Adventure Authors and immunity to Intimidate


Pathfinder Society Roleplaying Guild

1 to 50 of 264 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | next > last >>
Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Agent, Florida—Melbourne aka trollbill

2 people marked this as a favorite.

[rant]This is a writing convention that is a pet peeve of mine and a recent Season 9 adventure pushed my button on this again. Namely, it is the habit some adventure authors have of stating that an NPC is somehow immune to Intimidate for reason such as ‘being very brave,’ ‘belonging to a profession where you get used to people trying to intimidate you,’ ‘the other guy is scarier than you.’ Sorry, but NO! Unless you are immune to fear, as in immunity to fear effects, you are NOT immune to Intimidate. While this is a fantasy world, and some creatures and even characters have immunity to fear effects, it is reality based and no one in the history of the mundane universe has ever been immune to intimidate. There are plenty of reasons, including those listed above, that someone might be resistant to Intimidate, thus increasing the DC 5, 10, or in some rare cases, 15, but they don’t make you immune. In a very few cases, I have seen NPCs that the author stated were immune to Bluff or Diplomacy (again, not logically possible outside of magical reasons), but by far, the number of times I have seen authors do this with Intimidate dwarfs the number of times I have seen this with other Charisma based skills. In fact, when I was an Adventure Coordinator for LFR, this was on a list of ‘don’ts’ I gave out to every potential author (along with such other things as, “Don’t start your intro boxed text with the overused, ‘You find yourself...’”).

On top of the fact that making NPCs immune to Intimidate is illogical, you are also doing a disservice to players who build intimidating characters. In the recent adventure that set me off, an NPC couldn’t be intimidated because the monster was scarier than the PCs. Really? How do you know that? Isn’t that what an Intimidate check is supposed to be for? Did you just tell the player with an intimidating character build that his character concept is pointless?

No! Just stop! Don’t do it any longer![/rant]

Scarab Sages *****

1 person marked this as a favorite.

If the game mechanics of the rules of the game actually supported skills in a way in which really scary monsters had some sort of bonus or resistance to immunity beyond simply being immune to fear then I'd agree with you.

But there is nothing more frustrating as an author or GM, to have a player intimidate your uber cthuloid monster and it runs away in fear. That breaks verisimilitude and immersion for me.

Additionally, when players try to use social skills to short circuit an investigative scenario by grabbing the nearest guard and intimidating them to give all the secrets... Just sometimes the creature would actually rather die horribly than give up the secrets and, at least in their mind, die more horribly at the hands of their boss.

Venture-Agent, Utah—Provo aka Chess Pwn

Wow, I haven't seen this happen but I agree, making things immune to something just cause is really lame as that's often what characters are built around and there's no rule that the PCs can do to match it.
If my profession intimidation tester where I am finding out the most intimidating person alive doesn't make me immune to intimidate then there's no reason it does for an NPC.

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Agent, Florida—Melbourne aka trollbill

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Tallow wrote:

If the game mechanics of the rules of the game actually supported skills in a way in which really scary monsters had some sort of bonus or resistance to immunity beyond simply being immune to fear then I'd agree with you.

But there is nothing more frustrating as an author or GM, to have a player intimidate your uber cthuloid monster and it runs away in fear. That breaks verisimilitude and immersion for me.

As I stated, things like this may be legitimate reasons to increase the DC for such creatures, which in many cases, may make them effectively immune to being intimidate by all but a few characters, but essentially telling player's it isn't allowed simply because you don't like something is heavy handed, especially as an author.

Quote:
Additionally, when players try to use social skills to short circuit an investigative scenario by grabbing the nearest guard and intimidating them to give all the secrets... Just sometimes the creature would actually rather die horribly than give up the secrets and, at least in their mind, die more horribly at the hands of their boss.

Whether or not someone would rather die at the hands of you than their boss is what the check is all about. Scary boss? Up the DC. Boss so scary it is impossible for a PC to ever be scarier than them? Not realistic.

The Exchange ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Texas—Dallas & Ft. Worth aka Belafon

12 people marked this as a favorite.

I think it’s an overreaction to attempted abuse of intimidate.

Intimidate is intended to make the target “more cooperative” (outside of combat) or “less effective because he fears you” (in combat). Not to completely override preexisting conditions. But I’ve seen too many players try to use intimidate as “he does exactly what I want him to.”

It’s entirely reasonable that the sergeant fears the vizier too much to let anyone into his study, no matter how scary the immediate threat is. Or that a husband’s loyalty is so fierce he will protect his wife’s secrets no matter what. Trying to intimidate either person could reasonably result in him initiating combat (probably pre-shaken) or freezing up with guilt and intenal conflict. But writing that is difficult to communicate, word-intensive, and quite variable by GM. Saying “it’s immune to intimidation” is easier.

You’re right. A list of certain things the NPC still won’t do under intimidation would be better than “immunity.” Provide room for intimidate to do something without completely bypassing an encounter. Long-term it is a matter of educating players that intimidate is not equal to mind control.

Scarab Sages *****

Bill Baldwin wrote:
Tallow wrote:

If the game mechanics of the rules of the game actually supported skills in a way in which really scary monsters had some sort of bonus or resistance to immunity beyond simply being immune to fear then I'd agree with you.

But there is nothing more frustrating as an author or GM, to have a player intimidate your uber cthuloid monster and it runs away in fear. That breaks verisimilitude and immersion for me.

As I stated, things like this may be legitimate reasons to increase the DC for such creatures, which in many cases, may make them effectively immune to being intimidate by all but a few characters, but essentially telling player's it isn't allowed simply because you don't like something is heavy handed, especially as an author.

Quote:
Additionally, when players try to use social skills to short circuit an investigative scenario by grabbing the nearest guard and intimidating them to give all the secrets... Just sometimes the creature would actually rather die horribly than give up the secrets and, at least in their mind, die more horribly at the hands of their boss.
Whether or not someone would rather die at the hands of you than their boss is what the check is all about. Scary boss? Up the DC. Boss so scary it is impossible for a PC to ever be scarier than them? Not realistic.

We will have to agree to disagree.

To a certain extent I agree with you. But generally, BBEG bosses should not be able to be intimidated to the level of fear or panick. If you tell me that some players should be able to use intimidate to cause fear or panick in badguys like Krune, Desmire, or certain [redacted] from [redacted] or insane guys like Thurl, then we are visiting a completely different universe, respectively, when we play this game.

Scarab Sages *****

Kevin Willis wrote:

I think it’s an overreaction to attempted abuse of intimidate.

Intimidate is intended to make the target “more cooperative” (outside of combat) or “less effective because he fears you” (in combat). Not to completely override preexisting conditions. But I’ve seen too many players try to use intimidate as “he does exactly what I want him to.”

It’s entirely reasonable that the sergeant fears the vizier too much to let anyone into his study, no matter how scary the immediate threat is. Or that a husband’s loyalty is so fierce he will protect his wife’s secrets no matter what. Trying to intimidate either person could reasonably result in him initiating combat (probably pre-shaken) or freezing up with guilt and intenal conflict. But writing that is difficult to communicate, word-intensive, and quite variable by GM. Saying “it’s immune to intimidation” is easier.

You’re right. A list of certain things the NPC still won’t do under intimidation would be better than “immunity.” Provide room for intimidate to do something without completely bypassing an encounter. Long-term it is a matter of educating players that intimidate is not equal to mind control.

Said much better than me.

Venture-Agent, Utah—Provo aka Chess Pwn

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Tallow wrote:
To a certain extent I agree with you. But generally, BBEG bosses should not be able to be intimidated to the level of fear or panick. If you tell me that some players should be able to use intimidate to cause fear or panick in badguys like Krune, Desmire, or certain [redacted] from [redacted] or insane guys like Thurl, then we are visiting a completely different universe, respectively, when we play this game.

My question is what makes them special compared to my character? Like I can say I have a very similar backstory to them before joining the society. Why would my character's not also be immune to panic and fear?

Scarab Sages *****

1 person marked this as a favorite.

It is also up to the GM to actually present things in such a way, that the player doesn't feel like adventure text is shutting them down. If a GM just says, "Your intimidate won't work, stop trying," before attempting to roleplay it for a bit, then that's on the GM, not the adventure author. If it gets to a point where the player keeps trying no matter how you try to steer them away as a GM, you may have to just say, "stop, it won't work."

But in Kevin's example above of a vizier not letting you into the Sergeant's office, you could have him even get down on his knees, crying and sweating profusely, begging you to let him do his job. But he still won't move out of the doorway.

*****

3 people marked this as a favorite.

If you look at the Bluff skill, it details what happens when you roll really well but the NPC for whatever reason still knows what you're saying to be false. This in effect prevents you from using a single roll to end a scenario by getting everything you want right away. Intimidate doesn't have similar wording - one roll and the target "gives you information you desire", so the only way to prevent the same thing is an "all or nothing" immunity.

I agree it's unrealistic to just say someone can't be intimidated. I just caution against asking for "realism" in this one area, where huge areas of the combat rules are based on simplifications and are "unrealistic" as well.

(My own pet peeve: no problems using slashing/bludgeoning reach weapons when you're only in a 5' hallway with no overhead clearance... this is why kobolds use spears, since piercing weapons have an advantage in the closed quarters tunnels they favor.)

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Agent, Florida—Melbourne aka trollbill

Kevin Willis wrote:

It’s entirely reasonable that the sergeant fears the vizier too much to let anyone into his study, no matter how scary the immediate threat is. Or that a husband’s loyalty is so fierce he will protect his wife’s secrets no matter what. Trying to intimidate either person could reasonably result in him initiating combat (probably pre-shaken) or freezing up with guilt and intenal conflict. But writing that is difficult to communicate, word-intensive, and quite variable by GM. Saying “it’s immune to intimidation” is easier.

Actually, my point is that that this isn't reasonable. Not logically. These things may make it incredibly difficult to intimidate someone, but not impossible. The fact that you or I may not be able to come up with a method of successfully intimidating someone in those situations is more of a measure of our own lack of Intimidation IRL than it is a measure of impossibility.

Scarab Sages *****

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Thomas Hutchins wrote:
Tallow wrote:
To a certain extent I agree with you. But generally, BBEG bosses should not be able to be intimidated to the level of fear or panick. If you tell me that some players should be able to use intimidate to cause fear or panick in badguys like Krune, Desmire, or certain [redacted] from [redacted] or insane guys like Thurl, then we are visiting a completely different universe, respectively, when we play this game.
My question is what makes them special compared to my character? Like I can say I have a very similar backstory to them before joining the society. Why would my character's not also be immune to panic and fear?

Your character is not a hibernating rune lord who ruled with impunity and fear for hundreds or thousands of years. The closest a mortal gets to apotheosis without actually becoming a god. Nigh undefeatable. Who's ego is so large that the mere thought of fear is laughable. To cause this rune lord to become shaken is a legendary act. You can't make them run away in fear using mere intimidate.

Characters don't get to claim these things because they are not the ultimate end-bosses, creatures of ultimate horror, or whatever. This is what creates a good story, that heroes have to strive to succeed over the ultimate evil. Gandalf, who arguably is the most intimidating character in The Lord of the Rings shy of maybe one or two of the Elves, who intimidated entire armies, could not intimidate the Balrog, Saruman, or Sauron. Because they are who they are.

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Agent, Florida—Melbourne aka trollbill

Tallow wrote:
Kevin Willis wrote:

I think it’s an overreaction to attempted abuse of intimidate.

Intimidate is intended to make the target “more cooperative” (outside of combat) or “less effective because he fears you” (in combat). Not to completely override preexisting conditions. But I’ve seen too many players try to use intimidate as “he does exactly what I want him to.”

It’s entirely reasonable that the sergeant fears the vizier too much to let anyone into his study, no matter how scary the immediate threat is. Or that a husband’s loyalty is so fierce he will protect his wife’s secrets no matter what. Trying to intimidate either person could reasonably result in him initiating combat (probably pre-shaken) or freezing up with guilt and intenal conflict. But writing that is difficult to communicate, word-intensive, and quite variable by GM. Saying “it’s immune to intimidation” is easier.

You’re right. A list of certain things the NPC still won’t do under intimidation would be better than “immunity.” Provide room for intimidate to do something without completely bypassing an encounter. Long-term it is a matter of educating players that intimidate is not equal to mind control.

Said much better than me.

There may also be something inherent in the psyche of your typical gamer nerd that may have childhood bullying scars that makes them not want Intimidate to work as well as it actually does IRL.

Scarab Sages *****

Bill Baldwin wrote:
Tallow wrote:
Kevin Willis wrote:

I think it’s an overreaction to attempted abuse of intimidate.

Intimidate is intended to make the target “more cooperative” (outside of combat) or “less effective because he fears you” (in combat). Not to completely override preexisting conditions. But I’ve seen too many players try to use intimidate as “he does exactly what I want him to.”

It’s entirely reasonable that the sergeant fears the vizier too much to let anyone into his study, no matter how scary the immediate threat is. Or that a husband’s loyalty is so fierce he will protect his wife’s secrets no matter what. Trying to intimidate either person could reasonably result in him initiating combat (probably pre-shaken) or freezing up with guilt and intenal conflict. But writing that is difficult to communicate, word-intensive, and quite variable by GM. Saying “it’s immune to intimidation” is easier.

You’re right. A list of certain things the NPC still won’t do under intimidation would be better than “immunity.” Provide room for intimidate to do something without completely bypassing an encounter. Long-term it is a matter of educating players that intimidate is not equal to mind control.

Said much better than me.
There may also be something inherent in the psyche of your typical gamer nerd that may have childhood bullying scars that makes them not want Intimidate to work as well as it actually does IRL.

There may be something to how a person reacts, as player and/or GM, to in game things and roleplay, based on their life experience.

But there may also be something to a player wanting intimidate to work much more comprehensively, holistically, than it should work, based on being bullied IRL.

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Agent, Florida—Melbourne aka trollbill

Tallow wrote:
Thomas Hutchins wrote:
Tallow wrote:
To a certain extent I agree with you. But generally, BBEG bosses should not be able to be intimidated to the level of fear or panick. If you tell me that some players should be able to use intimidate to cause fear or panick in badguys like Krune, Desmire, or certain [redacted] from [redacted] or insane guys like Thurl, then we are visiting a completely different universe, respectively, when we play this game.
My question is what makes them special compared to my character? Like I can say I have a very similar backstory to them before joining the society. Why would my character's not also be immune to panic and fear?

Your character is not a hibernating rune lord who ruled with impunity and fear for hundreds or thousands of years. The closest a mortal gets to apotheosis without actually becoming a god. Nigh undefeatable. Who's ego is so large that the mere thought of fear is laughable. To cause this rune lord to become shaken is a legendary act. You can't make them run away in fear using mere intimidate.

Characters don't get to claim these things because they are not the ultimate end-bosses, creatures of ultimate horror, or whatever. This is what creates a good story, that heroes have to strive to succeed over the ultimate evil. Gandalf, who arguably is the most intimidating character in The Lord of the Rings shy of maybe one or two of the Elves, who intimidated entire armies, could not intimidate the Balrog, Saruman, or Sauron. Because they are who they are.

So basically, what you are saying is we should give a pass on these things, even though they are logically improbable but not logically impossible, for story reasons?

Scarab Sages *****

3 people marked this as a favorite.

In order to not dominate the posting for awhile, I'll make this my last comment for awhile on this:

If you have a story you want or need to tell, but the story gets blown up or lost because of the common conception or use of a particular skill, then I think its perfectly acceptable to use deus ex machina frugally to make it possible to tell the story without typical player fiat ruining it.

EDIT: I'm not sure we agree on what is logically impossible or improbable and what that may look like, realistically or in game mechanics terms.

Venture-Agent, Utah—Provo aka Chess Pwn

Tallow wrote:
Your character is not a hibernating rune lord who ruled with impunity and fear for hundreds or thousands of years. The closest a mortal gets to apotheosis without actually becoming a god. Nigh undefeatable. Who's ego is so large that the mere thought of fear is laughable. To cause this rune lord to become shaken is a legendary act. You can't make them run away in fear using mere intimidate.

Yes he can, I can write that into my backstory. Also I could write one of a hundred backstories that would all fit the same thing.

"I was summoned by cthulhu and imprinted with a task I must do, currently that somehow is involving working for PFS. Nothing can scare me after seeing true fear incarnate." This is the backstory(abbreviated) for one of the summoners at my lodge. What reason is there for him not being immune?

"My character is lacking all self preservation instincts. He'd boldly charge into certain death if he thought it would help others." This one is a captain america copy, one that would throw his life to save others without fear or hesitation. Why is he running away in a panic?

"Death comes to all at the correct time, no sooner or later, thus there's nothing to worry about. Live life and don't fear death"
This one was a cleric I think, why is he running in fear since he knows he won't die unless he's supposed to die there?

Silver Crusade *

Thug Rogue archetype is a problem here, in my experience. Turning a brief "shaken" penalty into running away "frightened".

what I saw in Destiny of the Sands 3:
A level 4 or 5 thug rogue/inquisitor made a Mythic Behir run away in fear, iirc without using any of his own mythic sauce.

I'm not going to argue that the Thug archetype is overpowered, but I will certainly agree that it creates some circumstances, like that in the spoiler, that feel odd.

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Agent, Florida—Melbourne aka trollbill

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Tallow wrote:

In order to not dominate the posting for awhile, I'll make this my last comment for awhile on this:

If you have a story you want or need to tell, but the story gets blown up or lost because of the common conception or use of a particular skill, then I think its perfectly acceptable to use deus ex machina frugally to make it possible to tell the story without typical player fiat ruining it.

EDIT: I'm not sure we agree on what is logically impossible or improbable and what that may look like, realistically or in game mechanics terms.

Here is my issue with this. There is a difference between Fiction Writing and Adventure Writing. In Fiction Writing, it is 100% your story. In Adventure Writing, the story is supposed to be a gestalt of you, the GM & the players. When you look for ways of forcing the players to follow your storyline (a.k.a railroading), you are limiting their ability to interact with it and make it theirs, as well. I dealt with an author in LG that did this sort of thing all the time. His adventures commonly had great stories, but they were HIS stories. The players commonly felt like they were bystanders watching someone else's story rather than creating/being-part-of their own.

In short, while all great adventures have great stories, not all great stories make great adventures.

I mean, try playing as the low level Halfling rogue in a party of 13 mid-to-high level dwarves and an incredibly broken wizard going up against a great wyrm dragon and see how much fun you actually have.

****

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

I haven't seen specific examples of this as such (though, admittedly, I haven't been running a whole lot lately), but I can certainly understand the frustration. I have an intimidate-focused character and I've found myself at tables where we rely on that as our sole people-skill.

I have seen a legitimate immunity to intimidate in combat in one scenario by using a class feature. That was still frustrating, though, as my recollection is that the very limited resource appeared to be in use before initiative. From a guesstimate standpoint, I would expect the NPC to have ~10 rounds total.

It's very reasonable to have very limited "I would do anything for Intimidate, but I won't do that" restrictions as proposed above, but other than that, my expectation is that there's a mechanical explanation rather than a "because I said so" plot explanation.

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Agent, Florida—Melbourne aka trollbill

Serisan wrote:
I haven't seen specific examples of this as such (though, admittedly, I haven't been running a whole lot lately), but I can certainly understand the frustration. I have an intimidate-focused character and I've found myself at tables where we rely on that as our sole people-skill.

As a Triad in LG & an Adventure Coordinator in LFR, it was my job to act as Editor for adventures. It was something I learned to look for so it likely stands out to me when I read an adventure more than it would your average GM.

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Agent, Florida—Melbourne aka trollbill

supervillan wrote:

Thug Rogue archetype is a problem here, in my experience. Turning a brief "shaken" penalty into running away "frightened".

** spoiler omitted **

I'm not going to argue that the Thug archetype is overpowered, but I will certainly agree that it creates some circumstances, like that in the spoiler, that feel odd.

I agree it is a particularly annoying build.

I don't agree it should be on an writer's checklist as something to nerf by the author. That's the job of the rules team and campaign coordinators. Or something the GM needs to find a way of dealing with.

Scarab Sages *****

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Bill Baldwin wrote:
Or something the GM needs to find a way of dealing with.

This is the problem though. GM's don't feel like they have the authority to "deal with" builds that invalidate entire scenarios let alone encounters. Many feel they have to let players do that because they have a legal build.

A good GM, though, will look to how to limit intimidate based on the story and such, without completely invalidating the character.

But the animal that is organized play, and the way that many players approach it, GM's just don't feel comfortable with making those sorts of calls. So it gets written into the scenario so GM's have an official tool to work with.

But really, its all in the presentation of it. Don't ever tell a player (unless they are just beating a dead horse) that it won't work cause the scenario says so. Make it seem like they are doing something, even if it isn't exactly what they want it to be doing.

Venture-Agent, Utah—Provo aka Chess Pwn

Tallow wrote:
But really, its all in the presentation of it. Don't ever tell a player (unless they are just beating a dead horse) that it won't work cause the scenario says so. Make it seem like they are doing something, even if it isn't exactly what they want it to be doing.

See for me I'd hate you doing that more than you saying the scenario says so. My 50 intimidate intimidates everything, it should be shaken. It not being shaken and you saying I didn't roll high enough or whatever way you phrase it would piss me off and have me label you as a liar/cheat.

Be honest with your players and potentially share that it's immune by BS Scenario Fiat before they waste an action.

Scarab Sages *****

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Thomas Hutchins wrote:
Tallow wrote:
But really, its all in the presentation of it. Don't ever tell a player (unless they are just beating a dead horse) that it won't work cause the scenario says so. Make it seem like they are doing something, even if it isn't exactly what they want it to be doing.
See for me I'd hate you doing that more than you saying the scenario says so. My 50 intimidate intimidates everything, it should be shaken. It not being shaken and you saying I didn't roll high enough or whatever way you phrase it would piss me off and have me label you as a liar/cheat.

You are kinda misrepresenting what I'm trying to say. Perhaps I wasn't clear enough. I haven't seen these particular scenarios, so I don't know what the actual wording says. But even if it says flat out, "They are immune to intimidate" I would likely interpret that, as a GM, to actually be, "they are immune to being forced into "friendship" by intimidate" and that the other use in combat to demoralize them would still work.

And in the case of "forcing into friendship", as a GM, I would likely have the character react to the very scary character, by acting afraid of what the character might do. But they would not give way to certain demands. And that is reasonable.

Its all how you present it.

Thomas Hutchins wrote:
Be honest with your players and potentially share that it's immune by BS Scenario Fiat before they waste an action.

As a GM, I'm loath to offer that sort of information before a player takes that action.

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Agent, Florida—Melbourne aka trollbill

Tallow wrote:
Bill Baldwin wrote:
Or something the GM needs to find a way of dealing with.

This is the problem though. GM's don't feel like they have the authority to "deal with" builds that invalidate entire scenarios let alone encounters. Many feel they have to let players do that because they have a legal build.

A good GM, though, will look to how to limit intimidate based on the story and such, without completely invalidating the character.

But the animal that is organized play, and the way that many players approach it, GM's just don't feel comfortable with making those sorts of calls. So it gets written into the scenario so GM's have an official tool to work with.

But really, its all in the presentation of it. Don't ever tell a player (unless they are just beating a dead horse) that it won't work cause the scenario says so. Make it seem like they are doing something, even if it isn't exactly what they want it to be doing.

You are right. PFS GMs do not have the authority to nerf characters. But there are ways of dealing with this problem other than heavy handedly using a Nerf Hammer. The problem with the character isn't that he has a high Intimidate score. The problem is that the player is using that high Intimidate score in a manner that annoys the GM and other players at the table. So a GM should explain this situation to the player and ask him to cut down on using it in an abusive manner for the enjoyment of everyone sitting at the table. In short, the GM doesn't Nerf the character, he asks the player to self-nerf it.

As a player, it is something I do on a regular basis.

Regardless, this isn't something the author should be concerning themselves with.

Scarab Sages *****

Bill Baldwin wrote:
Tallow wrote:
Bill Baldwin wrote:
Or something the GM needs to find a way of dealing with.

This is the problem though. GM's don't feel like they have the authority to "deal with" builds that invalidate entire scenarios let alone encounters. Many feel they have to let players do that because they have a legal build.

A good GM, though, will look to how to limit intimidate based on the story and such, without completely invalidating the character.

But the animal that is organized play, and the way that many players approach it, GM's just don't feel comfortable with making those sorts of calls. So it gets written into the scenario so GM's have an official tool to work with.

But really, its all in the presentation of it. Don't ever tell a player (unless they are just beating a dead horse) that it won't work cause the scenario says so. Make it seem like they are doing something, even if it isn't exactly what they want it to be doing.

You are right. PFS GMs do not have the authority to nerf characters. But there are ways of dealing with this problem other than heavy handedly using a Nerf Hammer. The problem with the character isn't that he has a high Intimidate score. The problem is that the player is using that high Intimidate score in a manner that annoys the GM and other players at the table. So a GM should explain this situation to the player and ask him to cut down on using it in an abusive manner for the enjoyment of everyone sitting at the table. In short, the GM doesn't Nerf the character, he asks the player to self-nerf it.

As a player, it is something I do on a regular basis.

Regardless, this isn't something the author should be concerning themselves with.

Again, it isn't about nerfing the character. Its about differences in interpreting how much Intimidate can actually get away with and how different NPCs with differing personalities and back stories might react to being intimidated.

The abuse of intimidate isn't necessarily from a toxic player perspective, but rather a misunderstanding of what can actually be accomplished with it. A +50 Intimidate is not necessarily going to make the Baker, Soldier, High Priest, or Pit Fiend react the exact same way.

****

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

Actual game experience that follows from Tallow's statement:

Other player: "Please inform this clerk that we don't have time to make an appointment."
Me: "We don't have time to make an appointment." (30-something Intimidate)
Clerk: "Su-su-su-su....supervisor?"
Me: "That is acceptable."

I didn't immediately get what I wanted, but it made sense for the NPC.

**

5 people marked this as a favorite.

Intimidate takes 1 minute of conversation to perform (to temporarily alter their disposition). That can easily be avoided by the target initiating combat (it's no surprise that you're trying to intimidate them), moving away (shoot, just putting your hands over your ears and going 'La la la' might be enough), or something else I haven't thought of.

Demoralizing an opponent in combat applies a substantial but overall mild penalty (especially for a final challenge) of -2 to a suite of things.

The Thug build can, at most, make a creature frightened for 1 round. Frightened makes them flee the source to the best of their ability; if they can't, they may fight with the same penalty as shaken.

I don't see any of these things invalidating an adventure to the point of requiring a blanket immunity to Intimidate.

The Big Bad

He won't let you finish your 1 minute (10 rounds) of intimidating conversation.

He suffers an appropriate -2 penalty for being shaken.

He has to figure out a way to get away from you, while still being able to do a whole bunch of things. Frightened is not panicked.

The Lieutenant

He won't let you finish your 1 minute (10 rounds) of intimidating conversation.

If you capture him or take him alive, good for the Players. Rather than immunity to Intimidate, limit what knowledge he has so the scenario isn't invalidated.

He suffers an appropriate -2 penalty for being shaken.

He has to figure out a way to get away from you, while still being able to do a whole bunch of things. Frightened is not panicked.

The Goon

He won't let you finish your 1 minute (10 rounds) of intimidating conversation.

If you capture him or take him alive, good for the Players. He probably doesn't know anything but flavorful things anyways. He's not going to know the secret location to the Big Bad's key to his desk or the existence of the very deadly needle trap in that desk.

He suffers an appropriate -2 penalty for being shaken.

He has to figure out a way to get away from you, while still being able to do a whole bunch of things (but he'll probably just run away). Frightened is not panicked.

**

Serisan wrote:

Actual game experience that follows from Tallow's statement:

Other player: "Please inform this clerk that we don't have time to make an appointment."
Me: "We don't have time to make an appointment." (30-something Intimidate)
Clerk: "Su-su-su-su....supervisor?"
Me: "That is acceptable."

I didn't immediately get what I wanted, but it made sense for the NPC.

I think sometimes we loose perspective on the time requirement for Intimidate.

Your example is clearly 1-2 rounds of speaking and posturing, and that's fine. I don't expect my players to write a minute or more dialogue for Diplomacy or Intimidate and read it off at the table. However, in game time, it took 1 minute to say, "We don't have time to make an appointment." You buffs are reduced in duration by 1 minute. So, if the clerk getting you access to the supervisor was somehow "scenario breaking," the author could instruct that the clerk runs away to get help if anyone tries to Intimidate him to make him compliant.

I'm definitely not saying every NPC should do this to get out of Intimidate, otherwise that is as bad or worse than making NPCs immune to intimidate. However, there are avenues available to authors other than inexplicable immunity.

*

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I was going to say the same thing as Blake's Tiger. Too many people confuse the demoralize aspect of Intimidate and the influence attitude aspect of Intimidate.

If PCs are routinely trying to use Intimidate to change the attitudes of NPCs, a lot can happen in the minute it takes (such as "Guards! These ruffians are accosting me!"). In addition, there are consequences *after* a successful Intimidate check that means it can't be used in every circumstance that Diplomacy can. Last, players shouldn't know whether their check was successful or whether they failed the DC by 5 or less and thus got false information.

But all of *that* being said, I agree that "immune to Intimidate" is lazy adventure writing. A higher DC and instructions about what the NPC will say/do if intimidated is the better way to go.

Shadow Lodge ***** ⦵⦵

2 people marked this as a favorite.

The dcs for intimidate are just too low to deal with reasonably unless you want to have all NPCs with important information be paladins.

Your alternative is to compartmentalize information and not tell your goons anything they don't need to know.

****

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber
Blake's Tiger wrote:
Serisan wrote:

Actual game experience that follows from Tallow's statement:

Other player: "Please inform this clerk that we don't have time to make an appointment."
Me: "We don't have time to make an appointment." (30-something Intimidate)
Clerk: "Su-su-su-su....supervisor?"
Me: "That is acceptable."

I didn't immediately get what I wanted, but it made sense for the NPC.

I think sometimes we loose perspective on the time requirement for Intimidate.

Your example is clearly 1-2 rounds of speaking and posturing, and that's fine. I don't expect my players to write a minute or more dialogue for Diplomacy or Intimidate and read it off at the table. However, in game time, it took 1 minute to say, "We don't have time to make an appointment." You buffs are reduced in duration by 1 minute. So, if the clerk getting you access to the supervisor was somehow "scenario breaking," the author could instruct that the clerk runs away to get help if anyone tries to Intimidate him to make him compliant.

I'm definitely not saying every NPC should do this to get out of Intimidate, otherwise that is as bad or worse than making NPCs immune to intimidate. However, there are avenues available to authors other than inexplicable immunity.

Perhaps I should have included a "shortened for laziness" warning? A lot of the time, we have conversation time where one or more PCs are interacting, with this particular character of mine being a very imposing presence, though explicitly polite. Gravity and authority, not threats.

It's important to note that Diplomacy and Intimidate have the same time requirement for adjusting attitude. Bluff is the only thing that really gets to break the time economy.

Shadow Lodge ****

2 people marked this as a favorite.
BigNorseWolf wrote:
The dcs for intimidate are just too low to deal with reasonably unless you want to have all NPCs with important information be paladins.

That's the real reason.

Diplomacy and bluff both have RAW circumstance modifiers that prevent them from working in certain situations; Intimidate has no such restriction, an has a ludicrously low DC.

10 + HD + Wisdom mod is ridiculously easy to beat, even at 1st level, and only gets easier as time goes on. I'm currently in a 4th level campaign with a Cha 14 Thug Rogue, who rarely fails any sort of intimidate check, even against CR 8 and 9 enemies. Simply because the DC scales too slowly.

Applying this to modules, you get to points where if enemies don't get the same resistance to intimidate as they do to bluff/diplo, you easily end up at a point where the party can do whatever they want, while shrugging off consequences with a trivial DC.


Disk Elemental wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
The dcs for intimidate are just too low to deal with reasonably unless you want to have all NPCs with important information be paladins.

That's the real reason.

Diplomacy and bluff both have RAW circumstance modifiers that prevent them from working in certain situations; Intimidate has no such restriction, an has a ludicrously low DC.

10 + HD + Wisdom mod is ridiculously easy to beat, even at 1st level, and only gets easier as time goes on. I'm currently in a 4th level campaign with a Cha 14 Thug Rogue, who rarely fails any sort of intimidate check, even against CR 8 and 9 enemies. Simply because the DC scales too slowly.

Applying this to modules, you get to points where if enemies don't get the same resistance to intimidate as they do to bluff/diplo, you easily end up at a point where the party can do whatever they want, while shrugging off consequences with a trivial DC.

Just remember the timer on when the target will treat the intimidating character as unfriendly and report the party to the authorities. A party who goes around intimdating everything indiscrimately could end up cooling their heels in a cell.

Silver Crusade ***** Venture-Agent, Canada—Ontario—Toronto aka pauljathome

4 people marked this as a favorite.

Fundamentally, Paizo often doesn't like its own game system. In many, many cases because their game system has lots and lots of flaws and get in the way of telling decent stories.

But it CONSTANTLY uses "GM fiat" to alter how its game system says things works. Often for the better.

Eg, how many scenarios have you seen that ignore (or just change) the environmental rules on cold, heat, high alititude, etc?

Especially in PFS you pretty much have to live with it

****

4 people marked this as a favorite.
RealAlchemy wrote:
Just remember the timer on when the target will treat the intimidating character as unfriendly and report the party to the authorities. A party who goes around intimdating everything indiscrimately could end up cooling their heels in a cell.

Which brings us to one of the problems with using Intimidate as a social tool in PFS: the GM rarely has the resources (in terms of encounter blocks) or the permission to deploy an appropriate response to PCs threatening the hell out of the locals. Yes, it would be better to include that kind of contingency response in scenarios, but it's not necessarily a good use of page count and developer time. Failing that, it makes sense, I think, to simply declare, as appropriate, that a straightforward use of Intimidate will not achieve the party's objective in particular cases.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Bill Baldwin wrote:
Kevin Willis wrote:

It’s entirely reasonable that the sergeant fears the vizier too much to let anyone into his study, no matter how scary the immediate threat is. Or that a husband’s loyalty is so fierce he will protect his wife’s secrets no matter what. Trying to intimidate either person could reasonably result in him initiating combat (probably pre-shaken) or freezing up with guilt and intenal conflict. But writing that is difficult to communicate, word-intensive, and quite variable by GM. Saying “it’s immune to intimidation” is easier.

Actually, my point is that that this isn't reasonable. Not logically. These things may make it incredibly difficult to intimidate someone, but not impossible.

Guard:

"No, you don't understand. You're very scary. Being more scary won't change things, because I'm already very scared. But the fact is that if you kill me my family will live on with a pension, while if I let you in without a fight, the vizier will have me executed as a traitor, my husband will be executed too, and my children will starve."

Social skills aren't mind control. Some things people just won't do. People choose actions they know will kill them, sometimes. Whether the example that prompted this rant is reasonable or not I don't know, but it could be.

As someone else suggested, I also would like a list of hard limits for NPCs rather than blanket immunities.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Thomas Hutchins wrote:

Yes he can, I can write that into my backstory. Also I could write one of a hundred backstories that would all fit the same thing.

"I was summoned by cthulhu and imprinted with a task I must do, currently that somehow is involving working for PFS. Nothing can scare me after seeing true fear incarnate." This is the backstory(abbreviated) for one of the summoners at my lodge. What reason is there for him not being immune?

Because your backstory needs to match your statblock, and your statblock can't be immune to fear. Hence if you write a backstory that claims they're immune to fear then you have backstory'd wrong.

===

Perhaps part of the problem here is people not understanding the limits of Intimidate itself? It makes people "act friendly" towards you. But "friendly" doesn't mean "willing to do absolutely anything".

Venture-Agent, Utah—Provo aka Chess Pwn

Lucy_Valentine wrote:
Thomas Hutchins wrote:

Yes he can, I can write that into my backstory. Also I could write one of a hundred backstories that would all fit the same thing.

"I was summoned by cthulhu and imprinted with a task I must do, currently that somehow is involving working for PFS. Nothing can scare me after seeing true fear incarnate." This is the backstory(abbreviated) for one of the summoners at my lodge. What reason is there for him not being immune?

Because your backstory needs to match your statblock, and your statblock can't be immune to fear. Hence if you write a backstory that claims they're immune to fear then you have backstory'd wrong.

That's the point, some scenarios or something are giving NPCs immunity because of a background reason with no rule sources for their immunity other than GM fiat because of background. And the point was that if that was okay for NPCs then it should be okay for players too.

Scarab Sages *****

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Disagree. Story trumps mechanics when it comes to both adventure design and NPC design.

Starfinder Society Developer

17 people marked this as a favorite.
Paul Jackson wrote:
Fundamentally, Paizo often doesn't like its own game system. In many, many cases because their game system has lots and lots of flaws and get in the way of telling decent stories.

I want to step in and state that most people at Paizo do indeed like our own rule system. I for one, GMed Pathfinder multiple times a week before I even started writing for Paizo.

What often gets forgotten in these discussions are other related concerns for authors. Word count is a large factor, and reproducing rules that already exist in other sources consumes a lot of space. Even something as innocuous as a sentence or two that says something like "See Pathfinder Core Rulebook Page XX for rules on weather patterns while the PCs cultivate their mega-potatoes." Even though it seems small, these little inserts often add up, and also serve to be excellent chopping block fodder for products, especially when copyfitting! (Hey, why can't you line up the sidebars on the right pages?! :P)

Similarly, a lot of times, authors don't call out individual rules, because it canbe assumed that the GMs use them as appropriate. In many cases, from my limited experience, GMs tend to gravitate to certain rules or just not know other rules. Heck it took me years to realize that Spell Resistance needed a standard action to lower!

It's not that we (as authors / developers / staff) don't like our rules, it's that there's a LOT of rules and ensuring every existing rule related to a product gets a "shout out" or perfect reproduction/assumption can be problematic to a given scene or product. And yes, sometimes it makes way more sense for a given story that things aren't as codified as the core rules. A good example of this, is Starfinder creature/NPC design vs. Pathfinder. In Starfinder there's a lot more leeway for adjusting creatures to "do the thing we want it to do."

Honestly, there's also a big stigma in the community about including "Author/GM Fiat" rules or changes into a product. Especially with Pathfinder, there's a host of people who seemingly wait to call out statblock issues or alternate rules not matching those found in Core Rulebook to the letter. For a lot of authors, this type of community feedback is intimidating. By far, we get more feedback about things related to statblocks or DCs than we ever do on "hey this was a cool scene" or "I really don't like where the metaplot is going."

So remember, while these discussions are very important (and the OP's core point is something that's valid and should be reviewed) it's also important to look at a product and say, "Hey, does this shift from the core rules / statblock change really detract from my gameplay experience?"

Anywho, that's just my 2.33 (repeating; Canadian exchange rate) cents on the topic.

Silver Crusade ** Venture-Lieutenant, Online—PbP aka Redelia

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Thank you, Thurston, for showing us the other side of the discussion like this.

****

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

Today's exchange rate is 1 USD = 1.25 CAD. You're shorting us a whole 1/6th of a cent, good sir!

Shadow Lodge ***** Venture-Lieutenant, California—San Francisco Bay Area North & East aka thistledown

I am all for writing that an NPC is immune to intimidate. Also, it's not a new thing.

Scarab Sages *****

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Paul Jackson wrote:

Fundamentally, Paizo often doesn't like its own game system. In many, many cases because their game system has lots and lots of flaws and get in the way of telling decent stories.

But it CONSTANTLY uses "GM fiat" to alter how its game system says things works. Often for the better.

Eg, how many scenarios have you seen that ignore (or just change) the environmental rules on cold, heat, high alititude, etc?

Especially in PFS you pretty much have to live with it

I would not say that they hate the way their system works. I would say that creating new mechanics, ignoring old ones, or changing existing ones is seen more as a feature of the system.

What seems to be irritating, is rather, the folks who complain about making encounters work, rather than being so beholden to the exact written rule that they can't make certain encounters or scenes do what they want them to do.

Why do you think they wrote encounter, monster, and NPC design that way in Starfinder. They just codified what they try to do in Pathfinder.

So it isn't that they hate their own rule system. Rather, they see it as a guideline, not a codex or bible. Which is the way Gary Gygax originally wrote his rule system back in the 70's.


Thomas Hutchins wrote:
Lucy_Valentine wrote:
Thomas Hutchins wrote:

Yes he can, I can write that into my backstory. Also I could write one of a hundred backstories that would all fit the same thing.

"I was summoned by cthulhu and imprinted with a task I must do, currently that somehow is involving working for PFS. Nothing can scare me after seeing true fear incarnate." This is the backstory(abbreviated) for one of the summoners at my lodge. What reason is there for him not being immune?

Because your backstory needs to match your statblock, and your statblock can't be immune to fear. Hence if you write a backstory that claims they're immune to fear then you have backstory'd wrong.
That's the point, some scenarios or something are giving NPCs immunity because of a background reason with no rule sources for their immunity other than GM fiat because of background. And the point was that if that was okay for NPCs then it should be okay for players too.

The GM does *not* have to follow the same rules for character creation as the players.

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Agent, Florida—Melbourne aka trollbill

Lucy_Valentine wrote:

Guard:
"No, you don't understand. You're very scary. Being more scary won't change things, because I'm already very scared. But the fact is that if you kill me my family will live on with a pension, while if I let you in without a fight, the vizier will have me executed as a traitor, my husband will be executed too, and my children will starve."

"And if you don't then I will not only kill your entire family, I will trap them all in this Soul Gem I have so that they can never enter Pharasma's realm and rest in peace. But I won't kill you. No, I will keep you alive listening to the screams of their tormented souls."

Just like there is always a bigger fish, there is always something scarier. And a highly skilled intimidator knows how to find them.

This is part of a basic problem with highly skilled characters is that if the GM or player are not similarly skilled IRL it can sometimes be difficult to comprehend how someone highly skilled might do something. But that doesn't mean they can't do it.

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Agent, Florida—Melbourne aka trollbill

James Anderson wrote:
I am all for writing that an NPC is immune to intimidate. Also, it's not a new thing.

No, it's not new. That was sort of the point. It's an old trope that is a pet peeve of mine. And its something I have been dealing with since the days of LG.

Scarab Sages *****

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Bill Baldwin wrote:
Lucy_Valentine wrote:

Guard:
"No, you don't understand. You're very scary. Being more scary won't change things, because I'm already very scared. But the fact is that if you kill me my family will live on with a pension, while if I let you in without a fight, the vizier will have me executed as a traitor, my husband will be executed too, and my children will starve."

"And if you don't then I will not only kill your entire family, I will trap them all in this Soul Gem I have so that they can never enter Pharasma's realm and rest in peace. But I won't kill you. No, I will keep you alive listening to the screams of their tormented souls."

Just like there is always a bigger fish, there is always something scarier. And a highly skilled intimidator knows how to find them.

This is part of a basic problem with highly skilled characters is that if the GM or player are not similarly skilled IRL it can sometimes be difficult to comprehend how someone highly skilled might do something. But that doesn't mean they can't do it.

At this point:

GM: Roll a bluff check to see if the guy believes your unbelievable explanation of the soul gem.

Just because you say it, and try to be intimidating with it, doesn't mean that the guy is going to believe your story. If he doesn't believe you, it is likely not going to be intimidating.

We can play the oneupmanship game all day. The bottom line is, no matter what your skill is, it does not mean you get to just intimidate anyone you want with impunity just because you have a high score. Game mechanics-wise, this is unrealistic (I'm using the realism button, because you are trying to use it to explain why highly skilled intimidators should just get to do it no matter what,) because Skill DCs don't often scale appropriately with the CR of a challenge. So the static Intimidate DCs allow for intimidating highly inured badguys the same as you would a level 1 commoner.

And asking for a bonus be added to their intimidate resistance is creating a rule that isn't part of the rules of the game either. And how much do you add to that resistance to get what you are looking for? There are no rules or playtesting that have set precedent for what is required for an equal CR challenge for what this bonus should be.

The bottom line, sometimes you aren't going to get what you want. No matter how much you've invested in something. Same way a spellcaster might not be able to affect a Golem or a Bard might not be able to affect an Ooze.

1 to 50 of 264 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Organized Play / Pathfinder Society Roleplaying Guild / Adventure Authors and immunity to Intimidate All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.