Intimidate, or "whoops I wasted my skill points"

How would you like to see intimidate treated in 4e?

  • I'd like to see it stay as a skill to directly threaten people

    Votes: 71 34.3%
  • I'd like to see it broadened to cover any use of fear to get my way

    Votes: 99 47.8%
  • I have a third option which I'll explain in my post

    Votes: 21 10.1%
  • I never take intimidate anyway, who cares?

    Votes: 16 7.7%

Saeviomagy

Adventurer
At present, it seems that intimidate is a waste of skill points. It has the short term effects of bluff or diplomacy, but suffers because:

DMs like to make their NPCs immune to it

It wears off in a few minutes

It carries stiff roleplaying penalties

So - no doubt (in my mind) that as 3.5 has it, it's a waste of skill points. How would you like to see it in 4e?
 

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FadedC

First Post
I'm actually a little surprised it didn't get rolled up into another skill somewhere. But I guess that's true of all the social skills.

With that being said, with NPCs in 4e having the potential to be immune or highly resistant to certain social skills, having intimidate might be a good way to round out the party for social encounters.
 

MerricB

Eternal Optimist
Err... how do you know what Intimidate is for in 4e? Have you actually seen the skill description or are you basing this only on the really, really incomplete information in the skill challenges preview?
 

Ten

First Post
I am very curious where you picked up this information on Intimidate and is usefulness or lack thereof. Did you get to sneak a peek at the books?
 



Lurks-no-More

First Post
Saeviomagy said:
At present, it seems that intimidate is a waste of skill points. It has the short term effects of bluff or diplomacy, but suffers because:

DMs like to make their NPCs immune to it

It wears off in a few minutes

It carries stiff roleplaying penalties

So - no doubt (in my mind) that as 3.5 has it, it's a waste of skill points. How would you like to see it in 4e?
Well... Intimidate is perfect for dealing with NPCs who you don't have to or want to deal with again, or who are already unfriendly or hostile to you. It's of a somewhat limited scope, certainly, but not useless as such.

As for 4e, I'd like to get more information about the other social skills first.
 

Imp

First Post
Intimidate should be more useful than it is in RAW 3rd edition. I've houseruled a few uses for it. For example, it should be more useful for getting enemies to surrender a fight, or flee. "DROP. YOUR. SWORD."
 


Pale Jackal

First Post
Diplomacy may be superior to Intimidate, but unless your DM allows multiple characters to make the same roll (or allows 'assistance'), then you might as well take Intimidate to round out your options if someone else already has Diplomacy.

Some characters you won't deal with again, sometimes you won't be able to effect a compromise without some threat, and some characters who you are going to deal with again aren't going to put their neck on the line to get revenge. On occassion (sp?) Intimidate will backfire, but really, it shouldn't backfire that often.
 

FadedC

First Post
In 3.5 I think the primary use of intimidate was that it was the only social skill available to classes like fighters and barbarians. As a result many chose to take it.
 

wedgeski

Adventurer
I like Intimidate as a social skill with ramifications. There aren't really any consequences for being diplomatic (well, maybe the vicious warlord will think you're a wuss), but there can certainly be consequences for being heavy-handed or using veiled threats, both of which I consider as a DM to be part of an Intimidate check. It's also why I *tend* to make intimidation more effective than diplomacy, depending on the NPC involved, because the PC's are effectively making an enemy at the same time as getting what they want.
 

Edwin_Su

First Post
personaly i hope there wil be some kind of morale system in 4th, like there was in AD&D 2nd
Becouse in 3.x al enemies seem to be willing to fight to the death

if there woeld be a morale system it woeld be nice if a intimidate roll during combat woeld give a mob a penalty on the morale role to see if they flee

times when i think morale woeld be apropriate

like when al non minion mobs have died i think there shoeld be a big chance that any minions left woeld make a run for it.

When the thougest openint goes down realy fast ( their defender being gibbed by a few crits)

this woeld in my opinion be situatons where intimidate shoeld help convince the enemies that making a run for it might be a good choice
 

Torchlyte

First Post
wedgeski said:
I like Intimidate as a social skill with ramifications. There aren't really any consequences for being diplomatic (well, maybe the vicious warlord will think you're a wuss), but there can certainly be consequences for being heavy-handed or using veiled threats, both of which I consider as a DM to be part of an Intimidate check. It's also why I *tend* to make intimidation more effective than diplomacy, depending on the NPC involved, because the PC's are effectively making an enemy at the same time as getting what they want.

I think those ramifications should be mentioned when they describe what the skill is, but explicit rules would annoy me. Turning the ramifications of Intimidate into a plot hook could be fun, but the formulaic 3.x rules text for it was dumb.
 

FireLance

Legend
I think that for game purposes, Bluff, Diplomacy and Initimidate would be better balanced by re-defining them as:

Bluff: Getting the subject to do what you want by making him trust you.
Diplomacy: Getting the subject to do what you want by making him like you.
Intimidate: Getting the subject to do what you want by playing on his fears.

Under these new definitions, convincing someone of the truth when you have no proof is not a Diplomacy check, it's a Bluff check. If you're telling the truth, then the DC is simply based on how improbable your (true) story seems. If you happen to be lying, then you also have to beat the subject's Insight check.

Similarly, painting a dire scenario of what could happen if the subject does not do what you ask him to do should be an Intimidate check, not a Diplomacy check. Threatening to personally do violence to the subject or his family members is only one way in which Intimidate could be used, and the one most likely to have only a short-term effect and/or to backfire. Suggesting to the Duke that the gnolls are going to invade his domain next unless he sends troops to help the neighboring barony fight off their invasion would be an Intimidate check that would not have short-term effects or make him ill-disposed to the intimidator.

However, if these new definitions are used, the skills may need re-naming to better reflect what they actually do. ;)
 

Raduin711

Adventurer
I think there should be limits to how useful social skills can be used in various social situations. There is a time and place for diplomacy, and a time and place for intimidation.

Suppose someone is at 1 hp and in the mouth of the villain's Rancor. Intimidating the villain is NOT going to work. I don't care if your half-orc's muscles are the size of texas, and has a rank of 3 bajillion, and rolled a natural 20, and the villain's HD is 1.

The problem in 3e is it put too much stock in bonuses and penalties. The 3e solution for the DM in the above situation would have to apply a penalty of 3 bajillion and 20 in order to counteract the absurd roll, which has players crying foul. And the players are right... DM's shouldn't apply penalties like that. And the DM is also right; the Intimidation attempt was absurd and metagamey.

I think 4e's solution is a sight better. Rather than asking the DM to conjure situation penalties out of his butt to describe the situation, it simply allows DMs to control what skills are appropriate. Now let's say the player somehow manages to manufacture a situation where he can intimidate the duke into providing military assistance/money/etc. all while inside the duke's keep, with the PC's surrounded by guards that won't arrest them as soon as they leave the duke's presence (I mean, seriously) then sure, the DM can bend things. With this system, what social skills are useful is the DM's perogative, and now the difference between diplomacy and intimidation is more than merely mechanical.
 

Torchlyte

First Post
FireLance said:
I think that for game purposes, Bluff, Diplomacy and Initimidate would be better balanced by re-defining them as:

Bluff: Getting the subject to do what you want by making him trust you.
Diplomacy: Getting the subject to do what you want by making him like you.
Intimidate: Getting the subject to do what you want by playing on his fears.

Under these new definitions, convincing someone of the truth when you have no proof is not a Diplomacy check, it's a Bluff check. If you're telling the truth, then the DC is simply based on how improbable your (true) story seems. If you happen to be lying, then you also have to beat the subject's Insight check.

Similarly, painting a dire scenario of what could happen if the subject does not do what you ask him to do should be an Intimidate check, not a Diplomacy check. Threatening to personally do violence to the subject or his family members is only one way in which Intimidate could be used, and the one most likely to have only a short-term effect and/or to backfire. Suggesting to the Duke that the gnolls are going to invade his domain next unless he sends troops to help the neighboring barony fight off their invasion would be an Intimidate check that would not have short-term effects or make him ill-disposed to the intimidator.

However, if these new definitions are used, the skills may need re-naming to better reflect what they actually do. ;)

What if you're lying about something they might be afraid of?

Perhaps they should be rolled into one skill and represent different levels of difficulty. From personal experience, I know that a good debater is often a good liar. It's just harder to convince someone based on facts you invented, because you don't have (at least as many) true details to rely on.

Raduin, please don't bring the Duke to this thread. He needs to stay in that other one.
 
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Plane Sailing

Astral Admin - Mwahahaha!
FireLance said:
Bluff: Getting the subject to do what you want by making him trust you.
Diplomacy: Getting the subject to do what you want by making him like you.
Intimidate: Getting the subject to do what you want by playing on his fears.

re: diplomacy - someone doesn't have to like you in order to agree with the negotiated settlement you've proposed.

My personal definitions would be

Bluff: Deceiving someone into doing what you want
Diplomacy: Persuading someone to do what you want with logic and evidence
Intimidate: Coerce someone to do what you want with threats (real or implied)
 

incantator

First Post
It looks to me as though the OP might have a deficit of imagination if he can't imagine a situation where Intimidate might be more useful or where another standard social skill would not be allowed and Intimidate would be the best option. For example:

A small pack of wolves have surrounded and are threatening to devour a weak person, whom the PCs want to protect. Directly attacking the wolves would not ensure the weak person's safety because they are close enough to strike before anyone could get there. Diplomacy would obviously not have any effect, since the wolves would not understand any language. Intimidation, however, is not necessarily a language based means of communication and would work to drive the wolves back a bit. Other characters might use the Nature or Stealth skills to help succeed in rescuing the weak person. Intimidate, though has the advantage of being used in quite a few social encounters as well as the possibility of being on one's class list to pick up for free. The other advantage of the Intimidate skill is that it is a fun skill for some people to roleplay.
 

arscott

First Post
I feel that appealing to fear should be an intimidate check.

But appealing to fear is not the same as appealing to caution, or appealing to worries, or appealing to a pragmatic sense of self-preservation.

If you use logic to demonstrate that the target has a good reason to be afraid, that's a diplomacy check, not an intimidate check.

I'd also like to see innuendo back in the game, to broaden the range of social skills (with skill challenges, I see them getting a lot more important), and to make diplomacy less of a catch-all.
 

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