Intimidation is the use of psychological or physical tactics designed to impress upon others that the user is tough and dangerous. It has nothing to do with persuasion or negotiation, being more like bullying. This proficiency can be used in several ways. Whenever the character wants something and believes he must exercise force to get it, he can use intimidation to imply the threat of violence. Intimidated targets will usually give in to keep the peace. If the character is being pushed around, successful use of intimidation may stop the harassment. Finally, intimidation may be used as a sort of gauge of power to impress upon people the character’s relative status and power.

The best sort of intimidation is achieved purely through verbal means or from nonviolent facial expressions and gestures that are designed to convey the character’s growing annoyance, impatience, disgust or aggression. This proficiency should be used as an adjunct to good role-playing, not as a substitute for it. Characters who can avoid a fight by successfully intimidating their opponents will be remembered as powerful, compelling, frightening and worthy of respect. Those who must resort to physical violence (chopping a table in half, backhanding a slave) may succeed at intimidating people for the moment but do not usually impress those they are trying to intimidate.

Intimidation may be used in lieu of bribery in the right circumstances. It can stand in for etiquette among certain tribal people or hardened adventurers, and it is always useful in dealing with petty officials who can be frightened into performing some small task rather than facing the character’s wrath.

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