Intimidation during combat

8 posts / 0 new
Last post
Please help me out. What are some uses for intimidation during combat?
Please help me out. What are some uses for intimidation during combat?

The primary one is to try to force bloodied enemies to surrender, but that's only officially in 4th Edition.

Aside from that, there are no official uses, though you might talk to your DM about combining skill-based challenges with combat. If he or she does that, then the uses for Intimidation could be just about anything: getting scared NPCs to aid you, getting doubtful enemies to back off, clearing the street of civilians, convincing someone to switch sides, impressing onlookers, as part of negotiation with someone (say the wizard whose creation you're engaged with fighting), etc.

Remember Intimidation isn't just about fear. It's about force of personality, which is why it's tied to Charisma in D&D. You can be intimidating even if you can't even make physical contact with the target, and you can fail to be intimidating even if you're capable of vaporizing an entire town.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

Remember Intimidation isn't just about fear. It's about force of personality, which is why it's tied to Charisma in D&D. You can be intimidating even if you can't even make physical contact with the target, and you can fail to be intimidating even if you're capable of vaporizing an entire town.



What Centauri said. Some additional thoughts:

On the DM side of the equation, I don't call for an Intimidate check unless the PCs actually have some kind of leverage. I then ask the players to explain the leverage and use it in context to influence the target. "We'll kill you if you don't do this thing" is a form of leverage if the monster's motivations include not being killed (which is arguably most intelligent monsters, provided escape's not an option).

So on the player side of the equation, try to make sure you can point to leverage before making the attempt. Even if your DM doesn't ask you like I do, it's good in-character justification for doing something and you're more likely to get the DM to go along with it.

For any decision or adjudication, ask yourself, "Is this going to be fun for everyone?" and "Is this going to lead to the creation of an exciting, memorable story?"

DMs: Dungeon Master 101  |  Session Zero  |  How to Adjudicate Actions  |  No Myth Roleplaying  |  5e Monster Index & Encounter Calculator
Players: Players 101  |  11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer  |  You Are Not Your Character  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs

Content I Created: Adventure Scenarios  |  Actual Play Reports  |  Tools  |  Game Transcripts

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

In 3.5 intimidate in combat is used to "demoralize opponent".  If an opposed intimidate check is successful then the opponent is shaken for 1 round meaning that all attacks, saving throws, and skill checks are at a -2.

There is in fact a feat called initimidating strike.  It works similar to power attack in that as a standard action you take a part of your BAB and if you hit you apply that part to an initimidate check which if successful will put the target into a shaken state.

 

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)

Are you really "entitled to your opinion"?
RedSiegfried wrote:
The cool thing is, you don't even NEED a reason to say yes.  Just stop looking for a reason to say no.
Thanks for the replies.

Sounds like, for the most part, we're talking about using it in role-playing situations that arise during combat situations.
Thanks for the replies.

Sounds like, for the most part, we're talking about using it in role-playing situations that arise during combat situations.

There are also hard-and-fast rules for using it in combat. (RC 147-148)

- The monster must be bloodied
- The player makes an intimidate check as a standard action that is opposed by the monster's will defense.
- The monster gets a +5 to his will defense if he's unfriendly, +10 if he's hostile (which he's likely to be unless some non-ally of yours bloodied him).
- Monsters immune to fear are not affected.
- A success can mean a few things at DM's discretion.  It may surrender, give information, or take some action the PC is demanding it to do (but not "mind control" things like hurt itself - this isn't dominate).
- Failure means that PC can't try to intimidate that monster again for the encounter.


That being said, I don't see this used very often.  For one thing, a typical Will +10 defense will be beyond a hard DC, so you need to have a beefy intimidate for a chance at success.  Most DM's kind of wing it, taking other things into account like motivations, remaining hp, current condition of the party, and condition of team monster. 

If the Big Boss has been defeated and there's a couple lackeys left, I'll let my players intimidate them to surrender without too much difficulty.  It helps speed up combat to remove those last couple rounds of "mopping up" where there's no real danger or tension anyway.
I've noticed a few trends regarding the use of social skills in combat.  One, it's a serious gamble.  You use up your standard action and the chance of success is pretty low.  Most people immediately respond with "but you're just trying to win a combat with a skill check", but that's not how I see it.

I'm trying to engage an NPC socially, as opposed to bash his skull in.  Why is NOT killing monsters so hard anyways?  Worse, you know it's the kind of check you need to practically crit to succeed (and usually that's about when I roll a 4, lol).

The most frustrating part though is when you DO succeed, and the DM's instant response is "well, see, he's a tough warrior guy, he's not going to back down to you, but I'll give him -2 to hit this turn".  I've seen characters who can impose -5 to hit with a MINOR action that doesn't involve a die roll!

I honestly believe that most enemies (monsters included) have better things to do than be slaughtered by adventurers, and they're usually quite open to negotiation once the party has proven they're highly skilled murderous psychopaths.  Hell, they'll often try to retreat on their own!  I mean, why wouldn't they?    

       
"You can always judge a man by the quality of his enemies." -The Doctor, Remembrance of the Daleks
From the Rules forum FAQ, if desired:
"How does Intimidation work? Ask your DM. The most common interpretation is that during combat you can force a bloodied target to surrender (i.e. no longer participate in the current battle), or an unbloodied opponent to take some other action. Either way they will likely have a +10 modifier to their will for being hostile. Discussed here."
Sign In to post comments