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%

GoodKingJayIII

First Post
Cadfan said:
Specifically, you were talking about a character with 1 hp remaining, currently situated between the jaws of the villain's pet Rancor, trying to intimidate someone.

Yep, that's the one. Like I said, exceedingly difficult. So difficult, in fact, that only a high level character built for intimidation would have a shot, and a remote one at that.
 
Last edited:

log in or register to remove this ad

Simon Marks

First Post
So, using an example from 3.5, if I have a base of +77 to my diplomacy role then anyone I can talk to is my friend?

Or are some things not swayed by Diplomacy?

If some things are not swayed by Diplomacy, surely some things are not forced into helping you with Intimidate?

Intimidate (like Diplomacy) is not a non-magical form of dominate.
 

Hella_Tellah

Explorer
I'd rather have Intimidate and Diplomacy have very informal rules. I'd make them both "attacks" versus will defense, with the stipulation that the DM should modify the NPC's will defense based on the NPC's personality, the quality of roleplaying that accompanies the roll, and the overall situation.

Here's the amount of game text I'd be happiest with:

"Intimidate: Opposed by the target's will defense. On a successful roll, the target is intimidated. DMs should determine what "intimidated" means in the context of the encounter, and should modify the target's will defense against the attempted intimidation based on the target's personality, the roleplaying that accompanies the roll, and the overall situation. Players can attempt to intimidate other players, but the targeted player is free to determine what it means for her character to be intimidated."

That's pretty much how I run it now. I expect, though, that WotC would include a table of modifiers, with listings of circumstances that could affect the roll. I'd ignore the table and make up modifiers on the spot, myself, but other people use their books more at the table than I like to.
 

Darkthorne

First Post
I believe as stated the OP is taking what has been shown out of context. At no point was it stated the target is "immune" to intimidate, but stated that the use of intimidate by the PC's would result in a failure for this specific instance. Assuming the OP's statements are 100% accurate is only adding to the confusion.
For example (genre change) if you wanted to get a Klingon to do something, I can see Intimidate, Bluff and Bribery (not sure what skill this would fall under) working exceptionally well, however I can see diplomacy tanking (failing) every single time (or at least most of the time). In some cultures baring your teeth is a sign of aggresion doesn't matter how good you are at diplomacy if you keep doing this then you are SOL. I fully like being able to decide ahead of time that one specific use of a skill will result in a single failure for each time used vs successes against that specific end goal
 

Felon

First Post
Darkthorne said:
I believe as stated the OP is taking what has been shown out of context. At no point was it stated the target is "immune" to intimidate, but stated that the use of intimidate by the PC's would result in a failure for this specific instance. Assuming the OP's statements are 100% accurate is only adding to the confusion.
For example (genre change) if you wanted to get a Klingon to do something, I can see Intimidate, Bluff and Bribery (not sure what skill this would fall under) working exceptionally well, however I can see diplomacy tanking (failing) every single time (or at least most of the time).
Yes, the OP was taking a lot out of context. As has been pointed out repeatedly, 4e has no skill points to waste, so not only his attempt at wit fairly lame, but it also demonstrates that he isn't speaking from a knowledgeable position.

FWIW, you probably don't even need to change genres. You could substitute orcs, hobgoblins, or gnolls for Klingons.
 

Kordeth

First Post
Felon said:
Yes, the OP was taking a lot out of context. As has been pointed out repeatedly, 4e has no skill points to waste, so not only his attempt at wit fairly lame, but it also demonstrates that he isn't speaking from a knowledgeable position.

FWIW, you probably don't even need to change genres. You could substitute orcs, hobgoblins, or gnolls for Klingons.

Umm--did you miss the part where the OP said Intimidate is a waste of skill points in 3.5 and asked for people's opinions of how it should be changed in 4E?
 

D'karr

Adventurer
Kordeth said:
Umm--did you miss the part where the OP said Intimidate is a waste of skill points in 3.5 and asked for people's opinions of how it should be changed in 4E?

Well, since there are no skill points in 4e, there is no waste. Problem solved.
 

Creamsteak

First Post
Some enemies are going to be more resistant to bluff and diplomacy than intimidate, I would think. For example, a captured enemy lieutenant is probably fairly hard willed and difficult to pull one over on. Intimidate might work better.
 



mlund

First Post
Intimidate strikes me as the ability you are most likely to use in order to cause other characters to become subordinate to your will.

Diplomacy and Bluff convince people to act of their own volition due in your favor due to deceptions or arguments.

Intimidate convinces people to act because they fear the consequences of not obeying you - be they physical ("Krunk breaks arms"), social ("You'll never work in this town again"), meta-physical ("Odin has no use for cowards in his feasting hall"), or situational ("If you don't do this we're all going to die!"). If your line of motivation can naturally end in "or else" you're probably (but not always) using Intimidate.

Intimidate is especially useful when dealing with folks who are insular, demented, or in denial as they are disinclined to actually listen to / believe anything they don't want to hear that comes across in a Bluff or Diplomacy attempt. This is why politicians do so well with empty or counter-productive promises of what amount to little more than petty bribes - no one wants to hear about the real costs and consequences involved in the deal.

- Marty Lund
Deputy Rules Monkey
 

Rel

Liquid Awesome
drjones said:
Whoops I wasted 20 seconds of my life reading this stupid misinformed poll.

IDEA: Next time don't waste any more of it posting a pointless threadcrap!

Everybody wins!
 

Wolfwood2

Explorer
D'karr said:
Well, since there are no skill points in 4e, there is no waste. Problem solved.

So instead it is (or potentially is not) a wasted trained skill pick. Come on, don't be deliberately obtuse.

I too often found 3.5 Intimidate to be a weak social skill. I think there were several problems with it.

1. Most situations where it would be a good idea to use Intimidate (that is, you don't care about the long term relationship) tended to begin with "roll for initiative".

2. Using Intimidate in combat was unrewarding.

3. No rules for long-term intimidation. Sometimes you can indeed scare someone so much that they stay scared even after you leave.

I'd like to see 4E fix these problems.
 

D'karr

Adventurer
Wolfwood2 said:
So instead it is (or potentially is not) a wasted trained skill pick. Come on, don't be deliberately obtuse.

But if you find the skill to be a waste, why would you spend your trained skill pick on it?

Most of the situations you have delineated are not a problem with the rules, but a problem with the DM, except for the issue with long term intimidation.

Mobsters have long term intimidation that they often use quite effectively (pay us for protection). The person intimidated usually has no way out of the situation. So I don't see a reason why the DM could not make a ruling the same way, even though the rules stipulate a short term intimidation. The problem with putting that into the rules is that it is completely situational.
 

thewok

First Post
I'm not sure if people are immune to Intimidate, so much as most uses of it. TO use the Duke as an example:

"The goblins are beating down at our kingdom's doorstep, and if you won't send troops to help, I swear to the gods I will run you through right here and find someone who will!"

Perfectly plausible Intimidate scenario. But, really, the duke didn't get his position by being a moron. All you've accomplished is to threaten the life of a noble in full view of a number of witnesses. He's not scared; he's laughing at how much of an idiot you are.

But try this one:

"We have begged and pleaded. Now we tell you. Send the troops, or my associate here will spill your daughter's blood all over your fine ... rug. Where did you get this, by the way? It's a wonderful piece of craftsmanship."

Another plausible Intimidation attempt. This one might work. If the Duke is a family man, he just might risk everything he holds to save the life of his daughter. However. The use of this tactic as Intimdation is evil, and a hero would never think to do so. A neutral person might employ it as a Bluff, but even a Chaotic Neutral (to use old-school alignment terms) wouldn't actually go about doing it.

That's what the difference is to me.

As far as 4E goes, I can't really say that I like how they are, or that I think they should change in such-and-such a way until I've actually played with the system a bit.
 

Wolfwood2

Explorer
D'karr said:
But if you find the skill to be a waste, why would you spend your trained skill pick on it?

Saying, "If it sucks don't take it," is not a valid answer to a criticism.

Most of the situations you have delineated are not a problem with the rules, but a problem with the DM, except for the issue with long term intimidation.

I can't blame a DM for running D&D in the way in which D&D is traditionally run. Saying that intimidation would be okay if D&D games were played in a different manner than they are is again, not a valid answer to criticism.

Can we just agree on the basic premise that Intimidation pretty much sucks in 3.5? Because if you won't even go that far with me, I guess there's nothing we can discuss. Our points of view are too far apart.
 

SteveC

Doing the best imitation of myself
This is a real example of how the RAW and GM interpretation may have a lot of room in 4E.

If I were playing in a game where people can be immune to Intimidate, or Intimidate isn't viewed to have a use in a social encounter, there's no way I'd buy it. As a skill you can use in combat only, it just isn't worth it. In cases like that, you basically have one social skill, diplomacy, which is fine.

I really hope that it doesn't turn into a case of "mother may I" where you can use Intimidate on some NPCs in a particular circumstance, but not others. That sort of situation frustrates me tremendously, and is why I really didn't play AD&D past first edition.

The worst possible situation is where you describe what you say to the NPC, and then the GM has you roll the skill he thinks is appropriate, and can thereby make your action automatically fail. Grrr.

The devil's in the details, we'll have to see how it plays out.

--Steve
 

Cadfan

First Post
Wolfwood2 said:
Can we just agree on the basic premise that Intimidation pretty much sucks in 3.5? Because if you won't even go that far with me, I guess there's nothing we can discuss. Our points of view are too far apart.
...

I want to agree with you.

But...

Ok, here's the thing about 3e Intimidate.

The 3e rules are allergic to vague crunch. It makes them break out in hives.

So things that would fit perfectly in other RPGs are verboten in 3e.

In another game, Intimidate would work something like this: "The DM sets a DC, and the player rolls an Intimidate check. If the PC is successful, the Intimidated NPC believes that the PCs threats are credible. This skill might be used to convince a small time thug to give the PCs information on a mob boss, or to scare off would be attackers."

And then the exact result of the Intimidation would be decided by the DM, using only that guideline and the DM's judgment of the situation.

This is how things work in lots of other RPGs.

But in 3e, they wanted to make it scientific. So they created a hierarchy of NPC behaviors, from Hostile to Friendly to, whatever, Fanboy or something, I never bothered using it. And they defined Intimidate by how it moved an NPC on that hierarchy. What they came up with was a skill that created an NPC that functioned as if Friendly, but which secretly hates and fears the PCs. They gave it a duration, since obviously a status effect change needs a duration, and called it a day.

So... within the framework of 3e rules design, Intimidate is entirely appropriate as is.

Its just a framework that many, myself included, feel is a bit inadequate for the more fluid world of NPC interaction. Or... maybe not inadequate, per se, but... incomplete.
 

UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
I think that most uses of bluff and intimidate should be all rolled in to diplomacy. They are negociating strategies and roleplayed out.

The use of intimidate would be pre-battle posturing, the ability to make a guy backdown by giving him a dirty look and loosening your sword in its scabbard. Also perhaps as a combat skill where if you drop the kobol chieftan in one blow (because of a critical), make an intimidate check and shake the rest of the warband for the encounter.
 


An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top