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Old 05-05-2016, 11:09 PM   #31
Johnny1A.2
 
Join Date: Feb 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?
Depends on how you look it.

In cinematic setting, he might well be able to trash-talk or cold-confidence his way out of a tight spot the way we see in the movies all the time. In that case, it's just a question of the die roll and game mechanics whether it works, and it doesn't have to make any more 'sense' than any action movie cliché.

Now, in real life, that occasionally really works, but the vast majority of the time someone with these stats and background trying it is likely to wake up in the emergency room or worse. There's no way around it, in a realistic game/story, it's dangerous for this character to try to use Intimidation, even more so than it is for a big, tough-looking guy.

But...in a realistic setting, IQ and intimidation are not just point-specific. For ex, this guy is supposed to be very smart. So what form does Intimidation take in his case? What is 'smart' in this context?

Well, he could take the time to learn to use a weapon well, and be seen practicing with it in places where word would get out. Even if he it totally bluffing about actually using it on a human, that might make him seem a bit more scary/nervous-making than otherwise.

Or, he could cultivate relationships with people who do have the ability to retaliate in his name, and under such circumstances that word gets out. If everyone in town thinks Big Jake Jones owes our guy a favor, then whether it's true or not it's something to make casual trouble-makers think twice.

"Yeah, we could break him in two, but Jake's guys would put us in wheelchairs tomorrow if we do!"

Also, this guy ought to try to arrange situations so trouble tends to arise in situations where he can back it up. If he has to meet with Trouble, if he can arrange it, it would make sense for him to set things up so the meeting happens across the street from the police station.

The point is that this is a role playing challenge, and it isn't confined to the actual moment of truth. If he waits until the goons show up to start his prep, he probably won't be able to intimidate them. If he took reasonable steps to prepare beforehand, if laid plans and precautions as an IQ 19 guy might be expected to do, then he might be able to carry it off even in a realistic situation.

(Esp. if he's content for Trouble to back off and doesn't push his luck.)
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Old 05-06-2016, 02:26 AM   #32
joppeknol
 
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Default Re: Just How Am I Intimidating?

I'm currently viewing BBC's 'Sherlock Holmes' on Netflix. I think he is an example of intimidating by high IQ, when he is making his ridiculously complex inferences based on very small details.

It does mean that your GM has to accept the chains of inference you make when talking.

'Yes you think you want to hit me? What does your girl-friend think of this? Yes I can see you have a non-violent girlfriend. There is some hair on your sleeve which is clearly from a Main-Coone. I also see some bruises from a passionate kiss in your neck. Psychological research has proven that girls who have dark-grey Main-Coones almost alway have an aversion to violence. She also has...'

(My average IQ is failing me now, but I hope you get the gist).
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Old 05-06-2016, 03:26 AM   #33
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Default Re: Just How Am I Intimidating?

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Originally Posted by joppeknol View Post
I'm currently viewing BBC's 'Sherlock Holmes' on Netflix. I think he is an example of intimidating by high IQ, when he is making his ridiculously complex inferences based on very small details.

It does mean that your GM has to accept the chains of inference you make when talking.

'Yes you think you want to hit me? What does your girl-friend think of this? Yes I can see you have a non-violent girlfriend. There is some hair on your sleeve which is clearly from a Main-Coone. I also see some bruises from a passionate kiss in your neck. Psychological research has proven that girls who have dark-grey Main-Coones almost alway have an aversion to violence. She also has...'

(My average IQ is failing me now, but I hope you get the gist).
I've been meaning to watch that show. Sherlock Holmes is a good example of what ridiculously high IQ might look like. Another example is Doctor Who as mentioned earlier in this thread. Both are cinematic examples.

For a more realistic portrayal of high intimidation without the physique to back it up would be Frank Underwood (or Claire Underwood for that matter) from House of Cards.
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Old 05-06-2016, 04:14 AM   #34
Tomsdad
 
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Default Re: Just How Am I Intimidating?

One other thing the kind of situation we're describing here is also likely Specious Intimidation as per the write up.
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Old 05-06-2016, 06:42 AM   #35
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Default Re: Just How Am I Intimidating?

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One other thing the kind of situation we're describing here is also likely Specious Intimidation as per the write up.
It seems to be what we're exclusively talking about (though perhaps not everyone realizes there's a distinction?). A hulking, ST 20 character seems like he's the sort of character who can back up his threats. The idea that an ST 9 character would somehow have trouble thanks to the fact that he's ST 9 implies that he's not, for example, sitting in a tank with the barrel pointed out at someone, or that he has someone tied to a chair and has a razor inches from their eyes.

I doubt the OP would have such a hard time imagining how such a character could be intimidating then.
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Old 05-06-2016, 07:29 AM   #36
Tomsdad
 
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Default Re: Just How Am I Intimidating?

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It seems to be what we're exclusively talking about (though perhaps not everyone realizes there's a distinction?). A hulking, ST 20 character seems like he's the sort of character who can back up his threats. The idea that an ST 9 character would somehow have trouble thanks to the fact that he's ST 9 implies that he's not, for example, sitting in a tank with the barrel pointed out at someone, or that he has someone tied to a chair and has a razor inches from their eyes.

I doubt the OP would have such a hard time imagining how such a character could be intimidating then.
Which kind of makes the point that the situation and other character factors are rather more important than IQ and therefore default Will.
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Old 05-06-2016, 01:06 PM   #37
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Default Re: Just How Am I Intimidating?

Intimidation does not have to be physical. It can come from any psychological pressure.
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Old 05-06-2016, 02:13 PM   #38
ArchonShiva
 
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Default Re: Just How Am I Intimidating?

Intimidation doesn't mean that the threat is you. You could point out excellent, true reasons why attacking you is a bad idea.

"You've heard of my friends, they are powerful, and hold a grudge. They will find you and kill you.

"I see you have plasma weapons. Have you ever fired plasma weapons inside a space station? Obviously you haven't, just from the number of limbs you still have attached."

Or, just get the fortress gates wide open, sit down, and start playing the flute.

* I don't have IQ 19, so exact examples might need work.
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Old 05-06-2016, 02:28 PM   #39
Ulzgoroth
 
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Default Re: Just How Am I Intimidating?

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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.
Regardless of which word you put in bold, both words are still in the phrase and ignoring the one that isn't emphasized is a problem.
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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 think that if it is impossible to scare the subjects under the circumstances (which should be used extremely sparingly) that obviously means that Intimidation fails, so you have no Good reaction to justify.

And "looking ready to fight", again, should not require any aptitude for Intimidation, otherwise characters who are ready to fight will end up involuntarily disguising this fact. Though allowing Intimidation to stand in for Acting to look ready to fight when that doesn't come naturally might make sense.
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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.
The sneeze is no more under your voluntary control than the target's behavior is, but the point is about taking a successful roll and narrating that the character fundamentally failed at what they attempted and got a good outcome anyway by accident. Something about the shot being awful but ricocheting onto the target anyway could substitute for the sneeze.


I submit that those penalties are already forced. Unfazable means automatic failure on Intimidate, Fearlessness subtracts from your roll, and of course you're in a contest with their Will. Factors that say you can't scare them also say you can't intimidate them, to exactly the same extent.
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Old 05-06-2016, 03:41 PM   #40
Railstar
 
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Default Re: Just How Am I Intimidating?

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...snip...
Your reply comes across as ignoring the points I was seeking to clarify more than would make sense for a simple miscommunication, which has happened before, so I'm going to drop it there because I do not see continuing the discussion as constructive. In my mind if Intimidation relies purely on fear it becomes a far more limited skill, and the idea that someone is impressed rather than frightened by a threat does not strike me as fundamentally failing.
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