Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Finding the Lair - A 4E Skill Challenge

Building a bit on my previous post about skill challenges, I thought that I would post a sample skill challenge of my own design. I would really like some feedback on it. Is it interesting? Does it suck? How could it be better? Comment away!

Finding the Lair

You enter the edge of the forest, determined to find the hidden lair.

Setup: To successfully complete this skill challenge, the PCs must make their way through the forest and locate a hidden lair.
Level: Equal to the level of the party.
Complexity: 1 (requires 4 successes before 2 failures).
Primary Skills: History, Nature, Perception.
History (moderate DC): You remember details about locations in the forest that might serve as a lair.
Nature: (easy DC): You are able to locate a trail in the forest that leads you closer to the hidden lair.
Perception (moderate DC): You notice a trail sign or spoor that leads you toward to the lair’s location.
Success: The PCs locate the lair.
Failure: The PCs are unable to locate the lair. If they only accumulate 1 or 2 successes before 2 failures, they are also lost in the forest. If they accumulate no successes before 2 failures, they are ambushed and immediately enter a combat encounter.

4 comments:

Viriatha said...

I don't play 4E so I don't know if it sucks or not but I think I might use it as an outline for a scene in another game.

mnology said...

Your complexity 1 skill challenge is 4 successful / 2 failures. Skill challenges received a major overhaul(all skill challenges end at 3 failures no matter the complexity). DCs also got an overhaul(basically reduce challenge DCs by 5 from what they are in the DMG.

Check the errata for the DMG from Wizards.

RPG Ike said...

Hey Anthony, looks fine to me.

Our DM put us through something very smiilar, although it much more complex since we were trying to locate a lost tomb from many hundreds of miles away (in 3E, no less).

We started in a wizard's tower and spent the first several checks researching, which opened up many other skills (and allowed everyone to participate). A teleport later we were using our more physical abilities (and party members) to narrow down the location even further. It worked not too badly, but didn't encourage any additional roleplaying (although it did encourage creative skill use).

The guy running a Butterfly Dreaming has a couple of great posts about skill challenges.

Scott said...

It's not too bad, but your failure condition could be a problem.

What happens to your adventure if the PCs fail and don't find the lair? Does it just end there? Depending on how sandbox-y your game is, that might not be very satisfying.

You might want to consider a failure result more like "The monster is alerted to the PCs' presence." Then it could ambush them while they're still searching, or take some time to prepare a few surprises for them at its lair, or misdirect them toward a pesky neighboring fire beetle colony, or even just split and leave them to find an empty former lair.