM
If the half ord doesn't have enough char and intimidation, he doesn't speak like that. He just mumbles and roars while the guy hopes the uninteligible beast gets tired of slamming him around until he dies.

The gnome, on the other hand, knows exactly how to apply psychologic pressure ("I can't hold him for much longer, you better talk now!"), and not talk as if he were in a tea party (unless he's the soft talker type).

So, yeah, that first example is wrong.

Sliver
2010-06-25, 07:47 AM
Pretty much what posted above. If the barbarian's player says that, he is using out of game, non-character skills to try and benefit from them in game, which is pretty much like metagaming, even if not exactly so.

A player who has a character that knows how to intimidate while he himself does not, should not be punished in game for his lack of ranks in intimidate, but be able to describe the general feel of what his character does. If the player tells you his character frowns at the captive and rolls for intimidate, that's just bad. Unless he has some magic enhanced frown.

SuperPanda
2010-06-25, 07:52 AM
A lot of people have already made some very good points on this thread about how intimidate works.

I'll start by saying that it used to bug me too, the same way as the OP, especially when playing fighter classes. It felt odd for a Fighter to Intimidate in a savy way, a way which would require CHA... to put it bluntly, the smart way. Now that was a major failing on my part and its also because I was looking at the skill system through immature eyes biased with action movies.

In anything like a real world parallel anyone with any training in the mater (the people who would have the information you want) a threat of violence (strength based Intimidate) simply won't work. More likely than not they are either too loyal or know that the bad guy they work for is capable of much worse.

Mind game intimidation (See the 9th doctor and the Burn Notice quotes from before) however work very differently.

It works the same way a horror film does, the monster is always scarier before you see it.

In the OP's example, the guard knows exactly what the score is, the raging giant in front of him is going to try to hurt him and may just succeed. This is what he signed on for, this is what he is paid for, and if he hasn't tried to surrender this is what he's already prepared to die for. The raging barbarian slamming him into a wall and threatening him with pain isn't introducing anything new to the situation.

He is still going to die, he is still going to get hurt, he probably has a standing resurrection deal or really good care package for his family if he keeps his lips shut, some reason why he hasn't talked yet (apart from wanting to spite the big jerk throwing him into a wall).

Then the gnome comes up, a cute looking child-person who can control the wall-o-muscle. That alone just made her pretty scary, she obviously has the respect of the Barbarian and that means this cute, unassuming thing, can bring the hurt when she needs to... but there is no visible way for her to do that. The she says that her patients is wearing out and she doesn't want things to get unpleasant.

She has now established that suggesting violence on the level the Barbarian has been is not yet unpleasant, actually doing it likely will be but the guard would be dead before the Barbarian was finished following through with his threat. So the guard is sitting there with no idea of what is coming and staring down at someone who treats a discussion of tearing a person's leg off as trivial.


Yeah, sorry... the gnome is a lot scarier to someone given time to think about it.

Threatening to tear someone's leg off and shove it up their backside should be a bluff anyways, you are trying to make the believe that you are going to do it. If that was your intimidation check the Barbarian shouldn't have him against the wall but rather on the ground, leg in hand and twisted as far as it would go. Also, there should be someone or something on hand to do some healing so that the victim can expect to live through the process. That I would count as a strength based Intimidation... though really its more torture which I try not to encourage my players towards since torture is pretty well established to be a very inefficient interrogation method.

in virtually all cases I have heard of (hypothetical and real) torture doesn't work unless there is another source of information to check it against (at which point it is unnecessary).

Gnaeus
2010-06-25, 08:22 AM
in virtually all cases I have heard of (hypothetical and real) torture doesn't work unless there is another source of information to check it against (at which point it is unnecessary).

It works fine if you have a magical method of detecting lies. Or if you can credibly make the target think that you have a magical method of detecting lies.

deuxhero
2010-06-25, 08:24 AM
Gnomes are scary! Also, Saph's point regarding the fact that it's not a class skill for sorcerers is useful, as well as the note that you know what?

Casters are bloody terrifying in D&D. Gnome casters? Practically walking nightmares.

"Practically"? There are gnome casters that don't take that PRC?

Ormagoden
2010-06-25, 08:41 AM
Just house rule it
We alternate intimidate's key ability in my games.
If you are physically intimidating someone its key is str.
If you are mentally intimidating someone it's cha.

Morph Bark
2010-06-25, 09:19 AM
And this is why in my campaigns I allow Intimidate to be based of Strength.

And Powerful Build gets you a +2 bonus, since size category features in and Powerful Build is basically half a size category.

Evil the Cat
2010-06-25, 10:01 AM
I've always just figured that scary and intimidating are two entirely different things. An angry kodiak bear roaring at you is incredibly scary, but it isn't using intimidate skill. Wheras, the mafia guy politely telling you that you're going to tell him what he needs to know is intimidating.

Yuki Akuma
2010-06-25, 10:02 AM
And this is why in my campaigns I allow Intimidate to be based of Strength.

And Powerful Build gets you a +2 bonus, since size category features in and Powerful Build is basically half a size category.

Powerful Build should give the full bonus for being a size larger. The ability allows you to treat yourself as one size larger whenever it would be a benefit to you.

Morph Bark
2010-06-25, 10:15 AM
Powerful Build should give the full bonus for being a size larger. The ability allows you to treat yourself as one size larger whenever it would be a benefit to you.

Hm, true. Even by RAW that would be so, I guess. It hasn't really come up yet due to the absence of Powerful Build races so far in our campaigns.

Telonius
2010-06-25, 10:24 AM
Here's my process as DM.

Player: I try to intimidate the merchant.
Me: Okay, what do you say?
Player: (plays it out, rolls).
Me: (Assigns circumstance bonus/penalty based on what was said and how believable it is).

If a Str6 elf threatens to tear the merchant limb from limb, that's going to be a penalty. If the Str20 half-orc does the same, it's going to be a bonus. Extremely good roleplaying in either case would get a bonus; extremely poor would get a penalty.

Dracons
2010-06-25, 10:42 AM
(Assigns circumstance bonus/penalty based on what was said and how believable it is).

If a Str6 elf threatens to tear the merchant limb from limb, that's going to be a penalty. If the Str20 half-orc does the same, it's going to be a bonus. Extremely good roleplaying in either case would get a bonus; extremely poor would get a penalty.

I really hate it when people do that. It can punish people who cannot for the life of them detail something. If they have the skill points put in it, and roll good, let them have it. Don't punish them just because they cannot describe how very good, ether because they stammer or in my case, I experenced a player that was mute. We still shared a ****ty DM that did the same rule even for him. The mute player wanted to write it down, but the DM says that takes too long and he wasn't going to change his house rules just because another person is mute. It can also unfairly give a major advantage to those that can paint a scene however so, even if they only have 0 ranks and a negative mod to charisma, they still magically scare the guy that a 15 rank imitdate couldn't do, just because he couldn't describe it.

As for the Str 6 Sun elf, if he has the ranks, he may just be able to intimadate. Don't try to put real world physics in fantasy world. He may look like a weakling, but looks can be deciving, as people do it quite a bit. Shape shiping, illusions, etc. Besides, he doesn't have to do that by hand. Just use magic.

Ranos
2010-06-25, 10:48 AM
I experenced a player that was mute.
Not to derail the thread but...How the hell did he play ? Lots of notes ?

Dracons
2010-06-25, 10:51 AM
Not to derail the thread but...How the hell did he play ? Lots of notes ?

For the most part, yes.

He had a few flash cards with basic commands, such as FULL Attack, Attack, Defense, he use that and point to fig. His characters were all mute too, and typically thieves. If he had questions, he could write pretty fast and decent in time to ask. The DM just didn't like him for some reason, and he eventally moved anyway. I liked him. He was quirky.

Lycanthromancer
2010-06-25, 11:00 AM
The DM just didn't like him for some reasonUnless there were some personal issues between them, the DM was, not to put too fine a point on it, a real jerk. Penalizing players for physical disabilities is just being an ass.

alchemyprime
2010-06-25, 11:17 AM
I always had two rules:

1. Add a second stat depending on how you're intimidating. If I rip a phonebook in half, I can add Cha + Str. If I am doing the cool Inigo Montoya sword stuff, add Dex. Etc, etc, etc.

2. Characters with at least 5 ranks in Intimidate (or, as my system has it, Trained as a class skill starting at 2nd level or as a cross class skill at 5th) can replace Charisma with the better of Strength or Intelligence. So a barbarian with a 6 Charisma and a 20 Strength can jump from a +3 total to Intimidate to a +10. Then on top of that, add his second stat.

Yeah, that's kind of a fun way to do it.

Kaiyanwang
2010-06-25, 11:36 AM
Originally posted by Masters of the Wild

Intimidation through Strength:

Sometimes itís appropriate to change the key ability score of a particular skill. While Intimidation is usually a function of Charisma, this rule allows the barbarian to apply his Strength modifier rather than his Charisma modifier to Intimidate checks. This assumes, of course, that he accompanies such attempts with appropriate displays of might, such as breaking objects or showing off impressive muscles.

Eckelberry, D.; Selinker, M.; Nature's Lore in: Masters of the wild, 18. Wizards of the Coast, 2002.



There is a rule just above for bonuses while raging. Expand this suggestion improved a lot my games.

Telonius
2010-06-25, 11:45 AM
For the most part, yes.

He had a few flash cards with basic commands, such as FULL Attack, Attack, Defense, he use that and point to fig. His characters were all mute too, and typically thieves. If he had questions, he could write pretty fast and decent in time to ask. The DM just didn't like him for some reason, and he eventally moved anyway. I liked him. He was quirky.

As someone who has a hearing loss (only recently got my hearing aids): that DM was being a total jerk.

I'd still enforce the penalty for the Str6 guy. If he threatened to use magic? Something like, "I see that you underestimate my strength. Rest assured, others have made that mistake and a few of them lived to regret it. Physical force is not the only way to power. Care to try me?" Then yeah, absolutely, that would be a bonus. Depending on the character, it's great roleplay, and is definitely believable within the game world. But nobody's intimidated when Scrappy threatens to splat the bad guy.

If someone really, genuinely can't describe anything if their life depended on it, I do make allowances. But my campaigns are more geared to role-play than the average, and I make that clear at the outset.

ondonaflash
2010-06-25, 11:46 AM
I'd just like to add the point that Wesley from Princess Bride (Movie and Novel) does not actually look physically intimidating. In fact, by all accounts he is as pretty as a man can possibly be, but he manages to back down Humperdink by being much, much scarier.

That right there is a natch 20 intimidate roll.:smallbiggrin:

oxybe
2010-06-25, 12:14 PM
high str, low cha means you're a posturing frat boy. scary, but only among your peers who don't know any better.

your idea of "intimidation" is tilting a gun (or crossbow in D&D terms) on it's side and yelling "tell us what we want to know or we'll cap/bolt your ass!".

and the captured guy tells you not what you want to know, but what you want to hear. yes you're scary, but not intimidating.

the high cha, low str guy is an actual mobster. looks like nice guy, but this guy can be one scary mother-hubbard when he feels like it.

he pushes aside the frat boy and calmly explains:

"you will tell us. it's in your best interest. it's also in your wife's best interest. and your kids', your dad's, your mother's, your aunts', your uncles' and everyone else you ever cared about's best interest.

so please. tell us what we want to know, not what we want to hear, and you may come out of this alive."

Faleldir
2010-06-25, 01:03 PM
And of course, the most intimidating line of all is "I prepared Speak With Dead this morning."

Prodan
2010-06-25, 02:15 PM
In Masters of the Wild, it's suggested that Barbarians get a +4 to intimidate when raging and use their Strength modifier for intimidate if they use a display of might, iirc.

Zeful
2010-06-25, 03:02 PM
It's has Always bugged the crap out of me that Intimidate is based on Charisma.

I understand that Charisma represents "Force of Personality" more than looks, but first of all, that's rarely how it's played. And Secondly and more importantly, there damn well should be some sort of Feat or something that lets a melee character base his Intimidation on Str instead of Chr.

Or even a wizard for that matter, surely someone clever enough should still be able to find a way to intimidate someone, no?

So what you all think?

Why would Intimidate (a skill about generating compliance through fear) not use the same key skill as Diplomancy (a skill about generating compliance through charm) or Bluff (a skill about generating compliance with lies)?

Seriously I've seen a lot of these arguments and have yet to see a good reason to move intimidate from Cha to Strength.

As for you Wizard remark: That's what ranks in the skill represent.

Ravens_cry
2010-06-25, 03:29 PM
Why would Intimidate (a skill about generating compliance through fear) not use the same key skill as Diplomancy (a skill about generating compliance through charm) or Bluff (a skill about generating compliance with lies)?

Seriously I've seen a lot of these arguments and have yet to see a good reason to move intimidate from Cha to Strength.

As for you Wizard remark: That's what ranks in the skill represent.
I don't think it should be exclusive, but adding it as a feat makes sense IMHO, because someone with force of will AND the ability to rip you from limb is pretty darn scary.

Tavar
2010-06-25, 03:33 PM
It's not a feat to do that. That's a circumstance bonus. Depending on how your character is going about intimidation, maybe it works, maybe it doesn't.

Doodleface
2010-06-25, 03:35 PM
I believe if your characters strength is higher than his/her charisma. You should use strength, as long as your threats are physical.

Some of the most intimidating characters I can think of aren't very physically strong. If Hannibal Lector told you to do something and his creepy, screwed up way of talking wouldn't you be inclined to do it?

Zeful
2010-06-25, 04:05 PM
I don't think it should be exclusive, but adding it as a feat makes sense IMHO, because someone with force of will AND the ability to rip you from limb is pretty darn scary.

Which would be a circumstance bonus, not changing the Key ability of the skill


I believe if your characters strength is higher than his/her charisma. You should use strength, as long as your threats are physical. Except being strong without having the personality to back it up or the skill to use it effectively, will fail to intimidate most people.

I might give someone a bonus to intmidate equal to their strength if their threats are physical and they meet some other conditions, but letting Intimidate run off Strength doesn't make sense.

Yuki Akuma
2010-06-25, 04:28 PM
Consider: Lennie from Of Mice And Men. Strong enough to break a woman's neck by petting her hair. And yet his personality makes him totally nonthreatening. Should he have a high bonus to Intimidate?

Mnemnosyne
2010-06-25, 04:53 PM
It works fine if you have a magical method of detecting lies. Or if you can credibly make the target think that you have a magical method of detecting lies.
Yeah, this. Torture is only ineffective if you can't ascertain the truth with certainty. In a setting where magical means to absolutely verify whether someone is telling the truth or not are available, torture is probably the most efficient means of obtaining useful and accurate information without going into higher level mind-reading or compulsion magic.

As far as intimidation goes though, I used to agree that the strength and such made for good intimidation, but I've come around to the other viewpoint that it doesn't seem all that scary. Or rather, it seems scary, but not in the way that would make the target actually cooperate, and thus would be less helpful than otherwise. So lately when I come along with such a situation, although there might be circumstance bonuses for various threatening displays, whether of strength or raw magical power, these are probably counterbalanced by the character not really knowing how far to push.

Of course, if a character can roleplay it well enough, they'll still get a huge bonus.

Lord Loss
2010-06-25, 04:57 PM
Personally? I give characters the choice (made at level 1) to use STR for Intimidate checks. Weapons also add a bonus. Someone with a machine gun is scarier than his twin without one.

Doug Lampert
2010-06-25, 05:17 PM
in virtually all cases I have heard of (hypothetical and real) torture doesn't work unless there is another source of information to check it against (at which point it is unnecessary).

Eh? I ask you 20 questions, of which I already either already know or can easily check the answers to about half of them. I start with one where I know you know I know, after that they're more or less randomly ordered.

Which ones do you lie to to stop the torture? How many are you willing to risk lies with given that ANY lie on something we know or can easily check will result in the session ending with me saying. "That's nice, but you're lieing, so I'll try asking again in 6 hours or so. Meanwhile at least the sadist over there will be enjoying himself, unlike you."

It gets even better if you've got three people, work them over separately, and tell them ALL that it only ends when they all agree on everything important.

That people sometimes lie to torturers doesn't make it useless. Nor does the fact that I need to know the answer to AT LEAST ONE to tell if you're lying make it unneccessary. I don't need to know everything, just a few things. Torture is always immoral, but don't confuse Evil with Ineffective. Those are two separate problems.

ThunderCat
2010-06-25, 05:36 PM
Personally? I give characters the choice (made at level 1) to use STR for Intimidate checks. Weapons also add a bonus. Someone with a machine gun is scarier than his twin without one.But that's just the perception of danger, not the strength itself. There seems to be a misunderstanding going around that strength is a special ability. It really isn't.

Someone who can have a blade pointed at your throat so fast that you didn't see the movement is scary. Someone who can walk through a blade barrier and survive is scary. Someone who knows more about you than they should is scary. Someone who has the social power to turn everyone against you is scary. Someone who knows what you're thinking is scary. Someone who has you bound and helpless is scary. Someone who can burn you alive with their mind is scary.

And on the other hand, someone who seems chubby and harmless, or lean and wiry, might posses great physical strength in reality, but you'd never know just by looking at them. Or someone could use a disguise spell to make themselves look like Hercules while really being a wimp. Or they could posses the magical power to disintegrate you, but not look like it. Or they could loudly exclaim that they knew the king, and have no way of proving it.

Some things can make it easier convincing your target that you are a credible danger, but often, the actual convincing is more a matter of presentation (hence why ranks in bluff provide a synergy bonus). And more importantly, getting your target to react to their fear in the manner most beneficial to you depends on your confidence and social skills. People might panic, or decide that you'll probably kill them anyway, or figure they have a shot at lying to you.

There's nothing wrong with giving circumstance bonuses when the characters demonstrate an ability to harm the target (be it strength, quickness, knowledge, magic, etc.), but that is not exclusive to strength, and doesn't justify using strength alone to intimidate.

On the other hand, there is no reason to make NPCs act stupid/against their own best interest just because someone isn't good at intimidation. Barring extreme circumstances, commoners will run from an approaching army, and give up their money to highwaymen who have them clearly outnumbered, but that is no indication that anyone succeeded an intimidate roll.

DracoDei
2010-06-25, 07:05 PM
I really hate it when people do that. It can punish people who cannot for the life of them detail something.
By that logic, roleplay XP awards should be eliminated...

Yuki Akuma
2010-06-25, 07:07 PM
By that logic, roleplay XP awards should be eliminated...

They should.

Thajocoth
2010-06-25, 07:20 PM
In 4e, there's a belt that lets you use Str instead of Cha for Intimidate.

Also, you can houserule it in your games.

DracoDei
2010-06-25, 07:44 PM
They should.

We obviously have a MAJOR difference of gaming philosophy.

2xMachina
2010-06-26, 01:50 AM
Yeah, this. Torture is only ineffective if you can't ascertain the truth with certainty. In a setting where magical means to absolutely verify whether someone is telling the truth or not are available, torture is probably the most efficient means of obtaining useful and accurate information without going into higher level mind-reading or compulsion magic.

As far as intimidation goes though, I used to agree that the strength and such made for good intimidation, but I've come around to the other viewpoint that it doesn't seem all that scary. Or rather, it seems scary, but not in the way that would make the target actually cooperate, and thus would be less helpful than otherwise. So lately when I come along with such a situation, although there might be circumstance bonuses for various threatening displays, whether of strength or raw magical power, these are probably counterbalanced by the character not really knowing how far to push.

Of course, if a character can roleplay it well enough, they'll still get a huge bonus.

In Riftwar... (and D&D with Detect Thoughts).

"Think about what I want to know. I can read your thoughts. No? Well, lets see if you've the mental discipline not to think it when I beat you half to death." When he's KO'ed, revive him, and ask the question while he's still groggy.

Ravens_cry
2010-06-26, 01:58 AM
Which would be a circumstance bonus, not changing the Key ability of the skill

A lot of players would like something more certain then that, hence the feat.



I might give someone a bonus to intmidate equal to their strength if their threats are physical and they meet some other conditions, but letting Intimidate run off Strength doesn't make sense.
I am not saying it runs off, it works in addition, if you choose to customize your character that way by taking the feat.

Tinydwarfman
2010-06-26, 10:51 AM
The main problem with what most people are demonstrating as "good intimidates" is that they wouldn't actually work if you didn't already know the people beforehand. Hannibal Lector would just seem like a really weird and creepy guy until you saw him or heard about his killings. The mobster wouldn't be taken seriously unless you knew he was a mobster, and could follow up on the things he was threatening to do. How is this any different from the barbarian who you just saw rip your companions to shreds? It's your ability to follow up on the things you threaten to do that makes you intimidating.

Some posters have also posted the mind game like methods, which are in fact more useful in real life, and the kind of things that high skill intimidators would do, but it doesn't change the fact that for most puposes, an 8 cha 20 str barbarian is still going to be really scary, without any ranks in intimidate.

Tengu_temp
2010-06-26, 11:32 AM
This is why Intimidate bases on Charisma and not Strength. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTUNaCT5R6I)

Zeful
2010-06-26, 11:50 AM
Some posters have also posted the mind game like methods, which are in fact more useful in real life, and the kind of things that high skill intimidators would do, but it doesn't change the fact that for most puposes, an 8 cha 20 str barbarian is still going to be really scary, without any ranks in intimidate.

No he's not. He might be able to scare some people (characters with low Wisdom and no ranks in Sense Motive), and even manage to be genuinely scary (Natural 20) but for the most part he'll be failing at presenting himself as a credible threat. He'll fail to make eye contact at crucial points, the confidence in his voice will waver, and the dozen little things that make yourself seem dangerous to another person because he doesn't know how to make himself seem threatening (no ranks in Intimidate) and his natural presence is forgettable and unassuming (negative Charisma modifier).


A lot of players would like something more certain then that, hence the feat.Players want a lot of things, I see no good reason to capitulate over this when all it does is show that you will be bent to another's will.


I am not saying it runs off, it works in addition, if you choose to customize your character that way by taking the feat.I see no reason why the feat should exist. Strength without a will to use it is no more frightening than a gun on a table.

Ravens_cry
2010-06-26, 12:06 PM
The main problem with what most people are demonstrating as "good intimidates" is that they wouldn't actually work if you didn't already know the people beforehand. Hannibal Lector would just seem like a really weird and creepy guy until you saw him or heard about his killings. The mobster wouldn't be taken seriously unless you knew he was a mobster, and could follow up on the things he was threatening to do. How is this any different from the barbarian who you just saw rip your companions to shreds? It's your ability to follow up on the things you threaten to do that makes you intimidating.

Some posters have also posted the mind game like methods, which are in fact more useful in real life, and the kind of things that high skill intimidators would do, but it doesn't change the fact that for most puposes, an 8 cha 20 str barbarian is still going to be really scary, without any ranks in intimidate.
If they want their character to not reflect mechanically the innocent out of the wild, noble savage, archetype, they should probably put ranks in Intimidate and see if their DM will allow this feat. (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/feats/intimidating-prowess-combat---final)


Players want a lot of things, I see no good reason to capitulate over this when all it does is show that you will be bent to another's will.
I see no reason why the feat should exist. Strength without a will to use it is no more frightening than a gun on a table.
But strength with will, what the feat reflects (lower charisma penalizes the bonus from strength), is really scary. You already agreed higher strength would be worth a circumstance bonus, so why not make it "official"?

dspeyer
2010-06-26, 12:19 PM
A lot of players would like something more certain then that, hence the feat.

What about a list of standard circumstance bonuses:

{table]Is dangling target upside down|+4
... By one hand|+2
... Over a cliff, fire, pirahna tank...|+2
reputation as badass|+2
reputation as sociopath|+4
appears to have recently killed target's comrades|+1 per comrade, max +10
knowledge of what target most cares about|+6
convincing ability to extend suffering beyond death|+4[/table]

These all stack, and act for the whole party. Other techniques could be used by analogy to this table. Anyone who is intimidated by a margin of 20 or more faints. 40 or more dies of a heart attack.

Khaladon
2010-06-26, 12:39 PM
No he's not. He might be able to scare some people (characters with low Wisdom and no ranks in Sense Motive), and even manage to be genuinely scary (Natural 20) but for the most part he'll be failing at presenting himself as a credible threat. He'll fail to make eye contact at crucial points, the confidence in his voice will waver, and the dozen little things that make yourself seem dangerous to another person because he doesn't know how to make himself seem threatening (no ranks in Intimidate) and his natural presence is forgettable and unassuming (negative Charisma modifier).

Players want a lot of things, I see no good reason to capitulate over this when all it does is show that you will be bent to another's will.

I see no reason why the feat should exist. Strength without a will to use it is no more frightening than a gun on a table.

TINYDWARFMAN makes an excellent point in my opinion, at least certainly in a real-world setting.

Your counter-point though Zeful is also a valid one, or at least it would be, if Chr was actually used the way it was Designed to be and according to RAW, which, let's be honest, it almost Never is. (This could easily have been my #3 Peeve 'Players who misuse/fail to use their Chr stats properly'. )

I am glad you brought this matter up through because it is corollary to my original point. Charisma should Never be a dump-stat. NO stat should be ideally. Of course PC's should have areas they are stronger and weaker in, but generally, and realistically, a well-rounded PC is going to survive much better in the world than a PC with massive scores in their prime stats and abysmal scores in their 'non-essential' ones.

So, if Chr is used as it is supposed to be used Zeful, then yes, the Chr 6 Str 20 Barbarian would very likely behave as you describe. However IMHO a Barbarian stated like that, being shy, nervous, unable to make eye contact etc., would not be a very successful warrior and would likely not last very long in the savage world he likely lives in (or even just the D&D world for that matter).

But I have to disagree that even stated as you say, a PC with no ranks in intimidate would fail to be intimidating at all. Take Michael Clarke Duncan's character John Coffey (http://www.imdb.com/media/rm392599808/ch0002947) in The Green Mile (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120689/). Now here is a man that, quite literally, wouldn't and couldn't hurt a mouse and for sure would have NO ranks in Intimidate; and arguably not a very strong force of personality either. Yet merely because of his incredible size and strength, everyone is terrified of him. Except, eventually, the one man who gets to know him.

This is why TINYDWARFMAN's argument was such a good one. Yes, all these great and very well argued points and opinions on various other, more cerebral methods of intimidation might be effective, possibly even more effective than brute strength or fear, but as TDM's so validly points out, they would generally only be effective if the one they were attempting to intimidate knew who they were or what potential harm they might actually represent. However anyone with eyes can see a huge guy and know what kind of harm he could inflict on you.

Oh, and by the way, there are plenty folk out there who would find a gun just lying on a table terrifying. For just it's potential of harm if nothing else.

To close, I just want to reiterate again how much I appreciate the intelligence of the GiPG forum readers. This has been a most excellent debate. Please keep it up! :smallwink:

PS Thanks to all who've provided all the great Feat suggestions.
And that's a fantastic circumstance bonus list dspeyer lol

Zeful
2010-06-26, 12:42 PM
But strength with will, what the feat reflects (lower charisma penalizes the bonus from strength), is really scary. You already agreed higher strength would be worth a circumstance bonus, so why not make it "official"?
Because it is not universal. The kind of threat, the location, the condition of the victim all contribute to it's effectiveness. That lack of consistency is not worth a feat.

Also, I don't like the idea.

Ravens_cry
2010-06-26, 12:51 PM
Because it is not universal. The kind of threat, the location, the condition of the victim all contribute to it's effectiveness. That lack of consistency is not worth a feat.

Also, I don't like the idea.
OK, fair enough, you don't like the idea. I do, so I think we can consider this discussion over as it is obvious neither of us are going to change our minds.
Cheers.:smallsmile:

Khaladon
2010-06-26, 01:12 PM
Oh ya, in regards to Raven's last Feat suggestion I meant to add as well that in general I am very happy with Pathfinder's '3.75' edition. I think overall they've done a very respectable job of fixing all the little kinks and errors that the 3.5 we all love (and love to hate sometimes) had/has.

Yuki Akuma
2010-06-26, 01:17 PM
Oh ya, in regards to Raven's last Feat suggestion I meant to add as well that in general I am very happy with Pathfinder's '3.75' edition. I think overall they've done a very respectable job of fixing all the little kinks and errors that the 3.5 we all love (and love to hate sometimes) had/has.

While leaving all the real reasons 3.5 is an unbalanced mess alone, of course.

Ravens_cry
2010-06-26, 01:25 PM
While leaving all the real reasons 3.5 is an unbalanced mess alone, of course.
In my opinion, if you want more balance, play something more gamist. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNS_Theory)

dgnslyr
2010-06-26, 01:36 PM
What about a list of standard circumstance bonuses:

{table]Is dangling target upside down|+4
... By one hand|+2
... Over a cliff, fire, pirahna tank...|+2
reputation as badass|+2
reputation as sociopath|+4
appears to have recently killed target's comrades|+1 per comrade, max +10
knowledge of what target most cares about|+6
convincing ability to extend suffering beyond death|+4[/table]

These all stack, and act for the whole party. Other techniques could be used by analogy to this table. Anyone who is intimidated by a margin of 20 or more faints. 40 or more dies of a heart attack.

This is pretty cool. I think Intimidate is fine as a charisma based skill, because intimidating people generally requires the right word choice, the right gestures. Being a giant, green man with tusks and a bloody meat tenderizer is a plus, in the form of circumstance bonus. I can see how being small is a penalty, but presented the right way, and with said giant green man at your back, such a penalty can be overcome. I think the DM should make some decisions about how these circumstance bonus play out, but a table of common intimidation methods, like this, would be nice.

Bonus points: Threaten to let a big, angry party member eat said target: +6

MarvisSahad
2010-06-26, 02:18 PM
Barbarians are far from weak with Intimidate.

However, I see Intimidate as being very incomplete as a skill. Firstly, its primarily used as a tool for PCs against NPCs outside of combat (NPCs can demoralize the party in battle) since PCs are the ultimate judges to whether they as characters agree to something or not. Secondly, under the core rules Intimidate does not protect the Intimidator from being Intimidated himself. In other words, just as how Diplomacy is its own counter, Intimidator isn't. In fact, there is no skill to counter Intimidate. Instead, You have to have high levels and/or high wisdom (which many intimidators lack to begin with).

So imagine two barbarians trying to intimidate each other before combat. It would essentially be a ridiculous game of "Who will intimidate the other first?" with Initiative defining the victor.

CubeB
2010-06-26, 02:24 PM
Barbarians are far from weak with Intimidate.

However, I see Intimidate as being very incomplete as a skill. Firstly, its primarily used as a tool for PCs against NPCs outside of combat (NPCs can demoralize the party in battle) since PCs are the ultimate judges to whether they as characters agree to something or not. Secondly, under the core rules Intimidate does not protect the Intimidator from being Intimidated himself. In other words, just as how Diplomacy is its own counter, Intimidator isn't. Instead, You have to have high levels and/or high wisdom (which many intimidators lack to begin with).

So imagine two barbarians trying to intimidate each other before combat. It would essentially be a ridiculous game of "Who will intimidate the other first?" with Initiative defining the victor.

Tome of Battle actually has rules for this. It's called Duel of Wills.

dspeyer
2010-06-26, 02:25 PM
Bonus points: Threaten to let a big, angry party member eat said target: +6

With nutmeg or rosemary?

Though, done properly, this could work.

Amphetryon
2010-06-26, 03:10 PM
With nutmeg or rosemary?

Though, done properly, this could work.

With fava beans and a nice Chianti, duh. :smallwink:

ThunderCat
2010-06-26, 03:41 PM
But I have to disagree that even stated as you say, a PC with no ranks in intimidate would fail to be intimidating at all. Take Michael Clarke Duncan's character John Coffey (http://www.imdb.com/media/rm392599808/ch0002947) in The Green Mile (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120689/). Now here is a man that, quite literally, wouldn't and couldn't hurt a mouse and for sure would have NO ranks in Intimidate; and arguably not a very strong force of personality either. Yet merely because of his incredible size and strength, everyone is terrified of him. Except, eventually, the one man who gets to know him.

This is why TINYDWARFMAN's argument was such a good one. Yes, all these great and very well argued points and opinions on various other, more cerebral methods of intimidation might be effective, possibly even more effective than brute strength or fear, but as TDM's so validly points out, they would generally only be effective if the one they were attempting to intimidate knew who they were or what potential harm they might actually represent. However anyone with eyes can see a huge guy and know what kind of harm he could inflict on you.

Oh, and by the way, there are plenty folk out there who would find a gun just lying on a table terrifying. For just it's potential of harm if nothing else.But if the scary part is just the potential to harm, strength is pretty low on the list. Typically, a high strength character is a melee character, and melee characters are almost never as dangerous as casters. And making it so that the whole world believes that melee characters kick ass compared to casters, while in reality they don't, is not a good, or most internally consistent, way to balance it out. And we've not even begun to cover how strength is not always visible to begin with.

To me, the potential to harm, and the ability to use that potential to its best advantage, are two different things. One gives you a circumstance bonus and/or reduces the DC, the other is added to your roll to see how well you manage to use the tools at your disposal. Strength is nothing special in that regard, and it shouldn't be treated as such.

The Glyphstone
2010-06-26, 03:50 PM
But if the scary part is just the potential to harm, strength is pretty low on the list. Typically, a high strength character is a melee character, and melee characters are almost never as dangerous as casters. And making it so that the whole world believes that melee characters kick ass compared to casters, while in reality they don't, is not a good, or most internally consistent, way to balance it out. And we've not even begun to cover how strength is not always visible to begin with.

To me, the potential to harm, and the ability to use that potential to its best advantage, are two different things. One gives you a circumstance bonus and/or reduces the DC, the other is added to your roll to see how well you manage to use the tools at your disposal. Strength is nothing special in that regard, and it shouldn't be treated as such.

That's only a relevant argument if both a caster and a melee character are present though. If it's only a melee fighter threatening you, and he looks strong, then the fact that he's not a spellcaster doesn't make him any less threatening, or his threats any less immediate.

Tinydwarfman
2010-06-26, 03:51 PM
No he's not. He might be able to scare some people (characters with low Wisdom and no ranks in Sense Motive), and even manage to be genuinely scary (Natural 20) but for the most part he'll be failing at presenting himself as a credible threat. He'll fail to make eye contact at crucial points, the confidence in his voice will waver, and the dozen little things that make yourself seem dangerous to another person because he doesn't know how to make himself seem threatening (no ranks in Intimidate) and his natural presence is forgettable and unassuming (negative Charisma modifier).

Players want a lot of things, I see no good reason to capitulate over this when all it does is show that you will be bent to another's will.

I see no reason why the feat should exist. Strength without a will to use it is no more frightening than a gun on a table.

You're honestly telling me that a 20 STR Orc barbarian, who you know can tear you to shreds if he wanted to, is not intimidating because he isn't trained in intimidation techniques? You wouldn't be afraid of him?

Also, the things you talk about are NOT what happens to you when you have 8 CHA. You're saying that almost every Orc has all of these traits and as a whole the Orc race has extremely low self confidence and is very insecure? No, I'm sorry, that's ridiculous.

Ranks in intimidate are only necessary when you yourself are not scary. From the Doctor Who example, the doctor was in a situation where he was completely nonthreatening, and using his skill in intimidate, he made the daleks scared. If he had a crapload of weapons, an armada of backup, and knew all their plans, he wouldn't need intimidate. They'd be scared anyway.

2xMachina
2010-06-26, 04:05 PM
You are afraid of him. But in no way are you inclined to act friendly to him as per Intimidated.

Think of the fear as the type that makes them clamp up and piss themselves, or make them want to run a mile away.

Cha intimidate makes it so that you WANT to be act friendly to the guy.

Sliver
2010-06-26, 04:13 PM
To add to the point.

Being afraid = trying to make them leave
Being intimidated = trying to make them happy.

You want a crime lord to leave you, but you want him to be happy about doing it, because the punishment afterwards can be great. You don't care if the raging barbarian is happy afterwards, you just want him to leave you right now, because you know he can't deliver his physical threats if he isn't physically there, and you know he isn't manipulative enough to deliver any other threat, because you would have been intimidated otherwise.

Tinydwarfman
2010-06-26, 04:28 PM
To add to the point.

Being afraid = trying to make them leave
Being intimidated = trying to make them happy.

You want a crime lord to leave you, but you want him to be happy about doing it, because the punishment afterwards can be great. You don't care if the raging barbarian is happy afterwards, you just want him to leave you right now, because you know he can't deliver his physical threats if he isn't physically there, and you know he isn't manipulative enough to deliver any other threat, because you would have been intimidated otherwise.

The problem with this is that again, it has nothing to do with intimidate as a skill. You would want the high level wizard to be happy about leaving you, even if he had no ranks in intimidate, because you know that if he wanted to, he could track you down, teleport to while you sleep, and turn you and your entire family into mud (and you'd still be alive). Nothing to do with intimidate the skill.

I should clarify my opinion. Intimidate should only be for situations where you couldn't normally pose a threat to somebody. If you are even matched, or they are more powerful than you, that is when intimidate should come into play. The only other time, when you are interrogating someone, you should be able to sub in your most threatening attribute for the purposes of how scary they find you. Mind games are not the only option. Like with the example before, do you really want to risk being turned into a living pile of mud when you refuse a wizard?

taltamir
2010-06-26, 04:29 PM
Gork the Half-Orc, all 7'2 of his massive frame quivering with rage, the muscles of his mighty arm bulging, slams the prisoner up against the wall again, even harder this time. Bringing his battle scared and tusk-toothed face just inches from the that of the half-elf he growls once more "Listen maggot! If you don't tell us, Right Now, where your sewer scum of a boss is hiding the major's daughter I shall personally rip off your leg and shove it so far down your throat you'll be able to hop while sitting down! "

"Yawn....Hmm, what? Sorry, I must have drifted off there for a second. What did you say?"

About to loose his mind, Gork suddenly feels a tap on his knee. Looking down he spies the party's beautiful Gnome Sorcerer, Bella, looking up at him with a knowing and somewhat superior look on her face "Sorry Mr. 6 Chr, but before you make it easier for our friend here to clip his own toenails with his teeth, how about I give it a shot, hmmm?"

Unable to resist her charm, Gork grunts and let's the prisoner fall to the ground. Eye level now to the man, Bella moves closer to the kidnapper and gives the half-elf a little frown "Now good sir, you'd better tell us what we want to know; after all, you wouldn't want me to get cross with you, would you?"

All blood instantly draining from his face, the terrified criminal sputters, his hands held up in pitiful defense "No! No! Please! I beg you! Don't get cross with me! I'll tell you anything! I swear! Just...Just please stop that little frown thingy you're doing! I beg you! I'll tell you anything you want to know!...." as his frightful blubbering makes further speech impossible for the moment, Bella pats the broken man's shoulder cooing "There There now..." while passing a sarcastic smirk up to the still fuming Gork.

SOOOO......What is UP with That???

It's has Always bugged the crap out of me that Intimidate is based on Charisma.

I understand that Charisma represents "Force of Personality" more than looks, but first of all, that's rarely how it's played. And Secondly and more importantly, there damn well should be some sort of Feat or something that lets a melee character base his Intimidation on Str instead of Chr.

Or even a wizard for that matter, surely someone clever enough should still be able to find a way to intimidate someone, no?

So what you all think?

If the orc barbarian has a low intimidate skill then it means he will not act as above. How will he act?
Orc Barb: Can you, um, please tell us where, um, they mayors daughter is?
Prisoner: Or what?
Orc Barb: well, I am not allowed to hurt you, but I promise you that it will not help you in your trial, you will likely get a longer sentence.

Now the halfling girl with high intimidate?
Halfling: Orc my buddy, can you please hold his head still and force his eye open.
*orc complies*
ork: like this?
prisoner: *stummering* wha... what are you going to do.
*Halfling slowly pulls out her knife and start inching it towards his eye* you will see, heh, or maybe you wouldn't "see".
prisoner: oh god please don't I wiill talk I will tell you everything please I beg don't *starts crying*

You get the gist of it. Would you roleplay a 3 int barbarian who who is routinely the source of safe advice about the working of magic? (aka, player knowledge), who constantly solves every puzzle?
Well, you might. But you are "cheating" in a way.

You can btw, on occasion act as the example in the OP, in such a case you get circumstantial bonuses... but frankly I think it should be either or, either you roleplay the whole thing, or you roll without roleplay, no mixing of the two.

So, "we intimidate the guards for information, my skill is +15 and I rolled a 10". DM: ok, you successfully intimidated them and got the following info...
OR: "my orc barbarian slams him into the wall and <insert rest of scenario in op>"... DM does NOT call for ANY rolls and simply role plays the reaction of the NPC to that behavior based on the personality he decided for the NPC.

It is fine to switch between the two during the same session... only role playing the major events, but I wouldn't MIX the two into one clusterf--- of an interaction where you roleplay for bonuses to skill that is abstracting and replacing roleplay (ironically, AFAIK WOTC did intend for them to be mixed together. which I think WOTC is wrong about)

Zeful
2010-06-26, 05:08 PM
You're honestly telling me that a 20 STR Orc barbarian, who you know can tear you to shreds if he wanted to, is not intimidating because he isn't trained in intimidation techniques? You wouldn't be afraid of him?Yes, that is exactly what I am saying. I am not, nor have ever been, afraid of people stronger than me. I see no reason why the average medieval peasant (who's life has been much harder and more dangerous than my own) would be either.


Also, the things you talk about are NOT what happens to you when you have 8 CHA. You're saying that almost every Orc has all of these traits and as a whole the Orc race has extremely low self confidence and is very insecure? No, I'm sorry, that's ridiculous.Blame WoTC, not me.


Ranks in intimidate are only necessary when you yourself are not scary. From the Doctor Who example, the doctor was in a situation where he was completely nonthreatening, and using his skill in intimidate, he made the daleks scared. If he had a crapload of weapons, an armada of backup, and knew all their plans, he wouldn't need intimidate. They'd be scared anyway.

I disagree. Scary is the thing in the corner of your eye that you see in the night forest. You know it's after you but you can't find it, can't fight it on your terms. An army? You're one strategic retreat away from crushing an otherwise superior force.

Merk
2010-06-26, 05:14 PM
In D&D I don't think a threat of "I'mma hit you real hard" is really all that threatening. These people live in a world where Ogres are actually pretty easy to handle if you're a PC class character of ECL 5+ or so. And there are much, much scarier threats -- monsters that will drive you insane, eat your soul, turn you into a zombie, or wizards who will do all of the above in less than six seconds.

Edit: Plus, they live in a world where healing physical injury is trivial, and even being slashed to death can be solved by your friends paying a sufficiently powerful priests. There's really little to fear from direct physical assault.

Tinydwarfman
2010-06-26, 05:23 PM
Yes, that is exactly what I am saying. I am not, nor have ever been, afraid of people stronger than me. I see no reason why the average medieval peasant (who's life has been much harder and more dangerous than my own) would be either.
You may not be scared of him for 3 reasons.
1: Most likely, you aren't afraid of him because you know he's not going to hurt you. In our modern day society, this is because there are laws and a police force enforcing those laws. Not so much in a D&D world.

2: You know some kind of self-defense techniques, so you are reasonably confident you could take him. Like I said before, this is explicitly a time where you need intimidating skill.

3: You are just not the type to be scared of physical pain and possibly death. I applaud you for being so brave, but that is definitely not the norm.



Blame WoTC, not me.

Has wizards ever actually given an example like this? I would be interested to see it. Anyway, I do agree with you, WotC is effing stupid sometimes.



I disagree. Scary is the thing in the corner of your eye that you see in the night forest. You know it's after you but you can't find it, can't fight it on your terms. An army? You're one strategic retreat away from crushing an otherwise superior force.

Okay, maybe a bad example, but physical pain and death is effing scary. If someone has you cornered and is clearly capable of hurting and killing you, you're going to be scared. A battle hardened soldier may not lose their wits, but most will.

dspeyer
2010-06-26, 06:11 PM
But if the scary part is just the potential to harm, strength is pretty low on the list. Typically, a high strength character is a melee character, and melee characters are almost never as dangerous as casters. And making it so that the whole world believes that melee characters kick ass compared to casters, while in reality they don't, is not a good, or most internally consistent, way to balance it out

But it's not about logic. Fear lives in the subconscious. A lot more people spent their most formative years (ages 6-10) being beaten up in melee than being set on fire by mages.

DragoonWraith
2010-06-26, 06:12 PM
But it's not about logic. Fear lives in the subconscious. A lot more people spent their most formative years (ages 6-10) being beaten up in melee than being set on fire by mages.
Speak for yourself!

Oslecamo
2010-06-26, 06:14 PM
Okay, maybe a bad example, but physical pain and death is effing scary. If someone has you cornered and is clearly capable of hurting and killing you, you're going to be scared. A battle hardened soldier may not lose their wits, but most will.

And here lays a very important detail. Intimidating isn't just scaring. Intimidation is scaring your oponent in doing what you want them to do.

So I meet bullies on a dark night looking for violence? I'll run. And if they corner me I'll do my best to get out whitout being beaten. But if they just got muscles, I won't play by their rules. I'll not tell them about my hidden credit card. I'll call for help as soon as I get a opening.

The only time a bully actualy got anything from me was when he calmly claimed he had a gun under his clothes pointed at me, and even then he just got some spare change I threw at him while I tried to figure out if he actualy had a gun or not. I never knew if he actualy had a gun but that's one of the moments where I was more scared in my life.

And if you intimidate wrong that fear turns into anger. Sometimes I just had enough and went against people stronger than me knowing I couldn't win, for the simple fact that I would rather ended up bruised and bleeding than hear their 6 cha pathetic intimidate anymore.

In a bigger scale that's the riot effect. An army may force a population in submission by brute strenght, but those people will spit on their backs, they will try to sabotage them, they won't tell about the hidden stashes of food.

On the other hand an army that has charismatic individuals that know how to properly spread terror with intimidating speeches and stuff like humiliating public executions can actualy put the people working for them.


No good sir, intimidation is an art. There's worse fates than death. And pain is ony temporary. People have been revolting against brute force since the dawn of times.

Like a friend of me once said, a bad intimidator makes people run away, a good intimidator makes them lick his boots.

The Glyphstone
2010-06-26, 06:21 PM
In D&D I don't think a threat of "I'mma hit you real hard" is really all that threatening. These people live in a world where Ogres are actually pretty easy to handle if you're a PC class character of ECL 5+ or so. And there are much, much scarier threats -- monsters that will drive you insane, eat your soul, turn you into a zombie, or wizards who will do all of the above in less than six seconds.

Edit: Plus, they live in a world where healing physical injury is trivial, and even being slashed to death can be solved by your friends paying a sufficiently powerful priests. There's really little to fear from direct physical assault.

What if they're not PC classes? The average adventurer, who can fight ogres and can afford the diamond dust to be raised from the dead, is explicitly the type of person who wouldn't likely be intimidated by physical force. But they are also explicitly not the norm. A low-level city guard or BBEG mook cultist are in a completely different situation...they're not facing ogres that might be pretty easy to handle, they're facing someone who can and might kill them, and the fact that they're expendable means it's very unlikely their boss will shell out to have them Raised. And as for zombies, demons, and wizards...dead is dead, whether it's by axe or claw or necromantic energies, particularly for the aforementioned people who aren't likely to have 5K in diamond just handily lying around.

There's only little to fear from direct physical assault if A) you expect to survive the assault or B) you're important and/or rich enough that not surviving the assault isn't necessary. Neither of these are guarantees for the vast majority of the population.

ThunderCat
2010-06-26, 06:23 PM
That's only a relevant argument if both a caster and a melee character are present though. If it's only a melee fighter threatening you, and he looks strong, then the fact that he's not a spellcaster doesn't make him any less threatening, or his threats any less immediate.Doesn't matter. Let's pretend for a moment that intimidate is merely how scary you are (which it isn't). The result of characters being allowed to use STR instead of CHA to intimidate, or the feats that let someone ass their STR to it, is that wizards (typically low CHA, low STR, lacking intimidate as class skill) would be among the least scary characters. The whole idea of STR helping intimidation is not about people wanting fighters to be scary, it's about people complaining that fighters are not more scary than characters who can kill you with their mind. And that's just ridiculous.

In the case of a fight in which the wizard has taken down the vast majority of enemies, including the most powerful ones, while the fighter has just acted as meatshield, people still want the fighter to be the one interrogating prisoners, because he's muscles make him so scary! Never mind that the prisoners could be orc barbarians who're used to getting the crap beat out of them by physically powerful opponents but are superstitious about magic, or diabolic cultists who've already subjected themselves to practically every form of physical torment, and never mind that the fight has previously shown the wizard to be the most deadly by far, the guy with the big muscles is supposed to be the threat people will take most seriously, because muscles are scary goddammit!

Seriously, when will people stop? It's ridiculous. If you want to be the intimidating guy (or girl), put ranks in intimidate, don't dump charisma, and find some additional ways to boost your score, don't complain that since you have a big axe and large muscles, people should be more scared of you than the drow rogue who can skin people alive in a matter of seconds, or the alienist wizard who has access to forbidden secrets of the universe. And if you want to be a scary character, find some way to make yourself a viable threat, and hang around so more eloquent and psychologically savvy characters can use you as a threat against the people they're trying to intimidate.

Oslecamo
2010-06-26, 06:24 PM
There's only little to fear from direct physical assault if A) you expect to survive the assault or B) you're important and/or rich enough that not surviving the assault isn't necessary. Neither of these are guarantees for the vast majority of the population.

However, in D&D there is an assured afterlife! Tell Pelor's temple secrets or die? Hey, dying in service of my god assures me of a nice cozy place in heaven! Go ahead you ugly brute!

The Glyphstone
2010-06-26, 06:26 PM
Doesn't matter. Let's pretend for a moment that intimidate is merely how scary you are (which it isn't). The result of characters being allowed to use STR instead of CHA to intimidate, or the feats that let someone ass their STR to it, is that wizards (typically low CHA, low STR, lacking intimidate as class skill) would be among the least scary characters. The whole idea of STR helping intimidation is not about people wanting fighters to be scary, it's about people complaining that fighters are not more scary than characters who can kill you with their mind. And that's just ridiculous.
.

That's not the arguement though. There are people claiming that, simply because wizards exist in the world, an individual threatening physical force cannot be intimidating or scary. And that's more ridiculous, by far, than the idea that someone with muscles can be more scary than someone with magic.




However, in D&D there is an assured afterlife! Tell Pelor's temple secrets or die? Hey, dying in service of my god assures me of a nice cozy place in heaven! Go ahead you ugly brute!

What if he's carrying a Thinaun weapon? Denying you the afterlife: It's not just for casters anymore!

ThunderCat
2010-06-26, 06:29 PM
And as for zombies, demons, and wizards...dead is dead, whether it's by axe or claw or necromantic energies, particularly for the aforementioned people who aren't likely to have 5K in diamond just handily lying around.Exactly. Dead is dead. So why should someone who can kill you by ripping your head off be more scary than someone who can kill you by throwing a poisoned dark into your neck faster than you can blink, or someone who can make your head explode, or someone who can summon a demon to tear you apart, or someone who can melt into shadows and show up in your bedchamber with a dagger when you lest expect it? Dead is dead.

Oslecamo
2010-06-26, 06:31 PM
What if he's carrying a Thinaun weapon? Denying you the afterlife: It's not just for casters anymore!

Most mooks won't exactly know what thinaun is. So you need some charismatic speech to convince them that your weapon can indeed capture souls(how else can you prove your threat of denying the afterlife?). After all, the common knowledge it's that noncasters don't get nice things.:smallamused:

The Glyphstone
2010-06-26, 06:39 PM
Most mooks won't exactly know what thinaun is. So you need some charismatic speech to convince them that your weapon can indeed capture souls(how else can you prove your threat of denying the afterlife?). After all, the common knowledge it's that noncasters don't get nice things.
But you don't need charismatic speech to convince them that your magic spell can trap their soul or destroy it? Soul-wrecking magic is restricted to higher-level spells (Barghest's Feast, at 6th level, is the lowest I know of) - the average mook isn't going to have Know: Arcana sufficient to be aware that you're capable of such.


Exactly. Dead is dead. So why should someone who can kill you by ripping your head off be more scary than someone who can kill you by throwing a poisoned dark into your neck faster than you can blink, or someone who can make your head explode, or someone who can summon a demon to tear you apart, or someone who can melt into shadows and show up in your bedchamber with a dagger when you lest expect it? Dead is dead.

No one said they should. The question is why they should inherently be less scary than those aforementioned other people, simply because of the manner in which they kill you.


As an aside, this is a game with the following feats:
-Being an elf and having sex with fairies lets you determine how tough you are based on your IQ.
-Being smart lets you disarm traps even if you're so clumsy that you can't tie your shoelaces in the morning
-Being tough enough lets you deflect mind-control spells with your abdominal muscles.
-Being 'zen' makes you shoot arrows better, no matter how sluggish or butterfingered you are at anything else in life.

Those all cost a feat. Is a character with a special talent or training (I.e., a feat) devoted to leveraging his impressive physical prowess towards convincing people to do what he wants instead of relying on his inherent charm really that much of an abhorrent and horrific violation of the natural order?

ThunderCat
2010-06-26, 06:44 PM
That's not the arguement though. There are people claiming that, simply because wizards exist in the world, an individual threatening physical force cannot be intimidating or scary. And that's more ridiculous, by far, than the idea that someone with muscles can be more scary than someone with magic.Where did you get that argument from? People seem to be merely objecting to the idea that someone should be able to use STR for intimidate because STR is especially scary compared to everything else.

In the OP's example, we're talking about how a character who can incinerate people, summon monsters out of thin air, take over someone else's mind, and make people wither and die on the spot, and who furthermore carries herself with an air of confidence and mystery (who knows, she might be able to read your mind and tell if you lie to her), can be more intimidating than someone who seems slow-witted and dull even by orc standards, and how that's unfair and unrealistic.

ThunderCat
2010-06-26, 06:57 PM
No one said they should. The question is why they should inherently be less scary than those aforementioned other people, simply because of the manner in which they kill you.They aren't. Quite the contrary, STR based classes like fighter and barbarian have intimidate as class skill, which is makes it very easy for them to surpass CHA based characters. In the case of the OP, as long as the barbarian hadn't made CHA a dumpstat (let's say, CHA 10 and had maxed intimidate, he would have equalled the sorcerer with CHA 18 already at first level. If the sorcerer had taken cross class ranks it might take a little longer, but then again, we're talking about a gnome sorcerer who's already likely to suffer a -4 penalty for being smaller than the target.


As an aside, this is a game with the following feats:
-Being an elf and having sex with fairies lets you determine how tough you are based on your IQ.
-Being smart lets you disarm traps even if you're so clumsy that you can't tie your shoelaces in the morning
-Being tough enough lets you deflect mind-control spells with your abdominal muscles.
-Being 'zen' makes you shoot arrows better, no matter how sluggish or butterfingered you are at anything else in life.

Those all cost a feat. Is a character with a special talent or training (I.e., a feat) devoted to leveraging his impressive physical prowess towards convincing people to do what he wants instead of relying on his inherent charm really that much of an abhorrent and horrific violation of the natural order? No, but neither is it a given thing, like many people assume. Quite the contrary, why should melee characters get special advantages in the area of intimidation? Which concept does it serve? I get the mind over body types of feats, and even body over mind (especially since CON already governs the concentration skill), but biceps over being an actual threat? Why should STR based characters have exceptional abilities to be scary, let alone intimidating?

The Glyphstone
2010-06-26, 06:58 PM
Where did you get that argument from? People seem to be merely objecting to the idea that someone should be able to use STR for intimidate because STR is especially scary compared to everything else.


Well, on this page alone:


But if the scary part is just the potential to harm, strength is pretty low on the list. Typically, a high strength character is a melee character, and melee characters are almost never as dangerous as casters.

To me, the potential to harm, and the ability to use that potential to its best advantage, are two different things. Strength is nothing special in that regard, and it shouldn't be treated as such.




biceps over being an actual threat?




In D&D I don't think a threat of "I'mma hit you real hard" is really all that threatening. Plus, they live in a world where healing physical injury is trivial, and even being slashed to death can be solved by your friends paying a sufficiently powerful priests. There's really little to fear from direct physical assault.


There are people who appear to be arguing that in a world with the existence of magic, mere physical force loses its ability to coerce people. Iím arguing that just because melee is less dangerous than spellcasting, that in no way hurts a meleeís ability to scare someone Ė it just means that a spellcaster with the same exact Charisma score would be better at scaring them.




In the OP's example, we're talking about how a character who can incinerate people, summon monsters out of thin air, take over someone else's mind, and make wither and die on the spot, and who furthermore carries herself with an air of confidence and mystery (who knows, she might be able to read your mind and tell if you lie to her), can be more intimidating than someone who seems slow-witted and dull even by orc standards, and how that's unfair and unrealistic.

The bolded parts are the only things I feel should be in any way relevant to the situation. As previously argued, the end result of either person's attentions could easily be death, the Intimidate check is the determinator for if they believe the interrogator will actually follow through or not. And in a world where possessing carnal knowledge of a nymph/satyr can make you tougher than someone who can run a triathalon without breathing heavily at the end, the notion of an otherwise socially inept half-orc thug knowing right down to the millimeter how far he can twist someone's arm or squeeze someone's throat without actually killing or crippling them - applying his strength with such detailed finesse that it becomes a interrogation tool all on its own - isn't that outlandish.

The entire purpose of feats is to gain usual abilities or special tricks to employ - Power Attack, or Robilar's Gambit, or Sculpt Spell. If Mind Over Body, and Body Over Mind are acceptable, why not Body Over Words? The half-orc doesn't say anything except "tell me the password", then starts twisting the guard into a pretzel wordlessly until he complies?


EDIT: In any rate, this is a fun argument, and I'll be back later. But right now I have a 'Train Job' that people have been pestering me to watch for a long time.

Worira
2010-06-26, 07:21 PM
I like how Shadowrun handles this. It has the basic skill, which is still governed by Charisma, but it also has a list of situational modifiers, which can be pretty huge. The main ones are being physically imposing in some way, outnumbering the other person, and wielding a weapon or obvious magic. These go both ways: a cyberware-enhanced, ten-foot-tall troll with a combat axe and a couple of his buddies backing him up is just plain scary, even if he's not the most eloquent speaker. At the same time, if a lone unarmed human wants to intimidate him, that human had better be pretty darn good at it.

Soras Teva Gee
2010-06-26, 08:31 PM
The main problem with what most people are demonstrating as "good intimidates" is that they wouldn't actually work if you didn't already know the people beforehand. Hannibal Lector would just seem like a really weird and creepy guy until you saw him or heard about his killings.

Hannibal Lector or Buffalo Bill of the same movie, who's generally considered scarier? We get to see what a psycho Bill is, but he doesn't hold a candle to Hannibal Lector. Of two serial killers the one that looks like your grandfather and is nice and "safe" behind bars... is the legendary villain.

Its not his history that makes him scary, though that helps. Its when he starts talking and takes you apart bit by bit from a glance like the bastard offspring of Holmes and Moriarty, with crazy thrown in.

Tinydwarfman
2010-06-26, 09:30 PM
Oslecamo being all wordy and eloquent.

Once again Oslecamo, your stirring speeches have convinced me that you are right.

I think that this is an example of D&D's restrictive skill system personally. If you wan't to scare someone, what skill do you use? Why intimidate of course!
If you want to scare or bully someone into actually doing something, what skill do you use? Intimidate!

There really needs to be some sort of alternate mechanic for just scaring the living daylights out of people.

aivanther
2010-06-26, 09:30 PM
Bella moves closer to the kidnapper and gives the half-elf a little frown "Now good sir, you'd better tell us what we want to know; after all, you wouldn't want me to get cross with you, would you?"


What I think of this: -10 Circumstance bonus due to RP (word choice).

Hague
2010-06-26, 09:31 PM
I like how Shadowrun handles this. It has the basic skill, which is still governed by Charisma, but it also has a list of situational modifiers, which can be pretty huge. The main ones are being physically imposing in some way, outnumbering the other person, and wielding a weapon or obvious magic. These go both ways: a cyberware-enhanced, ten-foot-tall troll with a combat axe and a couple of his buddies backing him up is just plain scary, even if he's not the most eloquent speaker. At the same time, if a lone unarmed human wants to intimidate him, that human had better be pretty darn good at it.

Or have just picked up photos of a certain sarariman's fling with the boss' daughter. I mean, what if those hit the 'trix. It'd light up like nova. You know how traditional those Japanese investors can be, 'natch. Then where'd the poor wage-slave be, eh? *spits*

Tinydwarfman
2010-06-26, 09:38 PM
What I think of this: -10 Circumstance bonus due to RP (word choice).

Or +5 if she's a psychopath, and that's what she always says to her victims before she flays them. :smallbiggrin:

Khaladon
2010-06-26, 11:22 PM
@Thundercat: If you'd read the entire thread (which I admit has gotten rather long now) you'd see that Wizards were also included into the category of those who should be able to be intimidating without specifically having ranks in the skill. (assuming of course they actually do something to show that they are a wielder of mighty arcane might)

I do not believe that anyone here has even been suggesting that someone with merely great physical strength is more intimidating than someone with with great arcane power or an unusually high level of skill with words (and psychology).

But the point I was originally trying to make is that, to the average person at least, a big strong person Is intimidating. Again, I point to the example of John Coffey in The Green Mile. No ranks in intimidation, he never tried to be intimidating, he never even wanted to be intimidating, but to most people, he is.

As has been addressed here already, a part of the problem lies with the definition and/or usage of Intimidation itself. In my original example, I used it in the sense of interrogation-to get some information. But there are lots of other ways it could be used. Example: A large gang of bad guys rides into a small town, gathers all the people in the town square and orders them to ( perform whatever task, surrender their virgins, give up their town treasure etc.), maybe the mayor or town leaders refuse at first. Then the bad guys start killing the children, one by one. Very soon the bad guys get/take what they want and ride off. No skills in intimidation needed, just brute force (and an evil heart of course). They didn't need or want their boots licked, they just wanted what they wanted and they got it, through intimidation.

Yes, in a pure interrogation situation, I can certainly see how many techniques could be more successful than simple pain or torture or brute strength. As has been said earlier and to which I heartily agree, it has been proven in our world at least that actual torture is a very poor way to elicit information from a prisoner.

But if the average person is approached in an ally by two different guys on two different occasions and Guy #1 is average sized and Guy #2 is huge, and neither has skill points in intimidation (or visible weapon or whatever and everything about them other than their size and/or visible strength is the same)? Well, I'll put my money on Guy #2 getting the wallet over Guy#1 every time.

And in public school playgrounds all over the world, it's very rarely the small kid who is the class bully.

Some Definitions of the word Intimidation:
-bullying: the act of intimidating a weaker person to make them do something
-the feeling of being intimidated; being made to feel afraid or timid
-to influence others through fear or threat of harm.
-Intimidation is generally used in the meaning of criminal threatening. Intimidation is a criminal attempt to threaten by speaking or acting in a dominating manner, often with the goal of making a person or people do what the intimidator wants.

Caphi
2010-06-27, 01:13 AM
I don't get people who think charisma is a dump stat. If nothing else, Diplomacy and Bluff are too good for that. (Intimidate too, if you're clever with it.)

BenInHB
2010-06-27, 01:34 AM
Charisma > Strength makes sense in the interrogation scenario everyone seems to be using but that's not the only time to use intimidate. You aren't always looking to get a valuable piece of information from someone when making an intimidate check, some times you are just trying to scare them.

Reluctance
2010-06-27, 02:18 AM
Scaring, or scaring productively? If you just want to beat your chest and scare away the unstatted commoners, that's one thing. Scaring an equal-level character or spooking people to do what you want is quite another.

And at heart, this has more to do with 3.x's skill system than it does with what stat to use for Intimidate. 4e skills allow high-level characters to handle low-level tasks with ease, simply by virtue of being so damn awesome. An untrained 3.x character, on the other hand, is only marginally better than any commoner off the street. The "solution" involves obseleting a good portion of the skill list with magic, which sits awkwardly with most people.

Ideally, any character who thinks it's important to be scary will invest character resources into that. Most of the conversation here comes down to "how do you scare somebody without investing in being scary". (The answer, at least in 3.x, is to cast a Cause Fear or Scare spell, but that's not the most satisfying solution.) And the answer is to either invest in being scary in the first place, or else play a system without any social rules and fiat to your heart's content.

(I do like the feat that gives Str bonus to Intimidate checks, since it is investing character resources into the "big, gruff, ugly, scary" archetype. But that's a deliberate build decision; bodybuilders should not automatically become Intimidate gods.)

2xMachina
2010-06-27, 05:42 AM
On the other hand an army that has charismatic individuals that know how to properly spread terror with intimidating speeches and stuff like humiliating public executions can actualy put the people working for them.


Eh, I prefer a charismatic individual what knows how to make speeches that he can turn overtly hostile people into fanatics for the cause (Diplomancer FTW!)

EDIT: Personally, I find cold threats more scary. The fella who can smile while stabbing (and healing them afterwards), is more scary than the Orc who rages while bashing someone heads in with 1 blow.

Speak quietly, and people will lean in to listen. Shout, and people will cover their ears.

Oslecamo
2010-06-27, 06:52 AM
I like how Shadowrun handles this. It has the basic skill, which is still governed by Charisma, but it also has a list of situational modifiers, which can be pretty huge. The main ones are being physically imposing in some way,

Speaking of wich, all of you did notice in D&D that you gain a bonus to intimidate for being bigger than the person you're intimidating right?

742
2010-06-27, 07:16 AM
see: heath ledgers performance in "the dark knight". he was good, and scary without being physically imposing; if that version of the joker walks into the room its time to leave. its so much time to leave that windows become a perfectly viable option. but a big guy screaming at me? i dont care unless im trying to listen to something or have a headache.

dont you prefer subtle villians in your horror movies, things in the dark lurking in every shadow rather than a big scary guy with a gun who constantly yells and charges at you?

ThunderCat
2010-06-27, 07:41 AM
@Thundercat: If you'd read the entire thread (which I admit has gotten rather long now) you'd see that Wizards were also included into the category of those who should be able to be intimidating without specifically having ranks in the skill. (assuming of course they actually do something to show that they are a wielder of mighty arcane might)

I do not believe that anyone here has even been suggesting that someone with merely great physical strength is more intimidating than someone with with great arcane power or an unusually high level of skill with words (and psychology).But who isn't intimidating? So far, there has been a lot of focus on STR, but anyone without sufficient charisma and ranks suffer from not being very good at intimidation. So in reality, couldn't you say that everyone is actually equal? They can all be scary in situations where their abilities are a threat, but they need skill to be able to make the best of their advantage.

Who shouldn't be scary, compared to the high STR character? We have already ruled out casters, so what's left, DEX based characters? Bullseye flinging objects with such deadly precision that no one can fail to realise that, if he wanted to, he'd be able to kill them from across the room before they even manage to draw their weapon, isn't as intimidating as someone who breaks a chair using raw strength? Why should one adventurer demonstrating his/her lethality be more intimidating than another adventurer demonstrating his/her lethality (and since a halfling can easily be as strong as an orc, a demonstration should be in order)?

I simply don't see the problem. All adventurers can be a threat, and most creatures will react accordingly (e.g. a commoner is not likely to give a trained warrior the finger just for the lulz), and those adventurers who carry themselves in the most impressive way, put their words just right, and have a lot of knowledge and experience playing on people's fear, will have an easier time getting the desired reaction from whoever they try to influence. And large creatures already have an easier time being intimidating than small creatures. So what's the issue?

Hague
2010-06-27, 12:47 PM
Like I said, I'd rather just apply Rich's excellent system for Diplomacy in the context of Intimidation. In fact, I also like his system for dealing with shapechanging, since that stuff is so absurdly imbalanced.

Basically, the situation for intimidation should be based on what how you're threatening the target. Obviously, being huge and physically powerful is less threatening to a ghost or a creature with damage resistance, while a creature weak against fire will be more likely to be intimidated by a fire-wielding character. Consequently, a ghost might be intimidated if you threaten them with a magic jar spell or the like. Basically, you use two factors to determine your DC: What you are threatening with and the consequence of doing what you are bullying them into doing. A huge orc could easily get some idiots to move out of the way of a crowded doorway, since the orc is threatening with violence for something that effectively costs the idiots nothing (save face) then the DC to intimidate would be relatively low, it's not worth it for the idiots to fight because the cost is low. The orc could threaten with other things that might not be as effective as violence, or could be more effective. For instance, threatening their family, insulting them, etc. Check out Rich's house rules for Diplomacy in the Gaming sidebar and see if you can adapt that for intimidation.

Khaladon
2010-07-07, 12:32 AM
Good suggestion that last Hague, thanks. :smallsmile: