Friend or Foe Skill Challange

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The following is a skill challenge I have made for our upcoming session this week. It is meant to take 3-4 hours and is for a level 11-12 party. It reads very linear (my Tunnels and Trolls background is probably apparent). I also put this in the What's a DM to Do? section to PEACH for revisions. I will eventually take it down from that forum and keep the adventure updated here.

Here's the backbround:
The party went through a dimensional portal as part of an army and ended up in the Feywild. After a mistaken run-in with some centaurs, the party is tasked to find out if they can befriended. If so, the party should forge some sort of alliance or understanding. If not, the party is to report back to their supervisor.

I hope you enjoy...

FIRST CONTACT


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A group of 4 centaur hunters and 1 Thunderfury Boar ambushes the party from behind thick brambles. The hunters will stay behind the brambles and the Thunderfury Boar will charge through right at the party. A moderate Perception check prevents surprise (individual). The centaurs retreat after 3 rounds of combat or after a centaur is killed (whichever happens first). The Boar will fight until killed. During combat, you discover that the centaurs do not know common and speak in a guttural and grunting language that is unknown to any of the characters. Since the centaurs sleep in mind moss, telepathic communication also has no effect.

 


Searching the centaurs produces a piece of obsidian with some strange scratches on it. An easy History check or hard Arcana check is needed to realize this is a map. Another easy History check or moderate Nature check will orient the map and elucidate a place of importance on the other side of jagged hills (if a history check is passed with a very strong success, the player can tell that it is some sort of shrine). Hard History checks are needed to identify petroglyphs on the obsidian map.


 


After combat, the party’s supervisor/boss charges the heroes to figure out if the centaurs in this area are friendly.  The party is afforded a short rest but not an extended one. The boss expects you back before nightfall.


 


If the party was able to decipher the map, then they gain +5 to Nature checks when heading to the place of importance.

UP THE HILL


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The party can find a well-used path heading in the direction with a moderate Nature check.

 


If successful the path will avoid most of the thick brambles and will allow a +2 on everybody’s individual Endurance checks going “up the hill.”


 


☐ Each player must make a moderate endurance check or lose 1 healing surge. A natural 20 cancels out another character’s failure during this roll.


 


A hard Perception check will reveal a hidden tunnel that leads through the mountains.


A moderate Perception check or moderate Nature check is needed to find it if it was identified on the map. Skip to “Taking the Tunnel.”


 


☐ Easy Nature check followed by individual Endurance checks to avoid losing a healing surge.


 


☐ Easy Stealth check avoid a large number of Will-O-Wisps in the woods coming this way. Failure = quick combat resolution. Party is victorious but 3d6 healing surges are lost (assign as wanted). After roll, one character can expend a daily attack power to reroll one or two dice.


 


☐ Easy Nature check followed by individual Endurance checks to avoid losing a healing surge.

TAKING THE TUNNEL


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The tunnel is about 5’ at it’s widest, so a marching order will be required. The character in the lead gains a +1 to Dungeoneering and Perception rolls while in the tunnel.

 


☐ ☐ Easy Dungeoneering check needed to guide the way so nobody collapses parts of the wall. Failure results in individual acrobatics checks (lowest loses 1 healing surge).


 


☐ Easy Acrobatics or Athletics check needed from each player to get across an area with a collapsed floor and a long 4 inch wide board crossing the gap. Failure results in 2d10 falling damage.


 


Moderate Perception check reveals petroglyphs on the wall. Hard History check reveals that the centaurs fought an ancient green dragon and lost. They are now subjugated as slaves to the dragon. Moderate History check reveals the petroglyphs record a great battle between centaurs and a dragon. Easy History check reveals a scene of a great battle.


 


While in the tunnel, the party comes across a floating sword. Moderate Perception check or Moderate Dungeoneering check reveals two Gelatinous Cubes and the party can destroy them with ease. Failure results in the first person in line being engulfed in the ooze and combat begins. The engulfed player’s initiative is 1.


 


☐ Hard Athletics check needed to move boulder that is blocking tunnel. Failure results in low morale; -2 to skill checks until next short rest. Fumble results in broken wrist. -2 to all melee attack rolls until next extended rest. An easy Dungeoneering/Insight/Streetwise/or History check will allow the party to create a lever and pulley system for mechanical advantage. Once created, the person doing the Athletics check gets to roll twice and choose the best of the two rolls.

THE RITUAL


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On this side of the hill, you notice many sinkholes with tar. The petroleum odor is overwhelming and smells as bad as a back-alley smelt shop in a crowded city. If not trained in Streetwise or Endurance, make individual easy Endurance checks to avoid vomiting; -2 to STR and CON based checks until your next extended rest.

 


☐ Easy Nature check followed by individual Endurance checks to avoid losing a healing surge.


 


You reach a ridge where you can see the shrine from afar. It is merely a group of carved standing stones making a tight circle (similar to Stonehenge). There are many centaurs wearing various garbs and armed in a variety of ways. Anybody trained in Stealth or Nature can find a vantage point to see more. If not, an easy Stealth or Nature check is needed to get closer without being detected. Failure means there is no way to get closer and the party must skip to HERE THERE BE DRAGONS.


 


☐ Easy Perception check counts 6 centaur mystics wearing robes standing in a large circle inside of the stones. They are chanting something you cannot understand. Outside of the circle is a group of centaurs in attendance. These are a couple of dozen centaur hunters cheering, drinking, and every now and then fighting each other. Three conspicuous centaurs stand out wearing runed armor, double swords, and metal helms.


If everybody failed perception check, they just see a lot of rambunctious centaurs moving around the shrine while some sort of ritual is happening inside the stone circle.


 


Eventually, three bound humanoid figures with hoods on their heads are pushed and shoved into the middle of the circle. A rope is tied to their hands and thrown over a high capstone. The three are then pulled up so that hey are suspended about 5 feet off the ground.


 


A character may choose to make both a moderate Streetwise check and an easy Insight check (or moderate Insight check followed by an easy Streetwise check) to identify the prisoners as Eladrin.


 


☐ Moderate Perception check realizes that a couple of centaurs are looking up towards you on the ridgeline. Failure means that you instead notice the two centaurs coming your way. Each character on the ridgeline suffers a -2 penalty to their next Stealth check.


 


☐ Easy Stealth checks are needed by each character to avoid being detected. If anybody rolls a natural 20, all characters succeed. More characters must succeed rather than fail. If the party fails, the centaurs will return to their leaders and warn them of your presence. You must then skip to THE RUN BACK section.


 

HERE THERE BE DRAGONS


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Chanting from inside the stone circle grows louder demanding the attention of the rowdy centaurs. As the centaurs stop their fighting and drinking, and focus on the ritual a slight earthquake is briefly felt. The three prisoners begin to visibly struggle.

 


☐ Moderate Perception check notices that many of the centaurs are looking in your direction again, but a bit off to your right. You are able to look behind you in time to see a large winged figure heading in your direction. If the entire party failed, then they automatically fail the upcoming Stealth check.


 


A huge green dragon flies over the party invoking fear in all who have a Will of less than 30. Each player affected must roll twice on the next Perception check and choose the lowest die.


 


☐ Easy Perception check notices the dragon before it notices you. The character is able to tell the party to hide. Any Natural 1’s are stunned and cannot move. Any character that fails the perception check also automatically fails following stealth check.


 


If a character calls for an Arcana check or a Nature check in order to identify the dragon, an easy check success recognizes it as an Elder Green Dragon (MM1 pg80).


 


☐ Moderate Stealth check is needed from each character. All characters that fail (including the automatic fails) momentarily attracts the dragon’s attention who will flyby and use its breath weapon on the party [+22 vs. Fortitude; 2d10 + 6 poison damage, and the target takes ongoing 10 poison damage and is slowed (save ends both).]


The green dragon circles the ridge a couple of times scanning the area before landing on a capstone. In a deep voice, the dragon addresses the centaurs, “DRAXL SONE KRATULE. RE ZAMARAMARAZ!” Any characters who can speak Draconic can somewhat understand the dragon who just said, “I Zamaramaraz accept this sacrifice.”


A mystic shouts to the dragon in draconic, “They are hooded because they are eladrin.”


“You should have just plucked their eyes,” responds the dragon in its native language. Then it snaps the three ropes with its left talon, holding the prisoners up like a fisherman inspecting his catch. The dragon then bolts vertical into the sky in a speed that could only be possible with the help of magic. Within a few moments, the dragon and the three prisoners are gone.


 


If a character can understand draconic, then they know that the centaur are evil and are definitely not friendly. If not, all characters who witnessed the interaction between the centaurs and dragon must make a moderate Insight check. On a success, they understand that the centaur are evil and are likely not friendly. Failure means that there is no firm idea on whether the centaur can be made into allies.

THE RUN BACK


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A Will O Wisp appears behind you and silhouettes you to the centaurs below. They notice and begin to shout and grunt in their native guttural language. They are becoming very aggravated and start charging in your direction. Since they half horse, it is likely that they will overtake you soon unless you outsmart them on your way back. Fighting them or attempting to parley wiith them would be suicide, so you begin to run back.

 


☐ Easy Nature check followed by individual Moderate Endurance checks to avoid losing a healing surge.


 


If he party did not find the tunnel, skip this paragraph. If you the party used the tunnel, they can use it to lose the centaurs and return to camp. Set up a marching order. The characters will only have to get past the collapsed floor skill check:


☐ Easy Acrobatics or Athletics check needed from each player to get across an area with a collapsed floor and a long 4 inch wide board crossing the gap. Failure results in 2d10 falling damage. You then emerge on the other side of the hill and can successfully report back to your boss that the centaurs are definitely not friendly. Proceed to CONCLUSION


 


(A) As the centaurs get right on your heels, you throw yourself through a briar-patch to avoid pursuit. Moderate Endurance or hard Nature/Athletics to get through the briar pen. Failure results in 3d4+4 damage.


 


(B) ☐ Easy Nature check followed by individual Endurance checks to avoid losing a healing surge.


 


(C) ☐ Easy Nature check followed by a moderate Bluff check to put some distance between you and the centaurs. This needs 4 successes to finish the challenge. On a failure, repeat from (A). ON a success, repeat from (B). Once four successes have been made, continue on to CONCLUSION.


CONCLUSION


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You boss is very distrusting of your report if you are to say that the centaurs are evil and couldn’t be reasoned with.

 


If you want to tell the truth: One character can make an easy Diplomacy check with assistance to convince him. On a failure, he sends another group out the following day. That group has a 50% chance of not returning. If the group does return, they do so with one man less since they were ambushed by centaurs.


 


If you want to tell the boss what he wants to hear: One character can make an easy Bluff check with assistance to convince him. Since he is happy with your report, his level of trust with your party increases.