Bluff/Diplomacy/Intimidate; what does each cover? - Myth-Weavers

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Bluff/Diplomacy/Intimidate; what does each cover?

   
Bluff/Diplomacy/Intimidate; what does each cover?

Just something I have to ask about, since I've never had use for Intimidate in a social encounter. It's always Diplomacy to butter them up until they agree to work with you or Bluff to lie your way through.

Like, if something is true, and you're having trouble convincing someone of it, would you use Bluff or Diplomacy?
If you want a pub full of drunk gnomes to shut up and sit down, would that be Diplomacy or Intimidate?


Personally I'm wondering; what if they were Convince, Command, and Diplomacy instead?
Convince including Bluff, but also including convincing people of the truth, or just presenting an argument.
Command would include all forms of trying to compel an intelligent creature to obey you, be they soldiers, drunkards, panicked crowds or raging enemies.
And Diplomacy would be improving a creature's attitude as well (or, deliberately provoking them for whatever reason).
Would that work a little better, or does convincing people of the truth and trying to control non-enemies not come up enough, or...?

Convincing people of the truth is Diplomacy, Bluff is explicitly for deception. Presenting truthful arguments (ones you believe to be correct) is fundamentally different from deliberate deception. I suppose you could try to trick people into agreeing with you with Bluff, but they'd probably be a bit annoyed if they figured it out, even if you were right.

The drunken gnomes? It depends on your approach. Soft words and maybe buying the next round? That's Diplomacy. Smashing a table and roaring "Sit down and shut up!"? That's Intimidate. Again, fundamentally different.

well, I've used intimidate extensively, in interrogation... my warlock tends to play bad cop and regularly mentions how the flames of hell await liars and those, who, by their silence, prevent the work of righteous folk...

Intimidate gets used a lot when you have that encounter with the loud mouth drunk in the tavern. You tell him to knock it off, he stands up and stumbles your way, then your friends start standing one or two at a time. If the drunk suddenly decides he needs a re-fill you won.

In a lot of game settings bluff and intimidate probably got used concurrently, you present the gate guard with a convincing story about how the prince is waiting for your group RIGHT NOW and you know how hr HATES to be kept waiting. If you didn't really know the prince, it was a little bit bluff and a little bit intimidation.

In this case, knowing which system you are running in is a bit important. D&D 3.5 has some strict guidelines for how these different roles work, and a quick look at the SRD will help explain when and why to use each.

But from a more system agnostic POV:
  • Bluff is for deception... not necessarily lying, like passing secret messages or feinting in combat, though lying can be an aspect of a bluff.
  • Diplomacy is for improving the attitude of a someone towards you, not necessarily telling the truth.
  • Intimidate is for imposing your will on someone for a short time, whether by telling the truth or a lie.

Intimidate and Bluff are usually easy ways to get someone to cooperate. But after the "effect" of your actions wears off, the demeanor of someone you've manipulated this way will turn a bit more disagreeable. Although a hostile reaction may be a possibility in Bluff, it is a certainty with Intimidate. Which is why it's generally easier to Intimidate someone than it is to Bluff them. However, both tend to be easier to succeed at than Diplomacy.

Intimidate is basically used for the same things as Diplomacy, it just makes them hate you afterward. Diplomacy is permanent (barring a change in circumstances).

Bluff: **Anytime ever** there is intentional deception, which IMO includes purposeful omissions of the truth.
Diplomacy: Sweet talk them, or (even more applicable) bargain for what you want. (Good cop).
Intimidate: "Do this or I/someone else will do something bad to you." (Bad cop).

I'm going to second the general sentiment here:
If you ever need to instill fear into your target, you use Intimidation.
If you ever need to deceive a target, you use Bluff.
If you wish to elicit positive emotions in a target or change their perspective through reason, you use Diplomacy.

If you're scaring an enemy with a false threat, (e.g. "There are 50 guards outside, waiting for a signal for me.") then I'd make you roll both Bluff -and- Intimidation. If you fail Bluff, they just don't believe you. If you succeed in Bluff but fail Intimidation, they believe you but they don't think those 50 guards are a threat.
You succeed by passing both.
Of course, the Intimidation DC here would be significantly lower than "I can take all five of your guys on my own, even if I'm unarmed".

Mechanically it's a bit punitive to call for a bluff AND intimidate check. They both are used to alter the behavior of an NPC to something desired by the user. I typically just go with whichever one seems most appropriate given what's stated.

I've used a double check for this sort of situation before, but it's more of an Aid Self kind of thing where one roll is just supporting the other and possibly making it easier. The 50 guards thing might not be the best example, that's pretty much a straight bluff, though I suppose it could be presented in a way that made Intimidate compliment the Bluff check.







 

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