Question for the community: How do you handle Intimidation in your games?

Question for the community: How do you handle Intimidation in your games?

Question for the community: How do you handle Intimidation in your games?

We ended up using Parley (a move I admittedly have a hard time wrapping my head around), but I’m not sure that’s really correct for Dungeon World. 

8 thoughts on “Question for the community: How do you handle Intimidation in your games?”

  1. Thanks, Eric Nieudan . I did some more reading, and I think you’re correct. I think the root of my confusion was strange wording for Parley on the playbook PDF. The wording in the rulebook is much more clear.

  2. You could do it as Parley with the leverage being “threat of violence,” but more often than not I prefer to let GM principles and NPC characterization decide if they are intimidated/cowed into obeisance.  

  3. Generally, just RP it out.  If the threat the group portrays is clearly sufficient to overcome a person’s resistance to blabbing, role play it out a bit, but give up the goods.  Don’t just hand them over, but reward good role playing with the info (assuming the NPC knows something!)

    If the person has compelling reason not to blab (protecting a secret, psychically compelled, well-trained or indoctrinated), it may not be possible to force them to talk, and no move is triggered.

    In the event that the person might talk AND knows something, and/or if you have other issues like a narrow time frame, it may be interesting to throw it to the dice:

    Parley could be used to convince them to exchange information for some other promise or deed (such as protection, escape, money).  This may not always be possible, but if an NPC just needs the right bribe, Parley lets you work that out.

    Defy Danger: CHA could come in if you want to trick them into revealing more than they intend to.  Lots of double-talking, engage their ego so they brag (James Bond Villain-esque) or the such.

    Or Perhaps Defy Danger: INT to use torture sufficient to get them talking, but without killing them before they can.

    Finally, maybe a Defy Danger: STR to put on a really strong demonstration of force, sufficient to scare them to talk without having to kill them outright.  

    I still struggle with my d&d roots of making every action a test:

    You want to buy more arrows, AND you’re in the arrow store, AND the shopkeeper is looking at you, eager to make the sale, AND you have plenty of coin?  Roll to see if you can find any arrows to buy!

    Bah… that’s boring, and contentious.  Sell em some arrows so they can get to the bits where they shoot em at stuff!

  4. Interesting points, Andrew Fish ! To your point, we were also having trouble getting over D&D roots. In this case the player’s intent was to intimidate the opposition into surrendering, potentially a very powerful move. I ended up allowing it (the fiction provided a strong case for leverage), and luckily I don’t think it’ll be something they try to exploit in the next battle (which was my real concern with allowing it as a move in the first place).

  5. i used the carrot and the stick to drive campaigns generally toward my prep.  I had a strong idea of what i wanted to show the players, and was proud at how versatile i could be in helping guide them toward my story “behind the scenes” instead of overtly railroading them straight toward it.

    Dungeon World is teaching me tons about sitting back and watching the story flow forward from player actions, with minimal interference from me.

    So last Friday, i knew the necromancers had a bunch of slaves excavating the big bad thing.  I knew the slaves that had already died would be turned into undead protectors of the site.  I expected the group would try to rescue some of them before they all got turned.

    I did not expect that the majority of the surviving slaves would be recruited (10+ on a Parley from The Paladin) to found a holy order dedicated to cleansing and protecting the accursed excavation site!

    Is your player a general in the making?  Or do they like to murder those who show cowardice on the field?  How will this reputation grow and shape the world?  Play to find out!

  6. Parley, like Carouse, can cover a number of situations; in this case, intimidation. Depending on how well the players press the NPC(s)–by severe physical threat or completely reversing the scenario, for instance–you can direct the narrative accordingly.

    Take the below (from my group’s first DW game):

    Evil Wizard NPC : Give me the Mask of Making Terrible Things Happen and I’ll call off the elementals that are eating your face.

    Barbarian Player (with a great club, standing over the PC who’s wearing the mask): Send your minions away, Wizard, or I’ll smash his head into the next life.

    Cleric Player (who’s having his face eaten): He totally will, too.

    Every character is afraid of something: your devious players will press on it with whatever they can.

    And sometimes that leverage will have the messy tag.

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