Skill challenges were the best kept secret of 4e D&D. They were awesome, but they were so poorly explained that it caused a lot of confusion.
Mike Shea of Sly Flourish talks to Quinn Murphy of At-Will about skill challenges. Learn the top 3 tips for effective skill challenges. Get the hot button questions answered like when to say or hide the fact that players are in a skill challenge, how do you write up skill challenges, how to add interesting choices into skill challenges, how to engage players in a skill challenge, using skill challenges in combat, and much more.
Today I’m looking at skills. Rob Schwalb’s article about his dissatisfaction with them mirrors many of my concerns that have existed ever since my very first game of 3rd edition up through my current campaign. However, they clearly have value, as you’ll see in many of these posts, but also can pose some issues.
There’s been an awful lot of digital ink spilled on many 4E subjects, but I can’t seem to find anything about skill challenges. Har har. But seriously, I know what you’re thinking: “For crying out loud, not another skill challenge article.” In the words of the poets and philosophers, I feel ya, dawg. Even though […]
I’ve done a few airship skill challenges before, thanks to a motley Dwarven pirate airship. Escape from the giant dragon air skill challenge and oh crap the airship is crashing skill challenge both had been done, so for this one, I envisioned something like the space battles in Star Wars, like the trench run but in a more open space. Thus, I consulted Gamefiend, the mad genius of skill challenges, for his help in designing it. One Skype call later (and then another day of planning later) I came up with the following skill challenge.
I don’t like random monsters. On the other hand, the idea of having players sweat for their extended rest could be worth exploring once or twice in a campaign. This is especially true if your group chronically blows their wad of dailies in the first encounter and then just assume they can take an extended rest wherever they please. So, what if you said ‘Yes’ to resting in a dangerous area (like in the middle of a freaking dungeon) but did it with a twist?
As the maintainer of the (now massive) Skill Challenge feature, I read quite a lot about skill challenges, no matter if they’re positive, negative, or somewhere in between. I think SCs can be broken down into three main camps: overt skill challenges, covert skill challenges, and bad skill challenges.
The dragon found them flying through the skies aboard a flying Dwarven pirate airship and threatened to destroy the ship if they didn’t toss the heroes overboard. They found their powers mostly useless against the creature, and scrambled to improvise other alternatives aboard a the ship. Firing at the creature’s wings, ordering the pirates into a better sense of organization, searching the hold for something useful, and finally, firing a Deva riding a barrel of rum attached with a chain to an anchor at the dragon using twin ballistas.