View Full Version : Proposed Intimidation Fix

2011-03-20, 12:39 PM
This may not be the view of many people, but I'm bothered by the fact that creatures like trolls and orcs can't intimidate as well as a human or elf because they have a charisma penalty. Personally, I view the ugly creatures as more intimidating than an elf. Therefore, i have a couple ideas on how to change this:

Idea 1: The feat

Physical Intimidator

Effect:Instead of using your Charisma modifier for Intimidation checks, you use half the sum of your Strength and Constitution modifiers.
Ex: Thurk the half-orc barbarian has STR 18(+4), CON 17(+3), and CHA 6(-2). Normally, his Intimidation checks take a penalty due to Charisma. With Physical Intimidator, he has a modifier of +4 ((4+3)/2, rounding up). When he uses Rage, he gains +4 STR and +4 CON, making his Intimidation modifier a +6 ((6+5)/2, rounding up).

Idea 2: The skill

This is a fundamental rule change. Instead of using your CHA modifier, you use the absolute value of it (-1 becomes 1, -2 becomes 2, etc.) This allows even ugly characters to be intimidating.

Well, there are my proposed fixes. Thoughts? Opinions?

2011-03-20, 12:49 PM
good idea man! I'm house ruling this baby! the current intimidation rules bothered me too!

Frog Dragon
2011-03-20, 12:57 PM
Ugliness does not equate to low charisma. Clearly, we could not deny the beauty of the Green Hag otherwise (Cha 14, looks like a withered green old woman shooting mean looks).

I don't like the idea of a feat either, because its yet another feat tax for intimidating characters. I'm on board with the skill change. The thing is, there are so many plausible ways to intimidate someone. There's the "Thog smash you if you no do what Thog say." angle. Thog is not very verbally eloquent, but would you deny Thog? I doubt it.

But what if you can't see Thog? Then the strength thing makes little sense. It's a tricky skill to make sense of.

Lord Vukodlak
2011-03-20, 02:12 PM
It should be noted you get size bonus on intimidate checks if your taller then the target.

The thing is, strength is a limited tool when it comes to intimidation. Its very much a psychological thing which means charisma the force of your personality is the most important thing.

Thorg explaining in detail exactly how he's going to crack your bones is much more intimidating then actually doing so. (which is torture).

The second problem with strength is its relative, why should someone with a strength of 16 get a bonus on intimidate vs someone with a strength of 30. How do you use your strength to intimidate a stronger foe. So really any strength bonus should be limited by the difference between yours and the target.

Think of TV, Movies and comic books. The really scary folk don't intimidate people by flexing muscles, they use words or just stare at the target until they crack.

2011-03-20, 02:13 PM
I've always allowed either STR _or_ CHA to be applied to Intimidate rolls.

2011-03-20, 02:41 PM
Idea 3: Use the optional rule in the DMG which allows you to use an alternative ability score as the base where it makes sense for the specific action being done.

Intimidation based on a long monologue describing in detail how you are going to break the other person's fingers one by one before ripping out their toenails and then removing one-inch squares of skin every hour on the hour. That's going to be Charisma-based. Flexing your muscles while holding a hammer over their squishy bits? That's going to be Strength-based.

Definitely don't reward strong negative Charisma. Aside from actively rewarding dumping a stat, low Charisma doesn't mean ugly. It means lack of 'presence'. And don't make using Strength for Intimidate a feat - that's way to expensive for such a minor effect change.

2011-03-20, 04:47 PM
There was a feat in Swashbuckling Adventures by AEG that did the absolute Cha modifier thing and granted a +3 bonus where your crudenes, poor personal hygene and hideousness would help [this latter part applies to multiple things, the former, onlt to Intimidate]

It worked ok...

the Strength thing works well. I allow the use of the grapple size modifer on intimidate checks and the rolls to resist. Tha also works.

2011-03-20, 05:11 PM
Checking the SRD, normal modifiers are:

Intimidate is normally opposed by (target's HD + target's Wisdom modifier + target's modifiers on fear saves).
Charisma modifier applies.
+/-4 per size class difference.
Immunity to fear also grants immunity to being intimidated.
The Persuasive feat grants a +2 bonus.
5 ranks in Bluff grants a +2 bonus.

Additionally, I'd grant the following:

You may replace your Charisma modifier with the difference between your Strength modifier and the target's Strength modifier, if this is more advantageous for you. For example, a character with 16 Strength could intimidate a Strength 10 character with a +3 bonus, instead of whatever bonus or penalty his Charisma modifier would provide.