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Old 05-05-2016, 10:56 AM   #1
Minuteman37
 
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Default Just How Am I Intimidating?

Ok I have a character with 9ST, 10DX, 19IQ and 9HT. My disadvantages include selfless, charitable and pacifism: can't harm innocents. Because of that 19IQ I also have 19 Will and I decided to put a point into Intimidation.

So I'm here to ask you guys just how does this character have a 83% chance to scare off 25 armed goons bent on his destruction?

How in the narrative does this make any sense?
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Old 05-05-2016, 11:10 AM   #2
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Default Re: Just How Am I Intimidating?

Maybe you can scare off the brutes through some kind of math problem? More seriously though it does sound like there should be some kind of penalty if they know about those traits. Possibly your character uses his intelligence to convince them that he isn't a wimp. "I don't like fighting so run off now before I get angry." kind of thing. I mean your strength isn't so low as to be super obvious.
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Old 05-05-2016, 11:20 AM   #3
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Default Re: Just How Am I Intimidating?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minuteman37 View Post
Ok I have a character with 9ST, 10DX, 19IQ and 9HT. My disadvantages include selfless, charitable and pacifism: can't harm innocents. Because of that 19IQ I also have 19 Will and I decided to put a point into Intimidation.

So I'm here to ask you guys just how does this character have a 83% chance to scare off 25 armed goons bent on his destruction?

How in the narrative does this make any sense?
Well, in the first place, those goons aren't innocents.

He probably can't fight against them if it's only a question of avoiding being hurt—though he could dodge or parry their blows. But if he's trying to help someone else, he can use force against those who wrongfully try to stop him. And he can say, totally calmly, "I cannot permit you to hinder my mission," or "I cannot permit you to lose merit by harming me"—with such total dispassionate certainty that they all are given pause, and made to wonder if this is a guy they want to mess with. He can even say, "Please do not compel me to harm you."

There's a joke I was told long ago—it might have been by my grandmother, actually: A roughneck is travelling in the frontier lands of Ohio, and stops to ask for lodging at a farmhouse. And while he's there he realizes that the farmer is a Quaker. So he decides to have some fun: He behaves rudely at the dinner table, tugs at his host's beard, and gets fresh with his wife. And the farmer is patient with this for a long time. But eventually he gets up, goes to the fireplace, and takes down his rifle and points it at the ruffian; and he says, "Friend, I would not harm thee for all the world, but thee is standing where I am about to shoot."
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Old 05-05-2016, 11:22 AM   #4
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Default Re: Just How Am I Intimidating?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minuteman37 View Post
Ok I have a character with 9ST, 10DX, 19IQ and 9HT. My disadvantages include selfless, charitable and pacifism: can't harm innocents. Because of that 19IQ I also have 19 Will and I decided to put a point into Intimidation.

So I'm here to ask you guys just how does this character have a 83% chance to scare off 25 armed goons bent on his destruction?

How in the narrative does this make any sense?
Quote:
Originally Posted by B202
This is the skill of hostile persuasion. The essence of Intimidation is to convince the subject that you are able and willing, perhaps even eager, to do something awful to him.
It would seem to me you should be smart enough to convince your foes this is true. Obviously you aren't going to arm wrestle them into submission, but there are plenty of ways to make somebody believe they shouldn't cross you that don't involve physical harm.
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Old 05-05-2016, 11:29 AM   #5
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Default Re: Just How Am I Intimidating?

"Ahh, yes, you've caught me unarmed, unguarded, and you have me completely at your mercy."

"Or do you? What were you told about me? Would I really be unarmed, ungaurded, and without a plan? Now, hopefully they also told you that I deplore killing, so before I spring my arrangements, I'm going to give you the chance to leave. 10 seconds should be enough. One...."

EDIT: and the IQ 19 guy can pull it off a lot better than I can.
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Old 05-05-2016, 11:48 AM   #6
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Default Re: Just How Am I Intimidating?

I'll point back to this post as it still holds true.
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Old 05-05-2016, 12:01 PM   #7
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Default Re: Just How Am I Intimidating?

Fiction is full of examples of smart people intimidating thugs.

You know exactly what to say, and how to say it. You know (or can guess) their weaknesses as individuals, as a team, and as a subordinates in a bigger organization (if there is one). You know what they'll believe (both true and untrue), and can make them focus on the down side of crossing you.

Intimidating isn't just about flexing muscles. If you only think of it that way, then of course it won't make sense. But remember that it's a social skill, not an athletic or combat skill. Strength and reflexes don't much matter.

Intimidation is making someone believe that if they mess with you, something bad will happen to them -- indirectly as well as directly, later as well as immediately. Just shaking a fist is the least subtle form, not the only form.
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Old 05-05-2016, 11:51 AM   #8
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Default Re: Just How Am I Intimidating?

* stares unwavering into the thug's eyes and starts talking calmly and straightforwardly *

"I may be in your mind a ninty-five pound weakling. However, it only takes five pounds per square inch pressure on an area of six square centimeters area on the base of the neck to completely incapacitate someone, perhaps even putting them in a coma. I may not look it, but not only do I see the area on your neck right now, but if you grab me I'd be in a much better position to hit you. Oh, and just in case you're considering grabbing me by the neck, I should tell you there's sixteen pressure points on the wrist which can cause it to open against your will and in ways that are very uncomfortable for you. Just a little bit of pressure need be applied very precisely.

"And if you decide to shoot me, know that I have made prior arrangements in the event of my death so that not only all those connected to my demise will perish as my allies hunt you down, your families will also die. Your families' families will die. Your friends' and coworkers' families will die. Your families' friends' and coworkers' families will die. And those deaths will be on you, and happen before you die at the hands of my allies. You say I'm bluffing? Go ahead and find out."
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Old 05-05-2016, 11:53 AM   #9
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Default Re: Just How Am I Intimidating?

I recall the advice of a doorman.

"Ignore the posturing and loud ones. Keep an eye on the quiet little one at the back observing. He's the one that can give you real problems, he'll be the one carrying the knife."

I thought this was nonsense but I was on the other end of it once. I was the small quite one amongst a lot of bigger ones. We were accosted by a group of rowdies intent on some recreational violence. I was technically in charge so I felt I should be first to speak.

I pointed out that we were re-enactors that beat each other up for fun at the weekend, I pointed out the big one that could bench press a tractor, I pointed out the ex-army guy with the tattoos. I then pointed out that these big guys were standing behind me and that I was the one doing all the talking, so maybe they knew something that the rowdies didn't.

The rowdies shuffled a bit and then declaring that "He isn't worth it" they stumped off.

I think intimidation is mostly knowing the right buttons to press.
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Old 05-05-2016, 11:26 AM   #10
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Default Re: Just How Am I Intimidating?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minuteman37 View Post
Ok I have a character with 9ST, 10DX, 19IQ and 9HT. My disadvantages include selfless, charitable and pacifism: can't harm innocents. Because of that 19IQ I also have 19 Will and I decided to put a point into Intimidation.

So I'm here to ask you guys just how does this character have a 83% chance to scare off 25 armed goons bent on his destruction?

How in the narrative does this make any sense?
First, off your disadvantages don't really come into play as people attacking you don't get charity and aren't innocents.

Second, intimidation doesn't necessarily "scare off" goons. It can scare them, which provokes a defense mechanism. With big scary, violence prone goons staring down a little guy, that might be fight instead of flight.

Third, penalties for the situation always apply. A computer geek can be really intimidating when attacking you digitally. He's less threatening if you have him trapped in a prison cell that doesn't even have an outlet. For that matter, big scary dudes are less threatening when you have iron bars separating you.

Last, I would expect you used that IQ 19 to buy some useful skills. A physician or biochemist might threat them with what damage can be done to the human body. A politician or forensics guy would tell how he can get away with anything to anyone (ala Dexter). A computer guy might share how he's hacking into their lives or their family's lives to ruin them. A detective might share threaten to share his knowledge with the authorities.
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