The City of Lives
There are more graceful social skills for convincing people to do what a character wants, but those skills tend not to have the pure efficiency of communicating that failing to comply may well result in some manner of harm. Nothing personal.
Using Intimidation is a blatant social attack, which someone can defend against with their Discipline. This is the skill for interrogation (as opposed to interviewing) as well as scaring the bejeezus out of someone. Even without a basis for fear, Intimidation can occasionally be used as provocation, to produce a strong “burst” of negative emotional response (such as provoking someone into a fight, or at least to anger). Regardless, it’s never pretty.
Characters with high Intimidation include gang enforcers and bouncers.
- Threat of Violence [Intimidation]
If there is a reason for the target to believe that the intimidating character is capable of harming the target when they can’t do anything about it, such as if the target is unarmed and the intimidator is wielding a weapon, it is worth a +1 bonus, +2 if the target is completely helpless. Conversely, if the target is the armed one, their defense roll is likely at +1, and can be at +2 or more if the target is very secure in their position (such as being behind something solid, or having lots of backup). If these circumstances suddenly change, it’s certainly call for another Intimidation roll!
The lesson here is simple: Intimidation works best from a position of power. Achieve that position first, then apply the skill.
- Brush Off [Intimidation]
If things get to the point of a face off, there are a lot of other actions an opponent can do other than stand there and be intimidated, such as disengage or pull out a weapon. However, one of the real strengths of Intimidation is at the first flash of contact, when people instinctively get out of the way of someone intimidating. Intimidation can establish a powerful, menacing first impression. If the character is actively doing something intimidating, they may roll a quick contest of Intimidation against the opponent’s Discipline. If successful, the target is taken aback for a moment, generally long enough to brush past them, though usually with plenty of time to call for help if appropriate. This cannot be done in a fight, or against any target who is already ready for a fight, but in those “first contact” situations, Intimidation is gold for control.
- Intimidation in Conflicts [Intimidation]
Intimidation can be used as an Attack skill in Social conflicts.