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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Illusions and Intimidate

    I guess I'll start my question with this: does anyone add circumstance bonuses on skills, namely intimidate? A basic example of this would be if the target just watched the PC trash a whole heap of goons. Applying a +2 bonus to the intimidate check might be prudent.

    Next question: have you or anyone your DMing for ever used an illusion to intimidate someone? Summoning a red dragon, "revealing" a true fiendish form, ripping a fence post up with one hand, etc. Basically, giving someone the impression that the PC is extremely powerful, and it would be in the best interest of the target to cooperate. Well how was the situation handled? Basically, would the illusion (or feat of strength, if say the PC was a barb and he was doing barbish things) be the actual intimidate check, thus no bonus would be applied, or would it be beyond the scope of a normal intimidation and get the bonus?

    Another thing to consider though would be the strength of the target. If the target could do exactly what the PC just pretended to do, I don't imagine they would be quite as impressed.

    Thoughts?

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    Default Re: Illusions and Intimidate

    Barring Spellcraft, Detect Magic or similar ways of determining there's illusion magic atwork? Free-form.

    Doesn't really matter much that you reveal your "true fiendish side" to the person who's been kicking your *** seven ways from Sunday on multiple occasions without breaking a sweat.
    If people are convinced that you're the High Priest of Asmodeus, commander of Hells Legions, however? A quick wave of the hand and a few Pit Fiends appearing is probably going to make most people run for the hills.

    Of course, with Shadow Evocation and Shadow Conjuration thrown in every once in a while, that helps with your credibility quite a bit.
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    Default Re: Illusions and Intimidate

    Target sees you waving around some stupid material component (like eating a spider or throwing cakes or whatever) and shouting nonsense. He know's you're casting a spell. Any dumbass and see that.

    Target gets Spellcraft check to identify the fact you're casting an illusion. If he succeeds, he knows it's an illusion and it has no effect.

    If target fails both those (and any saves he might get against it), he reacts to the illusion as though he thought it was real. He might be skeptical that your fireballs barely hurt and now you're summoning a dragon, especially if he's familiar with illusions.

    Using illusion magic (like Silent Image or Ghost Sounds) for intimidation would count as "favorable conditions", and grant a +2 circumstance bonus on the Intimidate check. If the target would be especially frightened by the illusion, more than the illusion would frighten a normal person (such as using an illusion of spiders against someone with arachnophobia), the illusion grants a +4 circumstance bonus instead.

    If the target failed the opposed Intimidation roll, and realizes your illusion is not real after the intimidate check was made, he may retry the check, minus the bonus from illusions.
    Quote Originally Posted by Emperor Tippy View Post
    By level 20 though, you aren't capturing a wizard. A character lives to level 20 by being the most ruthless, lucky, capable, and paranoid bastard around. A wizard is throwing around a 30+ Int score and has, entirely in character, planned contingencies for his contingencies. He may well be running around with flat out total immunity to harm, he does not walk outside without an entire bevy of defensive magics around him and enough magic items to buy himself a nation.

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    Default Re: Illusions and Intimidate

    Quote Originally Posted by Slipperychicken View Post
    Target sees you waving around some stupid material component (like eating a spider or throwing cakes or whatever) and shouting nonsense. He know's you're casting a spell. Any dumbass and see that.

    Target gets Spellcraft check to identify the fact you're casting an illusion. If he succeeds, he knows it's an illusion and it has no effect.

    If target fails both those (and any saves he might get against it), he reacts to the illusion as though he thought it was real. He might be skeptical that your fireballs barely hurt and now you're summoning a dragon, especially if he's familiar with illusions.

    Using illusion magic (like Silent Image or Ghost Sounds) for intimidation would count as "favorable conditions", and grant a +2 circumstance bonus on the Intimidate check. If the target would be especially frightened by the illusion, more than the illusion would frighten a normal person (such as using an illusion of spiders against someone with arachnophobia), the illusion grants a +4 circumstance bonus instead.

    If the target failed the opposed Intimidation roll, and realizes your illusion is not real after the intimidate check was made, he may retry the check, minus the bonus from illusions.
    So basically your saying illusion are nearly useless unless you can cast them when the "target" doesn't know your there. Also, how can the target retry his modified level check against intimidation if he's already failed, thus (presumably) doing the action the intimidation was supposed to cause?

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    Default Re: Illusions and Intimidate

    Being out of LoS, using Still Spell and Silent Spell: can all help here.

    I have 'turned' a vampire with a glowing image of a Holy Symbol.

    But I normally use illusions to mislead, rather than intimidate.
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    Quote Originally Posted by limejuicepowder View Post
    So basically your saying illusion are nearly useless unless you can cast them when the "target" doesn't know your there. Also, how can the target retry his modified level check against intimidation if he's already failed, thus (presumably) doing the action the intimidation was supposed to cause?
    If the guy doesn't know you're casting an Illusion (he fails his Spellcraft), it can work, otherwise he knows the illusion is a fake and won't be as afraid. If he doesn't identify the spell as an Illusion, he might think you're putting out a Conjuration or even Transmutation. But he still knows you're casting a spell. If you see a guy waving around a piece of fleece and shouting magic words when he could be shooting at you, it's obvious he's using magic.

    The retry isn't RAW, but I was using it to simulate a chance to "wise up", after realizing the illusory threat wasn't real. It's hard to be scared of a paper tiger.

    If you're going to fool people in a world with magic-awareness (illusions would quickly gain a lot of press in any world), you'll have to creative and smart about it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Emperor Tippy View Post
    By level 20 though, you aren't capturing a wizard. A character lives to level 20 by being the most ruthless, lucky, capable, and paranoid bastard around. A wizard is throwing around a 30+ Int score and has, entirely in character, planned contingencies for his contingencies. He may well be running around with flat out total immunity to harm, he does not walk outside without an entire bevy of defensive magics around him and enough magic items to buy himself a nation.

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    Default Re: Illusions and Intimidate

    Ghost Sound + shouting some horrible scary intimidating phrase? (Yelling "I'ma gonna eat yer face" in Goblin or Abyssal work very well)
    Ventriloquism + whispering into someone's ear the precise manner in which their friend is about to die? And the next round there is a visual indicator that the whispered (self-fulfilling) prophesy is possibly about to come true?
    Yeah, a +2 for favorable conditions seems reasonable. Barring of course that you don't make it extremely obvious that you are casting something.
    Part of why it's great to be Invisible and NOT attack things all the time.
    Last edited by Karoht; 2012-11-19 at 03:13 PM.
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    Default Re: Illusions and Intimidate

    99% of the groups I play in allow Str or Cha to be added to Intimidate ranks for total skill bonus. It is actually listed as an option in the DMG. Also, I often see GMs run it as with every size category the one intimidating is larger than the one being intimidated, they get a +2 size bonus per category to the intimidation check. Among other circumstance bonuses of course.

    It just falls into that usually the 14' 2-ton Feral Half-Ogre Orc who just laid waste to your men in a matter of seconds is usually more intimidating than the 3' halfling who is threatening to hit you with a 'magic' stick. (I use this example because it happened in a campaign I was playing in. I was the Halfling with a stick... hahaha)

    As for Illusions, yeah, just be careful who sees you casting them and you should to fine. Not many NPCs are trained in spellcraft, usually, unless they are casters. I once played a thief, in fact same from above, who when fleeing would use his wands casting Illusory Walls until the guards started just confidently running through them before popping up a good old Wall of Stone for a comedic blunder!

    Edit:
    There's also a Pathfinder feat called Intimidating Prowess that allows you to just add both Cha and Str to Intimidate checks.
    Last edited by AlchemicalMyst; 2012-11-19 at 04:48 PM.

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    Default Re: Illusions and Intimidate

    Quote Originally Posted by AlchemicalMyst View Post
    Also, I often see GMs run it as with every size category the one intimidating is larger than the one being intimidated, they get a +2 size bonus per category to the intimidation check.
    The actual rule is +4 (or -4, depending on which way you're going) per size category xD.

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    SolithKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Illusions and Intimidate

    An intimidate check is how terrifying you are to the person.

    An illusion of being ridiculous powerful, while that might give it a bonus, isn't actually the point here.

    If I am Joe the Assassin and my target suddenly goes 'I AM ACTUALLY A DRAGON LOL' I am not going to fight him REGARDLESS of what he rolls on his intimidate check. Because I AM NOT AN IDIOT. HE IS A DRAGON. OH GOD. WHY WOULD I EVEN TRY.

    However, if I roll a Sense Motive vs his Bluff, and go 'hold on a second... if you're a dragon, why are you pretending to be a middle-aged gnome arcanist who can't get it up in bed?' and then go 'OH WAIT YOU AREN'T A DRAGON AT ALL'.

    So this is more pertinent in the form of a bluff v sense motive. No-one is going to fight a true fiend unless they are extremely powerful or suicidal. That's not a question. No true fiend ever needs to roll intimidate against Joe the Assassin unless Joe is actually a 18th level adventurer.


    Intimidate is using your presence to make someone back down and be scared even if you couldn't necessarily win against them in a fight. That's not really the point of the illusion.

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    Default Re: Illusions and Intimidate

    Quote Originally Posted by limejuicepowder View Post
    I guess I'll start my question with this: does anyone add circumstance bonuses on skills, namely intimidate?
    Yes. I give circumstance bonuses or penalties for all skills, and other rolls.

    Quote Originally Posted by limejuicepowder View Post
    Next question: have you or anyone your DMing for ever used an illusion to intimidate someone? Well how was the situation handled?
    As a DM I do this often. Most of the time, I keep this just pure role play. So in effect the illusion is fooling the player, not the character. Though when crunch is needed, I generally use the +30 effect, like from the spell Glibness.

    Most of the time, the effect is more then enough to intimidate even with no crunch. Even if the players know it's an illusion.

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    Default Re: Illusions and Intimidate

    Never done it myself. I prefer a subtle touch to my illusions and enchantments.

    "If you're doing everything right, they'll never be sure you're doing anything at all." -God, speaking to Bender about being a deity in that one episode of Futurama.

    That said, I'd probably ad-hoc a circumstance bonus on certain social skill checks (including intimidate) depending on the target of the check and how the player handled it.
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    Default Re: Illusions and Intimidate

    Quote Originally Posted by limejuicepowder View Post
    The actual rule is +4 (or -4, depending on which way you're going) per size category xD.
    I'm going to have to start taking a closer look at skills! Been playing for years and had no idea! Dx

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    Default Re: Illusions and Intimidate

    Quote Originally Posted by Rejakor View Post
    If I am Joe the Assassin and my target suddenly goes 'I AM ACTUALLY A DRAGON LOL' I am not going to fight him REGARDLESS of what he rolls on his intimidate check. Because I AM NOT AN IDIOT. HE IS A DRAGON. OH GOD. WHY WOULD I EVEN TRY.
    Or Joe remembers his briefing/intelligence-gathering, which told him the target is a GNOME WITH ILLUSION SPELLS. Then proceeds to activate his +2 Brain of Deep Thought and just stab it anyway.
    Quote Originally Posted by Emperor Tippy View Post
    By level 20 though, you aren't capturing a wizard. A character lives to level 20 by being the most ruthless, lucky, capable, and paranoid bastard around. A wizard is throwing around a 30+ Int score and has, entirely in character, planned contingencies for his contingencies. He may well be running around with flat out total immunity to harm, he does not walk outside without an entire bevy of defensive magics around him and enough magic items to buy himself a nation.

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    Default Re: Illusions and Intimidate

    Quote Originally Posted by Slipperychicken View Post
    Or Joe remembers his briefing/intelligence-gathering, which told him the target is a GNOME WITH ILLUSION SPELLS. Then proceeds to activate his +2 Brain of Deep Thought and just stab it anyway.
    Or, ya know, you could just base joe's reaction on the results of the bluff and intimidate checks.

    Yes, the briefing said he was a gnome illusionist, but if you failed the sense motive then you have a reason to doubt whether or not the briefing was exhaustive. Maybe someone in the intel gathering department screwed up. Maybe this "dragon" has successfully concealed his nature up 'till now. Maybe he is just a lying sack of a gnome in desperate need of stabbing, so let's consult the intimidate check.

    If you passed it, you had a moment of doubt about his being a gnome or a dragon, but either way you've taken the job and screwed up enough courage to try and get it done anyway.

    This of course assumes you're not joe the cowardly assassin who'd run from a quasit. (seriously Rejakor? never fight a fiend until you're 18th level, when fiends run the entire gamut of the CR index?)
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    Default Re: Illusions and Intimidate

    Quote Originally Posted by Kelb_Panthera View Post
    Yes, the briefing said he was a gnome illusionist, but if you failed the sense motive then you have a reason to doubt whether or not the briefing was exhaustive. Maybe someone in the intel gathering department screwed up.
    It shouldn't be a straight, unmodified roll at that point, though. The fact that you have intelligence saying it's a gnome illusionist is going to add a circumstance bonus based on how trusted the source. Or you have to present the result of the bluff/sense motive roll somewhat ambiguously. "Well, at the very least he is an accomplished liar. If you didn't hear from the Poisoned Veil about this gnome beforehand, you would have little reason to question his claims. Those fangs glinting in the firelight, for instance, are very convincing."

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    Default Re: Illusions and Intimidate

    Quote Originally Posted by Deophaun View Post
    It shouldn't be a straight, unmodified roll at that point, though. The fact that you have intelligence saying it's a gnome illusionist is going to add a circumstance bonus based on how trusted the source. Or you have to present the result of the bluff/sense motive roll somewhat ambiguously. "Well, at the very least he is an accomplished liar. If you didn't hear from the Poisoned Veil about this gnome beforehand, you would have little reason to question his claims. Those fangs glinting in the firelight, for instance, are very convincing."
    Never said it should be an unmodified roll. What you've said seems perfectly reasonable to me.

    Like I said, I'd allow the illusions and/or enchantments to generate circumstance bonuses on several of the social skills, not just intimidate.
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