Any of you goodly geeks make it to Dragon Con this year? If you’ve never been, you’ve gotta go. It’s a subculture all its own, complete with cults, its own TV channel, and more inside jokes than you can shake a deceased trashcan at.  But the reason I bring it up today is this little weirdo. Every year as the costume contest judges deliberate, the fans grow restless. Impatience festers. Eager to find out who’s won best in show at the masquerade, the audience begins their chant.


And not wishing to start a riot, the con organizers wisely give the people what they want. As the Warner Brothers logo comes up and the opening notes of “Merry-Go-Round Broke Down” begin to play, the whole of the Hyatt Regency Centennial Ballroom vibrates to the full-throated roar of 1,500 nerds: “Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century!

If you’ve never seen the cartoon, you’ll want to hit that link. It’s a sci-fi comedy classic. But for our purposes, it’s also useful as an object lesson in intimidation.

You see, Marvin the Martian is no one’s idea of intimidating. Dude’s a nebbish little pushover with a wimpy voice and a puny physique. But when he pulls out the (comically) big guns, he’s suddenly worth taking seriously.

Any D&D player who’s ever piloted a big dumb guy has come up against a weirdly similar scenario. With biceps cranked to 11 and a Charisma modifier hovering at -2, they couldn’t get lunch money from a third grader, much less scare intel out of a captured goblin.

As it happens, we’ve touched on exactly this scenario back in “Intimi-Beef.” But if you happen to game at one of those tables where your GM is unwilling to freely substitute Strength for Charisma in matters of Intimidation, you’ll have to come up with justification for your rules-bending. You’ll have to do like Marvin (or Artificer in today’s comic), and give your enemies a reason to fear you.

Here’s what I propose for today’s discussion. Pick any skill from any game system other than Intimidation. Tell us how you’d use it to intimidate an NPC. Will you dazzle them with horsemanship? Use your fat Fort save to quaff poison without breaking a sweat? Or perhaps you’ll pull a Tim and make with the pyrotechnics? Most creative response gets +38,490 XP.


ARE YOU AN IMPATIENT GAMER? If so, you should check out the “Henchman” reward level over on The Handbook of Heroes Patreon. For just one buck a month, you can get each and every Handbook of Heroes comic a day earlier than the rest of your party members. That’s bragging rights right there!