• Welcome to this new upgrade of the site. We are now on a totally different software platform. Many things will be different, and bugs are expected. Certain areas (like downloads and reviews) will take longer to import. As always, please use the Meta Forum for site queries or bug reports. Note that we (the mods and admins) are also learning the new software.
  • The RSS feed for the news page has changed. Use this link. The old one displays the forums, not the news.

Charisma and Intimidate

Grayn

Villager
I am making a character with high Intimidate skill, but his Charisma is low. (He is a big half-orc with a nasty disposition.)

Now, I am not sure I see the logic behind Charisma AB effecting the Intimidate skill. As I understand it, a cute hafling bard with and understandably high charisma score would have as much chance (if not better chance) at winning a Intimidate check then my big, scary half-orc barbarian.

My first thought is that the Charisma AB table could be reversed for the Intimidate skill, but that has flaws. An unpleasant character may not be necessarily Intimidating. So, what about just taking the Cha AB out of the roll completely?

What is your opinion on this observation? Has it been discussed before? Am I reading it wrong? Am I the only one that cares?
 

SuperZero

Villager
The Intimidate skill isn't just being scary. It's controlling people by being scary.

You can tell exactly what a half-orc with a big weapon can do. You know that if you run out of his reach he can't hurt you.
That bard is sneaky. And she knows magic. And she's figured out just the right subtle threat to work on this particular person. And you probably can't hide from her. Her pointing all of this out in a cheerful, friendly tone does not seem less intimidating to me.


That said, there is something to being physically intimidating. Which is why your half-orc has a +2 racial bonus and the halfling has a -4 size penalty. Should make your modifiers just about the same, assuming both take the skill ranks.
 
Last edited:

Grayn

Villager
I agree that the ability to do harm or at least the appearance to do harm can be intimidating. I suppose this would fall under "displays of prowess" thats described in the skill description. But, wouldn't those actual displays (actual or believed) be from other abilities? (i.e. displays of strength for barbarians or warriors, agility (dexterity) for rogues, intelligence for caster, etc)

The halfling bard was only an example because they tend to cuter then half-orcs. It could very well be a human or a cleric or whatever that has higher charisma. The point is that the charisma ability doesn't seem logical for a modifier for the intimidation skill. And yes, there are racial and size bonuses, but it still doesn't explain why an ability that predominately effects positive influence would be used to equally effect negative influence in the same way.
 

Systole

Community Supporter
I am making a character with high Intimidate skill, but his Charisma is low. (He is a big half-orc with a nasty disposition.)

Now, I am not sure I see the logic behind Charisma AB effecting the Intimidate skill. As I understand it, a cute hafling bard with and understandably high charisma score would have as much chance (if not better chance) at winning a Intimidate check then my big, scary half-orc barbarian.

My first thought is that the Charisma AB table could be reversed for the Intimidate skill, but that has flaws. An unpleasant character may not be necessarily Intimidating. So, what about just taking the Cha AB out of the roll completely?

What is your opinion on this observation? Has it been discussed before? Am I reading it wrong? Am I the only one that cares?
And if your big dumb half-orc doesn't know how to carry himself, he comes off looking laughable. However, there is a feat called Intimidating Prowess which adds your STR into Intimidate.

Now, I have two characters who are perfect examples. One is an elf barbarian with no ranks in Intimidate. (This is on purpose. Daylily would never think to try intimidation. If he has a problem with someone, he just hits them.) On the off chance Daylily ever tried to intimidate someone, he would probably say something like, "Now I ams going to puts my big hammer in your face so you will tasting it! And you will likes it!" I think you can probably imagine the response, regardless of his 21 strength.

On the other hand, I have an elf summoner who is legitimately terrifying. She paints a skull on her face. She dresses in black. She has a trait for it, a class skill bonus, and a bunch of ranks in intimidate. In short, she works at it. And when she intimidates, it goes more like this:
You, wizard ... you are going to tell us everything we want to know. But before you speak, look to my wolf for a moment, and listen to me. I summoned that creature here from the darkest hells of the Hidden Path, where the skies are fire and the rivers are blood. I've seen him run down four goblins in twenty heartbeats, and slay a dire weasel in the blink of an eye. Your pet bugbear is lying dead not thirty paces from here with his spine torn out. My wolf did that.

But what is relevant to this conversation is this: Between the two of us, between myself and the demon-born killing machine with the blood of your chieftan drying on his muzzle...

...he is the nice one.
 

Maidhc O Casain

Na Bith Mo Riocht Tá!
Charisma isn't about size, appearance, etc. At least not mostly. It's force of personality, and as such is the primary modifier for intimidation. Size modifies it - Halflings don't get the -4 modifier, anyone trying to intimidate a creature larger than themselves get it. Race modifies it - Orcs are known to be scary, they're the bugaboos of the fantasy world. You can be big and ugly and carry a huge frakkin' axe and be timid or uncertain, or talk in a little squeaky voice, or whatever. Or you can be like the Halfling Inquisitor I once played, who walked into every room completely certain in his knowledge that he owned that room and everyone in it, and promptly started bullying everyone there.
 

Grayn

Villager
It's force of personality
This makes a lot of sense. Charisma is more about presence then appearance.

I missed Intimidating Powress while going through the feats. That sounds like a good example of a work around for characters with high confidence by way of high strength. It is too bad that there is isn't this type of feat for every ability (or maybe there is and I just don't know about it).

I can only guess that the characters that Mowgli and Systole are talking about attempted to be so intimidating, is because they had other abilities to back it up. This is where that type of feat would come in handy (if you where looking to boost your intimidation, I suppose). If they were trying to be intimidating without ability, I would guess it would be bluffing?
 

Scott DeWar

Prof. Emeritus-Supernatural Events/Countermeasure
Systole said:
You, wizard ... you are going to tell us everything we want to know. But before you speak, look to my wolf for a moment, and listen to me. I summoned that creature here from the darkest hells of the Hidden Path, where the skies are fire and the rivers are blood. I've seen him run down four goblins in twenty heartbeats, and slay a dire weasel in the blink of an eye. Your pet bugbear is lying dead not thirty paces from here with his spine torn out. My wolf did that.

But what is relevant to this conversation is this: Between the two of us, between myself and the demon-born killing machine with the blood of your chieftan drying on his muzzle...

...he is the nice one.
I knew that wolf should be feared.
signed,
Vincenzo
 

mattservice

Villager
I just created a downright ugly Barbarian. The thought was that he is so battle scarred and mutilated that he is ugly (Charisma of 4 {-3 modifier}), but very fierce and intimidating. I disagree with the CHA modifier effecting Intimidate checks negatively in this regard. Because CHA is also related to looks, it is very difficult to create a butt-ugly character and have a decent Intimidate check.

The Intimidate Prowess Feat combines STR and CHA modifiers on Intimidate checks. I'd prefer to see a trait you can select for characters that in sitiuations like mine, would use STR instead of CHA on Intimidate checks or possibly using the negative as a positive (-3 modifier acts as +3 for Intimidate checks only). Especially if it is a class skill.

I will be asking my DM if I can do this. You can always do the same if your situation is similar.
 
One, you can do as my RL group did and add the 7th stat: Comeliness. It specifically holds beauty while Charisma holds personality.

Or, option two: You have a good Charisma (Not making it your dump stat) and you fluff your character ugly but the Charisma proves that he is as intimidating or forceful as any other, even if he is hideously disfigured.

In 3rd you could get willing deformities and such, it had great effects in such ways, i don't know if PF has anything like those though.
 

Grayn

Villager
You could also do as suggested before, expand Intimidating Prowess to include whatever stat you choose (instead of just STR). This might cover the "displays of prowess" part of intimidating. (i.e. a fighter displays a prowess of strength, a wizard is renown and feared for his great intelligence, a thief for his feats of dexterity, etc) This would also allow for a bit of hit, if you're so ugly or smelly or bumbling due to low CHA, that you might come off a bit comical and not intimidating.

 

Maidhc O Casain

Na Bith Mo Riocht Tá!
Or, option two: You have a good Charisma (Not making it your dump stat) and you fluff your character ugly but the Charisma proves that he is as intimidating or forceful as any other, even if he is hideously disfigured.
This.

You could also do as suggested before, expand Intimidating Prowess to include whatever stat you choose (instead of just STR). This might cover the "displays of prowess" part of intimidating. (i.e. a fighter displays a prowess of strength, a wizard is renown and feared for his great intelligence, a thief for his feats of dexterity, etc) This would also allow for a bit of hit, if you're so ugly or smelly or bumbling due to low CHA, that you might come off a bit comical and not intimidating.

Not this. For a few reasons.

  1. We've purposely minimized the amount we muck about with RAW for a LOT of reasons (harder for newbies to pick up everything and the Law of Unintended Consequences being the two most important for me personally).
  2. The first holds true to the intended use of Charisma - force of personality.
  3. Finally, if you expand Intimidating Prowess to include whatever stat you wish, you take considerable value from the stat that most folks who aren't playing a class who make primary use of CHA already use as a dump stat, and thus you devalue those CHA dependent classes somewhat. (Wow . . . that's a really confusing sentence on re-read. Sorry about that :D)

My opinion is, if you want to play an intimidating character put some points in Charisma. Or use an existing feat and put some points in STR. Or both. Either way, invest your skill points in Intimidate. Even without the first two, investing those skill points simulates taking the time and using life experience to learn the skill.
 
Last edited:

Systole

Community Supporter
A natural talent in Intimidate comes down to force of personality, for reasons that have already been explored in detail in this thread.

Look, it's not hard to completely break any skill if you want to. You have to work at it a bit, and I think that's pretty reasonable. I've got an 11th level Antipaladin who has +33 in Intimidate (11 ranks, 3 from class skill, 7 from 24 Cha, Intimidating Prowess for 5 from 20 Str, 3 Skill focus, 4 Lord of Darkness archetype).

But look, if I decided to make my 8 Cha barbarian an Intimidate powerhouse, at 8th level he'd still be looking at +19, which is still pretty respectable (6 Str + 8 ranks + 3 class skill -1 charisma +3 skill focus). Like I said, work at it.
 
Is Intimidate truly worth all this fuss, though? The skill's not that useful.

I didn't just look it up, but if you're talking a -2 negative modifier for being shaken . . . frankly, I think it becomes a sort of "dump skill". And rogues and bards are one thing, but fighters and barbs don't have the skill points to burn, do they?

Is bumping up Acrobatics to avoid the AoO's on the way in to get past the reach of that Huge troll *really* less important than just scaring a guy you've already defeated and taken prisoner? How about Perception, to avoid ambushes? How about Heal, to keep your buddy alive an extra round so the good cleric can get over to him (or the not-so-good cleric can actually torture the prisoner mentioned above, for that matter?)

I'm not saying it's worthless, it has its place in the game . . . it's just way overvalued for what it actually does.
 
There are a couple of ways around this if you're willing to invest in them. The Bruising Intellect trait swaps charisma for intelligence (a must have for scary int based characters). Granted, if you're dumping charisma, there is a good chance you're dumping intelligence as well. I typically avoid dump stats in my builds for this very reason. My suggestion is burning a couple of feats on Skill Focus, Intimidating Prowess, maybe grabbing some more miscellaneous bonuses to intimidate via traits and feats. You should rack up a pretty good bonus that way.
 

Advertisement

Top