Intimidation Rules (4e Variant Rule)

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Intimidation: "I'm Big and Scary. Be afraid."

The horrors of war are beyond measure and description. Conflict and carnage can cause grievous mental harm on those ill prepared for the sights seen in combat situations. Monstrous enemies wade into battle, destroying and maiming their targets with little regard to cleanliness. Friends and comrades may be killed, slaughtered even, before any allies have time to aide. This is certain to affect their decisions.

The following information pertains to a homebrew system intended to allow for the intimidation of foes and allies to sway them during battle. The rules for Intimidation checks, as detailed in the Player’s Handbook 1, are as follows:

Intimidate can be used in combat as part of a skill challenge that requires a number of successes. Your Intimidate checks are made against a target’s Will defense or a DC set by the DM. It is a standard action in combat or a non-action as part of a skill challenge. An opposed check is made (Intimidate vs Will). If you can’t speak a language your target understands, you take a -5 penalty to your check. If you attempt to intimidate multiple enemies at once, make a separate Intimidate check against each enemy’s Will defense. Each target must be able to see and hear you. Upon a successful Intimidate check, you can force a bloodied target to surrender, get a target to reveal secrets against its will, or cow a target into taking some other action. Additionally, creatures unfriendly to the player or creature attempting the Intimidate check gain a +5 bonus to Will defense for the check, and Hostile targets gain a +10 bonus.

Intimidation Rules[edit]

While this provides for surrenders during combat, it fails to delve into the psychological effects it can have on a creature and its choices. The following are supplemental and replacement rules to the PH1 Intimidate Check rules:

Line of Sight: Intimidate checks can only be made on targets on which you have line of sight. If the intimidator has a power allowing them to project their voice or other means of intimidation, it may be used to make an Intimidate check only at the DM’s discretion.

New Threshold for Intimidate Effectiveness: Under these Homebrew Rules, Intimidate checks can be made at any level of health, though penalties apply for each. Targets with health above bloodied (100% to 50%) gain a +10 bonus to Will against Intimidate checks. Targets with health between bloodied and Surge Value (50% to 25%) gain a +5 to Will against Intimidate checks. Targets with health at or below Surge Value (25% to 0%) gain no bonus. These bonuses stack with bonuses and penalties.

Leadership Units: More often than not, minion units are coupled with a leadership or elite unit to command them. In this instance, the leader unit is able to control the minions in battle, and thus convince (or scare) them into continuing to fight. Of course, should the leader fall in battle, it will shatter the morale of the minions he commands. If a creature with the Leader keyword is present in an encounter, all units pertinent to the Leader gain a +5 bonus to Will against Intimidate checks. This bonus reverses to a -5 penalty to Will when the Leader is killed. This bonus and penalty does not apply to Class Role Leader PCs.

Surrendered Targets: Targets that have been successfully Intimidated into surrender are considered Helpless. Should the target be left unattended or unguarded, it will attempt to Full Retreat to the nearest safe point with little regard to its fellow soldiers. Some units, however, may purposefully surrender so as to catch their opponents off-guard.

Inspire Retreat: The Intimidate check is made as normal. Upon a success, the player or creature making the check can instead choose to scare the target into performing a Full Retreat from combat. The target will flee to the nearest exit or safe point, often disregarding its fellow soldiers. If the target does not possess the knowledge of a safe exit, the Inspire Retreat may or may not take full effect.

Size Categories: More often than not, bigger means scarier. For the purposes of Intimidation, this holds true. When making an Intimidate check against creatures of different sizes, bonuses and penalties to the Intimidate check are applied as outlined in the Table below (INTIMIDATOR SIZE vs TARGET SIZE):

Defender Size
Small Medium Large Huge Gargantuan
Small +0 - 5 - 10 - 20 - 40
Medium +5 +0 -5 -10 -20
Large +10 +5 +0 -5 -10
Huge +20 +10 +5 +0 -5
Gargantuan +40 +20 +10 +5 +0

New Feats: Several new feats will be available in supplement with these homebrew rules. They are detailed below:

Heroic Tier Feats

Fearless: You gain a +2 bonus to your Will defense against Intimidate checks.

Commissar: (Prerequisite: Charisma 15) You grant a +2 bonus to Will defense against Intimidate checks to all allies within 5 squares.

Giant Slayer: (Prerequisite: Small sized creature) You are treated as one category size larger for the purpose of Intimidate checks made against you.

Paragon Tier Feats

Terrifying Presence: (Prerequisite: Charisma 15, Trained in Intimidate) All enemies adjacent to you take a -5 penalty to Will defense against your Intimidate checks.

Brute: (Prerequisite: Trained in Intimidate) You are treated as one category size larger for the purpose of Intimidate checks.

Battle-Hardened: (Prerequisite: Fearless) Once per day, as a free action, you gain a +20 to Will defense against Intimidate checks until the end of your next turn.

Fearsome: (Prerequisite: Charisma 17, Trained in Intimidate) You can make Intimidate checks as a minor action.

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