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Old 07-14-2010, 01:55 AM   #1
vicky_molokh
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Default Rolelaying (Verbal) Intimidation - seeking various examples

Greetings, all!

So, I never roleplayed a character using Intimidation. Had one with a playable score, but never used it. I know, some people with direct me to Dirty Harry and stuff, but that doesn't seem to be helping: roleplaying is a primarily verbal (or even chat-textual) activity, so often it is only the description and the words that matter; also, things like picking someone up or other feats of strength are often a bad idea, as they require extra rolls to screw up; in FFRP (not GURPS, I know), feats of strength are even worse off, is it is considered a poplicy breach to unilaterally and automatically affect another character, while starting an intimidation attempt with a 'Me attempts to...' ruins the impression completely.

So, what are the examples and guidelines to verbal intimidation? I'm seeking out pretty varied ones, including but not limited to:
  • A street tough (which is not necessarily a big brute - could also be a skinny sneak with a high skill) 'warning' some yuppie(s)/noble(s) to stay out of his turf.
  • A scientist or mage telling some soldier/warrior not to touch anything in her lab.
  • A high beaureaucrat telling some overconfident 'adventurers'/PIs/jocks to not mess with him.
  • One noble or diplomat making a subtle threat at another, in an attempt to get some political favor.
  • A potential crime victim threatening to call the caps - in a way that makes it a real deterrent.
  • A shaman talking down a skeptical fellow warrior - or a modern skeptic.
  • A modern low-key mage/voodoo user/etc. scaring a modern skeptic - think Skeleton Key, but without the bells and whistles like mood music and the film director saying 'be scared now'.
  • Whatever GURPS IOU puts under the Intimidation part of Blackmail.
  • Whatever 'mental bullying' is under the Bully disadvsantage.
  • Whatever falls under Specious Intimidation.

Thanks in advance to all who answer
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Old 07-14-2010, 02:06 AM   #2
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Default Re: Rolelaying (Verbal) Intimidation - seeking various examples

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Originally Posted by vicky_molokh View Post
  • A scientist or mage telling some soldier/warrior not to touch anything in her lab.

This certainly counts. And six weeks later, he showed why it was a credible threat.
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Old 07-14-2010, 03:26 AM   #3
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Default Re: Rolelaying (Verbal) Intimidation - seeking various examples

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Originally Posted by vicky_molokh View Post
Greetings, all!



A street tough (which is not necessarily a big brute - could also be a skinny sneak with a high skill) 'warning' some yuppie(s)/noble(s) to stay out of his turf.

Thanks in advance to all who answer
tough/thief "Hey mister how tall are you?"
stranger "five ten"
tough/thief "How much do you weigh?"
stranger "what the hell has that got to do with you?"
tough/thief "Oh its not for me mister the casket maker likes some idea how big to build em is all"

quoted from an old west game i run.
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Old 07-14-2010, 03:50 AM   #4
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Default Re: Rolelaying (Verbal) Intimidation - seeking various examples

Here's a great example of verbal intimidation.
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Old 07-14-2010, 06:58 AM   #5
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Default Re: Rolelaying (Verbal) Intimidation - seeking various examples

Quote:
Originally Posted by vicky_molokh View Post
[*]A street tough (which is not necessarily a big brute - could also be a skinny sneak with a high skill) 'warning' some yuppie(s)/noble(s) to stay out of his turf.
It doesn't matter; the PCs won't listen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vicky_molokh View Post
[*]A scientist or mage telling some soldier/warrior not to touch anything in her lab.
It doesn't matter; the PCs won't listen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vicky_molokh View Post
[*]A high beaureaucrat telling some overconfident 'adventurers'/PIs/jocks to not mess with him.
Depends on the bureaucrat/nobleman/etc. If the NPC presents a credible threat, they present a credible threat. If they don't, they don't.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vicky_molokh View Post
[*]One noble or diplomat making a subtle threat at another, in an attempt to get some political favor.
See above.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vicky_molokh View Post
[*]A potential crime victim threatening to call the caps - in a way that makes it a real deterrent.
See above again. How is it is a real deterrent?

Quote:
Originally Posted by vicky_molokh View Post
[*]A shaman talking down a skeptical fellow warrior - or a modern skeptic.[*]A modern low-key mage/voodoo user/etc. scaring a modern skeptic - think Skeleton Key, but without the bells and whistles like mood music and the film director saying 'be scared now'.
Again - How?

Quote:
Originally Posted by vicky_molokh View Post
[*]Whatever GURPS IOU puts under the Intimidation part of Blackmail.[*]Whatever 'mental bullying' is under the Bully disadvsantage.[*]Whatever falls under Specious Intimidation.
Again - How?
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Old 07-14-2010, 07:04 AM   #6
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Default Re: Rolelaying (Verbal) Intimidation - seeking various examples

I play a lot of Dungeon Fantasy type games (in various systems) and I definitely play lots of big Barbarian types who are low on social finesse and high on muscles to flex. Intimidation tends to be the only social skill they're any good at, and only because of circumstantial bonuses (is gigantic, is carrying an axe the size of a volkswagon beetle car door, appears to be dressed in crudely-dismembered animal parts and the blood of his enemies, etc).

Verbal menace for these characters tends to be either very direct, or sort of an afterthought to underline whatever horrible thing they just did to the target's cohort. A simple, flatly stated "You next." goes a long way in the right situation, and if you're just opening up hostilities, I would totally accept a battlecry as the climax of an Intimidation attempt. The sort of posturing you see before a fight usually is Intimidation at it's most primal - get your aggression up, to both prepare yourself for a fight, and to try to scare your opponent into backing off before the fight starts.

Pulling back from a scene of imminent violence, if the character has already established themself to their audience as ready and capable to be violent (through a known history of violence, violent reputation, etc) a more-or-less direct threat can be perfectly effective. "Siddown or I'll tear your arms off." might be a touch of hyperbole (depends on how strong the character is) but as a GM I'd definitely allow an Intimidation roll to get the audience to "siddown". The explicit threat may surplus, of course - a bit of muscle tension goes a long way with the right physique.

I'm afraid I don't have any ideas for the more subtle "quiet menace" approach.
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Old 07-14-2010, 07:05 AM   #7
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Default Re: Rolelaying (Verbal) Intimidation - seeking various examples

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Originally Posted by Gold & Appel Inc View Post
It doesn't matter; the PCs won't listen.



It doesn't matter; the PCs won't listen.
The PCs could be scientists or thugs, you know.
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Old 07-14-2010, 07:10 AM   #8
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Default Re: Rolelaying (Verbal) Intimidation - seeking various examples

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Originally Posted by Gold & Appel Inc View Post
It doesn't matter; the PCs won't listen.

It doesn't matter; the PCs won't listen.
Even if the players choose to ignore that their characters have been influenced, the GM should still penalise them as discribed under "Influencing the PCs" basic page 359.
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Depends on the bureaucrat/nobleman/etc. If the NPC presents a credible threat, they present a credible threat. If they don't, they don't.
If they succeed with their influence roll, the the GM should describe them as presenting a credible threat.
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Old 07-14-2010, 07:14 AM   #9
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Default Re: Rolelaying (Verbal) Intimidation - seeking various examples

The best one I've seen recently is from another game. The character in question was mailed a letter containing a sniper round and the phrase: "Bullets are cheap."

Unfortunately, in this day and age intimidating words don't seem to do much (or everyone is ridiculously bad at it). We've all seen too many action movies where the intimidating fellow is taken down by a more intimidating fellow. Hell, half our hero's are determinators.

Of course, Serenity/Firefly Operatives are very good at deadpan intimidation. One with soliloquies of honor, one with just craziness.
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Old 07-14-2010, 07:17 AM   #10
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Default Re: Rolelaying (Verbal) Intimidation - seeking various examples

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It doesn't matter; the PCs won't listen.
PCs will listen after they loose the Intimidation vs Will contest and find themselves at a penalty in the area because their characters are nervous.
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