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He casts Silent Image to create a giant scroll a few hundred feet in the air with a mean old message written in the sky with a large font.

Can I use the message contained in Silent Image to intimidate?

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An enormous and threatening illusion—even if it's not detected as such—can certainly be intimidating (in the real-world sense of the word), but that enormous illusion won't, for example, allow the illusion's controller to make Intimidate skill checks against the populace.

The Intimidate skill's most common uses are coerce opponent, which affects a lone target and takes a long time; demoralize an opponent, which only works against a lone target within 30 ft. of you; and influence an opponent's attitude, which only works against a lone target.

Against a lone foe, this GM supposes that part of the coercion skill use could be conducted via the written word sent to the target directly or projected overhead if the bully is also a ham and that the demoralize opponent skill use is probably possible through projected words alone although that seems a shameful waste of a spell, but this GM would rule that the influence an opponent's attitude skill use can't be employed via a static illusion as that skill use specifically mandates conversation.

This doesn't mean that the GM should ignore the effects of the illusion, though! If the caster skywrites for the land to see The king's a demon! or The princess is a traitor! then the caster likely has the populace's attention even if the populace isn't coerced, demoralized, or influenced!

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Alright, the 30 ft. is what specifically got me. (Everything else sounds reasonable too..... thanks! \$\endgroup\$ – FrancisJohn Jun 18 '17 at 18:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ @FrancisJohn To be fair, were it my campaign, I wouldn't try to mechanize the effects using skill checks. Unless the silent image is an essay detailing the princess's crimes or something (which might require a Craft (writing) or Profession (writer) skill check to get just so), the effects of the image will be highly dependent on the campaign's events rather than the dice. Congratulations! The wizard has invented both PR and advertising—much to everyone else's dismay. Now expect counterspin from other images, graffiti, and rumormongering to refute the wizard's claims. Sigh. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Jun 18 '17 at 18:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ even better, he's not a wizard he's a bard. \$\endgroup\$ – FrancisJohn Jun 18 '17 at 18:42
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Maybe but unlikely, it would depend entirely on what was written. At best it'd be taken as a prank. Text is not exactly an intimidating format, it lacks any inflections, tone or visual circumstance.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ It will be something along the lines of "calling out the princess for treason and that a revolution is starting" \$\endgroup\$ – FrancisJohn Jun 18 '17 at 17:59

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