Are people neglecting Skill Challenges?

143 posts / 0 new
Last post
I'm still fairly new to 4E... I've been playing every Sunday at the local comic book store for the last few weeks, where there are usually three or four tables running for five or six hours at a time.  The entire time I've been there, I haven't seen a single DM at ANY of the tables do a Skill Challenge. 

Skill Challenges are one of my favorite parts of the 4E rules, and I was really excited about being able to do some in the games I'm playing.  Why are DMs not using them?

I'm planning on DM'ing starting in the summer, once I've got all of the rules under my belt, and I've already got Skill Challenge ideas galore in my planner.
personally i hate skill challenges, i prefer setting up a scenario and letting players roleplay it out, rolling when i deem necessary as opposed to some superficial feeling structured roleplay. the only good thing about a skill challenge in my opinion is they give xp so you dont have to level so incredibly slow
Well, in the best skill challenges, the players don't even know they are in one  =)

Around here, most of the DMs ran them the wrong way, didn't like 'em or just plain didn't understand 'em, and then abandoned the concept.  The worst offenders are being too combat focused, confusion between skill challenges, group skill checks and the goals of each, or just being unaware of the rules.  We do at least 1 or 2 every game night, and even the combat fanatics get into them because they know that even the failed ones at least count as 1 encounter closer to a milestone.

critical-hits has an awesome repository of skill challenge commentary, I highly recommend it. 

INSIDE SCOOP, GAMERS: In the new version of D&D, it will no longer be "Edition Wars." It will be "Edition Lair Assault." - dungeonbastard

personally i hate skill challenges, i prefer setting up a scenario and letting players roleplay it out



That's the thing I don't get.  It seems to me that the challenges encourage roleplaying... first off, it gives the characters more of a reason to use a balanced set of skills, instead of just perception/stealth/dungeoneering (which seem to be about all that is required in most of the groups I've seen), and it also doesn't let the player dictate the actions of the character (outside of a skill challenge, what's the downside of letting a character with idiot-level intelligence try to figure out all of the game's puzzles because the player happens to be the smartest guy in the group?).
Well, in the best skill challenges, the players don't even know they are in one  =)



but if they are already role playing and looking for ways to resolve challenges that arise...they dont need one

personally i hate skill challenges, i prefer setting up a scenario and letting players roleplay it out



That's the thing I don't get.  It seems to me that the challenges encourage roleplaying.



it really boils down to whether they are already role playing and looking for ways to resolve challenges, if they are then who the hell needs a skill challenge? like i said the xp benefit is the only reason i can think of. this is just my opinion but i dont like structured roleplaying
Who needs combat then? We can all just roleplay it ...

Skill Challenges were made because 4E was built under the principal that characters should succeed on their own merrits. The players have to come up with the tactics for it, but a Bard with a 20 charisma is going to be more charming than a Fighter with a 10 charisma. The number of successes and failures ensures you hand out experience appropriate the level of risk/time. 

Poe's Law is alive and well.

Well, in the best skill challenges, the players don't even know they are in one  =)



but if they are already role playing and looking for ways to resolve challenges that arise...they dont need one



THat seems to be akin to saying:

"Well if they are already roleplaying they dont need to roll skills at all."

Skill challenges are nothing more then a resolution mechanic for tasks.

Play whatever the **** you want. Never Point a loaded party at a plot you are not willing to shoot. Arcane Rhetoric. My Blog.

it really boils down to whether they are already role playing and looking for ways to resolve challenges, if they are then who the hell needs a skill challenge? like i said the xp benefit is the only reason i can think of. this is just my opinion but i dont like structured roleplaying



So how would you deal with the following situation?

There is a puzzle that is considered to be pretty demanding, as its solution allows you to transport to another plane.  A player whose character is supposed to be a moron (he has only 4 intelligence because of a curse) figures out the solution. 

This seems to be the antithesis of roleplaying an idiot, so do you say "It wasn't really that puzzle, let's try another one," or do you tell the player in advance that he isn't allowed to comment on the puzzle and has to go to another room while everyone else enjoys it?  A skill challenge would actually let the character faithfully play an idiot... he's not going to solve a really hard skill check.
I stopped using them after the first couple times. The formalization of the skill challenge system never really seemed to fit with the way we played 4E (in fact, I preferred using Wushu to handle things like that and to serve as a pacing mechanism). I would call it my least favorite element of the system, aside from hybrids. 

So yeah, I'm neglecting them.
Who needs combat then? We can all just roleplay it ...

Skill Challenges were made because 4E was built under the principal that characters should succeed on their own merrits. The players have to come up with the tactics for it, but a Bard with a 20 charisma is going to be more charming than a Fighter with a 10 charisma. The number of successes and failures ensures you hand out experience appropriate the level of risk/time. 



i could really care less what you think, run your games however you want

Well, in the best skill challenges, the players don't even know they are in one  =)



but if they are already role playing and looking for ways to resolve challenges that arise...they dont need one



THat seems to be akin to saying:

"Well if they are already roleplaying they dont need to roll skills at all."

Skill challenges are nothing more then a resolution mechanic for tasks.



id rather roll when a skill is needed, im not just letting everything they want to do be automatically successful, but then if you actually read what i posted you would know that. i prefer the possibility that players can fail at something without needing to fail three times, or succeed without needing a certain amount of successes. too mechanical for my tastes. its just my opinion, play however you want

it really boils down to whether they are already role playing and looking for ways to resolve challenges, if they are then who the hell needs a skill challenge? like i said the xp benefit is the only reason i can think of. this is just my opinion but i dont like structured roleplaying



So how would you deal with the following situation?

There is a puzzle that is considered to be pretty demanding, as its solution allows you to transport to another plane.  A player whose character is supposed to be a moron (he has only 4 intelligence because of a curse) figures out the solution. 

This seems to be the antithesis of roleplaying an idiot, so do you say "It wasn't really that puzzle, let's try another one," or do you tell the player in advance that he isn't allowed to comment on the puzzle and has to go to another room while everyone else enjoys it?  A skill challenge would actually let the character faithfully play an idiot... he's not going to solve a really hard skill check.



so you have puzzles where players know the answer but have to roll a skill check to be able to say the answer? that sounds really bizarre to me. if i was to present just a straight up puzzle to a group i would think a skill challenge would be a terrible way to resolve it, although gioving a pc a clue for a successful check might be reasonable. this is just my opinion, play however you like to play
id rather roll when a skill is needed, im not just letting everything they want to do be automatically successful, but then if you actually read what i posted you would know that. i prefer the possibility that players can fail at something without needing to fail three times, or succeed without needing a certain amount of successes. too mechanical for my tastes. its just my opinion, play however you want



Oh I agree with you about 3 failures, thats why most of my skill challenges dont do that.  They are more like "Moving THrough Sunderham" from the DMG2.  

Most of my challenges are more like that in the respect that they track success and failures not as a means to an end but rather tracking Heat or exhaustion or whatever you want to track over the course of a journey or multiple sessions.

I ran a skill challenge with a mountian ascent where each day they had different challenges to overcome and during the course of the ascent they would either gain survival or frost from successes or failures and would either gain a boon or a disease at the end.

So TL;DR; I agree that skill challenges that are the basic :X before Y are not my cup of tea.  but they also do have their place.  If I had a task that required 6 successes before 3 failures lets say a puzzle or other kind of physical challenge i might use them.

but if you think that Skill challenges are only X before Y you are missing out on alot they have to offer.

Play whatever the **** you want. Never Point a loaded party at a plot you are not willing to shoot. Arcane Rhetoric. My Blog.

id rather roll when a skill is needed, im not just letting everything they want to do be automatically successful, but then if you actually read what i posted you would know that. i prefer the possibility that players can fail at something without needing to fail three times, or succeed without needing a certain amount of successes. too mechanical for my tastes. its just my opinion, play however you want



Oh I agree with you about 3 failures, thats why most of my skill challenges dont do that.  They are more like "Moving THrough Sunderham" from the DMG2.  

Most of my challenges are more like that in the respect that they track success and failures not as a means to an end but rather tracking Heat or exhaustion or whatever you want to track over the course of a journey or multiple sessions.

I ran a skill challenge with a mountian ascent where each day they had different challenges to overcome and during the course of the ascent they would either gain survival or frost from successes or failures and would either gain a boon or a disease at the end.

So TL;DR; I agree that skill challenges that are the basic :X before Y are not my cup of tea.  but they also do have their place.  If I had a task that required 6 successes before 3 failures lets say a puzzle or other kind of physical challenge i might use them.

but if you think that Skill challenges are only X before Y you are missing out on alot they have to offer.



herro i dont think we differ that much, i have tried different house rules over the years, from not telling them theyre in a challenge, to not writing down what skills need to be used for successes, to this that and the other and in my experience its just easier and more fluid to just let it flow. decisions, successes, and failures have consequences but i prefer not using a formal structure of any sort to resolve them. just my opinion, if players and groups like them or like a certain way of doing them, more power to you. i will say this though, ive never heard a player say 'more skill challenges please'

i will say this though, ive never heard a player say 'more skill challenges please'




Cough... original poster... cough Wink
 i will say this though, ive never heard a player say 'more skill challenges please'





I was speaking from a DM perspective before, but I will agree - as a player, I really don't like them. They always strike me as time better spent doing something else. 
Both myself and my longtime regular group of players are fairly new to 4e, only starting our first real campaign next week.

Broadly speaking, they tend to prefer combat over puzzles.   That said, as the DM I make sure there is at least one every other adventure.   If they don't like them, I am simply not designing them right.    I will keep trying again and again until they do, or they tell me to stop.

In other words, I fully believe skill challenges make for a great addition to D&D, and I've no desire to stop using them.
froth, if you are running most skill challenges right, they shouldn't know they've been through one.

That said, my usage of the use of single checks, or group checks are useful for when a single success is needed.  For things like a door with multiple locks, or a conversation that may yeild more than a way forward (such as treasure, XP, etc), and searching for important information in a library, skill challenges can be very useful.  They can also be dropped into combat in place of a standard (Complexity 1) or Elite (Complexity 2) monster to force certain tactical situations (you can still attack, but you must stand next to X and use skill Y to disarm/disable/unlock X using a minor or move action, for example). They can be used as one of the ~10 encounters per level-up but have it span that entire level, rewarding less or more experience depending on the ammount of successes or failures (and thus possibly not leveling the chars up past their needed point).

And more.  I find Skill challenges to be an interesting and engaging tool.
"I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody." --Bill Cosby (1937- ) Vanador: OK. You ripped a gateway to Hell, killed half the town, and raised the dead as feral zombies. We're going to kill you. But it can go two ways. We want you to run as fast as you possibly can toward the south of the town to draw the Zombies to you, and right before they catch you, I'll put an arrow through your head to end it instantly. If you don't agree to do this, we'll tie you this building and let the Zombies rip you apart slowly. Dimitry: God I love being Neutral. 4th edition is dead, long live 4th edition. Salla: opinionated, but commonly right.
fun quotes
58419928 wrote:
You have to do the work first, and show you can do the work, before someone is going to pay you for it.
69216168 wrote:
If you can't understand how someone yelling at another person would make them fight harder and longer, then you need to look at the forums a bit closer.
quote author=56832398 post=519321747]Considering DnD is a game wouldn't all styles be gamist?[/quote]
I use skill chalenges in a Very different way.
My players love to come up with plans that require a few things to go well and hinge on a few things not going too poorly.
So as they come up with the plan, talking about what needs to be done, I start writing down the skills associated with each part of the plan, I check with the party to make sure they agree then we move on to the next part. The DCs are decided based on how hard I think they will be, Im lighter when they are very clever, and Im harder when they seem to think it will be hard becasue they seem to have more fun that way...

So in other words, I have made skill chalenges a player tool, a power they can control. So my players do exactly as many skill chalenges as they want to. We do about one every 3 or 4 combat rounds.
In the Nentir Vale, all injured creatures are required to wear a name tag!
personally i hate skill challenges, i prefer setting up a scenario and letting players roleplay it out, rolling when i deem necessary as opposed to some superficial feeling structured roleplay. the only good thing about a skill challenge in my opinion is they give xp so you dont have to level so incredibly slow



sounds like you use skill challenges without saying your using skill challenges.

Skill challenges are not only used for RP

There used for "situations" outside of combat.

Like trying to catch a thief who is running through the town.

Skill challenges are a loose set of rules for situations like rping.  People have been pretty much running skill challenges in DnD using your method but now we have some rules to go by
froth, if you are running most skill challenges right, they shouldn't know they've been through one.

.


ive done this and i still dont like the x success 3 failure mechanic




Skill challenges are a loose set of rules for situations like rping. 



no, skill challenges have clear, concise, plain as day rules, but everyone houserules the hell out of them, yourself included. and thats fine bc the rules arent very good imo


no, skill challenges have clear, concise, plain as day rules, but everyone houserules the hell out of them, yourself included. and thats fine bc the rules arent very good imo




How are they being houseruled?

Play whatever the **** you want. Never Point a loaded party at a plot you are not willing to shoot. Arcane Rhetoric. My Blog.

froth, if you are running most skill challenges right, they shouldn't know they've been through one.

.


ive done this and i still dont like the x success 3 failure mechanic




Skill challenges are a loose set of rules for situations like rping. 



no, skill challenges have clear, concise, plain as day rules, but everyone houserules the hell out of them, yourself included. and thats fine bc the rules arent very good imo




Not houseruling nothin'.  Look at the "ruling Skill challenges" articles, and the change made to them in the DMG2 and DM Kit.  There's no need to houserule them; besides the failure success mechanic, there is very little to dictate how one makes one of these.  There are suggestions, but the "rules" for skill challenges are loose for a reason.

"I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody." --Bill Cosby (1937- ) Vanador: OK. You ripped a gateway to Hell, killed half the town, and raised the dead as feral zombies. We're going to kill you. But it can go two ways. We want you to run as fast as you possibly can toward the south of the town to draw the Zombies to you, and right before they catch you, I'll put an arrow through your head to end it instantly. If you don't agree to do this, we'll tie you this building and let the Zombies rip you apart slowly. Dimitry: God I love being Neutral. 4th edition is dead, long live 4th edition. Salla: opinionated, but commonly right.
fun quotes
58419928 wrote:
You have to do the work first, and show you can do the work, before someone is going to pay you for it.
69216168 wrote:
If you can't understand how someone yelling at another person would make them fight harder and longer, then you need to look at the forums a bit closer.
quote author=56832398 post=519321747]Considering DnD is a game wouldn't all styles be gamist?[/quote]

no, skill challenges have clear, concise, plain as day rules, but everyone houserules the hell out of them, yourself included. and thats fine bc the rules arent very good imo




How are they being houseruled?



you know i dont know whether to take you seriously or not or if youre trying to act like socrates or something but just a few posts up you yourself gave an example

"I agree with you about 3 failures, thats why most of my skill challenges dont do that."



no, skill challenges have clear, concise, plain as day rules, but everyone houserules the hell out of them, yourself included. and thats fine bc the rules arent very good imo




How are they being houseruled?



you know i dont know whether to take you seriously or not or if youre trying to act like socrates or something but just a few posts up you yourself gave an example

"I agree with you about 3 failures, thats why most of my skill challenges dont do that."





Have you read the DMG2 on skill challenges and their examples?

the one I quoted Moving through Sunderham has a sidebar about how it doenst use the normal rules for failures.  This is not a house rule but a printed suggestion.

Play whatever the **** you want. Never Point a loaded party at a plot you are not willing to shoot. Arcane Rhetoric. My Blog.

froth, if you are running most skill challenges right, they shouldn't know they've been through one.

.


ive done this and i still dont like the x success 3 failure mechanic




Skill challenges are a loose set of rules for situations like rping. 



no, skill challenges have clear, concise, plain as day rules, but everyone houserules the hell out of them, yourself included. and thats fine bc the rules arent very good imo




Not houseruling nothin'.  Look at the "ruling Skill challenges" articles, and the change made to them in the DMG2 and DM Kit.  There's no need to houserule them.  besides the failure success mechanic, there is very little to dictate how one makes one of these.  There are suggestions, but the "rules" for skill challenges are loose for a reason.



if youre using the core mechanic of determining success and failure im afraid i wouldnt term your style as very loose. but seriously if you like it use it
I haven't seen a single DM at ANY of the tables do a Skill Challenge.

Usually DM's at game stores run pre-made adventures, and those (except for Lair Assault) do have skill challenges. Note though: the writers have stated (in DMG2 and in a podcast) that DM's should generally not announce when a skill challenge is starting, but instead handle it more intuitively and within the flow of the game... so it possible that skill challenges were occuring without you knowing.


no, skill challenges have clear, concise, plain as day rules, but everyone houserules the hell out of them, yourself included. and thats fine bc the rules arent very good imo




How are they being houseruled?



you know i dont know whether to take you seriously or not or if youre trying to act like socrates or something but just a few posts up you yourself gave an example

"I agree with you about 3 failures, thats why most of my skill challenges dont do that."





Have you read the DMG2 on skill challenges and their examples?

the one I quoted Moving through Sunderham has a sidebar about how it doenst use the normal rules for failures.  This is not a house rule but a printed suggestion.



Herro got to it before me, and so all I can say past this is that it isn't a sidebar; it's printed with the rest of the text.  Instead of a success matching to a number of successes and failures failing the challenge, the successes are for minor achievements within the city, while failure measures how much attention they attract while in the city.  It's a perfect example of what I was going to edit my post with, that being that not even the success/failure mechanic is written in stone according to offical printings that use skill challenges.
"I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody." --Bill Cosby (1937- ) Vanador: OK. You ripped a gateway to Hell, killed half the town, and raised the dead as feral zombies. We're going to kill you. But it can go two ways. We want you to run as fast as you possibly can toward the south of the town to draw the Zombies to you, and right before they catch you, I'll put an arrow through your head to end it instantly. If you don't agree to do this, we'll tie you this building and let the Zombies rip you apart slowly. Dimitry: God I love being Neutral. 4th edition is dead, long live 4th edition. Salla: opinionated, but commonly right.
fun quotes
58419928 wrote:
You have to do the work first, and show you can do the work, before someone is going to pay you for it.
69216168 wrote:
If you can't understand how someone yelling at another person would make them fight harder and longer, then you need to look at the forums a bit closer.
quote author=56832398 post=519321747]Considering DnD is a game wouldn't all styles be gamist?[/quote]
you guys know this has become an agument of opinion that has nothing to do with the origional post right? Why not cool it and try to give some answers to the questions posted, your not going to convince anyone who doesn't like SC that they have value.
In the Nentir Vale, all injured creatures are required to wear a name tag!

no, skill challenges have clear, concise, plain as day rules, but everyone houserules the hell out of them, yourself included. and thats fine bc the rules arent very good imo




How are they being houseruled?



you know i dont know whether to take you seriously or not or if youre trying to act like socrates or something but just a few posts up you yourself gave an example

"I agree with you about 3 failures, thats why most of my skill challenges dont do that."





Have you read the DMG2 on skill challenges and their examples?

the one I quoted Moving through Sunderham has a sidebar about how it doenst use the normal rules for failures.  This is not a house rule but a printed suggestion.



i just cracked it open. its interesting to read but as mearls himself says in the example "this challenge does not use the normal rules for a skill challenge". if it helps to communicate with you, then its safe to assume when i talk about the rules for a skill challenge im talking about what mearls refers to as "the normal rules for a skill challenge".


 anyway imo this example just reinforces my view that there is typically no need for any mechanic for pcs interacting with their environment other than checks; if they fail in this example they draw attention to themselves; the more they fail the worse the consequences. but i dont see the need for mearls to even break the consequences down in number (ex. 6 failures: so and so happens)-what if there is an egregious failure, or a pc deliberately gets snooty with a guard or something? you shouldnt have to wait for more failures for there to be consequences should you? i dont like the canned pre-planned feel of it. i guess even by pushing the boundaries of it, its still something that doesnt appeal to me as much as letting the game come to me

now let me just say again this is just my opinion, it is cool if yall like it; were not going to convince each other our opinions are wrong.


no, skill challenges have clear, concise, plain as day rules, but everyone houserules the hell out of them, yourself included. and thats fine bc the rules arent very good imo




How are they being houseruled?



you know i dont know whether to take you seriously or not or if youre trying to act like socrates or something but just a few posts up you yourself gave an example

"I agree with you about 3 failures, thats why most of my skill challenges dont do that."





Have you read the DMG2 on skill challenges and their examples?

the one I quoted Moving through Sunderham has a sidebar about how it doenst use the normal rules for failures.  This is not a house rule but a printed suggestion.



i just cracked it open. its interesting to read but as mearls himself says in the example "this challenge does not use the normal rules for a skill challenge". if it helps to communicate with you, then its safe to assume when i talk about the rules for a skill challenge im talking about what mearls refers to as "the normal rules for a skill challenge".


 anyway imo this example just reinforces my view that there is typically no need for any mechanic for pcs interacting with their environment other than checks; if they fail in this example they draw attention to themselves; the more they fail the worse the consequences. but i dont see the need for mearls to even break the consequences down in number (ex. 6 failures: so and so happens)-what if there is an egregious failure, or a pc deliberately gets snooty with a guard or something? you shouldnt have to wait for more failures for there to be consequences should you? i dont like the canned pre-planned feel of it. i guess even by pushing the boundaries of it, its still something that doesnt appeal to me as much as letting the game come to me

now let me just say again this is just my opinion, it is cool if yall like it; were not going to convince each other our opinions are wrong.



It might be in our approach. 

I for one approach the rules, any of them, as a base to build upon; so if you mouth off on purpose, it's probably at least 1 failure, pluss an automatic fight.  That's just an example.  I know people who would claim that that is houseruling, and for some reason that word is tossed around as both a bad thing and whenever you do not follow the rules in complete and absolute terms.  I see nothing worng with houserules, but it was my impression that using the ruleset to craft your own personal D&D was what "it" was all about.

So for me, even the most pre-made, pre-canned things can accomodate for off the cuff actions and ideas.  I just like the base so I don't have to pull the whole workload myself. ;)



"I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody." --Bill Cosby (1937- ) Vanador: OK. You ripped a gateway to Hell, killed half the town, and raised the dead as feral zombies. We're going to kill you. But it can go two ways. We want you to run as fast as you possibly can toward the south of the town to draw the Zombies to you, and right before they catch you, I'll put an arrow through your head to end it instantly. If you don't agree to do this, we'll tie you this building and let the Zombies rip you apart slowly. Dimitry: God I love being Neutral. 4th edition is dead, long live 4th edition. Salla: opinionated, but commonly right.
fun quotes
58419928 wrote:
You have to do the work first, and show you can do the work, before someone is going to pay you for it.
69216168 wrote:
If you can't understand how someone yelling at another person would make them fight harder and longer, then you need to look at the forums a bit closer.
quote author=56832398 post=519321747]Considering DnD is a game wouldn't all styles be gamist?[/quote]
i can repect that kalnaur, whatever works for you
For me skill challenges are mainly a tool for the DM. They force me to think about what the PCs want to achieve, how they can do so and what the consequences of failure and success will be. The next step is to compare the plan to the personalities and skills of the PCs, actively checking whether the group will have fun overcomming the challenge as is or whether I need to add things to make it more diverse and involve the players more. The only time when I follow the exact RAW is for those skill challenges that take place during a fight, although often the skill checks are minor actions to allow the PCs to also still be involved in the fights. I use both types of skill challenges fairly often btw even though outside of combat the players are rarely actively aware that they are in one. Of course, anything that should not require a skill check or that can be resolved with one check should never be a skill challenge (at least not in itself).

Of course, skill challenges can also be a tool for the players. Recently our group needed to infiltrate a gang of pirates. One of the players objected because his character was bad at Bluff (relatively speaking, 12th level PCs are still fairly good at it compared to the Insight of the typical pirate). So as a player I pointed out that this was a perfect example of a skill challenge where one PC could setup disguises, the other arrange fake IDs and cover stories, the third acquire the information to make the story more believable and finally his PC using his Intimidate to make sure common pirates would not dig too deep. Worked as a charm, until the pirates decided the new guys were perfect cannon fodder and we were suddenly faced with either killing the dangerous and evil monsters while freeing their prisoners and blowing our cover or making a believable retreat and sacrificing the innocent prisoners. Great RP moment, but that had nothing to do with the already successful skill challenge ;)
I haven't kept up with the rules of skill challenges since, basically, I read them in the 4th edition DMG. I gave them a try, and I couldn't figure out a way that I could operate them without causing the situation to become contrived. And contrived skill-rolling isn't fun for me and my group. So I just do it as I always did. With the exception that I give EXP in retrospect based on the number of challenging skill checks the PCs succeeded at. I'd say that's the best thing to take away from the idea. PCs should be rewarded for non-combat stuff.
I don't use emoticons, and I'm also pretty pleasant. So if I say something that's rude or insulting, it's probably a joke.
So how would you deal with the following situation?

There is a puzzle that is considered to be pretty demanding, as its solution allows you to transport to another plane.  A player whose character is supposed to be a moron (he has only 4 intelligence because of a curse) figures out the solution. 

This seems to be the antithesis of roleplaying an idiot, so do you say "It wasn't really that puzzle, let's try another one," or do you tell the player in advance that he isn't allowed to comment on the puzzle and has to go to another room while everyone else enjoys it?  A skill challenge would actually let the character faithfully play an idiot... he's not going to solve a really hard skill check.



So really this is just another post about puzzle solving and intelligence. I quote again from the 2h players handbook


"A very intelligent person (Int 11 or 12) picks up new ideas quickly and learns
easily. A highly intelligent character (Int 13 or 14) is one who can solve most
problems without even trying very hard.


However, the true capabilities of a mind lie not in numbers--I.Q., Intelligence score, or
whatever. Many intelligent, even brilliant, people in the real world fail to apply their
minds creatively and usefully, thus falling far below their own potential. Don't rely too
heavily on your character's Intelligence score; you must provide your character with
the creativity and energy he supposedly possesses!"


Even at 8 Intelligence you could easily participate in a puzzle solving.

What I think I find most funny, is peoplr who say they don't like skill challenges, then describe something very similar that they've run since 2e.

It's like saying "I don't like hit points, they make no sense. We use hero points to represent the ability to turn blows into narrow misses".

guides
List of no-action attacks.
Dynamic vs Static Bonuses
Phalanx tactics and builds
Crivens! A Pictsies Guide Good
Power
s to intentionally miss with
Mr. Cellophane: How to be unnoticed
Way's to fire around corners
Crits: what their really worth
Retroactive bonus vs Static bonus.
Runepriest handbook & discussion thread
Holy Symbols to hang around your neck
Ways to Gain or Downgrade Actions
List of bonuses to saving throws
The Ghost with the Most (revenant handbook)
my builds
F-111 Interdictor Long (200+ squares) distance ally teleporter. With some warlord stuff. Broken in a plot way, not a power way.

Thought Switch Higher level build that grants upto 14 attacks on turn 1. If your allies play along, it's broken.

Elven Critters Crit op with crit generation. 5 of these will end anything. Broken.

King Fisher Optimized net user.  Moderate.

Boominator Fun catch-22 booming blade build with either strong or completely broken damage depending on your reading.

Very Distracting Warlock Lot's of dazing and major penalties to hit. Overpowered.

Pocket Protector Pixie Stealth Knight. Maximizing the defender's aura by being in an ally's/enemy's square.

Yakuza NinjIntimiAdin: Perma-stealth Striker that offers a little protection for ally's, and can intimidate bloodied enemies. Very Strong.

Chargeburgler with cheese Ranged attacks at the end of a charge along with perma-stealth. Solid, could be overpowered if tweaked.

Void Defender Defends giving a penalty to hit anyone but him, then removing himself from play. Can get somewhat broken in epic.

Scry and Die Attacking from around corners, while staying hidden. Moderate to broken, depending on the situation.

Skimisher Fly in, attack, and fly away. Also prevents enemies from coming close. Moderate to Broken depending on the enemy, but shouldn't make the game un-fun, as the rest of your team is at risk, and you have enough weaknesses.

Indestructible Simply won't die, even if you sleep though combat.  One of THE most abusive character in 4e.

Sir Robin (Bravely Charge Away) He automatically slows and pushes an enemy (5 squares), while charging away. Hard to rate it's power level, since it's terrain dependent.

Death's Gatekeeper A fun twist on a healic, making your party "unkillable". Overpowered to Broken, but shouldn't actually make the game un-fun, just TPK proof.

Death's Gatekeeper mk2, (Stealth Edition) Make your party "unkillable", and you hidden, while doing solid damage. Stronger then the above, but also easier for a DM to shut down. Broken, until your DM get's enough of it.

Domination and Death Dominate everything then kill them quickly. Only works @ 30, but is broken multiple ways.

Battlemind Mc Prone-Daze Protecting your allies by keeping enemies away. Quite powerful.

The Retaliator Getting hit deals more damage to the enemy then you receive yourself, and you can take plenty of hits. Heavy item dependency, Broken.

Dead Kobold Transit Teleports 98 squares a turn, and can bring someone along for the ride. Not fully built, so i can't judge the power.

Psilent Guardian Protect your allies, while being invisible. Overpowered, possibly broken.

Rune of Vengance Do lot's of damage while boosting your teams. Strong to slightly overpowered.

Charedent BarrageA charging ardent. Fine in a normal team, overpowered if there are 2 together, and easily broken in teams of 5.

Super Knight A tough, sticky, high damage knight. Strong.

Super Duper Knight Basically the same as super knight with items, making it far more broken.

Mora, the unkillable avenger Solid damage, while being neigh indestuctable. Overpowered, but not broken.

Swordburst Maximus At-Will Close Burst 3 that slide and prones. Protects allies with off actions. Strong, possibly over powered with the right party.

when i do skill chalanges there a bit more free hand.

magic tiem use, creative use of envoirement can also result ina number of sucesses. 

example a 5x5 room where the 2 side wallls close in so after 1 round the room would be 3x5 the round after that 1x5 the round after that splatter 
they manage to see part of the system and that the walls will close in for 5 rounds

meaning 3 sucsesses the walls will only close for 2 rounds leaving a 1x5 room and safty 3 failures is splut.

instead of each character having an action each round  the group has 1 group action each round 


well they can use the traditional skills slight of hand trying to slow down the mechanism. ( other players aiding the one with higest skill)
athletics placing your sholder against the wall and pushing back.
each would give one sucsess.

but if the group would say well player X has an inmovable shaft and he places it in front of the wall i would grant 2 sucsesses for that.




 
I don't use them anymore either.  

I ask for skill checks as they are needed and I don't waste my time designing them.    If I think that only two skill checks are needed then I don't worry about forcing a thrid on my players for the sake of the mechanics.    I don't need a mechanic or a skill challenge block to tell me or my players how a particular scenario should/could play out.    Often players perform other actions that are not detailed in the skill challenge and the DM is left having to wing it anyway.       
 
They might be good for new DM's, but once your game evolves they are not needed.    

Rather than have detailed skill challenge blocks and mechanics, all we needed was for the DMG to provide examples of how we typically played through skill checks in the past.    We didn't need WotC to design a mechanic for new players, especially one that could be used to replace role playing.  If WoTC wanted to create a training mechanic for new DM's they should have made it clear.   Instead, they tried to mechanize what we were doing all along, but all they did was sow the seeds of confusion.    

Now we have people trying to justify Skill Challenges in 4e by claiming that we were always using them.  I really can't consider that to be a valid justification.    What we did before was improvisational role playing dotted with skill checks, which is very different than what the 4e skill challenge is.   

The very fact that Skill Challenges have caused so much confusion on these forums is evidence enought that they are a brain fart of an idea.  


Skill Challenges are one of my favorite parts of the 4E rules, and I was really excited about being able to do some in the games I'm playing.  Why are DMs not using them?

Skill Challenges are 'new' (introduced in 4e), so DMs who are accustomed to earlier eds often dislike them (just for being different) or don't even think to use them, since they already have their own strategies for getting through the kinds of situations that SCs cover (just look at kev's post, above for an example - he thinks everyone should be taught to run the way he does, rather than be given a tool like SCs).  

Even absent such prejudice or habbits, the Skill Challenge rules are not as easy to use as the Encounter guidelines: it's generally easy to design a fun combat than a fun SC, so DMs following the path of least resistance will naturally avoid them.

Finally, published adventures tend to have far fewer SCs than combat encounters. I'd say something on the order of 4 or 6 combats to the skill challenge.  And, they're often not that good (and it's probably a lot easier to deliver the 'fun' with a skill challenge you designed yourself, than to run one you get written out in a module). 

Count yourself lucky that you see the potential in Skill Challenges and have the talent to come up with your own.  The mechanic /has/ improved over the last 3 years, and we can hope that it will get better in design and presentation as the ed progresses (and in the inevitable 5e, when it's time comes).

 

 

Oops, looks like this request tried to create an infinite loop. We do not allow such things here. We are a professional website!

I'm still fairly new to 4E... I've been playing every Sunday at the local comic book store for the last few weeks, where there are usually three or four tables running for five or six hours at a time.  The entire time I've been there, I haven't seen a single DM at ANY of the tables do a Skill Challenge. 

Skill Challenges are one of my favorite parts of the 4E rules, and I was really excited about being able to do some in the games I'm playing.  Why are DMs not using them?

I'm planning on DM'ing starting in the summer, once I've got all of the rules under my belt, and I've already got Skill Challenge ideas galore in my planner.


Skill Challenges are difficult to use correctly. It took a little practice, but now that I've gotten the hang of them, I use them all the time. Sometimes I have nested challenges, where a series of enounters, some combat and some skill challenges, count as failures or successes towards a larger challenge.

However, my first experience with them was very bad and I could see some people just giving up early on. The guidelines in the DMG suck. Some of the best ideas for using them have come from the forums rather than WotC publications (although the example Mike Mearls posted here a while ago on a SC that was combat-based and didn't use any skills helped a lot).
Owner and Proprietor of the House of Trolls. God of ownership and possession.
You haven't seen them because they're difficult to run. The last group I ran dreaded them. I was experimenting a lot and learning. The principle of skill challenges is great, but a game will not be worsened without them.
I have been on the giving and receiving end of skill challenges and I have decided that they are just not my cup of tea.

Contrived is a good description for them.

I too prefer the "improvisational role playing dotted with skill checks" but I have to agree with frothsof, if they work for you then use them.

Member of the Axis of Awesome

Show
Homogenising: Making vanilla in 31 different colours
 

Now we have people trying to justify Skill Challenges in 4e by claiming that we were always using them.  I really can't consider that to be a valid justification.   





yep bc its not
Sign In to post comments