Why intimidation is based on Charisma and not Strength

Whenever intimidation skill is brought up there’s always someone who insists it should be based on Strength and not Charisma. One example I’ve heard a few times is bears. An angry bear has no real charisma in human terms and yet is scary as heck.

Does that mean it has a higher intimidation chance than a very charismatic halfling?

Nope. You know why? Intimidation is a skill. Simply causing fear isn’t the same as intimidation skill. If a large, scary bear wanted to convince a gate guard to open the door through intimidation, the gate guard would just run inside and shut the gate.

If the halfling wanted in he could calmly walk up and, in a calm voice, tell the guard that if they didn’t let her in they would soon be mucking out the stables in the village outside and the guard would be intimidated enough believe it. That’s skill and it uses charisma, not brute strength. It even works in the animal kingdom. I once worked in an office where people could bring in their dogs and there were often 5-10 dogs in a limited space.

And there was one cat.

Can you guess who was in charge?

Gina the cat was capable of staring down rottweilers and German shepherds on a regular basis through sheer force of personality. She was the smallest, most delicate of the creatures in the office and she was absolutely in charge.

Just like this critter here-

picture of intimidating kitten

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  1. Anonymous on August 23, 2020 at 6:04 pm

    You could also say it the opposite way.

    The little cat doesn’t have a good intimidation stat. It just has a powerful fear skill.

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