Case Study: Intimidate used with Persuasion Rules

Yellow Dawn RPG

Interesting situation occurred during a recent game session. One of the characters, a tough sonofabitch survivor called Winter, decided he didn’t like the fact two brothers had murdered the local lawman.  The murder was in fact in retaliation for the lawman killing their third brother the previous year; but Winter had come to know the lawman and his murder hit him hard.

The scene evolves around Winter drawing a deadly looking katana from his shoulder sheath, holding it out towards the two brothers and saying, “You will pack up your things and you will leave this place, for good. You will never come back.”

Now Winter has a lot of skill points invested in Intimidate (he makes the skill check so gains a THREAT SCORE of +20); he also has the Hero Feat “Bad Boy” which gives him +40 THREAT SCORE just for looking at the brothers, giving him a total of +60. Threatening them with the weapon gives him another +20. So the total THREAT SCORE IS 80.

This takes the brothers COOL score down from 80 to Zero.  They are automatically intimidated. And so they back off. But this is their home. Where they have come to settle after surviving Yellow Dawn. They’re not just going to walk away.

The Intimidate skill was written to handle fast-moving situations and to get other characters or NPCs to comply for short periods of time. What Winter is trying to achieve is more like persuasion. But this isn’t the right context for a 30 minute chat.  This is a unique but not a rare situation.  So I used the Persuasion system, and built an Objection Score (to leaving their home forever) based on COOL (+80), with a DM of (+20) because “if doing – this – will result in somebody getting hurt [emotionally] although unlikely to be life threatening”.

The THREAT SCORE from Intimidate is a fixed value, not something you roll beneath.  So is the Objection Score.   Hmm. So I decided to reduce the Objection Score (100) by the THREAT SCORE (80) leaving me a value of 20. This is the brothers remaining objection to moving away.  According to  Persuasion rules (p147 in YD2.5), the person’s mind is only changed if the value of success is 81 or more.

So based on this, Winter was able to leave the brothers intimidated for a few minutes, but could not get them to (change their minds) leave home.

Using Intimiate to Persuade in the end it comes down to violence rather than words

In the end it comes down to violence rather than words. Source unknown, please advise and I’ll credit

If Winter wanted, he could have further increased his THREAT SCORE by using violence. He could also have reduced the Objection Score through bribery. Either way, if he had worked a little harder at it he could had seen the brothers pack up their things and leave.

Winter was actually stopped from taking it further by the local keeper-of-the-peace, a matriarch called Eliane.


Yellow Dawn – The Age of Hastur, first published in 2007, is an RPG written by British Science Fiction & Dark Fantasy author David J Rodger – it blends the Cthulhu Mythos and cyberpunk genres in a post-apocalyptic setting. It also has three novels set within it: Dog Eat Dog, The Black Lake and The Social Club.


See more posts like this – click

David J Rodger – DATA



2 thoughts on “Case Study: Intimidate used with Persuasion Rules

  1. Bit rules heavy for my taste.

    If it had been BRP/Cthulhu, the PC would roll for persuasion (with a bonus for the katana), and the NPCs roll their POW * 5. The lowest roll wins. Assuming the PC wins, how long the NPCs stay away for depends on the PCs roll; critical = forever, special = 1d6 months, success = 1d6 weeks.

    Obviously it’s all a matter of taste; I like to keep things simple and fast (which is why I tend to use Savage Worlds these days – elegant rules and minimal house keeping!).


    Sent from my iPad


    • Heya Rob, thanks for the comment. I always appreciate feedback, especially when there’s a chance to focus on making improvements.

      Yeah sometimes I just want a fast decision, which the YD rules can faciliate (NPC Motivation scores create qiuck decision points). But I do like the option to weave in more granularity. Epecially on what would be a big decision for the NPCs. It’s always a balancing act between speed of play and the gravity of any particular moment. That’s the pleasure point for me. Finding that balance. Make sense?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s