Skill Challenge : Riot

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I would need some help or advice. My players are currently opposing the power in place in their homewtown city (where they have most of their adventures). And they plan to put a riot in place and attack the last part of the city that is still controlled with the vilains.

Considering all the background, I think it's a pretty good idea and they should be able to do it without too much difficulties. However, I don't want just to describe it but I'd like to make them interracting. Therefore, I'd like to make this riot via a skill challenge. But I haven't any great idea so far to put that in place or how to run it. So I'm open to any suggestions.
I love skill challenges.

The key to a skill challenge, to knowing whether a skill challenge is appropriate for a given situation, is to imagine both success and failure in the skill challenge. Unless both would be interesting (with failure maybe even edging out success on how interesting it is) don't run it as a skill challenge. Once you have that, you almost can't screw up the rest of the design of the challenge.

Talk to your players about what they're actually hoping to get from the riot. Do they want chaos and confusion to hinder their opposition? Are they hoping to wield the riot like a small army? In movies, the heroes will sometimes rally the populace to charge some enemy force; The Dark Knight Rises and Stargate are coming to mind right now. But in those cases, the heroes actually have some other task that they need to accomplish in the midst of the chaos. The riot or the military action is just what they use to get to what they need to actually do, the thing that if they fail will lead to the interesting outcome in place for when the villains win.

After talking to the players you might find that there's nothing there to make a skill challenge out of, that it really is just going to be an interesting backdrop on which to hang the rest of the PC-focused scenes.

Finally, don't cram skills into the challenge just to give everyone something to do. Instead, use multiple smaller challenges that deal with different things that are going on simultaneously, and link the challenges in such a way that success (or failure) in one, somehow simplifies (or complicates) another.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

I would need some help or advice. My players are currently opposing the power in place in their homewtown city (where they have most of their adventures). And they plan to put a riot in place and attack the last part of the city that is still controlled with the vilains.

Considering all the background, I think it's a pretty good idea and they should be able to do it without too much difficulties. However, I don't want just to describe it but I'd like to make them interracting. Therefore, I'd like to make this riot via a skill challenge. But I haven't any great idea so far to put that in place or how to run it. So I'm open to any suggestions.

Is this a question of whether the PCs can mobilize the people? Or is it a situation of whether the people - with the PCs' leadership - can achieve some goaL (like overthrowing the ruler)? Or is the question both of these things?

What's at stake? What happens if they fail?

Is the party mostly good aligned and would care if peasants started dying in the revolt?

Answer those questions and get back to me ;) 
@ Centauri, I've got in mind as well the Dark Knigh Rises where populace charged ennemy forces.

@ aaroni : I would say both of those things. They first need to mobilize the people. To summarize the situation, they are living in a tyrannic country (not evil by itself but as loyal evil to take alignement from previous editions). The city they are living is under a corrupt governement although the actual mayor wasn't that bad (he was just powerless vis-à-vis of those surrounding him). But now he is gone missing.  A new mayor needs to be nominated. One of the character is already running for the post and all the players are fairly well know (and positively ) in the city due to different acts they do for improving the life and security in the city. But currently, it's the chaos and things are going pretty bad. And there is one district that I could describe as under the ruling of the bad guys and protected by corrupted militia. But not all people living under this district are ennemies (they are normal citizens.)
So their plan is to gather the population and the militia to attack and overthrow this district. So they would save some citizens, get rid of the corrupted militia and of the bad guy (although for the vilain in chief, I plan a combat as final action.) And they would also show to the country governement that they have support. But that again will be a later development (relationship between the city, player and country's governement).
@ Centauri, I've got in mind as well the Dark Knigh Rises where populace charged ennemy forces.

I still don't get why they weren't cut to shreds. Oh, well. It was a cool scene.

So they would save some citizens, get rid of the corrupted militia and of the bad guy (although for the vilain in chief, I plan a combat as final action.) And they would also show to the country governement that they have support. But that again will be a later development (relationship between the city, player and country's governement).

The important question is still: What does failure look like?

I think we can all agree that it would be cool for them to rally the troops. Fun scene.

In what way could it be cool for them to fail to rally the troops, so cool that they players are fully on-board with their original idea not panning out? Probably in lots of ways. Some players think it's cool when things just don't pan out, because hey, that's life, right? If that's a possibility, I recommend not making it a skill challenge, and just hinging it on one roll or a little description, and moving on.

What if failing the skill challenge means that the populace is non-plussed and stays home until the PCs go forth on their own (maybe with a small band of followers) and get nearly beaten. Then you get the cool scene in which the bad guys look up from the battered heroes and see the rest of the people, who have been doing some thinking and are ready to lend a hand. As an example.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

I still don't get why they weren't cut to shreds. Oh, well. It was a cool scene.


Me neither... But as you said, it was a cool scene.
The important question is still: What does failure look like?

I think we can all agree that it would be cool for them to rally the troops. Fun scene.

In what way could it be cool for them to fail to rally the troops, so cool that they players are fully on-board with their original idea not panning out? Probably in lots of ways. Some players think it's cool when things just don't pan out, because hey, that's life, right? If that's a possibility, I recommend not making it a skill challenge, and just hinging it on one roll or a little description, and moving on.

What if failing the skill challenge means that the populace is non-plussed and stays home until the PCs go forth on their own (maybe with a small band of followers) and get nearly beaten. Then you get the cool scene in which the bad guys look up from the battered heroes and see the rest of the people, who have been doing some thinking and are ready to lend a hand. As an example.



Failure would pretty look like what you described.... Their popularity is quite high for the moment but it can change... And failing to rally the troops would mean people would stay home and they would have to do all the work by themselves. So for example, they would to infiltrate the district to beat the bad guy all by themselves. Or what you said is another cool idea... Putting the PCs in a difficult situation (afterall they failed the skill challenge).

Depths of Madness, an adventure in DUNGEON 162 (January 2009), had a riot prevention skill challenge on page 81 that worked well in my group last month. It might give you a decent starting point.
Here are the PHB essentia, in my opinion:
  • Three Basic Rules (p 11)
  • Power Types and Usage (p 54)
  • Skills (p178-179)
  • Feats (p 192)
  • Rest and Recovery (p 263)
  • All of Chapter 9 [Combat] (p 264-295)
A player needs to read the sections for building his or her character -- race, class, powers, feats, equipment, etc. But those are PC-specific. The above list is for everyone, regardless of the race or class or build or concept they are playing.
Thanks. I'm going to take a look.
Failure would pretty look like what you described.... Their popularity is quite high for the moment but it can change... And failing to rally the troops would mean people would stay home and they would have to do all the work by themselves. So for example, they would to infiltrate the district to beat the bad guy all by themselves.

Ok, I just think you'll find that "Nothing happens" is not a great ending to a skill challenge. It's better than "nothing happens and you can't keep adventuring until it does," but it can still feel pretty pointless. 4th Edition is full of things, such as daily powers, that "fail forward," providing a lesser or delayed effect instead of abject failure. Just something to keep in mind.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

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