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Old 05-05-2016, 03:02 PM   #21
David Johnston2
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Default Re: Just How Am I Intimidating?

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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?
He doesn't. He has about a 40% chance because task difficulty modifiers are a thing and that's a -10 feat. And that's only if they give him enough time to explain to them why killing him would lead to their certain doom. Note that you've just described several iterations of The Doctor.

Specifically a character like that may be able to think of reasons why their murderous boss would be very upset that they didn't take him alive, explain that discharging their weapons in this location has a very high chance of causing an explosion, or just calmly say "I seem to be vastly outnumbered and yet I don't feel worried at all. Why is, that, do you suppose?"

Last edited by David Johnston2; 05-05-2016 at 03:10 PM.
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Old 05-05-2016, 03:08 PM   #22
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Default Re: Just How Am I Intimidating?

Two cinematic examples that leap to mind about a smaller person being intimidating are Ben Kingsley's character in "Sexy Beast" and Finch in "Person of interest" when he imitated a mercenary off the cuff.

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How did I not think of the Doctor
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Last edited by (E); 05-05-2016 at 03:19 PM.
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Old 05-05-2016, 03:10 PM   #23
Varyon
 
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Default Re: Just How Am I Intimidating?

Simply showing no apparent fear can go a long way, and a guy with Will 19 can manage that in spades. His small investment in the Intimidation skill means he knows how to leverage his eerie calm to make people think "Yeah, do not want to screw with that guy." In the web serial Zombie Knight, the main character successfully used Intimidation against a foe who surpassed him by so much it makes the 25-goons-vs-weakling look like a fair fight in comparison. He tried to back it up with some Acting, but actually failed that - his opponent knew he was lying, but was so put off by Hector's complete and utter lack of fear that he wasn't willing to take the risk that he might be wrong. In GURPS terms, Hector actually has a high Will and pretty decent ranks in Intimidation (most of which are justified as natural talent - his habit of speaking quietly and slowly due to nervousness actually makes him seem terrifying to many).

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I'll point back to this post as it still holds true.
I just wanted to say, that term "Thunder Eyes" very much describes one of my friends (who is probably the most actively intimidating person I've met) when he gets angry. He's also got a decent amount of Native American in him, so I can't help but wonder if there's a correlation there...

Last edited by Varyon; 05-05-2016 at 03:18 PM.
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Old 05-05-2016, 05:15 PM   #24
Tomsdad
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
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Default Re: Just How Am I Intimidating?

While I certainly agree attitude and behaviour is a huge part of it, I'd count that attitude and behaviour as basically what most of the intimidate skill is in fact. Intimidate is also one of those skills that has a lot of related ads and dis-ads for a good reason. But I'd also argue realistic intimidation has to be plausible, and specific to the situation.*

More over not all situations were intimidate is successfully used in real life is against people who are actually fully committed to doing the intimidator harm, a lot of it is warding off casual opportunism (but this is handled by situational mods)


Game wise very high stats will give you weird results, Will defaulting to IQ also potentially gives you weird results. All else being equal smarter people are not inherently more intimidating (or several other things that Will gives you). Of all the default attributes IQ/Will is the one I tend to decouple and vary the most in my games.

That said if you running IQ19 your already in pretty cinematic territory and well cinematic covers lots of tropes were less physically capable but fast talking smart heroes intimidate their way out of situations were realistically they'd just get their head kicked in or shot off (but that's no good for story progression or entertaining characterisation of course).


*the reality is I tend to quite often leverage intimidation off different stats and/or apply lots of mods depending on the situation.

It is very setting dependent though. In a cinematic campaign yes the space barbarians will stop to listen to The Time travelling medical practitioner's manic banter and be cowed by it. If he accidentally warps into are more realistic C10th campaign setting maybe he just gets his head spilt before he finishes his first sentence

Last edited by Tomsdad; 05-05-2016 at 05:27 PM.
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Old 05-05-2016, 05:18 PM   #25
Christopher R. Rice
 
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Default Re: Just How Am I Intimidating?

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Originally Posted by swordtart View Post
I just wanted to say, that term "Thunder Eyes" very much describes one of my friends (who is probably the most actively intimidating person I've met) when he gets angry. He's also got a decent amount of Native American in him, so I can't help but wonder if there's a correlation there...
There's a story behind it actually. This is a variation I of it. The one I heard involved being blindfolded when the boy went hunting because he if looked at someone he would destroy it. Thus "Thunder Eyes."
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Old 05-05-2016, 05:22 PM   #26
Tomsdad
 
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Default Re: Just How Am I Intimidating?

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Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
Simply showing no apparent fear can go a long way, and a guy with Will 19 can manage that in spades. His small investment in the Intimidation skill means he knows how to leverage his eerie calm to make people think "Yeah, do not want to screw with that guy." ...
Thing is he doesn't even need a small investment, just at Will 19 having shown no inclination to be intimidating he's defaulting to Intimidate 14 which is intimidating at a professional level ;-)

But as I said IQ/Will19 is pretty cinematic. (and TBF there are some alternative default rules that can mitigate this)


I guess my ultimate point to the OP is as the GM if you don't like it apply mods until you get to place where you are comfortable!
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Old 05-05-2016, 05:39 PM   #27
Anthony
 
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Default Re: Just How Am I Intimidating?

The way I interpret intimidate, which is not really RAW, is that intimidate requires a threat (which need not be physical), and successful intimidate helps choose an appropriate threat, and adjusts how credible people think the threat is.
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Old 05-05-2016, 07:37 PM   #28
jason taylor
 
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Default Re: Just How Am I Intimidating?

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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?
Except for the physical part, you have just described Raoul Wallenberg. He intimidated Nazis quite well.
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Old 05-05-2016, 08:50 PM   #29
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Default Re: Just How Am I Intimidating?

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That particular version is IIRC canonically supported and definitely has been encouraged, but I really think it's a bad idea to extend Intimidation in that way.

On the one hand, you should not need (and perhaps should not even benefit from) Intimidation just to stand bravely and look good doing it. A character who is outright incompetent at Intimidation can make a stand just as seriously and convincingly. I'd consider that more a matter of a circumstantial modifier to the Reaction Roll...the goon boss respects courage, you successfully showed it (or faked it with Acting) and came out with a Reaction result good enough that they decide not to have a fight after all.

On the other hand, it's undercutting Intimidation to rule that your success doesn't actually mean you intimidated the subject at all. Intimidation doesn't ensure terrified submission, certainly, but saying that an Intimidation attempt gives results by making the target like you is a bit like ruling that a success with Guns happens by sneezing just as you shot, which by freak chance results in the bullet going right where you wanted it to. Somebody might react to being intimidated by declaring the influencer to be "my sort of scum" or "brave, I'll give you that", but the successful Intimidation check deserves for that to be a face-saving way to back down rather than an honest statement of their motivation.
That depends on whether Intimidation is the skill of hostile persuasion or the skill of hostile persuasion. There's a major difference between the two. For instance, it is easily possible to scare someone too much, to the point that they stop cooperating and do something extremely dangerous out of desperation. I would think someone good at the Intimidation skill would be good at avoiding that, to ensure that the victim views cooperating as safer than taking the nuclear option.

I should have clarified the “looking ready to fight” since bravery and willingness to hurt people are not always the same thing, although the issue I have with that example comes from another direction – published adventures tend to have generic goons without covering what they do or don't respect. In that scenario I am working backwards, the logic goes “Successful Intimidate = Good reaction. Under these circumstances they should not be scared, but impressed is more plausible.” This would be making the goon boss respect courage retroactively to justify the Good reaction.

I would disagree with that analogy about Guns and sneezing: your description of Guns covers your actions, whereas your description of Intimidate describes someone else's reactions. I also think if Intimidate is only capable of scaring people (and not impressing them), that would undercut Intimidate by making it less useful as a skill because it would force penalties more often (although I made a mistake, I didn't realise Influence skills were always Quick Contests). However, I do like the idea of a compliment being a face-saving way to back down.
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Old 05-05-2016, 09:51 PM   #30
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Default Re: Just How Am I Intimidating?

This situation is why I restrict attributes to 15 for realistic campaigns.

For a cinematic game, that's a different story. A guy with an IQ of 19 has a default streetwise at expert level. He would know who these thugs respect and what names to drop to make it clear he shouldn't be messed with. The intimidation roll is just to make it seem believable.
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