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Old 07-14-2010, 10:06 PM   #31
David Johnston2
 
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Default Re: Rolelaying (Verbal) Intimidation - seeking various examples

Quote:
Originally Posted by vicky_molokh View Post

Well I'll give it a shot.
[list][*]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.
"Y'know, a guy who doesn't know his way around might just find himself taking a wrong turn into the river. Happens all the time. They pull floaters out of the river every week, knowwhatimean? "

Quote:
[*]A scientist or mage telling some soldier/warrior not to touch anything in her lab.
"If you have any desired to father children or retain both of your hands, don't touch anything."

Quote:
[*]A high beaureaucrat telling some overconfident 'adventurers'/PIs/jocks to not mess with him.
"Do you have the remotest concept of the myriad ways in which I can make your life difficult? I assume you'd rather not have not have your taxes audited, your license revoked and vans full of nosy secret police trying to spy on you?"


Quote:
[*]One noble or diplomat making a subtle threat at another, in an attempt to get some political favor.
"Lady Grey is a delightful hostess, isn't she?"

Depending on why the other noble was visiting Lady Grey, no more need be said.

Quote:
[*]A potential crime victim threatening to call the caps - in a way that makes it a real deterrent.
"Back off! All I have do is speed dial and there's some bored cops at that 45th street speed trap who'll be up your --- in 30 seconds!"

Quote:
[*]A shaman talking down a skeptical fellow warrior - or a modern skeptic.
There's a nasty intimidation penalty there but:

"The spirits whisper to me that(secret that the person would rather not have spread around or will have trouble figuring out how the shaman guessed it.). Do you think they speak truthfully?"
Quote:
[*]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'.
"Yes of course. There's a rational explanation for everything. You cling to that certainty like a child hiding under his blankets from the dark. People fear that which they can not see, and so they pretend that there is nothing unseen. Only what is in front of you exists, and it ceases to exist the moment you turn your back. But what's behind you now?"

Quote:
[*]Whatever GURPS IOU puts under the Intimidation part of Blackmail.
"Don't worry. We're friends, and friends help each other out."

Quote:
[*]Whatever 'mental bullying' is under the Bully disadvsantage.
Well that could be anything

Quote:
[*]Whatever falls under Specious Intimidation.
My example of calling police would fall under that.
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Old 07-14-2010, 10:43 PM   #32
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Default Re: Rolelaying (Verbal) Intimidation - seeking various examples

In my fantasy campaign, both the principal warrior and the merchant/rogue type use Intimidation frequently. The warrior would often try to use it against foes with very high Will+Fearlessness and didn't buy up the skill for a long time, so it's not until recently that he started to see some success from it. The merchant, meanwhile, simply relied on his default from Acting, given his massive bonuses for Smooth Operator and supporting skills.

Now, the Intimidation attempts of the brash young warrior would tend to be simple and accompanied by physical displays.

Some examples:

While sailing away from a horde of orcs, an orcish spearman of more ambition than honour or sense sent his weapon flying at very long range*. The warrior saw it coming, and accepting the penalty to his Parry Missile Weapons skill, he caught it with a gloved hand. He then sent it flying back, piercing the thigh of the orc. Then he shouted his own name with Penetrating Voice as he lifted his massive arms above his head to demonstrate mighty thews, the envy of many orcs. That concluded the Intimidation attempt.**

While walking the streets of a foreign city with a female adventuring companion, he was set upon by some local bravos, swaggering with long rapiers and stylish cloaks. They were clearly looking for an excuse to duel, but the warrior had learnt enough wisdom in several years of adventuring to avoid fighting just for the sake of fighting. Unfortunately, one of them felt the need to slander his companion's gender and her pride would not suffer walking away. Trying to avert a bloody brawl, the warrior gave them a look which attempted to convey the fact that he had slain dragons and giants since he last felt threathened by a mere bravo and growled: "You don't know what you risk. You're housecats tangling with tigers!"

When he found himself followed while being driven in a carriage along the street, he asked the driver to pass under the shadowy foilage of a large tree, whereupon he disembarked as quietly as he could. He then sprinted for the alley in which he saw his pursuer and tackled him vigorously. Upon having him pinned, the warrior didn't waste time or words in convincing him to spill the goods. A simple "Talk!" was enough, if packed with enough venom and accompanied by a meaningful squeeze that demonstrated the extreme difference in strength between captor and captive.

Acting as a combination of vigilante and private detective, the young warrior and his sly roguish friend had forced their way into a rooming house where two men whom they suspected of complicity in some plot they were unravelling sat and talked. A single growl of "Stay!" sufficed to render them immobile and utterly cowed.


The rogue uses Intimidate very differently. When presented with physical threats, he prefers acting meek and non-threathening and then striking first while the other side is not aware that there is a fight on. He will keep striking until there is no more fight, or threat.

But he'll use Intimidate in his business dealings. How he does it is usually to obtain compromising information about a business rival, break into his home and enter his private sanctum, where he sleeps, and then proceeding to carry out a perfectly civil negotiation without ever mentioning that if his intentions were less than peaceful, he would not have bothered waking them. The thing is, he doesn't need to mention it.

He also considers it crude to actually threathen to expose compromising facts. He simply makes people aware that he knows them, preferably by showing them copies of evidence. And then he changes the subject and starts talking about the mutually beneficial contract that he wants signed.

*Orcs are generally stronger than humans and grey orcs, which this one was, also have more arm strength. Hitting a man-sized target at this range would be an admirable feat for an orcish tribal warrior and orcs would be very surpised to see any human replicate it.
**The effect, in this case, was actually to generate a positive reaction from the rest of the orcs. This human warrior had demonstrated valour and respect for his orcish foes in the battle preceding this and when one of the tribe acted dishonourably by violating a truce, the human showed admirable skill and strength in punishing him in a very orcish way. Should this tribe face him again, they will be more disposed to treat him honourably.
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Old 07-14-2010, 11:02 PM   #33
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Default Re: Rolelaying (Verbal) Intimidation - seeking various examples

Quote:
Originally Posted by vicky_molokh View Post
  • A high beaureaucrat telling some overconfident 'adventurers'/PIs/jocks to not mess with him.
If he's too high he won't scare anyone.
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Old 07-15-2010, 12:41 AM   #34
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Default Re: Rolelaying (Verbal) Intimidation - seeking various examples

Again, the same line could seem sinister and terrifying when deliver by someone who manages to appear credible and completely ridiculous when delivered by someone who does not. It's very much a matter of reputation, of body language, of circumstance and even of surroundings. But if we imagine the following to be successfully delivered (a matter for the dice, of course), they would not hurt my suspension of disbelief.

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.

Sidling up to the noble, intruding on his personal space: "Up there, you got laws an' fancy talk. Down here, that don't count for nuthin'." Revealing a small knife poised to enter a very personal part of the noble's anatomy. "Down here we got me... an' my sticker." A pause while the thug looks into the noble's eyes without pity, empathy or even interest. Just a cold determination. "Go back to where you come from."

A scientist or mage telling some soldier/warrior not to touch anything in her lab.

Before the soldiers ever come into the lab, the scientist/mage meets them clad in a white lab coat (or full mage regalia). With a curt and official manner, he explains the numerous dangers of the substances and forces that his lab experiments are concerned with. He graphically describes the effects of VX gas or rogue thaumaturgical discharges on the unprotected human. He makes the point that even a minor error in lab security protocols might cause painful injury or sickness over a period of weeks. Then he explains those protocols, in detail, ending with: "In short, gentlemen, do not touch anything without my express permission."

The key here is to make the soldiers feel that they've entered an unfamiliar and dangerous situation and that their best hope of retaining good health is to listen to the expert in charge.

A high beaureaucrat telling some overconfident 'adventurers'/PIs/jocks to not mess with him.

"Have you thought this through? You realise that even touching me is assault, punishable by years of hard labour? Is this worth that to you?" If the initial danger of violence seems to subsist, he continues: "Let me explain to you your position. If you kill me, you will be hunted men. And the Duke's men are very good hunters. If you attack me without killing me, I have ways of making your lives miserable. Licences will not be forthcoming. Tax inspectors will demand evidence for even the smallest thing. The watch will hassle you in the streets. Nobles will refuse to meet with you. In short, gentlemen, you will be unable to enjoy the fruits of success in any way. I can see that you know that I'm telling the truth."

"There is another option, however. Cooperation has many benefits..."


One noble or diplomat making a subtle threat at another, in an attempt to get some political favor.

This usually relies on one of them knowing something dangerous or embarrassing about the other. For example, in early 18th century Scotland, one noble might remark to another: "'tis a pity that the King was not here to see His Grace's toast. His Majesty should be glad to see such effusive evidence of Your Grace's loyalty."

A potential crime victim threatening to call the caps - in a way that makes it a real deterrent.

When confronted by a threat of theft or violence short of murder, it can be effective to raise the stakes.

"Are you a murderer, Alan Lane? Because you'd have to be. If you don't kill me, I will press charges. And you will go to prison. Is this so important to you that you are willing to give up your freedom?"

A shaman talking down a skeptical fellow warrior - or a modern skeptic.

"The great warrior Ulele does not believe in curses. He is strong and healthy. No spirits will make him sick; no slithering snake will bite him as he sleeps. His might and power is such that he spits in the face of the spirits. Ulele fears nothing, no man and no spirit. And because he does not fear, Ulele thinks, Ulele knows, he will not be harmed. Aye, Ulele is great and strong and unfraid."

"How strong is Ulele's young son? How unafraid his baby daughter?"


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'.

"I can see what you are thinking. You think that showmanship may work on the credulous, but with scientific thinking, all of what I do can be shown to work because people want to believe it works. You think that extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. You think that the supernatural, by definition, does not exist and any worldview which attempts to claim that it does is mere wooly thinking. You think, in short, that you know that I cannot harm you."

The magic user performs a very minor magical trick to create a slithering noise behind the sceptic, or perhaps a phantom touch.

"Think again."

Whatever GURPS IOU puts under the Intimidation part of Blackmail.

"I don't think I have to tell you how much these pictures would hurt your wife. Look through them, don't be afraid. I have many copies."

"Imagine her pain as she sees you, her beloved, her trusted husband... doing these things. If you love her at all, you will want to spare her that pain."


Whatever 'mental bullying' is under the Bully disadvsantage.

A new employee reports to work for his first day. After orientation, a higher-ranking person with Bully meets him in the hallway.

"Good morning. My name is Jack Straw and I was just hired in Accounts."

"Good morning, sir."

"Uh, what?"

"You call me 'sir'."

"Uh, okay, sir."

"Now say it properly."

"Say what, sir?"

"Say what you were saying earlier, except now you say it correctly."

"Eh, good morning, sir. As I was saying earlier, I'm Jack Straw, new guy in Accounts."

"Bugger off, Jack."


Whatever falls under Specious Intimidation.

"Yeah, there's ten of you. And you have guns, while I only have this suitcase. But you know what? I've never felt so free!

[crazy smile]

"In this suitcase, there are 2 lbs. of Semtex wrapped around 6 lbs. of loose bolt bearings. The blast should kill everyone on this floor and cause carnage in the street outside. All I have to do is release this button, you see?"

"You don't think I'd do it? You've taken everything from me. My self-respect, my reason to live, everything. Why wouldn't I do it? What do I have to lose anymore?"

"So go on. Give me a reason. Anything. Hesitate when I order you. Make a sudden move. Say something wrong. Anything. Do it! I dare you!"
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Last edited by Icelander; 07-15-2010 at 01:20 AM.
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Old 07-15-2010, 01:39 AM   #35
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Default Re: Rolelaying (Verbal) Intimidation - seeking various examples

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Originally Posted by NineDaysDead View Post
No, we aren't, there's no reason to be limited to the example you gave, blackmail is often illegal for example. Threatening to expose a diplomat who has been embezzling from his own government would would a diplomatic form of intimidation. Or exposing any other form of dirt.
Of course we can make further examples, and of course we're back to square one. My point is that _diplomats_ do not intimidate other diplomats. The course of action you describe above is not a diplomatic course of action. It is perfectly realistic and did happen, but it would be carried out by intelligence services, secret polices or other parties like those, not by diplomats.
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Old 07-15-2010, 01:41 AM   #36
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Default Re: Rolelaying (Verbal) Intimidation - seeking various examples

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Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post
Maybe not but thugs attending summits do:
"Little Birds better be careful where they sing."
Joseph Stalin, Yalta Feb. 1945
Well, yes, politicians and rulers aren't diplomats.
"The German ministers were pitiless. They literally hunted Dr. Hacha and M. Chvalkovsky round the table on which the documents were lying, thrusting them continually before them, pushing pens into their hands, incessantly repeating that if they continued in their refusal, half Prague would lie in ruins from aerial bombardment within two hours, and that this would be only the beginning. Hundreds of bombers were awaiting only the order to take off, and they would receive that order at six in the morning if the signatures were not forthcoming by them." (M. Coulondre, French Ambassador in Berlin, to M. Georges Bonnet, Minister for Foreign Affairs. Berlin, March 17, 1939.)
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Old 07-15-2010, 02:17 AM   #37
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Default Re: Rolelaying (Verbal) Intimidation - seeking various examples

Some of the examples proposed were really a pleasure to read. I'd like to point out, however, that for some of them the intimidating character needs knowledge first; one can threaten a nobleman with blackmail only if he does know the potentially embarrassing information. One might even say that the character to be intimidated in this way needs a Secret in the first place.

Other examples rely, as mentioned by vicky molokh in the first post, on extra rolls (with a risk of failing them). An actual magical feat in a low-mana world will obviously impress the skeptic - if it works.

So, some modest attempts at making do without actual information and without additional rolls:

Bureaucrat: "Let me write your names down. Then I'll make a few calls; there is no office I haven't a friend in. I'm sure you've met red tape before, but all of what you've seen till now wasn't deliberate. What you'll be facing from now on will be specifically targeted at you; you'll drown in it". (Note there is no need to know what specific licenses or permits the characters need).

Voodoo practitioner: "You're sure it's all an illusion. Would you bet all your nights' peaceful sleep on that certainty? Mind you, all your nights, from tonight to your death. Have you ever met any wretched soul suffering from chronic insomnia?" (No rolls to create unsettling phenomena).

Nobleman or IOU: "Do you remember Lord/Councillor/Dean Illstarred? The one who had to resign because of that filthy affair? Well, I'll tell you he was framed. He had done nothing wrong, he was straight as a die - just like you!" (No need for any actual wrongdoing).
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Old 07-15-2010, 06:42 AM   #38
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Default Re: Rolelaying (Verbal) Intimidation - seeking various examples

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Originally Posted by Johnny1A.2 View Post
Now, if you're being realistic, there's a problem with verbal intimidation in a realistic situation that rarely crops up in fiction: it can work too well, and scare the subject so bad he does something really bad for the intimidator. If the little guy you're looming over is really convinced you're about to break his bones, he might decide it's worth going to jail to avoid it and pull out his Saturday Night Special and ventilate you, you're dead not because he's so brave but because he was so very scared of you.

Or he might panic and swing at your with something...and in a realistic situation, there's always that chance of the critical success and you're in deep crap. You see this in real life once in a while, there was an incident not too long ago where a very old man beat up a scary 20-something thug that was way bigger and stsronger than he was, he landed a good hard blow with his cane which hurt enough to slow the guy down, and a few more hits with that heavy wooden stick had Mr. Thug pleading for the cops to come.
Those are not successes on Intimidation vs an NPC - those are failures. Screwing up by scarring him into defensive action is still screwing up, and you still get the Very Bad reaction instead of the Good one. The Intimidation skill even lists the possibility of a Good reaction from someone who ISN'T frightened ("Ha, you got nerve kid. I like your style." kind of thing)

Punishing players for being good at things is pretty damn malicious and adversarial on the part of the GM. And frankly, means the GM is a jerk.

I had a GM once say that because I rolled well on Jumping, and had magic items that gave me a few levels of Super Jump (That I was quite familiar with using and didn't have any curses on them), and a high Jumping skill, that I lept right over the airship I was trying to leap aboard and broke my legs when I smashed into the ground on the other side. That's not a Critical Success kind of result.
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Old 07-15-2010, 07:01 AM   #39
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Default Re: Rolelaying (Verbal) Intimidation - seeking various examples

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Originally Posted by Johnny1A.2 View Post
Depending on how realistic you want it, Dirty Harry is not terribly believable as intimidation. In fct, a lot of movie-screen verbal intimidation scenes don't work well off-screen.
Could you expand on that comment?
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Old 07-15-2010, 07:03 AM   #40
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Default Re: Rolelaying (Verbal) Intimidation - seeking various examples

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
Whatever 'mental bullying' is under the Bully disadvsantage.

A new employee reports to work for his first day. After orientation, a higher-ranking person with Bully meets him in the hallway.

"Good morning. My name is Jack Straw and I was just hired in Accounts."

"Good morning, sir."

"Uh, what?"

"You call me 'sir'."

"Uh, okay, sir."

"Now say it properly."

"Say what, sir?"

"Say what you were saying earlier, except now you say it correctly."

"Eh, good morning, sir. As I was saying earlier, I'm Jack Straw, new guy in Accounts."

"Bugger off, Jack."
Okay, now I'm completely confused. I don't understand how this dialogue can influence Jack, aside from ******* him off.
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