Intimidate/knocking mosters out

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Dear all,

Sorry for posting more newbie questions - I'm still new to 4e. Today my players wanted to intimidate an NPC into surrendering once bloodied. The actual situation was in the Graveyard scene in Keep on the Shadowfell.

1. Intimidating an enemy seems a pretty tough thing to do - hostile creatures/characters get +10 on their will defense against intimidation and characters are not allowed a second attempt. Are there no bonuses for the ceature being bloodied, outnumbered, or cornered (or is that DM's discretion)?  

2. Knocking characters/creatures out seems to rely on the enemy reaching zero hp. Does it need to be exactly zero? Can characters pull their punches (so to speak), only do minimum damage, downsize dice used for damage, or otherwise modify damage done? It seems a bit difficult to me to knock someone out cold if the only way to do it is to trust that the luck of the dice will land exactly the same damage as the remaining hps on the enemy.

3. Are there any other commonly used options that player characters use to capture the enemy alive (and in a condition to spill the beans)?

Many thanks in advance. 
1)  DM's discretion.  For characters with high intimidate this can actually be a near trivial thing to do.

2) No it doesn't have to be exactly 0.  When the creature reaches 0 or below a player can simply say "I deal non lethal" and the enemy isn't killed.

3) Knocking them out, tying them up and interrogating them seems to be the fan fave. 
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1: It's supposed to be difficult.  You can apply whatever conditional modifiers you want to, but Intimidate isn't supposed to be easy.  It also raises difficult questions about what to do afterwards...

2: When you drop someone below 0HP, you can choose to take them alive.  You never HAVE to kill someone.  If you take someone alive, they a restored to 1HP at the end of a short rest.

3: See 2.
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1.  It's supposed to be pretty tough, but the DM can always add a situational bonus or penalty whenever the situation warrants.  

2.  It doesn't need to be exactly 0.  The PC that brings the opponent to 0 or below chooses to kill or KO.  Pulling punches would make it even more tedious =)

3.  Tons.  We've used Sleep spell, some poisons, Petrification, Dimensional Shackles, a few rituals, and I am sure there are dozens more.  Bring to 0 is the most expedient, 5 minutes is usually plenty of time to finish the battle and restrain the bad guy.

Our group is of the opinion that ending an encounter that's supposed to be a big fight should be more a function of good roleplaying than a good Intimidate roll.  That said, there are some pretty solid Intimidator builds that can muster the modifiers to do exactly that, and can make ending fights that way a perfectly good roleplaying option.  

Our DM has also put us in fights where Intimidate is an almost auto-fail option until a certain point, but once the dragon is bloodied or we show the rest of the hobgoblins their leader's head or whatever it becomes more of an auto-win.  Plus, we have better things to do with our gaming time than slog through 2 more rounds of mopping up when we could be doing something more fun than seeing how much overkill we can hit a minion for.

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Thanks guys - that makes much more sense. I've just re-read page 296 in the PHb and it's clearly stated there.

I take it that the players can still reap the same xp rewards by knocking the enemies out as they can from killing them.....


On a different note (but from the same encounter), the 2nd level fighter character is wielding a greataxe with Weapon Focus: Axe. Normally his damage is 1d12 + 4 (Str Mod) + 1 (Wpn Fcs). What about when he does a Brute Strike? That's 3[W] + Str. Is that 3*(1d12+1) + 4, or is it 3d12 + 4 + 1?   
Thanks guys - that makes much more sense. I've just re-read page 296 in the PHb and it's clearly stated there.

I take it that the players can still reap the same xp rewards by knocking the enemies out as they can from killing them.....


On a different note (but from the same encounter), the 2nd level fighter character is wielding a greataxe with Weapon Focus: Axe. Normally his damage is 1d12 + 4 (Str Mod) + 1 (Wpn Fcs). What about when he does a Brute Strike? That's 3[W] + Str. Is that 3*(1d12+1) + 4, or is it 3d12 + 4 + 1?   

Yes - XP is exactly the same.  In fact, even if all the enemies actually run away, there should be XP rewarded, because the encounter was dealt with  (same goes for trips - whether you avoid or disable, you still get the XP)

As for the damage question,  its the latter ->  3[W]+str+other bonuses.
So 3d12 (weapon) +4 (str) + 1 (weapon focus) + X enhancement bonus for magic weapon + Z from any other damage boosting effect, etc.
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