I’ve decided to start posting some of my skill challenges I’ve built. I’ve run about as many, if not more, skill challenges than combats in my 4e game. You’ve heard me talking about them before –I love them. Once I got used to the system though, I wanted to go further. To take this idea for a roleplaying mini-game to another level. One of the benefits of skill challenges is that the framework is simple enough that you can modify and tinker endlessly until it fits into the context of whatever you’re doing. Like the rest of the system, skill challenges are quite easy to “skin”. One template for a skill challenge could be reset to do any number of different challenges. Replace a few skills change the role-playing of the characters, and voila! “New” skill challenge. I’ll set my skill challenges up in a template format with some of the specifics yanked out so that they’ll be easier for you to use in your own campaign.
Scenario: A section of the city is burning, and the PCs are trying to rescue whatever trapped citizens they can while waiting for help to put out the fire, or everything burns down.
Complexity: Open (the skill challenge ends when goal is completed or three failures)
Goal: Rescue 20 townsfolk.
City Ablaze works in three stages. The PCs first need to locate a building with people in it who are stuck, they need to find a way in, and they then need to stage a rescue. PCs can make as many rolls as needed to complete a phase, but any failures count towards the total failures. After each skill is listed the difficulty of the DC you should use for the test, as appropriate for level.
Locate Endangered Citizens (Phase 1)
Perception (moderate): Nominate one PC as primary searcher. All other players may use Aid Other to help that PC.
StreetWise (moderate): Nominate one PC as primary searcher. All other players may use Aid Other to help that PC.
Success: The PCs find citizens trapped by the fire who need their help. The DM rolls a 1d6 representing the number of people who can be rescued on this attempt.
Failure: Keep Searching!
Get inside (Phase 2)
Once the players have located endangered citizens, they need to get to them.
Roll 1d6 (or choose) to determine the success.
1-3- Entrance Blocked.
The crumbling structure has created obstacles to getting in or out.
Athletics (hard): Clear the rubble out of the way.
Perception (hard): Find an alternate route.
Diplomacy (hard): Does not count as a success, but allows you to enlist other citizens to help clear the rubble from the blocked path, giving a +2 on the Athletics check.
4-6- Roaring Flames.
The flames leap out at you, threatening to singe you with each step.
Automatic Success: Lose two healing surges. You run through the flames, ignoring the danger to yourself.
Endurance (hard): You are able to weather through the worst of it. If you fail, lose one healing surge.
Acrobatics (hard): You leap and twist out the way. If you fail, lose one healing surge.
Nature (moderate): You understand how fire works and anticipate it’s movements. Does not count as a success, but grants a +2 to your Endurance or Acrobatics rolls.
Now that you’ve come in, it’s time to get out.
Endurance: (moderate, group check): This does not count towards a success or failure for this phase. Any character who fails loses one healing surge.
Athletics (easy): There’s no better way out of this than through sheer effort. You lift the fallen and make your way out.
Perception (easy): You navigate the citizens out to safety easily.
Diplomacy/Insight (moderate): You are able to coordinate yourself and the those trapped. As a team, you exit safely.
Nature (easy): Knowing how to work within the flames allows you to guide everyone out safely.
Religion (hard): You pray to your god, and heeds your call for safe passage.
For any skill used, add the number of people being rescued to the DC.
The first time there is a failure in this phase, halve the amount of people rescued.
- Skill Challenges #5: Kobolds Ate My Baby!
- How to Design a Skill Challenge Part 5: Cycling.
- How to Design a Skill Challenge Part 4: Sequencing